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Common Mind Games People Play and How to Outsmart Them - Money Psychology
Common Mind Games People Play and How to Outsmart Them - Money Psychology
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Money Psychology

Common Mind Games People Play and How to Outsmart Them - Money Psychology

Njenga Hakeenah
February 24, 2023

When people are scheming to gain control or have power over someone, they may resort to using mind games.

Mind games are psychologically manipulative behaviours which are intended to unsettle another person to gain an advantage over them. These games are meant to obtain, maintain or acquire control over someone. These tactics can be used in personal relationships, work, or social situations. It is important to be aware of these types of games and to know how to recognise them so that you can protect yourself from being manipulated.

When people are playing mind games on us without our discerning it, it can hold us back from reaching our full potential. 

Those who play these games on us have a strong feeling for what they're after. They feel in charge of you and once they get a specific reaction out of you or convince you to do what they want, then they gain control.

The good news, though is that by recognizing these common mind games, we can learn how to outsmart them. 

This article will explore some of the most common mind games people play and provide strategies for outsmarting them. By understanding these mind games and learning how to outsmart them, we can break free from their hold and live a more authentic and fulfilling life.

Signs Someone is Playing Mind Games on You

There are several signs that someone may be playing mind games on you. These include:

  1. Constant criticism: If you are constantly criticised, belittled, or dismissed.
  2. Constant anxiety: If you feel anxious or stressed out in the presence of a particular person.
  3. Constant paranoia: If you find yourself feeling paranoid, or like you are being targeted or picked on.
  4. Constant forgetfulness: If you find yourself being blamed for things you haven't done or being made to feel guilty for things you don't remember.
  5. Constant manipulation: If you find yourself feeling like you are being manipulated or controlled, or like you have to walk on eggshells around someone.

Types of Psychological Mind Games

  1. Pretence

This is when someone pretends to be something they are not to gain trust or manipulate another person. This can be done by pretending to be interested in a person's interests or by pretending to be someone's friend. Through pretence, a person may get access to your intimate details and they could in turn use this against you when they want to manipulate you.

While being pretentious is a behaviour rather than a personality trait that can be exhibited by anyone in different situations, you can know that someone is pretentious to you if they are overly critical of you or others and dismissive of things they perceive as "common" or "uncultured."

You can outsmart a pretentious person by being confident and assertive. A pretentious person relies on others being intimidated or unsure of themselves. If you stand your ground and express your own opinions and ideas, they may be less likely to try to dominate you.

Also, being humble defuses the arrogant behaviour of a pretentious person. By being humble and showing a willingness to learn, you may be able to make them feel more comfortable around you, thus disarming them.

If everything else fails, avoid engaging a person who is pretentious.

Read Also: What Debt Does To Your Brain - Money Psychology

  1. Shaming

Shaming is a form of manipulation or bullying where someone makes another person feel guilty or ashamed for their actions or thoughts. This can be done by making negative comments or by using sarcasm, criticism, blame or ridicule.

It can be difficult to deal with a shaming person, but these strategies may be helpful:

You can stand up for yourself and demand to be treated with respect. Always speak up and assertively communicate your boundaries and expectations to the person trying to shame you.

Deep down, you can also reframe the shame by reminding yourself that the person is trying to manipulate you and that their words or actions are not a reflection of you as a person. Again, be compassionate to yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a good friend. Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and it's normal to have flaws and imperfections.

If the individual won’t stop even after speaking your mind, it's best to avoid engaging with them and move on.

  1. Gas-lighting

Gas-lighting is when someone manipulates another person into questioning their own sanity. This can be done by denying that something happened or by making someone doubt their own memories.

A gaslighter’s intentions are to control you by ensuring that you are never sure of yourself, your decisions or how you do things. The end game for a gas-lighter is to have you wrapped in their little finger since they seek to make all decisions for you. By doing this, they will manipulate you to do their bidding no matter the cost.

How do you know that someone may be gaslighting you?

If you are suffering constant confusion especially if you find yourself regularly questioning your own memories or thoughts, or feeling like you are going crazy in the presence of a certain person, then it may be a sign that this individual is gas-lighting you.

