Jade Small
Jade Small
January 11, 2024 ·  3 min read

8 Phrases Toxic People Use to Reduce Your Self-Esteem

A toxic person is someone who damages your self-worth. They are selfish, and manipulative and don’t take responsibility for their actions. Using subtle words and phrases they will do their best to hurt your self-esteem in order to bring you down. Here are 8 phrases to look out for to help you identify if there is a toxic person in your life.Here are 8 Phrases Toxic People Use to Hurt Your Self-Esteem:

“It’s your fault!”

Emotional annoyed stressed couple sitting on couch, arguing at home. Angry irritated nervous woman man shouting at each other, figuring out relations, feeling outraged, relationship problems concept.
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Everyone makes mistakes but their mistakes shouldn’t constantly be used against them. Toxic people will take a little thing you do and use it against you to justify their bad behavior. They turn it into ammunition to guilt you into behaving the way that they want. For example, if they forget your birthday it’s your fault for not reminding them. A toxic person will always find a way to shift the blame back on you.

“You’re being insecure.”

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Toxic people feed off of your anxiety and fear. They want to be in control and will play on your insecurities in order to do so. Truth is, they are the insecure ones and need to bring others down to feel better about themselves. By projecting their feeling onto you they are showing that they don’t respect you as a person because they are using you as a verbal punching bag to make themselves feel better. 

Read More: 7 Signs of a Toxic Family

“I can’t be friends with someone that…”

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This phrase is used as a threat or an ultimatum. A real partner or friend won’t put conditions on your relationship. A toxic person will use this phrase to scare you into doing what they want, putting their needs above your feelings. There is usually very little sincerity in this phrase as they don’t really want to end the relationship but to instead trick you into doing what they want.

“You’re being overdramatic.”

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In any good relationship, you should be able to express how you feel without judgment. No matter how small the problem may be if something is bothering you it’s important that you are able to turn to the people in your life for reassurance. Toxic people are unable to handle the fact that they have done something wrong and when faced with a problem will try to invalidate your feelings.

“You need me.”

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Toxic people are usually narcissistic, thinking only of themselves. They can’t imagine others living or being happy without them and will try to get you to believe it too. If you try to distance yourself from the relationship they will do what they can to convince you to let them stay and believe they are doing you a favor by being in your life. Their goal is to lower your self-worth and make you feel like you need them to be successful.

Read More: 5 Dead Giveaways There’s a Toxic Person in Your Life

“I didn’t say that!”

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Toxic people will not take responsibility for their actions. They will do and say what they can to get themselves out of hot water, even if it means lying to you! They will deny what they have said or done to make it seem like they are innocent or that you’re delusional. 

“But you did ….!”

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When you try confronting toxic people they will always put the blame back on you, constantly using things that you have done to justify their behavior and make you feel guilty instead. They want you to feel like you aren’t in a place to judge them, that you are just as bad as they are, but don’t let them fool you! What they are doing is wrong and they are responsible for their own actions.

The Bottom Line

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Toxic people are harmful to your self-esteem. It’s important to surround yourself with people who support you, not tear you down. Here is an amazing video by Kevin Lott Speaks that teaches you how to deal with toxic people in your life:

Read More: Toxic Marriages Are More Painful For Kids Than Divorce


  1. Roshni, D. (2018). 3 Phrases Toxic People Will Use To Undermine Your Confidence. [online] UPVEE. Available at: https://upvee.co/3-phrases-toxic-people-will-use-undermine-confidence/
  2.  Goodman, R. (2018). If He Says These 10 Things, He’s Manipulating You. [online] YourTango. Available at: https://www.yourtango.com/2017306258/10-things-toxic-people-say-emotionally-abusive-relationship