If someone is playing mind games with you, they’ll display these 8 subtle behaviors

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Life can often feel like a chess board, with some people trying to outmaneuver you and play mind games.

Hey there, I’m Lachlan Brown from Hack Spirit. I’ve spent years studying mindfulness and Buddhism, and one thing I’ve learned is that understanding the subtle behaviors of people who are trying to manipulate you is crucial.

In this article, we’ll delve into the telltale signs someone is playing mind games with you. 

I promise, by the end of it, you’ll be better equipped to spot these behaviors early on and protect yourself. 

So let’s dive in, shall we?

1) Inconsistent communication

Mind games often start with communication, or rather, the lack of it.

One minute they’re all over you, the next they’re distant and aloof. This inconsistent behavior can leave you feeling disoriented and unsure about where you stand. 

It’s a classic mind game tactic designed to keep you off balance and questioning yourself.

Clear and consistent communication is important in building trust and understanding. A person who is genuinely interested in you won’t keep you guessing about their intentions.

Keep an eye out for it, and don’t let it unsettle your peace of mind. Trust your gut, and don’t feed into the manipulation.

 After all, clarity and honesty are hallmarks of any healthy relationship. If they’re playing games now, what does that say about the future?

2) They’re always shifting blame

Ever noticed how some people never seem to take responsibility for their actions? It’s always someone else’s fault; they’re always the victim. Sound familiar?

By refusing to take responsibility, they’re manipulating you into feeling guilty or doubting your own judgement.

I remember a quote from the great Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, which says, “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over.”

When I see someone constantly shifting blame, I’m reminded of this quote. It’s a clear sign of their own inner turmoil and unhappiness.

Don’t let this tactic drag you into their suffering. Recognize it for what it is: a mind game designed to control and manipulate. 

Everyone is responsible for their own actions.

3) They gaslight you

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where someone makes you question your own memory, perception, or sanity. It’s a sly, underhanded tactic that can chip away at your sense of self and reality.

You might hear them say things like “You’re too sensitive” or “You’re imagining things”. This is their way of twisting the narrative to make you doubt your own experiences.

Buddhist wisdom tells us that the truth is not something to be manipulated or twisted. Instead, it’s something we should seek with an open heart and mind.

So when someone tries to gaslight you, remember this Buddhist teaching that says, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

Don’t let someone else’s mind games cloud your perception of reality. Trust in yourself and in the wisdom that truth will always find its way to light.

4) They’re hot and cold with their affection

One moment they’re showering you with attention, the next they’re cold and distant. This unpredictable cycle of affection and apathy can leave you feeling confused and insecure.

By keeping you on your toes, they’re hoping to make you more dependent on their approval and affection.

Don’t allow anyone to manipulate your feelings or self-worth. Your value doesn’t fluctuate based on someone else’s inability to see it. Hold onto your inner peace and don’t let their mind games affect you.

5) They never seem satisfied

You know that feeling when, no matter what you do, it just never seems to be enough? They’re constantly moving the goalposts, making you feel like you’re always falling short. This is yet another mind game people play to keep you feeling off-balance.

In my book “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego”, I delve into how the principles of Buddhism teach us about the importance of contentment and gratitude.

Buddhist teachings remind us that true satisfaction comes from within, not from constantly striving to meet someone else’s ever-changing expectations.

So if you find yourself feeling like you’re never enough for someone, remember this: your worth isn’t determined by someone else’s satisfaction. 

6) They are master guilt trippers

Guilt tripping is a common tactic in the manipulator’s playbook. They know just how to make you feel guilty for things that aren’t your fault, coercing you into doing what they want.

Statements like “After all I’ve done for you” or “You’re being selfish” are often used to invoke guilt and create an imbalance of power.

If someone is constantly making you feel guilty, it’s time to step back and reassess. Don’t let their mind games manipulate your emotions. You have every right to make choices that prioritize your happiness and peace of mind.

7) They play the victim card

Playing the victim is a classic manipulation tactic. By portraying themselves as the innocent party, they manipulate you into feeling guilty or sympathetic, often leading you to act in their favor.

You might hear phrases like “You always hurt me” or “You never consider my feelings”. These are attempts to paint themselves as the victim and you as the perpetrator.

Essentially, we can’t control others’ behavior, but we can choose how we react to it. So when someone constantly plays the victim card, it’s crucial to remain grounded in reality.

8) They make you feel like you’re always walking on eggshells

Here’s a counterintuitive sign of manipulation: you’re constantly feeling like you’re walking on eggshells. You find yourself being overly cautious about what you say or do, fearing it might upset them or trigger an argument.

This kind of constant tension isn’t normal. It’s a manipulation tactic that keeps you anxious and off balance, making you easier to control.

So if you feel like you’re always walking on eggshells around someone, take a moment to breathe and re-center yourself. Remember, your voice matters and your feelings are valid. Don’t let their mind games manipulate you into silent submission.

In conclusion, recognizing mind games for what they are is the first step to freeing yourself from their grip. It’s about reclaiming your power, your peace, and your self-worth.

Each of these behaviors are subtle signs that someone might be trying to manipulate you. But remember, you have the power to choose how you react.

And if you’re interested in learning more about how Buddhist wisdom can help you navigate such challenges, I invite you to check out my book “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego”.

Here, I delve deeper into how Buddhist principles can help us handle manipulation, build resilience, and live with authenticity.

Remember, mindfulness and self-awareness are your best defenses against manipulation. Stay grounded in your truth and don’t let anyone’s mind games disturb your inner peace.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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