top of page

I tried, I tried and it was only getting worse. Or the shadow of Emotional Blackmail.

Since it is a problem that I encounter very often in my practice, and with which many people struggle on a daily basis, I want to share a little more about it and especially about the possibilities that we have in the face of emotional manipulation.

One in ten people suffer from histrionic personality disorder. Group B includes all conditions that are characterized by difficulties in regulating emotions, impulsive and unpredictable behavior. The word 'histrionic' means 'dramatic, 'theatrical'.

Narcissistic personality disorder refers to the group of dramatic personality disorders. It combines an unstable emotional state with a distorted view of one's own personality. It is characterized by exaggerated self-esteem and a sense of superiority.

Emotional instability can be a serious obstacle in normal communication. If you do everything in your power to conduct a dialogue and reach mutual understanding, and the reactions against you are not cooperative, on the contrary - you feel that there is something weird, you may even wonder - " What did I not say clearly? What am I not representing well enough?” and instead of well-intentioned questions that aim to "fix" the situation and bring things to a positive resolution, you see :

• Demanding admiration from others

• Expectation of unwavering good treatment, regardless of behavior

• accusations;

• the way they speak is disrespectful and offensive;

• highly expressed destructive anger (anger that carries an affect, but looking for how to improve things is another);

• highly offensive;

• Unaccepting and unable to explore a point of view other than their own;

• forgetting about one's mistakes and exaggerating others';

• a sense of theatricality in reactions - strong and dramatic reactions that want to demonstrate a fragile soul and vulnerability, and the way they talk to you does not correspond to it, on the contrary - rude, insulting, hypocritical and quickly after that from a strong upset can move on to the "next";

• drawing attention solely to their experiences;

• inability to read the emotions of others;

• ignoring and forgetting real events and reacting sharply to anything that does not present them in a good light;

• selective recall of situations, including the part that can support their thesis, while the other facts are ignored;

And most of all:

• Lack of dialogue - they will always try to escape from direct questions and especially the uncomfortable ones, they can also use excuses such as their health and anything to runaway from their personal responsibility in the situation;

• they will aim for and will not lead the situation towards reaching balance - so that it is honest, fair and good for both parties, they will always see only themselves and lead the conversation to improve only and only their conditions.

If rational and constructive arguments are systematically swept away without reciprocal benevolent and constructive behavior, then it is highly likely that you are surrounded by a person who masters and lives the methods of emotional blackmail.

It is important to remember that he did not become this way from something very good, he probably experienced traumatic events himself that triggered such behavior. It is more helpful to try to reduce your anger by rationalizing the situation. If you talk to such a person, remember that they are very good at manipulation and probably better than you, so don't give them what they want - to upset and challenge you, to make you angry, to get emotional reactions, so to be able to apply their model. The less you react, the less ground there will be for more problems - because your goal may be to solve the problem, but not theirs - they need your strong reaction, not positive results and conflict resolution .

If you recognize these traits yourself, congratulations on having the strength to admit them! This means that you have every chance to improve them when you work on them and want to change them.

Psychotherapy is the most effective tool, and its main goals are:

Decreasing emotional distress;

Developing coping and communication skills;

Increasing self-esteem;

Awareness of one's own role in stressful situations;

Awareness of own emotions and actions.

There are tests that could assess the presence of histrionic or narcissistic behaviors. But since this is a responsible task, it is important that the diagnosis is made by a psychiatrist. People with personality disorders usually do not admit to having a mental health problem and do not seek help. More often, it is their relatives who take this step


bottom of page