Intro: What Does It Mean To Play Mind Games?
This article is about the UNREAL mind games that people play, why they play them in the first place, and what you can do if you find yourself involved with somebody who’s trying to pull you into this kind of mental bullshittery.
Before you read the main bulk of the article you need to know that these games are simply a form of DRAMA and that all drama is simply an unreal attempt of one person – or parties if you look at it culturally – to drag another person into the narratives and ideas that their EGO depends on for existence.
If you’re a rational adult human being and you find yourself engaging with somebody that plays ‘mind games’ with you then you need to realise that the only REAL way to ‘win’ is to simply walk away (or as I’ve said a million and three times on this website and elsewhere: “Gimme something real or GTFO”).
Mind games always stem from somebody being INSECURE about their position in life and the way that they see themselves because of a PERCEIVED lack of power or status (because they’re insecure and they’re comparing themselves to others based on ILLUSORY standards and ideals that exist in their MINDS alone – hence these games being called ‘Mind’ Games).
If you engage with the ‘game’ then it just means that you’re being insecure at some level too and you probably have some work to do in terms of RESPECTING yourself and setting the real, healthy boundaries that having such self-respect entails.
A general ‘rule’ of life is that you get what you tolerate and so if you put up with these kind of mind games or even find yourself playing back then you’re just inviting more unnecessary drama and more BS into your life.
This is always a distraction from the fact that you’ve lost touch with your own PURPOSE at some level and so you find solace in engaging in the pettiness and prickliness that comes from mind games.
This article will help you understand why people play these games in the first place, some of the most common and basic games that get played, and what you can do to WORK ON YOURSELF and disengage from this kind of nonsense whilst keeping your sanity intact and growing REAL.
Here we go:
What Type Of Person Plays Mind Games? – Ego, Scarcity, And Control
The first thing you need to know about mind games is that – like DRAMA – they are played by people who are insecure and have an emotional need to CONTROL things in order to keep their insecurity at bay.
In other words, playing MIND GAMES is a form of CONTROL FREAKERY which means that it’s an attempt by somebody to control their external surroundings – and the people in it – in such a way that it allows them to keep their self-image in place and to keep unwanted emotional ‘stuff’ at bay.
If you haven’t read much of my writing before then you might need to know here that when people are being unreal in this way their SELF-IMAGE/EGO is actually an UNREAL construct that has been created by the person in question (unconsciously and consciously) to help them hide certain underlying emotions from themselves.
Almost always, these emotions are ‘negative’ – like shame, guilt, and/or trauma – but it’s also possible that they’re trying to hide positive emotions from themselves because these emotions have caused them to get in trouble in the past.
An example here is that maybe they had a situation somewhere in their history where they freely expressed their ‘joy’ or ‘love’ but this just ended up getting them HURT and so now they disowned these positive feelings behind a self-image that helps them convince themselves they don’t have these feelings anymore (so they won’t get hurt again).
Whatever the case may be, ‘Game Players’ are using the games that they play in an attempt to manipulate people into acting in such a way that they can tell themselves the STORY THEY WANT TO BELIEVE ABOUT THEMESELVES IS TRUE (when it isn’t – because if it was they wouldn’t be playing games as THE TRUTH SPEAKS FOR ITSELF).
They WANT TO BELIEVE this story not because it’s true but because it allows them to keep hiding from themselves and not have to do the difficult work of facing or re-integrating their emotional ‘stuff’ (and the point should probably be made that what we ‘want’ doesn’t have any impact on the truth at all).
In short, then, the type of person who plays mind games is almost always an INSECURE CONTROL FREAK (though they might not and probably don’t identify as that).
Along with control freakery, there are also a few other characteristic emotional and thought patterns that game players also embody:
The first is that they almost always have a SCARCITY MINDSET and see life as a zero-sum game.
That might sound a bit ‘technical’ but all it means is that they see the REAL and IMPORTANT things in life (like ‘acceptance’, ‘truth’, ‘feeling good’, etc.) as being SCARCE instead of ABUNDANT (which the real things are because reality applies to EVERYBODY) and so they believe that if somebody else feels good then it somehow means they won’t be able to (that’s the Zero-sum game part: if I have X then you can’t have X whereas in reality it’s possible for us to both have X at the same time (A Non-Zero Sum Game)).
