7 Common Phrases Manipulators Use and How to respond to them?

Javeria Gull
5 min readMar 24, 2022
Manipulators take controls of your decisions.

Are you the victim of manipulation? Do you end up doing what you don’t want? Manipulative people know how to get their way. They take over your choices by sweet talks and eventually start controlling your decisions.

To constantly deal with manipulators can be emotionally exhausting and it might drain you. Generally, when we talk about manipulators, it’s most likely to be a romantic interest, but unfortunately it worked for all type of people regardless of your relation to them i.e. your coworker, your boss, or maybe your kin.

Manipulators attempt to create a power imbalance to get their way with you. They will use manipulative sentences to emotionally abuse and weaken your self-esteem it will keep you second guessing your decisions.

Do manipulators play “unfair”?

Absolutely.

Do they care about being unfair?

Absolutely not.

Manipulators don’t care about being it fair or unfair as long as they get their own way. They are really good with words, not only they are sweet talkers but they can turn your own words against you no matter how vigilant you are.

You are simply a ‘means to end’ to them and you might not realize it until it’s too late. You give your heart to them and they will rip it into pieces. Manipulation is not only immoral but it can cause real damage.

In this article we will discuss the most commonly used phrases by the manipulators and how you can respond to them to shut them down.

“You are misunderstanding what I said.”

Manipulative behaviours

When manipulators are caught doing something wrong or lying, this is the most common approach they will use. They will try to appear innocent and accuse you of imagining things. You knew what you have been seen yet they still try to perplex you. They are quick to turn the tables on you like that.

If this pattern appears to be repeating itself in your relationship more than twice or three times, you must wake up and take a stand for yourself because you are clearly being disregarded.

“I am just trying to protect you.”

Are you Serious? Such things only happen in films. It may appear to be all romantic at first, but if this happens frequently, you must stop it immediately.

I know this sounds really romantic when we see it in films, but it isn’t. Nobody has the authority to make such choices solely without consulting you for the purpose of protecting you. To be frank, you have to face certain things in your life at your own and nobody can really protect you from everything in life.

Yes, the love and support from your loved ones means a lot and it’s such a lovely thing but you should make your own decisions with their moral instead of them making it for you and that’s a huge difference between two.

“Look what you made me do!”

Honestly, no one has the authority to compel others to do anything, they don’t want or are uncomfortable with. The decision is entirely up to us.

So, if somebody tells you it, don’t let it disturb your mind. Manipulators use various tactics to justify themselves, one of which is trying to blame someone else for stuff they did.

Next time, if someone tells you that you compelled him to do something, be open and honest and make him/her realize that you have no authority to compel them to do anything they would not want to do. They must accept responsibility for their own actions because no one else will.

“You’re too sensitive.”

The most feasible victims of manipulators are sensitive people. They try to understand them due to their empathic nature and that’s exactly where manipulators strike.

So, if next time, somebody tries to defend themselves by saying, “You’re too sensitive” then remember it, firstly, there is nothing wrong with being “too sensitive”.

Secondly, everybody has a right to walk out or defend themselves if they are feeling wronged or taken advantage of.

If he/she thinks you’re too sensitive, that’s fine by you, but you’re not going to sit by and manipulated any longer.

“Why are you still mad at me? What more do you want me to do?”

Asking for apology for your mistake is always appreciated and admirable, and in most cases, forgiveness is immediately granted. However, sometime people don’t apologize because they are sorry but to just avoid a bad situation and that’s exactly how manipulators strike.

This kind of phrases does not even sound sincere, “I already apologize what more you want?” Don’t be surprised, if this is followed by “You are being dramatic.” or “You are being unreasonable for nothing.” They might just want you get off their back by apologizing.

Or they could use the following phrase:

“I already brought you a gift. Why are you still mad?”

Your response to such statements by something like that, I really appreciate you buying me this beautiful gift but my forgiveness does not come with a price tag. You can have it back.

Wounds take time to heal, and a sorry does not really fix everything. So, take your time to know if a person is sincerely apologizing or just trying to bribe you to get out of a bad situation.

“I will hurt myself if you leave me.”

This is the most dangerous type of emotional manipulation. They try to make you feel guilty to stop you.

Threatening to self-harm is extremely dangerous and toxic behavior and they need professional help as soon as possible.

Conclusion

The way how you respond to the manipulators is the key to diffuse or escalate the situation. Try to handle situation without taking it personally and calmly this will prevent the manipulators to use your emotions against you.

Identify the behavior you would not tolerate or uncomfortable with, give direct and clear response to manipulators and stand your grounds firmly. That’s setting boundaries and it’s difficult to hurt the feelings of your loved ones but it’s a certainly necessary step.

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Javeria Gull

Javeria is a developer, teacher, socialist, and author. She lives and breathes books. That’s why even after doing a degree in tech, work as a freelance writer.