Emotional blackmail: suicide threats in abusive relationships

Self-harm and suicide threats are amongst the most terrifying – and effective – manipulation tactics in an abuser’s toolkit. Here’s what happened when I called the bluff of an abusive blackmailer.

An extreme form of emotional blackmail is an abuser’s threat to kill themselves if we don’t do what they want. This is a low-blow, but often an effective move because it taps directly into our compassion for another human being, and our fear of being the cause of them ending their life.

Kim Saeed posted a very informative article on suicide threats as a manipulation tool. This post made made me think of all the times that my abusive ex did exactly this. I want to tell you about one of those incidents – and what happened when I called his bluff.

“Come back. I’ll kill myself if you don’t.”

We were in the middle of one of his hoovering campaigns. I’d left him, and he was trying to convince me to return. Stupidly, I hadn’t cut communications with him – mostly because I still wanted to believe that he would change. That day, we’d arranged to meet in the city for coffee. It would be a chance for him to spend time with our baby.

He arrived at our meeting point an hour and ten minutes late. Normal, for him. At the coffee shop, he largely ignored our son as he picked up his favourite topic: why I should go back to him. When I didn’t leap into his arms and weep with happiness, he stormed off, spewing curses. Thirty minutes later, he was back and he’d switched-on his nice persona.

The rest of the afternoon passed pleasantly. He didn’t drive, so I offered him a ride home. He used the drive to harangue me. I regretted letting him into my car. I had no clue how I’d get out of there, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy. We sat outside his house for over an hour, as he refused to get out unless I agreed to come in for dinner. He’d cook something nice, he promised. He wouldn’t stop me from leaving whenever I wanted, he assured me. He just couldn’t face eating alone tonight, he pleaded.

Save me

Photo by *sean

A mother of a meltdown

I didn’t cave. It triggered a full-scale meltdown. Terrifying. Screaming insults, trying to drag me from the car, baby crying in the back seat. A passer-by stepped up. He told him,”Fuck off, before you die.” I used the distraction to lock the doors. He stood in front of the car, to prevent me from driving off. I reversed up a one way street to get clear.

Within seconds, my cellphone was ringing like crazy. It was him, of course. I didn’t answer: just kept driving until I reached a petrol station about 20 minutes from his place. I needed to pull myself together before I got home. I didn’t want my family to see me shaking from head to foot. Then, I made the mistake of answering his call.

He tried to persuade me to drive back. I refused. Then came the sobbed-out words that – even though I’d heard them maybe a dozen times before – still chilled me to the core.

“Come back. I’ll kill myself if you don’t. Come back. I can’t live if you don’t come back.”

I hung up, switched off my phone. Each and every time he’d said those words (or similar) to me before, I hated him for it. I hated him for such an obvious ploy, for such a callous move, for once again shoving the responsibility for his actions onto my shoulders.

A real, pain-filled scream

Outside my home, I switched on my phone once more. Within seconds, a call. He repeated his threat to kill himself, told me he had a knife in hand. I tried to reason with him. A real, pain-filled scream. The phone went dead. I sat in the car, frantically dialing his number. No answer. Oh God. Still no answer.

A big part of me knew that this was an act. But that nurturing part of me that still cared for him cried out that maybe it wasn’t. I dialled his phone for the next 10 minutes, hanging on the line, too shaken to move from the car. Then, a call from a number I didn’t know. The guy on the line explained he was a neighbour, he had seen my man bleeding in the street. He’d come to help. Called an ambulance. My man had asked him to phone me, to tell me to meet him at the hospital.

I had to ask, before the good Samaritan revealed what the injuries were. Turns out, he’d stabbed himself in the thumb. Deep and down to the bone, but he’d hardly slashed an artery. It wasn’t a suicide attempt, of course. He inflicted a superficial wound (though a painful one that would go on to seriously compromise a tendon in that hand) just to get my attention.

Though relieved he hadn’t done anything serious, I was frightened and furious at the lengths he’d go to get his way. I resolved to stand firm, so as to discourage a future repeat. Because I refused to go to the hospital, several hours later he turned up on my doorstep, brandishing his bandaged hand like some sort of war wound.

It was proof of how much he loved me, he said. Yeah, right.

Torn heart

Photo by Kiomi

You’re not responsible for their choices

The only way to beat emotional blackmail is to know that you are not responsible for the choices of another. Giving in to blackmail tactics – even terrifying, awful threats such as suicide – reinforces the blackmailing behaviour. You’ll be a hostage until you take back your power.

Some (but not all) people who threaten suicide do go on to take their own lives, but here’s the secret: whether he does or doesn’t DOES NOT depend on you. Let him take responsibility for his own actions. His welfare and wellbeing is his job – not yours.

Does your abusive partner threaten suicide if you leave? Their welfare is their responsibility, not yours.

Tweet: Does your abusive partner threaten #suicide if you leave? Their welfare is their responsibility, not yours. #DV http://bit.ly/1Vs8qfe

Handful of stars

Photo by xJasonRogersx

Have you been on the receiving end of emotional blackmail? How did you respond, and what advice would you give to someone who is grappling with this form of manipulation?

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74 responses to “Emotional blackmail: suicide threats in abusive relationships

  1. A bold topic you took on today and you did a wonderful job, so many people use the suicide threat as a way to terrorize and control partners or other “loved” ones, and it cannot be reiterated enough that what happens and what that person chooses to do, is THEIR choice.

    Liked by 2 people

      • i would like make a question to you and to the users and i hope have some opinions about
        even if are not nice to hear.
        My ex made me “soft” blackmails during our relationship( car accidents…also exagerating normal illnes ..). I loved her and always got this like a proof of love. i know, but i really loved her and
        didnt mind handle with that because she was everything for me. The point is that when we broke
        i got noticed there was a third person, some other man in her life, and for first time in my life, i got deeply depressed,at the same time, i recived a bad new in relation with someone of my family. i felt like my life was over and i made a blackmail to her saying i was considering to suicide with some pills.Obviously i just scary her away with this words. In the end, seems that my blackmail becomes me in worst person than she was with me before with her “soft” blackmails.
        Also i want to say she didnt give me a last talk
        and was just asking for wait her while was dating this other man.

