Sunday, July 20, 2008


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

Author: Susan Forward
Genre: Non-Fiction
Published: 1997
Personal Rating: 4.5/5
Yearly Count: 95

Emotional blackmail is used by someone that has some sort of importance in your life. That person can be a spouse, sibling, parent, boss, co-worker, etc. As the subtitle suggests, they use fear, obligation, and/or guilt to get what they want. Susan Forward, Ph.D., describes the various forms of emotional blackmail and gives numerous real-life examples of people in her practice that have experienced emotional blackmail.

The answer to breaking the cycle is by changing your response to the individual with one sentence at a time. Standing your ground, building your confidence and maintaining integrity are vital to breaking the cycle. Forward gives tools (strategies and suggested sentences) to assist you in creating healthier relationships.

It has taken me over two months to read this book. There was just so much information to process that I decided to read it in bite-sized portions. I found it to be an excellent source to give insight on what may be transpiring in any awkward relationship. The majority of the book is identifying what type of blackmailer you may have, while the actual solution to rectifying the situation is the minority - and that solution isn't rocket science either. However, when someone is stuck in a relationship like this, it is often difficult to identify what is really happening and it is extremely difficult to break free due to the patterns developed. Forward's suggestions are simple, doable, and most importantly, life-changing solutions.


  1. Anonymous9:11 AM

    I loved this book. But of course I love Susan Forward and especially found her Toxic Parents book quite useful...although I did find her books difficult to read at times because they hit very, very, close to home.

  2. Danielle ~ I found this book on your site and wanted to give you "recommendation credit", however, I couldn't find the post where you mentioned it. If you want to send it to me, I'd be happy to add that on. :)

  3. This sounds like quite an interesting book, and one that probably most everyone could learn from.

  4. Anonymous1:08 PM

    I think I REALLY need to read this book. Thanks.

  5. Debi ~ Absolutely! The book helps to understand the blackmailers actions, but the blackmailee (is there such a word!?) learns to set strong boundaries. I love learning about people and their behaviors.

    Lynne ~ It's packed with extremely interesting information (at least to me), but I could only take little bits at a time. It's good to read the whole thing because there are helpful tools throughout, but the last few chapters hold the most information for learning to stand your ground.

  6. What an excellent review!

    It is really hard work changing your responses, but so worth it. I've been working at it most of my adult life.

    I grew up in a Jewish family, where guilt, shame, and blame ruled. I do love my family, but no longer put up with this sh#!

  7. Teddy Rose ~ It sounds like you didn't let the guilt, shame, and blame swallow you up - that's great, Teddy!


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