How to beat emotional blackmail

Does your partner threaten to kill himself if you try to leave him? Does he tell you you don’t love him enough? That he just can’t cope without you? Then you may be on the receiving end of emotional blackmail. Here’s my guide to identifying and dealing with one of the most powerful tactics in an abuser’s toolkit.

If you are in – or have gotten out of – an abusive relationship, you will have experienced emotional blackmail. Some blackmail tactics are in-your face and blatant. Some are much more subtle and insidious. All fall broadly into just three categories.

1) Blame and denial

I call these the ‘if, only and just’ statements. Watch out for these words, which are designed to minimise the abuse or deflect responsibility elsewhere.

  • I only hit you when I’m drunk. Why won’t you help me to stop drinking?
  • It’s your fault I yell at you. You shouldn’t wind me up.
  • Your mother hates me. You shouldn’t listen to her.
  • I’m only so critical of you because I love you.
  • You were a better wife to me before the kids came along.
  • If I didn’t care about you so much, I wouldn’t care what you do.
  • You drink too much – anyone would be angry in my shoes.
  • It was just a slap.
  • My ex wife was abusive. That’s why I act like this.
  • We were much better together before we moved to this town.
  • You always start the fights – I just stand up for myself.
  • If you would stop antagnosing me, I wouldn’t need to shout at you.
  • You don’t love me.
  • You don’t have time for me since you started that new job.

The point he’s trying to get across? You are over-reacting, and anyway, it’s not his fault.

WHAT he wants to achieve

Photo by a2gemma

Photo by a2gemma

Well, he wants YOU to change! You should change your perception of what is acceptable (ie. whatever he does is fine or understandable, in the circumstances). See things from his point of view, be more understanding of all the pressures on him. Stand by your man (thank you, Tammy Wynette). Above all, stop being a hysterical woman, quit acting crazy and blowing this all out of proportion.

You should also change your own behaviour. After all, he wouldn’t get so jealous if you didn’t insist on going out without him, and he wouldn’t get angry if you remembered that he drinks his tea with three sugars rather than two, this week. And, if you don’t give him cause for argument, he’ll have nothing to be upset with us about – will he?

2) Pity and promises

These attempts at emotional blackmail usually come when the abuser feels threatened – for example, if he thinks that you’re about to leave – or maybe, have already gone. Notice that it is all about him and his needs. You don’t feature at all!

  • You are my world. I can’t cope without you.
  • I have an awful, life-threatening illness. Don’t leave me to face it alone.
  • I just lost my job. Don’t walk out on me now.
  • I’m about to be evicted.
  • You are the only one that can help me.
  • I’m nothing without you. I won’t do it again.
  • My mother is dying. It’s hard to bear, and I need your support.
  • I don’t have any family. How can I do this on my own?

The point he’s trying to get across? It is your job to fix him. It is your fault if his life falls apart. He’ll be a better man if you are a better partner to him.

WHAT he wants to achieve

Photo by nazreth

Photo by nazreth

Unsurprisingly, though the statements are all about him – it’s you that has to change (again!) Firstly, you should put all thoughts of leaving firmly out of your mind, forever. If you have already escaped the relationship, you should definitely come back.  And, when you do, you will bail him out of the financial hole he has dug for himself, you will cook and clean and take care of him, and you will be available to him emotionally and sexually at all times. You should put his needs above our own – you’ve always done that anyway, so why change now?

If you don’t, his physical, emotional, financial, and mental well-being will collapse. And it will be your fault, lady!

3) Threats

These blackmail attempts are usually easier to spot. They hit directly on your soft spots and often include promises to falsely slander you and ruin your life if you don’t do as you are told. The dangerous thing is that some abusers – when threats alone don’t work – may go on to act on them. For this reason, please take all threats extremely seriously, and  be proactive in protecting yourself. Document them all, keep text messages and emails, and even voice recordings if you can. Report them to the police.

  • I’ll hurt the children if you try to leave.
  • I’m sure your boss would love to hear that you love BDSM parties.
  • I’ll kill myself if you don’t come back to me.
  • Don’t even think of getting yourself a new boyfriend: I will kill him and you.
  • You won’t survive without me – you don’t have a job now and I won’t help you with money.
  • Our children won’t have a father. They will blame you for it and hate you forever.
  • Next week, check out After I post those intimate photos, you’ll be the star attraction.
  • My next call is to child protection. They need to know that you’re an unfit mother.

The point he’s trying to get across? Your life will be ruined if you don’t stick with him. And you’ll only have yourself to blame.

WHAT he wants to achieve

Photo by click

Photo by click

Yes, you guessed it. It’s you that has to change. You should do as you are told and submit to his control, or face the consequences. If you succumb to this tactic, he will hold it over your head forevermore – so be prepared to live life in fear as he knows exactly which strings to pull to make you dance.

If you don’t, he is absolved of all responsibility (again) because he warned you what would happen. It’s not his fault, after all. He told you the terms. You silly woman, you didn’t listen.

