Emotional blackmail IV. – Aftermaths

Emotional blackmail is not life-threatening but overbalances our mental unity. This unity means I am who I’m; I believe this and this; this what I’m willing to do; these are my boundaries. Victims often give up their mental unity, they don’t stand up for themselves; they allow fears drive their life; they don’t oppose whom hurt them; and they allow others to define them how to act, think and feel; they betray themselves and others; they can’t protect their physical and mental health and they lie. They give up their beliefs, continuously get disappointed in themselves and loosing self-respect. But how is it possible that victims can’t see it?

Victims often use rationalization when they need to choose between their own scale of values and surrender. Finding justifications why must surrender because the victim doesn’t want to lose the important person-who is the autocrat. (Not to be confused with codependency) The highest price of emotional blackmail is the narrowed world of the victim. They lose their friends, their interests just to make the autocrat happy.

Also victims suffer a lot from feelings what they are not able to express freely. They dig them deeply which come up like depression, anxiety, overeating or chronic headaches or other physical pains. They often question themselves if they are allowed to feel certain emotions, mainly anger.

They betray themselves but they might don’t realize the fact, they often betray others as well just to avoid disapproval of the autocrat. Often victims feel they must choose between the autocrat and another important person or even a child.

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Emotional blackmail destroys security in the relationship, which means the trust and the good will is going to disappear. If these two things are missing the relationship becomes superficial, there is not going to be emotional openness. The victim loose trust and start to hide things and emotions and stop talking openly. They start to hide things from the autocrat, avoid topics to talk about as a protection. For instance: avoid to talk about mistakes; expressing sadness, fear or doubts; hopes, dreams, goals or fantasies; unhappy moments or time periods; everything which can prove that the victim changes and develops. The safe talk topic’s scopes get ever tighter and talks become more and more vapid.

When intimacy and security disappear from the relationship, mainly victims start to pretend. They pretend to be happy and not having any problems, not to be worried about things and pretend still loving that person who emotionally blackmailing them. Victims usually use so much energy to keep up appearances.

We can see to live together with an emotional blackmailer is not easy and the price is very high. But as always, there are solutions and available help as well to change it, it just requires a bit of courage.

If you could have recognized yourself as a victim of emotional blackmail, you must know that there is a way out, it doesn’t matter how hopeless and helpless you feel. You are the only one who is able to change your life! If you want to know more about emotional blackmail, I recommend you a book to read.

Susan Forward – Donna Frazier

Emotional Blackmail: When the people in your life use fear, obligation and guilt to manipulate you

Picture: http://www.123rf.com

Emotional manipulation-emotional blackmail II.

I wrote about how emotional blackmail works and described typical types of blackmailers in my previous post. No, they are not monsters, of course what they do, especially how they do it is wrong but there is always a reason why and how they developed this strategy to get what they want. How is the internal world of an emotional blackmailer? How do they think and feel?

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We all have learnt that we cannot get everything what we want and whenever we want. Faced with several bitter disappointments but we accepted them with feeling sad or angry for a while.

Autocrats cannot bear frustration because to them frustration means more than a temporary hindrance. When an autocrat is becoming frustrated it activates a deep fear of loss and privation. Autocratic people seem like everyone else, often are very effective in one part of life. Completely apart from which type of autocrat they are or which means they use, they suffer from a privation, and they do everything to avoid this feeling.

They sense and feel even small tensions as catastrophe and attach great importance to resistance. Often they feel, if they don’t get what they want, they got refused as a person and not what they wanted or asked. They believe if they don’t react aggressively their partner privates them from something which is vitally important. These are the basic believes of an autocrat who is an emotional blackmailer.

These believes can develop by long term anxiety and suspense but also often we can find relation between childhood determinant happenings and the fear of privation in adulthood. Unfortunately sometimes we can’t find any relation.

Autocrats focus their attention on their own needs and wishes and often seems like they don’t care about other’s feelings and how they make others feel when they use pressure or threats. Autocrats are self-centred and it can come from a belief that the attention and love what they have now is limited and can be gone. Often they react like small problems or arguments will end the whole relationship. They experience very intensive emotional disappointment and frustrations when they face with even small resistance and try to make small problems appear as if they are unsolvable.

We must understand that, the autocrat mainly doesn’t respond to the actual situation, responding to a situation which symbolizes something from past happenings. Typical in autocrats’ exaggerated responses that comes with so much noise and emotions but usually the internal deep primary feelings don’t come up to the surface . If they could have known and expressed those primary emotions they wouldn’t need to use emotional manipulation or blackmail to get what they want or they would be able to make a difference between them as person being refused or their request got refused which is a big difference indeed.