Because of their underlying insecurity, seeing life in this way just causes them to constantly be comparing themselves to others and to assess themselves according to BULLSHIT STANDARDS that they’ve created for themselves about what it ‘means’ to be ‘winning’ in the context of the game (which they also made up).
This feeds back into their control freakery and so not only do they attempt to play games to control situations and to mask their insecurity from themselves and others but also at this extra level of being able to convince themselves that they’re ‘winning’ some illusory competition that only exists in their heads because of their INABILITY to face and perceive REALITY accurately.
In short, then, these GAME PLAYERS are ultimately detached from their real selves, created a FAKE IMAGE of themselves to try and act out as a response to this, and then end up trying to use games as a way of controlling the world around them in order to keep hiding and to convince themselves that their FALSE PERCEPTION of reality is the truth about things.
How To Tell If Someone Is Playing Mind Games With You: Mental Tension, Anxiety, and Addiction to Dramatic Situations
To understand if somebody is actually playing mind games with you, it’s essential that you understand one of the ‘simplest’ and most common mind games known to humanity (in fact, this is probably the most common mind game on the planet and you’ve probably been dragged into it at some stage in your life).
This game is known as THE CHASE (or, at least, that’s what I’m calling it) and it exists because of a simple law of human psychology that pervades all of our minds when we’re running on instinctual autopilot and letting our EGOs operate for us instead of being real.
This law of human nature is one you’ll have heard in some way, shape, or form before probably:
People want what they can’t have and don’t want what they can have.
Again, this comes back to something that was mentioned above: a SCARCITY MINDSET.
When we PERCEIVE things as being ‘scarce’ – whether they actually are in reality or not (hence it being about ‘perception’) – then our human instinct is to treat them as being VALUABLE.
If we perceive something as being abundant or something that absolutely anybody can ‘have’ then our tendency is to think that it’s not valuable and to no longer want it.
This is just a weird ‘bug’ in human psychology but it’s something that we all instinctively ‘know’ and are driven by – if we live on instinctual autopilot – and is why Game Players use this quirk of human nature as the foundation of the majority of the games they play.
The Chase – i.e. making ourselves seem more ‘scarce’ than we actually are in order to control situations – is something that you will see playing out time and time again in many different areas of life:
-In the world of dating, you might run into a game player who purposely ignores your texts or makes themselves otherwise unavailable.
-In the world of business, you might bump into a marketer that will tell you they only have a limited number of their products/services available.
-In your social circle, somebody might attempt to give themselves the PERCEPTION of higher status by making themselves hard to get hold of or making their time more scarce than it actually is.
I’m sure you can think of examples in your own life.
Of course, not everybody that’s unavailable is playing a game – maybe they’re just busy or they actually have a life. With GAME PLAYERS, however, they are purposely manipulating situations so that you will think they’re more ‘valuable’ than they actually are.
If you’re not aware of this then you’ll end up doing exactly what the game is designed to make you do: CHASE THEM.
This is the easiest way to know if you’ve been dragged into a mind game (and happen to be ‘losing’):
-You constantly find yourself ‘chasing’ another person.
-You constantly feel anxiety or mental TENSION because you’re always on the ‘lookout’ for signs that they’re going to give you valuable attention (or whatever).
-You don’t feel like the relationship is ‘balanced’ in terms of the respect you’re giving each other but for some reason you can’t stop yourself from engaging in this UNREAL way.
Another common trick that GAME PLAYERS play is that they will initially bombard you with the kind of attention you want (which they’re normally good at figuring out on a person-to-person basis because they’re master manipulators).
For example, they might – at the start of a relationship – spend all night texting you or whatever and making you feel like they understand you (assuming that’s what they think you want and what you respond well to).
Once they’ve got you ‘hooked’ then they’ll withdraw this attention and then try to get you sucked into the CHASE. This is how they increase the odds of getting you to play the game – they get you addicted (because of your own insecurity, tbh) then they play with that in order to enjoy the thrill of the chase.