Dealing with emotional blackmail

My abuser used emotional blackmail time and time again to make me stay and to compel me to come back. It worked up until I realised this…

Emotional blackmail is a cyclical tactic designed to manipulate us. It is about his need to control us. If we resist his demands, he will increase the pressure. If that doesn’t work, threats will follow. If we give in and do as he wants, the cycle will begin again. For me, each cycle got progressively more extreme as I learned to resist for longer. For example, what started as passionate declarations that life was worthless without me became drunken suicide threats, which later became stone-cold sober self-harming.

To bust out of the cycle, we need to consider the answers to these six big questions:

  1. Am I prepared to spend the rest of my life putting his needs above my own?
  2. Will my children be happy and safe around abuse?
  3. Do I want to live with this abuse forever?
  4. Am I willing to continue to allow him to shirk responsibility for his own actions?
  5. Do I accept the blame for his behaviour?
  6. What can I do now to achieve safety and happiness?

Emotional blackmail is commonplace in abusive relationships, because it relies on our low self-esteem and independence – usually this has been ground out of us by our abuser. So, having answered these questions, remember that you deserve love, happiness and safety.

When confronted with this poisonous tactic, try not to let fear, pity or guilt make your decisions – doing so will condemn you to more misery-making abuse, and new cycles of blackmail.

Instead, be prepared to stand firm and strong. He is responsible for his actions and well-being. Not you. You do not need to change. In fact, changing will make things worse for you – because you show him that emotional blackmail works. Also, the abuse will likely increase as he feels even more need to control you than ever before. Take steps today to protect yourself, and push the button on that ejector seat!

© Avalanche of the Soul, 2013

66 responses to “How to beat emotional blackmail

  1. Great post, it really tackles and highlights all aspects of emotional blackmail and emotional abuse. My father fell into most of the categories you have listed. Questioning yourself is very hard to do but the outcome can only be positive. Mostly you need to self-analyse a little to gain some insight into their behaviour x


    • I’m glad you found it useful, R. I felt it was important to write about, as emotional blackmail was one of the most powerful tactics my ex used. Even when I recognised that he was doing it, I still didn’t know how to beat it. That’s why – as you say – analysing what’s happening can really help x

      Liked by 1 person

      • surprisingly my wife s blackmailing me..I did few because its good for her … she continue doing the same… I told her face 2 face stop doing stupid things


  2. Pingback: Tracy's smear campaign and emotional blackmail begin full-force--Tracy's Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 16 | Nyssa's Hobbit Hole·

  3. This is a powerful, succinct and poignant post for anyone who has experienced emotional blackmail or knows someone fighting it. I shared the link in a Facebook message with my friend facing this now, I hope it was okay. I would like to share it with another friend as well. Thank you for taking the time to compose something that can help others get out of abusive patterns.


  4. What if it’s a women, my current gf keeps blackmailing me into staying around by making making fake facebook accts saying im gay, calling my job repeatedly, photos of me when i smoked (which i no longer partake in) its a real nightmare, plus two small kids are involved, someone help please


    • Hi Darrell.

      First, I want to say how deeply sorry I am that you are going through this. Emotional blackmail is poisonous whoever is doing the blackmailing.

      Both genders are capable of being evil and manipulative, but I wrote this from a woman’s perspective because I am a woman and most (not all) perpetrators of domestic abuse are male.

      Your girlfriend is trying to control you. Children or not, she is putting her own needs first and by the sounds of it is willing to take any action necessary to get her way. Slander is a common tactic.

      My advice to you is the same. Take whatever steps you need to protect yourself and the kids, and leave her. Protecting yourself could involve taking screenshots of her online attempts to smear you (valuable evidence which you may need in future) and maybe confiding in your employer about your situation.

      It isn’t easy to leave, and it does have risks. But the alternative is to give in to her need for control and sacrifice the rest of your life to doing exactly what she wants. That’s no kind of life for anyone.


    • Darrell, she sounds like an insecure pathetic excuse for a woman and that’s coming from a woman!

      If you haven’t done this already, get out, get out quickly and never ever look back because you deserve better!!

      Nobody male or female deserves to live like this within their relationships!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I second Daryl’s perspective. Never once did I hear about emotional blackmail by the woman!! The author of this book made it like MEN ARE THE ONLY ONE’S WITH INSECURITIES!!! …….OMG….WAKE UP LADY !


  5. Idk what to do I have a 7month old son involved and have a restraining order against his father for domestic abuse . I made the mistake to go back to him after the order was put in place and now when I try to leave him he threatens to report us so we both go down. He’s also threatening to take the baby to another city even though I already have full physical custody but the sad part is I cannot go to police because I broke the order a few times by not reporting him or texting him


    • Lisa, first off I want to say that I am so sorry you are in this position, and it is not impossible to resolve.

      Unfortunately, if your son’s father is emotionally blackmailing you, he will continue to do so until you make it impossible for him. By staying and doing nothing, you are putting both yourself and your child at risk – so I urge you please to act.

      If this man in still in your life – presumably with access to your son – you may well be jeopardising your own custody of the child.

