Women seem to be born with a female sense of duty, don’t they? No wonder, when one considers that girls’ education has focused on serving and being dominated by men over hundreds and thousands of years.

But even today – also in our western culture – far more women than men give way to emotional blackmail through an excessive sense of duty or guilty feelings. If we stop and think how subtle manipulation can work, we realize that without a mistaken sense of duty, without feelings of guilt, and without deliberate fomentation of fears, manipulation would not work at all!


_ being rejected

_ being dropped

_ not being loved

_ not being needed

_ being violated

_ not being appreciated

_ not being seen

_ not being acknowledged

_ not being taken seriously

_ being left for another woman.

And this is exactly what men do who want to bring women to heel and manipulate them. Emotional dependency through fomentation of fears is one of the measures most taken to impose one’s will over the other person. The man who knows what buttons to press to raise fears, and make women dependent and submissive, is capable of ruling over her and manipulating her.

Some women also fear the other person’s anger. Anger seems to attract fears like a magnet. Anger is often seen as a feeling which has to do with confrontation, punishment, loss or even violence. Therefore, it is not surprising that women try to avoid anger as much as they can, and still say YES, even if their souls keeps screaming NO!


Fomentation of fears is similar to manipulation of the sense of duty. Women easily forget about themselves, and so not just egotism (only thinking of oneself), but also altruism (only thinking of the others) can hurt the soul.

Women’s proneness to manipulation through others is often connected to their childhood which was shaped by religious and social dogmas. A raised, moralizing forefinger was often enough for the child to do things it did not want to do at all. Namely …

… serving for the sake of serving,

… giving up for the sake of giving up,

… subordinating for the sake of subordinating.


… and therefore, we should keep reminding ourselves that women do not only suffer from their feelings of guilt but also from accusations by others. The threshold of female feelings of guilt was often kept low during childhood, and many girls were indoctrinated with stricter moral ideas than their brothers.

A popular and common method of manipulation is to encourage guilty feelings. I remember very well the R.E. lessons to prepare us for our first communion at the age of eight. We had to draw our hearts in the book: a white heart with black stains for minor wrongdoings, and a black heart for really serious sins. Only after confession were we allowed to paint our hearts white, as confession wiped all our sins away. This has a traumatic impact! And even as adults, women feel guilty, even if they have not done anything wrong.

An extremely efficient way of making women pliant  is, blaming them for something somebody else is actually responsible for. As the saying goes: we need a scapegoat!

Sometimes fears, a sense of duty, and feelings of guilt, are raised at the same time. This combination is a strong emotional weapon which women can hardly defend themselves against. Only when they realize what is going on, can they consciously withdraw from this massive form of manipulation.

Further literature:

Forward, Susan; Frazier, Donna: Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You

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