Have you ever felt intimidated by someone? Perhaps it was intentional behavior by someone wanting to feel superior. Perhaps it was your own feelings of inadequacy or inferiority. Either way, it doesn’t feel good. Mind games, or psychological one-upmanship, is typically deliberate behavior that demoralizes a person while making the aggressor look superior.
Mind games can happen in office scenarios, in social situations, in personal relationships, and in competition settings. Sometimes it is an unconscious dynamic, and other times it is intentional. Mind game energy typically confuses the victim and obscures the initiator’s true intention.
What can you do if you perceive a threat to your energy? Here are some precautionary steps:
• Question Motivation – People playing mind games will hide their real motivations. You can block them by asking clarifying questions like “Can you explain why you said that?” or “What does that comment mean?” They will typically back off. They don’t like to be called out or questioned about their behavior.
• Show Indifference – People trying to intimidate you thrive on emotional responses. They want to control your reactions. If you don’t respond emotionally, they typically lose interest and move on. Maintain a neutral demeanor. If you appear calm and uninterested in their games, their negative behavior is neutralized.
• Establish Boundaries – It’s good to have a personal “line in the sand” that you don’t allow a person to cross. Be prepared with a firm “stop” without any hesitation. Keeping a neutral and calm face why you are saying no, allows you to take command and puts you in a power position to block the bully.
• Maintain Self-Respect – Don’t allow anyone to disrespect you. If someone is being inappropriate and playing mind games, you always have the option to walk away from them. Do this without any explanation. Don’t dignify their behavior.
You can apply these measures to deflect a person from playing mind games and to protect yourself. Be aware of mind game energy. If a comment feels strange to you, it might have a dual intention from someone who wants to intimidate you. When you take command of your personal, emotional territory you are exerting your personal power and asserting your human dignity.