      In the UK, social services regularly remove children from the care of women that they judge unable to protect them. In cases of domestic abuse, this means protecting the child from the perpetrator.

      In my own support group, around half of the women have had their children taken into care because they did not leave, or had returned to an abusive partner. All of the women that went back to their man tried to hide this – unsuccessfully – from social services.

      You don’t say in which country you live. However, in most countries the restraining order is against him – not you. Therefore, *he* faces the sanction for breaking the order.

      If he can prove that you broke the order first, or encouraged him to do it, this has a number of possible implications for you. In some countries there is a possibility you could be charged with aiding and abetting someone in breaking the order against them, though I understand that this is unusual. Another possibility is that your actions are taken into account in any sanction/ sentence that he may be subject to.

      What is clear is that you need to urgently access professional legal advice – which I cannot provide. In the UK, you could go to your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or speak to Rights of Women (a free legal adviceline –

      Take care.


      • A lot of times people are more opt to judge, especially if they have never been in a situation. When a man uses a women leaves her pregnant then runs and, not be there for her. Men never have to experience that kind of pain and, it strips a wwomen emotionally and, mentally.Although it isn’t two wrongs dint make a right blackmailing someone is not going to change the other party involved. Its best to think it through and, not make the same mistake again in getting involved with someone like that. I believe a person that’s been hurt doubt think rationally or even has ill intentions towards the other party involved. Unless you have experienced it first hand there’s really no way to no how to handle it. One this.gas for sure instead of judging putting blame or harassing someone, its better to understand and help someone in there time of need.


  6. Hello, I am in a bad position with my girlfriend.
    She’s insecure, and she’s really jealous (obviously all is connected) She gets easily jealous about my female friends (on facebook), well I am not that kind of flirty guy, I have many friends and I don’t really care about their sex, I just see friendship, because I strongly believe friendship between boys and girls can be possible.
    And as long as I respect her and I am loyal I don’t see anything wrong in it.
    I tried to explain her several times (she has been cheated in past) but after 1 year of staying with me she’s not so capable to trust me as I would.

    Few months ago she blackmailed me to force me to delete from facebook a girl I randomly met online, and I deleted her.
    But lately she started to blackmail me about even closer friends that obviously aren’t flirty about me at all, I refused to give up (no one can control my life like that) so as she blackmailed and I refused she left me.

    All is because she’s insecure, but I wont give up on my life because of that.
    I know this doesn’t look really serious but I would appreciate any advice, thanks.

    p.s. she’s a really nice girl, we have been happy together, but she just can’t get over it, She ruined everything just for some stupid paranoia.


    • Hi Jason

      I’m sorry to hear that you went through this. You’re right to say that people who do this are driven by insecurity. The thing is, even doing what an emotional blackmailer wants doesn’t address their insecurity – only they can decide to do something about that.

      I can understand why some people feel insecure about Facebook friends, but the real issue is how they go about addressing that insecurity. She can’t expect you to sit in a bubble, not engaging with anyone of the opposite sex. And, I suspect, even if you tried that it wouldn’t help.

      If your girlfriend was blackmailing you, then you did the right thing in refusing to give in. Well done.


  7. Thank you for this wonderfull arrival of how a relationship can turn into a nightmare. May I bring up that I am currently in such a nightmare of an abusive relationship.

    I see myself as a strong assertive man with a strong need to see my family work.

    Googling this fact brought me to this very website.

    Angry would not be the word , more disappointed in the fact that it can only be men that are the instigators in such evil acts.


    • Hi Barry

      I’m sorry to hear that you are in an abusive relationship. Abusive behaviour isn’t restricted to one gender or the other – and neither is emotional blackmail.

      I’m simply sharing my own experience, as a woman who has experienced domestic violence. I write from a woman’s perspective because that’s what I know 🙂

      I understand your strong need to make your family work. Unfortunately, everything from my experience has shown me that it can’t. Abusive people rarely change, despite our best efforts, because most often they refuse to accept responsibility for what they do.

      Speaking from my experience once more, giving up trying to change my abuser was one of the best (and hardest) things I ever did. Because then I realised that all along, *I* had the power to improve my situation.

      I hope you find your peace and happiness.


    • I didn’t have to approve your comment for publication to my blog, Tom. But I did anyway as it is so amusing.

      You read this article and instead of having anything constructive to say, you dismiss it as feminist shit. You really *don’t* get it. Check out the comments – emotional blackmail is real, damaging, and men are on the receiving end too.


    • Tom – why did you come to this site? Do you feel guilty about something? Did you read something that may have reminded you of how you treat your significant other?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Tom, you dish it out, but you can’t take it, little “man”. You sure your first name isn’t Rush? You are a coward; you probably hit your girlfriend, and then go pleasure yourself. Too bad you’re not a twin, then you could go “F” yourself.


