You’ve just ended a conversation with your boss and realize that you’ve been roped into yet another late night with more empty promises.
“If you finish this report for me, I’ll be sure to put in a good word with management for a pay raise because you deserve it.”
Haven’t you heard this before?
These types of conversations end up hurting and confusing you more than anything else. It’s a manipulative tactic with the whole intention of controlling you. This way, the manipulator gets what they want without you even realizing it!
Manipulators will tell you that you’re overreacting, that they don’t have time, or that you’re the problem because they want you to doubt yourself, which makes it easier to take advantage of you.
There are 7 things manipulative people say to control and dominate conversations. Listen closely when you’re talking to a suspected manipulator. You may just pick up on the following phrases.
1) I’m extremely busy; I just don’t have time for this.
This is a typical narcissistic and manipulative phrase. It’s all about them and what they can get out of you.
By making you believe that they’re so busy they can’t attend to your concerns about a project or make time to discuss a family lunch, you become frustrated and sad.
Why can’t they make time for you?
Well, they’ll make the time if they want to, and it’s usually when they need something from you.
It’s a sure way to dominate the conversation because they’ll say, “I’m too busy for this,” when they don’t want to continue with the topic being discussed.
When this phrase is used in a relationship, it can leave you feeling rejected.
Don’t give someone that much power over you. If they are genuinely busy, they will make time by suggesting that you speak about it a little later or the next day. If they show no interest in accommodating you, it’s time to move on.
2) You’re so controlling.
Isn’t this ironic?
The controlling and dominating manipulator is accusing you of being too controlling. They tend to use phrases like “You’re trying to change me” and “Stop trying to get into my head.”
I recall being in a situation where each time I wanted to voice my opinion about something upsetting in my relationship, I’d get accused of trying to control the other person.
You might have heard this before.
And it doesn’t always come up when you’re having a serious discussion. You could suggest places to take your family for dinner or ask them to take out the trash before getting the backlash that you’re being too controlling or overbearing.
It’s just another way to create confusion.
You think to yourself, maybe you aren’t giving them the benefit of the doubt, and you should hold back. Now, they’ve just gotten what they wanted.
3) I didn’t say that.
“I didn’t say that,” “It was your idea,” and “You misunderstood me” are typical phrases that manipulators use in conversation when their goal is to control and dominate.
When they say these things, do you think to yourself, “I must have misheard what they said” or “I could’ve sworn they said that; maybe I’m going crazy?”
It’s called gaslighting, and it’s a nasty way to manipulate how you feel and think.
While talking to them, they’re so convincing that “you’re hearing things” that you start doubting yourself.
Here’s what you should do.
Stand firm in what you believe, and let them know that you didn’t misunderstand or fail to hear what they said. Don’t participate in a conversation where you’re going to be belittled or made to feel like you’re always the one who’s wrong.
Walk away from a toxic relationship.
4) I don’t do drama.
“Why are you being so dramatic?” “You’re just overreacting!”
Have you heard these phrases?
It’s a way manipulators can end a conversation by leaving you in silence.
It’s definitely not nice when you’re told that you’re too dramatic or overreacting, especially when you know deep down that you aren’t.
What is the purpose of saying this to you?
They want you to think that you’re the problem because you seem unreasonable. If you believe that you’re exaggerating, then you won’t pursue the conversation.
They usually accuse you of this when you’re pointing out a mistake they’ve made or while you’re trying to set a boundary in your relationship. Manipulative people don’t like healthy boundaries because it becomes harder to influence their victims.
You can let them know that describing your emotions as “too dramatic” or “overreacting” is not helpful, and you don’t feel supported. If you’re too upset to continue the conversation, walk away and discuss how you feel at a later stage.
If they really care about your feelings, they will take the time to listen to you. If not, the relationship might not be worth it.
5) I apologized; what more do you want?
Nobody wants to get accused of doing something wrong, but being dismissive of the part they played in the situation is clearly manipulation.
“I’ve said sorry; what more do you want from me?” What they’re actually saying is that you’re expecting far too much from them. They’ve apologized, and that should be enough, but the more you push the conversation or argument, the more unreasonable you are, not them.
In most cases, you’ll get a half-hearted “I’m sorry” because they aren’t really interested in discussing the matter with you. They don’t want to offer any emotional support either.
It’s another means of controlling the situation.
They don’t want to hear the negatives, so the conversation should end. At the same time, they want you to think that you’re the problem.
Someone who is truly supportive of you is never dismissive of your emotions. Remember this the next time you hear the words, “What do you want from me?”
6) It’s all your fault.
Is someone trying to shift the blame? By saying, “It’s all your fault” or “You made me do it,” it’s all ways of convincing you that you are the problem and they aren’t.
It’s typical backlash from a narcissistic person when you point out what they did wrong or how they’ve upset you. Their goal is to steer the conversation in a way that takes the spotlight off of their flaws or shortcomings.
Telling them that you made them do something eliminates their accountability. They can’t be sorry for something you did, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Another common phrase that you might have heard is, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
I really dislike these words.
You can pour your heart out about your disappointment and sadness because of how they’ve hurt you, but it doesn’t matter. Manipulators don’t care as long as they get their way.
If they can make you think that you are to blame, you doubt yourself, and that’s when they control you. The whole circumstance might leave you so confused that you end up apologizing.
Don’t let someone dominate a conversation by making you think that you’re always the problem. If a manipulative person in your life isn’t held accountable, they’ll always overstep your boundaries.
7) If you really loved me, you’d do it.
I’m talking to you and want you to do something for me, so what’s the best motive I can use?
By making you feel guilty, you’re easier to control, and that’s when I can get my way.
This is how a manipulator can control a conversation. They target your emotions by indirectly telling you to prove your love for them.
It’s emotionally abusive because you feel the need to show them how loyal you are. This means doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable or that oversteps your boundaries just so that they can see how much you love them.
The problem is that you might give in to their demands today, but tomorrow, there’s a new demand. It never ends.
Conversations shift from trying to compromise to resolve conflict to finding ways of proving your love and sacrificing yourself.
Manipulators are sneaky, and their ways of gaining power over your emotions and thoughts are very subtle. But if you suspect that you’re being manipulated, start listening to your conversations with the person in question.
The 7 most common phrases they use to control and dominate can help you spot the mind games before they overcome your emotions and, most importantly, your sanity.
Pay careful attention to blame-shifting and guilt-tripping because this makes it easier to control you. How you feel doesn’t matter to them.
Extreme coercion in a relationship is dangerous. If you think that you’re being emotionally manipulated and you aren’t sure how to handle the situation, always reach out for help.