Emotional blackmail, as we already discussed in my previous blog, is a very common type of manipulation that can have serious repercussions on the victim, but which also speaks of the habits and emotional state of the victimizer. The emotional blackmailer uses this tactic frequently to get what they want, turning into a huge nightmare in the daily life of those who accompany them.
The person using blackmail uses the emotions of the other as a bargaining chip to get what they want. All of us at some point have been involved in situations where there has been blackmail and we have all, in some situations, used it.
Blackmail is more common than we imagine and there are several types. In this series of blogs we are going to talk in detail about several of these.
First, let’s talk about a very special one, of parents towards their children. We know that educating children is not an easy task, so, many parents turn to emotional blackmail as the main tool to do so. Hence, phrases such as, “If you do your homework I will buy you ice cream, or if you do your chores I will give you a toy”, we believe that they are normal phrases, in fact, we are so used to using them, or maybe that’s how they used them with us, that we don’t realize that we are teaching our children the worth of blackmail to get results.
Sometimes the relationship between parents and children becomes stormy because of them, they criticize, manipulate, victimize and even compete with their own children. It is a series of attitudes that act on the emotional balance of our children. And worst of all, it is not a clear and obvious blackmail, but a sweet one that makes the child feel guilty and responsible for the adult.
I have met many of my clients who suffer from it and they say, “My burden is that I must answer for my mother, even if she treats me badly, she always reminds me that it is my responsibility to care for her because I am her daughter.”
This emotional blackmail or manipulation leaves traces that children will carry throughout their lives, even as adults. As children who have been blackmailed by their parents grow up they will be adults with low self-esteem, insecure, with a tendency to guilt and quite unstable. I know many people who have passed through my office trying to survive the lifelong emotional struggle of their own parents.
I remember the case of a 35-year-old woman with two children and separated, lives with her mother and works very hard to bring her daily support home. Her mother, and an elderly lady with some old age ailments, manipulates her with her health, that is, she says things like “if you don’t come home right now I’m going to get sick and it will be your fault”, “if I die it is your fault ”or“ I’m crying because of how badly you treat me, because you didn’t want to pay attention to staying with me ”,“ Don’t you understand that I sacrificed my whole life for you? ” to which she no longer knows how to respond or how to act. She feels and thinks that she is not doing the wrong things but when her mother talks to her and manipulates her in this way she feels that everything that can happen to her is her fault for not doing what she asks. She bears two guilts, the cultural guilt that Hispanic women have been given to care for our mothers, and beware, it is a responsibility of women, the brothers do not assume it, nor do they feel that they should.
One of the most negative effects of emotional blackmail from parents to children is the continuation of the cycle, that is, we are repeating the patterns of our parents and our children will carry the same patterns, if the parents have behaved like this with their children, it is most likely that in the future they will repeat the same story with their children, or even with their partners and friends.
HOW TO ACT IN THESE CASES?
When such a relationship becomes unhealthy, when parents use emotional blackmail in an intense and pernicious way, some specialists advise such drastic measures as distancing themselves from their parents or as one of my clients would put it, divorcing their mother.
This is a complex solution, but if the guilt is overcome, it will lead to a better quality of life. Although this solution is very difficult for many people, before having to come up with it, an alternative is to seek professional help. It is important to understand that what we learned from untouchable respect for parents has a limit and this has to do with receiving this respect back as children. There is time to put a limit to this belief and cultural yoke.
Finally, here are 5 extra tips to deal with this situation in the best possible way.
1. Recognize that your voice is valid and it is in your hands to stop blackmail.
2. Face the guilt and don’t give in, follow your instincts and listen to your inner voice. If it’s wrong, stop it now. Speak to your guilt and even embrace it, but don’t give in.
3. Differentiate requests from demands. Analyze reality and separate blackmail from a simple request. Unmask them in front of the blackmailer when they show up.
4. Keep in mind that only you are in control of your emotions. Don’t let others use guilt to use you.
5. Seek professional help, when blackmail has been experienced for many years, the roots are so deep that there is much to heal and it is not fair that you continue to carry those roots and that pain within you. Call us, we are ready to help you.
For more information visit my website and contact me https://www.rociolifecoach.com/ (6179555093)