Autocrats can’t see the long term outcomes of their behaviour because their urgent compulsion to satisfy their needs or wishes befogs their logical consideration. Often seems like autocrats want to make the victim feel bad. Often they demand and humiliate while trying to make their intention looks if it’s good. They completely see their intention differently as they are in real.

Like the punishers see, they don’t punish their victims, just keep order or control the family’s life properly. The end justifies the means. However there are autocrats who feel or see themselves like victims.  Punishment also helps autocrats to get into an active and aggressive position, in this case they feel strong and invulnerable. With this method they are able to calm down the believed fear of privation. Basic truth is, what we don’t word that appears in our actions. If the autocrats could have been able to look into themselves for a while, probably they would be horrified at their own fears and weaknesses. Unfortunately they just rarely do it, or face with their own fears, they hurt and attack others instead. The harshest punishers mainly those autocrats who lost someone who was important. Lost because that person became emotionally unavailable, left physically or a distance developed in the relationship. Angry punishers often disparage others because it eases the pain of coping and the pain of possible loss. Punishers also often can believe, actually they just help the victim. Instead of feeling guilty after hurting someone, they are proud of their acts because they just make a man of the victim, like teaching.

The most important thing is, it’s not about the victim and there is nothing to do with him/her. It’s all about correction and strengthening those huge suspense what the autocrat has deep inside. Emotional blackmail more often has something to do with the past than with the present and even more often it’s all about the satisfaction of the autocrat’s needs and not about what the victim did or did not do.

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Emotional manipulation-emotional blackmail I.

We often might experience manipulation or worst cases emotional blackmail. What is the difference? Why do some people use it?

Manipulation is to avoid open and clearly stated asks or wishes because it doesn’t seems that aggressive. The manipulative person doesn’t need to be afraid of refusal or anger because actually didn’t state or phrase what exactly wants.

Why don’t they say clearly what they want? Largely people who use manipulation have not learnt that they can state their needs or wishes clearly or they are not able to accept a fact (or deal with it) which is their needs or wishes might be refused.

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Manipulation becomes emotional blackmail if it’s used repeatedly to get the victim to do what the autocrat wants and the victim pays its price like giving up own needs and well-being.

Emotional blackmail has 6 typical signs which helps to identify it, it’s kind of a circle or procedure.

  1. Demand – the autocrat wants something from the victim
  2. Resistance – the victim is resisting
  3. Putting pressure – the autocrat is putting pressure on the victim
  4. Threats – the autocrat states the consequences of the victim’s resistance
  5. Surrender – the victim surrenders to the autocrat
  6. Repeating – together they established the base of demand-pressure-surrender circle

Often these steps are not so obvious and the victims don’t know that they are victims of emotional blackmail.

There are four types of blackmail, blackmailer, using different tools to get what they want.

1. The punisher

They can be easily recognized, identified. What they do and how they do it is very visible and obvious. Every even small resistance can make them upset immediately. Some of them express this anger aggressively with using clear threats they are the active punishers, the passive punishers don’t express their anger so openly but the victim knows that the autocrat is upset for a fact. In an emotionally tense interaction the punisher is becoming blind by the intensity of own needs. They are sure what they want is right and don’t care about the other’s feeling.

– Active punishers: they use serious statements and threats, they are very effective and openly expresses what is going to happen if the victim doesn’t do what is demanded. Their threats can be very serious so they keep the victims continuously in fear (what if the autocrat carries out the threat). Also the victims of active punishers are between the devil and the deep sea, if they try to stand up to protect their interest, they risk the punisher carries out the threat or if they surrender (maybe trying to win time) they experience anger toward themselves not being enough strong to resist but also towards the autocrat for the oppression.

– Passive punishers: they don’t express their anger verbally or using threats. They sulk and don’t say anything, showing their disapproval, often for a long time staying in silence. This silence is cold and harsh, very difficult to take it without emotional reaction. They hide behind impassable wall and refusing any responsibility how they make the victim feel.

2. The self-destructive: they threat their victims with holding out the prospect of committing suicide or self-destructive action. Their aim is intimidation and the victim feels there is no other choice than surrender. These type of autocrats mask themselves weak.

