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Solutions for Emotional Blackmail
End Manipulation & Compliance Martyn Carruthers

Online Relationship Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

Are you enmeshed in the difficult relationships and painful emotions
often called emotional blackmail? Contact us to start untangling your life.

I spent a fortune identifying my emotional and mental problems - but the psychological names did not solve them! You helped me improve my relationships and change my emotions  ... and keep the change. London

Emotional Blackmail is Emotional Abuse!

Blackmail is motivated by a need to manipulate or control, often by people who claim good intentions. Some victims of emotional blackmail may perceive being abused as normal, although all forms of abuse have heavy relationship consequences.

We help people understand emotional abuse, protect themselves from emotional blackmail, triangulation and over-diagnosis by therapists. We help people find relief and emotional freedom.

People who abuse or manipulate others may be unable to enjoy healthy relationships until they accept and assimilate their inner demons.
Contact us if you want to change.

Emotional blackmail includes excessive demands, punishment for normal behavior, unwanted displays of attachment (love), withholding affection or care and threats of humiliation. The damage caused by this emotional abuse often manifests as dysfunctional relationship habits and suffering.

My mother told me many times that she only conceived me so that I would
look after her in her old age, and that if I leave her - she will suicide. I am 24.

Like emotional incest, emotional blackmail often indicates dependence by people who are preoccupied with control. Often, the real victims of this abuse are children. If you have had enough of this in your family, let's work together to end the craziness and regain your freedom!

Mother's Boys . Father-Daughter Issues . Parental Alienation

Where are you Now?

I composed this simple table of relationship behavior many years ago.

Healthy Relationship Relationship in Crisis
They often show appreciation and
gratitude to each other
One or both are often dissociated,
irritated, depressed or in crisis
People respond to most verbal and
nonverbal communications
One or both ignore, avoid or shorten
most communications
They review events in their history They rarely review their relationship history
People greet after time apart and ask about each other's activities and other news They rarely interact when together,
without even silent intimacy
They enjoy meeting each other's needs for passion, intimacy and commitment One or both often ignore or criticize
the other's goals and needs
They often discuss goals and dreams,
shared values and shared meanings.
They rarely discuss goals, values or dreams
They share meals and chores together They often cook, eat or do chores alone
They often go out together They generally prefer to go out alone
They create projects which require cooperation One or both avoid, ignore or give small attention to shared projects
They wish to enjoy sharing relationship happiness One or both want to separate but cannot because of guilt, fear or constraints
They respect most of each other's choices and decisions, and politely discuss differences One or both show contempt for the other's decisions and make angry demands
They want happiness together One or both prefer happiness alone

What is Emotional Blackmail?

Does someone attempt to manipulate your emotions? This may follow a cycle of Demands - Resistance - Pressure - Threats - Compliance. The result?

  • You feel dominated - your life feels controlled
  • You feel intimidated by unreasonable demands
  • You feel attacked with words, laughter or threats
  • You feel manipulated by guilt, fear or compassion

Emotional blackmailers want power. They are often anxious and insecure - they may believe that they can relieve their frustrations by controlling you or other people, either habitually or during a crisis such as separation or divorce, loss of a job, illness or age.

Many emotional blackmailers were overprotected as children and did not develop confidence or skill in their ability to solve problems by themselves. Many are codependent with their victims (and some will change roles with their victims)!

Do you cause family, friends or co-workers to suffer
because you have emotional issues and you won't get help?

You can end emotional blackmail. We help people who :

  • fear a blackmailer's anger
  • need a blackmailer's approval
  • endlessly doubt or criticize themselves
  • depend on the blackmailer for something
  • blame themselves for other people's emotions

Consequences of Emotional Blackmail on Children

Emotional blackmail, extended criticism and contempt can have severe consequences, especially for children. Victims often become silent, watchful, shy, uneasy and lonely. They may later respond with aggression and anger to people who attempt to be friendly. For some of these people, kindness may seem like a threat!

Abusive Victims

To gain your compliance, abusers may:

  1. Act like victims
  2. Block your goals
  3. Make angry threats
  4. Install limiting beliefs
  5. Disguise abuse as humor
  6. Contradict your perspectives
  7. Withhold essential information
  8. Forget promises or agreements
  9. Invalidate your reality and perceptions
  10. Trivialize your thoughts and achievements

Most emotional abusers seem to be copying their parents, while some are professionals such as doctors and therapists who copy their mentors. (See therapist-client codependence). We can help people manage most forms of abuse.

Common Emotional Blackmail

  • Love (If  you love me you must do as I say)
  • Goals (You must help me fulfill my important goals)
  • Guilt (I sacrificed my life for you ... you must do whatever I tell you)
  • Punish (You must follow my beliefs and instructions - or I will punish you)
  • Dependent / Codependent (I cannot cope without you so you must obey me)

Emotional blackmail is abuse - and the blackmailers are often relatives. They may threaten to punish you if you resist their control. They may know your vulnerabilities and your secrets, and use this knowledge to gain your compliance.

Contact us to manage emotional blackmail and other relationship issues.

Online Relationship Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 2003-2018
All rights reserved

If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
please mention or

For online help, email us at:

Soulwork systemic coaching in America & Hawaii


Soulwork systemic coaching in England, Wales & Scotland

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Soulwork systemic coaching in Poland



Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email