Skip to Content

150 Manipulation Quotes To Help You Take Back Your Power

150 Manipulation Quotes To Help You Take Back Your Power

What if I told you manipulation wasn’t necessarily a bad thing?

We tend to associate negative intentions and behaviors with the word manipulation, but the issue is more complex than that.

While manipulation can indeed become a maleficent thing, it can also be used in many instances and for aims that are not evil.

Feeling intrigued?

Read on and discover 150 manipulation quotes that will help you understand this topic better and take back your power!

Top 20 Manipulation Quotes Picked By Author

1. “It was easier to manipulate someone if they didn’t perceive you as a threat.” – Stephanie Wrobel

hand and marionette image representing manipulation quote

2. “Almost all people are hypnotics. The proper authority saw to it that the proper belief should be induced, and the people believed properly.” ― Charles Fort

3. “The art of pleasing is the art of deception.” — Luc De Clapiers

4. “When you know what a man wants, you know who he is, and how to move him.” — George R.R. Martin

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

string puppet illustration representing manipulation quote

6. “When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.” — Stephen Jay Gould

7. “The success of the manipulation depends on the level of conviction and force of the denial.” — Tess Binder

8. “Guilt is a special kind of manipulation tactic.” — D.T Bloom

9. “You can’t manipulate people who know how to think for themselves.” — Trish Mercer

10. “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” — Edward Bernays

image of hand and marionette representing manipulation quote

11. “True love is built on free will and free choice, not control and manipulation.” — Ken Poirot

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

13. “Manipulation is a contagious disease, much more dangerous than the flu because it can endure for a lifetime.” — Dorothy McCoy

14. “It is invisible hands that torment and bend us the worst” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

15. “Half of the people lie with their lips; the other half with their tears.” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb 

hand holding a marionette representing quote on manipulation

16. “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

17. “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” — Sun Tzu

18. “Nothing manipulates people more than the desire to please.” — Zoe Durlock

19. “People turned against each other cannot turn against those responsible.” — DaShanne Stokes

20. “Self-hatred is the best vehicle for making people do as they’re told because they are hungry to get approval.” — Melinda Gebbie

image of a marionette representing quote on self-hatred and manipulation

See also: 150 Relatable I Hate Myself Quotes To Express Self-hatred

50 Quotes On Deception And Manipulation

1. “Don’t become manipulated by the illusion of who you think you are, or who you think you should be.” — Steven Redhead

image of a marionette representing quote about illusion and manipulation

2. “Why am I letting you comfort me?” He stared over her head. Because I’ve made sure you have no one else to turn to.” ― Kresley Cole

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

4. “Not to know what things in life require remedying is a crime. It leaves you at the mercy of events – it lets life manipulate you – instead of training you to manipulate life.” — Inez Milholland

5. “No love is conditional. If love is conditional, it’s emotional manipulation masquerading as love.” — Donald Miller

string puppet image representing quote about emotional manipulation

6. “When we allow another to alter our thinking, it can take a long time to return to our previous reality. That’s the awesome power of manipulation.” — Ryan James

7. “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

8. “There are three types of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics.” — Benjamin Disraeli

9. “Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.” — Criss Jami

See also: 160 Best Quotes About Liars To Help You Deal With Them

10. “One of the greatest challenges facing young people today, is the large-scale availability of half-truths and manipulated facts.” ― Oche Otorkpa

string puppet illustration representing quote about manipulated facts

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

12. “Some people pretend to be the beach, but they are actually quicksand.” — Steve Maraboli

13. “Our capacity as human beings for imagination and storytelling makes us exquisitely vulnerable to exploitation by those who understand the properties of ideological power.” ― David Smail

14. “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

15. “When ambition gets out of hand we are vulnerable to manipulation by others.” — Keith Campbell

hand holding a string puppet representing quote on manipulation

16. “Fearful people are more dependent, more easily manipulated and controlled, more susceptible to deceptively simple, strong, tough measures and hard-line postures. … They may accept and even welcome repression if it promises to relieve their insecurities.” — George Gerbner

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

18. “And this is what she wants to do to people. Let them have their own lives, until she wants them. Give them the strength of giants, but not the power to control it.” ― Beth Revis

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

20. “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

string puppet illustration representing quote on manipulation

21. “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

22. “If they can no longer score on you, then they can no longer manipulate you.” — Dorothy McCoy

