The Human Behaviour

Games people play

Mary joined the office last September and got promotions earlier than other employees, and everyone was left in awe because her work was average. Some gave credit to her excellent communication skills, and others said she has a magic wand that she can persuade anyone. But is that magic wand, excellent communication skills, or something else? Well, I will give credit to the games people play.

The title may seem familiar. I picked the title from the famous book by Eric Berne titled “Games People Play.” He explains if you know the art of the human mind and games of emotions, you can conquer any battle at any stage. The art is called mind games. Like sports, mind games come in varieties like gaslighting, manipulation, negative humor, victimhood, pretend ignorance, projection, guilt-tripping, silent treatment, destructive criticism, etc.

We will discuss some of them in the blog, how to use them, and how to outstand a person using them. So stay tuned.

Gas Lighting:

Kicking off the topic with gas lightening. You would have often heard that if someone inhales excessive methane, they start experiencing hallucinations, derealization, and, in severe cases, faint or even die, yet methane is colorless and odorless gas until and unless

If you have any valid source, you cannot know if all the damage is caused by methane gas.

Similarly, gas lightning works. The person gaslights their victims into believing their lies, perceptions, and misinformation.

Let me give you an example of first-hand experience. Last month at my office, I had to work with a colleague who was bossy and toxic. When I complained about her behavior, the issue was discussed. She started shouting and blaming me for how incompetent and sluggish I was. And I was left in complete surprise.

Similarly, it happens in relationships when one party wants to gain some kind of benefit or is caught cheating. They try to change your reality and perception and push you and others into believing what’s not true. And surprisingly, people fall prey because tactics are so intimidating and powerful.

Now, the question is how to escape this if you are caught. Shut down for them; don’t leave your ground and walk away.

Sending Mixed Signals:

We often come across people at different stages of our lives who are hot and cold. Psychologically speaking, these are the most toxic ones because they take good time to uncover their true intentions. Some days, when you meet them, they act enthusiastic and will shower you with all the love. The other days, you will come across them as rude and arrogant. You will be confused about what they want and where the situation leads.

Ok, let me give you an example to explain. A gorgeous girl at the party asked you for your Instagram handle, and after five minutes, you are following each other.

You talk, laugh together, and share memories, but her attitude changes slowly. She replies you are late, makes excuses, and blames you for even the slightest mistake. But after a certain period, she is extremely good to you, and again and again, the cycle repeats. You don’t know what she wants, nor does she want to respond when you address the issue directly. This is what mixed signals mean.

Another other fatal outcome of mixed signals is usually trauma bonding. The victim falls in love with those bouncing dopamine levels, and the bond is so strong that no matter how hard they try, they end up being there again.

Narcissists often exhibit such behavior patterns. The best way to avoid and get out of the situation is to watch out for red flags and never trust someone immediately, and if such a situation occurs, detach from the mixed signals giver and never look back.

 Negative Humor:

Next on my plate is negative humor—joking that isn’t all fun and games. On the surface, it appears to be laughter, but on the inside, it is a jab or a put-down. Consider being a part of a conversation where everyone is laughing, but you’re not sure if you’re in on the joke or the target of the mark. That’s the tricky part of negative humor: it’s a way of criticizing or mocking someone while claiming it’s all in good fun.

Negative humor often appears as teasing or joking at work, leaving people feeling unsure and hurt. It’s like a hidden game in which the person telling the jokes secretly controls how everyone feels.

For example, a person at your workplace recently got divorced, and a co-worker is all the time cracking lame jokes about marriage in front of him. It’s not a joke but hostile humor.

Understanding this game requires paying attention to when laughter brings people together and when it is used to introduce negativity. Stay tuned as we delve into the world of negative humor, attempting to understand how it works and affects how we interact.

Victimhood:

Victimhood reminds me of childhood when all the children from the street would play together, and in all the groups, there was one kid who was always fighting and complaining, and his parents would rant about other kids for fighting with their child. This is called victimhood, when it is your mistake, but instead of accepting, apologizing, and rectifying, you blame others and act as if you are the victim and deserve the best treatment.

But this behavior doesn’t stop at your childhood but continues to flourish till old age until and unless the person doesn’t commit to correct themselves.

Usually, narcissists use this technique during manipulation and gaslighting to make their victims feel guilty and transfer the spotlight.

Victims of such behavior often experience delusion, and in later effects, PTSD and depression are common. The only way to avoid disappointment is to detach yourself from these people. Victimhood usually shows up in early relationship days or, as I mentioned, during childhood. It can be corrected during childhood using positive and negative reinforcements, but after 15 years, the only solution is avoiding attachments with such people.

 

Projection:

Projection is much like victimhood, with slight differences. It is a psychological game in which people toss their problems onto others like a hot potato. Consider someone who is constantly blaming others for mistakes they make. That is projection at work. It’s similar to a movie projector, but instead of showing films, people project their feelings, thoughts, or actions onto someone else’s screen.

In everyday life, you may come across someone constantly accusing others of what they are guilty of. A dishonest person, for example, may continuously claim that everyone else is a liar. It’s a tricky game because the person projecting can be convincing, convincing others that they’re the problem. This can cause confusion and misunderstandings in relationships.

Silent treatment:

Fights and arguments are common in healthy relationships if they are followed by healthy communication, and both parties sort out the issue together. But the problem arises when one person tries to communicate, and the other is ghosting them completely. It is called silent treatment. The giver thinks that the receiver committed a mistake, and to make them realize and correct the error, silent treatment is essential. On the other hand, the receiver is primarily clueless about their behavior, or even if they know and want to sort it out, they can’t find a way out.

Such treatments are depicted by narcissists and those high on dark triads. This pattern is mainly expressed as negative reinforcement in close relationships like parents, children, and partners. But some people also carry it outside to their friends and workplaces, where they spread toxicity.

The best way to avoid such situations in close relationships is to wait for them to calm down. Then, you can talk and resolve the issue in far-extended relationships like colleagues and friends try to avoid such people.

Conclusions:

Mind games can be exciting and have always been a part of humans, but how you use them makes them positive or negative. For instance, people can save a relationship by shutting themselves down for some time. Similarly, companies sell their products but present luxury as a need to their potential customers, and we can categorize it too in positive use. Likewise, suppose I talk about the negative aspects of mind games. In that case, there are countless cases of experiencing depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental disorders because the mind games others were playing with them were above the victim’s threshold. If we look closely through the lens of psychological stats, it’s evident those people who score high on dark triads such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, etc., mostly use these tactics.

The best approach is to avoid such people. Many red flags are evident at the initial stages of the connections with such people, the major of which is self-centeredness and a defensive attitude. But again, some situations and relationships are unavoidable to tackle those people and sceniors you should never leave your ground if you know you are right and be emotionally strong to face them.

 

Mary joined the office last September and got promotions earlier

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