        My questions are …..

        -Would you forgive something like that to your partner if you know the other person is not like that and it has happened in a hard period of his life?

        -Does it becomes a person in not realiable,and not someone to stay with if is the only one time has blackmailed you? Does it means also if there is a first time will be a second?

        -Could someone recover enough credibility to you to even think about reconciliation?

        -Emotional weakness when in a short period of time you recive the two hardest bad news of your life is an excuse ?

        I really dont feel like a criminal, especially after all i needed stand from her to make work things before i had this crisis for 2 days.

        Like

      • Hi

        I appreciate your question, and the fact you’re asking it makes me think you have some regret. There is a difference between really being at your lowest ebb and reaching out for help (which should be met with compassion), and a manipulative attempt to compel someone to comply with your wishes (which should be met with non compliance). Only you know which of these is applicable to your situation. Much depends on how your ex experienced a relationship with you prior. In my case, I knew my ex was simply trying to terrify me into going back to him – and that he would use my compassion against me made me feel physically ill. But when I left a different man who loved me enough to tell me he felt his life was over now, I knew it was heartbreak and responded with as all the kindness I had in me. My question to you is, why did you say what you said to her?

        Like

    • This helped me tremendously today. My daughter has successfully broken away from this character you have described. He is continually in Hoover campaign mode but she is finally not budging. He has just now began the suicide threats. She knows if he does it is not her fault, but we do not know if we should report him to officials. She has contacted her attorney regarding visitation of their five- year- old son due to the suicide threats. He declined to pick him up this scheduled visit because he doesn’t “want ____ to see me like this.” I just replied okay and gave him no more fodder for discussion. But I seriously do not know if it is my humane responsibility to force mental health on him. Nonetheless, you have truly written an excellent article that helped me see things more clearly and understand that his behavior is not unique to their marriage. Thank you. And the Hoovering article is genius.

      Like

  2. “I hung up, switched off my phone. Each and every time he’d said those words (or similar) to me before, I hated him for it. I hated him for such an obvious ploy, for such a callous move, for once again shoving the responsibility for his actions onto my shoulders.”
    This is what they do, and it’s who they are.
    Awesome post!
    It’s not always suicide, but sometimes other form of emotional craziness as well.
    Thank you Triple S.
    I still have much to learn and I thank you for helping me to do just that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for commenting, Tee <3. I'm always interested to hear your insights. Blackmailers will essentially try anything to control their target, but threats of suicide are one of the most hateful. And, as you point out, they don't ever change because their need for power is so deep and they won't take responsibility for themselves.

      Like

      • That’s not true they do change I was doing this to my partner for years ,he was a serious pot smoker and it effected our relationship so every time I knew he had lied and decieved me about going back on his word I would go on a suicidal tangent . It effected me mentally that the man i loved was self harming himself .We separated and I am not ever going to go down that path again it did almost kill me

        Like

  3. Very emotional post. It’s a message many need to hear. Temporary or otherwise, insanity breeds illogical and desperate acts. Giving in only buys a little time before the bar is raised again. Holding the other person responsible for their behavior is the only way to break the cycle. Part of holding them responsible is breaking ties and not accepting the guilt. That does not lesson the emotional trauma of the process but provides a path for a better recovery later. You did good. Thank you for your bravery in speaking out.

    Like

    • Hi Willy Nilly and thank you for sharing your perspective. I wanted to write about this topic because I know how deeply disturbing it was for me when my ex tried to blackmail me in this way. The sick, sinking feeling and extreme anxiety it caused… But then, that was exactly the point as far as he was concerned. I hope sharing my experience helps others who face the same thing – and I’d like to underline your point about not accepting the guilt. That’s so important to know, so thank you for sharing.

      Like

  4. A guy I knew in high school would do this to me on the phone. He’d call me depressed and would tell me he was contemplating taking a bunch of sleeping pills. I was 15 and had no way of getting to him anyway, but I used to sit on the phone just trying to talk to him to distract him. And of course I had no idea it was emotional blackmail back then.

    Like

    • Hi Safirefalcon and thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry you encountered this, especially at such a young age. Harsh as it sounds, if you were being emotionally blackmailed then I hope you were able to free yourself from this guy. We all want to help vulnerable people, but when they manufacture vulnerability to hold us hostage – it’s really not okay.

      Like

    • safirefalcon- I had a similar experience in high school, also. This boy from one of my classes liked me & asked me out over the phone. When I told him that I only liked him as friends he replied that the would kill himself if I did not go out with him. I stuck to my guns and told him that that was the way it was and ended the call. I was riddled with confusion when I got off the phone . I gave it some serious thought and weighed it all out then decided that it was the only correct hing for me to do. To give in would mean following his wishes and NOT following my own wishes. i concluded I would just have to take a chance that he was not going to really do it. Of course he did not.

      StrongerSoulSurvivor- , its now many years later in my life & I am involved with a new person who is a N and and he is an emotional blackmailer. The crap that comes out of his mouth is very boundary crossing and controlling. So I resonate with your story. Your advice about not letting them get way with it EVER is right on target. It’s actually amusing when you say no to them how they react like spoiled children and keep revisiting the request to try to get you to cave in.
      TY.

      Like

      • Hi Free2Bme and thank you for sharing your insights here. You are spot on when you underline how necessary it is to never give in to this tactic, because when we do it tells the blackmailer that this is a strategy that works. And the threats and hysterics just escalate.

        And yes, I also found my abusive ex to be extremely childlike at times. Kids don’t care about making a scene when they throw a tantrum because they can’t get their way. They don’t imagine there is a more grownup way to resolve it, and they don’t want to accept ‘no’. In that way, there are similarities – though of course only abusers are dangerous in the extreme tactics they choose to try to get what they want!

