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By Sam Vigil

When people manipulate you to get their way at the expense of your wants, needs, well being, and disregard the boundaries of the relationship between the two of you is a strong indicator of Emotional Blackmail.

There are six stages in the cycle that comprises the extortion:

1. The demand
2. Resistance
3. Pressure
4. Threats
5. Compliance
6. Repetition

In a quest for satisfying their desires, the blackmailer puts the process in motion with a demand which defrauds and compromises yours or another person’s self-respect, integrity, well being, and boundaries.

Because complying with the demand violates the target’s integrity there is usually resistance to maintain and keep their self-esteem in tact.

With the show of resistance the blackmailer will put the pressure on the target by making them feel fearful, obligated, and guilty for noncompliance and continue the aggravation until they submit. They will use the fact that they did such and such for you implying that you owe them for the favor. They will also play the; if you love me, you would do this for me, card. When you honor your integrity and do not submit to their demands they will often increase the pressure with threats; such as, if you do not do this for me I will leave you and take the kids with me and you will never see them again. Or, they may make tantalizing promises to coerce you into submitting. Like a job promotion and in the context of divorce the custodial parent promises the non-custodial parent extra time with the children often in conjunction with threats to keep them from the target. After they get what they want they normally do not keep their promises. Regardless of which tactic is used you are being emotionally attacked in an attempt to coerce you into giving in and satisfying their desires.

Because the fears of the imposed or implied consequences are too overpowering for them, the tantalizing promises made will be withdrawn, or the blackmailer will ignores them causing them to feel rejected and unloved. The target, often finds themselves giving in to the pressure.
Complying is the exchange the target makes to suppress the anxiety, keep the peace, be in good standings with the blackmailer, and have the hope that their needs might be respected. The reason they compromise their values is to obtain a sense of self-worth though distorted and a false sense of security. By capitulating the target is able to temporally quiet down their anxiety only to find themselves in the same position the next time they resist.

Recognizing the traits of emotional blackmail and the components of the manipulation cycle are important to effectively deal with the compromising demands and the extortionist. Failing to correct the exploitation will only encourage the perpetrator to repeat the tactics, until you put a stop to it.

You are a target of emotional blackmail if any of the following apply to get your compliance.

1. The blackmailer threatens to harm or make your life difficult.
2. Threatens to end the relationship with you.
3. Implies it will be your fault if they become depressed and warn you that they will neglect and harm themselves if they do not get what they want.
4. Believe you will submit.
5. When you meet their demands they always want more.
6. Consistently discount your personal boundaries, wants, needs, and feelings.
7. Sway you with promises that are dependent on your subordination which are rarely kept.
8. Constantly bad-mouth and label you as self-centered, unappreciative, uncaring, and greedy.
9. Ignore you with silent contempt until you satisfy their wants.
10. Shower you with affection when you give in and deny it when you resist.
11. Use money to gain compliance with bribes or by restricting you access to the cash.
12. In my opinion the worst perpetuator of emotional blackmail are those who use children as an emotional weapon in parental alienation and highly conflicted custody battles to get their counter part to react negatively and use the targets behavior to turn the children against them and increase their chances of gaining custody. They will spotlight the behavior in court to persuade the Judge to rule in their favor. Not only do they disrespect you they also disregard the children’s well being.

We all use manipulation to get desired results and negotiate life. It becomes Emotional Blackmail when your sense of fear, obligation, and guilt are used in coercion with the demand in order to get you to concede.

You need to identify if the demand makes you experience fear, obligation, and/or guilt. If so, be aware of why it makes you feel anxious.

1. Is it because it goes against your values and self-respect?
2. Is your well being disregarded when they want their needs meet?
3. Do you give in order to keep the peace or to feed your own insecurities?

The key to alleviate the anxiety is realizing what emotions the demands triggers in you, identifying why it causes you to feel the way you do, and recognizing that your well being is being disregarded.

Understanding why you give in to the manipulation and why it causes you to compromise yourself will give you direction in correcting how you respond in limiting the extortion and setting healthy boundaries with the blackmailer by stating your needs, wants, and boundaries without threats if they are violated, even if there is conflict with the request.

A request in its-self does not constitute emotional blackmail. It transitions into extortion when pressure is put forth to the sense of fear, obligation, and guilt to get compliance from another person. The question is whether they will respect the wants and needs of the person, and honor the boundaries of the relationship or not.

You must acknowledge the traits of being exploited and the anxiety it is causing you in order to set boundaries that will put the relationship on a more solid foundation or sever the dysfunctional relationship from the person who disrespect and emotionally abuses you to get their way.
Maintain your integrity Keep your self-respect. Be true to yourself.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com