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How to confront emotional blackmailer?


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#26 Ho Ho No

Posted 14 September 2019 - 03:28 AM

When someone says

"Do what I want or I won't be in your life anymore"

I approach it by saying

"Aww! I'm gonna miss you. Do you want me to call you an uber?"

#27 lizzzard

Posted 14 September 2019 - 03:39 AM

Without really knowing the whole story I tend to get frustrated with friends who are overly forceful in their advice. I know they mean well, and I’m sure your friend is genuinely concerned about you. But you are an adult. You need to make your own decisions. I feel like she is wedded to her solution, not helping you with the issues you face.surely there are steps you can take to make the move back a positive one? I can totally understand the desire to move back and be with your son.

#28 Prancer is coming

Posted 14 September 2019 - 08:28 AM

Without knowing everything, you need to make your own decisions and I can see a bit where she is coming from, but she is not going about it the right way.  It sounds like you have spent years offloading everything to her and turned up at a very low state, and I am guessing you were suicidal or close to it.  With everything she has heard and seen, her assessment is going back will not work, and she may be very concerned for your safety if you do.  Which could be why she is being OTT with some ultimatums.  They are not helpful at all, but she is concerned.

Part of the issue is it seems you are looking for her for advice or permission to move.  You do not need to do this.  Make arrangements, thank her for her help and go.  The fact you are looking to her to make decisions probably just reinforces to her you are not ready, and may fall straight into having a person who has let you down in the past then taking on that role of decision maker for you.

Your son needs you,your daughter wants to go home and it sounds like you do too.  You are complaining your friend is emotionally blackmailing you, and hence no longer supportive, so I don’t know why you are staying.  Personally I think the reason you are not leaving is tied up in your own mental health issues rather than to do with behaviour from a friend.

Edited by Prancer is coming, 14 September 2019 - 08:30 AM.


#29 Amica

Posted 14 September 2019 - 08:51 AM

I think you should do what is right for you, and that seems to strongly favour moving.

I also agree with your friend. She has gone about it the wrong way, but at least she is honest.

I spent years supporting my best friend through one (mostly) self inflicted crisis to another. When she moved away (again) I felt enormous relief. I was finally done, and FREE from supporting her. Her life is still one crisis after another but I don't and won't invest in help any longer. She kept coming to me for months, loading her problems onto me, but I was burned out. I stopped phoning, and my responses were more 'sorry to hear' in nature than the support and advice she was asking for. After a few months, she got the hint and we have for the most part, parted ways - at my doing. I didn't tell my friend the support was over if she moved again, but it was my thoughts and my actions.

I'm not saying you won't find your path OP. My point is just that I can understand when friends feel burned out. When they feel they need to cut ties and call it a day after their time, money, practical support and emotional investment feels to them, that is was all for nothing (whether that is the case or not).

In a nutshell, you do what you have to do, and she will do the same.

#30 StoneFoxArrow

Posted 14 September 2019 - 08:54 AM

View PostPrancer is coming, on 14 September 2019 - 08:28 AM, said:

Without knowing everything, you need to make your own decisions and I can see a bit where she is coming from, but she is not going about it the right way.  It sounds like you have spent years offloading everything to her and turned up at a very low state, and I am guessing you were suicidal or close to it.  With everything she has heard and seen, her assessment is going back will not work, and she may be very concerned for your safety if you do.  Which could be why she is being OTT with some ultimatums.  They are not helpful at all, but she is concerned.

Part of the issue is it seems you are looking for her for advice or permission to move.  You do not need to do this.  Make arrangements, thank her for her help and go.  The fact you are looking to her to make decisions probably just reinforces to her you are not ready, and may fall straight into having a person who has let you down in the past then taking on that role of decision maker for you.

Your son needs you,your daughter wants to go home and it sounds like you do too.  You are complaining your friend is emotionally blackmailing you, and hence no longer supportive, so I don’t know why you are staying.  Personally I think the reason you are not leaving is tied up in your own mental health issues rather than to do with behaviour from a friend.

I agree with all of this.