  8. I came across your post when searching for solace, i dont expect a reply but i need to tell my story, i cant bottle it up anymore. A bit of background. 3 years ago my grandmother passed away I did not want to see her suffer but my family pressured me to come saying she wanted to see me before she died. When i got there everyone took a step back and as I loved her very much I stepped up and nursed her until she died it was incredibly difficult I was the one to have to tell everyone she had died as only I checked on her. I have struggled with this everyday since, an still have nightmares. Since her death i have been pretty much isolated from my family due to a Dislike of my husband and the only ones ireally speak with are my grandfather and ovcasionally my mother. Currently i am 13weeks pregnant and have just been told my baby has a 1 in 4 chance of being severely disabled and am very stressed about this, I have further tests next week for this. My family have just called saying my grandfather is dying and I need to come as he wants to see me before he dies. I love him very much but i have said I am not going. My reasons for this are 1. I do not want to see him like that. 2. I have to keep calm for the baby. 3. I spoke with my grandfather and he understands I am not coming and he told me to look after my unborn child. 4. I feel that I am unwelcome with my family. 5. I believe my family will step back and again force the responsibility of nursing him on me. I don’t believe I am mentally capable of dealing with the stress on top of what I am already facing. My family wouldn’t back off and called me many cruel and hurtful things of which I will not repeat. I have been told I am selfish and I don’t care about anyone but myself. Now when I try to call my grandfather I cannot talk to him as I am constantly stonewalled saying he is asleep or they simply hang up on me. Do you have any advice on how best to cope?


    • Hi there. I’m sorry for your loss, and sorry that you are going through all of this. Death and grieving are incredibly difficult to deal with, and in my (non-expert) opinion it sounds like your family are trying to cope by displacing their emotions as anger onto you.

      I understand that your focus must be on your unborn baby, and I believe that you are doing the right thing for yourself and your child. You are pregnant and especially vulnerable given that you are still dealing with the trauma of nursing your grandmother in her last days. Your family should understand – it sounds like your grandfather does.

      Please hold firm to what you believe to be best for you and your child, and do not be swayed by any emotional blackmail that comes your way. At this point, I would suggest you do not engage in communications with other family members that are piling the pressure on you.

      If you are unable to speak to your grandfather on the phone, how about writing him a letter? I’m sure there is a lot that you would like to say before he passes. If you fear that your family would prevent him from receiving a letter, do you have a trusted friend that may be able to visit him personally and pass on your letter? Or even a video message?


      • Thank you for your kind words, I have taken your advice on board and decided to stop trying to call my grandfather they are putting the phone on loudspeaker and listening to all conversations anyway. I have a cousin who I trust I will ask her to give him a letter (I’ll email it to her as I live 2days drive away) although you are a stranger to me you have provided me with great comfort and some tools I can use to deal with my situation. Thank you for your support.


  9. hi
    the guy I dated is very funny.from the first day I met him he has been blackmailing me,I didn’t know it was blackmail but the moment I had my chance I left him.he blackmails me to even appear naked before him.he is telling me now that he has a video of he romancing me.what do I do?


    • Hi Lois

      I’m sorry that you are being blackmailed. Unfortunately, in such situations, you have two choices:
      1) Succumb to the blackmail, do what he wants, and allow yourself to be held an emotional hostage by this man for as long as he wishes
      2) Resist the blackmail, do not give in, report him to the police, take steps to protect yourself and show him that you will not be blackmailed.

      What he is threatening you with is revenge porn. In many countries, this is illegal, and this man could face criminal sanctions if he acts on this threat. I do not know where you are from, but please do find out if this applies in your country. Finally, neither of the two options are easy choices to make, but the consequence of giving in to emotional blackmail may well be worse than if you refuse to be blackmailed. Certainly, if you go along with what he wants you will send him a clear message: this strategy works, and I’ll keep doing it until it doesn’t. Please be strong and take steps to protect yourself from this.


  10. Hello,
    I Found Your Page As I am looking for ways of Dealing With A Problem Ive Had For 10 Years. I Cant Seem To Gain Independance From My Babys Father. Ive Asked Him To Leave But He wont. He Stands Over Me For Cigarettes Daily…very expensive in Australia, And Gambling Money Totalling Nearly 1000 Bux A month. He Lays Around My Rental Property All days doing Nothing, Dosnt Clean Or Read To The Kids, Nothing. I Ask Him To Leave Nicely, But He Says Its His House, Which It Isnt. I Dobt Even Like Him. I Havnt Had A Day Alone In My House In Nearly A Decade. He Refuses To Leave The House. He Wont Let Me Sleep At Night, Then He Sleeps All Day, While I Have Chores To Do. I Nearly Commited Suicide a coupke of years ago, From Not Being Able To Get Rid Of Him. I Desperately Want To Be On My Own. I Hate Police, As I Was Raped By One when I Was 16, So He Threatens To Call Them On Me Rather Than Me On Him To Scare Me. So Please Dont Tell Me To Just Call Police. Any Creative Suggestions? I Dont Want My Arm Broken Or My Face Black From Withholding Cigarettes. P.s He Is 30 Years Older Than Me And On disability Pension, What A Nightmare! I Think He Only Stays Cos He Cant Do Life Himself. I Need My Life Back For My 7 And 13 Year Olds. I Have An Friend Who Will Help, But How?


