If someone uses these 7 phrases in conversation, they are a master manipulator

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Ever wondered why you often find yourself saying ‘yes’ when you really meant to say ‘no’? Or why you feel guilty for asserting your own needs?

If so, you may be dealing with a master manipulator.

There are certain phrases manipulators commonly use in conversation. Recognizing these can be the first step in protecting yourself from their influence.

Stay with me as we delve into these 7 phrases that reveal someone’s manipulative tendencies.

Remember, knowledge is power. By identifying these phrases, you can arm yourself against manipulation and maintain control over your decisions and actions.

After all, nobody likes to be played.

1) “You’re just too sensitive”

Ever heard this one before?

“You’re just too sensitive”, or its close cousin, “You’re overreacting”, are classic phrases used by manipulators to make you doubt your own feelings and reactions.

The thing is, when someone tells you that you’re being “too sensitive”, they’re essentially dismissing your feelings. They’re shifting the blame onto you, rather than addressing the real issue at hand.

It’s a sneaky way of invalidating your emotions while absolving themselves of any responsibility.

Keep in mind, if something upsets you, you have every right to express it. Your feelings are valid and should be respected, not belittled.

A true friend or loved one would never make you feel guilty for expressing your emotions. They would listen, empathize and seek to understand your perspective, not undermine it.

2) “I’m only saying this for your own good”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

This phrase is a manipulator’s way of sugar-coating their criticism or unsolicited advice, making it seem like they’re looking out for you, when in fact, they might be trying to control or undermine you.

Let me share a personal example.

Once, I had a colleague who would constantly critique my work under the guise of “helping” me. She’d say things like, “I’m only pointing out these mistakes for your own good,” even though her comments were often unnecessary and unconstructive.

In hindsight, I realize that she was using this phrase to assert dominance and make herself feel superior. Instead of offering genuine advice or feedback, she was subtly undermining my confidence to make herself seem more competent.

If someone constantly uses this phrase while providing unsolicited criticism, it might be a sign of manipulation. Genuine advice is meant to uplift and help you improve, not make you feel inadequate or inferior.

3) “I’m sorry you feel that way”

It sounds like an apology, right? But look a little closer and you’ll see it for what it really is – a masterstroke of manipulation.

This phrase is tricky because it gives the illusion of an apology while subtly shifting the blame onto you. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, the manipulator is expressing regret over how you’ve chosen to react to their behavior.

Let’s be clear.

This isn’t an apology. It’s a deflection. It’s a way for them to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and instead make you feel like you’re the one at fault for reacting negatively.

I’ll be honest here, I’ve fallen for this phrase more times than I’d like to admit. But now that I know better, I don’t let it slide.

An authentic apology involves acknowledging the wrongdoing and making amends. Anything less is just manipulation in disguise. Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and sincerity, not mind games.

4) “No one will ever love you like I do”

It’s heavy, isn’t it?

It’s designed to make you feel special, unique, cherished. But in reality, it’s a manipulator’s way of making you feel that without them, you’re less than whole.

See, the truth is this phrase is meant to make you feel dependent on them for love and validation. It’s a way of isolating you and making you question your worth in the eyes of others.

It’s a subtle form of manipulation that pulls at your heartstrings and clouds your judgment with self-doubt and fear.

And let me tell you, it can be incredibly hard to see through this manipulation when you’re emotionally invested in the person using these words.

Your worth is not defined by anyone but yourself. You are deserving of love and respect from all corners, not just from one person who claims they are the only ones capable of giving it to you.

5) “If you really loved me, you’d do this”

“If you really loved me, you’d do this” – a phrase that’s as manipulative as it gets.

Here’s why: it’s designed to guilt-trip you into doing something you’re uncomfortable with by questioning your love or loyalty. It puts you in a situation where saying ‘no’ might imply that you don’t care enough, which is far from the truth.

Now, here’s something you might not know: psychological research has shown that guilt is a powerful tool for manipulation, as it can cause people to go against their own wants or needs in order to please others.

So when someone uses this phrase, they’re exploiting your emotions to get their way. It’s manipulative, and it’s not fair.

Bottom line? Love shouldn’t come with conditions or demands. It should be about mutual respect and understanding. Don’t let anyone guilt-trip you into doing something that doesn’t sit right with you.

Standing up for yourself does not make you selfish or uncaring—it makes you strong and self-respecting.

6) “You’re not remembering it correctly”

Have you ever been sure about a certain event or conversation, only to have someone say, “You’re not remembering it correctly”?

This phrase is a manipulative tactic known as gaslighting. It’s when someone tries to make you doubt your own memories, perceptions, or sanity to evade responsibility or gain the upper hand.

It can be deeply unsettling and can shake your confidence to the core.

But here’s what you need to remember: trust yourself. Your memories and feelings are valid. You’re not going crazy.

Always trust in yourself, your instincts, and your ability to remember. It’s okay to question things, but don’t let anyone tell you that your version of events is wrong when you know it’s not.

Stay strong and trust in your own reality. You know what happened, how it made you feel, and no one has the right to rewrite that.

7) “It was just a joke”

“It was just a joke” – a phrase that’s often used as a get-out-of-jail-free card after an offensive or hurtful comment.

The problem with this phrase is, it’s often used to dismiss your feelings and justify inappropriate behavior. If something was said or done that hurt you, it’s not a joke – it’s disrespectful.

The most important thing to know? You have the right to feel respected and safe in all your interactions. If someone crosses a line and then tries to cover it up by saying they were “just joking”, that’s not humor—it’s manipulation.

Remember, you get to decide what’s funny and what’s not. Don’t let anyone invalidate your feelings under the guise of humor. Your emotions are important, and they should be respected – period.

The final word

Recognize any of these phrases? If you do, take a deep breath. You’re not alone.

Understanding manipulation is the first step towards freeing yourself from its grasp. Even if it’s hard to accept, acknowledging that you’ve been in the company of a master manipulator is a step forward, not backward.

Empower yourself with knowledge. Learn to spot these phrases and understand their underlying intentions.

You deserve respect and authenticity in all your interactions. Don’t allow anyone to undermine your feelings or control your decisions. It’s your life—live it on your terms.

Change isn’t instant, and that’s okay. You might stumble, second guess, or fall back into old patterns. But keep going. Each step away from manipulation brings you closer to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

You are stronger than you think. You are capable of standing up for yourself. And most importantly, you are worthy of respect and genuine relationships.

Arm yourself with awareness, assert your boundaries and remember: The power to change the narrative is always in your hands.

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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