A manipulator is a toxic person who tries by all means to bend you to his will. Because of such people we usually lose ourselves, and sometimes even become slaves (at least in the moral sense) of manipulators.
By what phrases can you recognize such toxic personalities? We asked several experts in psychology and this is what we learned.
“I was just kidding”
The first thing a manipulator does is find your pain points and personal boundaries. By observing your reactions, he marks your weaknesses and assesses whether or not you can fight back. If you can’t, if you just cried or got sad after a “bad” joke, it means that the manipulator will take you into a turn. In the future, he will hit the sore spots to finally break you.
“You’ve misunderstood it all”
A frequent example of the previous point (and also the biggest cause of quarrels) is the phrase “You’ve got it all wrong”. It doesn’t so much make you doubt your own rightness as it directly says, “You’re wrong.”
Another good example would be “you imagined it, it didn’t happen”. Rest assured, in most cases when you hear it, your feelings are being played. Manipulators use such accusations to turn the situation completely in their direction, making you believe their story.
“When You’re As Old as I Am”
This is a favorite phrase of the older generation. On the one hand, it may be correct to remind oneself of one’s experiences, but such words cause the interlocutor to feel inferior. That is why they are in the language of manipulators: to always occupy a dominant position. For the same purpose, they can also refer to the difference in age.
“It’s impossible to have a normal speech with you!”
Surprised that this is a manipulator’s phrase? In fact, it is one of the favorite sayings of toxic people. The bottom line is the subtext. The manipulator says this because your point of view doesn’t suit him and he doesn’t want to hear it. So he tries to silence you. People who are not manipulators will not silence their interlocutor.
“It’s for your own good”
Everyone has the right to decide for himself and make his own decisions. You are not a small child and someone has to decide for you. This phrase deprives you of the right to do this or that. That is your life is already ruled by a manipulator “for your own good. And no one has even asked you if you want it or not. See how your opinion does not play any role for the manipulator?
“I’m doing this just for you…”
Do not give in to this provocation. By saying this phrase, manipulator are expected from you reciprocate, to make some kind of broad gesture.
The phrase emphasizes that the manipulator is supposedly making a greater contribution to your relationship. Consequently, you begin to feel remorse and guilt, which automatically means that you are willing to make concessions. It is as if you are redeeming yourself for not being as selfless and committed to the manipulator, when in fact you are not. Manipulators never do anything for others: everything is for themselves. But they present it in such a way that it seems to the victim that she is the most worthless, ungrateful, etc.
When arguments run out or don’t work properly, the manipulator will try to deflect responsibility away from himself, thus giving himself room for the next attack:
- “You are never satisfied with anything!” >>> You don’t have to complain or feel dissatisfied with my behavior;
- “What happened is what happened”. >>> I don’t want to be responsible for it;
- “You’re just crazy!”. >>> I didn’t do anything wrong, you’re the one with the problem;
- “I promise it won’t happen again”. >>> I want you to treat me as if nothing happened;
- “It’s nothing!” >>> You’re overreacting;
- “Nobody’s perfect”. >>> You shouldn’t criticize my behavior and discuss my actions;
- “You can’t do that!” >>> You should listen to me, not yourself;
- “Relax, it’s okay”. >>> You’re overreacting to my toxic behavior, which I think is perfectly reasonable.
The manipulator’s favorite weapon is drama. To introduce an element of tragedy is like showing your mastery, honed over the years. If these phrases are present in the conversation, the play has begun!
- “You are too sensitive”. >>> Your reaction to my toxic behavior is excessive and unreasonable;
- “Don’t be so impressionable”. >>> I want to emphasize – you overreact to everything and only provoke conflict;
- “I don’t remember that”. >>> Then it didn’t happen;
- “Don’t play the victim!” >>> You don’t have to feel hurt and notice that I’m manipulating you;
- “It doesn’t matter”. >>> You better not think about it;
- “You’re exaggerating everything”. >>> It’s not as bad as you think (but much worse);
- “I know you love me”. >>> I know better how you feel about me than you do yourself;
- “You can’t do it without me”. >>> I believe you need me to survive, so don’t jeopardize our relationship.
If the manipulator launches a blatant attack, he will use his toughest element of influence – the threat:
- “No one will believe you”. >>> I will try to isolate you and turn everyone against you;
- “I hate you”. >>> I want to make you suffer, to make you feel loveless, unworthy and bad;
- “Know your place!” >>> You have crossed the line, you must become more obedient;
- “Shut up!” >>> Sit quietly, be submissive and don’t ask questions;
- “You’ll regret it”. >>> You hurt me and I will hurt you;
- “You always / never (don’t) do that”. >>> I will exaggerate and make a big deal out of it to make you look bad;
- “I will tell everyone what kind of person you are”. >>> I’m going to tell on you and turn everybody against you;
- “You don’t know what I’m capable of”. >>> I will do anything to punish you;
- “I will make you pay”. >>> You have wronged me, and I will punish you for it.
And what without the most effective weapon of manipulators – the guilt. A manipulator can make a person feel guilty by making false accusations and insults, as well as by humiliating them:
- “This is for your own good”. >>> Translation: you should be grateful, not upset;
- “It’s your fault”. >>> I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s all your fault;
- “You are cold and cruel!” >>> You don’t know how to forgive! You shouldn’t hold me responsible for my behavior;
- “You deserve it”. >>> It’s very simple – you deserve to be mistreated;
- “You are provoking me”. >>> My toxic behavior is simply a reaction to your actions;
- “You’re the one who made me do it”. >>> I have no control over myself, and you are responsible for what I did;
- “You’re the one manipulating me”. >>> I’m not the one manipulating you, you are;
- “You’re hurting me”. >>> I am the victim here;
- “This is where I make the decisions”. >>> You have no right to speak out;
- “You know I love you”. >>> I want you to keep giving me what I want;
- “I already apologized, why are you pushing me away?” >>> I think you’re being unfair to me;
- “What are you after that?” >>> You’re nothing;
- “Nobody loves you”. >>> I want to make you feel worthless.
These are just a few of the most common of an endless list of phrases that manipulators say to their partners, coworkers and significant others in order to pass the buck and get what they want from them. Knowing them you can immediately understand that someone is trying to manipulate you. Of course, this knowledge can also be applied in other ways. We recommend being extremely careful when using them!