Mind games are a type of mind manipulation. The purpose is to interfere with the person being played, in order to get what you want from them. These games come in different forms. For example, a difficult person might badger you verbally or use insults as a form of intimidation to beat you down into complying with their demands. Other people may use passive-aggressive tactics such as pretending to have your best interests at heart while doing things that emotionally hurt you or turn against you when you least expect it.
How do you know if you are being played?
Maybe the person you married and pledged the rest of your life to be with, for better or for worse is playing games with you. Or the person you are dating that you’re now considering taking the next step to a more serious commitment is giving you mixed signals. Just because you like someone does not mean they are not playing games with you.
A manipulator using guilt to manipulate will play the victim. They will act hurt even when they caused the problem. Their aim is to get you to do what they want in the hopes of ending your guilt and their supposed suffering.
The bully uses fear or intimidation. They display big emotional responses to even small things in an attempt to make you shrink in response.
The Nice guy/gal
This manipulator does favors for you or gives you things. Unbeknownst to you, there are strings attached and an expectation of repayment way beyond the typical norms of reciprocity. For example, a car salesman is friendly, offers beverages, and “great” deals. In return, they want you to feel obligated to buy a car.
How do they affect the person being played with?
Is there a person you have a close relationship with who is driving you mad? Perhaps it’s a significant other or spouse. Are they ever going to stop playing mind games? It is better to take care of yourself before it is too late.
Difficult people are able to skillfully employ mental games in social relationships. Normally, a healthy relationship entails mutual security and trust between the parties. People that trust each other say what they think, express their emotions in a healthy way that does not hurt others and do what they say they will.
But in a relationship with a difficult person, you will likely find yourself entrapped in a confusing web of crazy-making behavior. This is because difficult people get some sort of emotional high off the games they play with others. The game is about control, and if you have an accommodating personality, then you will most definitely be the target.
At its root cause, difficult people create a mind-game playing scenario because their psychological makeup has them feeling most alive when they are sucking the life from another person. If the word “narcissist” came up in your mind after reading that, yes, this is about extraordinarily selfish and self-centered people and the way their minds work differently from everyone else’s.
Narcissism goes back to early psychological development. There comes a time in a young child’s mind when they learn through experience where they physically and psychologically end, and another person begins. This is the sense of self as compared to others. There is you, and then there is me. If we are going to get along, then we must learn to respect each other’s boundaries.
Basically, for difficult people, relationships are about constant boundary violations, and also about control. If the person you’re partnered up with, married to, or are so-called friends with, is quick to change the story and the rules, then they will always have the upper hand – which is exactly what they want. And if you are a person who lives by the golden rule, which is to treat others how you’d like to be treated, and to live in as honest and forthright way possible, then you’re sure to be played like a deck of cards when the difficult person hooks their talons into you.