Archive for the ‘Definitions’ Category

I have been using this term for a while now.  After an extensive search, I could not find an academic working definition of it, so I decided to come up with a working definition for future posts.

“Just Say NO to Emotional Terrorism”

Emotional Terrorism: “The premeditated threat or use of emotional coercion against non-combatants, civilians, significant others, imaginary significant others or other members of society that have a predefined social relationship by organized or unorganized male or female element(s) to create fear, pressure and emotional negativity & pain in order to achieve various long and short-term personal objectives.”

Emotional Terrorist: “The use, planned use, or threatened use, of emotional terrorism by an individual or a group of individuals to intimidate or coerce an individual or a group of individual to advance and achieve long and/or short-term personal objectives.”

Thoughts on Emotional Terrorism

“A lot of people think Emotional Terrorism is a predisposed set of tools used by individuals involved in an intimate relationship.  I must admit, I was the victim of such misconception prior to thoughtfully researching the topic in more depth and detail.  Victims of Emotional Terrorism exist in demographics of society, but I guess they are more prevalent in partners of intimate relationships, or perhaps more accurately are generated and cultivated more often in and through intimate relationships.  Here is an example of the Modern Emotional Terrorist, clearly both parties, the writer and the individuals she writes about, are involved in an emotional War of Attrition. ” The Strict Machine


“Those of us working in the field of domestic violence are confronted daily by the difficult task of working with women in problematical families. In my work with family violence, I have come to recognize that there are women involved in emotionally and/or physically violent relationships who express and enact disturbance beyond the expected (and acceptable) scope of distress. Such individuals, spurred on by deep feelings of vengefulness, vindictiveness, and animosity, behave in a manner that is singularly destructive; destructive to themselves as well as to some or all of the other family members, making an already bad family situation worse. These women I have found it useful to describe as “family terrorists.”” Erin Pizzey


“When you have a relationship, at home or at work, with a person who’s constantly humiliating you, harassing you, pressuring on you, taking pleasure in your pain, saying negative things about you or making you feel worthless, then you are caught in a situation of emotional terrorism.

By staying in a relationship with someone who feels the need to put you down and beat you up (physically or psychologically), you actually keep on feeding his destructive attitude.  It’s hard to conceive why so many people stay together with such a partner, but they do. This is because of a belief that they don’t deserve any better, that they are not worthy of real love. They lack self-respect and don’t really consider getting out of the relationship. They are stuck because the vibrational energy of the dysfunctional relationship matches the low level of their own self-esteem.

People without self-respect attract, by their vibration, abusive individuals who then “confirm” that they don’t deserve any respect. The outside world mirrors to you what’s going on inside yourself. If you have a partner who is beating you up, then that’s because somehow you are already beating yourself up from inside. Does your partner constantly harass you? Does your partner drown you with negative remarks, no matter what you do? Then start by looking to how you are harassing yourself, and how many negative remarks you are aiming at yourself. Being surrounded with negative people is caused by your relationship with yourself being very degrading as well.

Your partner doesn’t love you? This first thing to look at is whether you really love yourself. Because if you love yourself, so will your partner. If you love yourself, then it is impossible for an unloving partner to remain in your life. If you maintain a positive inner dialogue with yourself, then you are simply not aligned with a person that is trashing you with negativity. When you find yourself in a long-term relationship with such a person, then this is testimony to how bad your relationship with yourself really is.” Ineke Van Lint


“In his posting of August 1, Fr. Sam Bassett describes what he calls Emotional Blackmail–a whining “don’t say that because it hurts my feelings” comment that one would expect from a 4 year old throwing a tantrum, but not from an adult who is participating in a supposedly logical and reasoned discussion.  If you encounter this behavior, your best course of action is to halt the conversation and walk away.  There is no reasoning with some people.

A more blatant type of emotional blackmail that I call emotional terrorism has bceome much more commonplace and even socially acceptable to the point where it’s difficult to go through the day without encountering it.  I call it the “you made me” argument– “you offended me,” or “you make me feel as though”.  These and similar statements are used, often unconsciously, to shift emotional responsibility from the person feeling the emotion to some other person or thing.  It’s the adult equivalent of blaming and ranks right up there with “the devil made me do it” on the scale of credibility, and leads to comical incidents like this.  Or they would be comical if people didn’t take them so seriously …

The key point that most people these days seem to be missing is that they have the choice to be offended or not.  It’s up to the individual to decide if the weather, the stock market, or somebody’s comment affects their happiness.  Emotional maturity, a trait that is sadly lacking in most adults, involves understanding that your happiness is up to you, that if you feel offended it’s because youchoose to feel offended.  “You made me…” becomes “I feel offended when you say that because…”  That places the responsibility for the feeling squarely where it belongs, and allows for reasoned discussion of emotional issues that otherwise would devolve quickly into screaming tantrums and physical violence …

I’m not saying that it’s easy.  It’s difficult sometimes to accept the responsibility for the way that you feel and the way that you react to people and events.  But it’s the only way to live in a civilized world.” Jim Mischel