        Like

  5. One verbal threat at the beginning of the relationship when I was going to move out of state…when I took the bait, the relationship moved too fast…I am blessed with the two children from that relationship, but really…I do not see myself falling for that again. Run…Far…Fast…

    Like

    • Hi AoA and thank you for adding your voice here. I’m so sorry you had this experience (even though you gained two wonderful children from the relationship) but I’m very glad to hear you won’t accept it again. It’s great that you’re using what you’ve learned to help others, and I can only echo your advice to run far, fast!

      Like

  6. It’s because of people like that my friends and family don’t know about my recent attempt. I worry about how they would perceive my motivation for telling them than I do anything else 

    Like

    • Hi meansontoast. I’m sorry to hear that you have made an attempt on your life, and I wish you would have felt able to turn to your friends and family. Having visited your blog, it seems that you are actively seeking support for your depression and I applaud you for that.

      There is a world of difference between what you went through, and those people who choose to use this solely to control another person.

      Some blackmailers will actually go on to commit suicide (in my domestic violence support group we know of several in our area over the past few years) but my point is that nobody needs to be held hostage to their choices.

      Like

  7. I have been on the receiving end. And reading this made my heart race. It takes a lot of strength to save yourself from this type of situation. I am looking for contributors to a new site I am participating in. This would be a really important topic. If interested would you email me for details? hastywords@gmail.com

    Like

  8. Reblogged this on Blog Of A Mad Black Woman and commented:
    This post rings true to me also. I experienced so much of my (ex) husband threatening to take his own life, if I did do as he wanted. Posts which spring to mind are: “He Wanted Me To Keep Quiet About His Behaviour” and “Emotional And Mental Abuse”.

    Like

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  14. Reading this made me feel like I was not alone in this situation currently my ex is saying he will commit suicide If we don’t work things out or come to an agreement I call the police he puts on a act saying his fine but still wants to do it because he thinks he has nothing to live for I care and love him alot but I just don’t understand what good him saying this or doing this may be he needs help and think he is just fine but he’s not just as u said he needs to take responsibility and he just has not done it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad the article helped show you that you are not alone. It does feel very lonely when another person is trying to force you to be responsible for their life. He is doing a very cruel and selfish thing by putting this on your shoulders.

      I’m happy that you realise the biggest point here: that HE needs to take responsibility for himself. You are not his hostage, and you are worth so much more than how he is treating you.

      Like

    • I’m at point of calling police for same thing.Did the police do anything? I just began using a recording app (though I’ve read it’s illegal to record someone without their knowledge and consent) but what else can I do because they deny everything and you sound nuts even retelling it. No one believes the craziness of it all unless they hear it themselves???

      Like

      • I understand your wish to collect proof that this is happening. I believe some abusive individuals deliberately act in an extreme way in order to shock or scare us, and then minimise or pretend it didn’t happen. That’s a form of gas-lighting (https://avalancheofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/gaslighting-you-are-not-mad-or-bad/) and it is designed to keep us constantly off-balance so they can establish or retain control.

        I never reported my ex’s suicide threats or self-harm to the police (although it came out when I had to report and seek protection from his stalking). I see no reason though, why you shouldn’t report these threats – at least, that will create an audit trail that you may need at any future court or legal proceedings relating to abuse.

        Also, I’d recommend that anyone with concerns seek the advice of a national charity such as the Samaritans (http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us).

        Like

  15. I am 26 years old and I have a 22 year old boyfriend. He lost his parents when he was 6 and 11. He uses this tactic in order to facing the issues that we have to face in our relationship. Especially when it means that he needs to take time to reflect on what he is responsible for.
    I felt as though I communicated the last time this happened, that this was unacceptable behaviour, but I guess that I do not deserve the respect that I boldly communicated needing. I called it out, I boldly called out just how this is emotional manipulation but, I guess it is just in the tool box and it is the only tool for the job. I love him and know in my heart that he is better then that, but when is it time to end it?
    Is it worth it to even try to get help with someone you love?
    I did call a mental health worker, this did just happen about an hour ago. I will call the police if things progress.

    I live in a society today in Northern Canada that finds this behaviour a normal reaction to problems or hard times in life. Many people do not have the mental stability for it just to be a threat.

    Thank you for posting this. It is an emotional topic that many people have to face. It gives me strength to continue to remind myself that he is responsible for his own actions.

    Like

  16. Hi,

    I am 23 and have been in an up and down relationship for the last 2 years or so with my now 21 year old girlfriend, who I have tried to leave on multiple occasions due to the unstable nature of the relationship. Every time she has threatened suicide and I have not had the willpower to leave her in case she does follow through with her threats

    The other hard part of this is that our relationship has had a lot of angry times between each other, which have on occasion ended with her with bruising on her body, not purposely (I’m not that nasty), but where she has trapped me in her house and I have pushed my way out, or where she has stolen something from me and ive prised it away from her. She is threatening to either commit suicide and then hoping the police come at me and blame me (she has a note on her phone about the bad times in our relationship), or she’s just going to report me for causing bruises on her. Obviously I would rather not go through either of these situations but I feel like I am stuck in the relationship which I do not want to be. I have tried cutting her off but she will constantly make new email addresses/facebook accounts to keep telling me what she’s going to do.

    I really have no idea what to do.

    Can anyone help?!?!

    Thank you for listening

    Like

  17. Hi Jon

    I’m sorry to hear that your girlfriend uses emotional blackmail against you. It sounds like you are in a toxic, abusive relationship – you say there is anger, presumably on both sides, and you mention that you have left bruises on her (by the way, it is NOT acceptable to hurt somebody else because they have stolen from you etc).

    Fear is never a good reason to remain in a relationship with someone, so it seems to me that the only real course of action is to leave the relationship, because the situation is unlikely to get better. Unfortunately, the only way you can get free is by refusing to give in to manipulative blackmail: leave and go No contact.

    She may act on her threats. She may not. By doing nothing, you are giving the message that blackmail works and you will be a hostage for as long as she wishes.

    I wish you luck.

