If Someone Does These Things, They’re Playing Mind Games With You

If Someone Does These Things, They’re Playing Mind Games With You

1. They’re hot one minute, cold the next.

One minute, they’re showering you with attention, and the next, they’re distant and unresponsive. This unpredictable behavior is designed to keep you guessing and to make you work harder for their attention. It’s a way to keep you hooked and constantly seeking their validation – screw that!

2. They gaslight you.

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where the person makes you question your perception of reality. They might deny things that happened, distort your memories, or make you feel like you’re overreacting. It’s a way to gain control by making you doubt yourself. This tactic can be incredibly damaging to your self-esteem and mental health.

3. They’re always the victim.

If they always portray themselves as the victim and never take responsibility for their actions, it’s a sign of manipulation. By playing the victim, they can justify their actions and make you feel guilty for challenging them. This can lead to a toxic cycle where they are never held accountable for their behavior.

4. They give you the silent treatment as punishment.

Ignoring you or refusing to communicate is a passive-aggressive way to exert control. Stonewalling isn’t just immature, it’s designed to make you feel anxious and to force you to make amends, even if you’re not at fault. This can create a power imbalance in the relationship, where they hold all the cards.

5. They’re passive-aggressive.

Instead of addressing issues directly, they express their discontent through indirect means, like sarcastic comments or neglecting their responsibilities. This behavior can make you feel uncertain and anxious. It’s a way for them to express their dissatisfaction without taking responsibility for their feelings.

6. They purposely make you feel guilty.

If they consistently make you feel guilty for something you’ve said or done, even when you’re actually innocent, it’s a clear sign of manipulation. Guilt is a powerful emotion that can be used to control and influence your behavior. This kind of emotional manipulation can make you question your own judgment and actions.

7. They give backhanded compliments.

A backhanded compliment is a veiled criticism disguised as a compliment. For example, “You’re so brave for wearing that outfit, I could never pull it off.” It’s a way to undermine your confidence under the guise of flattery. These kinds of “compliments” can slowly chip away at your self-esteem.

8. They’re always testing your boundaries.

If they’re constantly pushing your limits to see how much you can tolerate, it’s a form of manipulation. It’s a way to gradually normalize their disrespectful behavior. This disregard for your boundaries shows a lack of respect for your feelings and personal space.

9. They make you jealous.

Flirting with other people in front of you or talking about their exes can be a way to stir up jealousy and make you feel insecure. It’s a tactic designed to make you crave their validation more. This manipulation can lead to a cycle of constantly trying to win their approval.

10. They twist your words.

man laughing during awkward conversation

If they consistently misinterpret or distort your words to make you appear as the wrongdoer, it’s a manipulative strategy. It’s designed to make you feel defensive and to shift the blame onto you. This twisting of your words can lead to misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts.

11. They play dumb.

If they often pretend not to understand what you’re saying or act oblivious to your feelings, they might be playing games. This tactic allows them to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, leaving you feeling frustrated and unheard. By playing dumb, they can sidestep any accountability for the issues at hand.

12. They’re always “just joking.”

If they constantly belittle or mock you and then shrug it off as “just joking,” it’s a subtle form of manipulation. This allows them to disguise their criticism or aggression as humor, making you question whether you’re being too sensitive. This can erode your confidence and make you second-guess your feelings and reactions.

13. They threaten to leave.

If they frequently threaten to end the relationship during arguments or when things don’t go their way, it’s a form of manipulation. This tactic uses your fear of losing them to control you and get their way. It’s a way to make you feel insecure and desperate to please them.

14. They guilt-trip you for spending time with other people.

If they make you feel guilty for spending time with friends or family, it’s a form of manipulation. They might drop subtle hints about feeling neglected or make you feel bad for not spending all your time with them. This is a way to isolate you from your support network and make you more dependent on them.

15. They always compare you to other people.

If they constantly compare you unfavorably to others, it’s a manipulative tactic. This can make you feel inadequate and push you to change to meet their standards. It’s a way to make you feel like you’re not good enough and should strive to please them.

16. They make decisions for you.

If they often make decisions without consulting you or disregard your opinions, they’re exerting control. This can range from choosing the restaurant every time you go out to making significant life decisions without your input. By doing this, they undermine your independence and make you feel like your opinions don’t matter.

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Gail is Bolde's social media and partnership manager, as well as an all-around behind-the-scenes renaissance woman. She worked for more than 25 years in her city's local government before making the switch to women's lifestyle and relationship sites, initially at HelloGiggles before making the switch to Bolde.