People who have strong narcissistic tendencies and other toxic people are known for their manipulation tactics. Some of them are consciously cunning and deceiving. While others are more primitive and blunt in their disturbing behaviors.
Here are some of the things abusers and toxic people say to their victims, and what it means:
It’s for your own good. Meaning, you should be grateful, not upset.
You’re too sensitive. Meaning, your reaction to my toxicity is unreasonable.
It’s your fault. Meaning, I did nothing wrong here; it’s you.
You deserve it. Meaning, you are deserving of being mistreated.
Don’t be so dramatic. Meaning, you’re overreacting and instigating conflict.
You are so cold, cruel, and lack forgiveness. Meaning, you shouldn’t hold me responsible for my hurtful and manipulative behavior.
You made me do it. Meaning, I have no control over myself in this instance; you’re responsible for what I did.
You are never satisfied. Meaning, you should not complain or be dissatisfied with my behavior.
Things just happened. Meaning, I am not responsible.
I don’t remember. Meaning, it didn’t happen.
Nobody will believe you. Meaning, you’re isolated, and I will turn people against you.
You’re just crazy. Meaning, I did nothing wrong; it’s you who has a problem.
Don’t play a victim. Meaning, you shouldn’t feel hurt, and you’re being manipulative.
I promise it will never happen again. Meaning, I want you to treat me as if nothing happened.
You’re so manipulative. Meaning, it’s not me who’s manipulative, it’s you.
You’re hurting me. Meaning, I’m the victim here.
You provoked me. Meaning, my behavior is merely a response to your abusive actions.
I hate you. Meaning, I want you to suffer. You’re unlovable. You’re bad.
I make decisions around here. Meaning, you have no saying or self-agency.
Know your place. Meaning, you’re stepping over the line; you should be more obedient.
Shut up. Meaning, stay silent, obey, and don’t question anything.
It’s not important. Meaning, you shouldn’t think about it.
You’re just exaggerating. Meaning, it’s not as bad as you think and feel it is.
You will be sorry for this. Meaning, you’re hurting me.
You know I love you. Meaning, I want you to continue giving me what I want.
I know you love me. Meaning, I know better how you feel about me than you do.
You always / never do this. Meaning, I will use exaggerations to make you look extremely stubborn.
You can’t live without me. Meaning, you need me to survive so you better not jeopardize this relationship.
I already apologized, so why are you punishing me? Meaning, you’re treating me unfairly.
It’s not a big deal. Meaning, you’re just overreacting.
I was just joking. Meaning, it’s a joke when you call me out on it, otherwise it’s not a joke.
I will let everybody know what kind of person you are. Meaning, I will slander you and turn people against you.
Nobody’s perfect. Meaning, you shouldn’t question my behavior.
Who do you think you are? Meaning, you’re nothing.
Nobody likes you. Meaning, I want to isolate you and make you feel worthless.
You shouldn’t listen to or hang out with them. Meaning, I don’t want you to escape or see the unhealthiness between us.
You can’t do that. Meaning, you should listen to me, not to yourself.
Relax, everything will be fine. Meaning, you are overreacting to my completely reasonable behavior.
You don’t know what I’m capable of. Meaning, I will do all I can to hurt you.
I will make you pay for this. Meaning, you wronged me and I will punish you for that.
These are just a few things toxic people say to others in order to shift responsibility and get what they want. The list is endless….
Which of these have you encountered? What are other things you’ve heard that are not on this list? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo by: Michael Clesle
For more on these and other topics, check out the author’s books: Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults and Self-Work Starter Kit.