How to Recognize Emotional Blackmail

This is a rough message and many won’t want to hear it, but emotional blackmail isn’t pretty.

When someone tells you, unbidden, how they’re feeling, it’s because they want to influence how YOU feel.

They want you to act in a certain way.

emotional blackmail

Think of when you’ve told someone that you’re mad at them. Why did you do that? Did you want an apology? Did you want them to grovel in submission? Did you want them to stop doing something?

I bet it wasn’t just conversational.

Our feelings are our own, caused by our thoughts.

We can have any thoughts we like.


We should be having positive thoughts. Thoughts that push us forward, drive us towards our goals. Often though, our thoughts are destructive and they cause us to have negative feelings. And when we’re not mindful, they can drive us to use emotional blackmail to try to get our own way.

Before doing this we should really think about what the reaction is going to be. I can see two scenarios that are realistic:

  1. The subject of our blackmail gives in and does what we want
  2. Our emotive manipulations drive further division.

There’s very little of a constructive outcome here.

Even if the other party takes the first option it will very rarely last.  It isn’t an outcome based on reason or logic for that person, but based purely on fear which means that it will not be long-lasting.

If this relationship is at all valuable to you, avoid using emotional blackmail at all costs.  Be mindful when you want to tell someone how you feel and examine your motives for doing so.

If someone in your life is doing this to you, also think long and hard about their motivation.

Why should you care how someone else has made themselves feel on purpose? Especially when they’ve made a point of informing you of how they’ve made themselves feel in order to manipulate you?

When someone uses their feelings as a weapon.


If you’d like some help either resisting the best efforts of another to manipulate you or help controlling your thoughts and feelings, reach out.  I can help.  My course, The Confidence to WIN, can also help you become a master of your own mind.

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