Ultimately, like all mind games – the ‘thrill’ that Game Players get from playing with you in this way is that they feel POWERFUL.
This ‘powerful’ feeling comes from the perception that the person doing the chasing is less valuable than the person being chased (because of the law of human nature shared above that we want what we can’t have and that we don’t want what we can have).
This is a very ‘animalistic’ thing and ultimately comes down to the way that human beings have a natural tendency to assess social situations in relation to POWER.
All of the games that people play are ultimately about attempting to see oneself – for the sake of one’s EGO ‘stuff’ – as the most ‘powerful’ one in a given dynamic.
Here are some other simple games that are commonly played that evolve around the same BS way of thinking:
Common Games That People Play (To Increase Self-Perception in Terms of ‘Power’).
Most mind games are some sort of variation of ‘The Chase’ and all have the idea of ‘power’ over another person at their heart.
Some of the most common games that people play on a daily basis and that you can get sucked into if you’re not careful are:
“Yeah, but” – This is a game named by the Transactional Analyst Eric Berne and basically involves the Game Player asking you for some advice about a ‘problem’ that they have in life only for them to shut down every suggestion you make with “Yeah, but (and then an excuse for not doing it)”.
The ‘game’ here is that – if you’re not careful – you will end up trying to ‘chase’ them by coming up with more and more suggestions as to how they can solve their problems.
Because they have no desire whatsoever to solve the problem – which might not even exist in the first place – or to let you know that the advice you’re giving is ‘good’ enough or effective they’ll just keep deflecting anything you suggest.
An insecure person will keep playing the game which just allows the game player to feel ‘powerful’ or ‘superior’ (really a mask for their own insecurity). If you’re secure (i.e. REAL with yourself) then you’ll snap out of it and just let them get on with it by themselves.
Talking over you/ Not listening – This is a game that some insecure Game Players will play in a group of people. Because they have convinced themselves that the person who talks the most is the most powerful or important then they will make a conscious effort to speak over anybody else who talks in the group.
In their minds, they tell themselves that this must mean they’re the most important or powerful because they’re doing the most talking (even if they’re chatting nonsense!). Again, they’ve fallen into the Zero-sum trap (mentioned above) and have convinced themselves that attention is ‘scarce’ and so they need to try and ‘take’ it from others using these kind of games.
If you’re not careful/real, then you can get caught up in this game and either end up being subdued and hiding in yourself or even turning up the volume yourself and talking over others. Both of these approaches are actually unreal and mean that the game BEAT YOU – the best thing to do is simply to not play by only talking when you actually want to talk or WALKING AWAY if the game becomes too insane.
Ignoring – Another game that is obviously related to the chase is that Game Players will ignore you on purpose (in social situations, texts, whatever) hoping that they will lure you into a CHASE for their attention.
Again – as a reminder – people who play these kind of games are only doing it because they’re INSECURE but if you’re not careful you can take it as a ‘personal’ thing and end up getting caught up in the chase or even questioning them about why they ignored you in the first place.
If somebody does ignore you for whatever reason then you need to remember that it says more about THEM than you. As soon as it starts to ‘bother’ you, then you’ve lost the game.
Teasing – Sometimes, people will ‘tease’ you to see if they can get a rise out of you or to make you lose control of yourself emotionally.
Of course, some ‘teasing’ is done in good spirits and is just ‘banter’ between friends (so there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with it).
On other occasions, this kind of unreal teasing is just a GAME that people are playing in an attempt to see if you’ll lose your cool, take it personally, or try and defend yourself in some way.
In all of these cases, the GAME is about making you lose control of yourself and to see if you will DOUBT your own self-image (which if you’re insecure and unreal you will).
When you do give the Game Player a sign that you’ve been shaken or bothered by the ‘teasing’ then they feel that you’ve lost control because of them and so – by extension – they have some kind of POWER over you (because you lost it over yourself).
Etc. – These are just simple examples of the common mind games that people will play with you and there are many other variations but they all have the same thing in common: they’re about somebody wanting to feel POWERFUL and in CONTROL of somebody in order to mask their own insecurity and feel like they’re ‘winning’ the game.
