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What's the best way to deal with emotional blackmail from a partner?

68 Answers
Last Updated: 12/01/2021 at 3:14pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
January 1st, 2015 6:33am
Call their bluff. Get out of that game. Show them you aren't afraid. Take back your power. And if they are doing anything abusive or illegal, let them know you will go to the police. And then follow through. Because you deserve better.
May 28th, 2015 3:07pm
If someone is emotionally blackmailing you, it sounds like you need to gradually cut that person out from your life. Talk to them about it, but if they're unwilling to recognise that such behaviour is manipulative, you're really better off without this person. Build a close knit of friends around you as your support system who will be able to back you up when your partner continuously threatens you.
December 31st, 2014 5:41pm
Understanding how your manipulator is preying on your emotions to control your actions is the first step in regaining control. In their book "Emotional Blackmail," Susan Forward and Donna Frazier explain that manipulators often use a tactic consisting of fear, obligation and guilt (FOG) to get what they want. Blackmailers use FOG to make you fear angering or disappointing them, obligated to meet their demands, and guilty if you don't comply. They use these tactics to appeal to your emotions, make their demands seem reasonable, and make you seem selfish if you don't give them what they want. Next time you are resistant to your partner's requests and end up giving in, determine if he used FOG techniques to influence you. Try to use a perspective from someone outside of your relationship to shed light on the behaviors used. Read more :
June 6th, 2015 2:20am
Just tell them that what they are doing is not alright and you feel very uncomfortable with how they're acting. In my opinion, the best course of action would be to just get rid of them. You don't want a partner like that.
October 19th, 2016 2:08pm
Emotional blackmail is a form of mental abuse, you have to confront them and ask a therapist for help, or the cycle will continue.
May 6th, 2015 2:29am
The best way is to leave them. Emotional blackmail is no joke. However I don't know how people gauge it. You can to infer if it's something small or if it's actual abuse. Knowing if they have other red flags will help you.
January 1st, 2015 2:42pm
Consult the objective opinion of a friend who knows both you, and your partner, because when you are being emotionally blackmailed, it can be difficult to tell on your own. Your partner may have made you think of them as the victim, rather than the abuser. When calling out your partner on the emotional blackmail, your friend's assurance that you deserve better will strengthen your resolve; you can even bring your friend along for support, particularly if your partner is capable of, or even prone to, physical violence. Should the situation not improve thereafter, don't be afraid to leave the partner, but try not to embitter the person, and try to help the person understand they are in the wrong. They may even need professional help if this is a common problem in their relationships. Hopefully this will all keep your partner from hurting anyone else, including yourself.
September 24th, 2016 4:26pm
If its happening with you than YOU should better show him/her that you dont care anymore and let that go. He/She can realize it with time that he/ she can no more take your feelings for granted.
January 8th, 2015 1:29am
First of all, you yourself have to monitor and identify that such blackmail is taking place. Second, you have to face your partner that you will not accept such actions and try to talk through it.
June 18th, 2015 3:26am
You step back and compose yourself. Assess the situation. Seek help. Seek a way to end it. Make it stop. Stay Strong and positive. Fight the feeling.
February 24th, 2017 4:59pm
Learn to say NO. Saying "I don't.." rather than "I can't..." can be more effective in preventing you from giving in. Establish boundaries; when your personal priorities become more important to you than pleasing other people, you will no longer fall prey to emotional manipulation. Value your own wants and needs and preferences. Set boundaries that don’t allow others to invalidate you, put you down, or ignore what is important to you.
November 27th, 2016 9:27pm
Never feel guilty about separating yourself from that person. It is your right to make your own personal, separate plans to exit that person's life, whether or not they understand. They have proven that they are unwilling to communicate and work together with you, so it is up to you to move on, and that is okay!
December 27th, 2017 10:15pm
If your partner is emotionally manipulating you in any form, chances are that you are in a toxic relationship with that person. As hard as it may be to admit, your partner does not have your best interests at heart and it is likely time to separate. Anyone who tries to take advantage of you does not really care about you, and does not deserve your time.
September 28th, 2015 1:25am
Understand the reason they are using it against you. If a partner seems to be calling you out on a certain thing, chances are he/she/they are feeling as if you are not responding to them. Take a moment, find a way to talk to them with each of you having a clear mind, and talk to each other to find out the reason behind the blackmail.
October 20th, 2016 6:34pm
Tell him to stop the blackmail, if he don't he means to harm you, so leave him.
