Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You” as Want to Read:
Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,419 ratings  ·  254 reviews
Emotional blackmail is a powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us threaten to punish us for not doing what they want. Emotional blackmailers know how much we value our relationships with them. They know our vulnerabilities and our deepest secrets. They can be our parents or partners, bosses or coworkers, friends or lovers. And no matter how much they care ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Harper Paperbacks (first published 1997)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Emotional Blackmail, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jackie I am reading this book ow and will let you know. Go to amazon and look at the reviews...it is very thought provoking. Jackie

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,419 ratings  ·  254 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You
Autumn Darling
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This extremely straight forward book is an absolute MUST READ. My husband's mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and has been emotionally blackmailing him and his siblings for YEARS. I picked up on it pretty quickly, but didn't know how to handle her attempts to control me, my relationship with her son, or my decisions in raising our daughters without getting extremely angry and lashing out.

I knew that there was a better way to deal with this woman, without letting everything she
...more
Jessi
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It took me a while to get through this book because I wanted to make sure to really absorb it (including using a highlighter and taking notes). I have a family member who is very manipulative and I know I have to change the way I deal with them rather than trying to change them. Now that I've finished the book, I feel better equipped to handle the ridiculous requests / demands that I've come to expect from this person. I know that it will be uncomfortable and a bit scary to break the familiar cy ...more
Dave Burns
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: skimmed, library
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but ideally we will negotiate to a win-win solution. Manipulators fight dirty. They make demands, and if you resist they respond with pressure, guilt trips, and threats.

I was disappointed with part II of the book, where the author was supposed to show us how to deal with manipulators. She had some good points in there, but I don't think she really gives the reader much to go on with regard to strategies for change. She tries, but it seemed vague, nothi
...more
Bibliophile Rose
I would like to thank my mother in law for giving me this book which helped me a lot to understand my emotional blackmail person.

Before reading this book, I was devastated, confused and hopeless. Because of my emotional blackmailer who is my Mother.
And you know how we should treat and respect our parents. But my mother took this as an advantage to her. She always demands from me to do things that I can't do, and if I say no she starts blackmailing me. and her famous statement "I thought you're m
...more
Debbie Bateman
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as research for a short story I'm writing, but was struck by how common many of the emotional blackmail techniques described in this book actually are. Family members, friends, and employers often use these strategies without anyone thinking about what's going on. If you're a generous person, you could be taken advantage of easily.

As the author points out, a lot of emotional abuse mimics normal behaviour and can be difficult to identify for that reason. What makes emotional bla
...more
Apryl Anderson
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Similar to the other books of this genre, it sheds light on the dark places of our relationships. Forward's key phrase for recognizing when we're being manipulated is FOG: fear, obligation, guilt. What you do with that requires practice. Forward offers concrete and logical advice. What you do with it is your responsibility.
Tweedledum
I stumbled across a reference to this book online while searching for more advice/support/ insight as to what to do / how to cope with a very difficult family situation. I ordered the book online and it arrived from the US about a week later. Have read it cover to cover over the last two days ( it felt like water in the desert) and found so much wisdom and practical advice packed inside I could just kiss the author! I went straight out this morning and bought a notebook to use start to rethinkin ...more
Ashlie
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! This books makes it crystal clear the behaviors of one who consistantly uses emotional blackmail to get their way. Outstanding, easy read. I found myself highlighting points in almost every chapter. It is truly amazing how Frazier describes FOG (Fear, Obligation, and Guilt) that so many blackmailers use to make their victims bend. It can be ever so slight to completely obvious. Once you know the pattern, it makes it quite easy to spot what is happening and put in place the tools ...more
Rebekka Steg
I recently finished reading this book (although I did read the Danish translation) and it's made a great impression on me. It is definitely something I've struggled with in my past relationship. Allowing someone to run all over me, using guilt, threats or verbal abuse to make me give in.