The Perception of Power: The Source of All Game Playing
The short answer to ‘WHY’ people want to play games with you in the first place is because they’re insecure (i.e. they have underlying shame, guilt, and/or trauma) and so they attempt to pacify these feelings of insecurity by doing things that make them PERCEIVE themselves as powerful (and perception is not reality).
This means that they become skilled in looking for other people that may be insecure and luring them into the dance of the CHASE in order to feel that they have power over people (and if they have ‘power’ then they can’t be as weak or insecure as they sometimes feel – at least that’s what they tell themselves).
Really, this just boils down to human beings being ANIMALS and animals being wired – in many cases – to think of life in terms of DOMINANCE and SUBMISSION.
If somebody lures you into their game and you give into it then, ultimately, they have dominance over you (because they’re controlling your relationship with REALITY and the actions you take in it) and you have become SUBMISSIVE to their will.
In short, that’s what all of these ‘mind games’ are actually about: testing you to see if you can be made submissive for whatever reason and give up your own REAL relationship with REALITY for somebody’s unreal relationship with BULLSHIT.
If you can, then they’ve beaten you in the ‘game’ and have used you as a vehicle for flipping the script on their own self-perceived submissiveness and allowing themselves to feel DOMINANT.
Whether you like it or not, that’s what mind games are always about – attempting to increase one’s sense of POWER within the social hierarchy and masking the shame (etc.) that comes from being unreal.
How To Outsmart Someone Who Plays Mind Games: Abundance Mindset and Walking Away
The short answer in terms of finding a solution to the problem of mind games is that you need to develop an ABUNDANCE mindset.
This is because and abundance mindset is ALIGNED with reality itself (which is whole and therefore abundant) and so it circumvents all of the unreal programming that causes you to get caught up in the GAMES that come from having a scarcity mindset in the first place.
When you have an abundance mindset, for example, you know that whatever you think you ‘want’ from other people isn’t SCARCE and so you will be less likely to get caught up in the CHASE.
You will also understand that ‘power’ isn’t a Zero-sum game (like the Game Player thinks) and so you won’t have to waste your time getting caught up in the false duality of dominance and submission that the POWER GAMES ultimately rest upon.
The only REAL power that any of us have in life is abundant because it comes from cultivating a REAL relationship with ourselves, the world, and reality.
The long-and-short of all this is that you would only get caught up in UNREAL GAMES if you’re being unreal with yourself at some level.
An abundance mindset allows you to start telling yourself a story about yourself and your life that is more aligned with REALITY and so you will be less likely to either play unreal games with insecure game players or you will not let the effects of the games bother you because you know that the PRIZE IS ALWAYS WORTHLESS (because it’s not real – just a false perception of power).
This brings us to the final point which is that the easiest way to OUTSMART and ‘win’ when somebody is playing mind games is simply not to play.
If somebody is trying to lure you into a ‘chase’ or is playing any of the variations that we’ve talked about in this article then the best approach is simply to NOT GET INVOLVED.
The more REAL you are in yourself – because you’ve worked on your own emotional ‘stuff’ and you’ve raised your AWARENESS of why these kind of unreal situations emerge in our lives – the easier it will be to walk away.
This, again, comes down to having an abundance mindset – if you’re being UNREAL with yourself for whatever reason then you might end up putting your own personal GAME PLAYER on a pedestal and thinking that they’re more scarce than they actually are.
Actually, that’s just a sign that you’ve been dragged into some kind of game and that you’ve put them on an unreal pedestal because of your own unreal ‘stuff’.
When you’re being real you realise that you DESERVE real in return and so you don’t need to WASTE TIME on somebody that would play games with you.
Realise that there a billions of people out there in the world and that somebody, somewhere will want to be in your life – either as friends, romantically, or otherwise – without playing games.
You can only realise that and walk away to let it happen if you have an abundance mindset.
Remember that “REAL ALWAYS WORKS” and go find the real stuff – life is too short for MIND GAMES and the only ‘thing’ allowing games in your life is you.
Stop playing and start living.
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