Emotional Blackmail From Family: 5 Helpful Tips To Protect Yourself!

emotional blackmail from family

Emotional blackmail from family is a situation of psychological manipulation where your emotions are used against you to get what they want.

Commonly, emotional blackmail from family is used by family members, spouses or friends. This can make them feel fear, guilt, or obligation which the blackmailer then uses as a weapon for controlling their behaviour.

emotional blackmail from family
Emotional blackmail from family: 5 helpful tips to protect yourself!

Essential Elements of Emotional Blackmail from family include: 

  • Demand: The blackmailer asks us to do something that seems unfair or unreasonable.
  • Resistance: We may resist this request at first.
  • Pressure: They put on pressure (usually emotional) until we give in.
  • Threats: They threaten us with something – fear, guilt or anxiety.
  • Compliance: Eventually we comply because we don’t want any more emotional pain caused by them.

In this article, we will define emotional blackmail and discuss five practical tips on how to deal with emotional blackmail from family. Gaining an understanding of these signs of emotional blackmail as well as taking steps towards protecting yourself can result in healthier relationships and a more empowered self.

Signs Of Emotional Blackmail From Family

When those closest to us use our emotions to control our actions, it can be challenging to identify and even harder to break free from. 

emotional blackmail from family
Emotional blackmail from family: 5 helpful tips to protect yourself!

Here are five key signs of emotional blackmail from family:

1. Continuous Guilt

Is constant guilt-tripping a norm in your family, such as; “I expected more from you” or ‘’I thought you would do this for me” They make it seem like no matter what you do, it is never enough. 

Family members can also make use of guilt by coming out as victims and pointing out that their unhappiness or problems are your fault.

This may lead to guilt and anxiety which will certainly erode your self-worth and emotional wellbeing. And so you feel compelled to meet their needs at the expense of yours even if it means suppressing some of your wants.

2. Threats and ultimatums

Do they say things like ‘’If you don’t do this I’ll cut you off’’ or ‘’If you refuse to follow my wishes then I will disown you?

These threats are signs of emotional blackmail. Other times the threats may not be as direct such as ‘’I won’t talk to you again ’’or ‘’You will live to regret this decision.’’

These threats create an atmosphere of fear and anxiety thus forcing one into obedience in order to avoid negative consequences that might come later on which is why most decisions are made based on what we consider our loved ones reactions rather than our own interests .

3. Family’s Conditional Love and Approval

Do you think that your family loves and approves of you only when they are satisfied with what you do? For instance, “I will only love you if…” or “You can only make me proud by following this path…” 

Such statements make it seem as though their affection for us is pegged on our actions. They may also demonstrate this through withholding their love or giving us silent treatment whenever we fail to conform which in turn makes us feel unloved or rejected.

This kind of behavior manipulates one into depending on their approval to feel good about themselves. In an attempt to meet their expectations, we may end up losing our own identity and independence.

4. Fearful Manipulation

Are threats used by members of your household so that they can get what they want from you? Is it common for them to intimidate with words such as, “If you don’t listen I’ll disown/leave you with nothing”? Or maybe anger shouting aggressive behaviour employed as weapons against those who refuse submission out of fear?

Such tactics create high levels of stress and anxiety because now we live worrying about how they will react all the time. We become afraid of setting limits or making decisions independently fearing their revenge.

5. Guilt-Tripping and Accusing

Do people often blamed you when something goes wrong in the family? Or do they make you feel bad about your decisions? Sentences such as “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be in this situation” or “You should be ashamed of yourself for not caring about our family” are examples of emotional blackmail.

Your self-confidence may sink, and you might start feeling worthless or inefficient. You may find it hard to make up your mind because you fear being held responsible or criticized again.

Recognizing and dealing with emotional manipulation is vital if we want to keep our relationships healthy and respectful too. Don’t forget that both your emotional well-being and independence matter; thus, everyone should treat us kindly while respecting our rights always.

Read More: How To Avoid Parental Gaslighting: 5 Effective Tips For Parents!

