5 Phrases Manipulators Say To Make You Feel Crazy

5 Phrases Manipulators Say To Make You Feel Crazy


Manipulate: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.

-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

One thing is for certain: manipulators are great at what they do, namely, being deceptive. We can evaluate the above definition by Merriam-Webster to figure out exactly what manipulators are up to.

Are manipulators artful?

In no way does a manipulator create inspiring, beautiful pieces of art. At the same time, they do take their “craft” of playing on someone else’s emotions quite seriously. They operate in the same way that a talented artist painstakingly decorates an empty canvas. Disturbing, but true.

Are manipulators unfair?

“Fairness” isn’t an attribute that manipulators embody. They couldn’t care less about how fair or unfair they’re being. They care about what they can get from others, regardless of the magnitude of pain they may inflict, which is often severe.

Are manipulators insidious?

To be insidious is to knowingly create harm in an ambiguous manner, which manipulators certainly do. Those unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a manipulator’s subtle “suggestions” rarely recognize the insidious motives until lasting damage has been done.

Those who practice manipulation have a common set of phrases. These phrases serve as smokescreens, making it difficult for you to understand what is really going on in the mind of a manipulator. They use this confusion to accomplish their mischievous goals, considering others as merely a means to an end. Are you someone a manipulator is trying to use? If you’re not sure, read on …

Here are 5 phrases manipulators say to make you feel crazy:


1. “You’re misunderstanding what I said.”

This is a common phrase uttered by manipulators when they’re “caught” in the act of saying or doing something deceptive. When this happens, they’ll turn the table on you to create a sense of doubt.

Manipulators thrive on creating negative emotions. They find satisfaction in someone else’s confusion. You can be confident that you’re not the one confused. In face, you probably understand fully what they said or did, which is the opposite of the manipulator’s intent. If you encounter someone that consistently utters this phrase, think seriously about whether this is a healthy, positive connection in your life.

2. “You’re acting crazy/irrational/illogical, etc.”

This second phrase is a close cousin to the first. The purpose here is to create a sense of doubt and/or confusion. This phrase aims a direct attack on your mental faculties. Yes, you read that right…it is a direct attack. Someone doesn’t call another person crazy, illogical, irrational, or worse, for any other reason than to hurt them.

It doesn’t matter the tone in which this phrase is uttered; it’s the context. Manipulators may sound detached when saying this in order to make it sound less personal. Make no mistake: it is personal. Not only that, but it is hurtful and purposeful. Such behavior requires a swift and direct response.

things manipulators say

3. “You’re too sensitive.”

No, you aren’t; you’re a logical human being. Nobody would respond kindly to being taken advantage of, which is exactly what the manipulator is doing. What does this phrase do? It creates doubt (see a pattern here?)

Even if you are sensitive, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, sensitive people are the ones that often fall prey to acts of manipulation. Sensitive people care. If you are a sensitive person, you naturally comfort and sympathize with others.

Unfortunately, sensitive people are more likely to closely examine their thoughts and actions, and a manipulator wants them to do just that. Examine, and examine some more … and then concede defeat.

Don’t allow it to happen!

4. “I don’t like drama.”

Yes, they do. In fact, serial manipulators thrive on it, but in a different way than you. Generally speaking, manipulators don’t express drama in the physical sense. They don’t shrug their shoulders, sigh heavily, or speak loudly. They prefer to “go about their business” of manipulating others in subtle ways.

The point here is that the victim is, once again, forced to examine their actions. You might find yourself asking, “Am I being dramatic? Am I making too much out of too little?” No, you aren’t. Sadly, many people on the receiving end of a manipulator’s antics are more than willing to admit to wrongdoing when they have no reason to do so.

5. “You’re thinking too much.”

Related article: 9 Comebacks For Dealing With A Manipulator

Maybe you are thinking too much, but maybe not. Even if you are, in this sense, it’s a positive development. It’s a positive because you’re rationalizing; you are refusing the psychological tricks that manipulators often use to get their way.

Here’s the caveat: it’s very difficult, perhaps impossible, to make sense of a manipulative person. It’s impossible because manipulation is not a rational behavior. It’s irrational, abnormal, and extremely hurtful. A person who truly cares for and loves someone else does not exhibit manipulative traits.

In conclusion…

If you’ve been on the receiving end of manipulation, you’re probably hurting and filled with doubt. Take heart by understanding and believing that there is nothing wrong with you.

It’s the manipulator, and them alone.

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5 thoughts on “5 Phrases Manipulators Say To Make You Feel Crazy

  1. In addition to the phrases outlined herein, I am also the frequent recipient of these gems:

    1. “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill!” You know, because I can’t decide for myself what’s worth discussion. I’m so glad someone else is around to tell me whether or not this issue is big or little!