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

24. “Is there any point in public debate in a society where hardly anyone has been taught how to think, while millions have been taught what to think?” — Peter Hitchens

25. “One of the methods of manipulation is to inoculate individuals with the bourgeois appetite for personal success.” — Paulo Freire

quote on methods of manipulation represented by marionette image

26. “Truth can’t be edited despite all of the people who have committed the entirety of their lives to that profession.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough

27. “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

28. “You can’t control the weather, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying.” — Frank Sonnenberg

29. “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

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

dark quote on manipulation represented by string puppet image

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

32. “Nothing is more closed than a closed mind that thinks it’s open and nothing is more manipulated than a manipulated mind that thinks it’s free.” ― David Icke

33. “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

34. “The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free.” — Aldous Huxley

35. “Remember that any time you’re filled with resentment, you’re turning the controls of your emotional life over to others to manipulate.” — Wayne Dyer

string puppet illustration representing quote on being filled with resentment

36. “One should be able to control and manipulate experiences with an informed and intelligent mind.” — Sylvia Plath

37. “Once upon a time I was such a good liar; I could talk the fish right into my mouths.” ― Vernor Vinge

38. “The most dramatic instances of directed behavior change and “mind control” are not the consequence of exotic forms of influence, such as hypnosis, psychotropic drugs, or “brainwashing,” but rather the systematic manipulation of the most mundane aspects of human nature over time in confining settings.” ― Philip G. Zimbardo

39. “Manipulation is clever, skillful, and sometimes unscrupulous. Manipulation is not always a bad thing.” ― Edward Benedict

40. “Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led.” — Ross Perot

image of a marionette representing quote on leading and manipulation

41. “Lasting healing comes from being curious rather than controlling, from mercy rather than manipulation, from responding rather than reacting. It is about opening what has been closed, reclaiming what has been hidden, and remembering what has been forgotten.” ― Mary O’Malley

See also: 110 Spiritual Healing Quotes To Find Strenght And Peace

42. “Lies are like cockroaches, for every one you discover there are many more that are hidden.” ― Gary Hopkins

43. “Perception is more important than reality. If someone perceives something to be true, it is more important than if it is in fact true. This doesn’t mean you should be duplicitous or deceitful, but don’t go out of your way to correct a false assumption if it plays to your advantage.” ― Ivanka Trump

44. “Sometimes terror and pain are not the best levers; deception, when it works, is the most elegant and the least expensive manipulation of all.” — Vernor Vinge

45. “We are no longer puppets being manipulated by outside powerful forces: we become the powerful force ourselves.” — Leo Buscaglia

puppet in a hand representing quote on manipulation

46. “Nihilism is a natural consequence of a culture (or civilization) ruled and regulated by categories that mask manipulation, mastery, and domination of peoples and nature.” — Cornel West

47. “You can rule ignorance; you can manipulate the illiterate; you can do whatever you want when a people are uneducated, so that goes in line with corrupt business and corrupt politics.” —

48. “Honesty has a beautiful and refreshing simplicity about it. No ulterior motives. No hidden meanings. An absence of hypocrisy, duplicity, political games, and verbal superficiality. As honesty and real integrity characterize our lives, there will be no need to manipulate others.” — Charles R. Swindoll

49. “Life-shaping institutions tend to start with an idea or revelation. They often become mostly about the preservation and expansion of authority, something they relinquish only with the greatest reluctance.” — Ron Suskind

50. “People are more willing to change based on their perceived insecurities than by an attack on their beliefs.” ― A.J. Darkholme

string puppet representing quote about insecure people

40 Wise Manipulation Quotes To Help You Avoid Being Manipulated

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

hand with strings image representing quote on avoiding manipulation

2. “Yes, he took care of me and helped me, but these good deeds were the water to make his seed of manipulation grow.” — Abigail Osborne

3. “People who are easily manipulated are those who are not sure of themselves.” ― Alain de Botton

4. “Virtually all organizations known to you work largely by means of your greed. They attract you because… they appeal to your greed.” — Idries Shah

5. “It is dangerous for a ruler to trust others. He who trusts others can be manipulated by others.” — Han Fei

hand with strings representing quote about trust and manipulaton

6. “Manipulative people do not consider the other person’s point of view; they will take it at the expense of others.” — Richard Malthouse

7. “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” — Rudyard Kipling

8. “Her need is so immense that you become surrounded by it; this need is so enormous that you realize you can actually control it, and I know this because I’ve done it before.” ― Bret Easton Ellis

