What Are Mind Games?
I have to say, defining a mind game was not as easy as I thought when I started searching the Internet for clarity.
The best example I could find was described on Wikipedia.
I like the cowboy/visitor example. I will insert the exact description:
“Eric Berne described a psychological game as an organized series of ulterior transactions taking place on twin levels: social and psychological, and resulting in a dramatic outcome when the two levels finally came to coincide. He described the opening of a typical game like flirtation as follows: “Cowboy: ‘Come and see the barn’. Visitor: ‘I’ve loved barns ever since I was a little girl'”.At the social level a conversation about barns, at the psychological level one about sex play, the outcome of the game – which may be comic or tragic, heavy or light – will become apparent when a switch takes place and the ulterior motives of each become clear.”
I like the description of the social and psychological interaction, it is a game people are playing, and the ulterior motives of each person will eventually become clear.
Mind Games Are Complex
Too complex for me to even try to dive into. What I interpret from the above example is that the interior motives of the people involved could be on a continuum from playful fun to dangerous intent; from fun flirtation to passive-aggression or outright aggression. Depends on the people involved and what they are trying to get out of a situation.
Mind Games – Getting What You Want
So, playing a mind game with another person is a round about way of getting what you want from them. Sounds like a power trip, or manipulation to me. But, more than that, it can be very hurtful if you know the other person well, and purposely play a game with their vulnerabilities to intentionally hurt them. Yuck. Mind games can be a cruel way of never taking responsibility for your own actions and feelings.
Mind Games – Psychological Hurt
Gas lighting comes to mind and is the strangest term for horrible psychological abuse.
There is an excellent description of the kind of mind games people play on the website PsychCentral called exactly that, Mind Games People Play, that lists seven common mind games:
Click here to read the article Mind Games People Play, and the description of the seven common mind games people play to get what they want.
Getting What You Want – Choose Your Hard
Honesty is the best policy is a well known saying – but can be very hard if you don’t know how to be this way. I have come to truly appreciate the wisdom in the below description of choosing your hard. Learning to communicate to get your needs met, learning what your needs even are, learning to be open and honest, learning how to communicate effectively with respect and kindness… all these things are hard, and it takes a lot of courage to do so.
Photo Credit – Facebook – Transformation 12
Intention is Key – To Hurt or To Love
This was a particularly difficult Rule for Love to write through, because as humans and our human condition we may play mind games without knowing it; or may even be conditioned to do so because of our upbringing. Who hasn’t laid a guilt-trip, forgot on purpose, projected blame on the other because it’s too painful to take responsibility for our actions. This is the human condition.
Awareness opens the door to understanding intention.
Because intention is key.
Once we understand our intention – our intent for our behaviors – this opens the door to a deeper understanding of who we are and what we want.
We can begin to shift from hurt to love.
Trust is Earned, Not a Right
Mind games are the opposite of authentic connection.
Authentic connection in a relationship is a learned skill that takes years to happen. Why? Because we need to feel safe with the other person. This doesn’t happen overnight and is what makes the commitment to your beloved so special. The more hardships, challenges and difficult conversations you successfully navigate through, without mind games – the more you deepen your connection, your love.
You’re successfully transitioning from hurt to love; deepening your trust in each other.
Trust is earned, not a right.
When I think about mind games – I feel manipulative.
It doesn’t feel like love.
It feels… well, deeply sad.
Heady topic, indeed.
Originally published: March 14th, 2021
Featured Image – The Psychology Group – Fort Lauderdale
About me: Stephanie Wells
I’m a Reiki Master Teacher of Usui Shiki Ryoho – the Usui System of Natural Healing. I was attuned in Levels I, II & IIIA in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. During a 6 week stay in Mararikulam North, Kerala, India I was reattuned in Levels I, II, & IIIA as well as acquiring my Level IIIB Master Teacher attunement.