Jump to content


Getting an "Insecure Connection" warning for Exisle? No worry

Details in this thread

Mind Games

Sociology Women Men Mind Games

  • Please log in to reply
63 replies to this topic

#1 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,335 posts

Posted 11 July 2003 - 02:42 PM

O.k. Springboarding from the "Guy Rant" topic, and unsure which forum this belongs to... but since it is the child of "Guy Rant" I'll leave it here unless a mod thinks otherwise.

In the "Guy Rant" thread, Delvo posted:

Quote

women more often cause harm to others via calculated mind-games
in contrasting the ways in which men and women do evil things.

O.k. I'm intuitively inclined to agree.  Women, being physically weaker by and large than men, have to have some other means of fighting - and it stands to reason that those means are manipulative/emotional "mind games"

But lately I've seen the word bandied about in ways that actually confuse me.

For instance - a friend of mine complained about women playing "mind games."  He's trying to get out into the dating world again, and so I was very sympathetic, until it became apparent that what he meant by mind games was women's reluctance to move to the next stage of the dating thing - he objected (apparently) to being kept at arms length.  Well - I lost all sympathy then - because I think people have a right to move at whatever pace they are comfortable with - and two people in a relationship just have to figure that out if they want to be together!

Anyway - realizing that this is what HE meant - made me realize that I really didn't know what characterized a "mind game" when men accuse women of doing it... and I also find that having agreed with Delvo's statement, I can think of very few things I'd characterize as "mind games" that I've actually seen anybody do.  In fact - it is starting to seem to me like a convenient catch-all phrase for "women not acting the way men want them to..."

SO... WHAT is meant by "Mind games?"  

QT

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#2 the 'Hawk

the 'Hawk
  • Islander
  • 5,281 posts

Posted 11 July 2003 - 03:20 PM

To my mind, anything a woman does could be construed as part of a 'mind game' to a male.

There's two simple reasons for this. I was going to write these as generalizations, but being specific to me can't hurt (and by all means, please, feel free to point out what a freak I am for being my own guinea-'hawk).

One, there is a tendency for myself to want to be the centre of said woman's attention. The tendency then becomes to internalize her every action as somehow relative to me. It's like a conspiracy theory with a really hot figure. She doesn't call? Must've been something I said. She wants to go out? Maybe she does like me. She's interested in talking Trek with me? Hey, I'm doing something right. My initial reaction is always self-specific, reflective entirely on my own actions or lack thereof.

This is nothing new-- women do the same exact thing. The difference, though, is in the details. In my experience, women tend to internalize everything, period. Men, on the other hand, tend to internalize specific moments, and have a less general, and more relative, mechanism of self-criticism. In other words, to women, men are just part of everything else they have to do, while to men, women, the job, the bills, the dog, the vehicle they drive-- these are all separate entities.

So it tends to be easier for men to point and yell "bitch!" simply because they disconnect one issue from all the rest. This is not a good thing to do in all cases. Especially not when you're a raving jackass and can't see your own flaws to save your pathetic life. See also: 'Hawk, the. ;)

(And no, I'd be more likely to yell 'fire!' in a crowded theatre than 'bitch!', ever.)

The second point, on this regard, is that neither men nor women can read minds. While I certainly expect people to behave rationally (and I'm told that most men do), I fully understand and appreciate that neither men nor women are always motivated solely out of reason. Sometimes they do stupid stuff for reasons only they can hope to explain, and even then, not very well, even to themselves. I honestly believe that a man will tend to be harder on women the more he expects to be able to control the situation by using simple, logical, calculated steps. It's so much easier when you stop worrying about directing whatever moment you're having and simply experience it, in fullness, for what it is, and what it will be. Most people can't do that, since they really want things to work and they don't want to waste their apparently-precious time. This goes back to a tendency prevalent in any human being not to want to make a risk for no reward.

Now, I don't pretend to know women, in fact, there's quite a few I'd like to know a lot better. But I honestly don't know that there's anything unique about "mind games", especially considering the number of female friends I've had confide in me that "men are pigs" or "guys are all players" or "you bastards can't make up your damned minds", or my personal favourite, "aside from you, I want every man on this planet to drop dead, and then I'd have to neuter you just so you could live."

But then, what do I know, I've relegated myself to the fact that I'm one of the "guys women marry", as opposed to the "guys women date". Whatever that means. It's probably all part of some mind game. Yeah. That's it.

:cool:
“Now is the hour, Riders of Rohan, oaths you have taken! Now, fulfil them all! To lord and land!”  
~ Eomer, LotR:RotK

#3 Drew

Drew

    Josef K.