  11. Hi…I’m so unsure what to do as I do love and care for my guy and in many ways he’s very good to m; I know he does love me would never cheat, hit me, and is attentive to my needs a lot of the time etc. But he is also a bit emotionally draining and I can’t deal with that. He says he is depressed, he has smoked weed everyday for 10 years and refuses to change that saying it makes him more calm, when really all he seems is frustrated with everything around him including with me. He is playing mind games telling me I’m the only one who cares for him one minute, then the next saying I’m not here for him. We end up having the same conversation/argument every couple of days, I’m in my final year of university and its exhausting. When I broke off time with him last year he told me he was nothing without me, that I had ruined his life, I was selfish, that he was now hooked on drugs etc. It was a nightmare, and I caved and went back to him after a few months out of not being able to adjust to life alone and deep sadness thinking that I had ruined someones life. Now I am back with him, the manipulation has continued and he repeatedly keeps telling me I’m not here for him and then switching up and saying I’m the only person he cares about etc. It has now extended to sexual manipulation, as just a few days ago he acted very off with me for ages because I hadn’t given him sex for 2 days (how am I meant to feel aroused in a situation like this?) and acted as if it was my duty to. I cried to myself when I caved and satisfied his needs. Then he wouldn’t wear a condom because it made him not as aroused, and made me feel guilty for having suggested we wear one. I feel humiliated, trapped and unable to leave incase the emotional barrage starts again. Please help.


    • Hi Helpless

      I feel so bad for you. The situation that you are in is absolutely *not* right, and massive kudos to you for recognising that this man is trying to control you. I wonder if you have read my article on sexual control?

      It’s his fault, not yours. So please don’t feel guilty. You are with a manipulative man – and an abusive one, though you seem to be minimising that (I did that too!). Just because he hasn’t hit you doesn’t mean he is not abusive, and certainly the behaviour that you describe would indicate that this is the case.

      And please don’t feel like you are trapped. I know from my own experience how overwhelming this can feel, and getting out does seem impossible: but it is not. He wants you to feel responsible for him, because he hopes you will stay, try to ‘fix’ him, and allow him to continue with his unacceptable actions.

      But you ALWAYS have a choice. You have the power to recognise that you cannot change this man, because he isn’t interested in changing himself – no matter how much he claims to love you. You have the power to leave. Yes, it may be difficult and it seems you realise that he will do everything he can to get out.

      So, please read my post on hoovering:

      Remember, you deserve more than this. You don’t have to be his domestic hostage. You have the right to your own needs, and to be free of this misery. And you can, absolutely, 100% achieve that. I did.


  12. I stumbled on this page while trying to convince myself,i am doing the right thing for myself and 2 young kids,4yrs and 11 months.I have suffered abuse ever since i married my husband.The silent treatment,the put down,emotional neglect,name calling and isolation from my family.Recently,i decided i had enough and called the Police on him during one of the episodes.(as i type now,i feel fear).He left the house with his bags and made threats to divorce me ,like it was my fault he was acting wrongly.
    After a month of sepration,he now wants to come and pack his remaining stuff which he claims will take him 2-3hours.(Tbh,i feel terrified).
    At the moment,iam wondering how i will cope when he decides to strip the house bare after packing up all his stuff.I dont want to go back living in the abuse but just feeling overwhelm with coping with the kids,child care,studies.its really weighing me down.
    Thanks for reading my rant.


    • Hi there.

      I’m really sorry that you’re going through this. I want you to know that walking away from an abusive partner is ALWAYS the right decision, including (and most importantly in my view) for the kids. I worried that leaving the father of my child wasn’t the right thing to do, but now I know that while that decision was incredibly hard, it has been the best thing for my child. He now has a stable, happy home that is free from the chaos of abuse. And that’s exactly what you’ll do for your kids too!

      I know it’s hard on your own. I’ve been there too. Please remember that you are so much stronger than him – and you’re going to do what’s right by you and your kids. It will get easier. Take care.


  13. How to get out of my relationship with someone who is telling lies all the time? I have agreed to be in a relationship with him believing that he has no girlfriend. Then I discovered that they are still on and I want us to separate. He said that he does’t love her but me. But I found out that he still sends her money over. He said because he feels sorry for her and he just wanted to help.He said dont worry about my girlfriend because he is back in my country and I am with you. I found out last week that he communicated with her through facebook again. So I blackmailed him to break up with her otherwise I will leave him and he did it. He blocked her on Fb but unblock her again. WTF! I feel so sorry for the girl because she was angry and hurt too. But I am also hurt for being lied. And I am angry as well. I feel so bad that I made him broke up with her. The girl said nasty things about him. Same thing I am going to say for being such a good liar. But I didnt add insult to injury instead I broke up with him.But he started crying and said I dont wanna lose you because I love you very much. Now he just moved in at our place 2 weeks before he will go away for a 4 weeks prove that he really is into me. He promised to text me everyday and update me of whats happening. The girl blocked her on facebook but he is still asking about her from his friends.Trying to get contact number. He said that he just wanted to talk to her personally and break up with her formally! What a load of Crap. He said he just does not wanted the girl’s christmas be sad because of him. He went back to our country the other day and sent me a text yesterday morning saying he couldnt sleep. So I let him sleep observing the time difference. But the phone is now off.I tried sending him a text but no reply. Tried ringing but the call wont go through. He is good with hiding things. I decided to let him go and dont waste my time.Last communication was yesterday.He has not been home to where he was staying so I suspect that he was meeting his other girlfriend. i cant live like this and I want to move on.I have other things to get busy with. i have great friends, good job and great family. But i am scared that when he comes back he will pressure me again to stay with our relationship and continue our sexual activities since he is staying with us. Please advise me of what to do.



