8 phrases a master manipulator will use to trick and mislead you

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Come closer. Allow me to let you in on a little secret.

Here goes. I seem to have an addiction to falling for the wrong people. Yep, all the wrong kinds of people. 

I am talking about those who gaslight, lie, and cheat—aka the unholy trinity.

One time, there was an exception to this rule of mine. It was a person who really stood out from the rest. Why?

Because he was so honest and open about his messy past.

It took me months to cotton on and I realized that all of this was one big manipulative act. They were using perceived honesty as a tactic to make me think they were this trustworthy, open person.

Despite my friends warning me about this particular person, I defended them. Fiercely. 

Here’s the thing: toxic people tend to spin intricate tales of redemption to keep you wrapped up in them.

After the relationship ended, I promised myself that In the future, whenever doubts crept in, I would not ignore them.

Because of this, I have managed to identify a few pointers, in the form of phrases, that might help you steer clear of falling for a manipulator.

Here are eight phrases a master manipulator might use to lead you astray.

1) “I never get what I really want.”

The following line might not seem innately manipulative, but trust me, it’s a stealthily big hitter: “I never get what I really want.”

In this instance, the expert manipulator is setting up a tall tale where they’re forever painted as the victim, or the unfortunate sod who is always being let down by life.

I am going to come out and say it: this person desperately wants to make you feel sorry for them. Desperately.

Essentially, they are daring you to step into the role of their carer and defender. Don’t fall for it, it’s bait.

2) “You’re going to leave me.”

I do not like this one. It howls desperation.

Manipulative folks who drop “You’re going to leave me” into the chat are, I’m sorry, generally insufferable.

They basically want you to make them feel more secure, inviting you to let out an extravagant display of adoration.

It’s a plea for constant reassurance disguised as vulnerability.

It is also a deeply problematic dynamic, because the manipulator wants you to feel personally responsible for their emotional wellbeing.

And let me tell you from personal experience: there is no limit to the validation and assurance they will need from you.

Truly, it will only end up exhausting you in the long run.

3) “Why can’t I be lucky like you? You get everything you want.”

At first glances, this statement might seem harmless—maybe even complimentary. But that it aint.

The line “Why can’t I be lucky like you? You get everything you want” is a subtle trap, and the manipulator is hoping you will bunnyhop right into it.

It is super fake as well, because they are pretending to admire your good fortune in life while actually making it all about them!

Look deeper and you will probably discover that they really want you to feel guilty about the great goings on in your world.

They might even be goading you into admitting that your life isn’t all that great, tricking you into oversharing about your vulnerabilities.

But, seriously, do not play into this sick game of theirs—and remember, your own life is never something to apologize for!

4) “I am cursed/doomed.”

If there is anything manipulators have, it is a major flair for theatrics and dramatics. I really mean this one.

But try and resist the urge to play into their world of heightened drama.

Take the phrase, “I am cursed/doomed”, as tangible proof. Unless they actually do happen to be tied into a pretty ancient, ancestral curse, they are messing with your head.

They are also playing into that victim dynamic I mentioned earlier on in the piece.

They want to tug at your heartstrings and feel super sorry for them. And because you are a kind person—and they know that—you probably will indeed start to feel sorry for them. 

After all, it is human nature to be empathetic towards the struggles of others (well, perhaps not for them!).

Also, them saying this to you is a tell-tale distraction from the actual issues at hand. 

I think you will find, in time, that they are the kings and queens of deflections.

5) “This is how a real relationship is supposed to be.”

Ah, this old gem! “This is how a real relationship is supposed to be” is yet another page in the manipulator’s book of lies, tricks and gaslighting.

Let’s get to the bottom of it. Healthy relationships are totally different for everyone, which is why you should be suspicious if one person comes to you saying, or implying, that they are the authority on it.

They are making you think their way is the only right way—and that you are stuffing it all up. Pretty clever, hey?

Spoiler: there is no one-size-fits-all solution to relationships! If someone says otherwise, I would really be wary of their intentions here.

Stand firm and do not allow this person to mess with your grip on reality.

6) “Why do you hate me?”

If a manipulator quickly wants to plant your feet on the defensive side, they will likely ask something along the lines of “Why do you hate me?”

This fully-loaded question assumes that you are the guilty party, making you feel like you have to justify your feelings, actions, or positions on a matter relating to them.

It very quickly diverts your attention away from the manipulator’s behavior and onto your own response. 

Instead, it refocuses all onto your supposed hatred—what a curveball!

Hate is, ultimately, a strong word, and my guess is that they are flinging it at you after you said something minor or harmless, like you aren’t a fan of their new favorite Netflix series.

7) “I can give you everything you need.”

If someone straight-up says to you, “I can give you everything you need” it might at first seem like it is the answer to your prayers.

But it is deeply and insidiously manipulative. Why? 

Because already, they are gearing up to make you depend on them and be the one conducting your feelings and emotions.

In reality, there is no single person who can provide you everything you need—just like you cannot live off a diet of potatoes alone (though I wish I could. Fries for life).

They are tactically attempting to tie you to them, and it will serve you well to reject their seemingly generous offer.

8) “No one else will love you like I do.”

The old “No one else will love you like I do”? is one of the worst things a lover can say to you. 

Yep, I know you’re thinking it sounds ultra sweet on the surface.

Instead, it is attempting to position you as an acquired taste, a person not that many people know how to love.

They are trying to communicate that they are essentially doing you a favor.

By doing this, it is a sly tactic used to separate you from your loved ones—they want you to fully believe that they, and they alone, can provide all the emotional fulfillment that you should desire.

This is a sad one because it is human nature to crave security, love, and nurture.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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