Emotionally Abusive Statements Designed to Control



Psychological Abuse
with clarity comes freedom

Continuing from part one “Emotional Healing by Understanding Psychological Abuse” I talked about how Psychological Abusers misuse their power in order to control and abuse others. In this post I continue with some of the statements that emotionally abusive controlling people make to create fear, confusion and the inability to think, and to force compliance and obedience.

NOTE: These statements are used by ALL controllers, and although I often refer to parents, these statements are used by everyone who misuses their power in order to control others.

I believed statements like this:

“After all I have done for you.” This statement often ends with comments about how ungrateful that I am and it implies obligation. Obligation has nothing to do with love.

“If you don’t like it, you are free to leave” This statement means that I have no option, that I am just NOT allowed to disagree; I am not allowed to have an opinion. I “can” either have an opinion, OR a place to live. Not both. This implies that I am not only valueless but that I am also not smart enough to have my own thoughts.

There are other related statements that imply stupidity such as “what would you know about that? Or “Who do you think you are?”  Voice infliction is used such as in sneering statements like “what makes you think you know?” “and “what makes you an authority on that?” Another control tactic is simply not being acknowledged at all.

I didn’t question why some people didn’t acknowledge my thoughts, or ideas. They acted as though no matter what I said, they didn’t hear me. They discounted me as if to say, I can’t be bothered with you. They did not allow me to impact them or their lives. This is very devaluing because it confirmed the fear and belief that I already had learned; that I had nothing to contribute and no knowledge or value to offer. And that is what they wanted me to believe.

What about a statements like this;  

“Everyone in this family (office, organization, etc.) has an equal say, but I know best, so in the end we do what I say we do”. (remember that not all statements are verbal!)

 “I am doing this for your own good.” Because psychological abusers think that what they have decided is BEST, but their definition of BEST is not based on love. It is not based on what is best for both people involved. I started to realize that I needed to ask myself “BEST for who?”

“You are such a disappointment… I don’t know where I went wrong”.

“Oh Darlene, you’ve always been so sensitive, dramatic…..” You can fill in the blank for whatever fits for you.  This implies that I am over reacting. That my feelings about a situation are wrong and that I could not possibly know how I feel. Some statements are actually MEANT to hurt me, to make me try harder, to make me feel like I am doing something very wrong.

As a young girl, I often heard relatives speaking mockingly about me, right in front of me as though I was not in the room, sometimes with false concern in their voices;

“Well you know Darlene; she’s kind of slow; she had that “brain damage” thing happen when she was born.” ~ *apparently the forceps being used to assist in my birth, slipped and that was used as a convenient excuse to tear me down by exaggerating the event~ inferring that I was mentally challenged and therefore not to be taken seriously.  Lies such as these are meant to tear down and destroy and to “prove” that there is something wrong with ME. These lies cause a fog storm to force compliance and dependence.  This is common! I am not the only one this happened to. Hurtful damaging lies. I have heard similar ones;

~ She was dropped as a baby…

~ He had that bad fall down the stairs that time…

~ Oh remember when Johnny fell out of the tree?

Very often these statements kind of trail off…. leaving the listener to come to their own conclusions about the mental health of the person they are hearing about. They are usually said within a conversation where the victim is saying something a psychological abuser doesn’t like. If a controller or psychological abuser can discredit the victim, they have way more power. 

“Love, honor and obey your parents…….”

I had to think about these statements. I had to question myself ~ What will happen to me if I don’t love honor and obey?  What do you think will happen?  I did a whole exercise on what my beliefs were about just this one statement and when I realized what I believed about the implications of this statement, I realized that these were once again, false beliefs.)

I am not obligated to love. Not even to love my parents.

Just because emotionally abusive and controlling people said that I was crazy and stupid, doesn’t mean that I am. It was so important for me to realize that truth.

I am not crazy. I am not stupid. And I certainly never had BRAIN DAMAGE!

There are a million of these statements all designed to squish independence and individuality. They are used to force compliance and cultivate guilt and shame or fog up the thinking. All are designed for the purpose of control. All of them get the focus OFF the emotional abuser or controller and back on to you ~ the one they want to control.

Psychological abusers don’t want you to look at the truth because as long as we are thinking about how much we disappoint everyone, or don’t measure up ~ as long as we are trying harder, we don’t realize how pathetic these control tactics are. Our emotional healing depends on our dissecting the ways that we have been falsely led to believe the lies about ourselves.