9. “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

10. “To break yourself loose from the dominion, ruler-ship, and manipulation of the devil, you have to embrace light (knowledge).” ― Sunday Adelaja

hand holding strings representing quote on avoiding manipulation

11. “Manipulation is moving together for my advantage. Motivation is moving together for mutual advantage.” — John C. Maxwell

12. “If you are an approval addict, your behavior is as easy to control as that of any other junkie. All a manipulator need to do is a simple two-step process: Give you what you crave, and then threaten to take it away. Every drug dealer in the world plays this game.” — Harriet B. Braiker

13.“And pity–people who inspire it in you are actually very powerful people. To get someone else to take care of you, to feel sorry for you–that takes a lot of strength, smarts, manipulation. Very powerful people.” ― Deb Caletti 

14. “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

15. “Whining is a form of manipulation. People will give anything to make you shut up.” — Jessica Zafra

quote on whining represented by image of a hand

16. “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

17. “All communication is manipulation,” said Konig. “All interaction, social or otherwise, is a means of getting what you want. It’s the basis of society.” ― Michael R. Fletcher

18. “But do you know how infrequent people think?… With very rare exceptions, emotions are far stronger. And unlike thought, emotion can be easily manipulated.” ― Olivie Blake

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

20. “If someone can change your mind, he has won you over without raising his hand against you. This is the future of warfare.” ― Bangambiki Habyarimana

future of warfare quote by Bangambiki Habyarimana

21. “We live in a world where unfortunately the distinction between true and false appears to become increasingly blurred by manipulation of facts, by exploitation of uncritical minds, and by the pollution of the language.” ― Arne Tiselius

22. “The words “I love you” could contain all the bloodthirsty despair of the abattoir, all the hopelessness of the most isolated, frozen gulag, all the lurid sadness of death row.” — Pat Conroy

23. “Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.” — Joyce Brothers 

24. “Manipulators count on strong emotions—such as guilt, fear, love, and shame—to prevent us from thinking clearly and seeing what they’re up to. That’s exactly how they get away with it.” — Adelyn Birch

25. “Control and manipulation are not love; the outcome is a life of imprisonment ultimately leading to deep-rooted feelings of resentment.” ― Ken Poirot 

hand with strings image representing quote on control and love

26. “If you are an approval addict, your behavior is as easy to control as that of any other junkie. All a manipulator needs to do is a simple two-step process: give you what you crave and then threaten to take it away. Every drug dealer in the world plays this game.” — Harriet B. Braiker

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

28. “When you don’t have honesty in love then there is no communication. Honesty is improvisation of the heart; anything less is a well thought out and rehearsed script.” ― Shannon L. Alder

29. “All writing is a form of manipulation, of course, but you realize that a plain sentence can actually do so much.” — Colm Toibin

30. “The first step away from being manipulated, and towards a more autonomous outlook, is to stand back from a set of responses and think.” ― Jonathan Glover

hand with strings image representing quote on avoiding being manipulated

31. “Borderline mothers who threaten or attempt suicide keep their children emotionally trapped, and their children may suffer from extreme anxiety even as adults.” ― Christine Ann Lawson

See also: The 100 Absolute Best Toxic Narcissistic Mother Quotes

32. “Whoever controls the money controls you.” — Sharon Law Tucker

33. “For manipulation to be most effective, evidence of its presence should be nonexistent. It is essential, therefore, that people who are manipulated believe in the neutrality of their key social institutions.” — Herbert Schiller

34. “As an act of bravery, love cannot be sentimental; as an act of freedom, it must not serve as a pretext for manipulation. It must generate other acts of freedom; otherwise, it is not love.” ― Paulo Freire

35. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker

image of hand representing quote on giving up power

36. “Manipulation aims to modify another person’s choices by directly, but clandestinely modifying a person’s psychology.” — Michael Cholbi

37. “In most cases, energy is lost in little games of manipulation, in little struggles of will, in the attempts to possess others, to wrap them up, to delude them, to shine them on.” — Frederick Lenz

38. “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

39. “One of the methods of manipulation is to inoculate individuals with the bourgeois appetite for personal success.” — Paulo Freire

