May 172013
Mind games

Mind games in relationships can be very destructive.

Most people in relationships understand it takes work to avoid the mind games.

Then there are other individuals who don’t understand the dynamics of a relationship. Unfortunately, they resort to mind games with their partners, family or friends.

What Are Mind Games?

Mind games are intentional tactics which people use to psychologically control or manipulate other people.

Usually, these deliberate actions are used in close relationships, but can happen in families or in the workplace.

Additionally, mind games verge on the brink of psychological abuse and can be labeled as such in a court of law.

In relationships in which people play mind games, there is no concerted effort. This leaves their partners feeling confused. Less being diagnosed with a mental disorder, these manipulating individuals are the masters at mind games.

The most common mind games can manifest as anger, pity, the silent treatment and spitefulness:


Using anger as a mind game tactic is ultimately mental bullying (intimidation). The aggressive nature of anger is repetitive (angry over the same issue). The partner ‘learns’ not to push certain buttons that can create an unwarranted anger in the manipulating individual.


The pity surfaces when people prey on another person’s feelings to gain power. They use this mind game as a tool to manipulate the person by sorrowful measures. This becomes a subtle attack on the person’s emotional state.

The Silent Treatment

Probably the most common mind game, the silent treatment is the purposeful act of not communicating with the partner. It is different than trying to avoid an argument by being rude and not engaging in simple, small talk.


Being spiteful is a mind game played by immature adults. This passive/aggressive behavior is more common as individuals gain an inner satisfaction for revenge without actually ‘getting caught.’ The partners’ trepidation may be interpreted as paranoia, which leaves the person questioning their own mental sanity.

The mind games that manipulating people use can be specifically adjusted to each relationship. While one mind game tactic may work for one person, it may not work for another so the manipulator learns to change the psychological actions for different people.

This may be the reason why many of them go unnoticed within the general population.