The stages of emotional blackmail

Forward and Frazier identified six stages of emotional blackmail.

Stage 1: A demand

The blackmailer tells the victim what they want from them, and adds an emotional threat to it: “if you leave me I’ll hurt myself”.

Stage 2: Resistance

The victim initially resists the demand, unsurprisingly, as the demand is often unreasonable.

Stage 3: Pressure

The blackmailer pressures their victim to give in, without caring how they make them feel. They will often deliberately try and make the victim feel scared and confused, so that they will begin to wonder whether their initial resistance was reasonable.

Stage 4: A threat

The blackmail itself. “If you don’t do as I say, then I will…”.

Stage 5: Compliance

The victim gives into the threat

Stage 6: The pattern is set

The emotional blackmail cycle ends, but the pattern is now set and the blackmail will almost certainly happen again.

1 Comments on “The stages of emotional blackmail”

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