3. The martyr: they expect that their needs should be satisfied by others what they don’t express openly and clearly. They expect people around being a mind-reader and know what they need. If those needs are not satisfied the victim must suffer and it’s the victim’s fault-accusation. They are continuously busy with how bad they feel and identify the lack of mind-reading capacity with a lack of care. In the mirror they see themselves as martyrs-victims, hardly ever undertake to make situations clear or asking something. Their outward can be weak but in real they are silent dictators. They are always the victims of circumstances. The reason of their unhappiness is that the victim didn’t give them something very important which is missing to be happy. Usually they take aim at the saviour-solicitude instincts of the victim. They really seem like need so much care.

4. The torturer: the most sophisticated autocrats. They promise a lot of “awards” if they get what they want but actually their promises never become real because the victim never can be enough good for that. They take aim at the acceptance-family intimacy instincts of the victim.

Every types of emotional black mail undermine the victims’ self-esteem. In my next post I write more about this topic.

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Passive-aggressive personality and how to handle it

“I didn’t know that you wanted now.” “I’m just joking!” “It doesn’t matter, it’s up to you!” “Of course, of course however…!” Door slamming and sulking?

Life with a passive-aggressive person is very difficult, full with fury, anger and hot temper and pain. The problem with this partner is that always does things differently and it’s said and almost impossible to talk honestly with. How is this person exactly? This person is a stubborn saboteur who rarely expresses his/her hostile resistance face to face. Twists the truth and always comes up with counter-arguments and doesn’t want to work for the same goal as we would like to, doesn’t matter if it’s in work or private life. Malicious news-monger, with a style of sarcasm, always tease others and always criticizes those ideas which are not his/her own. Generally this person makes uncomfortable demands on others, often doesn’t deign to attention others, most of the times denies own responsibility. At work often holds back important information and blames others if something goes wrong. Often willing to be seemed as a victim, likes to seem being weak to get care and attention. Actually this person inside is distrustful and irresolute in his/her own suitability and initiative ability. Not easy to cope with a person who is ambivalent and has these characteristics. Roots of this kind of personality dates back into childhood.

If this problem is familiar to you let’s see what you can do if you face with passive-aggressive strategy. I’m giving you some tips how you can “handle” it.

Recognize what you are facing with – the sooner the better!

Easy to leave the passive-aggressive behaviour warning signs out of consideration when our relationship just has started. We are willing to acquit the passive-aggressive person especially in the beginning, and we hope that “inconvenient accident” happened but won’t again.

Certain passive-aggressive types incite conflicts preferably home and others rather at work. Some of them uses this behaviour pattern with everybody, some of them just with the opposite sex or with those who with he/she feels can or must compete. Think of it! What kind of patterns could you recognize? Which are those situations where you push his/her buttons?

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The key to all of given advises, is to have, already has set up own stable boundaries which are comfortable for you. Don’t be afraid of offending the passive-aggressive person by refusal.

Understand the motivation of the passive-aggressive strategy!

It’s not your job to change this person, also not being his/her advisor or therapist. But if you step back a bit and understand the hidden motivation of his/her behaviour, you will be able to deal with it easier, without letting be undermined your self-confidence. The passive-aggressive strategy comes to the front when this person is feeling powerless and not being important (or don’t feel being important) to fill up expectations. The fear of being defeated and fail again when his/her self-esteem can be damaged, wakes up his/her survival instinct of passive-aggressive behaviour. This subconscious strategy is the only one tool which helps this person to deal with anxiety to avoid becoming a victim again.

Avoid to give reason to the passive-aggressive behaviour!

Of course you don’t need to feel like walking on eggshells. That’s impossible and unacceptable to live like that without serious personality damages. People with passive-aggressive behavior chose partner subconsciously who with they can relive their power fights what were significant in their family in the past. If you could recognize that your conflict-partner tries to win on own losses what he/she experienced in the past, change your previous communication mode and make yourself understand what kind of behaviour or communication forms provoke passive-aggressive reactions. Is it possible that you don’t enforce or provoke the other’s passive-aggressive behaviour? Think through what kind of role you have in this particular relationship! The passive-aggressive person is very unreliable in himself/herself actually. If you see it like that, you might feel handle the situation with more empathy and will be able to handle his/her frustration easier.

