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         Emotional Blackmail

Emotional Blackmail

See also Emotional Abuse.

Coming Of Age

Long ago my real father was married to another woman.  My mother knew that and gave him an ultimatum: divorce your wife, or you will never see the child I am carrying. 

Well, he tried to see me anyway, but my mother put a stop to that when I was a year old.  Recently I learned where my father lives.  I want to contact him.  If I were him, I would wonder how my child was and want to know if she was brought up with love. 

The wondering eats at me.  Does he wish to contact me but is afraid what my mother told me about him?  He is now 77 years old.  I don't want him leaving this world wondering, but I am afraid to do anything about it.

My dilemma is this.  I know the circumstances of my birth.  My mother and father were wrong in their affair, but I do not judge them on that.  I don't want to tell my mother if I contact him, because I don't want to hurt her.  She and I have never gotten along because she constantly criticizes me.

I am 34, a strong person emotionally, and an optimist.  My feelings of needing to contact my father get stronger every year.  I will not be hurt if he says he isn't interested, nor will I be hurt if you say I should leave things be.  Please give me any advice you might have.

Tabitha

Tabitha, if you let this opportunity slip by, you will regret it.  You were not a player in the emotional blackmail your mother played on your father so many years ago.  That is ancient history.  You have no obligation to continue playing this game.

You ask our permission to contact your father.  You not only have our permission, you have our encouragement.  You ask permission because you know a deadline is fast approaching.  The chance for a meeting with your father dies when your father dies.

We totally understand you don't want to hurt your mother, but she does not have the right to dictate the course of your life, or know all its intimate details.  Many things are not shared between parent and child, or between friends. 

This is not a secret you are keeping from your mother.  As a child, you are entitled to contact with your parents.  Your mother denied your father that contact with you.  You can now revoke her denial.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

No Explanation Necessary

Last year I abruptly ended a relationship with my next-door neighbor because she used me as a convenience and did not treat me as a friend.  Six months ago she sent a card explaining that she did not understand why I no longer talked to her.  I did not respond. 

Now she has employed the use of mutual acquaintances to get to me.  I have not addressed this to them because, quite frankly, it didn’t involve them.  Unfortunately, now it does.  How do I address this without coming off as the “bad guy.”

Connie

Connie, if your ultimate concern is what other people think, you are always going to lose because you don’t control the thoughts of others.  Whatever baggage, home life, and previous experience in this world they have will determine what they feel about you.  Since you cannot change their beliefs, ideas, or experiences, you cannot determine how they will feel about anything they come into contact with.

A person you don’t hold in high regard, or wish to have contact with, has now decided to enlist others to get what she wants.  You took away her ability to use you, so she is now using others to get back to using you again.

If you are concerned what these mutual acquaintances think, you are going to put yourself under the control of others again.  But if you wish to have your own life and exercise your rights as an individual on this planet, you must put how you feel about yourself, and your actions, first.  Simply tell those acquaintances, despite what this neighbor may have told them, you’ve made it clear you do not wish to have contact with her. 

Make it clear you are under no obligation to explain why.  If we wish to be free to have our own likes, friendships, and pursuits, then we can’t allow others to impose their likes over ours.  Any explanation you give will only elicit arguments from your neighbor about why she gets to have her way. 

This is not a debate.  This is your life, and this is your right.  Users, abusers, and controllers do not take no for an answer.  If you let them tie you up in justifying yourself, then they have succeeded.  Simply make it clear you choose not to be around her and you are not going to let anyone else force you to. 

This woman doesn’t feel you are free to run your life according to your own wishes.  That she is now telling others what you did not tell them, only validates your position. 

Pretending to like what you don’t like only gets you more of what you don’t want.  Pretending to like people you don’t like allows users, abusers, and manipulators to use, abuse, and manipulate you.  Why?  Because that is their stock-in-trade.  That is their cash crop.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

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