Quite a number of things go on in relationships, as juicy as it looks on the outside.
One of these things is mind games.
Now, we can’t effectively talk about mind games if we do not know what they are.
So, what are mind games?
Mind games typically refer to psychological tactics or manipulative strategies used by individuals to control, influence, or confuse others.
These tactics often involve subtle forms of manipulation, emotional control, and strategic behavior designed to achieve a particular outcome, gain an advantage, or provoke a reaction in another person.
They can manifest in various social, personal, or professional contexts, but for the sake of this article, we’ll be talking about the ones that are common in relationships.
8 Mind Games Men Play in Relationships
1. The Silent Treatment
The silent treatment is an emotional manipulation where one person intentionally stops communicating with another as a way to express disapproval or anger.
Silent Treatment is a classic mind game that some men employ to gain control or manipulate their partners.
They know that if they withhold communication, it would be emotionally distressing for their partner, yet they do it.
There are different reasons behind this behavior, but most times, it is done out of a desire for power and control.
If someone is displeased with something, the natural thing is to express their displeasure or anger to the offender, but when a man decides to keep quiet because he has been wronged rather than be expressive, it is because he wants his woman to feel at his mercy.
2. Jealousy and Possessiveness
Jealousy can be a healthy indication of love.
If you’re with someone who is never jealous, no matter what you do, you’ll begin to question their love for you.
But jealousy and possessiveness can become mind games when they’re used to control a partner.
You’ll know that jealousy has become unhealthy when it is toxic and suffocating.
For instance, if your man questions all your interactions suspiciously and treats you like a possession.
He’ll restrict you from going somewhere or hanging out with friends because he is suspicious, and if you flaunt his restrictions and go for the hangout, he’ll say things like, “You choose others over me,” and “If you’re not doing anything suspicious why did you have to go?”
This behavior is often a result of insecurities or fears in his mind.
The most you can do for him is reassure him of your love for him and commitment to the relationship.
3. Playing Hard to Get
This is another mind game some men play when they act like they are really unavailable and semi-interested in you.
When in the actual sense, there is nothing keeping them busy.
And they are fully interested in you.
They usually do this with the mind that it’ll make you chase after them for attention when, in the real sense, they are creating confusion and insecurity for you.
When your man suddenly becomes unreachable without explanation, you begin to wonder what has become more important to him than you.
His hard-to-get game may get him what he wants- you chasing after him- but it will also make room for unnecessary assumptions in your mind.
Have you ever been in a situation where your man did something wrong, and when you spoke to him about it, he denied it so much that you started wondering if you are in your right senses or if you are losing touch with reality?
That behavior is called gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that involves making someone doubt their perception of reality.
Men who use gaslighting often try to make their partners feel like they’re going crazy or misremembering events.
They’ll often either deny their knowledge of the event or they’ll give another version of it that does not tally in any way with what happened.
Once this happens, you’ll begin to ask yourself questions like “am I alright?”, “Did this only happen in my head?”
Recognizing gaslighting is the first step to combat it.
Trust your instincts and maintain your self-esteem.
Don’t allow anyone to make you feel like your mind is not sound.
5. The Guilt Trip
Guilt tripping is a manipulative strategy where someone tries to make another person feel guilty for their actions or decisions, often to gain an advantage, control, or sympathy in a situation.
It is a mind game that is often used to create a sense of wrongdoing in the other person.
So it’s not like what you did was wrong, but they’ll emotionally manipulate you into believing that you are the guilty one.
Or, in a case where you both have wronged each other, they magnify your own wrongdoing so that they can come out looking innocent.
Guilt-tripping is a very toxic trait.
Anyone who delights in amplifying the wrong of others in order to hide there are people who are not ready to turn away from that wrong.
And if you’re in a relationship with such a person, you should know that you are in a relationship with someone who is hoarding their toxic trait.
6. Comparisons with Exes
You are your own individual, beautifully and uniquely so.
You don’t have to be like anyone else.
You were created to be different from every other person, an original version.
If someone wants you to be like someone they have been with before in order to like you, then they are most likely not ready to be with you.
Comparing a current partner to an ex is a mind game that can evoke jealousy and insecurity.
Once your man begins to tell you things like, “You don’t do this this way. My ex usually does it like this,” he is making comparisons that have the ability to make you feel like you’re not good enough.
When this happens, you, too, begin to compare yourself to the said ex, lowering your self-worth.
These comparisons often arise from unresolved feelings or insecurities.
7. Ultimatums and Threats
Ultimatums are the height of emotional manipulation.
Your man wants to be the only person in your life, so he asks you to choose between him and everyone who poses a threat to him; whether they’re friends or family, colleagues or bosses.
Threats are when he threatens to break up with you or leave you at any slight instance.
These two mind games reduce your self-esteem so much that you’ll get to a point where you begin to feel worthless.
You feel like you have to do extra to keep your man, and you have to sever every other relationship with every other person.
You’ll begin to feel like they are doing you a huge favor by being with you and that no one else may want you if they leave.
Truly, no one deserves to live in this kind of toxic environment in the name of a relationship.
Once your partner begins to repeatedly threaten you and give you ultimatums, you should take it as your cue to move in.
8. Playing the Victim
This one is really rampant in the society today.
Victimizing the criminal and criminalizing the victim.
So, a case happens where a man sexually harasses his woman and comes out to be the victim, with his case being that she restricted him from accessing his rights or that she seduced him.
Most men do this to gain sympathy or evade responsibility for their actions.
You are clearly wrong, but you do not want to accept responsibility for your actions, so instead, you manipulate people’s minds to see the victim of your actions as the wrongdoer and you as the victim.
This way, you avert the punishment that is due to you for the crime.
Playing the victim is a mind game that is not only manipulative but also toxic.
It is one people should protect themselves from in order to maintain a good mental health condition.
Understanding and recognizing mind games in relationships is crucial for maintaining a healthy, communicative partnership.
When they show up in your relationship, it is necessary that you address them through good communication.
If talking about them does not work, you can introduce the help of professionals.
Ultimately, nothing is more important than your sanity.
So make sure that you protect your mental health by all means, even if it costs you leaving a toxic relationship.