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Top 75 Quotes On Manipulative People

Quotes On Manipulative People

This post contains some of the best quotes on manipulative people.

What Is Manipulation?

Manipulation is a behavior designed to exploit or control someone to one’s advantage, often unfairly or dishonestly.

Examples of manipulation include:

  • Creating an imbalance of power
  • Gaslighting
  • Intellectual bullying
  • Isolating people from their loved ones
  • Lying or withholding information
  • Passive aggression
  • Playing the victim
  • The silent treatment
  • Threatening or implying threats
  • Using sex to get what they want
  • Verbal abuse

Related: When A Narcissist Sees You Cry: Top 13 Reactions You May Be Familiar With

Quotes On Manipulative People

1. “Although the ways in which people manipulate can vary greatly, there are a certain number of techniques and traits that manipulators have in common. Understanding these will help you to recognize the signs earlier and be better prepared.” – Chase Hill

2. “Because of their need to manipulate, it is always best not to share too much with a sociopath.” – Chase Hill

3. “Boundaries and saying no are the best ways to avoid manipulation, but these aren’t skills that come naturally to everyone.” – Chase Hill

4. “Emotional blackmail is a powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us threaten, either directly or indirectly, to punish us if we don’t do what they want.” – Susan Forward

Related: The Narcissist’s Prayer Explained

5. “Gaslighting is one of the most painful forms of manipulation because you start to question your own reality and sanity. If you ask your partner to do the shopping and they don’t, they might turn around and say that you never asked them. Manipulators will use phrases that can be subtle like, “Are you sure you’re feeling alright?” to “You are just being crazy,” both of which will make you question what has really happened.” – Chase Hill

6. “Generally, it’s one particular person—a partner, a parent, a sibling, a friend —who manipulates us so consistently that we seem to forget everything we know about being effective adults.” – Susan Forward

7. “In order to manipulate your emotions so they can get what they want, they first have to get you to open up to them. Once they have gained your trust and you start sharing your feelings, they will then have ammunition to use against you.” – Chase Hill

8. “It’s scary, telling another person “This is who I am. This is what I want.” Scarier still is standing by the truth of ourselves—our integrity—as we must when we give the other person a choice to accept or not accept our decisions and differences. We may feel as though expressing our needs is akin to making demands, but remember that what we’re asking of the blackmailer is absolutely reasonable: we want the other person to stop manipulating us. We’re not asking for anything that will harm us or them.” – Susan Forward

9. “Love bombing alone feels amazing in the beginning. The bombardment of affection, kind words, and unexpected gifts in the early days of a relationship may even seem normal. However, narcissistic love bombing is a manipulative technique that is used to hook the person into a committed relationship before they become aware that they are being played.” – Chase Hill

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Protect Yourself From a Narcissist

10. “Maddening interactions like these are among the most common causes of friction in almost every relationship, yet they’re rarely identified and understood. Often these instances of manipulation get labeled miscommunication. We tell ourselves, “I’m operating from feelings and he’s operating from intellect” or “She’s just coming from a different mind-set.” But in reality, the source of friction isn’t in communication styles. It’s more in one person getting his or her way at the expense of another. These are more than simple misunderstandings— they’re power struggles” – Susan Forward

11. “Manipulation becomes emotional blackmail when it is used repeatedly to coerce us into complying with the blackmailer’s demands, at the expense of our own wishes and well-being.” – Susan Forward

12. “Manipulation in relationships can become so toxic that the result is a breakdown in that relationship.” – Chase Hill

13. “Manipulators aren’t used to being called out on their behavior, so confrontation is likely, but their reaction is not your responsibility.” – Chase Hill

14. “Manipulators have no problems being extra friendly to a person and then talking down about them to others. This is a technique used to control how others see you. It is particularly dangerous in groups of friends or with colleagues. They will also tell you what others are saying about you, often lying or exaggerating.” – Chase Hill

15. “Manipulators will never just ask for what they need because it is giving away their control. Instead, they will use psychology to control others.” – Chase Hill