  • Islander
  • 12,191 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 12:38 AM

Well, first off, "mind games," is probably too general a term. Before using it, see if you can narrow down specifically what the other person is doing, and use a more specific term for the behavior.

I guess when I hear the phrase, I assume we're talking about manipulation. I've certainly known more manipulative women than men, but I can't say that it's 100% on one gender.

"Mind games," may also refer to a person's tendency to assume that everyone sees things from his or her point of view, and the person gets all bent outta shape when that turns out not to be true. There's one woman in our group of friends who seems to believe that the world revolves around her. If she's feeling awful, she will make sure that everyone else feels awful as well. And if they don't, she tends to blame them for her own unhappiness. The end result is that no one wants to share happy news with her because she'll just respond with how awful her own life is. She's the ambassador of un-happy! This makes conversation a chess game where you have to constantly think three to five moves ahead and calculate how she'll respond. In other words, you're forced to play mind games to deal with her mind games.

I also had a roommate in college whose mind games consisted of telling as many lies as possible. When I finally figured out that he was a pathological liar, I had to reevaluate pretty much everything he ever told me. Trust is pretty much gone at that point.
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#4 Cardie

Cardie

    I'm a very *good* tailor

  • Administrator
  • 22,653 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 02:04 AM

In relationships there can be a disconnect between a guy looking at the situation in a step-by-step, linear way, and the way the woman is looking at the situation. There's the old saying about getting to first base, and as Sisko explained to the Prophets, that's how linear time works. Some women--I'll use myself--are immediately evaluating the entire situation. Do I see a long term future with him? Will I be content if this turns out to be a casual fling? What would our children look like? It's more of a chess match.

So I think that a woman could be attracted to a man and agree to date him, but be concerned about the long term prospects, thus seem to run hot and cold and be playing mind games.

Cardie
Nothing succeeds like excess.

#5 QuiGon John

QuiGon John

    Gone

  • Islander
  • 4,158 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 03:27 AM

It seems to me that "mind games" is another way of describing a selfish person who thinks of themselves first in their personal relationships and what other people can do for them, and only later (or never) considers the effect they're having on the other party.

And, speaking only from personal experience, I've known a lot more men who were like that than women.

#6 Nikcara

Nikcara

    confused little imp

  • Islander
  • 3,500 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 04:14 AM

I tend to think of mind games as a way to manipulate someone to your own wants.  Personally, I've had to deal with more manipulative men then women, though most wouldn't say that's what they were doing.  A few years ago when I was breaking up with a boyfriend he said something along the lines of 'if you leave me, I think I'll kill myself'.  In my mind, that was horribly manipulative (and didn't work anyway) but if ever asked about it, he would say he was just telling the truth.  I've heard of women saying similar things.

But I also notice men lash out physically more.  I can't claim to know why, maybe it has to do with typically being physically stronger.  But I think the 'mind games' women are said to play so much more is just emotional lashing out, because that is what they're better at doing or because they know most of the men in their lives (again, very general) can beat them in a physical confrontation.  So I guess by the way I define my thinking women do play more mind games, but I don't think that has anything to do with a typical happy date or normal interactions with a guy, because there isn't something to lash out against.
We have fourty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse  -- Rudyard Kipling

Develop compassion for your enemies, that is genuine compassion.  Limited compassion cannot produce this altruism.  -- H. H. the Dalai Lama

#7 Bad Wolf

Bad Wolf

    Luck is when opportunity meets preparation

  • Islander
  • 38,881 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 04:28 AM

I think that a lot of what gets called a "mind game" is not one, because for me a mind game has to be deliberate and it seems to me that a lot of things that get called mind games (like the situation QT described for example) is nothing more than a disconnect in communications.

Lil
Posted Image

#8 Drew

Drew

    Josef K.

  • Islander
  • 12,191 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 04:59 AM

^ I was certainly thinking of deliberate ones in my response.
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#9 Bad Wolf

Bad Wolf

    Luck is when opportunity meets preparation

  • Islander
  • 38,881 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:04 AM

^

I figured as much.
Posted Image

#10 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,335 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:11 AM

the'Hawk, on Jul 11 2003, 12:16 AM, said:

To my mind, anything a woman does could be construed as part of a 'mind game' to a male.
Well... THAT'S disheartening!  Let me try to be a bit specific...


Quote

She doesn't call? Must've been something I said.

