03 September 2003

Emotional blackmail and other bad things nice people do to their close ones

One of the nicer perks of getting into a relationship is the ability to emotionally blackmail your partner; the deeper the relationship, the more abuse is dished out on each other. This is the reason why, although I'm not an anti-social person, I'll never want to get married.

The whole point of 'emotional blackmail' is that the person who is being blackmailed is assumed to be so stuck in the relationship and hence, unable and unwilling to walk away from the abuse - a point that is completely lost on yours truly. The moment I sense a mindfuck coming on, I will terminate the relationship and walk away. Regardless of whether it's a long-time friend, or an acquaintance, or a working partner. It helps to have a built-in BS detector, and read between the lines...

"To be brutally honest...."

An interesting mix of the desire to cause hurt and the desire to help. In all cases, the speaker generally prefers to inflict pain. Whatever 'honesty' is tempered by the need to be brutal.

"I don't enjoy doing/saying this, but..."

The speaker obviously enjoys saying this, and has probably rehearsed this phrase several times in their head beforehand, in order to sound sagely, helpful, and reluctant.

"I thought that as a friend, you should be able to..."

Here, an attempt is made to criticise the errant party for not acting in a manner expected of "friends" (i.e. submit to occasional emotional blackmail). Although of course, the speaker has already excluded the said errant party from the definition of 'friends'.

How do we treat people we consider as friends? Perhaps one needs to reformulate and question current thinking of friends as "people whom you occasionally take advantage of, abuse, throw tantrums at..."

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