15 phrases manipulative people use to shift blame onto their partner

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Manipulative people are great at denying responsibility and deflecting blame. In fact, they love shifting blame onto others, and more often than not, their partner is right there in the crosshairs. 

Because manipulators think they’re awesome, it’s therefore never their fault when something bad happens as a result of their actions.

They come up with excuses on the spot, and here are some of the phrases they use to shift blame onto their partner. 

1) “You’re overreacting, as usual”

Blaming someone for overreacting is the go-to weapon of manipulators. They downplay things as much as possible to make their errors seem meaningless. 

Blaming their partner for making a big deal out of nothing is very hurtful and invalidating, don’t you agree? 

And even more so if it happens all the time, which I’m sure it does. But here’s another one of their bangers:

2) “You’re too sensitive, that’s the problem”

People just love accusing others of being too sensitive. Everyone is a snowflake these days, even though the accusers are often the biggest snowflakes of them all. 

With this statement, they’re quick to dismiss their partner’s emotions, implying that their feelings are exaggerated.

Manipulators are once again accusing the other side of making a big deal out of things, but this time, it’s because they’re too sensitive. 

3) “You always make things difficult”

If someone wants to push their partner’s buttons, all they have to do is say something like this. 

I mean, even if it were true, there are other ways of saying it, right? 

But manipulators don’t care about hurting other people’s feelings, so why should they care about their partner’s feelings anyway? 

Above all, manipulators are incredibly selfish and always look at how they can trample over others to get what they want. 

4) “I wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t…”

Now, this one’s a doozy, isn’t it? It’s just such a straightforward way of making excuses by blaming the other person

It’s as if they’re saying, “I did this because you made me do it,” putting the responsibility on the partner.

For example, the manipulator spends too much money all the time, yet they blame their partner for pressuring them to buy things. 

Or they snapped at them, and now they’re saying it’s their partner’s fault for nagging them all day. 

5) “You’re the one who started this argument”

Now, this phrase shifts the blame by claiming the partner was the one who initiated the argument. It avoids taking responsibility for their part in the disagreement.

And this fits the pattern perfectly, doesn’t it?

It also does a great job of steering the conversation in the other direction. Now, the fight is about who started arguing first and not what the argument was about in the first place. 

7) “If you were more understanding, this wouldn’t happen”

Manipulators love projecting, don’t they? In this case, they project that the partner isn’t compassionate and not them.

In other words, they imply that problems emerge because the other person lacks empathy. But, to anyone who knows the manipulator well, it’s clear that they’re calling the kettle black, right? 

There are simply no ifs, buts, or maybes about it. 

8) “I did it because you never listen to me”

Again, this is classic projecting from the manipulator. They’re often the ones who don’t actively listen. 

In fact, they only listen to others so they can extract valuable information for further manipulation and not because they care about others or their issues. 

With this phrase, they simply blame their partner for their own actions, suggesting they had no choice but to act a certain way due to the partner’s inattention.

9) “This is your fault for not being clear”

Claiming they weren’t in the loop or that they didn’t understand instructions is another tactic. 

It puts all the blame on the partner for any confusion, ignoring the possibility that miscommunication could be a shared responsibility.

It doesn’t matter how clear the instructions were. If they did something wrong, you can bet they’ll be the excuse for the wrongdoing and not the person who actually made the mistake itself. 

10) “I did what I did because of your actions”

Excuses, excuses, excuses. This shifts the focus from personal choices to the partner’s behavior, suggesting that their actions forced the reaction.

So, for example, they might blame their partner like this: “I didn’t come home on time because you’re always nagging me about being punctual. Your constant reminders create unnecessary pressure.”

In fact, they’re the real victim here because poor them were under a lot of pressure, right? If it were a normal person, then okay, they could feel pressured. 

But for manipulators, it’s just another excuse. 

11) “You’re imagining things, it’s not a big deal”

Now, we’ve come to something interesting – gaslighting. Although the term has gained popularity only in the last two decades, it’s something manipulators have been doing since the dawn of time. 

They downplay the significance of the situation and suggest the other person is misinterpreting things, making their concerns seem unimportant:

They’re just imagining things, and there’s nothing to see. 

12) “I’m only reacting to how you treat me”

In this case, the manipulator is pointing to their partner’s behavior, minimizing personal responsibility for how they choose to respond.

They were the victim once again because their partner supposedly mistreated them. But if you know manipulators and their tactics and behaviors, then you know they’re the ones doing all the mistreating. 

It’s just who they are and all they do is in service of the “greater good.” In their case, that’s always sex, money, power, influence, or all of them. 

They steamroll people into doing whatever they want them to do by using passive-aggressiveness, guilt-tripping, love bombing, selective amnesia, silent treatment, and much more. 

13) “You should know better instead of causing issues”

With this phrase, they put all the responsibility on their partner to avoid conflicts, oversimplifying relationship dynamics and neglecting shared responsibility in resolving problems.

In other words, it’s not their fault once again. They were on the receiving end of the argument, and any mistakes or harmful actions they did were not the point.

The real point is that the partner shouldn’t have made a big deal out of the issue. They should have been more supportive.

14) “If you were more supportive, I wouldn’t act like this”

This suggests that the partner’s lack of support is the main reason for certain actions. They deflect accountability and ignore the fact that people make their own choices.

In this case, the manipulator had the choice to do something or not. They now try to blame their partner for everything and make them look unsupportive. 

Again, if it weren’t them we’re talking about, you could make a case for the person. But, because we know they’re a manipulator, we know they don’t care for things like someone supporting them or not.

15) “You’re the one who needs to change, not me”

And lastly, they’re perfect, and everyone else around them is at fault and needs to change. 

That’s why, with this statement, they avoid acknowledging personal faults by insisting that the other person is the one who needs to change. 

It also perfectly deflects attention from their own actions and behaviors.

Final thoughts 

Living with a manipulator or being in a relationship with one is no easy feat. I can’t even imagine what life looks like for their partners. 

Many of them aren’t even aware of the fact their loved one is a manipulator until it’s too late. At that point, it’s much more difficult to get out of their grip. 

Many times, the only solution is for the manipulator to find a “better” victim. Someone new they’ll focus all their attention on in the future. 

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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