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.