10 phrases manipulators use to make you doubt yourself

Ever been in a conversation and suddenly felt a surge of self-doubt? Or found yourself questioning your own judgment after a seemingly innocent chat? Well, it could be that you’ve encountered a master manipulator.

These sly operatives often use subtle, under-the-radar phrases designed to make you question your own sanity. And it’s about time we called them out.

So, here are 10 phrases manipulators use to make you doubt yourself.

1. “You’re overreacting”

Ever heard this one? I sure have. It’s a classic deflection technique. When manipulators use it, they’re trying to dismiss your feelings or concerns. They want to make it seem like your reaction is out of proportion, even when it’s completely justified. This phrase is designed to make you question your own judgment and perceptions, leading you into a spiral of self-doubt. Stay vigilant, trust your instincts and don’t let anyone trivialize your feelings!

2. “I never said that”

I’ve been on the receiving end of this one more times than I’d like to admit. It’s a common tactic used by manipulators to make you question your memory and understanding. Even when you’re absolutely sure of what was said, they’ll adamantly deny it. This is a form of gaslighting, a psychological manipulation tactic designed to make you doubt your own reality. Remember, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust your memory, keep your wits about you and don’t fall for this misleading phrase!

3. “I’m sorry you feel that way”

On the surface, this might seem like an apology. But when you dig a little deeper, it’s clear that it’s anything but. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions or acknowledging their part in the situation, the manipulator puts the blame on your feelings, as if you’re the one at fault for feeling upset or hurt. It’s a sneaky way of evading responsibility and making you doubt your own reactions. So next time someone says they’re sorry you feel a certain way, remember: your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to expect genuine apologies!

4. “You’re too sensitive”

Ever been told this? I know I have. It’s a phrase manipulators use to belittle you and make you doubt your emotional responses. By labeling you as “too sensitive”, they’re trying to invalidate your feelings and make you question your reactions to their behavior. They want you to think that the problem lies with you, not with their actions. But remember, your feelings are your own and no one has the right to tell you how to feel. Keep this in mind next time someone tries to dismiss you as being “too sensitive”.

5. “Everyone agrees with me”

This is a phrase manipulators often use to make you feel isolated and invalidated. By implying that everyone else shares their opinion, they’re trying to make you question your own judgment and make you feel like the odd one out. It’s a powerful manipulation tool because no one wants to feel alone in their beliefs or opinions. But remember, just because they claim everyone agrees with them, doesn’t make it true. Trust your own judgment and don’t let this manipulative phrase shake your confidence!

6. “You always…” or “You never…”

We’ve all heard these phrases before. They’re used in everyday conversations, but when a manipulator uses them, it’s for a different purpose. These phrases are often used to exaggerate your flaws or mistakes, making you feel like you’re constantly in the wrong. They are generalizations designed to target your self-esteem and make you question your worth. But remember, everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. Don’t let these absolute statements make you doubt yourself!

7. “If you really loved me, you would…”

This phrase tugs at your heartstrings, doesn’t it? Manipulators often use this to make you question your feelings and commitments. By attaching conditions to your love or friendship, they’re trying to control your actions and decisions. It’s a guilt-tripping tactic designed to make you feel like you’re not doing enough, or that your love is inadequate. But remember, love is not about fulfilling unreasonable demands or conditions. Your care and affection are not to be manipulated!

8. “Don’t take it so personally”

This phrase is a real kicker. It’s a manipulator’s way of invalidating your feelings and experiences. When they say this, what they mean is, “Stop reacting to my bad behavior.” They’re trying to make you feel guilty for being affected by their actions or words. It’s a clear attempt to shift blame and responsibility away from themselves and onto you. But remember, it’s okay to take things personally, especially when they impact you directly. Your feelings matter, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

9. “I was just joking”

This phrase can be particularly tricky to navigate. Manipulators use it as a way to cover up hurtful comments or actions. By passing off their offensive behavior as a joke, they’re trying to make you question your understanding and reaction. It’s a way for them to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and to make you feel like you’re overreacting. But remember, if a ‘joke’ hurts your feelings, it’s not a joke. Trust your feelings and don’t let this phrase undermine your self-belief!

10. “You just don’t understand”

Found yourself hearing this one? Me too. Manipulators use this phrase as a way to belittle your intelligence or comprehension. By suggesting that you’re incapable of understanding, they’re trying to make you question your own intellect and intuition. It’s a tactic designed to establish their dominance and superiority, while making you feel inferior. But remember, it’s not about your understanding, it’s about their unwillingness to communicate effectively. Trust in your ability to comprehend and don’t let this phrase shake your self-assurance!

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Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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