16. “Many forms of manipulation aren’t troublesome at all. We all manipulate one another at times, and we all get manipulated. We’ve learned to play a multitude of games to maneuver people into doing what we’d like. One of my favorites is “Gee, I wish someone would open the window,” as opposed to “Could you please open the window?”” – Susan Forward

Related: Narcissistic Relationship Pattern (+ 14 Tips On How To Deal With Narcissistic Relationship Patterns)

17. “Narcissists and sociopaths frequently use manipulation and they are fully aware of their behavior.” – Chase Hill

18. “Never apologize for things that aren’t your fault, and don’t allow yourself to be manipulated into saying sorry.” – Chase Hill

19. “Once you are less afraid and feel less manipulated by fear, obligation and guilt, you’ll notice how many choices open up to you. You’ll be able to decide who you want to be close to, how much you are responsible for other people, how you really want to use your time and love and energy.” – Susan Forward

20. “One key reason is that our blackmailers make it nearly impossible to see how they’re manipulating us, because they lay down a thick fog that obscures their actions. We’d fight back if we could, but they ensure that we literally can’t see what is happening to us. I use fog as both a metaphor for the confusion blackmailers create in us and as a lens for burning it off.” – Susan Forward

21. “One very simple way to avoid being manipulated is to share your intentions. The more people know how you feel, what you are doing, and what your goals are, the harder it is for manipulators to control how others view you.” – Chase Hill

Related: Am I Being Gaslighted Quiz (& How To Recover From Gaslighting In 10 Steps)

22. “People who have been diagnosed with borderline personality may manipulate others in order to have their needs met. But there doesn’t have to be a mental health diagnosis to engage in manipulative tactics.” – Chase Hill

23. “Projection is when you displace your own feelings onto another person. In most cases, it is a defense mechanism but manipulators use it to hand over the responsibility of their own negative emotions. Examples could be an angry manipulator accusing their victim of always being angry, or a cheating partner who starts to suspect their partner is also cheating.” – Chase Hill

24. “Really, it’s a little bit like bullying, but if you feel like you are always at the end of a joke and these jokes hurt your feelings, you are dealing with a manipulator. In front of the others, they are just being funny, a bit of innocent humor. However, they are fully aware that their joke causes you pain and they might even rub salt in the wound by telling you that you are too sensitive.” – Chase Hill

25. “There are plenty of examples in the world where manipulation is considered perfectly normal, so much so that we don’t even consider that we are being manipulated.” – Chase Hill

26. “Toxic behavior and manipulation are best friends walking down the street together. They bounce off each other, fuel each other, and creep up on you without your being aware. It is perfectly normal for us to not notice when we are being manipulated, mainly because nobody wants to think that our friends and family are capable of such techniques.” – Chase Hill

Related: 21 Stages of a Narcissist Relationship (+FREE Breakup Recovery Worksheets)

27. “Toxic people can be manipulators and their behavior will often confuse you because there is a lack of consistency. One minute they will be happy, the next they may be crying out for attention because their life is so terrible. Not only do you feel uncomfortable around these people but you also don’t feel good about yourself when you are around them.” – Chase Hill

28. “We also know the power of sex to attract someone we want, and we know how easy it is to manipulate another person by withholding it.” – Susan Forward

29. “While some emotional blackmailers are clear in their threats, others may send us mixed signals, acting kindly much of the time and resorting to blackmail only occasionally. All this makes it difficult to see when a pattern of manipulation is developing in a relationship.” – Susan Forward

30. “The fact is, it is okay to have manipulative people in your life as long as you know how to handle them and don’t end up being controlled and dictated by them. That doesn’t mean carrying on as if nothing happened. Learning the essential skills to spot and stop manipulation is how you are going to take back the power over your own life and start to enjoy yourself more.” – Chase Hill

Related: 8 Stages Of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse (+FREE Breakup Recovery Worksheets)

31. “A mind attacked and conquered is guided easily away from the paths of its own soul.” – Ayi Kwei Armah

32. “A person who does not reign in their ambition can be persuaded and manipulated into doing things that are morally and ethically wrong just so that they can meet their goals.” – James W. Williams

