How to blackmail yourself into achieving your goals

How to Recognize Emotional Blackmail

Emotional blackmail, as with many other forms of abusive behavior, is progressive in nature and tends to follow a pattern of becoming more and more controlling and manipulative over time.[3] Here are some key indicators that a person is using emotional blackmail as a manipulation tool in a relationship:

Demands Combined With Threats

A partner may begin to demand certain things from their partner and use threats to get them to comply.

The Partner Resists the Demands

Initially, a partner will retreat from or avoid a demanding partner to attempt to express displeasure with the demands or expectations.

The Manipulative Tactics Continue

Once the victimized partner avoids or resists unrealistic demands, the abusive partner will often use fear or excessive guilt to make the victimized partner feel responsible for the conflict in the relationship. This can cause the victim to feel unsure about what is real and may cause them to develop guilt that they were the ones to create the problem and that they are responsible for meeting their partner’s needs to maintain happiness and safety in the relationship.

Threats will become more severe in this stage and an abusive partner may use emotional blackmail to try to ensure that the victimized partner will be responsible for whatever repercussions come when they do not comply with what the abusive partner as asked.

The Victimized Partner Gives In

Once a victimized partner feels an obligation to give in, they accommodate whatever demand was placed on them. The abusive partner’s threats and manipulation then subsides until the next need for control arises.


14. Focus On The Bright Side Of Things

Negativity is contagious and can spread quickly; refuse to be that person who transmits negativity through your family, friends, and coworkers by complaining all the time. Instead, be that person who can look at the bright side of a difficult situation and keep tough times in perspective. This doesn’t mean to be unrealistic and overly-positive, it means to be that person who can look adversity in the face and focus on what you can control.



Blackmailing someone emotionally requires you to be strong, bold, act smart and be patient. When you blackmail someone emotionally, you are taking advantage of the love they have for you, and when it is taken too far, it may turn out bad.

If you want things to be done your way by blackmailing someone emotionally, follow the steps outlined above, and you will be amazed on how everything will work out the way you want. However, note that emotional blackmail may not work out with everyone because there are some people out there who are smart enough to spot when their emotions are being blackmailed.

With all the points listed, your question on how to blackmail someone emotionally would be solved if you read through and follow the steps.

Read More About Emotional Manipulation

Featured photo credit: Naomi August via

EB After a Break-Up

A break-up or relationship separation can fuel the fire for emotional blackmailers. The potential for them to act out, even more, rises during crisis situations, especially involving a break-up. During this time, victims could be at risk or in danger, as blackmailers can escalate their behaviors. Since they are focused on what they want when they want it, they show limited concern or empathy for the pain of others.

They can become so absorbed in their own rage, that they could show signs of panic in their desperation.

If emotional blackmail was used during the relationship and there is a break-up, there is no longer a direct method for such manipulation tactics. This can cause an emotionally unstable person to act out even more if their means for control are taken away. Manipulator’s behaviors may increase in intensity and in a frequency. More severe threats of self-harm and inducing guilt would be common in a breakup situation.

They also may resort to stalking or other types of unwanted behaviors in pursuit in an attempt to reconnect the relationship. While uncommon, taken to an extreme, the ex may show obsessive tendencies and could be at risk for bringing the violence to another level.

It is important for the victim to remember that they are not responsible for their ex’s needs and feelings. It is important to seek protection if the victim is feeling unsafe. This may require getting professional help to understand how to establish these healthy boundaries. It may involve setting clear physical boundaries to ensure there is no contact with the ex-partner.

Finding a support system can be helpful for individuals who have been in relationships involving emotional blackmail and abuse. The focus post-break-up is best placed on victims learning how to engage in self-care and identify their own personal needs.

4 Types Of Emotional Blackmail

Dr. Forward proposed four different types of emotional blackmail that people use within their relationships.

A person may adopt one or more of these roles in order to get you to do what they want.

The Punisher

This kind of blackmailer knows how to punish you, and doesn’t hesitate to make bold statements telling you what the consequences will be if you were to do (or not do) a particular thing.

The strategy they play on most is fear.

The punishment they inflict might be anything from withholding affection and ending the relationship, to restricting you from seeing other important people in your life, to financial penalties.

Emotional blackmail can also be based on the threat of physical punishment and abuse.

