6 phrases emotionally manipulative men love to use, according to psychology

Have you ever had the misfortune of dating an emotionally manipulative man?

They’re usually full of themselves and are armed with the charm to effectively gaslight and manipulate you into doing what they want.

He’ll get into your head and play with your emotions so that you feel that you’ve no choice but to go along with whatever they say.

If this sounds like something you’re experiencing, look out for these 6 phrases to confirm if your partner is an emotionally manipulative person.

1) “You’re overreacting”

Have you ever confronted your partner about something he did to hurt you, only for him to tell you that the fault lies with you?

Instead of taking responsibility for his actions and validating your feelings, he chose to respond by saying that your overreaction is the reason why you felt this way.

This not only minimizes your experience, it makes you feel worse about the entire ordeal. 

According to psychology, manipulators avoid responsibilities by putting the blame on others.

They see nothing wrong in refusing to acknowledge their mistakes and will even go to the extent of blaming others for their actions.

Oftentimes, their victims will start second-guessing their emotions and see themselves as the ones at fault – which is what the manipulator intended to do all along. 

2) “I was just trying to help”

Sometimes, emotionally manipulative men may lie to cover up their mistakes.

They may reason that it was you who misunderstood their true intentions, which were only to help you.

Here, your partner may be trying to avoid taking responsibility for his actions and instead, try to portray himself in a positive light.

You may also find that he attempts to gaslight you into doubting what actually happened.

After an interaction like this, do you often feel confused, disappointed at yourself, and perhaps a bit unworthy? 

If so, it’s likely that your partner has emotionally manipulated you into believing that he wasn’t the one at fault. 

In addition to identifying such lies, you should also look out for white lies.

While your partner may reason that these white lies are to ‘protect’ you, it’s still another way of misleading you.

3) “No one understands me”

escape their narcissistic relationships 6 phrases emotionally manipulative men love to use, according to psychology

This is another classic phrase that emotional manipulators use to portray themselves as the victim.

By doing so, they’re trying to guilt-trip you into making you feel guilty about your actions or decisions.

For example, after your partner realizes that he has no more excuses to give for his behavior, he may resort to playing the victim to garner sympathy.

Or perhaps you didn’t want to give in to his requests (for perfectly valid reasons) but he refused to take no for an answer. 

As a result, he resorted to guilt-tripping you because he knows that playing the victim will compel you to pity him and feel bad about not giving in to what he wants.

He uses your guilt as leverage so that he can manipulate you into doing what he wants you to do.

4) “You’re being paranoid”

My friend was in a relationship with an emotionally manipulative man who consistently brushed off her worries and concerns.

He attributed her feelings to being paranoid, rather than addressing her concerns.

This resulted in her second-guessing everything she said and did, especially when the situation involved him.

Once, she related what she shared with her boyfriend to me and I told her that she had every right to feel the way she was feeling – which caught her by surprise since her boyfriend had the complete opposite reaction.

Already this was a giant red flag because her boyfriend was clearly disinterested in what she felt.

According to psychology, gaslighting often leads to victims aligning their realities with their manipulators’ to avoid losing the relationship because of the control their partners have over them. 

Over time, this can lead to the erosion of a person’s self-worth, mental well-being, and self-confidence.

5) “If you loved me you would…”

You’ll most likely never hear this phrase uttered in a healthy relationship.

This is because both parties are able to communicate their needs and wants in a respectful manner and agree on boundaries.

However, emotional manipulators see boundaries as mere suggestions.

They will cross these boundaries again and again because they enjoy having the upper hand in the relationship.

Allowing you to draw boundaries would show that they are relinquishing control over you, and they don’t like this.

As such, your partner may tell you that by not giving in to his desires, it’s a sign that you don’t love him.

The thing is that such emotional manipulation doesn’t occur overnight.

He will push the boundaries slowly until every answer from you to him is ‘yes’.

6) “Everything I did was for you”

Maybe you’ve had enough and have tried leaving the relationship, only for your partner to try reasoning with you with this phrase.

Their intention is 1) to gain sympathy from you for how they’ve been ‘mistreated’ and if they’re successful and you decide to stay in the relationship, 2) give them the ability to do whatever they want again – according to psychology.

When faced with this scenario, victims are often pressured to forgo their feelings and forgive their partners.

They may start second-guessing themselves and be led to believe that they have misunderstood everything their partner did.

If this sounds familiar to you, it’s likely that your partner is an emotional manipulator.

Concluding thoughts

The thing about emotionally manipulative partners is that it’s a slow-burn process of trying to undermine your confidence and inject doubt into you.

Eventually, they want you to conform to what they’re thinking, so that they can increase their control over your life.

As they treasure their ego and self-image, these men will do all they can to ensure that they’re portrayed in a positive light.

In times like these, it’s important to have a strong support network to lean on, ground yourself on principles that you believe in and prioritize your peace.

If this relationship isn’t serving you, it’s okay to walk away.

Picture of Ava Sinclair

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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