33. “Aggressive or manipulative people do not consider the other person’s point of view; they will take at the expense of others.” – Richard Malthouse

34. “Because of our built-in insecurity, we are very sensitive when it is manipulated.” – Rick Tobin  

35. “Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.” –  Madeline L’Engle

36. “Behind every angry mob there is a puppeteer pulling the strings.” – Marty Rubin

37. “Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is dangerous.” – Frank Herbert

38. “But it isn’t really words that manipulate reality, it is the manipulation of words and that is something speakers and writers do.” – James Paul Gee

39. “Commercials … provide a slogan … that creates for viewers a comprehensive and compelling image of themselves.” – Neil Postman

40. “Domineering-types may appear omnipotent but, inevitably, will smother everything they love and lose all.” – Stewart Stafford                                  

41. “Everybody has the ability to be manipulative, to be hateful and deceitful.” – Neil LaBute

42. “For to deceive someone by manipulation is to distort their relationship with the world, and that will always threaten to undermine the calmness and steadiness of mind upon which their retention of the practice of truth depends.” – Jonardon Ganeri

43. “Full of wiles, full of guile, at all times, in all ways, are the children of Men.” – Aristophanes

44. “Genuine sincerity opens people’s hearts, while manipulation causes them to close.” – Daisaku Ikeda

45. “Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.” – Lao Tzu                    

46. “Guilt is a special kind of manipulation tactic.” – D.T Bloom

Related: Ignoring Someone With Histrionic Personality Disorder: How Does It Affect Them?

47. “I do respect people’s faith, but I don’t respect their manipulation of that faith in order to create fear and control.” – Javier Bardem

48. “I know that we create our own reality, but dealing with manipulation is an uncomfortable lesson that many have had to learn.” – Zoe Hagon

49. “I like to think of myself more as an outcome engineer.” – J.R. Ward     

50. “I should’ve known that when you make a deal with the devil, he only takes and takes until there’d be nothing left but bones and dust.” – Lee Matthew Goldberg

51. “I’m constantly lying to my dog. He only responds to manipulation and blackmail.” – Riley Keough

52. “If we inspire people, they will give us more than we asked for. If we manipulate them, they will give us exactly what we paid for” – Simon Sinek

53. “If you can manipulate news, a judge can manipulate the law. A smart lawyer can keep a killer out of jail, a smart accountant can keep a thief from paying taxes, a smart reporter could ruin your reputation – unfairly.” Mario Cuomo

54. “If you don’t give education to people, it is easy to manipulate them.” – Pele

55. “Manipulating people always involves utilizing a half-truth or a lie in order to achieve a certain goal.” – Ralf Juhre

56. “Manipulation can give you anything in life you want, if you can afford it.” – M.F. Moonzajer          

57. “Manipulation for good purpose is still a manipulation. Sometimes actions triumph over intentions.” – Sarvesh Jain

58. “Manipulation is a contagious disease, much more dangerous than the flu because it can endure for a lifetime.” – Dorothy Mccoy

59. “Manipulation. Domination. Control. These are the three watchwords of violent serial offenders.” John E. Douglas

60. “Manipulative people are those who wish to be loved on their own terms.” – David S. Viscott

61. “Nothing manipulates people more than the desire to please.” – Zoe Durlock

62. “Often enough the manipulator approaches, stimulates, or even creates a powerful wish or a strong desire in the target’s mind.” – Sapir Handelman

Related: Top 8 Signs A Narcissist Is Stonewalling You

63. “One must change one’s tactics every ten years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

64. “People turned against each other cannot turn against those responsible.” – DaShanne Stokes

65. “Playing with people’s feelings through manipulation is a way of controlling their hearts.” – Ron Prat

66. “Psychopaths view any social exchange as a ‘feeding opportunity,’ a contest or a test of wills in which there can be only one winner. Their motives are to manipulate and take, ruthlessly and without remorse.” – Robert D. Hare

