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Feeling manipulated

Community Member
Hi all ..new here and just desperate for help.

I have such a long backstory that would be relevant to my issue atm but just want to ask one question of the community right now.

My husband and I are currently separated but trying to make it work again. We maintain separate houses and bills etc and I have our 3 kids.

Recently my middle child, who is 16, has fallen in with a bad group and has begun running round committing crimes and is now up on charges with a potential sentance when he goes to court. He says he done all this to get my attention and to stop me from visiting his father. That if I stop seeing him he will straighten back up and stop.

My sister says my kids should come first and that I should walk away from my husband and that if we really cared about our son we would try again later when he is 18.

I feel this is emotional blackmail...my happiness is not important as long as my son is happy.

What do others here think? Should I give up on my love and the one person that makes me feel safe or should tell my son he can't do this to me?
4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Heavensdj,

Welcome! It sounds like you're in quite a difficult position, and looking for some perspectives here.

I think to answer your question quite directly, I would agree that this is emotional blackmail. Your son is giving you an ultimatum which is essentially, do this or lose me. I think it's really unfair to put that pressure on you, regardless of what the best thing to do is.

As to what you should do, it sounds like your son has already made the choice to find his own happiness his own way. In some regard, I think that speaks perhaps to both his desire to feel loved but also his desire to have independence. I think if you do as he says, you run the risk of him getting the love but then going off and doing his own thing anyway. But I also understand you also care about him and want the best for your son.

So I am not really sure, but it's a really unfair situation for your son to put you in. Given your husband is tied in with all this, does he have any thoughts about what the two of you should do? What are your thoughts at the moment?


Community Member
Hi James

Thanks for answering.

Yes I just want some unbiased opinions.

I gave my son the benefit of the doubt once already. He made a commitment to stop behaving this way and to start helping me out with paying board and doing chores if we shifted houses so his old associates didn't know where we were.

His father feels that he has made a choice for his path and that at this point we can't change his behaviour for him. That I need to start protecting our 14 year old daughter from following or from anyone that our son may bring into the home.

I am terrified that if I give in and give up my marriage I will end up losing both anyway. I am also terrified of the path my son is toeing. I suffer PTSD due to childhood trauma and can't even comprehend the idea of my boy in jail.

I feel lost and broken more often than not these days and this on top of also having a health issue involving possible cancer makes me very stressed.

Community Member

Good morning Heavendj

I'm sorry for your situation. I agree with you that your son is trying to use emotional blackmail to achieve his goal.

It is never right to give into this type of black mail. For a start, if you do go along with his plan, you've just taught him another bad life lesson. Use black mail to get what you want.

Secondly, in all probability he will resort to further manipulation to achieve his goals with you again. It worked once, why not try it again.

Your son is young and still emotionally immature and with your good example and help from your husband you are a chance to drag him away from his "bad crowd" friends.

I disagree with your sister's point of view. Your happiness is important and if you feel that reconnecting with your husband is part of your life plan, then you have every right to do it. You'll be a better parent if you're happy rather than miserable and resentful because you caved in to black mail.

It doesn't matter what decision you make, it is likely it will involve more discomfort but in the long term view of life you must do what you instinctively know is morally correct. I wish you luck and contentment,

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Heavensdj,

It does seem like you are in a difficult predicament, made to choose a person, even though the love you have for both are incomparable. I can understand how this would be emotionally conflicting and make you feel manipulated.

First of all, I think it would be helpful to understand why your son has a complicated relationship with his father and why he is acting out in such ways. I think underlying his blackmail there is a deep rooted cause that must be addressed otherwise it could just manifest in other ways such as committing crimes and offences. For example instead of wanting you and your husband to be separate, perhaps what he wants is your genuine presence and affection, perhaps it could be that he feels unsafe with his father around, it could be many reasons. I think having an open discussion about his underlying reasonings and why he would want you and your husband to be separate will be beneficial in ensuring both parties understand each other.

I think it is important you don't give in to his blackmail as this will reinforce his understanding that using the method of threatening/blackmailing is effective. However, as your son, I do implore you look beyond these shenanigans and really try to understand his current emotions and feelings of inadequacies that may have lead him to this behaviour. In understanding and respecting his needs and wants, he will also be inclined to be respectful of your needs, your wishes and your wants as his mother. Creating a foundation of understanding and trust I believe is furthermost important before making any decisions or giving in. As this understanding will guide you to the holistically appropriate decision.

Take care,