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How to handle emotional blackmail in a relationship

Relationships - By Lolita Bunde
Emotional blackmailers are neither good at communicating nor dealing with rejection (Shutterstock)

Relationships are not perfect but we stay in them because in most cases the good always outweighs the bad. But have you found yourself in a relationship where you are being emotionally blackmailed?

This is probably the most dysfunctional dynamic in relationships because a person manipulates another through subtle threats so they can get their way with stuff.

Emotional blackmail may happen between workmates, family members or amongst friends but it is most common in romantic relationships. It may seem like something simple and could probably be ignored, but it sends the same message as that of regular blackmail: “You will do as I want whenever I want.”

Emotional blackmailers are neither good at communicating nor dealing with rejection. Instead, they bully their will onto their partners by blaming them for everything wrong happening around them.

If you have found yourself in a situation where your partner drives you crazy and you can’t seem to find a common ground with them, you could probably be a victim of emotional blackmail.

Here is how you can handle emotional blackmail in your relationship:

  • Be true to yourself

This is the point where you ask yourself if you really want to be in that toxic relationship for the rest of your life. Are you willing to take blame for everything even when you are innocent or would you also want to be heard? A healthy relationship is considerate of both parties.

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Your partner should be able to listen to you as much as you listen to them. When you find yourself being bullied into decisions by your partner all the time then maybe you should reconsider your place in that relationship.

Emotional blackmail comes in subtle ways but sometimes the threats are real and you feel helpless (Shutterstock)
  • Analyze the situation

In most cases, emotional blackmail comes in subtle ways that you might miss but sometimes the threats are real and you feel helpless. For instance, does your partner constantly threaten you with suicide when they can’t have their way or when you hint at breaking up with them?

This is the worst form of emotional blackmail because your partner basically makes you a slave in the relationship. When it gets to this point, it is no longer love. You need help.

  • Seek help

When you are a victim of emotional blackmail, it is obvious you are incapable of handling the situation yourself. Your partner knows all your weaknesses by heart and they know what buttons to press, they are basically playing you like a puppet.

Always seek help from a third party, if possible seek professional help first. You will need to talk to someone who can help you take charge of your life before taking any other action. It is after you have gained your stability that you can seek help from family members or friends.

  • Take action

Relationships are supposed to be fun and a safe place where you can be yourself. When your relationship makes you more miserable than you should be maybe it’s time to take some action. At this point you can talk to your partner, let them know how you really feel and what you would like.

A good partner should be able to listen to you or willing to try and make things work.

However, in more serious situations where your partner threatens their own life or yours, you need to plan accordingly before taking a big step. Do not handle the situation alone when your partner is likely to overreact when you confront them.

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