Remember that the focus is on our realization and implementation of the true belief that EVERYONE including you and I have equal value. Abusers do not like to teach (by actions) that their value is equal to yours, because it would imply that their authority over you, the authority that they control you with, would be diminished. Breaking the cycle of abuse depends on discovering and recognizing what abuse and the misuse of power and control really is.

As the traumatized, the victims and the emotionally abused heal and get stronger and as more and more people realize and embrace the truth, these psychological abusers will no longer be able to hide behind the fog that they create because the fog and the real truth will be exposed. The tactics will be revealed and talked about freely. The secret won’t have to be a secret when enough people are talking about it.

This is the real fight that I had to fight in order to fully recover from emotional abuse (all abuse) and the resulting depressions. It was in busting through those lies that I was able to embrace my true self and take my life back. This was my journey to emotional healing.

Please share your thoughts, discoveries, experience or whatever you wish to share in the comments and check back, the discussions are always wonderful here.

Another snapshot on the Journey to Wholeness;

Darlene Ouimet

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Related Posts: Emotional Healing by Understanding Psychological Abuse with 60 fantastic comments/feedback

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148 response to "Emotionally Abusive Statements Designed to Control"

  1. By: Light Posted: 25th March 2016

    Darlene, thank you for your comment and support. I appreciate it, and I like your viewpoint about the rejection. (#143)

  2. By: Riyabo Posted: 25th March 2016

    Hey there,
    THanks for the post.

    I was never allowed to do anyghing (visually impaired born during the soviet reign). I have 5 degrees of vision which became clear 2 years I left Bulgaria, already as a foreigner in Norway. I left Bulgaria at the age of 20, and by the time I realized that I was severely visually impaired in Norway, I realized too that Bulgarians are one of the most disregarded and downgraded foreigner groups in Norway. Yet, I decided to stay in Norway, because of the welfare. I did my best to pass my exams, and find a proper job. Now I work along with healthy ones, who have no idea I have problems.

    The thing is – panic attacks. I have left my parent 13 ago, and whenever I decide to do sometihng out of waltz, like having fun or travel, I would be getting a panic attack. Now I decided to have a vacation in Japan by myself (currently there, yes), prior to that I got so many panic attack because I thought of earthquakes, insects, you name it. At some point I realized – well, it has nothing to do with it! IT is all about my mother! And I thought “I am getting on that plane, I don’t care what happens” And so I did. Prior to that there were numerous nights that I didn’t get any sleep.

    She never wanted me to talk about my eye disease, she always wanted me to pretend as if everything was ok, if I ever expressed any need, she would threaten that she would die – and it has been since I was 3-years-old! Every time I wanted to do something for me – like pee, e.g. I felt like someone was going to die! It is all about her, it always felt like my sole purpose of existence was to make her feel better, and make her feel good, make her feel appreciated. For the past 2 years I haven’t been in touch other than by mail. And the last thing she sent me – was the annual forgiveness mail (Bulgarians usually have time when they ask one another for forgiveness right before Easter, traditional thing), where she stated the me and my brother were the most important things in her life! This felt so hypocritical! She never behaves as if I or my brother are important in anyway, she always behaves as if others are! When I was a teenager she used to hang out with my peers, and listen to their woes, and used to say how many problems they had. She never thought how I would react on the shit she would dish out! SHe still does that, I am afraid that she has been living in a severe delusion of being a good mother. …

    A mother is a verb in my opinion and means listening and showing consideration to your children, not mostly yourself. A mother means being there for your children, not telling them “go away from me”, “if you don’t do what I say, you can go to hell”, “lave me alone”, “I ruined my life because of you”, “I would have been there/doing this now if it wasn’t for you”…

  3. By: falcdakini Posted: 24th March 2016

    My parents told me this past week how much I’ve disappointed them. I’m surprised by how little those words actually impacted me. I’ve known all my life that they were disappointed in me. They have always been ashamed and embarrassed by me. I guess I was surprised that they felt they could just come out and say that out loud. But at this point it really is a reflection of them. It does hurt, but I don’t feel them having said that has much to do with me. I am disappointed in them, in their lack of empathy and good parenting skills. I am not seeking their approval anymore. I have felt unloved by them all my life. I feel like something deep has shifted in me that allows me to be so unaffected by their hurtful words. Or maybe the gravity of them haven’t fully hit me yet.

  4. By: Dawn Posted: 20th March 2016

    Hi Darlene,

    I follow your posts on Facebook and read them with great interste. At 29 years old I have finally realised that having had depression since the age of 12 this is due to being emotionally abused by my Mother.