    Like

  18. Last November my wife Sara said that if she didn’t get more support from me she might start trying to kill herself again. Then in January she took a craft knife to the side of her neck; 2 cuts about 5 inches long. She just slightly damaged the jugular vein so it was close. 4 police cars and an ambulance came. That’s attempt 13ish in 3 years – including going to jump of a carpark in Sheffield, car exhaust x 2, sedatives and drowning in the bath, overdoses on various tablets . After one of her attempts (taking 80 paracetamol) she said that she would not have done it if I had arranged to see her the next day. We have a 2 year and 4 year old. I can’t cope with her and am scared for our children. during one episode I stood guard outside our daughters bedroom as Sara threw stuff out of the window and then at me. She came at me with a cordless drill – that’s the most scared I’ve ever been – the armed police unit were on their way but she calmed down when the unarmed officers came into the house and started flirting with them. 18 months of morbid jealousy – nail digging and jealous outbursts, inspections of my genitals. The list of incidents is ridiculous. I would not wish this on anyone.

    Like

  19. David, I’m so sorry that this is going on.

    My only advice i(based on personal experience) is this. Don’t focus on her behavoir. Focus on you. What do you need to do to change this awful situation. You can’t change her, you need to think of you and those children – she certainly is not. She is wholly focused on her needs and manipulating you into doing what she wants. As long as you stay she will continue. She won’t listen to you, the help she needs will need to come from others. You can’t save her, let go. Her life is her own and if she chooses to end it that is her decision, but you and those babies are not going down too. Make sure of it.

    I’d start by talking to so lawyer. I suggest you find a way to keep those little children with you and safe. Her safety is her issue. Talk to a professional about what to do if you choose to leave. Ask how to leave, you desperately need professional advice as to how to exit this relationship because everyday you stay you give her permission to keep the abuse going !

    Like

  20. The sad thing about reading this article is that no one will understand what the mind goes through when threatening or wanting to die. No one knows the FULL story. My ex says that I was “emotionally abusive” when I have done that but he will never understand how the relationship caused me major depression. It was progressive. It didn’t happen suddenly. After my ex kept postponing our visits (4-5 times in the course of 3 year long distance relationship) and after waiting for a whole year for him to relocate to Florida like he said (then changed his mind last minute) I snapped. I wasted over $500+ of plane/train/bus tickets because of his sudden decisions yet he blames me for not understanding him. I gave him money for school and a loan. I tried to hep him. Yet he blames me for not being emotionally supportive. When I tried to explain why I was angry and crying a lot (because of the relationship) he thought I was wrong to “justify” my anger. I couldn’t be myself without judgement. After being called hypersensitive ,crazy, always angry, having “rage”, “explosive”, “not having strength” like him (he said that) I just gave up and my emotions went downhill. If I was always viewed as this type of woman to him what was the point trying? I was never good enough. I was always “too demanding” when I wanted longer phone conversations and web chats. I was always “controlling” when I told him I didn’t like women saying he’s sexy/hot on Facebook. I was always “never understanding” if I needed his time. I was blamed if I made mistakes in conversations. He would disassociate if there was an argument. And usually when that happen my mental state gets even worse because I frantically needed to fix the issue with him but he was too busy every week (rarely made time). He wouldn’t give me affection unless I was quiet, peaceful, always giving love. He expected me to be his “angel” he even told my sister that I “saved” him and that I was the key to end his suffering. I wasn’t human with emotions. I was just an “angel” that was expected to always give unconditional love. I wasn’t allowed to be disappointed.

    I even was willing to go see him and pay for everything yet he says “Fine, your choice”. I felt rejected that day and I went deeper into depression. One time I had a conversation with him about moving somewhere else in Florida instead of Minnesota (where he lives) and he screamed “So you want to take the easy way out huh!!?” I was frozen and scared that my own choices would prolong and eventually destroyed the relationship so I stayed at home, took a year off school (because where I live there is no university and I needed to move to go to one) and just waited for him to finish massage therapy. He said he would make more money after the program to help close the distance but as time got closer and no conversations were made about it I asked and he got angry. He made the choice for us to see each other for 2 1/2 days (so the distance was not closed actually/no relocation). I flew to him and he said he would pay me back $350 to even out our contribution of the trip. Well that never happened because he broke up with me on April. I stopped talking to him a week later and after a month he emailed how much he missed me and we were “soul-mates”. I offered a friendship but he wanted to start over. I contacted his ex because I found their names on a wedding registry website. He always claimed that she was abusive towards him through out our relationship. So when I contacted her she said it was OK for me to talk to her. He begged so many times for me not to contact her but I did anyways because I am an adult and it was between me and this woman. She was respectful and kind towards me while he said I ruined lives, I killed him, I destroyed his life and that he wants nothing to do with me.

    I sent pictures of pills. I threaten to kill myself but no one will understand WHY it happen. Thank God I am getting therapy because there were many instances where I really was close of giving up physically. But I have a twin sister to take care of and she is the reason why I am alive. He never called the police. He was never calm and supportive when I was in my darkest moments. He told many people of my suicidal tendencies after the break up. He’s the victim yet I was on the other line wanting to die. I am sorry that my mental illness is hurting others but it was not intended to hurt. My brain, my rationality went out of the window. I passed out many times after my threats. I have no memories on why I threaten suicide. I am diagnosed with depression and was sent to mental facilities for 2 suicide attempts. But paint me as abusive if you want. My ex said he tried to break up with many times but blamed me for not being able to. Actually I was the one trying to break up with him but it was hard because I felt guilt and fear. I didn’t want to be the one giving up on the hope of us being together. Little did I know, he gave up on me a long time ago. When he broke up with me April I did not threaten suicide. I tried to move forward but he was hoovering me with “I miss you truly” emails after 22 days.

    Sorry this was long but I just wanted to give my side because I know many would jump into the conclusion that the one threatening suicide is the “abuser” or enemy BUT only if the understand the other side. There are those who do it for manipulation and that is horrible as hell but sometimes it’s not always the case. I made horrible mistakes but I won’t regret that I tried and loved.

