Manipulative Tactics: 6 Mind Games People Play to Control You

In the realm of human interactions, manipulative tactics can be a destructive force, leaving victims feeling powerless and emotionally drained. These mind games are often employed by individuals who seek to control others for their own gain, whether it be in personal relationships, the workplace, or within social circles. Recognizing these manipulative tactics is crucial in order to protect ourselves and maintain healthy boundaries. In this blog post, we will explore six common mind games people play to control others.

  1. Gaslighting: Distorting Reality

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic designed to make someone question their own reality and sanity. The manipulator will consistently deny or distort the truth, causing their victim to doubt their own perceptions and memories. They may also invalidate their feelings and experiences, leaving the victim feeling confused and emotionally unstable. Gaslighting is a potent form of psychological manipulation that can be deeply damaging to one’s self-esteem and mental well-being.

  1. Silent Treatment: Withholding Communication

The silent treatment is a common tactic employed by manipulators to gain control over others. By deliberately withdrawing communication and emotional engagement, the manipulator creates a sense of anxiety and insecurity in their victim. This mind game is aimed at exerting power and control, as the victim becomes desperate for attention and validation. The silent treatment can be emotionally exhausting and leave the victim feeling neglected and unworthy.

  1. Guilt-Tripping: Emotional Manipulation

Guilt-tripping involves using emotional manipulation to make someone feel responsible or guilty for actions they may not be responsible for. The manipulator will play on the victim’s emotions, using guilt as a weapon to control their behavior and decisions. This tactic often involves the use of passive-aggressive behavior, emotional blackmail, or exaggerated claims of victimhood. Guilt-tripping can be highly effective in making the victim comply with the manipulator’s desires, even if it goes against their own best interests.

  1. Manipulative Charm: Winning You Over

Manipulative charm is a tactic employed by individuals who seek to win others over through flattery, charisma, and charm. They may shower their target with compliments, gifts, and attention, creating a false sense of intimacy and connection. This mind game, known as “love-bombing,” is often followed by devaluation, where the manipulator begins to criticize, belittle, and devalue their victim. This cycle of manipulation can leave the victim feeling emotionally drained and confused, as they struggle to reconcile the initial adoration with the subsequent devaluation.

  1. Playing the Victim: Shifting Blame

Manipulators often employ the tactic of playing the victim to shift blame and avoid taking responsibility for their actions. By portraying themselves as the innocent party, they manipulate others into feeling sorry for them or coming to their defense. This mind game can make it difficult for the victim to hold the manipulator accountable, as the focus shifts from the manipulator’s actions to their own perceived ‘wrongdoings.’ Playing the victim allows the manipulator to evade consequences and maintain control over the situation.

  1. Triangulation: Creating Division

Triangulation is a manipulative tactic where the manipulator creates conflict or competition between individuals. By involving a third party, the manipulator can control and manipulate the dynamics of a relationship. They may spread rumors, engage in gossip, or use other means to create division and maintain control over those involved. Triangulation can lead to strained relationships, mistrust, and emotional turmoil for all parties involved.


Manipulative tactics can have a profound impact on our emotional well-being, causing us to question our own reality, self-worth, and sanity. It is crucial to recognize these mind games and establish healthy boundaries in order to protect ourselves from manipulation. By understanding the tactics employed by manipulators, we can regain control over our lives and foster healthy, authentic relationships built on trust and respect. Remember, your emotional well-being is of utmost importance, so never hesitate to seek support and distance yourself from toxic individuals who seek to control you.