Emotional blackmail is one of the techniques that manipulators use to get things their way. They play with your emotions until they finally gain complete control over you.
After that, they treat you like a puppet and pull the strings the way they want.
Sometimes, you don’t even recognize that you’re being emotionally blackmailed. You can’t point out the actions that clearly show you’re being manipulated to play by your partner’s rules.
The reason for that is the fact that your boyfriend is probably taking some minor steps that will allow him to call the shots with you.
At first, you won’t even realize what’s actually going on but if you pay closer attention to his behavior, it’ll then hit you that the seemingly insignificant things he’s doing are really signs of emotional blackmail.
1. He constantly points out your flaws
It’s one thing when your partner is honest with you and warns you of the things you should work on for the sake of your well-being.
In this case, he won’t keep repeating your imperfections all the time and he’ll do his best to help you change yourself for the better.
But when he keeps pointing out your flaws constantly and at some point it becomes the main topic of your conversations, that’s when you know there’s something wrong.
A subtle sign of emotional blackmail from your partner is when he does his best to remind you of your flaws. What he actually achieves with this is that he makes you doubt yourself.
The moment you start doubting yourself, the fear evokes panic and you’re afraid that you may lose him. Or even worse, you start thinking that no one else could ever love you if this relationship ends.
That’s why you start playing by your partner’s rules and doing things that make him happy. You convince yourself that you must do as he wants so that he doesn’t break up with you.
This only proves that he made you think that he’s your best shot and that you could never find someone to love you if he decides to end this relationship.
2. You get punished after fights
After every argument, you get punished. I don’t mean that he physically attacks you or anything like that but he simply walks away from you without saying a word.
You’ve probably found excuses for this behavior, like he was feeling upset and needed some time to think about everything. In reality, however, this is a form of emotional blackmail that he uses to be the one in control.
Trust me, the moment he disappears after a fight without letting you know that he’ll be gone or that he needs to clear his mind, you should see that as blackmail.
He consciously makes the decision to leave you waiting for him because he knows that you’ll feel bad about the whole situation.
You’ll figure out that he was hurt by the argument which will then make you apologize to him.
Plus once he comes back, you’ll also do whatever he wants you to, since you’ll feel the need to show him you’re sorry for what just happened.
If he was a real man who genuinely cared about your feelings, he would never shift all of the blame onto you by playing mind games with you.
Instead, he would accept his part of the blame and you would work together on finding a solution.
Even if he needed some space in the middle of an argument, he should let you know that so you’re aware of the reason why he’s taking a step back.
3. He tests you
If your partner is emotionally blackmailing you then he’ll surely put you through some tests you must pass before you earn his approval.
Maybe he’ll want you to change your hair color before he introduces you to his friends or if you want him to take you out, he’ll ask you to let him play video games with his friends first.
If you fail to do as he asks, you won’t get the promised reward. This behavior sounds childish but it has some long-term effects that put him in control and make you act the way he wants you to.
And trust me, there’s nothing positive about that.
4. He keeps score of the things he’s done for you
He’ll often do things he doesn’t really want to but not because he wants to see you happy. Instead, his initial plan is to keep score so he can demand that you do some things he knows you would never normally do.
The moment you reject him, he’ll rub it in your face about those times he did something for you, and now you don’t want to do something nice for him.
He’ll call you selfish without actually realizing that he’s the one who’s acting that way.
The fact that he keeps score in a relationship just so he can get the things that he wants is selfish to the bone and it’s a sign that he’s emotionally blackmailing you.
5. He makes sure to convince you that he’s the only person you can turn to for advice
At first, this may feel like your partner honestly cares about you. He wants you to know that you can confide in him, no matter what.
But is he really being honest or is there something deeper that’s hiding underneath this behavior?
You guessed right! This is a clear sign of emotional blackmail that doesn’t seem as such at first.
The thing is, he doesn’t really think that he’ll always be there for you. Instead, he wants to isolate you from your friends and the rest of your family.
He wants you to live in a world where he’s the only person you can rely on. Slowly but surely, he’ll make you feel like your friends are a bad choice and that your family is toxic.
He’ll play with your emotions until you finally start thinking that he’s the only one you can trust. After that, he’ll have full control over you and it’ll be almost impossible to escape from the chains he put around you.