    Like

  21. Hi there ,i would like make a question to the users and i hope have some opinions about.
    My ex made me “soft” blackmails during our relationship( car accidents…also exagerating normal illnes ..). but i really loved her and
    didnt mind handle with that because she was everything for me. The point is that when we broke,she asked me for time but i got noticed there was a third person, some other man in her life, for first time in my life, i got deeply depressed,at the same time, i recived a bad new in relation with someone in my family. i felt like my life was over for somedays and i blackmailed her saying i was considering end my life with pills.Obviously i just scary her away with this words. In the end, seems that my blackmail became me in worst person that how she was with me with her soft blackmails. I regreat of what happened, if i could change one thing of the past, would be this one, not even save the relationship.
    My questions are …..

    a-Would you forgive something like that to your partner if you know the other person is not like that and it has happened in a hard period of his life?

    b-Does it becomes a person in not realiable,and not someone to stay with if is the only one time has blackmailed you? Does it means also if there is a first time will be a second?

    c-Could someone recover enough credibility to you to even to think about give a chance when reached once the limits ?

    d-Emotional weakness when in a short period of time you recive the two hardest bad news of your life is just a poor excuse to act in such way?

    Like

  22. How do you know the difference between a cry for help and manipulation.
    My husband was drunk tonight and we got in a fight. He shoved me hard and threatened to throw me out of the kitchen after I pulled my arm from his grip. after giving him a bit to eat and sober him up, I told him that if he ever does that again I would leave him.

    This starts a 2 hour-long argument in which he threatens suicide 2 times, once with a kitchen knife and once with the gun in bedrooom. I called him on both and took the weapons away, just in case, but this is not the first time he has done this.

    Tonight was the second worse argument we’ve ever had, and I don’t know if I did the right thing.

    Like

    • So sorry you’re experiencing this. How heartbreaking and terrifying it is. It’s always a judgement call regarding whether you’re hearing a suicide threat or a genuine cry for help. When my ex threatened suicide, he always linked it to my behaviour – eg. You won’t do what I want, so I’ll kill myself and you’ll be to blame. He never talked about suicide or gave even a hint of depression when he was getting what he wanted. So, if your husband only threatens suicide during a row, I would be very suspicious that he does this to manipulate you.

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  23. My ex partner left me in October last year after a long period of problems in our relationship (all caused by him, he had other priorities and was never home and legal highs played a bit part in this). He was taking drugs and didn’t care how i was coping with the children. I accepted it was over and concentrated on moving on. Now 4 months later he has realised what a mistake he made and wants to come back. I am not sure, my heart is not in it. He has began threatening me with suicide and stupidly i backed down and allowed him a chance to prove to me how he has changed. I feel stuck and as soon as i said he could have a chance i felt like a dark cloud was over me again. After a few days i said to him that it didn’t feel right and my heart was not in it. Again he said without me he couldn’t go on and was going to kill himself. I tried to stay strong but was worried as he has no one else. I dont know what to do. He has no family here and i dont know any of his friends. I am anxious all the time now and dreading telling him that i can’t do this and would rather be on my own. We have 3 children so i have to still see him.

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    • I emphasise so much with you, especially what you say about the dark cloud. That’s your intuition speaking to you, crying out that this relationship is hurting you. And he knows this, which is why he’s piling on the pressure by threatening suicide. He’s trying to make you feel responsible for him, which you are not. Please listen to what your intuition is telling you, and do what you need to in order to get the emotional/physical safety you and your children deserve. Know that his welfare is his responsibility, not yours. It’s time he shouldered that responsibility himself.

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  24. What do you do when someone threatens to kill themselves if you leave? I have so many conflicting thoughts about this. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 7 months and we’ve had some hiccups but just recently it turned into something real for me. I grew up in an abusive home so my biggest fear is to give my all to someone who will hurt me mentally or physically. When he is sober he is the perfect partner but when he is under the influence of alcohol and gets upset with me all that love dies out of his eyes. I don’t understand how someone can go from such a high to such a low and when the damage is done act as if nothing happened. I’m torn between walking away and fighting to help him because I do love him and I don’t want to give up when he needs me the most. At the same time I feel he uses that against me, he has shown me certain red flags but I want to believe in him. I’m bot sure what the correct thing to do in this situation. He became very angry with me because I asked that he slow down, he proceeded to speed up to 120 and recklessly driving and fought with me over the keys. His third sign of aggression made me tell him I was done with him and I couldn’t do this anymore he then grabbed a knife, out my hand in his and told me kill him then. That was the most traumatic thing I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t feel safe like I usually do with him he was no longer my protector or the person who loved me more than anything. I stayed up with him and fought any objects out of his hands, he tried to take pills. I stupidly put my fingers in his mouth and he bit down with all his force and once I threatened him to call the ambulance to come and pump his stomach he confessed that he spit them out. I locked myself in the restroom with him and eventually he fell asleep. The next morning he acted as if nothing happened, kissed me hugged me and didn’t want to acknowledge anything. I told him we needed time apart and now he tries to tell me everything he thinks I want to hear and tells me not to give up on him that that’s how much he loves me that he’s willing to take his life for me because he’s nothing without me. He said that I see it differently then he does and it’s not like he tried to kill me he just can’t live without me. I know he loves me I have no doubt of that I just don’t know what the right thing to do in this situation is. I fear that things will only get worse but what if this is a cry for help?

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  25. Pingback: Abuse In Queer Relationships Must End Now - Impulse Group·

  26. I am a survivor of emotional and psychological abuse. I took out an order of protection against my abusive husband in October 2015. A little over a week ago he killed himself. I have mixed emotions over the whole situation. But his mother and his friends blame me for his actions.

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  27. What if you don’t give in to the person’s suicide manipulation and instead they turn the gun on you? Then what do you do?

