Our relationships are teeming with energy and emotion, capable of reaching impossible highs and heartbreaking lows. The quality of our relationships is determined by the people we choose to be a part of them. Choose healthy partners or friends for a healthy connection. Choose mean-spirited, malicious, or manipulative people, and terrible things will happen.Bad relationships may not always appear to be bad, but they always feel bad. If you are insecure, overwhelmed, or terrified in your relationship with someone, it is critical that you examine how they communicate with you.
Do you believe you’ve been heard? Do you believe the other person listens to you and shares their true feelings and intentions with you? Or do you have the impression that your strings are being pulled? Do you have the impression that the other person is using their words to avoid accountability? To make you feel like you’re smaller than you are? Keep an eye out for the words that are being used around you and against you. When you get into an argument with a toxic person, they may use subtle and sneaky phrases to make you feel insecure and less important than you are.
The subtle phrases that toxic people use to manipulate you. Words have power, and certain phrases can have a significant impact on our beliefs and how we feel about ourselves. That is why toxic people use their words to control and manipulate others. They don’t have to show off their immaturity or twisted desires. Phrases like this have just as much influence on your emotions and psyche.
“I’m not going to do it.” There’s a lot more to this sly, manipulative phrase than meets the eye. At first glance, it may appear that the person saying this is tired and walking away. They are, but there is a deeper meaning when used by a toxic person during an argument. For example, a toxic person saying this to their partner during a fight is saying more than just, “I’m not doing this argument, conversation, etc.” They are also saying, “I will not do this relationship if you act like this.” Toxic people use phrases like this to manipulate their relationships and partners. It’s a persistent threat. Simultaneously, they avoid dealing with serious issues while also reining in your behaviour by subtly threatening to leave you if the issues are pushed.
“You never…you always…” This phrase may raise an obvious red flag for some, but it is not for everyone. Many people make the error of saying things like, “You never…or you always.” They focus their negative emotions on the other person rather than their own needs or experiences. This kind of absolutist language fosters oppositional thinking, which is exactly what toxic people enjoy. When they say you’re “never there for them” or “always hurt them,” you’ve become the issue. That kind of unjust character assessment leaves no room for humanity.
“It’s not such a big deal.” Telling someone that their problem or feelings are “no big deal” is always a big mistake. Minimization is a form of gaslighting. If someone tells you that what you are feeling or needing is “not that big of a deal,” they are saying that your experience is less important than theirs. They can avoid accountability by playing that card… They can, however, manipulate you as well. If you believe the lie, you will be shut down. You’ll let them walk away and abandon the confrontation. If this happens on a regular basis, your confidence may suffer significantly. Thinking that what you feel, think, or want is “no big deal” will change the way you take care of yourself and the expectations you have of other people.
“I have the right to…” Manipulative people can use this phrase to stonewall you and end any chance of accountability. On the surface, it appears to be a reasonable statement. Everyone has the right to their own thoughts and feelings. This phrase is used differently by manipulative people. They intend to use it to put someone else on the defensive. When someone says, “I have a right to feel hurt…” or “I have a right to be angry,” there’s no going back. They have asserted their rights. If you respond in any significant way, it will be perceived (and projected to the rest of the world) that you are violating some of their inalienable human rights. When used correctly, this can be an excellent boundary statement; however, in the hands of a manipulative person, it becomes the end of the argument. Any pushback you give after that will cast you in the villain’s role (and them in that of the victim). You’re forced to do what they want in order to save face.
“If you truly loved me…” Toxic people can be found in every aspect of our lives. They are coworkers, friends, and family members. They frequently become our partners. That is when the manipulative behaviours truly emerge. Close interpersonal relationships allow toxic people to relax their guard and let their darkness shine through. This darkness creeps in slowly at times. Instead of making overt threats, the toxic person appeals to your love for them and forces you to make decisions that go against your nature. That’s certainly true when they say things like, “If you truly loved me, you’d do this.” That is a subtle nudge. It’s tugging at your heartstrings and saying, “Put yourself behind me, below me. Take second place and put me first…even if it hurts or makes you uncomfortable.” It is coercive, and coercion is always risky.
“I’m confident you’re better than me.” Toxic people could not maintain any relationship if they were open and honest about their intentions and behaviours. That’s why they must be subtle, slowly wrapping the threads around themselves like a spider spinning a web. That’s what they mean when they say things like, “I’m sure you’re doing better than me.” This is a statement meant to minimise your experiences that is usually given in response to a passive-aggressive (or rhetorical) question. A toxic person who says this is demonstrating that they see you as inferior. Your difficulties are insignificant to them, and they regard their suffering as both greater and more important than yours. If such statements are not addressed, you may find yourself in a second-tier citizen role in your own relationship. Your beliefs about yourself, as well as your behaviour around others, can change.
“Don’t you recall when…” You will never be shut down faster than when a toxic or manipulative person interrupts your conversation with an unrelated story. Toxic people will frequently bring up past embarrassments and shameful stories in arguments to devalue everything you’re saying. These unrelated incidents call into question your genuine concerns. It’s a way of humiliating you while also making you doubt yourself. When a toxic person makes you feel ashamed, you’re more likely to back down and let them blame-shift and avoid accountability. As a result, the behaviours repeat, and the cycle continues.
“Why are you doing it that way?” Many toxic people are hampered by insecurities, which cause them to lash out and view others as both enemies and competitors. Many of them are looking for a sense of superiority. They want to be better than the people in their lives, to have power, and to make all the decisions. Subtly undermining the beliefs and confidence of those close to them is one method. This is done gradually, in small and calculated steps. “Why do you look like that?” or “Why do you do that?” are common questions. These phrases are subtle, but they form a sharp knife’s blade. You gradually come to believe that you are inherently wrong, inherently ugly, and inherently worthless to the people you care about the most. Statements like these are an assault on your self-esteem. You become more malleable as you become more insecure. You are more likely to do what they want you to do once you are significantly weaker (and brainwashed) (or keep yourself in that weaker, boundary-less state).
There is no one who can save you from a manipulative person’s clutches. There will be no knights riding big white horses to drag you out of the relationships you chose for yourself. You are the story’s sole hero. You are the only one who can draw the line, advocate for your happiness, and make a shift away from manipulation and toxicity. What plan do you have? What kind of person are you going to be? Will you continue to be frail? Will you stay with people who bring you down and undermine your happiness? When you make a decision in the name of your higher self and ultimate well-being, there is no right or wrong answer.
Do what is right for you and begin forming the relationships you have always deserved. There is healthy love, companionship, and friendship available.
Hi, I’m Garima and I write about life experiences. I have several books available on Amazon. Check them out today! Any purchases or KDP reads will be greatly appreciated. If you like my books, do leave a review. Here’s my author page on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0BQDZXYNV