Are you the passive sufferer whom is the rescuer and the only one who really understanding him/her? Better you to know that you actually spoil the other’s passive-aggressive tendencies if you didn’t express your own needs and didn’t set up boundaries in this relationship. If you gave free play to the passive-aggressive behaviour reaching its goal, your conflict-partner will get with what he/she wants or needs by using destructive behaviour. Don’t let it! I know it’s hard to resist, easier to give in to him/her, to avoid conflicts but in a long-term, it’s more harmful than you think. Why would he/she change if you always find excuses for him/her? If you do, you just re-make a kind of parent-child roles in your relationship.

Choose the happy medium!

Pay attention also if you get into a judge or critical role, if you tell to your conflict-partner that he/she should change or disparagingly cast that should be more responsible for own behaviour in his/her face, this can re-make the same situation and emotion (recall) for him/her what he/she went through in the past. In those particular situations he/she was surrounded by high expectations, dominant opinions and behaviour in what his/her passive-aggressive behaviour was established and got stronger and stronger. Easier in those situation if we use a harmless humor, which is able to highlight the truth but also disarm the inconvenient behaviour and helps you to stay calm and conscious simultaneously sending a message of acceptance.

People with passive-aggressive behaviour don’t believe in they can get attention. Ask him/her how he/she would handle the situation, ask his/her opinion. If you get just complaints or critics don’t be defy him/her but also. Express that you keep in mind what he/she said and make an effort to build up cooperation but without getting the upper hand of him/her – in the same time also set up your own necessary boundaries. Hold out the prospect of outcome of his/her behaviour to him/her if he/she doesn’t cooperate. Give positive feedbacks as much as possible especially if your conflict-partner is expressing his/her own need openly instead or force or manipulation. You must have a confident attitude, ability to set up your boundaries and acceptance can give you constructive opportunities for cooperation. Build new basis into your wrong-working relationship. Never late to start!

Living with a passive-aggressive person is very exhausting. Their behaviour completely can undermine your self-esteem and forcing you to be 100% tolerant and acceptable all the time simultaneously overshadowing you. Without a convenient protective behaviour you just burn out after a while. Before it happens ask yourself, does it worth? Why do I stay in a relationship like this?

If you believe your relationship (or you) worth to be saved I can guide you how to get back your self-confidence and setting up healthy boundaries.

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Constructive quarrel

Constructive quarrel

When we think of quarrelling we all get a negative feeling about it however constructive quarrels exist if we do it on an appropriate way. In fact they are necessary for balanced relationships. “If the sun always shine, everything get burned” – Arab proverb.

Of course in the beginning of the relationship everyone is against the thought of argument but sooner or later disagreements or difference of opinions appear and if we don’t learn to dispute smartly at the end quarrel ends up with bawling or with a disability of expressing or addressing problems.

How is a non-constructive quarrel going?

First of all people use and say “you always”, “you never” or “you constantly”. Second, using qualificative sentences like “Of course you have not done it because you are lazy, you are unreliable, you are stupid…etc.” Third, after a while just keep repeating the same and not even hear what the partner is saying because not communicating with each other. Fourth, the quarrel finishes with slamming doors or sleeping on sofa instead of mutual understanding and concession.

The other example of wrong quarrel culture is the conflict avoidance which is expressed in passive-aggressive behaviour or play. Even though the parties try to pretend there is no problem, the conflict is significant and exist, without letting get into the surface it works inside and no way to solve it without talking or addressing. This kind of “problem management” is the worst because even if we believe with covering up we can save our relationship, it happens just in a short term, in a long term this kind of “solution” just makes damages. In the past we could hear a lot of wise and old advises like “You must learn to be silent and endure with patience to have a good relationship”. This is the silent killer of a relationship. If two people love each other and accept the fact they are different individuals with different way of thinking should be unambiguous they don’t agree all the time and there are things what they like to be done on a different way. I don’t say that everyone should address every small issues but should feel the freedom to do with important problem without fears.

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Constructive quarrel

To have a constructive quarrel we need to have some primary conditions which are: mutual respect towards each other, acceptance of difference, being focus on the status quo which is we are in a relationship and equality.

In a constructive quarrel we don’t qualify the partner, we don’t use generalizations and we strive for understanding and concession.

Of course to keep eye on all them is difficult but learnable.

There are physical terms also, we need some soberness because if we are on the edge we are not able to think before say it and not able to listen to the partner objectively. Very important also timing. We should not address any serious problems to our partner when we see she/he is very tired or hungry, we should look for optimal circumstances when our partner probably will be a more understandable listener.

