Before we get to the 10 silly mind games your ex is playing, it helps to understand what is a “silly mind game” and what is an attempt to manipulate you?
What is a mind game?
… a series of deliberate actions or responses planned for psychological effect on another, typically for amusement or competitive advantage. (Oxford dictionary)
… a psychological tactic used to manipulate or intimidate (Merriam Webster)
… an action or statement intended to undermine or mislead someone else, often to gain.(Collins Dictionary)
… Playing mind games (also power games or head games) is the largely conscious struggle for psychological one-upmanship, often employing passive–aggressive behavior to specifically demoralize or dis-empower the thinking subject, making the aggressor look superior. ((Wikipedia)
Silly mind games Vs. Manipulation
There are mind games exes play, and don’t even realize they’re playing mind games. For some, it is a habit; something they do because they’re emotional immature. For others it is a response to break-up distress and usually linked to attachment anxiety. These are what I call “silly mind games”.
The motivation is not necessarily to manipulate. The motivation is to make themselves feel like they are in control of a situation they have no control over. Sounds like an excuse. Maybe. But read the rest of the article before you make that conclusion.
Then there are mind games exes play exes play to manipulate you into doing what the manipulator wants the to do. The manipulator suspects or knows that you will not willingly do what they want you to do – and for good reason. Because they can’t get you to do something you would not do in you “right mind”, they mess with your mind to get you to do it.
This are not a “silly games”. They are deliberate, calculated and designed to advance the manipulator’s agenda. Narcissist play these mind games like they were born this way; and maybe they were.
I went all this length to explain what is “silly mind games” and what is straight up manipulation for a reason
And that reason is that you may think your ex is playing mind games to manipulate you, when what is happening is that they’re triggered and reacting sub-consciously.
Right or wrong, I strongly believe that attachment theory was meant to help us all understand each other, see beyond each other’s childhood trauma and wounding, and acknowledge that we are all wounded in some form or another; and with this knowledge help each other heal and learn to love again in a healthy way.
If these emotional wounds were physical and we could see the scars; we would probably show more understanding and empathy. But because they are deep wounds invisible to the eye, we are quick to pass judgement on someone’s behaviour.
Are the mind games your ex is playing “silly mind games” or an attempt to manipulate you for amusement or competitive advantage. You be the judge.
1. Your ex texts you and when you don’t respond, he/she texts again to say he/she “accidentally” texted you.
2. Your ex calls then hangs up. And when you call back, they say it was a drunk call or their butt dialed your number.
3. Your ex texts or calls asking you to do them a favour; something anyone else could have easily done.
4. Your ex sends you a sweet nice text asking about how you are but when you don’t reply as quickly as you are expected, you get the silent treatment or get deleted/blocked.
5. Your ex sends you texts saying how much they miss you but as soon as you respond in “I miss you too” way, they start ignoring you.
6. Your ex sends very flirtatious texts but when you ask personal questions or ask if you can call them; they become abrupt, vague or rude.
7. Your ex sends you some weird text or email with the intention of leaving you guessing… “I have some good news” or “”I’m watching this very funny video on You Tube” or something equally meaningless.
8. You are texting back and forth for a while but then they suddenly stops contact. After a few days/weeks of “No Contact” you get a surprise “I love you” text with a smiley.
9. Your ex flaunts his/her new man or woman in front of you, then acts surprised and/or offended when you do actually get jealous.
10. All seems to be going well, no arguments, no fights but suddenly they pulls the “I don’t love you anymore” stunt just so you beg and plead.
The more you know about the mind games your ex is playing, the better you can protect yourself from getting burned and feeling frustrated and bitter. And if you still care for your ex, you can stop feeding his or her need for drama or attention, or from emotionally abusing you.
But sometimes, you may think your ex is playing mind games when what is happening is that they have attachment anxiety or attachment avoidance.
RELATED: 5 Game-Changing Things To Do When Your Ex Is Playing Mind Games
I also have an anxious attachment style and my ex’s style is attachment avoidance, where can I find the articles Marlene mentions. I think I will benefit from reading them. Thank you.
You can find them here: Understanding Your Avoidant Ex
I am so so so happy I found this site. Every expert I consulted said my ex was unavailable, playing mind games or just not into me. We were together 8 wonderful months and out of no where he wanted space. I was confused because the day before he told me it is the happiest he is ever been. I am an anxious attacher and no contact was not an option, lol. I read your site every day and came upon your articles on understanding an avoidant ex and it was like a light bulb came on. My ex is a dismissive avoidant and fits perfectly to what you say. To cut the long story short, I bought your Dating Ex book and now my dismissive avoidant ex is opening up and emotionally engaged again. He has initiated a couple of texts and I know better not to get excited and let my own anxious attachment style get in the way. I love this guy so much and will be booking a couple of phone sessions for more advice. Thank you sooooo much.