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  28. Hi there, I’m wondering if I can get some insight.. I’m currently going through this with a loved one who is not my partner.. In fact, it’s my mother. The only difference is that she has now made 2 serious suicide attempts and her last one, on Friday morning, put her in a coma. Before her suicide attempts (there have now been 2 n the last 1.5 weeks, both conducted by swallowing huge amounts of anti-depressants and sleeping pills) I had not spoken to her or allowed her access to her grandkids for about 4 months as she is an alcoholic and has many unhealthy and toxic behaviours. But after her second suicide attempt in a week I got myself down to the hospital and I didn’t leave her side for 5 days.I made arrangements to have my children taken care of so I could care for her and make sure she got proper treatment etc. But somehow, the hospital let her go. She seemed to be getting better and then tonight, BAM she is back at it again. She rages and tries so hard to gain control. I have told her yet again not to contact me unless it is from a rehab facility, but I’m very worried for her. We called the police and they went there and left. Has anyone experienced this? I’m so scared that I’m going to wake up to a phone call saying that she ended her life and I will know that it was out of spite to make us feel guilty. (Is being her 4 kids and her ex..) The craziest part is that she makes up reasons to be upset when there weren’t any. Her mental illness is so dominant that she literally creates issues out of nothing and then gets livid and tells us all that we don’t care and she’d be better off dead… I just keep saying the Serenity Prayer… Inknow that alloeing her to habe power of us is what shes trying to do and we whoukdmt alloe it, but what do you do when someone starts to put themges innactuak damger? And others as well. She drives like this amd the police cwnt do anything. But, any input would be appreciated at this point. Thanks for reading this fare if you made it!

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    • My mother was an alcoholic but never threatened suicide but did ultimately die from drinking herself to dealt and I found her passed away in her home. Please know that when another person makes choices you are not responsible for them. And as hard s it is not to feel like you can do something to stop them, feeling like you can will only make you crazy. I had to seek therapy to gain support to deal with my mom the last year of her life and continued therapy after I found her passed away to work through all of the emotions including guilt that I could have done something and wondering why she couldn’t see the good in her life. I would highly recommend you get support through counseling to understand the dynamics of this and to help you stay well mentally yourself.

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  29. Hi
    So my marriage isnt good. I tried to leave a few weeks ago. He tried to pry the blades out of his shaver. We have kids, he said better no das than only a part time dad. I stopped him doing anything other than knicking his finger. I stayed. I feel like i cant leave now.
    I need help.

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  30. I got engaged before 5 months (arrange marriage ). And after 2 months im getting that his behaviour is very weird. Almost points u mentioned are matching with him.
    So i am confused about this relationship. Can i go ahead or not. Please give me suggestions.
    He said that he loves me alot but this activities are very strange. Im not getting what to do with this situation . I also love him so much. But his behaviour can change or not?

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  31. I had once dated a guy in middle school. It was alright except for the fact he guilt tripped me into dating him. He said that he would kill himself if I didn’t date him, and I had said no before. I caved in because I was scared for him, I didn’t want his death to be my fault. And he had been dating someone else before me so when she came up to him, he yelled at her. She was trying to get a lawsuit on him because he had gotten her pregnant. I didn’t know what to think because he’d been telling me lies about her and I was angry. Eventually, I was getting mass at everyone.

    Every day he’d ask me if he could come to my house. I have strict parents so I knew the answer would be no, especially since he was a guy. But he would ask every day. And at night, he would beg for pictures and tell me he cut himself and that he nearly jumped out of his window. He demanded long paragraphs to assure him of why I loved him. And I wrote things, yea, but I didn’t like him in that sense. I had gotten myself in a bad place by caving in. He would say things and refused to listen to me and I started cutting. It had gotten worse by then to the point I was actually considering suicide.

    I did actually get help on ending the relationship a few months ago and am away from him. I just thought I would share this because your post inspired me.

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  32. ..the weird thing in my relationship – apart from him coming out as trans out of the blue – was that he used this tactic all the time to manipulate me, yet when i came to my senses and walked away, he busied himself phoning mental health emergency services, social services, police and eventually ambulance to tell them how worried he was about ME..he convinced them i was suicidal when i was just grieving and angry and trying to hang on to reality… and it was me who ended up being ‘protected from myself’ in a locked ward for five days. .. i got compensation for the ‘mistake’ eventually, but no one questioned him.. they all fell over themselves to celebrate, accept and validate him as a trans woman. the very same people never gave him the time of day when he was just himself.

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  33. My boyfriend of three years has a 16 year old daughter that threatens suicide when she doesn’t get her way or get the response from her dad that she wants. Since the first time I interjected when she was berating him and told her that what she was doing wasn’t right when she was trying to yell at him for not going to pick up his son’s girlfriend from work, she and her now 19 year old brother have not liked me. Once they saw that I was not going to stand by and watch them attack their father and take their side, they have pretty much tried to use me as part of excuse line up for why their father doesn’t love them and alsways wants to make me happy and not them. It has come to a breaking point last week when his daughter again told her therapist she wants to kill herself and now her father is agin being held emotionally hostage. It breaks my heart that he has to feel this way. He has distanced himself from me by saying He would feel so guilty and never forgive himself if something happened to her. It hurts me but I’m giving him space and trying to be understanding without feeling like our relationship has to be thrown under the bus in order for him to work on a healthy relationship with his daughter. He’s a single father and the mother is not involved as she has mental issues and addictions herself. Most all of our relationship my boyfriend has put a lot of effort into our relationship and treats me with the utmost respect but in the last four months this has happened twice where the daughter has threatened suicide and uses me as a pawn in her manipulation of him; telling him that he always wants to make me happy and she’s done with him. She told him this after she wouldn’t get to school on time and she asked him to call him her tardy as acceptable and he refused. I feel like all I can do now is step back and pray that he gets the strength and courage and help from the therapist to deal with his children and change the established pattern of abuse.