The Self-punisher

Some manipulative people may employ the tactic of punishing (or threatening to punish) themselves, knowing that it will make their partner suffer.

Their main weapon of attack is guilt (or the prospect of the guilt you would face if the manipulator followed through on their threats), but they also try to trigger fear (that someone you care for will come to harm).

Examples of this can include threatening to hurt or even kill themselves should you leave them or claiming that your behavior will make them depressed should you persist with it.

The Sufferer

Sufferers hold their misery over their partner’s head as a way of getting them to do what they want.

They might claim that their illness or mental state is the fault of the other person, or tell their partner that if they don’t do what they want then they will suffer as a result.

They rely on a mixture of fear (that their well-being will suffer), obligation (they’re unwell so you must help them), and guilt (that you’d feel bad if they did suffer) to get their way.

They sometimes expect their partner to be able to figure out what’s wrong with them without having to be told… “if you really loved me, you’d know.”

The Tantalizer

Whereas all the other types of emotional blackmail are more ‘stick’ methods, this is the ‘carrot’ method.

This is promising some kind of reward, whether tangible or intangible. Although the reward will rarely ever materialize.

Fear (of missing out on the reward), obligation (they have asked nicely and are even offering a reward), and guilt (you’ll feel bad for saying no) will all probably be involved to some extent.

They ask you to do something in return for something else, but it’s usually not a fair trade.

Whilst some manipulators will only rely on one of the 3 strategies and fall into one of these 4 categories (the one they find most effective), some will switch between them, pushing all your buttons until they get their way.

Advice for Parents

Emotional blackmail can also be used in families, even with children or teens blackmailing their parents. However, it would be easy to assume that all temper tantrums by children sound like emotional blackmail.

In his article Emotional Blackmail: Fear, Obligation, and Guilt (FOG), Skip Johnson differentiates the difference between immature actions taken by children to manipulate their parents and emotional blackmail. He highlights how the use of the term “blackmail” brings such a negative connotation. He clarifies that in using such a term, it is implied that there is forethought or premeditation involved.

A child having a crying fit at the grocery store because they want candy is clearly a different dynamic than emotional blackmail used in an adult relationship. Children may naively demonstrate such behaviors, without the understanding of the manipulation element. That being said, a teenager making a demand for parents to give them the car or they will hurt themselves does qualify as emotional blackmail.

All parents are invested in wanting their kids to be happy. This potentially makes them more vulnerable to being emotionally blackmailed by their children and adolescents. Mental health experts claim that this type of manipulation tactics can be very difficult to identify and address. If they give in to such manipulation tactics, parents can often end up feeling hijacked by their own family.

Kids and teens can exploit your wish of wanting them to be happy in order to get what they want. This hijack can be addressed if parents are clear and understanding that the primary role is not to make sure their kids are happy, but to keep them safe and teach them about the world.

Parents that are dealing with a child who engages in emotional blackmail can feel as though they are being held hostage. Addressing these behaviors as a parent is complicated and challenging. There is a range of severity in terms of the level of emotional blackmail kids can use with their parents. A common example may be a tantrum in the grocery store, where the parent, in an effort to avoid a scene and to escape the store will give in.

Once parents give in to this behavior, the cycle becomes reinforced. The child then learns what buttons to push in order to get what they want. They now know what to do in order to get the parent to give in. As kids get older, the behavior may shift into disrespectful attitudes and remarks as a teenager to try and control the parents.

Adolescents can learn techniques to manipulate their parents by expressing strong emotions. In his book Declare Yourself, John Narciso identifies these behavior patterns as “get my way techniques.” Adolescents, like adults, can identify triggers for their parents and use this knowledge to get what they want. An example of a button to push, is if the parent is sensitive to rejection.

Teenagers can pick up on that and act in ways that spark fear in the parent that the teen does not like them. This can create guilt and fear in the parent, who then ends up complying to the adolescents’ demands.

Another example is if a parent is sensitive to inadequacy, the adolescent can criticize the parent by attacking their competence. A parent sensitive to this may give in because of the discomfort they experience feeling judged. If parents are sensitive to guilt, teens can highlight their emotional suffering to get what they want.

To re-direct emotional blackmail, parents need to stand firm and consistent with their boundaries, regardless of the emotional outbursts or threats from the teen. It is important to clarify that acting upset or aggressively will not change the parents’ mind. The key is to not be sensitive to these behaviors to the point that it changes your parental decisions.