This point here - "must be something you said" seems to negate it being a "mind game."  If you said something to upset someone, and they are not talking to you because they are angry - it seems that that's appropriate!  If on the other hand, she is weilding her not speaking to you like a weapon - taking every opportunity to stop speaking to you to bring you around to her point of view, that seems to be manipulative behavior - what I would consider a "mind game."  

Quote

This is nothing new-- women do the same exact thing. The difference, though, is in the details. In my experience, women tend to internalize everything, period. Men, on the other hand, tend to internalize specific moments, and have a less general, and more relative, mechanism of self-criticism. In other words, to women, men are just part of everything else they have to do, while to men, women, the job, the bills, the dog, the vehicle they drive-- these are all separate entities.

:Oo: K... I'm sure I don't understand any of that... but trying here... what are the expected outcomes of these different internalization processes?

Quote

So it tends to be easier for men to point and yell "bitch!" simply because they disconnect one issue from all the rest. This is not a good thing to do in all cases. Especially not when you're a raving jackass and can't see your own flaws to save your pathetic life. See also: 'Hawk, the. ;)

Quote

'Hawk, the - n. a really cool, eloquent, and frequent poster on Ex Isle, with an amazing sense of humor, and a bit too much of a tendency to knock oneself.

What's your point? ;) Anyway, what does disconnecting one issue from the rest have to do with name calling?  What does NOT disconnecting one issue from the rest result in?

Quote

The second point, on this regard, is that neither men nor women can read minds. ...I honestly believe that a man will tend to be harder on women the more he expects to be able to control the situation by using simple, logical, calculated steps.

O.k. so my understanding here is that the accusation of "mind games" may arise from people (particularly men?) wanting to be in control of the situation... with a result that they interpret events for everyone in a way that leaves them in control.  Not knowing why a woman does something or another, and in the absence of information, they simply supply the interpretation themselves, call the woman's actions "mind games" so that they are released from the uncertainty of the situation. This works for my own experience - and has the advantage of being able to be applied both when the accusation of "mind games" is legitimate and when it is not (by my understanding of the term, which so far, agrees mostly with Drew's)

Quote

Now, I don't pretend to know women, in fact, there's quite a few I'd like to know a lot better. But I honestly don't know that there's anything unique about "mind games", especially considering the number of female friends I've had confide in me that "men are pigs" or "guys are all players" or "you bastards can't make up your damned minds", or my personal favourite, "aside from you, I want every man on this planet to drop dead, and then I'd have to neuter you just so you could live."

What do any of those quotes have to do with "Mind games?"  And ... why don't women accuse men of playing mind games when they say things like that?  I know what each statement means... "men are pigs" means that they are inconsiderate, especially of the feelings of others, "guys are players" means that they cheat, "can't make up their minds" means that guys are not making a commitment, or that they say they want commitment, but then the go back to playing the field...  But I don't hear women saying "no more mind games" which is the constant refrain of guys... and quite often, it is in description of the same behavior (above)!

In fact - I once was told (similar to your statement above) that women globalize things, while men are very specific... yet - here women are specifically naming behaviors they don't like, while it seems to be men who deploy the global term "mind games."  What is different about the idea of "mind games" that justifies the "specificity driven" male mind to lump all these things together under this heading?

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#11 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,335 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:13 AM

John Burke, on Jul 11 2003, 12:23 PM, said:

It seems to me that "mind games" is another way of describing a selfish person who thinks of themselves first in their personal relationships and what other people can do for them, and only later (or never) considers the effect they're having on the other party.
But how is it a mind game?  What do you mean when you call selfish and inconsiderate behavior a "mind game" instead of what you just called it (selfish, inconsiderate behavior!)?

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#12 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,335 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:21 AM

Drew, on Jul 11 2003, 09:34 AM, said:

Well, first off, "mind games," is probably too general a term. Before using it, see if you can narrow down specifically what the other person is doing, and use a more specific term for the behavior.
That's the way it appears to me too (too broad a term).  BUT - what I'm getting at is that maybe there's a reason the broad term is used - maybe it means something different as a category, that tells something about the way men think about women.  Like I mentioned to 'Hawk... some of the same behavior called "mind games" by men are named specifically by women.  Why the gender difference?

Quote

"Mind games," may also refer to a person's tendency to assume that everyone sees things from his or her point of view, and the person gets all bent outta shape when that turns out not to be true. There's one woman in our group of friends who seems to believe that the world revolves around her. If she's feeling awful, she will make sure that everyone else feels awful as well. And if they don't, she tends to blame them for her own unhappiness. The end result is that no one wants to share happy news with her because she'll just respond with how awful her own life is. She's the ambassador of un-happy! This makes conversation a chess game where you have to constantly think three to five moves ahead and calculate how she'll respond. In other words, you're forced to play mind games to deal with her mind games.