67. “Rigged games are the easiest ones to beat.” Neil Gaiman

68. “The art of pleasing is the art of deception.” – Luc De Clapiers

Related: Narcissist Compassion: What Is It and How To Protect Yourself

69. “The best way to manipulate a man is to make him think he is manipulating you.” John Smith

70. “The maniacal lunatics in control of our society know exactly how human beings tick and they are masters at manipulation.” – Bruce McDonald

71. “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” – George Orwell

72. “The people who would like to manipulate and use you won’t tell you your blind spots. They may plan to continue using them to their advantage.” – Assegid Habtewold

73. “Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.” – Dorothy Allison

74. “To toy with something is to manipulate it, to try it out within sets of contexts none of which is determinate.” – Susan Stewart

75. “Until you realize how easy it is for your mind to be manipulated, you remain the puppet of someone else’s game.” – Evita Ochel

Related: Narcissist Baiting – What it is, Why it Happens, and How to Stop it

toxic relationships worksheets

How To Deal With Manipulation?

Manipulation can be a distressing experience that leaves individuals feeling confused, disempowered, and unsure of how to respond.

Manipulative behaviors can occur in various contexts, such as relationships, work environments, or even within families.

1. Recognize Manipulative Tactics

The first step in dealing with manipulation is to become aware of the tactics used by manipulators.

These may include guilt-tripping, gaslighting, shaming, or creating a sense of dependency.

Understanding these tactics can help you identify when manipulation is occurring and empower you to respond appropriately.

2. Trust Your Instincts

Developing trust in your own instincts is essential when dealing with manipulation.

Manipulators often try to undermine your confidence and ability to make decisions.

Learning to trust yourself and your feelings will enable you to recognize when someone is attempting to manipulate you and respond accordingly.

3. Set Clear Boundaries

Establishing and maintaining clear boundaries is crucial when dealing with manipulation.

Communicate your limits assertively and consistently, making it clear what behavior is unacceptable.

Be prepared to enforce consequences if those boundaries are crossed, ensuring that you prioritize your emotional well-being.

Related: How To Set Boundaries With A Narcissist?

4. Practice Assertive Communication

Assertive communication is key in standing up against manipulation.

Clearly express your thoughts, feelings, needs, and boundaries while maintaining respect for yourself and the other person.

Speaking with clarity and firmness can help deter manipulative behaviors.

5. Educate Yourself

Gaining knowledge about manipulation techniques and psychological manipulation can assist you in recognizing and responding to manipulative behaviors effectively.

Engage in research, read books, or seek guidance from professionals who specialize in manipulation, such as therapists or counselors.

Related: Top 5 Tips On How To Be Assertive Without Being Rude

6. Build a Support Network

Surround yourself with supportive individuals who can offer guidance, validation, and perspective.

Share your experiences with trusted friends, family members, or support groups who understand the dynamics of manipulation.

Their support can help reinforce your confidence and provide alternative perspectives on the situation.

7. Develop Self-Empowerment Strategies

Engage in activities that promote self-empowerment and build your self-esteem.

This could include practicing self-care, setting achievable goals, engaging in hobbies, or learning new skills.

Cultivating a sense of self-worth and independence can strengthen your resilience against manipulation.

8. Minimize Emotional Reactivity

Manipulators often aim to provoke emotional reactions in order to maintain control.

By practicing emotional regulation techniques, such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or seeking professional guidance through therapy, you can develop strategies to manage and minimize emotional reactivity to manipulation.

Related: Emotional Dysregulation Test [A Quick Test]

9. Maintain Documentation

If the manipulation occurs in a professional or legal setting, it may be necessary to maintain detailed documentation of instances of manipulation.

This can serve as evidence or support should you need to address the issue formally or legally.

Keep records of conversations, dates, and any relevant information that could be beneficial in demonstrating the manipulation.


Dealing with manipulation can be challenging, but by recognizing manipulative tactics, setting clear boundaries, building a support network, and developing self-empowerment strategies, you can regain control over your life.

Remember, seeking professional help is always an option when dealing with complex or persistent manipulation.

With time, practice, and determination, you can navigate manipulation successfully and create healthier relationships based on respect and empowerment.

By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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