17 Phrases Manipulators Use To Get Inside Your Head

Have you ever felt like someone’s trying to play mind tricks on you? Well, you’re probably not wrong – some folks have mastered the art of sly phrases to nudge you their way. Let’s uncover 17 sayings that you need to look out for when dealing with problems.

“I’m Only Telling You This for Your Own Good”

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On the surface, it seems like a genuine concern. But in reality, this phrase is designed to make you second-guess your choices. The manipulator believes they inherently know better than you, and want you to feel that way too.

“Don’t You Trust Me?”

Trust Me, I_m a Good Person
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Trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship, so by posing this question, manipulators aim to shift the spotlight from their dubious actions to your trustworthiness, making it about your faith rather than their behavior.

“No One Else Has Ever Complained”

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By suggesting your feelings are an anomaly, the manipulator’s intent is clear: to isolate you. It implies that maybe your concerns aren’t valid, aiming to reduce your confidence in tackling the matter.

“You’re Too Sensitive”

You are Sensitive to Criticism
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A manipulator’s favorite, this phrase is aimed at belittling your emotions; by tagging you as ‘overly sensitive’, they hope to make it seem like the problem isn’t what they said or did but rather your exaggerated reaction to it.

“You Misunderstood Me”

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This is about making you question your own understanding and memory. Instead of addressing their problematic statement, they subtly suggest that you simply didn’t get it right. It’s a crafty way of sidestepping accountability.

“I Don’t Like to Play Games”

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Proclaiming their disdain for games is often the manipulator’s most played (as well as most ironic) card. It’s a tactic to come off as genuine, making it harder for you to pinpoint when they’re actually being deceitful.

“I Hate Drama”

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Claiming to hate drama but constantly being in the center of it is classic manipulator behavior. They use this line to paint any opposition as ‘creating unnecessary fuss’, cleverly ducking any responsibility.

“You Always…”

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Using “always” or “never” is about exaggerating your supposed shortcomings. These sweeping generalizations are designed to make you defensive, ensuring you’re too busy defending yourself to challenge them.

“If You Really Cared About Me…”

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A manipulator’s trump card, this form of emotional blackmail is designed to guilt you into compliance. The message is clear: if you don’t do as they wish, you evidently don’t care enough.

“After All I’ve Done for You”

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By reminding you of past favors, they’re trying to make you feel perpetually in their debt and seeing how long they can extend your goodwill into doing more and more. Bear in mind that good deeds don’t necessitate repayment.

“I Was Only Joking”

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By claiming jest, they want a quick escape hatch, hoping their toxic statements will be brushed under the rug. Effectively, this is a way of testing your boundaries without facing the music.

“You’re Imagining Things”

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A classic gaslighting technique. The goal here is to make you doubt your own recollections and feelings. By undermining your perspective, they can start to position theirs as the sole narrative.

“It’s Not That Big of a Deal”

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This phrase tries to shift the power dynamic, suggesting you’re making mountains out of molehills. In truth, it’s a tactic to avoid addressing concerns head-on, dismissing them without proper conversation or resolution.

“I Promise It Won’t Happen Again”

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If said once, it’s a genuine apology. If repeated, it’s nothing but manipulation. This phrase is often used as a way of calming the waters without genuinely addressing the underlying issue.

“Let’s Not Ruin a Perfect Day”

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Ever noticed how manipulators have perfect timing? By suggesting your concerns would spoil the moment, they dodge addressing the real issue, and can theoretically continue pushing the problem back indefinitely.

“You’re Overreacting”

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Unlike the previously mentioned “you’re too sensitive”, this phrase is used to deal with immediate behaviors, making you doubt the legitimacy of your response and potentially hinting that perhaps the problem is with your reaction, not their action.

“It’s Just the Way I Am”

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By presenting their behavior as a fixed trait, manipulators avoid responsibility. The subtext is that they can’t change, so you shouldn’t even bother confronting them. It’s a clever way of making your valid concerns seem pointless.

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