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Customer Review

785 of 802 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book--truly helpful!, December 28, 1999
This review is from: Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You (Paperback)
This book does a very clear job of defining emotional blackmail so you can begin to easily spot emotional blackmailers in your life. It then concludes with telling you specifically how to deal with emotional blackmail, that is, how to keep your energy, resources, and sometimes your very soul, from being stolen by them.
Something that was particularly important for me personally in the book was the part at the end where she talks about not emotionally blackmailing *yourself*! What an insight! I realized that even when rigid, controlling people are not around to inspire guilt, fear and shame in me to get me to do things that are hurtful to me for their selfish benefit, I have a "voice" in my head that does the job for them, telling me that whatever I do that doesn't fit the world view of past and present blackmailers is "wrong," "selfish," or even "evil." So I beat myself up on behalf of my blackmailers even when they are not around to do it.
I also was impressed by the insight that not only does it "take two to tango," that no one can blackmail me if I don't let them, but that it is also possible for me to actually "train" people to blackmail me. This is particularly, true, I think, for those of us raised in rigid, controlling homes with emotionally blackmailing parents. Thereafter, we are, so to speak, fertile ground for any future emotional blackmailers.
I had rather been realizing these sorts of things the past few years now that I'm in my 40s (the middle years when we suddenly reevaluate our whole life), and gradually eliminating emotional blackmailers from my life, without exactly using that term. (The term I used was ridding myself of people whose presence felt like "being nibbled to death by ducks.") This book has validated my innate human "right" to not be eaten alive by the selfish demands of others.
Kudos to Ms. Forward!
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 5, 2008 7:00:53 AM PDT
CA reader says:
"nibbled to death by ducks" That is GREAT!!

Posted on Aug 27, 2008 12:01:11 PM PDT
I sure know what you mean about the blackmailer/abuser in your head. My mother (the narcissist in my family) just passed away this past winter and as an only child, I moved into my parents house. (My father was not a narcissist and passed away in '99.) Her voice is constantly in my head criticizing me about what I do and how I do it. Although I also hear a few positives about things that would have pleased her (she wasn't all bad), they are few and far between.

It is going to be a battle to exorcize that critical voice from my head so I can get on w/ normal grieving, making the house mine rather than theirs/hers, and getting on w/ my life.

And I loved the "duck" line, too!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2013 11:19:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 24, 2013 11:26:23 AM PDT
Thank you for such an excellent review. I realized I bought this book back in 2005 (thank you for tracking purchases, Amazon!) and I need to re-read it again... and ACT ON IT THIS TIME!

You wrote: "I had rather been realizing these sorts of things the past few years now that I'm in my 40s (the middle years when we suddenly reevaluate our whole life), and gradually eliminating emotional blackmailers from my life, without exactly using that term. (The term I used was ridding myself of people whose presence felt like "being nibbled to death by ducks.") This book has validated my innate human "right" to not be eaten alive by the selfish demands of others."

That's it exactly... I have always felt like I was being "eaten alive by others" and was a prisoner who had no way to escape. Even when I finally "bought my freedom" via a divorce (and paid big to do so) I ended up coming back. And now, 20+ years later I see that I once again bought all the b.s. and lies and manipulation for them to keep everything for themselves and I have nothing to show for all these years and all my hard work. Selfishness to the extreme but I allowed it to happen. I probably even "invited it" by going along with it!

I duped myself in spite of all evidence to the contrary, believing the same old excuses and lies. I did this to my self. MY SELF. So if that is true, I can also UNDO IT and I WILL!

And as everyone else has said, I have been "nibbled to death by ducks" for over 30 years now and no matter how many times I leave, I always come back. I am now 63 years old and it's ridiculous!

Yes, I picked up right where my parents left off, and allowed my co-habitator to manipulate me for over 30 years and "look good doing it." Wow. What have I wrought? Trained others to blackmail me... oh, yes, I surely did. Time for a change. Permanent this time.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2013 2:50:03 PM PDT
Kate McMurry says:
Hi, Catherine, thank you so much for posting. This is truly a timeless book, that's for sure. Like you, I notice myself periodically revisiting psychological insights, such as this terrific book contains, that I had previously thought I understood very well, only to connect with them on a much deeper level the second (or third) time around. Best wishes to you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2013 8:09:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 24, 2013 8:11:57 PM PDT
Thank YOU, Kate Murray! Looking forward to reading the book, especially after the excellent reviews. I too really enjoy reading something some years later, as I take notes in the margin and date them and can (finally) see real progress in many areas, as well as notice new paragraphs or chapters that seem to be "over my head" on the first reading. So progress can be made, even for someone like me!

Don't we love Amazon for their reviews, comments and great discussion areas? And even downloading Kindle books. What would we do without the internet!

You wrote:

"I also was impressed by the insight that not only does it "take two to tango," that no one can blackmail me if I don't let them, but that it is also possible for me to actually "train" people to blackmail me."

Especially and exactly! So now I have to keep working on my self. That at least is the one thing I can control, no matter how much work has to go into re-training. I won't give up yet!

"The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails."
Dear God please show us The Way.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2013 8:27:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2013 1:18:14 PM PDT
Kate McMurry says:
Catherine,

I agree with you on Amazon discussions and the wonders of Kindle ebooks. :)

Speaking of self-improvement books geared in the direction you seem to be going, my husband and I have also been reading Wayne Dyer recently, one of whose books seems to be a good compliment to this book, Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits.

Another book that is absolutely fascinating and very helpful in doing this kind of self-healing work is The Healing Code: 6 Minutes to Heal the Source of Your Health, Success, or Relationship Issue. I've been amazed at the results I've gotten from the technique he teaches.

I wish you all good fortune in your ongoing journey. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2013 8:30:19 PM PDT
Well, with your glowing reviews of these next two books, I can see I will have plenty of "summer reading" to work on! Heading to the book references now. Gracias, amiga!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2013 8:32:23 PM PDT
Kate McMurry says:
Catherine, you are very welcome! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2013 10:10:51 PM PDT
Found an excerpt to read about the Healing Code here:

thehealingcodeinfo (dot) com/EXCERPT-1.pdf

"Stress" from, in, of the heart seems to be at the heart of it." I can attest to that! Now to see if even mine can be "healed." My immune system is shot and no wonder why, after what I've been through for the past twenty years. I'll try anything at this point!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2013 1:37:44 PM PDT
Kate McMurry says:
Catherine, you can also read the first part of The Healing Code using the Look Inside the Book function on its product page.

You mentioned stress. It's certainly a very important issue in healing emotionally and physically from the wear and tear of years of emotional blackmail. Any of a number of things can help reduce stress, as I'm sure you know, for example: exercise, beautiful music, breathing exercises, meditation, a hobby that you enjoy. One thing in particular that I've frequently employed is laughter. In that regard, I recommend the technique created by the author of Laugh for No Reason, which he calls "laughter yoga." That particular book explains the origin of the technique, but for learning the technique itself, I used an excellent MP3 download that guides you through it called, The Laugh of Your Life. The technique is very easy to learn.
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