Dealing With Blackmail and Emotional Abuse

While it may be a form of self-defence, it is extremely uncomfortable to be on the opposite end of someone else’s emotional blackmail. This, together with hostage-taking falls under the psychological umbrella of emotional manipulation, which is displayed by people who have the need to control others. Projection is demonstrated through the transference of guilt from one person to another.

Unfortunately, individuals who are emotionally manipulative lack the insight to reflect on their unhealthy tendencies because these very behaviours make them feel safe. The highly controlling person will be able to manipulate you so effectively that you believe they are right and you are wrong. It is typical to feel fear, anger and resentment in response to this manipulation but often these emotions are accompanied by self-doubt and uncertainty.

In this situation, it is important to ask yourself whether your own needs and feelings are being met as this can become colluded in the attempt to meet the other individual. This is where boundaries come in and the necessity of self-care. If we don’t learn to self-regulate we run the risk of turning to addictive substances or maladaptive behaviours.

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