Not only does the book deal with what emotional blackmail is, it also tells you the background for it, and what you can do to stop it from happening again, by working on yourself and your own behaviour.
Crystal
May 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I think everyone should read this book. I know what you are thinking...just another self-help book, but this book will help you deal with anyone difficult in your life and also realize when you yourself aren't acting reasonably. I could relate to a great deal in this book and I'm sure you will too.
Zoe
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Most illuminating
Passenger B.
Susan Forward is always very thorough in any of the books she writes, gives many examples to those personalities who blackmail and manipulate, lists various reasons and ways to handle such people and the emotions and thoughts that come with it.
It is definitely one of the books I always recommend to anyone interested in what are often referred to as "toxic personalities" nowadays.
Sophia
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
THIS is what my stepfather does. He is toatally a punisher! Its nice to have names for things, it makes them seem more manageable, more comprehensive. It helps my brain organize behavior idk idk. I actually did take a lot of really great stuff from this book. Some of it Ive been doing for a while, but most of it i haven't really been conscious of, and a lot of her advice and techniques are brilliant. Like non-devensive communication, i used taht with my mother last night and it was great. I mean ...more
Sonder
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wish it was not as focused on couple relationships, even though there were other examples of relationships. This book was really easy to read and gives tools to understand ourselves better when we're in the middle of a storm. It was also heartwarming to read all those stories about real people.
Ladiibbug
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Non-Fiction

Superb, life changing book. Originally published in 1997 by Susan Forward Ph.D. with Donna Frazier, this is at least the third time I've read this book.

This straightforward explanation of emotional blackmail types of behavior -- people who use guilt, fear, punishment (emotional or physical etc.) -- to get what they want also explains in crystal clear detail how to break through those personality traits and protect yourself and restore your self esteem.

Susan Forward's Toxic Parents is
...more
Nicole
Nov 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Nicole by: my sister
Shelves: communication
I read this book because I know I've dealt with emotional blackmail in my life, and I wanted to gain some perspective on it.

Overall I think this book was good because it was an easy read (there are many stories about her clients that make the book interesting, and you want to find out what happens to them). There were definitely some interesting points throughout the book, but for the most part the points seemed self-evident to me.

The book is aimed more so at those currently experiencing emotion
...more
Shelli
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I'd read this book many years ago. Very useful.
DeAnna Knippling
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A book that clarifies how some people use fear, obligation, and guilt in order to control you and set aside their own issues.

This was a very practical book that works on helping you get your head clear and stop beating yourself up about what's going on: just because you put up with something in the past doesn't mean you have to do so now.

Recommended if you're wondering if it's you, if you're *sure* it has to be you, and yet if nothing you do seems to make anything any better.
Jessica Williams
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
It took me so long to get through this book, but it was only because of how difficult the subject matter was. This book was given to me by my friend's mother after a long talk about my mother, my ex, and very trapped feelings I've held for a long time. Not only did it open my eyes to their behavior, but it made me realize that I have some things to change about myself as well.

This book is very well written with a lot of logical exercises to put into action. Susan makes examples of several clien
...more
YHC
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's a very good self-review book that when I read it i kept looking at myself to see if i actually am a person who also give emotional blackmail. I think we are all more or less this kind toward certain people. I think the good thing is i find what i have and i will try to correct it or improve it.
The simplest is stay calm and think over and over the incidents happened in front of us. Before we react, we need to be careful, try to behave like outsider, practice to jump out of that situation cou
...more
Amber Lea
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Yeah, my main complaint about this book is that Susan Forward makes a lot of assumptions about the motivations of people she's never met and states her assumptions as fact, and I think that's a bad precedent to set. Like, don't do that, and don't encourage your readers to do it. Don't assume you know where this behavior comes from when you really have no way of knowing, just focus on learning how to deal with it.

Also, I wish she was more clear about what's emotional blackmail and what isn't. Bec
...more
Eliot
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Many tactics that will only work against an amateur "emotional blackmailer"
Nihal Abu Arida
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
مفيد للغاية .
Well written , and I like how it's smooth in moving from one section to another ; makes you move forward along with actions .
Maame
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book. What inspired me to read this was when I was sharing a life update with a friend. I was rationalizing my relationships and current circumstances and a friend of mine helped me get out of my FOG (a term mentioned in the book) by being honest with me by telling me I was being manipulated. She never referred this book to me but I added it to my list on Goodreads and decided to read it. I was able to relate to most of the scenarios in the book to help me realize w ...more
Bảo Ngọc
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
how emotional blackmail works best in the FOG;
• why certain character traits might make you more susceptible to blackmail; and
• how your points of pride might become weapons for your blackmailer.