    I recently became a Mother myself and started having flashbacks to my own childhood when I was told “I’d been looking forward to being a Mother and you’ve ruined it for me” “this family would be really happy if it wasn’t for you”. I was 4 1/2 years older than my brother and was always blamed for anytime he misbehaved being told it must have been my fault and he was copying me in some form.

    It all started primarily when I found out I’d been lied to and been born prior to my parents marriage, (they’d told me their marriage date was 2 years earlier than it was to make me seem ‘legitimate”). I’d been in our loft looking for something when I came across their wedding cards and someone had written the correct date inside one of them. Upon asking about this I was told firstly it was my fault I shouldn’t have looked at the cards (what child on discovering cards in a box in the loft wouldn’t be curious) to then being told I was never told this alternative date I’d made it up, then oh we had to tell you a different date as we knew what you were like! My mother told me in my moment of asking about it that she was adopted and I should be grateful my birth patents kept me.

    Thus started the pattern of her victim status, whatever I went though she’d been through something worse- completely devaluing my own self worth. When I was 7 she came to my school when we were getting vaccinated, we only lived a 5 minute drive from the school but she left late and got caught speeding which was my fault as she’d been rushing to get there for me.

    I’ve only found the strength of having my own child enabling me to break away as I don’t want her to be involved in this cycle of abuse as unfortunately my Husband had already been (constantly being put down and criticised- by her). I want a better life for my baby and constantly pray that I can strive to be a better parent for her and break the cycle.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st March 2016

      Hi Dawn,
      Welcome to EFB ~ Thank you for sharing and good for you for seeking and wanting a better life for yourself and your family!
      hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Light Posted: 16th February 2016

    P.S. I am realizing how my mother is a BYSTANDER rather than a MOTHER. She left it to my oldest sibling to parent and babysit her children. She says she didn’t know about the sexual abuse, talks about surface topics and avoids anything too real having to do with relationships and dynamics within the family. She didn’t guide me through childhood challenges, I just stayed in my room alone…she wasn’t emotionally there, she refused to “see” unhealthy dynamics between me and my siblings when they treated me like crap and therefore made no comment about them. There was NO LEADER in the family, no one to say STOP THAT so the siblings run rampant and ran all over me. I was the truth teller, and my siblings hated that and blamed me and called me delusional.

  6. By: Light Posted: 16th February 2016

    Some days I really feel that magnitude of the rejection. A deep, deep sense permeates my very being that I am wrong, a bad person, disliked for the core of me that rails against the dysfunction aimed at me. It’s a cloud weighing me down, shrinking me, and it’s been there so long that it feels “normal”. It’s like having a thorn stuck in the skin since birth…you cope and accommodate as best you can, your body adapts…but when it’s finally pulled out one realizes what being free from pain is like.

    One day ~ two years ago, my mother validated me briefly. She took my side regarding my sibling who was trying to undermine me, and said she would talk with her about it. I was so struck by those few hours afterwards: I felt lighter, and recall saying to myself “I am a GOOD person”. I felt grounded and strong.

    My mother did talk with her about it, there was a brief back and forth quarrel, and I think my mother realized she’d rather be on the outs with me than my sibling. The next day my mother called and said she couldn’t believe that my sibling would do that (the undermining). (Darlene had even warned me in advance that there might be a fall coming!). My strong feeling collapsed like a balloon. If I try to look for the silver lining, I am grateful that I experienced those feelings ….that must be how healthy people in healthy families feel most of the time. WOW.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th February 2016

      Hi Light
      Some days I still feel the magnitude of the rejection too. And I feel sorry for them. They lost me and I’m pretty awesome now that I am not oppressed. The only thing we can do is to keep striving and keep going forward.hugs Darlene

  7. By: Carlos Posted: 14th February 2016

    Reminds me of a conversation I overheard between my father and maternal uncle when they were fixing the audio system at our house: “Carl can be unreliable at times, when I was 15 I was already doing this and that.” I think he was trying to imply that I should be the one helping him with the speakers. Sorry if I am not as into electronics as my uncle, sorry if I am passionate about other things (Actually why should I be?) Oh and congratulations for whatever it is you achieved at that particular age, it must have been really great for you to talk shit about your son (of which thankfully the guy you talked to didn’t buy).