Very important in the mutual understanding that how we address our messages. Instead of expressing how our partner is, better to highlight how we feel about it or his/her behaviour. With using an unfair generalization we can trigger an immediate protection or indignation but with expressing our emotions we might open a gate. Using “self-messages” like “I feel like…” or “It makes me feel….” are bricks of constructive quarrel because they are not aggressive.

Also very important to make the situation clear, so many times happen it was just a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of something without any harmful intent behind.

If we learn how to manage a constructive quarrel at the end we feel both of us stood up for own thoughts and emotions, we understood each other, there is no negative feeling left and the status quo still remains.  Nevertheless we solved the problem.

In a good relationship the aim is not to not have quarrels but the relationship is improving and growing through them.

If you see there are similar patterns repeatedly are coming back in a quarrel, contact me and learn how to quarrel on a constructive and effective way.

Relationship expectations

Expectations in relationship – Who is in the focus?

In time the focus had been shifted from “us” to “me or I”. Visible how we used more often in the past “we” but nowadays we use more self-preferentiality which means we use more often “I or me”. Today we think that: “You are (here with me) to give me.” It means we need another person for building up ourselves best version, being ourselves.

The need of connection

When we define ourselves we do it always related to others who with we interact in our different roles. We define ourselves differently as a mother, a friend or a wife so we exist with different expectations in every each different roles. In our relationships also appeared an expectation which is, our partner or friend finds out or see what we need, like mind-reading. This called mentalization. The ability of mentalization means, we are able to step in the other person’s shoes, we are able to think with the other person’s mind and we are able to figure out the other person’s desires or wishes. Successful mentalization is necessary to connect to others. With learning mentalization, our self-image and how is to love and being loved, is becoming built in our functioning schemas. We learn how safe to show ourselves or our own emotions, or how our love is acceptable to others. If we have maladaptive schemas regarding to relationship that influences our way of feeling and thinking and acting in roles. Until we identify maladaptive schemas, we carry them from relationship to relationship doing exactly the same mistakes all the time, over and over again.

We must learn to understand and use our partner’s love language, getting into his/her system to get closer. Love language is how we express our love to our partner.
Outside element
While the number of our expectations are increasing, we see how, the illusion of the perfect world is growing as well. We can read about perfect families, perfect relationships, about perfect conflict managements and with those statements we face with a fact we do not live our life on a perfect way. This PICTURE PERFECT ILLUSION really can cause an invisible anxiety daily. Perfection is always depends on a point of view. What exactly means perfect? Everything what we see or feel as reality we do through our own preferences, which defines our values, expectations and ideologies. If we know our own expectations and desires, and we do effort to know and discover our own emotional blind-spot, decrease it, in this case we are able to see ourselves more clearly in our relationships as well and functioning better.

Relationship changes

What is the key for a good functioning relationship? What is its dynamism, progression or difficulties? What can we do for having harmony, living in harmony with our partner?

The modern world has brought a lot of changes into how we maintain a relating to other people in our relationship as well, what kind of expectations we have towards to our partner. If we hear desire/wish and expectation we can find two different underlying meaning mass. Regarding these two words we all have different association or thoughts. If we talk about desires or wishes, comes up like what we would like, what crave for, what we yearn of or what is the center of our reverie and what for we are eager and be able to wait patiently. With the word of expectation we transmit something different, like what we want, what we must have to be and feel well.
The nature of relationship has been changing a lot, and also the fact what we expect or can expect from our partner in a relationship. For a long time marriage was the prototype of relationship. A while ago marriage meant two people live together and form producing/economic unit. Cultivated lands, kept of livestock to provide for their own family. There one expectation existed, commitment to each other. Husband and wife worked for to achieve the same goal, relatively close to each other. Since they worked and were close to each other they had common experiences. In the 17th century another expectation appeared, to have emotions. Appeared the ideal of love, and the perfect conditions was to love and being loved, and having commitments to each other. The aim was to find “the one” and live happily forever in love. By time another expectation appeared as well, like having a good intimacy with our partner. Commitment, love and being good in bed and we expect and want them non-stop. We want to be happy all the time with our partner but reality often creates another outcomes. Just see that, how many hours we spend separately from our partner just with working. Not long time ago another expectation have got seen: spiritual growth together. Having a demand to grow-develop together to not lose our connection. Here creating the list of expectations has not been finished, we have more and more complex expectations which must be satisfied by our partner. On that score our doubtfulness can increase towards ourselves and according to the ideal, like really one person is able to fulfill all of our complex expectations? Is she/he is “the one”?