OP, I think the fact that you have made some breakthroughs is wonderful. But as someone who made similar breakthroughs years ago, you still have a long way to go. I still struggle regularly with similar issues.
I think if you follow the suggestions above you'll be in the best place to succeed with your move and hopefully your friend will come to see that in time (it might take time though, she may distance herself initially, or for good).

Also it's so important that you have support structures in place. Have a psychologist/counsellor in place ready to go (don't wait until you're back there to set up an initial appt). Have plans for how you're going to uphold any boundaries that you've set regarding your parents - keep in mind that those boundaries may well be much harder to keep once you're physically close to them again (they've also been looking after your son for months so that may make things harder/more complicated).
Do you have any friends back home who can have a regular catch-up with you? Just to make sure you're seeing other people too.

Good luck.

#31 overlytired

Posted 14 September 2019 - 09:00 AM

Not knowing the backstory is irrelevant. OP is presumably an adult and is allowed to live her life as she sees fit. She does not need anyone's permission to move wherever or live with someone else.

Maybe the friend HAS picked up loose ends and supported OP through thick and thin and has had enough. BFF DOES have the right to end the friendship, of course, but blackmailing OP using the friendship as hostage is a little much.

#32 wilding

Posted 14 September 2019 - 09:26 AM

View Postoverlytired, on 14 September 2019 - 09:00 AM, said:

Not knowing the backstory is irrelevant. OP is presumably an adult and is allowed to live her life as she sees fit. She does not need anyone's permission to move wherever or live with someone else.

Maybe the friend HAS picked up loose ends and supported OP through thick and thin and has had enough. BFF DOES have the right to end the friendship, of course, but blackmailing OP using the friendship as hostage is a little much.
I agree.

No real friend uses blackmail, she comes across as a right control freak. We wouldn't tolerate it from partners.

#33 Sabine75

Posted 14 September 2019 - 09:32 AM

Sort out your affairs so you and your kids are together - your son is 10 and wants you in his live - he either moves to you or you move to him - simple.  then make sure you have GP and counselling support wherever you are.   You need to take care of yourself AND your kids.    

you can stay where you are with your kids, move back with your kids or move to a new place with kids - just don't leave one child alone.  get ongoing support, read books on self help, take the time to heal and grow, and dont let your friend or anyone dictate your life.

#34 StoneFoxArrow

Posted 14 September 2019 - 09:35 AM

View PostSabine75, on 14 September 2019 - 09:32 AM, said:

Sort out your affairs so you and your kids are together - your son is 10 and wants you in his live - he either moves to you or you move to him - simple.  then make sure you have GP and counselling support wherever you are.   You need to take care of yourself AND your kids.    

you can stay where you are with your kids, move back with your kids or move to a new place with kids - just don't leave one child alone.  get ongoing support, read books on self help, take the time to heal and grow, and dont let your friend or anyone dictate your life.

In Year 10, not 10. So around 16, I guess?Although its still very important for her to be there with him, 10 and 16 are quite different.

#35 Scribetastic

Posted 14 September 2019 - 10:27 AM

I agree with all replies - and if my friend feels she needs to distance herself I'll understand but she needs to talk to me like an adult.

I know I still have a long way to go with my mental health and I have friends back home that will support me when move back.

Living with my parents won't be an option - even if I wanted to (that's not happening but, if), I'd have someone chaining me to a post to avoid that from happening! In fact, I'd have 3 friends chaining me to a post.
Plus, the kids wouldn't want to live with them either.

I think one of the reasons I'm feeling low about everything right now is not because I'm torn about moving. All of the reasons to move are there and I feel so good when I'm planning and talking to my friends back home regarding the next steps. I was just hoping I could have the opportunity to talk to her rationally. This situation is a huge learning curve for me. I now know I am the one that is responsible for allowing and enabling these behaviours from others. My friend can feel and do what she needs to - and I will have to deal with the possible negative outcome - but for me, it's a now or never moment to put the boundaries in place and move on. It's a big step for me emotionally but if I don't stand up for me and my kids now I'll only be letting myself down. I think it's about time I put myself and the needs of my family first.

