Blackmail isn’t love.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I am in a long distance relationship that started 6 months ago. In the summer, everything was fine because we could see each other often. But since now we study in different states, we haven’t seen each other since the beginning of the semester. We started arguing on the phone and now we argue very often, and I think one of the reasons is that I can’t take that we can’t see each other. Every time when we argue, he just assumes that there is a chance that I will break up with him. And because of this he tells me things like he will kill himself or drop out of college or do some other horrible things if I leave him. He tells that I am the only person that he has; however, he has a pretty entertaining life. He also makes plans for our future, but those plans are based upon his dreams and desires. When my plans or desires don’t meet his criteria, he tells me that his plans are just simply better for us.

I just wanted to ask you how I should deal with his comments because I really love him and I don’t want to break-up with him. I think we can have a good life together. But those comments really scare me and push me apart from him. My friend is in an abusive relationship and I just don’t want to risk my future. Do you think these comments that he says are signs of any mental problems that he might have?

A: I can’t tell you if he has mental problems on the basis of a letter. What I can tell you is that he’s not a good bet as a life partner until he does some serious work on himself. The man you describe is self-centered, controlling, and petulant. He is more concerned with his own feelings and being in charge than he is with pleasing and supporting you or making a partnership that is based on love and equality. Instead he resorts to emotional blackmail and tantrums when he can’t get his way. There is nothing you can do or say that will help him be more secure. He needs to do that for himself.

If you were my daughter, I’d say run, don’t walk, away from someone like this. It probably won’t get better and more likely will get worse.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Oct 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). Blackmail isn’t love.. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/10/21/blackmail-isnt-love/