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  34. Im a 21 year old girl, working in a office I has been told that im a very pretty girl. I had this BF since 2013, is was a small guy almost my height but i accepted him decent job etc. He took my virginity at the age of 18 he was 23..(now 26) Soon there after he became abusive, and i looked at his phone and saw that he had a few other girls he was “meeting” i told him were done with our relationship. He quickly became more abusive and then threatened suicide. Ignored it however next thing i know his mom was calling me telling me that “if anything happen to her son she would hold me responsible” .. and he continue to make threats of hanging himself in front of my work….. at this point i got really scared. So let him continue to control my life until end of 2015, we met sometimes he always just wanted to get me to his place and have sex… which i never enjoyed…. At that point jan 2016 i met another man a very nice man, more stable person, nice much more stable income and was overall the type of man i would see myself with forever. The exbf then began stalking me at work, following me home from work. Txting me more than 3 times a day, if i didnt reply he would show up and protested outside my work that he needed to see me, and would always cause a scadal out in front of my work. I was scared to loose my job… I hated this. Next i met him for coffee just to shut him up. He grabbed my phone and found that i have a new guy that im seeing. He told me that he had something he would post on facebook that would destroy me, i assume he took my pic naked or something like that. He then told me that he would tell my new BF that we are still seeing each other, and that my new bf would beat me or kill me even. He tricked me into going to his apartment again and having sex with his so that he would not ruin my new relationship. I hated it, im a smart girl but i let this happen to me. He did that a few times until the last time in June he took off the condom and tried to make me pregnant… i never allowed him to get near me again after that at all costs. He then resorted to actually telling my new bf that we were still seeing each other. My new bf was shocked at this news. I admitted what had been happening it was really hard on him. He cant understand how did i let this happen how could i have taken my clothes off for this man, how did i end up in his apartment. Hes so sad about it and i feel so bad that i cheated him. Now that this is over i live with him, and the guy is now contacting mother, hes trying to get my mother to side with him in order to overthrow my new bf. I dont know how to make him stop at this point, what can i say or do that will make him stop and just leave me alone. Is this type of person so controlling that they will never stop? It feels like my mom is negotiating with him, like im for sale in some way. I found a txt in her phone that read that he was even promising my mom some money in order to get rid of my current bf…. i was shocked. At this point things seem somewhat stable, my bf warned him not to every come around or else. He has not been around stalking but he is still talking to my mom. (my mom and i are on bad terms not because of this ordeal) … what is the next move here, he’s still even until now turning my life upside down. Should i go ahead and file a case to get a restraining order against him or would that enflame him more… Should i just ignore the fact hes calling and talking to my mom, trying to get on her side? I greatly appreciate any kind of advice or help with this i feel that im too young and inexperienced to make a good decision on this.

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  35. i’m going through this now. My fiancee or ex now is a severe binge drinker every few months he will drink himself comotose for a week or more. When he does this he turns from a wonderful person into a jerk and inevitably loses his job. I kicked him out last year but ended up taking him back because of threats of suicide and him having no other place to go other than the streets. Here I am a year later. He threatened suicide last night and I refused to respond to his texts through the night. I have not heard from him today in many ways I am fairly certain it is a ploy and I refuse to give in to it but it is worrying. He is in a hotel that is paid until monday. I left him with food his prescriptions and no money to get more alcohol and he know he is not welcomed back. I don’t want him as a part of my life anymore but I dont want him dead either. I tried to leave a message with his counselor asking him to please call him. I really don’t know what else to do.

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  36. I am and have been going through this for the past 3-4 years. My ex has used this on a number of occasions and I as with a number of people have at first succumbed to the blackmail and done what he has asked. We split up in March 16 and his then he has used self harming tactics to try and make me run to him to ensure he is ok. I have stopped running and have tried as much as possible to get across that the relationship is not working. He has a history of mental illness and this has always made me feel dread when he says he is going to end it and make things easy on himself as he can’t live with the lonilness or pain on his own. He has a family close by but never says these things about ending his life to them, always and only to me.

    I have stayed in contact up until the new year where we agreed it was time to move on and I haven’t heard from him until last Thursday even when he rang me drunk asking me to come and take him home. Since then he has gone from depressive state to come and see me to I’m going to kill myself. It’s like it’s my responsibility to fix all his issues or give in and go back to him when I really don’t want to live the life we had together. I made mistakes in the relationship and kept money problems away from him, he didn’t work and as the sole bread winner I felt this was my responsibility, obviously i know now it’s better to be honest and open than hide things but he uses this against me all the time but still wants to be in a relationship with me. There have been so many ups and downs with his mental health that occurances of him threating to kill himself have literally sent me over the edge. I want and need to get of this. I have a really good job and good prospects but always being dragged back into feeling I need to support and fix the problems he has or being made to pay for them.

    I know I was his support and we both loved each other but it’s got to a point that all there is to look forward to is another episode where he drinks and the cycle begins, there always some issue, whether’s it’s something i have done or his family that triggers his instability.

    Should I cut all contact from him and his family, how do i stop being made to feel I am responsible for his actions.

    This was a really good article and has helped to but things into prespective. Thank you and I hope I can do the right thing and cut contact.