Some families, especially those dealing with mental illness in the family, will experience more severe forms of emotional blackmail. It creates a conundrum, because for children who engage in extreme emotional blackmail, common forms of influence, discipline, punishment, or reinforcements are not effective in changing the behaviors. A severe form of manipulation may involve children threatening their parents that if they do not get what they want, they will tell people that they are being abused.

Here are some additional examples of children blackmailing parents. They can blame their parents for behaviors such as stealing, suggesting that it was not their fault that they had to take the money. The may say that if the parents gave them a bigger allowance, they would not have needed to steal the money for what they wanted at the time.

Another example is that they make threats to physically harm another sibling if the parents do not let them go out or do what they want. They may threaten to run away if they do not get their way. Making a threat to harm themselves is another severe example of emotional blackmail. In these situations, parents need psychological support and guidance on how to best navigate in a way that will keep everyone safe.

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How does Internet blackmail work?

Generally, blackmail over the Internet takes the form of a hacker breaching your PC and finding something you don’t want to be revealed in your personal data. In many cases, it’s a private photograph, possibly of an erotic nature. Subsequently, the blackmailer demands either financial compensation or more photographs. In the former case, this crime is sometimes colloquially referred to as sextortion. If the blackmailer takes control of your webcam to generate compromising images or videos, the crime is referred to as webcam blackmail.

Has your personal information been exposed online? Remove my information

Often the blackmailer has multiple victims. One sextortist had over 200 targets. In the United States, many online blackmailers target teenagers. In more conservative countries with strong social stigmas against showing women’s bodies, sextortion and online blackmail have led to horrifying results, including suicide, rape, and murder. The truth is that online blackmail can affect anyone, anywhere, no matter your age or gender.

What should you do if you are being blackmailed?

First, contact the police, especially in cases of sextortion. Even if you have done something wrong or potentially illegal, you risk significantly greater danger if you try to deal with the situation alone.

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Second, don’t give in to the blackmailer’s demands. You may think that by agreeing to do what they want, they will then leave you alone. This rarely happens. Blackmailers are unlikely to stop targeting you as long as they have a source of leverage. The potential for abuse and threats is enormous and can ruin your life. Cooperating can end up being worse than the possible shame you might feel if the worst happens and the blackmailer follows through with his or her threats.

Third, since the blackmail likely originated from a hack, you will need to completely stop using your computer, smartphone, or other hacked device, at least temporarily. Power it down completely so that it cannot be accessed remotely. Don’t try to reformat the device or remove the hack until the police tell you it is okay to do so; you don’t want to destroy evidence that might be used to stop the blackmailer.

Fourth, using a different device that you know to be safe, change all of your passwords, including email, social media, and online banking. Once the blackmailer realizes you are no longer using your hacked device, he or she will look for alternative ways of blackmailing you, so you need to make sure they can’t access any personal accounts.

Stages of emotional blackmail

According to the authors of “ Emotional Blac

According to the authors of “Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You,” emotional blackmail happens in a cycle.

Susan Forward and Donna Fraizer have identified six stages of emotional blackmail:

1. Demand 

The person states more or less explicitly a request. Often they phrase it, so it seems they are showing concern about you. However, it is their attempt to control you through seemingly caring for you.

2. Resistance

Since this is something you are not inclined to provide, as it is often quite an unreasonable demand, you refuse. Your resistance could be direct or implied, like “forgetting” to do what they asked.

3. Pressure

What distinguishes a person who is trying to emotionally blackmail you from someone who genuinely cares for you is how they react to your resistance. In a healthy relationship, your partner will accept your refusal or try to find a solution that works for both of you. When it comes to emotional blackmail, you only receive more pressure or threats when you resist.

4. Threats 

The blackmail itself can be direct or indirect:

  • If you go out tonight, I might not be here when you come back. 
  • If you can’t stay with me, maybe I should find someone who cares about how I feel.

5. Compliance

At first, you don’t want to give in, but you also don’t want them to actualize their threats. Therefore over time, you comply, and because of it, turmoil is replaced with peace and comfort.

6. Repetition

When you eventually cave, you learn that it is easier to go along with their demand than protest. They learn what methods to use to exercise control more effectively. Hence the pattern is reinforced.


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