10 phrases manipulators use to blame others for their own mistakes

Manipulators are masters of deflection.

This is the reason why they can get away with any crime and even gain sympathy from others.

How do they do it?

With good acting skills and of course—deceptive words.

If you want to know if someone is manipulating you, read up.

Here are phrases manipulators use to blame others for their own mistakes.

1) “It wasn’t my idea!”

For a master manipulator, it’s always someone else’s idea—if they get in trouble, that is.

So when they agree to do something and they get caught or they make a huge blunder, they’ll raise their hands and say “Well, it wasn’t my idea!”

Let’s say their classmate asked them to buy a box of donuts for the whole class, and they made the mistake of buying really expensive donuts.

They’d go “But I was just following orders.”

This is a clever thing to say because indeed, they are following orders. But the real “mistake” is when they didn’t execute it well—and they should be accountable for that.

2) “I was only trying to help.”

Manipulators are experts at making themselves look like the good guy.

They’re the “hero”, the one with “good intentions”, the one who “always cares.”

That’s why when things go wrong, they’d play the victim.

They’d wail “But I was only trying to help!” or “Is this how you treat me after all I’ve done?”

It’s as if people have no right to even think they did something wrong (even if they obviously did something wrong) simply because they have good intentions.

And if you can’t forgive them right away, well …you’re just heartless!

3) “I told you so.”

When something goes wrong, they’ll look at someone else and say “I told you so.”

What’s funny is that they weren’t even very opposed to that person’s idea in the first place.

So, all of a sudden, not only are their hands clean from the crime by saying “I told you so”, they’re also projecting that they’re wiser than others.

It’s as if they’re saying that things would have turned out fine if only they listened to them.

4) “They pressured me to do it!”

Look, unless there’s a gun pointed to your head or there’s a bully harassing you, YOU are responsible for the things you do.

Yep, even if someone pressured you to do it!

But manipulative people want to make others feel responsible for their mistakes.

And so even if they just felt very mild pressure, they’d go “Wah, wah! They pressured me to do it! It’s their fault!”

Let’s say their friends convinced them to stay up late to watch one more episode of their favorite show. And because of this, they’re late for their 7am class and missed an important exam. 

Guess who they’ll blame? Everyone else but themselves.

5) “But I thought this is something that you want!”

Manipulators will tell you that you have no right to blame them just because they did something for you.

Let’s say you told your manipulative boyfriend that you wish to go to Japan someday.

Then, without even telling you, they booked a ticket for two to Japan using your joint account.

And so, of course you were mortified when you found out!

They’d act hurt and say “But I thought this is something that you want!”

Well…yes, you want to go to Japan but you never said you wanted to buy tickets asap. 

But the manipulator will make it seem like you’re ungrateful for even questioning them for trying to make you happy.

6) “Is it really such a big deal?”

Manipulators have the habit of gaslighting people around them—especially if they just committed a mistake.

If they forgot to put back your favorite ice cream in the fridge, they won’t say “Oh no, I’m sorry. I’ll buy you another one”.

Instead, they’d be annoyed at you for “overreacting”, and ask you “Is it really such a big deal?!” or say “Wow! All of this drama just for ice cream?!”

And you know what’s funny? 

Even if it IS definitely a big deal, manipulators will still say this phrase. 

They might also say other phrases that could invalidate your feelings like “You’re too sensitive” or “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill!”

7) “WOW! You only notice the things I do wrong.”

They clearly made a mistake. They even admitted it and mumbled “sorry”.

But if you will make them feel bad for it—say, if you keep talking about it and won’t let it go— they’d start to make you feel like you’re ATTACKING them.

They’ll say that you’re too hard on them and that to you, they can’t do anything right.

They might even tell you that you’re too negative and high-strung to personally attack you.

They’re doing this to shut you up and so the focus would be on how “bad” you are towards them instead of the actual issue.

8) “Well, you should have done it yourself.”

They’d offer to do something for you—maybe to fix your sink or to edit a photo.

And they’d say it like it’s so easy to do so of course, you’d let them do it.

But when things go wrong, they’d raise both hands and say “Woah, woah! You should have just done it yourself then!”

Yes, you’re the “ungrateful one” even if you really didn’t beg for their help.

They’d even say something like “You really should have just hired an expert if you wanted great results!”

9) “I love how you make this about you.”

When something goes wrong and it’s really affecting you in a huge way, of course you have the right to react.

But master manipulators will make you think you’re narcissistic for always just “focusing on you”.

How can you not think about how it affects when it really does?!

Again, gaslighting. 

Master manipulators are experts at making you feel bad for feeling bad.

10) “You know I’m not good at this!”

You encouraged them to do something—because you truly believe in their abilities—and when they failed miserably, they lashed out and blamed YOU.

Manipulators hate looking like a failure.

And so they’d always blame you for pushing them to do something…even if it’s for their own good.

This phrase can also be used in another context.

When you ask them to do something very simple—like slicing onions or cleaning the fridge—and they mess up, they’d simply say “Well, you already know I’m not good at this!”

The annoying thing is that you have a feeling they’re doing it on purpose so you won’t ask for their help again.

Final thoughts

Ahhh, manipulators!

They’re really annoying to deal with, aren’t they?

But be careful. They might seem harmless when they try to get away with small offenses like not washing the dishes. 

But they can be dangerous when it comes to more important things like unfinished business presentations or unpaid loans.

So if you suspect someone is manipulative, pay attention if they use these phrases. When that happens, chances are that they’re trying to put the blame on others. Let’s hope it’s not on you.

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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