  14. Hi Friends, would like to talk to you about Emotional Blackmail am a victim of it .

    Three members of my family my Aunt who is the eldest at 80 years my father at 78 and my mother at 67 all of them use this this tool of screwing up my emotions making me weak just in order because I would stay with them during their old age their very activity has made me so weak that it has resulted in me being unemployed going into depression they want me to be at their side all the time and not leave them even for a short moment.

    Parents took care of us when we were young they expect us to look after them during their old age but this extent by making me weaker and weaker unable to face the world whenever I suggest an activity for my benefit they are against it because they don’t me to do anything except serve them I have become a doormat for my parents what would you say to this situation the general norm is we must look after our parents but under these circumstances what would you do? I am emotionally very weak all thanks to my parents.

    How does one get out the above current situation ?


  15. i am in need of immediate help. I have this psycho boyfriend. I love him i really do. he loves me too I beleive that. But he’s too jealous. He doesnt let me be friends with other guys and he controls me all the time. But he doesn do the same in the same case. He has lots of girl friends and whenever i tell him about this… that if he doesnt want me to have guy friends he should also do the same wih his girl friends. And if i refuse to do so he’ll start sayin i dont love him enough to do that…that im never there for him. i dont undrstand how much he loves me. That if i leave him he’ll kill himself. So im constantly being blackmailed. I dont know how to leave him. Im scared that he really will suicide if i leave and then itll be my fault then. The thing is he is so rebellious and has lots of family problems too and im scared that if i leave him now he’ll think no one is there for him no one loves him and then he’ll give up and result in killing himself. Please help me out


    • Hi aZ. I’m sorry for what you’re going through, it’s soul destroying to be on the receiving end of intimate partner abuse – which is what you describe. You probably won’t like what I’m about to say, but I need to point out that – whatever he claims – this guy doesn’t love you. You don’t abuse, control and emotionally blackmail someone you love and value. He’s basically holding you hostage right now, with the threat to kill himself if you refuse to stay in a relationship with him and follow his rules. It is striking that there should be rules for you, by the way, and none for him – another classic tactic of a domestic abuse perpetrator. I’m sorry to say this, because I know how it feels to love a guy like this, but if you choose to give in to his blackmail you are showing him that this strategy works, and he’ll wheel it out whenever he feels you’re stepping out of line. And his need to control you will escalate, which means he’ll become increasingly abusive toward you. So, you have a choice here. You can stay with a guy who doesn’t really love you and will put his own needs above yours for as long as he is able, or you can seize back your power and decide to get out. It’s not your responsibility how he reacts to that – the fact you’ve even had the conversation with him suggests you are already deeply unhappy and want to leave. So please do it, and let this guy be responsible for himself.


  16. everything i read here reminds me of what I have been through because of my boyfriend! it was around 10 years ago, but I still have to deal with the trauma he left behind.. he was constantly hurting himself, cutting his wrists, overdosing with sedative pills each time i wanted to break up.. one morning i woke up and saw his lifeless body hanging from the ceiling.. he used the belt that i once gave him as present. what happened next was nothing less traumatic! everybody, our friends, his parents and at some point my OWN parents blamed me for what had happened. i don’t even mention how much i blamed myself.. if only i didn’t sleep that night, if only i didn’t say that, do this bla bla.. never ending list! for very long time i hated myself and though i had to be a VERY bad person to deserve all of these.. well, it was painful, but in the end i learned to trust people again and now i’m happily married to a great guy.. but still sometimes small details – a certain smell, music, location, etc- or some articles on internet like this one, remind me of those hard days.. i know i will never forget it, but it is hurting less and i’m more fair to myself now…


    • Hi there. I’m so sorry that you went through all this. I realise that you understand this, after your years of trauma, but you were NEVER to blame for your boyfriend’s decision. I’m glad to know that you have been able to rebuild your life and that you are being more fair to yourself now, and that the hurt is lessening. Thanks for sharing your story.


