Emotional Manipulation – What are the options?
“Dont leave me, or I will kill/hurt myself” Is one of the worst forms of abuse, and the ultimate in emotional manipulation, in an effort to control and take away your right to freedom of choice.
But what to do?
If your partner regularly threatens suicide, particularly whenever you’re not doing something he or she wants you to do, or when you’re trying to leave the relationship? First, understand that this is a form of emotional abuse: your partner is trying to manipulate you by playing on your feelings of love and fear for them. You might get angry when this happens, but you also might feel like you have to give in to them in order to avoid a potential tragedy. When your partner makes these threats repeatedly, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and possibly help your partner as well.
Tell your partner you care about them, but stick to your boundaries. Giving in to threats over and over does not make a relationship healthy, and it only creates anger and resentment on your end. You could say something like, “You know I care about you very much, and I understand you’re upset right now, but I will not ___.”
Put the choice to live or die where it belongs – on your partner. You can’t be responsible for another person’s actions, no matter what – and this includes when your partner chooses to be abusive. An optional response is: “I think our relationship should be based on love and respect, not threats. I really care about you, but this is your choice and I can’t stop you from making it.”
Remember that no matter what your partner says, you don’t have to prove anything. Even though they might be saying something like, “If you really loved me, you’d stop me from killing myself,” the real truth is that there are unhealthy patterns in your relationship. Until those unhealthy patterns are addressed, they will most likely continue no matter how many times you give in to your partner’s demands.
If your partner often says they’re going to kill themselves when things aren’t going their way, they’re not showing you love – they’re likely trying to control your actions. If this is the case, consider the tips above and try to get help where you can. You might try talking to a counsellor or other professional therapist if that’s an option for you. But remember, you are not your partner’s counsellor, and you can’t force your partner to get help if they don’t want to. They have to make that choice for themselves.
Plenty of people do it and they ruin the person being abused. You will lose yourself and any willpower if you stay with them. Telling one of their family and arranging an intervention can be good to break that cycle as it stops it being ‘secret’ and puts the responsibility back on them and relief for you because someone else knows.
The other option would be to ring their GP surgery and express concerns and their GP may see them. Having a professional know about it will also break the spell and give you some relief because you won’t feel so responsible and you will see that there is actually very little you can do with a person like that.
There are options. You don’t have to continually give in to their abusive and manipulative ways.
You have freedom of choice.