    2. “I can’t believe you’re so upset about this little thing.” Similar to the previous statement, but slightly more direct, this method is an attempt to oversimplify the larger, deeper issue. No, I’m not mad that you forgot to (fill in the blank). You’re right; that would be ridiculous. But as I’ve clearly stated a million times now, I’m unhappy that you have done this same thing several times, and each time you fail to apologize and act like I’m weird for being hurt or offended, and you neglect to acknowledge my right to my feelings on the topic, and you pretend you have no idea why I’m upset, and you show no remorse which means you’re going to do it again, which I find insensitive and hurtful and dismissive. I’m not mad about the small stupid thing which we both agree is a ridiculous matter to be upset over. I’m mad about your pattern of behavior and your denial of it as a character flaw you need to work on.

    3. “This is ridiculous!” And, “You’re being ridiculous!” Variations on #1 and #2, this is yet another attempt to attack my mental faculties and question my ability to launch a rational discussion. EVADE! EVADE! LAUNCH NUCLEAR STRIKES! For goodness sakes, avoid the topic at hand and make it go away at all costs! Engage the broom — if we can sweep it under the carpet, maybe it will go away all by itself! MUST–NOT–FACE–DEEPER–ISSUES!

    4. “Fine, whatever. I don’t really care anyway.” Oh, well isn’t that convenient? Then, pray tell, why couldn’t you just admit your fuckup and apologize? You know, since it’s so silly and ridiculous and not bigger than a molehill. I mean, if it’s not a big deal, and if I’m the crazy, immature, drama queen… Then how about if you show me what it means to be a real grown-up by sucking it up, taking one for the team, backing down, admitting a potential flaw, apologizing, and letting me know you give a shit about my feelings enough to try and work on things, instead of being an obstinate pinhead intent on making me doubt my sanity? Maybe because you actually DO care, and maybe you aren’t as adult or confident as you’d like me to believe, and maybe you actually ARE flawed, and maybe you sorta DO or me an apology. Huh.

    5. “I’m not going to argue about this.” Great. Neither am I. Change your fucking behavior or get out of my life. My feelings matter. I’m not allowing you or anyone else to treat me like I’m less than human. I will no longer allow your related behavior of abuse to poison my mental being. I’m not stupid, I’m not crazy, I’m not making this a bigger deal than it needs to be. I’m merely respecting myself enough to draw a line in the sand.

    Manipulative people suck.

  2. You are speaking to people you don’t know about people you don’t know. Every one of those statements you attribute to manipulators can also be used to good effect by people who have only the receiver’s best interests at heart.

    For example when someone says “You misunderstand what I’m saying,” you say you understand exactly what that person is saying and that person (the alleged manipulator) is out to deceive you. How do you know? Do you think people never misunderstand? Similar arguments can be made for every statement on this list. Do you know of any of these statements that can only be made by a manipulator? If there are any, you could immediately manipulators by their words alpne and their manipulation would no longer work.

  3. This text is true. But it depends on the context. For example, “YOU’RE ACTING CRAZY/IRRATIONAL/ILLOGICAL, ETC.” can be manipulative if someone isn’t acting like that. But what if one really acts illogical and irrational? If one is really under some emotional influence?

    It is the outcome that count. If your life does not go in the desired direction even if someone talks whatever, than it is not acceptable. So whoever talks whatever, it may be manipulative, even if the person does not mean that.

    Just look at your own results, and if things go the way you want (but be realistic, only the measurable things count, not the promises or beliefs or hope in better tomorrow), than who cares about the manipulators!

  4. These are slightly vague ‘responses’ one might hear from a manipulator. “You’re thinking too much” or “you’ve misunderstood what I am saying” etc. They’re certainly used by said manipulator a in defense of some twisted mind game they’re deploying but a lot of those could be used in the context of any conversation; business, scheduling, et al. I only share my opinion because in the last 5 years I have come to the full and painful realization that my mom is a master manipulator. The eye opening began after I became married and then had a child. It has been a constant struggle ever since. I find myself in the middle of my mom and my wife, all the while trying to protect and provide for my little girl and remain a sweet and loving father to her as well as a kind husband. Through therapy and self help books I have made progress but all roads have bumps and there are days like today where my I feel like , ‘well maybe my entire childhood and adolescence was misguided by manipulation. Maybe my mom always made decisions based on her wants and desires, not ones that would contribute to building a strong young man.

    My wife uses those responses sometimes too. Which is even more confusing. Is she manipulating too? I feel like she is sometimes. I’m 38 and don’t like to complain or share these personal flaws but I’m so confused about what is real and what isn’t these days. I used to live happily and lift the spirits of ppl around me. Nowadays I feel alone. Even in my marriage I feel alone. My daughter is my life, I work hard and keep my head up for her but my confidence in ppl (especially family) is almost non existence. How is this sustainable!? A life like this? Where everything fundamental from your past, 30+ years could very well have been twisted lil ‘fibs’, lies. I’m hanging on by a thread.

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