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  37. HELP- sorry I didn’t know where to write this and it’s too long to put anywhere else. Okay first of all, I’ve never done anything like this before but I’m really desperate at this point and can use all the help I can get so thank you all that can read this till the end 💖 We have been dating for almost 6 months now and the last 3 months have been an absolute NIGHTMARE and I honestly have no idea what to do. We went to high school together when I was finishing up my senior year and he was apparently a sophomore (although he lied and told me he was 17 and a junior) at the time. Well he is now 17 and a junior and I have graduated. The problem I face now is that I live an hour a way from him, barely see him ever, and honestly not going to lie, have never been this surprised in how crazy people can become. Like holy f*** you think you know a person. 😱 I understand people can have trust issues but I personally think it’s a little far if he makes me hand over my phone for hours, while he checks my phone inside and out for any male figure in my life that could possibly still be in touch with me. And this is just the beginning, this stuff I could handle. By 3 months in (November) I noticed he was acting really different he stopped being the loving person I knew him to be and became this selfish introverted jealousy crazed maniac that I had no privacy to and it’s like he had complete control over my every move. I know it’s TMI but I think it’s also important to know that it turned him on to know that he “owned me” and that he could do whatever to me cuz I was basically his property and that if I said no I would be “punished”. Like gross. To make matters worse we never went on dates and honestly I just felt really lonely most of our relationship and felt like I was only good for giving him things he wanted like money, sex, etc. and it made me really sad and angry because I felt like a complete idiot for trusting him. We were friends for 5 months before we started dating and took it really slow so i thought I was being smart about it. Then some things happened with my family (it’s really complicated) all you guys need to know is i live with a friend and work full time paying rent at her house hoping to go to college next summer and have a car by then but my dads an abusive jerk and my moms an addict so as you can imagine I felt pretty stupid in letting toxic people follow me all the way to my hour away home from the chaos. So I found out in November that my mom was possibly dying due to liver failure and went through a really rough patch for a while, in that kind of moment you really hope that the person you consider closest to you and that you are dating is going to be there and try to help you in as many ways as possible. Unfortunately I learned that he decided to make this the time to go out with his new buddies and party. As you can imagine my roommate/ best friend and I were really upset to find this and we called him out on it. He completely denied everything and it was like he wasn’t hearing anything we were saying just acting like we were hanging up on him and he was some sort of victim. A couple weeks later we got into a really bad fight and he threatened to call the police on me for statutory rape and told me I needed to go to a mental hospital where I belonged all on speaker in front of my roommate. I was really upset by some of the threats and the things he said only later to try talking to him about it and have him say he “blacked out from anger”. By December it got much much worse. He started threatening suicide right and left and as a person that has gone through a similar experience and still has scars from it, i freaked out, i tried talking to his mom which she said he was only doing for a “reaction” but I brushed off her words and continued to try to help, he had 2 fund in his room given to him by his father and I made his parents aware of this but they didn’t seem to care so one of the nights we were talking I ended up having to call the police to make sure he wouldn’t blow his brains out. This didn’t stop anything, the cops showed up and he talked with them and that was that. He started making those types of threats more and more often to the point where I felt like he was just using that as a way to get what he wanted. So I became really offended given what I went through in depression and felt like he was almost mocking me. He started saying stuff like “I’m going to match those scars on your arm” I’m going to be just like you and go try to kill myself. This went on for basically until Christmas where we got a little just enough for me to spend $900 worth of crap on him and hope for the best. A couple days before Christmas we got into another fight and he told me that he was giving my Christmas presents to another girl named Brenna that he used to date and was still really close with. I was heart broken. he also later went to my house and wouldn’t let me leave my room and ended up getting violent with me and breaking my phone. stupidly I ended up forgiving him and we ended up making it through a somewhat awkward gift exchange, first he tried leaving my gifts on the doorstep and driving away where o stopped him and made him stay. After Christmas we went and he met all of my family and everyone seemed to love him and I decided to get us a hotel. So I asked him if he had talked to his parents and he lied and told me yes. So after the thirst time of asking that night I went ahead and got a room for us. Well we woke up in the morning to find that he was on a missing persons list and that he never contacted anybody and that whoever was caught with him would get arrested so I had him leave me there and drive home to his mom, where he threatened suicide again and ended up in the hospital overnight and both his parents blocked me on everything. His parents also blocked me on his phone and so he started purchasing Xfinity wifi. I sent him pictures of my debit cards so that he could talk to me and gave him access to one of my old phones that I forgot to factory reset so he has access to my google photos account and all my social media. So anytime I save a photo or talk to anyond he sees it. He also has my debit card information, countless nudes and apparently some unauthorized sex videos that he can blackmail me with and all the information he needs to contact everybody I care about. So I honestly don’t know what to do. If I break up with him I have a terrifying person trying his hardest to destroy my life, humiliate me and put me through hell so for the last month I have just kept quiet silently trying to figure out how to get the information of his phone alothou im not aloud to touch his phone and don’t want to go to the police over this though I might have to.

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  38. Pingback: ¿Es posible volver a encontrar el amor después de sobrevivir a los malos tratos? - Estilo de vida - Aleteia.org | Español·

  39. Pingback: ¿Es posible volver a encontrar el amor después de sobrevivir a los malos tratos? | Noticias de Aleteia·

  40. Pingback: Sobrevivente escreve ensaio edificante sobre encontrar o amor novamente - Valores & Testemunhos - Aleteia: vida plena com valor·

  41. Hi I started dating my ex bf on the 11th of November 2015 first 2 months was like heaven on earth then he started to become violent phisically and emotionally he started blaming me for his problems wrongly accusing me of cheating told me that he loved his ex gf and wanted her back last year around beginning november we had a bad fight he threatened to kill me was beating me so bad using faul langauge calling me bad names spit me in my face was bitting me in my face I could see death in his eyes. He called my work place the following morning told them i was in a car accident couldn’t go to work that day he kept me hostige in my own car at his home I was scared didn’t know what he planned to do with me that day I decided I’m gonna end this relationship if I made it out alive following morning he dropped me at my workplace with my car I knew that day I never ever wanna be alone with him ever again I called him and asked him to bring my car to work and I also never wants to see him again I went to get a protection order against we were supposed to be at court on the 18th of January 2017 we never went that’s the day he took his own life his family blames me for his death I wasn’t alout to go to his funeral as they didn’t want me there as they blame me. But after all I know he had a lot of other problems In his life and he chose to end it this way

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  42. Pingback: Sobrevivente escreve ensaio edificante sobre encontrar o amor novamente - Cerith Gardiner - Catedral Metropolitana·

  43. Pingback: 9. Cuando la biología es intolerancia, el feminismo es discurso de odio. – Maldita RadFem·

  44. My wife came from a very dysfunctional family. Over the years she has insisted that I have Aspergers while my GP and best friend – whose son has Aspergers and is very involved in support groups – insist that I don’t. Lately she has told me she will withdraw and probably commit suicide if I don’t take steps to change. I’m thinking she needs to seek psychiatric help. I know this is a form of emotional abuse.

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