Article by Dr. Pratik P. SURANA ( Ph.D.)
Chief Mentor and Founder
Bad managers come in many shapes and forms, and the worst of them might even combine several annoying tactics to control their employees. Thankfully, the Head Honchos sometimes see through the smoke screen eventually.
These days it may be hard to decipher who’s into playing mind games and who isn’t. When it comes to playing mind games, a man or a woman could take the cake. You never really know who’s playing games, unless you see the signs. People that are into mind games are generally also the player types, but not always. Player types are generally out for themselves, deceiving, misleading, and usually have ulterior motives than what they say. I’ve written about the player type before, but not necessarily about mind games. In this article, I’m hoping to stress the importance of what mind games are, how they can hurt people, the reason that people play them, and whether or not most people actually enjoy them.
One of the managers I used to work for, “Jim,” was a challenge for a variety of reasons.
Jim relished keeping his employees on edge and robbing them of any sense of personal control. He didn’t like when tasks weren’t done his way, even if the solution was better than what he had designed. He never played fairly and always hoarded a few main details to keep employees in the dark.
There are a number of reasons people play mind games, but the goal is usually to gain a sense of control or power over another person. The player wants to get a specific response, but instead of telling you what they need or asking for what they want, they try to get their needs met by using manipulative tactics. It’s all about feeling powerful and in control, but those feelings never last for very long. Any time we try to use someone else to make ourselves feel better, it usually doesn’t end well. It’s almost impossible to create an authentic connection with someone when honest communication is missing from the picture.
I don’t know about you, and your personality type, but I don’t stick around for people to play games with my mind, and wind up feeling hurt, less than, or insecure by any means. I’m the type that likes a lot of attention in a relationship, and when I don’t get enough attention, it’s usually either because someone is really busy, and a driven, motivated, hard-working type, or it’s because they’re playing games. When I find out that someone is more of the game-playing type, I peace out immediately. I’d recommend that you do the same if you’re in a similar type of situation. No one should put up with mind games, and once you’ve let the person know that you’re not into playing games, and they still choose to play them, you should leave, and end the situation.
Another way that people play mind games is by pretending to be someone or something that they’re not. When someone doesn’t act like their true self, it’s not only a waste of time for both people, but a person may end up leaving that situation because they didn’t like the version of yourself that you showed them, and they might’ve actually liked the real you. Many times people have been hurt before, go into new situations before they’re ready, or possibly even when they’re feeling less confident, and it’s important to recognize that you’re feeling that way, and stop it immediately!
Remember, confidence is sexy, and arrogance is ugly. There’s a very thin line between someone that shows that they’re a confident person, by being themselves, and by being proud of themselves for how they look, what they’re doing in their life, and how much they’ve achieved so far. As opposed to someone that’s arrogant, trying to prove that they’re better than anyone else, that they’ve achieved more than anyone else, and that anyone that’s with them needs to be nearly perfect. Who the heck wants to be with someone perfect anyway! There’s nothing fun, and sexy about someone who’s perfect in my humble opinion.
How to Deal With Mind Games
The best way to deal with mind games is simply to rise above them. You should avoid trying to ‘beat them at their own game’, as doing so can actually end up with both of you getting hurt. Normally the mind games being employed are used for the simple reason that the person doing it is too afraid to confront you directly, or they know you would win the confrontation. They are using indirect and manipulative techniques, because they feel insecure, or because you are in the stronger position. Thus if you call them directly on what you suspect, and if you address the issue publicly, they will more often than not reverse course and back down and you will win.
So for instance if someone were to try and subtly undermine you in a workplace, you could try to do the same back and would end up with both of your reputations tarnished (and the fact that you were stopping to underhand methods would be a mark against you too). However if you simply told them you didn’t like what they were implying and that they should address you directly through the proper channels if they have a complaint, then you’ll find they often apologise and back down and that you end up with the better reputation.
Likewise in relationships this can work well too – simply ask directly what it is that is bothering your partner, and if there is anything you can do to help. This demonstrates sensitivity, but also means you aren’t engaging in mind games that will likely end up getting you both hurt. If they aren’t in a talking mood then the best thing to do is simply remove yourself from the situation – tell them that you have no interest in mind games and that you will talk to them when they want to speak openly and maturely.