  17. Thank you for this article. I just said to the girl I love I’ll not stay with her. She has some personality disorder and has done most of the things you said. I am so afraid she’ll harm herself… But I can’t submit myself to this for the rest of my life and I’m sure it’s best to back off now, as later I might not be able to, if we get even more involved. But I love her and it hurts so much…


    • Hi there. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it is so hard when someone you love does this to you. I applaud your strength, despite the pain it causes to leave. You’re doing the right thing, hard as that is. It isn’t your job to be responsible for her life, that’s for her to do and she wouldn’t ever have had a chance at that if you remained her hostage.


      • Thank you, truly. I just don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do the no-contact thing you talked about in the other article, because I really care for her and get worried. I feel bad because I said I would be there for her, but she completely drains me, emotionally. It’s been even affecting me phisically, but I know it’s hard on her too, so I get so confused…


      • I know, it’s incredibly tough to walk away from someone that we care about. When I went No Contact with my violent ex, it was so hard and I wanted to give up many times. But doing so gave me much-needed space to breathe and think and ultimately contemplate a life without him. Whatever you choose to do, it is your decision but please – first and foremost – make sure you are looking after yourself and considering your own needs for once. Please let me know how you get on.


  18. Hi, your article is timely. My fiancee fits into your description of emotional blackmail. I feel that getting closer to his heart will help him to put his past – which has been affecting him psychologically – behind him(he was once married) but I am the one facing the brunt of the so called hurt he’s having. He calls me names in addition to placing the blames of his challenges on me. I have had enough and would not want to be wrecked emotionally. Though we both love each other but I am not happy.I want to opt out.


    • I’m really sorry to hear you’re going through this. It’s my view that Lundy Bancroft has the best take on situations like the one you face, when he stated:

      “It is fine to commiserate with a man about his bad experience with a previous partner, but the instant he uses her as an excuse to mistreat you, stop believing anything he tells you about that relationship and instead recognize it as a sign that he has problems with relating to women.”

      If you are considering getting out, I’d recommend you do it – your intuition is likely trying to tell you something very important.

      Be happy, keep safe.


  19. Pingback: The First Indications That You Are Involved With A Narcissist | Healing And Thriving From Narcissistic Abuse·

  20. I dealt with emotional blackmail with my ex SO all the time. It was part of his “bag of tricks,” to try and make me stay with him. But I got wise to him after a while…still he persisted even after it did not work anymore. His biggest go to one was that he was going to kill himself…but I stopped believing him. At the end, when tried it yet again, I called him “the boy who cried wolf.” He understood. Looking back a year after I finally managed to fight my trauma bond and stay away, I saw more and more how much he tried to use emotional blackmail to control me. Amazing that despite how it did not work for him, he still used it. They don’t learn…they don’t grow…they don’t change. Mine was a classic Borderline…he had all the traits, they were very strong and undeniable. Despite that, he was abusive…bottom line. Vicious, violent and vindictive….


    • I’m really sorry you went through all of that. Emotional blackmail I believe is used by all abusive individuals to some extent, and it can get really extreme with some. My ex also made suicide threats, which were as terrifying as they were manipulative (more on that here Many congratulations to you on getting out and staying out, and thank you for sharing your story to encourage others 🙂


  21. How do you respond to the very real threat to call child services or lie in court to take the kids? I’d rather stay than lose them.


    • My ex threatened to kidnap our child if I didn’t go back to him. It was/is terrifying, but I knew I couldn’t be his hostage forever. Can you report/evidence his threat? Is he abusive toward you (if he’s threatening you like this, it sounds like he is)? Does he have any real grounds for reporting you to child protection?


    • Smith, I didn’t have to let your emotionally stunted comment go live on my site – but I chose to do so because it’s a great example of the type of dribble women hating folk like you ooze from their pores. You’ve come to a site for women experiencing domestic abuse and it’s after effects to toss around a stupid comment like that, really? Read other comments on this article, by men, who unlike you, seem perfectly capable of transposing pronouns.


  22. Hi, I am engaged to a person who threatened to kill himself each time that things get out of control between us. It starts with him getting angry, jealous over a matter (e.g. wedding decisions, my going to the gym, I have texting a guy on whatsapp even though it could be just a friend or ex-colleague). When he does that he says hurtful things, does not let me explain and I ended up replying hurtful things too. And things explode, he makes a scene, he tries not to in front of people, but it shows up now. When I stop talking to him, still it is a problem. When I block him everywhere (whatsapp etc), he gives threats to end his life and gives self-pity. It has happened so many times, at one point I had stopped meeting him for almost 3 months, but then I decided to give him another chance, he said that he will change. And also, because I am 32 and I want to settle down, it is not easy to meet a partner at this age. I had started to use white lies so that he will let me in peace (I delete all texts from other guys, I tell him that I don’t work with anyone in the gym, or sometimes I tell him that I am sick so I cannot come to meet him after work)…
    But sometimes, I myself I get depressed about my future and feel like ending my own life, sometimes I even tell him… So I am not sure who is the abuser, emotionally unstable person in the couple.
    I feel that I want to get out of the relationship because he will not let me do my own things that I like e.g. gym, sports, my career especially if it is not with him (One time we went to play badminton together, afterwards he got angry just because I did not introduce him to a guy who said hello to me, he was just a player that I used to meet and I did not even know his name!)

