Emotional Blackmail Book Summary - Emotional Blackmail Book explained in key points
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Emotional Blackmail summary

Susan Forward Donna Frazier

When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You

4.5 (177 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward and Donna Frazier is a guide to identifying and dealing with emotional manipulators.
It helps readers recognize and resist the tactics used by manipulators so they can break free from their control and establish healthy boundaries.

Table of Contents

    Emotional Blackmail
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 7

    Emotional blackmail is a subtle form of manipulation that may shape some of our closest relationships.

    Leaked government secrets or organized crime might be the first things that come to mind when you think about blackmail. But blackmail is something that happens in our private lives, too. Emotional blackmail may be lurking behind some of your closest relationships.

    Like other types of blackmail, emotional blackmail is rooted in a fundamental threat. Usually, it’s something along the lines of “If you don’t do this for me, you will suffer the consequences.”

    Classic emotional blackmail occurs when someone threatens to end a relationship when she knows the other person cares too much about her to let that happen, and that the person would do anything to prevent it if forced. Essentially, whenever people threaten to make you suffer if you don’t give them what they want, you’re being emotionally blackmailed. Chances are, you’ve been emotionally blackmailed more than a handful of times over the course of your life.

    So why do we let it happen to us? The problem is that it’s all too easy to walk straight into a blackmailer’s trap without realizing it. Emotional blackmail happens in close relationships, as the blackmailer knows you and your weaknesses extremely well. For instance, a blackmailer might get the best of someone who prides herself on her generosity, compassion and loyalty by calling her greedy, insensitive and untrustworthy. Unless, of course, she does what the blackmailer wants her to do.

    Despite the deep psychological suffering this behavior causes, emotional blackmail remains hard to recognize for another reason: we don’t want to see it. Let’s face it, the fact that your loved one is manipulating you is a bitter truth to swallow. Many of us would rather turn a blind eye. But if you’ve decided it’s time to weed out toxic relationships in your life, stay tuned for the next blink.

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    What is Emotional Blackmail about?

    Emotional Blackmail (1997) helps us understand, identify, confront and remedy manipulation in our closest relationships. These blinks are filled with insightful explanations about the true nature of toxic relationships and provide you with the tools you need to break out of this vicious cycle.

    Emotional Blackmail Review

    Emotional Blackmail (1997) explores the manipulative tactics individuals use to control and manipulate others' emotions, and provides insights into breaking free from this toxic cycle. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers a practical toolkit with strategies and techniques to identify and confront emotional blackmail, empowering readers to regain control over their own lives.
    • Enlightens readers with real-life case studies and relatable stories, making the book engaging and relatable.
    • With its introspective exercises and thought-provoking questions, the book encourages self-reflection and personal growth, ensuring it never becomes monotonous or boring.

    Who should read Emotional Blackmail?

    • Anyone tired of fighting a losing battle with a loved one
    • People who suspect they let fear run their life
    • People who want to empower themselves in their relationships

    About the Author

    Susan Forward, PhD, is a therapist and an internationally renowned expert in relationship and familial conflicts. She is the author of the number one The New York Times bestsellers Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them and Toxic Parents.

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    Emotional Blackmail FAQs 

    What is the main message of Emotional Blackmail?

    The main message of Emotional Blackmail is recognizing and breaking free from manipulative emotional control.

    How long does it take to read Emotional Blackmail?

    Reading time for Emotional Blackmail varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Emotional Blackmail a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Emotional Blackmail is a compelling read that sheds light on manipulative tactics. It offers actionable insights for personal growth.

    Who is the author of Emotional Blackmail?

    Susan Forward with Donna Frazier

    What to read after Emotional Blackmail?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Emotional Blackmail, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • In Sheep’s Clothing by George Simon Jr.
    • The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
    • Brainfluence by Roger Dooley
    • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
    • Influence is Your Superpower by Zoe Chance
    • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz