If someone displays these 17 behaviors, they’re playing mind games with you

Dating can be fun, but sometimes it can also be a bit of a challenge and downright confusing.

If you have an uneasy feeling and can’t figure out the person you’re dating or what’s happening in your relationship, it might be because they’re playing mind games with you.

Mind games are no small thing, they’re a form of psychological manipulation! Let’s not waste any time, let’s jump right in and find out the telltale behaviors.

1) Inconsistent behavior

One minute they’re hot, the next they’re cold.

Sound familiar?

If the person you’re dating keeps switching between being affectionate and loving to being distant and cold, it’s a surefire sign they’re playing mind games with you.

Their behavior makes it practically impossible to predict their reactions or know what their intentions are, so if you’re feeling frustrated, you have every reason to be.

2) Gaslighting

Gaslighting is the worst kind of manipulation if you ask me.

It’s basically when someone denies or twists facts to make you question your perception of reality or doubt your memory. Yup, it’s pretty messed up. I’d definitely question the mental state of the person doing the gaslighting.

It’s cruel behavior and if anyone is doing it to you – whether it be the person you’re dating or someone else in your life – I recommend that you stay clear of them.

3) Playing the victim

My aunt does this with pretty much everyone she meets. She’s been doing it for years and even though those of us who are close to her know what she’s doing, we still get sucked into her mind games.

Basically, people who do this like to portray themselves as the victim to gain sympathy and manipulate your emotions (more on that in the next point).

And the result?

They get you to do stuff you don’t want to do or don’t have the time and energy to do.

4) Emotional manipulation

Another way someone playing mind games with you will get you to do what they want is to use guilt, fear, and other similar tactics to control your actions or decisions.

For example, if you want to go out with your friends and they want you to stay home with them, they’ll make you feel guilty for choosing your friends over your relationship or leaving them when they’re so vulnerable!

Or they’ll make you scared that they’ll leave you if you do something they don’t like, see people they don’t approve of, or refuse to do something they ask of you.

5) Giving mixed signals


Am I right?

What is it with people who like to send mixed messages and give vague responses just to confuse you? What are they trying to achieve with such mind games?

I don’t know, I guess it’s their way of feeling in control, but when you’re at the receiving end, it’s enough to drive you nuts.

6) Withholding information

The more I think about it, the more I realize that a lot of the behaviors of someone who likes to play mind games are unhealthy and cruel.

I’m not a psychiatrist but these are people with serious issues.

I mean, they’ll purposely keep important information from you to maintain control, talk about twisted!

7) Silent treatment

Now, at some point in our lives, most of us will use the silent treatment when we’re upset with our partner. We’ll get angry and frustrated and feel like there’s nothing left to say and that silence is stronger than words.

But the thing about the silent treatment is that it can actually be used as a cruel form of punishment.

If you do something that your partner is not happy about and they stop talking to you and make you feel like you don’t exist, it can really mess with your head.

All in all, the silent treatment is a mind game and no way to resolve your issues.

8) Love bombing

So, what exactly is “love bombing”?

You know how at the beginning of a relationship things can get pretty intense? How the person you’re going out with will go over the top and shower you with affection and attention…

Well, it could be because they’re in love and overwhelmed with their own emotions, but, it could also be a mind game where they’re trying to create dependency.

So be careful, take things slow and create some boundaries to let them know what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not.

9) Triangulation

It’s definitely not the behavior of someone who is emotionally mature, I can tell you that. It reminds me of middle school actually.

This type of mind game involves the creation of a love triangle.

Here’s how it goes: the person you’re dating will bring in a third party to make you jealous, create competition, or  – for whatever reason – friction in the relationship.


Maybe they need chaos to feel alive, I don’t know. They definitely have issues.

10) Testing boundaries

This type of mind game involves pushing your boundaries to see how far they can go and how much they can control and manipulate you into doing what they want.

That’s why it’s super important not only to create very clear boundaries, but to stick to them!

Trust me, it’s for your own good.

11) Backhanded compliments

Have you ever had someone disguise insults or criticism as compliments? 

You know, like when someone says, “Oh that is such an original dress.” They’re not saying anything bad about it and yet you know they hate it.

Well, backhanded compliments are bound to make you feel insecure and confused, and they’re definitely another type of mind game.

12) Creating drama

Some people can’t live without drama.

I don’t know what it is, but they feel like a relationship isn’t real unless they’re constantly having to fight for it. You know, the whole, “If you love me you’ll chase me” thing.

And if things are going well?

You can be sure that they’ll stir up some drama to keep you emotionally off-balance.

13) Playing hard to get

So, this is a tactic that a lot of people use when they’re trying to win someone over.

The problem is, that once you’re actually dating someone, playing hard to get becomes a sick game.

Think about it, if you’re already dating, why would you have to chase them? They should make up their minds – either they like you or they don’t!

14) Love withdrawal

If the person you’re dating likes to play this game, I really recommend dumping their a**.

Seriously, if you’re going out with someone who keeps threatening to end the relationship to get you to do what they want, they’re not worth your time!

15) Isolating you

This is a very dangerous game to play with someone so be careful.

If you feel like the person you’re going out with is working hard to distance you from your friends and family – by badmouthing them or creating tension – you need to talk to someone you trust and ask for help.

If they truly loved you, they’d never try to isolate you.

16) Competitive comparisons

Oh, come on. Grow up already. Am I right?

If you’re dating someone who is constantly comparing you to other people of the same sex to make you feel inferior or insecure, they’re being childish and emotionally insecure.

Such games are for kids so I suggest you find yourself an emotionally mature person to date.

17) Future faking

Finally, there’s future faking…

This so-called game consists of making promises about a future together and making grand plans to keep you happy, but never following through.

This is usually a game played by people who are already in a committed relationship or people who don’t plan on being in a serious relationship.

The bottom line

If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Now that you know how to tell when someone is playing mind games with you, take charge of your relationship and your life.

Don’t be a victim.

Jelena Dincic

Jelena has a background in photography and film-making and has spent the last few years as a content editor and copywriter. Jelena is a citizen of the world who is passionate about travel and learning about new cultures. She’s a foodie who loves to cook. And, as an art lover, she is always experimenting with new art mediums. When she’s not at her computer, she’s usually out and about in some forest with her dogs.

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