How To Deal With Emotional Blackmail From Family

Emotional blackmail from family can leave you feeling trapped, guilty, and powerless. It’s essential to recognize the signs of emotional blackmail from family and take steps to protect yourself. 

emotional blackmail from family
Emotional blackmail from family: 5 helpful tips to protect yourself!

Here are five helpful tips on how to deal with emotional blackmail from family:

1. Understand the Indications

Have you ever been under pressure to obey a family member’s whim out of guilt, fear or obligation? 

You may be going through emotional blackmail when your family assigns blame for their problems on you every time or makes you feel like everything they do depends entirely on whether or not you help them.

Knowing these signs of emotional blackmail from family is the first step towards realizing that this is manipulation. Once a person admits that their feelings are being exploited against them it becomes easier for them to deal with it by confronting the situation and taking necessary steps in managing how they respond emotionally.

2. Create Definite, Unyielding Limits

Are you having trouble denying your family anything? It could be useful if one set boundaries which are clear and known by all parties involved especially those whom we consider as close relatives.

Inform them about what kinds of acts are not allowed at all costs and never tolerated coming from them. If for example they frequently guilt trip someone then let such discussions alone be known as unacceptable too.

Setting limits safeguards emotional health as well prevents additional forms of manipulation. Just remember – it’s fine prioritizing self-care over other people’s expectations sometimes while still sticking firm to choices made.

3. Exercise Forceful Communication

Do you have difficulty letting others know your feelings? Being assertive can help you voice your needs and emotions clearly, without being rude. Using “I” statements is one way of telling them how their actions affect you.

For instance, instead of saying “You’re making me feel guilty about this,” a person can say, “I feel unduly pressured when guilt is used to manipulate my decisions.” This shows that honesty should be accompanied by calmness and respect so that the other party does not become more defensive or angry than they already are.

This method makes it known that emotional coercion won’t be stood for.

4. Look For Help And Another Opinion

Are you feeling overwhelmed with what’s going on in your family but do not know how to deal with it? Sharing problems with people who are dear to us such as friends or relatives (or even professional counselors) may offer new ways of looking at things from an outsider’s perspective.

emotional blackmail from family
Emotional blackmail from family: 5 helpful tips to protect yourself!

These individuals may also provide some advice based on their past experiences thus making us feel like we are not alone in such situations anymore. A therapist specifically could give professional tips on handling emotional blackmail while at the same time supporting our efforts towards establishing healthier relationships within the families.

Whenever we seek support during tough times, there always comes a moment when everything becomes clear as day

5. Give Attention to Yourself

Have you ever thought about your welfare and emotional health before? It is important that we take care of ourselves when dealing with emotional blackmailing. This can be done by participating in activities which give us pleasure or help us rest such as hobbies, workouts or spending time with positive people.

Self-care builds strong resistance that prevents relatives from using us. Once we start nurturing our mental state, feelings and physical body; stress management skills improve and personal development continues even under family pressures.

Dealing with emotional extortion from relatives may seem difficult but once we know what to look for then it becomes easier on how we can protect our emotions too while regaining control over ourselves again. Always remember that you are worthy of being treated well and have every right to take decisions which suit you best.

Read More: What Is A Toxic Family And Signs You Grew Up In A Toxic Family

A Word From Mind Family

Dealing with emotional blackmail from family is no easy feat, but it’s essential for your mental and emotional well-being. Emotional blackmail is a form of psychological manipulation where someone uses your emotions against you to get you to do what they want.  

At Mind Family, we believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. You have the right to make decisions that prioritize your well-being and protect your emotional health. 

Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and support is always available to help you navigate these challenging dynamics.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is Emotional Blackmail? 

Emotional blackmail is a psychological manipulation tactic where someone uses guilt, fear, or obligation to control your actions and get you to comply with their demands.

2. What are the signs of emotional blackmail from family? 

Signs include constant guilt-tripping, threats and ultimatums, conditional love and approval, manipulation through fear and intimidation, and blaming and shaming.

3. How to deal with emotional blackmail from family?

Recognize the signs, set clear boundaries, practice assertive communication, seek support, and focus on self-care to protect your emotional well-being and maintain your autonomy.

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