November 11th, 2016 6:06am
Try to talk to someone you trust, and honestly, mindset is very important. You need to make yourself believe that self love is the most important and that you don't need to depend on anyone else emotionally.
March 11th, 2017 12:53am
This is such a horrible thing to go through. There is never one right or wrong answer with things like this. It is important to know that one does not have to deal with this on one's ow! Seek someone to talk about the matter and if possibly and most importantly if safe! Discuss the issue with the partner
March 25th, 2017 10:26am
Emotional blackmailing from partner is hard situation to deal with, but with some external support ,and by using your own ways of coping with it, the impact of it can be minimized. Consider never to give up emotionally in front of your partner, let it clear to your partner by your words that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable to you, the professional support is available for a reason, don't hesitate to seek it,
July 27th, 2015 2:22am
Remove yourself from the situation, surround yourself with positive people and get yourself some support.
April 14th, 2018 3:34pm
The most important person in this world is no one else but YOU. If your partner is emotionally blackmailing you, the first thing you should be doing is talk to them about the same, if they still persist with their manipulative behavior, it seems you need to cut this person off from your life gradually. To do so, I would suggest you surround yourself with friends and family who would support you and will be able to back you up in the time of need.
October 27th, 2016 1:35pm
The best way is to report it, that blackmail's purpose is to manipulate you and by reporting it you could get help.
March 2nd, 2017 11:02pm
This sounds like an unhealthy practice in any relationship. Trying to discuss your feelings with your partner would be the first step and if that gets you nowhere, consider counseling or moving on.
February 21st, 2018 7:04pm
Know you are better than what they say. Also know that that is abuse in the most hurtful way. Ask yourself if staying with this hurtfulness is helping you now or in the long run.
March 23rd, 2018 1:30pm
It can be difficult to navigate emotional blackmail especially when you have strong feelings for the person. The best cause of action is to remain mindful in your own needs and wants, try to distance yourself from their emotions and focus on yours. Sometimes physical distance can bring a new perspective; encouraging you to be objective about your own feelings and needs. It is not your fault that they feel the way they are feeling, it is not your responsibility to take those feelings onto yourself. You can support them, you can listen to them. But you must do what is best for you.
April 7th, 2018 10:58am
The best way to deal with it is to put your foot down and nottake it. It's a challenging task, I know, but you need to gather up the courage to do it. No one should manipulate you like that, not even your partner.
June 30th, 2019 5:01am
By putting yourself first before this person, and loving yourself more than this person. You matter and your feelings matter. Being constantly stressed and in tears over someone isn’t healthy for you. You’re not obliged to help anyone get mentally better and you shouldn’t beat yourself up because you were not able to prevent this person from beating themself up. If they threaten to hurt themselves if you leave, then leave. Leave if you want to. 1. They most likely wouldn’t really hurt themselves but they’ll try to get over it and 2. If they are willing to hurt themself in someway over you leaving then they would be willing to hurt themself for other reasons even if you stay. Don’t tie yourself down. If someone keeps hurting you psychologically or making you want to hurt and hate yourself, then avoid them. Leave them. Stay away from them. It’s not only good for them (because they will realise how they should not depend on someone or rely their happiness on someone) but it’s also good for you because you can do better without all the poison and toxicity that comes with those simple words and long nights you fail to sleep in. Good luck with everything or whatever you or someone else you know is going through and I hope my answer was able to help (: There are many kinds of emotional blackmail so I don’t know what exactly you’re referring to but I still hope that this was better than nothing. xxx
January 2nd, 2015 9:36am
This is a difficult question as it truly depends upon the situation. However, the best way to deal with it is to call it out for what it is - hurtful. Try to talk about the reasons why your partner feels this is necessary. You may need to have a professional counselor help you through this discussion, which is fine. If your partner is not willing to go with you then it would still be helpful for YOU to go for additional coping strategies.
September 7th, 2015 8:43pm
I am not very good at dealing with emotional blackmailers because they hit every trigger i have and it is so hard for me when it happens! I turn into a coward i know i should fight back and stop it but ten to one i am too afraid to stop it!
May 3rd, 2016 10:14pm
You need tonIgnore the situation and don't act in revenge because when you act back it only makes it worse
November 11th, 2016 5:42pm
Tell them that if they loved you, they would not be hurting you like this. It's extremely immature and unhealthy for both parts.