40. “Trust yourself. Those who do not trust what they think they believe seek to have others believe for them.” ― Levi Ramos

hand with strings image representing quote on trusting yourself

See also: 160 Believe In Yourself Quotes To Bask In Your Confidence

40 Quotes About Manipulation To Help You Deal With Liars And Toxic People

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

girl with a mask image representing manipulator quote

2. “The only way to win with a toxic person, is not to play.” — Unknown

3. “When we have access to all of our inner balance, we are able to manipulate our world on a more profound level. This leads us out of fear, and out of danger.” — Brian Germain 

4. “I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.” — S.E. Hinton

5. “Toxic people make you think you’re holding a grudge when you’re really holding a boundary.” — Mel Robins

girl holding a mask representing toxic manipulation quote

6. “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

7. “When manipulation flutters around everywhere, neither pull nor push anyone. Just do one thing – don’t trust anyone!” — Ashish Patel

8. “No matter what you have been through, you’re still here. You may have been challenged, hurt, betrayed, beaten, and discouraged, but nothing has defeated you. You are still here! You are not a victim, you are a victor. You have a history of victory.” — Steve Maraboli

9. “No one has the patent on you.” — Katie St. Claire

10. “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius

girl holding a mask representing quote by Marcus Aurelius

See also: 70 Marcus Aurelius Quotes To Change Your Outlook On Life

11. “While you can’t control someone’s negative behavior, you can control how long you participate in it.” — Unknown

12. “If you feel confused because someone tells you that they love you, but they don’t act like they do, judge them by their actions alone. You will have your answer.” — Adelyn Birch

13. “Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is dangerous.” — Frank Herbert

14. “The less you respond to negative people, the more powerful your life will become.” — Robert E. Baine, Jr. 

15. “When they can no longer control or manipulate you, they smear you.” — Steve Maraboli

girl with a face mask image representing quote on manipulation

16. “Relationships with negative people are simply tedious encounters with porcupines. You don’t have the remote knowledge of how to be close to them without quills being shot in your direction.” — Shannon L. Alder

17. “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

18. “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

19. “Those who rule have always had an interest in shaping the perceptions of those they wish to rule. But never in the history of humanity has their toolbox been so full. Advances in technology and psychology have enabled the messages of the rulers to permeate our consciousness to a degree no prior society could have imagined.” ― James Rozoff

20. “Toxic people will pollute everything around them. Don’t hesitate. Fumigate.” — Mandy Hale

girl in white dress image representing quote on toxic people

21. “Move away from Machiavellian hearts. Manipulative people can frame you up even if you have a humble, simple and generous heart. Question their motive.” — Angelica Hopes

22. “Foreknowledge of the future makes it possible to manipulate both enemies and supporters.” — Raymond Aron

23. “That is how it is with lies. If you can have enough people believe your lies, before you know it, even the one you have lied against will be confused. The lie will make itself at home and the truth will be knocking outside its own door.” ― Yvette Christiansë

24. “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

25. “Manipulative people do not consider the other person’s point of view; they will take at the expense of others.” — Richard Malthouse

girl in white image representing quote about manipulative people

26. “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

See also: 40 Inspiring Faith Over Fear Quotes To Make You Fearless

27. “Media manipulation in the U.S. today is more efficient than it was in Nazi Germany, because here we have the pretense that we are getting all the information we want. That misconception prevents people from even looking for the truth.” — Mark Crispin Miller

28. “Almost anything that can be praised or advocated has been put to some disgusting use. There is no principle, however immaculate, that has not had its compromising manipulator.” — Wyndham Lewis

29. “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

30. “He seems like a man who knows what he wants, and the problem is he wants what I want.” — Abbi Glines

girl in a white dress representing quote by Abbi Glines

31. “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

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

33. “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.” — Edward Bernays

34. “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

35. “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

image of girl in white representing manipulative people quote

36. “We have come to a point in time where using common sense, speaking factual truths and asking honest questions have been deemed radical behavior. While in turn, manipulation, thoughtlessness and dishonesty is often rewarded and rules the day.” ― Gary Hopkins

37. “We are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” — Edward Bernays

38. “Fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life … the great stories go to those who don’t give in to fear.” — Donald Miller

39. “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

40.  “If you walked away from a toxic, negative, abusive, one-sided, dead-end low vibrational relationship or friendship – you won.” — Lalah Delia

girl holding a mask image representing one-sided relationship quote

See also: 120 Final Goodbye Toxic Relationship Quotes To Let It Go

Final Thoughts

How do you feel after reading these manipulation quotes?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section below!

150 Manipulation Quotes To Help You Take Back Your Power