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

There are six key symptoms of emotional blackmail - desire, resistance, pressure, threats, compliance and, finally, repetition.

FOG – or fear, obligation and guilt – blinds us from emotional blackmail.

A d
...more
Amy
Oct 19, 2010 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. I had been doing some research on Adult Bullying and came across Emotional Blackmail. It is definitely a good book to read if you are in or have been in an unhealthy relationship whether it be with a friend, colleague, or family member. It gives a lot of insight into those individuals who leave us feeling like we are the crazy culprit when in fact,they are. After reading this, I feel a lot more confident about how to handle running into an emotional blackmailer/Bully ...more
Mike
Jun 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: counseling
I would have given this book more stars, but the author left God completely out of the picture. She did a great job of describing what emotional blackmail is and how we normally respond to it. But because she couldn't take us to God and a real change of our self image, she was stuck with simply behavior modification or cognitive behavioral change. These work to some extent, but not for real down to the bone change.

So it was really good as far as it went, but it couldn't go far enough to be reall
...more
Dawna
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: big-impact
I am so impressed with this book. Really great insight, how I wish that I'd have read this years and years ago. Susan not only points out with great clarity exactly how and why you are being manipulated, but more importantly, how your behavior sets the stage for it to continue. It's unhealthy interaction from both sides.
Honestly, I think that every person I know would benefit from it in some way, and I'm planning on buying lots and lots of copies to give as gifts.
Wang Boon kiat
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Susan is a very experienced counsellor. She is able to provide real cases of emotional blackmail that are closely related to us. It is frustrating when people we love blackmail us by using emotional blackmail. However, it take much courage to take a active role in saving the relationship from the bad cycle. This book provided practical solution. It is useful if you are serious in improving your relationship with love one.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Emotional Blackmail: When the people in your life use fear, obligation and guilt to manipulate you
  • You're Not Crazy - It's Your Mother! Understanding and Healing for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
  • The Book of No: 250 Ways to Say It--And Mean It--And Stop People-Pleasing Forever
  • Scripts People Live: Transactional Analysis of Life Scripts
  • 情緒勒索:那些在伴侶、親子、職場間,最讓人窒息的相處
  • Vyvenimas
  • How To Kill A Narcissist: Debunking The Myth Of Narcissism And Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse (Kill A Narcissist #1)
  • Kaip užauginti žmogų. Mintys iš vaikų psichologo smėlio dėžės
  • Lizos butas
  • My Voice Will Go with You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson
  • Per voce sola
  • Heraklis Nr. 4
  • Kaizen: The Japanese Method for Transforming Habits, One Small Step at a Time
  • تأسيس عقلية الطفل
  • Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He'll Change
  • How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results
  • The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Despair to Hope
  • Jaunystė
See similar books…
331 followers
One of the nation’s leading therapists, as well as a best selling author, dynamic lecturer and frequent talk-show guest. In addition to her private practice, she has served as a therapist, instructor and consultant for many Southern California psychiatric and medical facilities. She is the author of the #1 New York Times best sellers Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them and Toxic Parents ...more

Related Articles

Last year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen struck a chord with her viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.”...
101 likes · 16 comments
“Yet if there's one thing I know with absolute certainty, both personally and professionally, it is this: Nothing will change in our lives until we change our own behavior. Insight won't do it. Understanding why we do the self-defeating things we do won't make us stop doing them. Nagging and pleading with the other person to change won't do it. We have to act. We have to take the first step down a new road.” 17 likes
“Sok érzelmi zsarnok tapasztalta megdöbbenve, hogy az áldozat megszokott reakciója nélkül az addig jól működő zsarolási technikája kudarcra van ítélve.” 0 likes
More quotes…