#36 Chchgirl

Posted 14 September 2019 - 10:57 AM

View PostBrrrroooce!, on 14 September 2019 - 03:28 AM, said:

When someone says

"Do what I want or I won't be in your life anymore"

I approach it by saying

"Aww! I'm gonna miss you. Do you want me to call you an uber?"

Are you me?!!

Seriously OP,  regardless of anything, a good friend,  especially such a long term one, wouldn't put such demands on you.  If someone told me this I'd tell them where to go but I'm getting old and intolerant of people and quite honestly don't care if I lose friends like this.

And a good friend wouldn't say such crap to you.

And what if you did become one of those single women living with your parents.  Being single isn't a death sentence from personal experience!

If your son needs you and your daughter wants to go back, your friend comes last. If she doesn't like it she can go jump.

Edited by Chchgirl, 14 September 2019 - 10:58 AM.


#37 Tokra

Posted 14 September 2019 - 11:49 AM

I'm wondering if you are discussing this with your counsellor?

It is probably better that you discuss it with that person, rather than here.

#38 CallMeFeral

Posted 14 September 2019 - 12:00 PM

View PostScribetastic, on 14 September 2019 - 10:27 AM, said:

It's a big step for me emotionally but if I don't stand up for me and my kids now I'll only be letting myself down. I think it's about time I put myself and the needs of my family first.

If you're worried about your ability to execute it, you could rehearse the conversation with someone you trust, or your counsellor.

View PostTokra, on 14 September 2019 - 11:49 AM, said:

I'm wondering if you are discussing this with your counsellor?

It is probably better that you discuss it with that person, rather than here.

Or both. I definitely hope you are discussing it with your counsellor. But it's fine to discuss it here too. Accessing mental health services does not preclude you from having conversations online just like any other person may. But keep in mind that your counsellor knows much more of your story than we do, and that will impact the quality of the advice given on here.

#39 Silverstreak

Posted 14 September 2019 - 12:28 PM

Live where you want to live. Any friend that places such conditions on your friendship is not a true friend.

#40 newmumandexcited

Posted 14 September 2019 - 12:47 PM

Sorry huh? A friend telling a grown adult where to live, and away from her son no less? Your duty is to him and yourself.

I find her behaviour weird and dysfunctional, frankly and would distance myself.

#41 Tokra

Posted 14 September 2019 - 03:32 PM

View PostCallMeFeral, on 14 September 2019 - 12:00 PM, said:

Or both. I definitely hope you are discussing it with your counsellor. But it's fine to discuss it here too. Accessing mental health services does not preclude you from having conversations online just like any other person may. But keep in mind that your counsellor knows much more of your story than we do, and that will impact the quality of the advice given on here.

i said that because there is very clearly long term very serious mental health issues here and they could be triggered quite easily on here.

#42 CallMeFeral

Posted 15 September 2019 - 01:00 AM

View PostTokra, on 14 September 2019 - 03:32 PM, said:

i said that because there is very clearly long term very serious mental health issues here and they could be triggered quite easily on here.

You may be right re long term issues, and possibly even about triggering, but I don't see that as something that should reduce a person's options for support. If anything they may need more options/outlets, not fewer.

#43 JustBeige

Posted 15 September 2019 - 07:25 AM

I dont think you need to confront your friend OP.

I think you just need to make your plans and leave.  Do not plan on her help at all even if she finds out.  If you can do it all without relying on her then this also shows you are ready to stand on your own two feet.

If she starts, then you tell her that you love her, that you cherish her friendship and will always be so grateful for her help , BUT you have been discussing this with your Councillor who also thinks you should move (if they do) and that you dont want to discuss it further.  

You will need to keep saying  the above, but if you dont engage out of that statement then she can rant and forbid all she likes.   If she threatens your friendship you tell her that "I will be sad and miss you if you did that and I dont think true friends should threaten each other, however that is your choice and you will need to own the consequences"

Just go and make your plans OP,  dont try and make her understand and certainly dont let her bully you

#44 Tokra

Posted 15 September 2019 - 10:59 AM

View PostCallMeFeral, on 15 September 2019 - 01:00 AM, said:

You may be right re long term issues, and possibly even about triggering, but I don't see that as something that should reduce a person's options for support. If anything they may need more options/outlets, not fewer.