Read Also: Avoid These 7 Types of Friends for the Sake of Your Wallet

  1. Guilt-Trips

Guilt-tripping is when someone makes another person feel guilty for not doing something they want them to do. This can be done by using emotional manipulation or by making someone feel responsible for the other person's feelings.

If you find yourself feeling guilty or ashamed for things that you have not done wrong, it may be a sign that someone is using guilt-tripping tactics on you. The guilt-tripping is meant to make you feel bad and so to avoid the feeling you do the person’s bidding.

To disarm them, you can reframe the guilt by reminding yourself that you are not responsible for the guilt tripper's feelings or actions. Also, communicate clearly and assertively, especially on your boundaries and expectations to the person who is trying to guilt-trip you. Let them know that you are not willing to accept the guilt they are trying to place on you.

The absolute master move is to not fall into the trap of feeling guilty which means that the guilt-tripper won’t be able to manipulate you. Remind yourself that you have nothing to feel guilty about and don't let the guilt tripper's words or actions affect you.

If they are too much, you can always seek the support of a trusted friend, family member or professional for support and guidance.

Read Also: 6 Psychological Issues That Could Be Behind Your Money Issues

  1. Persecuting

Persecuting is a form of bullying or harassment that involves singling out a person and subjecting them to negative or harmful treatment. It can be difficult to deal with a person who is persecuting you, but here are a few strategies that may be helpful.

In case the persecution escalates, consider documenting the behaviour by keeping a record of the specific instances of persecution including dates, times and any witnesses. This will be helpful if you decide to take action against the person.

Just like in every other aspect, communicate clearly and assert your boundaries and if the person's behaviour continues, consider taking action such as reporting to a supervisor, human resources or the authorities.

Again, try to avoid the person when possible to minimize the stress and negative impact on you.

  1. Feigning forgetfulness

Feigning forgetfulness is when someone pretends to forget something important in order to manipulate another person. This can be done by pretending not to remember a promise or by pretending not to know about a meeting.

If you have someone who is behaving this way, you can be direct with them by asking them if they are feigning forgetfulness or if they genuinely forgot. Be polite but assertive in your communication.

Also, provide reminders if they are genuinely forgetful or set up a system to help them remember their tasks.

If the person is feigning forgetfulness to avoid responsibility, don't take on their tasks but remind them of their responsibilities and hold them accountable. You can also keep a record of the specific instances of the person feigning forgetfulness, including dates, times, and any witnesses. This will be helpful if you decide to take action against the person.

You can also communicate your concerns if the person's behaviour is causing problems for you or others, to the person, a supervisor or a manager.

Read Also: How to Love Yourself Again After a Financial Mistake - Money Psychology

  1. Disqualifying

Disqualifying is when someone invalidates or dismisses another person's thoughts, feelings or experiences. This can be done by belittling or discrediting their point of view.

If you have to deal with a person like this, don’t take it personally because their disqualifying behaviour is often a reflection of their own insecurities or lack of self-esteem.

As with the other cases here, always communicate assertively your opinions and idea, and make sure that your voice is heard. Disqualifying people often relies on others being intimidated or unsure of themselves.

You can also find allies in people who share your ideas and opinions and build relationships with them. It will be more difficult for a disqualifying person to dismiss or undermine your ideas when other people support them.

Read Also: 6 Ways to Build a Positive Money Mindset 

Wrapping Up

If you suspect that someone is playing psychological mind games with you, it is important to trust your instincts and take steps to protect yourself. This can include setting boundaries, speaking up for yourself, and seeking out support from friends, family, or a therapist. 

Remember, it is not your responsibility to tolerate being manipulated or mistreated, and you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

The best response to someone playing mind games is to put yourself above both them and the circumstance. Resist the impulse to outdo them or win, as this is likely to result in prolonged strife for everyone.

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Njenga has over 8 years experience in multimedia and business journalism both as a writer, editor and producer. He has over 5 years of experience in radio broadcasting as a news reader, reporter and presenter. He is also a 2012 Earth Journalism Network-EJN Fellow.

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