The term “emotional terrorist” is a made-up word, but it can describe an actual situation. If you’re in a relationship with someone who makes you feel like you have to walk on eggshells all the time, this person may be an emotional terrorist. The person may be unaware of their actions or even realize they’re doing them.
Emotional terrorism is a form of emotional abuse. It uses fear, guilt, and intimidation to control you. Emotional abuse can be verbal, psychological, and/or physical.
Emotional terrorists often use guilt trips to get what they want from others, and they manipulate people into doing whatever they want by making them feel guilty for not doing something for them.
Signs of an Emotional Terrorist
Here are some signs that you may be dealing with an emotional terrorist:
- The person often tries to make you feel sorry for them. They may claim that they are sick or have some chronic condition as an excuse for their behavior. They may also tell you that they have been abused in the past or had an unhappy childhood.
- The person blames others for their problems or failures, and they never take responsibility for anything they do wrong or for bad things that happen to them in their lives.
- They often use lies and deceit to try and get what they want out of life by manipulating other people into doing what they want them to do against their will through guilt trips, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and other forms of emotional blackmail, such as threats of suicide or self-harm if you don’t do what they want you to do!
- They tell you how lucky you are to have them in your life but then turn around and treat you like crap when things don’t go their way!
How to Deal With an Emotional Terrorist?
Emotional terrorists are masters at getting under your skin — and driving you crazy. They’re experts at making you feel guilty, angry, and anxious. And they know exactly what buttons to push to make you lose it. Here are some tips for dealing with this type of person:
- Recognize That It’s Happening.
The first step toward dealing with an emotional terrorist is recognizing what’s happening and recognizing it as abuse. Emotional terrorists work hard to confuse their victims by making them doubt their perception of reality. They may say things like:
“I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“You’re the one causing problems here.”
- Recognize the Pattern.
Emotional terrorists tend to follow the same pattern of behavior over time. This can help you understand what this person is trying to accomplish by being so angry or upset at you. Once you recognize this pattern, it will be easier to anticipate when they will start getting mad at you again and prepare yourself accordingly.
- Don’t Take It Personally.
You need to remember that no matter how much someone is attacking you, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
This person has the issues they are dealing with and is taking it out on you because they can’t deal with their problems. You can’t control how someone else feels about themselves or anything else, so don’t let their feelings ruin your day!
- Set Boundaries With Them If Necessary.
Creating boundaries is essential when you deal with an emotional terrorist. What are your limits, and what will you not tolerate? You can’t change another person’s behavior, but you can clarify that certain things won’t be tolerated — no matter how much they complain or threaten.
You must know these boundaries before stepping into the ring with an emotional terrorist because once they start making threats, it becomes difficult to stand firm on your ground without getting sucked into the drama cycle.
- Disengage From Emotional Terrorists.
A good rule of thumb is never to engage with an emotional terrorist. They thrive on the attention their antics draw. If you try to reason with them, they will only feed off the attention they are getting and continue to escalate the situation.
You should also avoid arguing with them. If you argue with them, they will escalate the situation further and put more energy into their behavior. Instead, focus on disengaging yourself from them as quickly as possible.
It’s also important to remember that emotional terrorists often suffer from poor self-esteem issues and are unhappy people who use anger to get attention from others.
They do not get their emotional needs met by others and instead resort to anger to express their feelings. This does not give them an excuse for misbehaving, but it does help explain why they behave in such a way – because nobody is meeting their emotional needs!
- Know Your Rights as a Victim of Abuse.
One of the essential things for victims of abuse is knowing their rights as victims of abuse. You have the right not to be abused, no matter what your partner says, and if they try to make you feel guilty about leaving them, remind yourself that this is not your fault — it’s theirs!
- Take Care of Yourself.
Acknowledge that you’re in an abusive situation and that it’s not your fault. Focus on what you must do to get out safely — whether that means moving out, protecting yourself from physical harm, or getting counseling and other support services.
- Get Help If Necessary.
If you feel unsafe or fear physical violence, contact law enforcement immediately — even if the abuser isn’t present during the call — and file a report. If there’s evidence of physical abuse (such as bruises), take pictures or collect evidence immediately before it disappears or is destroyed by the abuser. You may also want to contact a domestic violence hotline in your state.
Related Read: What Is Abuse by Proxy?
When dealing with a manipulative person, it can often be hard to remain composed enough to handle the situation effectively. We are naturally hard-wired to respond to emotional appeal. The best thing you can do is remove emotions from the equation and practice practical communication skills. By doing this, you can remove most of the power someone has over you because you will no longer be influenced by the emotional aspect of their manipulation tactics.
These individuals want to pull on your heartstrings so that you feel sorry for them or sympathetic towards them. They want you to give in to their demands and make decisions based on your feelings, not what is best for everyone involved (including yourself.) They mustn’t get these crutches. Once they lose them, they’re much less dangerous and easier to deal with.