What Are Some Examples of Mind Games?

Some examples of psychological mind games include one partner infrequently calling the other, repeatedly breaking up with the other or presenting ultimatums. Mind games are any manipulative practice in a relationship, and they often speak to fears or concerns in a partner.

One common, less nefarious example of mind games often occurs in the early stages of a relationship. One partner may call the other infrequently or continuously postpone contact. This tactic may be intended to make the person appear less clingy or overeager. It may also be intended to keep him or her on the mind of the other partner. By appearing busy or preoccupied, the other partner hopes to appear less available and more desirable. Mind games that occur later in a relationship often indicate more serious problems. For example, repeatedly breaking up and getting back together is another common mind game. This practice may speak to a partner's unwillingness to work through a relationship when it gets difficult. It may also indicate that the partner is unhappy with the relationship but also afraid of being alone. Presenting ultimatums is another serious mind game. A partner may say, for example, "Stop being friends with Karen or I'm going to break up with you." Presenting ultimatums is typically a way for one partner to exercise greater control in a relationship, and is generally an unhealthy practice.