  8. By: Mac Aeron Posted: 14th February 2013

    Two years ago. It feels longer than that. I said no to some people told me I was ungrateful. That I was messed up in the head. I was an abuser. That I was this list of things… that were all crazy. I was lied to repeatedly and treated like I was delusional when I said thats not true. I was labeled abusive and dangerous because I wouldn’t play the game. I know how the truth feels. When you are taught you are defective that you..all you are is a wrongness. Like a darkness is the absence of light. I heard no matter what I could never be redeemed. Today I know what I did was right for me. Now I know I was never meant to be judged, I was whole I became lost because of what they taught. I can honestly say that I am found, by me. I claim me. I am worthy.

  9. By: Barbara Posted: 21st August 2012

    My NarcMother’s statements:

    “you are so hateful, I never taught you to hate”
    (she didn’t have to – her behavior towards me said it all)

    “you were a hateful baby”
    (how the **** is a BABY hateful???)

    “I know you live your whole life just to hurt me”
    (more of her Narc ‘I am the sun and life revolves around MOI’ b.s.)

  10. By: john Posted: 13th July 2012

    wow, i just found out what junk i had for a mother, carole henne is no mother, more like a narcissistic nut, whats wrong with you, you make me ill why cant you be like other kids b etc giant asshole. glassboro junk.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th July 2012

      Hi John,
      Welcome to emerging from broken;
      It’s so sad and horrible that kids have been spoken to this way. This site is about healing from the damage that caused.
      Glad you are here,
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Taliba Posted: 24th May 2012

    Thanks for this post, it is so validating to hear that I’m not the only one whose mother was constantly attempting to discredit me with these kind of lies.

    For me it was because I cracked my head as a one year old. Once it became clear that I was no dummy, she would use anything she could find. When the PTSD symptoms reared their head my family had what they needed to discredit me as ‘mental’. My pharmacist father and nurse mother made sure I got a diagnosis so that I could be drugged. When I took myself off the meds they contacted a psychiatrist friend and told him I had a personality disorder which he believed. Naturally I never actually met the man.

    It is ALWAYS about control. My family knows that my intelligence would make me a force against them, and also that I never had any intention of covering for their abuse. Eventually when I started having PTSD symptoms the ‘spin’ was that I was ‘abusing’ them. Such garbage.

    At times I feel like I will never heal because they were so successful in their slander campaign and completely indiscriminate in who they discredited me to. I’m afraid to ‘get out there’ for fear that anyone I meet will know someone from my past and eventually hear the lies that were spread. It doesn’t seem to matter how good an impression I make because their influence was too strong.

    Are you familiar with anyone who has successfully sued their family for slander? I would never actually do this, it would just dredge up too much and I have no proof or backers. I think that I consider sueing simply because I don’t have any other framework for successfully getting past it all.

    Anyways that was a bit gloomy but really I am very heartened and validated to hear that I’m not alone in dealing with this kind of garbage!

  12. By: Anonona Posted: 23rd March 2012

    I have been accused of being the abuser when I was actually the one trying to exspress myself and identify the problem. You can’t reason with these people. They operate with one goal in mind, to completely control you. I have tried to understand all the abusers in my life. They have been abused themselves. I have been been made to look irrational and emotionally imballanced. I already suffer from mental illness but I’m completely out of touch with reality, I have a lot of experience with these people. I have tried to internalize all the pain in a in a variety of ways until I can’t I can’t possibly deal anymore. I usually cut all the toxic influences off. Sometimes I don’t find out until it is too late. They have a way of fooling you, turning the blame completely around on you. They will not accept any responsibilty for the pain they cause the people in their Inapprilives. They will use their children as tools for their abusive ways to say things to you in their absense that they would have no way of knowing unless they were told by them. Children should not be used as pawns in such a way. ” I tell the truth about you. They say, but they lie constantly
    to avoid showing their true selves. You open to then, and they use as ammunition against you. Another way to avoid their obiligations to other people and they blame you for it. Everytime you misbehave, they get even, You can never do right either. Out of line behavior that is immature that would make a teenage blush. You beg them to stop and it never does. Hitting on year old Women at restaurants to prove how old and undesirable you are to them. Talking about their wealthy parents all the time when they have never done any thing for them. I have stood by this person for almost 4 years. I am ashamed for how crazy I have allowed myself to get because of this covert, manipulive, mind games. I must not very bright. I’m on 3 different medications, and severally limited. I try to do everything I’m able to, and several people try to manipulate me on a regular basis with guilt trips. I’m unable to work because Of years fears some plot agains me from my ex’s mpther from a past relationship. She stalks me. Then enlists strangers on social websites, they go to my work and call me names and accuse me of drug use. They could never know of my past history unless they were informed, by this person. Her son gets a clean slate but not me. Be cause she has money It is okay he has made mistakes not me, I will always be stalked a harrased no matter I go. I have seen proof of this. I can’t be alone. I have been sober for 9 years,. No criminal record. I don’t harrass anyone, even drive, or talk to anyone. I am isolated. Every other week someone is having a crisis, it is a way of getting even. A way of sucking me in to their chaos. I am powerless over my mental illness, I’m living in hell,these people will never leave me alone. My husband is helping them. He is Mr.Perfect in front ever one else, but indifferent and everything I say and feel is invalid, means nothing, and it is not what his mother would do. She says I need be “trained” He feels like he has to raise me,and I behave like a child . He apoligizes my atrocious behavior also behind my back to his druggie friend.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd March 2012

