7 phrases manipulative partners use when they’re trying to hide something from you

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The thing with manipulation is that it’s often veiled in sweet words and seemingly innocent phrases. Yet, underneath that sugar-coating, there’s an intention to deceive or control.

Manipulative partners, especially those trying to hide something from you, have a knack for using certain phrases to steer conversations away from their secrets.

These phrases can be subtle, so knowing what they are can help you spot them when they’re being used.

So let’s dive into the world of manipulative language and uncover the phrases that give away a partner who’s trying to keep something hidden. 

1) “You’re overthinking it”

Manipulative partners know how to play the mind game, and this phrase is a classic move in their playbook.

When they’re trying to hide something, they might use this phrase to shift the blame onto you.

The goal? To make you question your own judgement and dismiss your concerns as mere paranoia.

It’s a subtle way of invalidating your feelings while diverting attention away from their actions.

If they can convince you that you’re just overanalyzing things, they can continue their deception without scrutiny.

2) “I don’t remember”

This one hits close to home for me.

In my past relationship, whenever I would bring up something that seemed off, my partner would often respond with, “I don’t remember that happening”.

It was a convenient way to avoid answering difficult questions while still playing innocent.

This phrase serves as a tool to create doubt and confusion.

You start questioning your own memory, wondering if you’ve got it all wrong, or somehow misremembered.

Meanwhile, they get to sidestep the issue they’re trying to hide.

Looking back now, I realize those forgotten incidents weren’t instances of bad memory, but intentional evasion.

I hope I can now at least help others avoid falling into the same trap – so be careful if you hear this phrase often.

3) “Why would I lie to you?”

Manipulators love to play at your heart strings, eliciting guilt and making you feel like a bad person for questioning them – and this phrase really hits the bullseye with that.

It subtly implies that you’re being wrongfully suspicious of them and treating them like a criminal – and they, poor innocent person, are just defending themselves.

They ask you this to make it seem like they couldn’t possibly have a reason to lie to you, so they can’t think of any – and they put you in the position of someone who expects the worst from them and is accusing them of being untruthful.

The irony is, according to a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults can’t have a ten-minute conversation without lying at least once.

And often, these lies are told by people close to us.

So when your partner asks, “Why would I lie to you?”, it might not be coming from a place of honesty.

It could be an attempt to downplay your concerns and keep their secrets safe. 

4) “You’re just being insecure”

This phrase is another classic diversion tactic.

The manipulative partner uses it to deflect attention away from their questionable behavior and instead, focus on your perceived weaknesses.

By labeling you as insecure, they’re trying to make you second-guess your instincts and see your suspicions as a problem you have to fix in yourself.

They make you believe that it’s your own insecurities clouding your judgment, not their dishonesty.

And sure, sometimes our insecurities really can rear their ugly heads to make us question things that are perfectly fine in reality.

But a loving partner wouldn’t point it out this way – making you feel bad about questioning something is more often than not a sign that they’re hiding something. 

5) “If you really loved me, you would trust me”

This phrase is a manipulative partner’s go-to defense mechanism.

By implying that your suspicions are a sign of a lack of love, they make you feel like you’re not being a good enough partner, and that you need to prove yourself to them by believing in them. 

The sad thing is, this phrase works best on people who love the deepest – because they’re willing to do almost anything to keep the peace and their partner happy.

And that’s how their love ends up being used as a bargaining chip against them. 

The fact is, no matter how much you love someone, there still needs to be transparency, honesty, and good communication in the relationship.

And this is not just your responsibility – it is theirs too. 

6) “How can you think I’d do that?”

This phrase is very similar to “Why would I lie to you?” but with an added punch.

“How can you think I’d do that?” not only puts responsibility on you to come up with a reason for their deceipt – basically making it look like it comes from you not them – but it also makes you out to be the bad guy for even entertaining such negative thoughts.

The tactic here is that they are the pure, honest soul, and you are the evil stepmother (or in this case, partner) who is trying to paint them as someone dishonest. 

But what they don’t realize is that when you really dig into this phrase, you can find the same manipulative intention that they are accusing you of with it.

Why would you want to paint them as the bad guy if they did nothing to desere it?

Remember, your suspicions do come from somewhere, and you have to trust your gut to find the answers you need. 

7) “I’m just trying to protect you”

In my own experience, this phrase was often used as a justification for secrecy.

My ex partner would say they were hiding things to “protect” me, making it seem like they had my best interests at heart.

But something always felt weird about it.

Because aren’t we supposed to be a team who can tackle any problem with more strength together?

True protection in a relationship involves honesty and transparency, not secrets and lies.

And today I know that this phrase was just a disguise for my ex’s deceptive behavior. 

Final thought: Truth in actions

The complexity of human relationships often lies in the subtle nuances of our interactions.

Words can be powerful, but they can also be misleading, especially when used manipulatively.

In relationships, it’s crucial to remember that actions speak louder than words.

The phrases we’ve explored in this article might be used to mask the truth, but consistent actions rarely lie.

If your partner’s words don’t match their actions, don’t just brush it away, but take a closer look.

If phrases that invalidate your feelings or concerns become a pattern, it could be indicative of a more profound issue.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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