By taking 90 seconds to read this, you may save yourself years of heartache. . .


Towards the end of last year, the CEO of a Registered Training Organisation operating nationally approached me about working under his ‘umbrella’ to run workshops for staff in four and five star hotels, using Government funding that he had access to.  Given that my background is in five star hotel chains and given that I have conducted training in every department in a hotel, it seemed a fair fit.


Moreover, this fellow appeared sharp, smart and demonstrated a social conscience by proclaiming he had developed a voluntary mentoring program for unemployed youth. I liked him. We ‘clicked’. I gifted him a box of my first book, Habits Aren’t Just For Nuns, to selectively give out to young folk who demonstrated a willingness to better themselves.


He said he’d call me on a certain date and then I didn’t hear from him. Mmmmmmmmm. When I finally caught up with him over the phone, he apologised and told me how he’d been away working in rural WA with Aboriginal kids and that I’d be thrilled to know that he’d passed on two of my books. OK, I thought, though I was uneasy.


That pattern kept repeating itself. We’d set a time to chat, he wouldn’t call and then there would be a wonderful excuse; always an excuse and the lure of a great opportunity. Finally, we did flesh out the idea and business arrangement and set a date for me to be familiarised with his organisation AND, you guessed it, he disappeared.


My gut told me from the beginning that if this man kept breaking small contracts, like a phone call, how could I ever contemplate going into business with him. To the very end, he had a reason, an excuse and kept dangling the ‘carrot’ to keep me hooked. On the surface, it would have been a lucrative contract.


“Tantalisers are the most subtle of blackmailers. They encourage us and promise love, money, security, career advancement – the proverbial carrot at the end of the stick. The reward sounds great yet it turns to dust anytime we get near it,” according to Susan Forward, author of Emotional Blackmail.


She says our desire for what is being promised can be so strong that we endure numerous encounters with never-materialising rewards before we realise we are being emotionally blackmailed.


You are encouraged to pay attention to your professional and personal relationships and to become acutely aware of small contracts being broken. Maybe it’s a boss who keeps talking about a promotion or a lover who promises one thing and does another, or nothing at all.


Blackmailers are so clever and so manipulative that you end up doubting yourself. They know how much you value your relationship with them and how to tap into your fear and vulnerabilities if you don’t accept their status quo. No matter how much they care about you, they use this intimate knowledge to win the pay-off they want: your compliance.


You have to learn how to recognise a blackmailer and how to extricate yourself from the swirling emotions that keep you trapped in their web and cloud your judgement.


If you would like help in breaking the blackmail cycle with your partner, your parents, your son, your sister, your employer or your best friend, consider one or two coaching sessions with me to learn the specific steps you can take and the communication tips you can use that will break the blackmail cycle for good.


Email me on  to take charge of your life and stop the destructive and confusing pattern of relating with those important to you.


A tantaliser is a tormentor who offers something desirable but keeps it just out of reach
Robyn Pulman


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