See... to me, I don't see this as "mind games."  This woman sounds like she's got some emotional issues that others have noticed, and don't like having to work around.  But the fact that men are stating that women "play mind games" and that they should NOT do this... suggests to me that men assume this behavior is intentional (agreeing with Lil and Nikara here).  So, I automatically disqualify a person's general personality as a "mind game."  In your view - and in this sense of "mind games" is it your understanding that this woman COULD behave differently, and CHOOSES not to?  

Quote

I also had a roommate in college whose mind games consisted of telling as many lies as possible. When I finally figured out that he was a pathological liar, I had to reevaluate pretty much everything he ever told me. Trust is pretty much gone at that point.

So, lying is a mind game?  Is it always a mind game, or only in certain cases?

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#13 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,335 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:26 AM

Cardie, on Jul 11 2003, 11:00 AM, said:

In relationships there can be a disconnect between a guy looking at the situation in a step-by-step, linear way, and the way the woman is looking at the situation. There's the old saying about getting to first base, and as Sisko explained to the Prophets, that's how linear time works. Some women--I'll use myself--are immediately evaluating the entire situation. Do I see a long term future with him? Will I be content if this turns out to be a casual fling? What would our children look like? It's more of a chess match.

So I think that a woman could be attracted to a man and agree to date him, but be concerned about the long term prospects, thus seem to run hot and cold and be playing mind games.

Cardie
Is it the fact that she is manuevering the relationship to be where she wants it the "mind game"?  How do men look at things when they are thinking linearly?  Are they NOT thinking - this woman is someone with whom I could eventually marry, or - this woman is a hot babe I'd never marry? (It seems from my past experience that this is totally not the case - men seem to make these evaluations fairly early on - but then proceed according to their own dictates, while perhaps women make evaluations and then try to manuever the relationship in the direction they want it to go?!? - and yes, sorry for the generalizations, but since I'm going to be newly single... I'm rather interested in understanding this!)

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#14 Shalamar

Shalamar

    Last Star to the Left and Straight on till Morning

  • Forever Missed
  • 17,644 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:27 AM

To me  there is a vast difference in 'mind games'- deliberate manipulation, aimed at either getting what one wants, or the 'advantage', or for out and out causeing pain, disharmony,and trouble- and the way men and women see things.

IIRC there have been studies that say that men and women are 'wired' differently, and from personal experience I have to agree.

I will further say that I think that our society still raises males and females to see things differently..we're better now about that but not all that long ago it is very obvious how they were raised to be different (looking back at it)..women were raised to be passive, meek, mild, nurturing, submissive..it was told to us females that men didn't marry intellegent females, strong willed ones that were out spoken and openly showing that they could do anything a man could and just as well (save for the physical considerations )
and marriage was what women were raised to look forward to as our, generally, only option.

-Sorry for the digression-

but I have seen just as many men pull 'mind games' (my definition) as I have women

#15 Drew

Drew

    Josef K.

  • Islander
  • 12,191 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:35 AM

QueenTiye, on Jul 11 2003, 01:17 PM, said:

In your view - and in this sense of "mind games" is it your understanding that this woman COULD behave differently, and CHOOSES not to? 
Absolutely.

Quote

So, lying is a mind game?  Is it always a mind game, or only in certain cases?

I suppose it depends on the purpose of the lies. As a kid, I guess I always though of lies as a type of defense. But in the case I described, I felt these lies were intended to manipulate. They were told in order to achieve a certain reaction in the listener--whether that reaction was sympathy or just plain ol' shock value. They were intended to manipulate the emotions of the listener; to forge a peculiar bond with the teller of the lies. In the case I describe, the nature of the lies were such that this was clearly an individual with deep psychological problems. But because these lies were intended to affect--and did affect--the behavior of others, I feel safe putting them into the category of "mind games."
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#16 Drew

Drew

    Josef K.

  • Islander
  • 12,191 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:40 AM

Shalamar, on Jul 11 2003, 01:23 PM, said:

deliberate manipulation, aimed at either getting what one wants, or the 'advantage', or for out and out causeing pain, disharmony,and trouble
That seems a good definition. I think the key word there is "advantage." In every situation I can think of, the person playing at what I'd call "mind games" is the one attempting to retain the advantage in the relationship.

Quote

I will further say that I think that our society still raises males and females to see things differently..we're better now about that . . .