    I want to settle and have a peaceful family life. Sometimes I think that once we get married, his insecurities will disappear.. but now I wonder…

    Please help me; what do you think?


    • I think that he is definitely so insecure. Has unresolved issues when he was younger and is taking it on you.Emotionally he is unstable and and a type of person who wanted to control your life. Threatening you to end his own life is an excuse for him to be pitied and using it so that you will submit and agree to do what he wants you to do.He is not giving you freedom to enjoy things you like.He shows paranoia with being jealous with every person you talk ,meet or be with. He is putting malice in everything and that poisons his mind.He is dangerous because it means trouble especially if you are married.What more if you will have kids. He is a high risk for domestic violence .It is not gonna change.That is his personality.If I were you stay away from him as early as now unless you are willing to sacrifice your own happiness and your own life for the sake of love.Stupid Love.


  23. My ex keeps bothering me from time to time. I left him when he was in drugs, alcohol, theft and I could not fix his mess. He keeps blaming me for leaving him and denies all the charges. He wrote an obscene message to me recently. I emailed him to keep his decency. He became all emotional and said he just wants to be friends. I refused saying this is an unacceptable way to get attention and I expect apology. I decided to put an end to all this and called his parents. After that, it has fueled a big fight. He threatened to call my spouse if I did not call him. By the way, he has no access to me(I am overseas). I did not give in. He is writing things to me – cursing me, abusing me, denying that he ever wrote anything to me and how I am making stories. He brought up my family secrets which I told him unfortunately when we were together (15 years ago). I have stopped responding after I talked to his parents and his parents said they will take care of this. I feel the urge to tell him about his family secrets I know so that he does not think he can ever disturb my family members with this. I already let my spouse know that my ex is stalking me. Should I give him a piece of mind that even I know a lot about his family and I am not afraid of him calling my husband and he can add his wife (I can mention her ph no) to the conference call so that I don’t have to waste time doing that? Or should I just keep quiet and be peaceful.


  24. I am not sure if this is emotional blackmail but I think it could well be. I was with my ex for nearly 4 years. We met 2 years after I had emerged from a 28 year relationship with the father of my children and childhood sweetheart. I didnt want to meet another man and was still recovering from my break up but he swept me off my feet, our 2nd date was Paris for Valentines day. In the beginning he was charming and considerate, I fell for him in a big way, then a chain of events dramatically changed his personality, he began criticising me for my weight, my accent, my devotion to my children and mother (who is terminally ill). He took voluntary redundancy to look after his recently widowed mum, he moved to a town many miles away and we saw each other very seldom and when we did it wasnt the same. When he eventually found work it was in another town 3 hours from me, he seemed to think I would leave my children and mum to be with him and started to tell me things like “cant you see, your children dont want you around!”…my daughter in particular was really upset and said she could see he was being manipulative and she was aghast he would say things like that when she said she needed me around more than ever in her life. She thought he was trying to make me dependant on him.

    I started to think back to things he had said to me early on, things I thought were mildly amusing but in reality said to control and abuse me. One example is when we were getting passionate is he stopped and said “The problem is you enjoy sex too much, this is for me, not you”. Another example is when he put a rope around my neck and I told him to stop as it wasnt funny and I might die, his response was “Its a risk I am prepared to take”.

    Anyway after several failed attempts to end the relationship, (I always ended up going back to him, not sure why) this time I have managed to go NC and feel 100% better, over him completely, then today I receive an email from him telling me he thinks he has cancer! Is this emotional blackmail or am I reading too much into this.


    • First, massive kudos to you for getting away from this abuse, and for maintaining No Contact. His latest attempt at re-establishing contact may be based on truth (ie. he may have cancer) or it could be a lie, but either way his motivation is likely the same: he wants to break down your No Contact, and that’s to benefit him, not you. If it weren’t emotional blackmail, he’d respect the boundaries you have laid out. You’ve cut ties to this man, if you let your empathy enable him to get back in your life, you stand to lose too much. Put bluntly: his welfare is not your responsibility. Please don’t let him make it so.


  25. my keeps blacking mailing me that he wold kill himself i would leave him what should i do
    after the relationship i had know that he is alcoholic and fooling me
    he uses my money for expenses and keeps on blackmailing me he will do suicide and write a suicide notes telling that i am responsible for it


  26. Hi I’ve got a blood sister who abuses me everyday. She’s 23 n I’m 17.she has a 5 year old son…she’s always out but she doesn’t allow me to go out even at shops worse to my relatives

    She ruined my relationship with my aunties by telling that i said i have their marriage on my hand so she abuses me becase she knows that i have no where to go coz my aunties doesn’t trust me anymore …she’s too much where ever i go i must go with her 6year old son

    In the house I’m not allowed to watch tv or channel that her son doesn’t like if i talk and then tell her that I’m going back to my aunties she laughs and tells me that she will tell them what i said to her

    I’m even scared of sleeping even talking to people i sleep with an object under my pillow so please help


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