These manipulation quotes will remind you to always promote your own independence and happiness.
The word “manipulation” brings up incredibly negative connotations in most people’s minds. When you think of manipulation, you probably think of a dishonest person trying to control others for their own purposes. Of course, in the literal sense, manipulation just means control. This can be benign, but we typically use the word to describe something nefarious, malicious, or just unhealthy.
Where do you see instances of manipulation in your world?
You may notice the manipulation of audiences by politicians, the news media, and the entertainment industry, playing on emotions to persuade people to vote, spend money, or think certain ways. Perhaps you notice manipulation by certain individuals in family relationships, which can be a very unhealthy dynamic.
Manipulation is often characterized by lies, jealousy, and a craving for power. Be vigilant to manipulation, so you can always look out for your own best interests.
Below is our collection of eye-opening manipulation quotes and sayings, collected from a variety of sources over the years.
Don’t forget to also read these toxic people quotes to help you develop boundaries.
Quotes About the Manipulation of Other People
1. “The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” – Philip K. Dick
2. “Everybody has the ability to be manipulative, to be hateful and deceitful.” – Neil LaBute
3. “Are you trying to manipulate me? It’s working.” – Bridget Moynahan
4. “The best way to manipulate a man is to make him think he is manipulating you.” – John Smith
5. “Manipulation can give you anything in life you want, if you can afford it.” – M.F. Moonzajer
6. “Foreknowledge of the future makes it possible to manipulate both enemies and supporters.” – Raymond Aron
7. “If you don’t give education to people, it is easy to manipulate them.” – Pele
8. “All writing is a form of manipulation, of course, but you realize that a plain sentence can actually do so much.” – Colm Toibin
9. “When you know what a man wants, you know who he is, and how to move him.” – George R.R. Martin
10. “The only way to win with a toxic person, is not to play.” – Unknown
11. “I’m constantly lying to my dog. He only responds to manipulation and blackmail.” – Riley Keough
12. When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown. – Stephen Jay Gould
13. “I’m manipulating the audience. I’m making sure people sympathize.” ― Melinda Clarke
14. “You can’t manipulate people who know how to think for themselves.” – Trish Mercer
15. “Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is dangerous.” – Frank Herbert
Manipulation Quotes about lies and deceit
16. “Half of the people lie with their lips; the other half with their tears.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
17. “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
18. “I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.” – S.E. Hinton
19. “There are three types of lies — lies, damn lies, and statistics.” – Benjamin Disraeli
20. “Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.” – Dorothy Allison
21. “A heart of manipulation is to be empathized without being touched.” – Unknown
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of lies quotes for healing and moving on.
22. “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” – Abraham Lincoln
23. “No one believes a liar. Even when she’s telling the truth.” – Sara Shepard
24. “The art of pleasing is the art of deception.” – Luc De Clapiers
25. “Biggest tool of manipulation is words so always interpret the meaning rather than the words.” – Unknown
26. “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” – Sun Tzu
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of Sun Tzu quotes from the iconic warrior and philospher.
27. “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” – Søren Kierkegaard
Manipulation quotes about power
28. “Manipulation, fueled with good intent, can be a blessing. But when used wickedly, it is the beginning of a magician’s karmic calamity.” – T.F. Hodge
29. “One must change one’s tactics every ten years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
30. “The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” – Roseanne Barr
31. “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling
32. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix
33. “Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.” – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
34. “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” — Greek Proverb
35. “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius
36. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker
37. “Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” – Jim Morrison
Manipulation quotes about control
38. “True love is built on free will and free choice, not control and manipulation.” – Ken Poirot
39. “I have no interest in trying to manipulate people’s emotions or opinions.” ― Sarah Kane
40. “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
41. “No one has the patent on you.” – Katie St. Claire
42. “Manipulation is a contagious disease which is much more dangerous than a pandemic because it can endure you for a lifetime.” – Unknown
43. “People turned against each other cannot turn against those responsible.” – DaShanne Stokes
44. “You can’t control the weather, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying.” – Frank Sonnenberg
45. “Domineering-types may appear omnipotent but, inevitably, will smother everything they love and lose all.” – Stewart Stafford
46. “One should be able to control and manipulate experiences with an informed and intelligent mind.” – Sylvia Plath
If you’re enjoying these quotes, read our collection of Sylvia Plath quotes from the iconic poet.
