Types of emotional blackmail

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Robert Maurer
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Types of emotional blackmail

According to various studies, victims of emotional blackmail often suffer from psychosomatic disorders. The burden of manipulation results in physical pain and discomfort.

Last update: April 27, 2022

Somehow all of us have been victims of emotional blackmail at some point in our life. For example, sometimes we experience it with those relatives capable of taking on the necessary responsibilities or the "friends" who manipulate us at will to achieve their goals. There are, in fact, different types of emotional blackmail.



We could clearly say that emotional blackmail is an art of toxicity and control. A cryptic control in which our affection and love are used to achieve a purpose and keep us strongly attached to the person in question.

Perhaps right now you are victims of such a dynamic? It's possible. In this case, you are probably experiencing the slow, sharp pain of those behaviors against which you felt helpless at first. The main problem is that in most cases it is the people most dear to us who skillfully display these behaviors.

We give in and obey because we love the person who performs this art, thus allowing our self-esteem to gradually erode like a rock against the onslaught of the sea, like a small sailboat that is lost on the horizon. Not only is it an attack on our emotional integrity, but our health suffers as well.

It is strange how lightly the wicked believe that everything will be fine for them.

-Victor Hugo-

Emotional blackmail and health

Shame and guilt are direct consequences of emotional blackmail. We look in the mirror and wonder why we gave up. We are aware of having to react, nevertheless once again we fall into the ambush.



Without knowing it, we may have offered that "pound of flesh" so close to the heart that the character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice demanded. And doubts appear.

The person who is the victim of emotional abuse repeats phrases such as "I will not be fooled again", "It was the last time". Still, it happens again. Self-esteem and integrity turn into the shadow of tears and self-deception, the inner compass is lost and the first symptoms appear almost without noticing them.

Continuous headache, musculoskeletal pain, those that strain the back, the neck, the same pain that barely allows us to fall asleep. Rashes or minor skin diseases appear in response to high levels of stress.

When the levels of cortisol in the blood increase, the circulatory and heart systems are affected, so there is tachycardia, breathlessness or even dizziness.

Sudden sweats, dry mouth, cold hands, digestive disorders and, in essence, continued fatigue are clear symptoms of a problem; the mind-body connection results in psychosomatic symptoms that we shouldn't ignore.

According to medical data, almost 25% of our physical discomforts have a psychosomatic origin. Similarly, the study conducted by Dr Dominique Hange, of the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), warns us of this relationship.

Emotional blackmail often causes psychosomatic disturbances in victims. In other words, there are areas in our life that we need to resolve to the extent possible in order for us to be well.

5 types of emotional blackmail

We present a brief summary of the main types of emotional blackmail. It is worth knowing them to fight them.


1. Seduction

Men or women who are very helpful, kind and attentive to details. They take care of every request and know how to be extremely charming and the first to do anything for us.


But be careful because everything has a price: every favor must be returned and it will cause a sense of guilt. “I paid for that trip”, “You can't refuse now knowing full well all that I have sacrificed for you”.

2. Victimism

Victimization is among the main types of emotional blackmail. They will target us and cause all their misfortunes, manipulating negative emotions in the most harmful way possible.

"I behave like this for how you treat me", "You have a special ability to humble me, I don't know how you do it". They are small examples of this manipulation which, in reality, it is a clear abuse psychological.

3. Silent punishers

Silent punishers engage in emotional blackmail in a highly destructive way. In this case, they cause in us a highly damaging instability to which it is difficult to react, as sometimes they praise us and others humiliate us.

We will never know what to expect. Days in which we are all their life and moments in which they address phrases like: “You think you are the most perfect person in the world and in reality you are nothing.


You are the weakest and most ridiculous person I have ever met. You only bring me bad luck ”. Beware of these behaviors, you have to react as soon as possible.

4. Self-earners

Classic manipulator profile. People who often address us with expressions such as the following: “It is clear that you don't love me anymore, that's why you ignore me and go with your friends”, “I see how much you care for me, you haven't even called me. It is clear that you want to end me and this relationship. That's why you went to that dinner with your colleagues ”.

It is very likely that after hearing these words we try to convince them that this is not the case. And to do that, we give up on a business dinner, for example, and the other person will have won once again. If we give up our self-esteem, we will lose it. Better not to do it for our good and our health.


5. Types of emotional blackmail: "just one more time"

These profiles use to their advantage the technique of social psychology known as "foot in the door". They are people to whom we do a favor and who, to thank us, ask for another. They argue that it does not amount to a great cost to us, after all we have done it before.

They accompany their requests with gestures of pity, trying to appear weaker or make the favor they ask seem more necessary than it really is "You know if it wasn't necessary, I wouldn't ask you."

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