Emotional blackmail

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At the moment I am reading “Emotional blackmail” by Susan Forward.

It is a good book, with many examples of what emotional blackmail is, and how to handle it.

“If you really loved me. . .”

“After all I`ve done for you. . .”

“How can you be so selfish. . .”

Do any of the above sound familiar? They`re all examples of emotional blackmail, a powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us threaten to punish us for not doing what they want. Emotional blackmailers know how much we value our relationships with them. They know our vulnerabilities and our deepest secrets. They are our mothers, our partners, our bosses and coworkers, our friends and our lovers. And no matter how much they care about us, they use this intimate knowledge to give themselves the payoff they want: our compliance.


Susan Forward knows what pushes our hot buttons. Just as John Gray illuminates the communications gap between the sexes in Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, and Harriet Lerner describes an intricate dynamic in The Dance of Anger, so Susan Forward presents the anatomy of a relationship damaged by manipulation, and gives readers an arsenal of tools to fight back. In her clear, no-nonsense style, Forward provides powerful, practical strategies for blackmail targets, including checklists, practice scenarios and concrete communications techniques that will strengthen relationships and break the blackmail cycle for good.

I really liked the chapter on how to get out of the trap of emotional blackmail. It doesn`t promise you that everything will be okay, but that it is possible to become stronger and have choices even when it feels like everything is hopeless. It gives the power back, by teaching us how to use a non-defensive way of talking to people who blackmail us. Even when we feel there is no way out, the truth is that by giving in to the blackmail, we reinforce the blackmailer`s agenda and let go of our own integrity. This is a book that actually helps, if you use the techniques. Sometimes therapy is necessary, but reading a book can really help to motivate and push you toward change like good friends or therapists would do.

5 thoughts on “Emotional blackmail

    breakingsarah said:
    December 8, 2015 at 18:15

    Ohhh, I am gonna have to read that one! Thank you for sharing.

      mirrorgirl responded:
      December 8, 2015 at 20:46

      You’re very welcome! Do You have any book recommendations?

    Internalbasis said:
    December 8, 2015 at 21:14

    Interesting, thanks for sharing.

    […] I wrote about a book called “Emotional Blackmail” by Susan Forward. At the end of the book, she writes about traps people fall into, that […]

    Out of the narcissistic fog « Mirrorgirl said:
    April 20, 2016 at 18:34

    […] Emotional blackmail by Susan Forward: How to get out of the FOG […]

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