Manipulation quotes about jealousy
47. “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – Carrie Fisher
48. “Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.” – Shannon L. Alder
49. “Jealousy is such an ugly emotion.” – Cassandra Clare
50. “Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.” – François de La Rochefoucauld
51. “He seems like a man who knows what he wants, and the problem is he wants what I want.” – Abbi Glines
52. “I measured love by the extent of my jealousy.” – Graham Greene
53. “Jealousy, that dragon which slays love under the pretense of keeping it alive.” – H. Havelock Ellis
54. “Envy is when you want what someone else has. Jealousy’s when you also don’t want them to have it.” – Kirsten Hubbard
55. “Jealousy’s a weak emotion.” – Jay-Z
56. “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” – Baz Luhrmann
57. “Until you realize how easy it is for your mind to be manipulated, you remain the puppet of someone else’s game.” – Evita Ochel
More manipulation quotes and sayings
58. “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
59. “Nothing manipulates people more than the desire to please.” – Zoe Durlock
60. “It was easier to manipulate someone if they didn’t perceive you as a threat.” – Stephanie Wrobel
61. “Life is a constant daily manipulation.” – Deyth Banger
62. “Manipulating people is what’s so fun about poker. I love that you can just look into someone’s eyes and lie – and it’s perfectly acceptable.” — Cheryl Hines
63. “Don’t become manipulated by the illusion of who you think you are, or who you think you should be.” – Steven Redhead
64. “When manipulation flutters around everywhere, neither pull nor push anyone. Just do one thing – don’t trust anyone!” – Ashish Patel
65. “I might be manipulating you to create risk for myself.” – Sharon Stone
66. “Manipulation aims to modify another person’s choices by directly, but clandestinely modifying a person’s psychology.” — Michael Cholbi
Manipulation quotes to gain back control
67. “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” – George Orwell
68. “Men are used as they use others.” – Bidpai
69. “An apology without change is just manipulation.” – Unknown
70. “Welcome to the human race. Nobody controls his own life, Ender. The best you can do is choose to fill the roles given you by good people, by people who love you.” – Orson Scott Card
71. “You are a manipulator. I like to think of myself more as an outcome engineer.” – J.R. Ward
72. “One of the methods of manipulation is to inoculate individuals with the bourgeois appetite for personal success. – Paulo Freire
73. “Whoever controls the money controls you. – Sharon Law Tucker
74. “Vision without integrity is not mission — it’s manipulation.” – Howard G. Hendricks
75. “It’s so easy to manipulate an audience, but it’s nearly always clear that you are being manipulated. I think even people that are not critically attuned are aware of cynical manipulation in film.” – John Boorman
76. “Manipulation is moving someone’s settings away from the ideal in ways that are typically not in her self-interest, or likely not in her self-interest in the present context.” — Robert Noggle
Overcoming toxic people and manipulation quotes
77. “The less you respond to negative people, the more powerful your life will become.” – Robert E. Baine, Jr.
78. “Toxic people will pollute everything around them. Don’t hesitate. Fumigate.” – Mandy Hale
79. “While you can’t control someone’s negative behavior, you can control how long you participate in it.” – Anonymous
80. “Every day you must unlearn the ways that hold you back. You must rid yourself of negativity, so you can learn to fly.” – Leon Brown
81. “Life is short. Don’t waste it with negative people who don’t appreciate you. Keep them in your heart but keep them out of your life.” – Anonymous
82. “Toxic people attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles, and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters.” – John Mark Green
83. “If you walked away from a toxic, negative, abusive, one-sided, dead-end low vibrational relationship or friendship — you won.” – Lalah Delia
84. “Don’t let toxic people infect you with the fear of giving and receiving one of the most powerful forces in this world… LOVE!” – Yvonne Pierre
85. “When you notice someone does something toxic the first time, don’t wait for the second time before you address it.” – Shahida Arabi
86. “When people pressure you to engage in negative decisions and actions, look at them boldly in the eyes and dare them to do good.” – Edmond Mbiaka
How can you become immune to manipulation?
Certainly, manipulation can be a dangerous element in your life. As human beings, we crave the independence to control our own lives as much as possible. When we can’t control our circumstances, we hope to at least predict them. This is where manipulation comes in.
To maintain control and predictability, some resort to manipulation of others around them. This can happen on the small scale of individual relationships or over huge groups of people.
To keep control and predictability in your own life so that your basic needs are met, you must watch out for manipulation by people around you or by broader forces like politics, culture, and the media. By staying aware of manipulation, you can promote your own independence and happiness.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these manipulation quotes and sayings? Do you have any other helpful quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.
April 18, 2022 6:00 AM EST