      Hi Anonona
      Welcome to emerging from broken.
      I am so sorry that you are going through all this. One of the good things is that you understand what is going on and that this is about what THEY are doing… not what YOU are doing. That is a really positive think to realize. It is all about power and control and the misuse of that. The more clear that I got the more I saw ways of standing up to them and empowering myself.
      I hope you will keep reading the articles here. You are not alone.
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Chloe Posted: 17th May 2011

    Thanks Darlene. Now that I’ve cried, I’m going to treat myself today with a nice long shower then a walk in the sunshine with my beautiful daughter. I believe that the work I do will help build a better world for my daughter (and me too!) because there is nothing better than having a mother with her own identity. Hugs.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th May 2011

      I could not agree with you more about this. I have 3 kids, and I know that my healing has impacted them in the best of ways. They saw me go through the tough times, first the depressions etc and then the tough times of healing but now they know it is possible to overcome! Having your own identity is a powerful example of health and wholeness!
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Chloe Posted: 17th May 2011

    I found this site today. Reading this post helped me identify the phrases I’ve heard all my life and internalized. I am often afraid of “being ungrateful” or proving that I am “way too sensitive” whenever I try to speak up for myself. I have had my family threaten to cut me off “because they don’t even know me anymore” – and it’s always when I finally say what is on my mind. I’ve also experienced outrageous behaviour from them whenever I have a major accomplishment or milestone in my life. I have come to believe it is because I am the centre of attention for once (and they are used to me existing to make them feel better). Very difficult to sort through the mixed messages. I believe they love me but do not know how to love me in a healthy way. I suppose the hard part for me is deciding how much unhealthy love I can live with. As I grow, it becomes harder to accept the manipulation and my own voice becomes easier to hear. Thank you for validating this.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th May 2011

      Welcome! ~You have defined a lot in this comment! I totally relate to where you are at and was once there myself. You will love the rest of the blog posts and the community here as you continue to grow.
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th May 2011

    Thank you for sharing. Yes, you have posted some typical statements and actions that are degigned to manipulate and control. The one about being picked on until you cried is a particularly horrid one. How does a person get their head around that?? I can totally relate to it! And as you say, becomeing aware of it makes all the difference.
    Glad you are here,
    Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Carolyn Posted: 16th May 2011

    reading this article has made me realise just how many people I have let abuse me over the years: parents, sibling, bosses, therapists, friends, boyfriends. And I have blamed myself for it all. I’m the one who feels guilty.

    Growing up my parents used the line “You can’t be trusted” to invalidate and control me. Whenever I made a mistake, this was more proof that i couldn’t be trusted. My parents still think I can’t be beleived because I went through a phase of lying as a child. I beleived this and i was so shocked when I read in a child development book that lying is normal behaviour for children of that age. It was a huge sense of relief, but also a deep sense of betrayal that they had twisted something normal and forgiveable into merciless character assasination.

    The other one they used was “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” Ahhh, because I am my own person…. Apparently not, according to them.

    Oh, and if I ever got upset it was “You’re crazy.”

    My father would actually pick on me until I cried, then he would make fun of me for crying, then he would tell me to shut up and if I didn’t stop crying he would hit me. I could not win.

    It makes me so hurt and angry to think about what they have done to me, but I’m glad i am waking up to this stuff.

  17. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 15th May 2011

    Pam, thank you, SO MUCH, for telling that story. THANK YOU.

    I really needed to read that. It helped me to understand something in my own life, that has been deeply hurtful to me, for so many years.

    I can’t say any more about it at this time, I’m feeling too emotional to explain exactly what I mean, right now. But thank you, for your honesty, and for the depth you went into in telling that horrible story from your childhood.

    I’m so sorry you went through all that HELL.


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