I think it's more a matter of biology than of sociology. Women and men do see things differently. Our brains work differently. We can't help it. We can make allowances for it, but we are definitely wired differently.
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#17 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,335 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:42 AM

Drew... on second reading of your description of this woman's behavior - I agree - it sounds like what I would consider mind games... her intent being to make everyone else feel sorry for her, and her desire to be the center of attention at all times.  I guess I just find myself feeling sorry for her need to have this, and have trouble indicting her for it - and I also disagree that she can just change - believing as I do that this is some psychological issue with her - based on your description.  But I get why it is experienced by YOU (and your friends) as a mind game.

QT

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#18 sierraleone

sierraleone

    All things Great and Mischievous

  • Islander
  • 9,226 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:45 AM

Shalamar, on Jul 11 2003, 10:23 AM, said:

To me  there is a vast difference in 'mind games'- deliberate manipulation, aimed at either getting what one wants, or the 'advantage', or for out and out causeing pain, disharmony,and trouble- and the way men and women see things.
Thats probably the crux of it right there. Everyone ¨manipulates¨situations and people and life to try to get things how they want it. I plan on asking someone, who it might be an incovience to (but I hope it is not) on giving me a drive somewhere, because I found out too late that I could not get it at the time I originally wanted, and the time I could get it at is a time the bus won^t get me there. But I am not trying to purposely cause anyone inconvience, pain or trouble to, and thats not my intention. I am just trying to get things arrange in a way that would be advantages to how I want things for me. Obviously a benign example, but it works ;) Theres a difference between trying to get what you want, and trying to cause pain or trouble for people to get what you want.

Edited by sierraleone, 12 July 2003 - 05:47 AM.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#19 Peridot

Peridot

    Elf Lynx

  • Islander
  • 2,916 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:45 AM

QT, the nature of "mind games" is more of a Psychology question than one from Sociology.  But the question of whether women initiate such games more than men do, and/or whether they are better at them than men, definitely fits in either discipline.

For a basic description of what constitutes such games, you might want to see if you can get a hold of a copy of Games People Play, by Eric Berne, M.D.  It was based on his experiences working with various clients,  and although it was written a number of years ago, and might be out of date in some ways, his basic description of the structure of such games would still hold as true as before.

As to the second question, it's pretty complex, and could be addressed from a number of angles.  Some sociologists would probably approach it from the angle than women can be seen as an oppressed class, and that any oppressed group, because they have less overt power, will try to find ways to develop covert power, including manipulative behavior.  (This is one of the reasons children are sometimes so manipulative; not that they're necessarily oppressed, but they do typically have less power than adults, especially in the child-parent relationship.)

However, other sociologists would look at it from a linguistic point of view.  Men and women often have different communication styles, and some of what appear to be "mind games", when viewed across gender lines, may simply reflect some of these differences.  Each person may be genuinely trying to communicate; each may feel misunderstood, or feel manipulated when that is, in fact, not the case.

There are a couple of books out on the above concept, which were written by a linguist; I haven't read them, but I'll see if I can find the author's name and the title for you, if you're interested.

As far as women perceiving globally, and men perceiving specifically, I'm not aware of that being the case.  For a good description of different ways of perceiving, I highly recommend The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias.  It's basically designed to help parents understand the different learning styles children may have, but a great deal of the book is equally applicable to adults.  She covers the global/analytic difference, as well as several others.

Hope this information is of help. :)

Peridot
Posted Image

#20 ElJay

ElJay

    Harperchondriac

  • Islander
  • 4,821 posts

Posted 12 July 2003 - 06:13 AM

Pardon if I'm rehashing, but I think a person occasionally gets accused of playing mind-games when what's really happening is that they're too kind to come right out and say, "No, I actually don't want to go out with you ... ever again."  So instead, they hem and haw and 'have other plans' or 'aren't in the mood,' or whatever.  They don't want to hurt the other person's feelings, but for one reason or another, the relationship is just not working for them and the other party just will not take the hint.  It's hard to shoot straight from the hip and say, "Sorry, I'm not interested," but I think perhaps it would hurt less; at the very least, it would be quicker.  Of course, if you do that very often, you wind up with a reputation for being a stone-cold **insert gender-appropriate term starting with 'b'** :(   Relationships are a pain.

I have no valid opinion on whether women are more manipulative than men; it depends on the person.  The only manipulation I do is to offer a choice between doing the dishes or going out to eat.  Nick usually makes the right choice.
US VETERAN AND PROUD OF IT!

Chivalry is a matter of both deeds and words.



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Sociology, Women, Men, Mind Games

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users