While the title says, “him”, this doesn’t mean that women do not threaten suicide as well. This is for anyone who’s been blackmailed with suicide. But for discussion purposes, let’s assume that the husband blackmailing his wife that he will commit suicide.
When people speak of abuse, the first idea is about physical abuse. Scars or bruises are the telltale signs that there is a case of abuse between the married couple. In the absence of these signs, the common reaction is that any claim of abuse is merely exaggerated.
However, there are many manifestations of an abusive spouse, and it is not limited to the physical. There is also psychological, emotional, sexual or financial abuse, and it can be evidenced in many forms.
Coercion and blackmail are the more obvious forms of abuse. When one spouse is forced to do something against his or her own volition, it qualifies as abuse.
When a husband uses emotional connections to force his wife to do his bidding, it’s emotional blackmail. These days, most wives are aware of the proper reaction when their husband makes threats of physical harm. But what if the husband threatens to harm himself instead?
The husband has the tables turned, and somehow makes the wife responsible for his well-being. This is a clear form of manipulation.
It may seem like the wife is trapped in a hole. It’s like she is left with no choice. The husband can use this repeatedly and make the wife a virtual prisoner.
How to React
The key to avoiding the trap is to take the threat seriously, but not to show signs of panic. The threat is definitely a cry of desperation. It is encouraged that the wife gives the husband some form of reassurance. However, she must set clear boundaries and also share some responsibility with the husband.
The wife can say something like, “Don’t worry, I care for you and I will stay, but we must make sure that we (insert condition here).” That way, a boundary is set and the husband knows that if he crosses that boundary, he will be responsible for the consequence.
When to Seek Help
Even on the initial threat, the wife should consider getting help. If the tension subsides, there is a tendency for the wife to disregard the episode. However, if the threat was not just verbal and the spouse has a tendency towards violent behavior, then it is better to be safe than sorry. It is best to notify the authorities if the husband has a violent tantrum or takes hold of a weapon like a knife or a gun.