7 Common Manipulative Phrases and How To Shut Them Down

Manipulative Phrases Shut Them Down

People do not choose to manipulate because they care. Manipulation and manipulative phrases are control and abuse masquerading as love, which makes people believe that this is what they want. Its ability to look like affection can make this one of the most insidious forms of abuse.

“Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction,” wrote Criss Jami.

Don’t allow your life to be hijacked by a manipulator’s sweet words. Hold tight to your sense of control and make your own choices. If this manipulation becomes a pattern, consider leaving the relationship behind. Manipulation is not only controlling but deeply selfish.

There are some common lines of thinking that manipulators like to exploit to get their way.

Thankfully, all of them are easily shut down with common sense.

Here are seven common manipulative phrases, each followed by a logical and self valuing response:

1. “Look what you made me do!”

I do not have the power to make you do anything. You chose to respond the way you did. You need to carry the responsibility for your own actions. I can only own mine.

2. “How can you still be mad at me after I bought you that beautiful necklace?”

My forgiveness can not be bought with money. You were very kind to do that. However, if this necklace is contingent on my forgiveness, it is not a gift. It is a bribe. You can have it back.

Related: 15 Red Flags Of Manipulative People

3. “Don’t wear that out. Let me check your phone. Who’ve you been texting? It’s not you, I don’t trust- It’s other people.”

You don’t have to trust other people. You just have to trust me to be faithful and honest. When you behave this way, you assume that I am either a cheater or a very weak person. I am neither.

4. “I want you to stay home because that is what’s best for our kids. I just want to take care of you.”

The best thing for my children is to have a mother who is happy and whole. The choice to work or to stay home is mine. By doing what makes me happy, I am teaching our children to have autonomy over their own lives. Is forcing me into a lifestyle I don’t want taking care of me? Or is it tightening your control over my life? (Note: This can also work the other way, with a controlling partner forcing their significant other into undesired work.)

5. “I know you feel strongly about his, but I need you to do it my way. It’s what’s best for us.”

What’s best for us is to make decisions as a couple. What’s best for me is to have my input heard and respected. Is your way truly what’s best for us, or is it what’s best for you?

Related: 9 Tactics People Use To Take Advantage of You

6. “If you leave, I will hurt myself.”

If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you need to call 911. You can also call the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. I have already made my choice. I’ve explained my reasons for doing so. I am not coming back.

7. “I know you don’t want kids right now, but let’s try anyway. I just want us to be a family.”

Family can take many different forms. The common thread between them is a feeling of mutual respect. I have the right to choose how many children we have, and when we have them. I will tell you when I am ready.

As C.J. Roberts wrote in Seduced in the Dark, “I’ve been doing this a long time- manipulating people to get my way. That’s why you think you love me. Because I’ve broken you down and built you back up to believe it. It wasn’t an accident. Once you leave this behind, you’ll see that.”

Related: 9 Traits of Manipulative People To Watch Out For

Sometimes it takes removing yourself from manipulation to see it for what it is. Sometimes it only takes one well-placed rebuttal to shut it down. Be wary of manipulation, and manipulative phrases, and don’t be afraid to leave. Only you have the right to control your own life.


Originally appeared on IHeartIntelligence

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14 thoughts on “7 Common Manipulative Phrases and How To Shut Them Down”

  1. Where’s THIS one:
    “Don’t you think, AFTER ALL I’VE (WE’VE) DONE FOR YOU, that YOU SHOULD DO ( you name it) FOR ME(US)?””
    If I’d known this one 20 years ago when my father said it to me, I, now 60, might not be sitting here on disability, and instead, have a college degree, and a different, definitely more autonomous, quality of life. No, I’m not making excuses for myself, thank you. JUST THINK THIS ONE OUGHT TO BE ON THE LIST SOMEWHERE. #8, Anyone???

    1. I am a woman and I had the same reaction, Rob. Women can be extremely manipulative and selfish and phrases like “only I can decide to have children and when” and “I will work and damn the children” (slight paraphrase) are selfish and obnoxious statements. And why is the prevailing attitude “children are a problem and we have to figure out how to deal with them?” Waste of time reading this piece of propaganda.

    1. I’m just trying to find a way to leave my comment. I posted it 2x, and still dont see it. So, I’m going to try to leave it in a REPLY: WHERE IS THE PHRASE: “AFTER ALL I’VE (WE’VE) DONE FOR YOU, don’t you think you OWE ME (US) THIS (YOU PICK) MUCH?”???” How about that for #8???

  2. I have a partner that does not communicate with me about where she’s been and I do ask her if she lashes out don’t you throw me a pair of shorts that she bought for me well she impose a 20 pairs of jeans you bought for herFeel like I’m wrong for asking where she’s been

    1. This caught my eye but I don’t get the story! Please rewrite and proofread if youd like to. Could be interesting!

    2. I think it’s okay to ask someone where they’ve been: IF you’re not the one who is doing the manipulating. IF you’re in a mutually respectful relationship, the question seems more likely to be asked when the person who just returned from somewhere was uncharacteristically late, absent when typically there at certain times, or seemingly missing. In these instances it’s a reflex to ask. On the surface, your question sounds like it’s you who is being disrespectfully treated. And if someone won’t tell you where they’re going or where they’ve been, and you know you are not asking the question out of a need to control, can say you have not forbid this person to go places he/she has a legal right to, nor punished this person whether by yelling or physical force or other things, why not?
      The question gets lost in the description of what sounds like a display of two tempers erupting over shorts and pants and who bought what for who (whom?)- & could be just a description of any number of things you end up “arguing ” about. If there is truly an UNequal power-play going on–do you know if it’s you who is trying to be the controller or you who are being controlled? Maybe that’s not helpful but your question could use some more details that explain just the facts, leaving out the debate about the shorts & pants. It kinda sounds like you’re so angry that you jumbled it all together. Maybe try again after finding a safe way to discharge?

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