You are right. I apologise. I was just concerned about some of the answers and how they may effect the OPs state of mind.

#45 Yetski

Posted 15 September 2019 - 04:07 PM

If my son said the words, "I need you mum", I'd be there ASAP!

#46 lozoodle

Posted 17 September 2019 - 09:56 AM

Call her bluff. Manipulative threats like that are of little utility if she is really your friend. A real friend wont cut you off for doing something that is right for you.  A person who cuts you off for doing something right for you, isn't a friend to begin with.

I do agree through that she may well be fed up as it can be frustrating trying to help someone through constant things. But there are better ways to go about things.

And sometimes, friendships aren't forever, its not for any reason other than you are both growing as people in different directions and are no longer good for each other.

Edited by lozoodle, 17 September 2019 - 10:02 AM.


#47 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 18 September 2019 - 09:26 AM

View Post**Xena**, on 13 September 2019 - 02:59 PM, said:

I think her talking to you like this is having more of an adverse effect on your mental health. If she'd withold friendship because you want to be home with your children then as much as she's helped you, she's no friend. Your responsibilities are first to yourself and your children. They want to go home and so do you.

Make sure you book in an appointment with a GP or psych though so that you can get a mental health plan together when you return.
Totally agree with this.

Also, plan for your return. What issues back home affected your mental wellbeing? Would those same issue still be there when you return? If so, what can you do to navigate around them or avoid them completely?

She's your friend, she's not you and she doesn't have the same sense of attachment or love for your children. While she has your best interests at heart, she is also ignoring the fact that you have your children's best interests at heart too and if you don't fill those needs/interests, it will negatively affect you and your relationship with your children.

This isn't about her being right. It's about you making your own life decisions that are right for you and your children. Only you can do that, not her. That is your decision to make, not hers.
And if she can't accept that you want to return to your own home to tend to your own family, then she's not a very good friend.

ETA: in answer to your question "how should I confront my emotional blackmailer?", I say don't. You don't have to make this into a confrontational thing. Start making plans for your return, let her know what's going on. If she starts with the "If you go, I won't be your friend anymore" blackmail, then you respond with "I'm sorry you feel that way. This was never meant to be a permanent arrangement and I am in much better place now. I want to go home. If you can't handle that, I respect your decision but it won't change my mind. I need to do what I need to do, you will do whatever you need to do." And then shut down the conversations if she start to pull that on you again. Not with anger, not to hurt her. But simply because it's not helpful for either of you to have the same conversation over and over again where threats are involved.

You have the choice and responsibility for your words and actions only, just as she has to make her own choices for her words and actions.

Edited by YodaTheWrinkledOne, 18 September 2019 - 09:39 AM.


#48 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 18 September 2019 - 09:48 AM

View Postamdirel, on 14 September 2019 - 12:03 AM, said:

Seeing as it's already September, maybe you can spend the next couple of months getting more counselling, and then organising EVERYTHING and making a really clear, safe plan, then move at the start of the Christmas holidays, so you can get settled with the kids and enrol your DD in school. I would keep your plans quiet but give her 2 weeks notice, and let her know all the safeguards you've put in place.
If you can move before Xmas holidays, I would. Why make your son wait another 12 weeks if he doesn't have to? You won't get that time back with your son and the longer you spend away from him, the more distance there will be between you. Teenagers can be hard to navigate at the best times!

#49 Hollycoddle

Posted 18 September 2019 - 10:14 AM

I'm going to go the other way and say I don't think the OP's friend's behaviour is being driven by actual concern for the OP.  It sounds like she is the type of person who enjoys martyring herself and wants to take credit for getting the OP back on her feet.  She may also have some co-dependency issues and a lack of social supports so this could be why she's not wanting the OP to move away from her.




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