Emotional Extortion

In fact, one psychologist, John Narciso (see his book “Declare Yourself,” 1975) called this category of behaviors “get my way techniques.” Another psychologist, Susan Forward, wrote a book about this emotional manipulation (“Emotional Blackmail,” 1997.) In one of my early books, “Keys to Single Parenting” (1996) I called it “emotional extortion.” In counseling, I still call it by that name.

During adolescence, when getting freedom from parents becomes increasingly important, manipulation of parental authority through lying, pretense, and pressuring becomes more common. Emotional extortion can combine all three.

Thus when pleading and argument fail to win a parent over or back a parent down, the tactics of emotional extortion can come into play. The particular emotions exploited vary according to the emotional susceptibility of the parents, but the objective is always the same—to get parents to give in or change their mind.


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