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Relationships are supposed to make you feel good, loved, and safe. 

But sometimes, things can go wrong, especially if one person starts playing mind games. 

These games are tricks or manipulations that can hurt the other person and create a lot of stress and confusion.

In some relationships, men might use these mind games to control or take advantage of their partners. 

Recognizing these games is important because it can help someone understand what’s happening and decide how to handle it. It’s like spotting the signs of a storm before it hits, so you can stay safe.

We’ve put together a list of ten common mind games that toxic men might play in relationships. 

By knowing what these are, you can be better prepared to deal with them if you ever encounter them.

1. Threatening Breakup

Sometimes, a man might constantly threaten to break up as a way to get his way. 

Whenever there’s a disagreement or he’s unhappy about something, he throws out a breakup as the solution. 

This can make you feel unstable and anxious, always worrying that any small mistake could end the relationship.

Using breakup threats like this is a form of control. It plays on your fears of losing the relationship to make you more likely to give in to his demands. 

Living under this kind of stress is tough; it keeps you on edge and damages your ability to feel secure and valued in the relationship.

2. The Isolation Tactic

Sometimes, a toxic man will try to cut his partner off from her friends and family. 

He might start by making negative comments about the people she’s close to, suggesting they don’t have her best interests at heart. 

Or, he may create situations that make it difficult for her to see her loved ones, like planning activities that clash with her usual family visits. 

This tactic can make a partner feel lonely and dependent on him for social interaction and support.

As this isolation deepens, the man might also begin to control his partner’s use of social media or her phone. He may insist on knowing her passwords or demand she check in with him frequently. 

By limiting who she talks to and when, he gains more control over her life. This strategy is harmful because it removes her support network, making it harder for her to seek help or gain perspective on the relationship.

3. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a sneaky mind game some men play. Imagine someone constantly questioning your memory or reality. 

A guy might say, “That never happened!” or “You’re imagining things!” even when you know it’s not true. 

By doing this, he makes you doubt your own experiences and memories. You start to question yourself, which can be really confusing and frustrating.

Over time, gaslighting can affect how confident you feel in your decisions. If you’re always hearing that your feelings are wrong or what you remember didn’t happen, you might start to depend more on him to define what’s real or not. 

This can make you feel trapped and unsure of yourself, which is exactly what someone using this tactic wants.

4. Love Bombing

Love bombing might sound nice, but it’s another manipulative tactic. 

Here’s how it works: a guy overwhelms his partner with affection, gifts, and promises early in the relationship. 

Everything feels too good to be true because, well, it often is. He uses all this romance to sweep you off your feet and make you feel special.

However, once he feels you’re hooked, the overwhelming love might suddenly decrease, and his true colors start to show. 

This sudden shift can leave you longing for the affection and attention you had at the start, making you more likely to stick around and try to recapture those early days. 

It’s a way of creating a strong emotional bond quickly, so it’s harder for you to leave later.

5. Keeping Score

Keeping score is another game where a guy keeps a mental tally of everything he thinks he has done right versus what you’ve done wrong. 

Let’s say he brings up times he was helpful or generous in the past whenever you have a disagreement. 

“Remember when I fixed your car?” he might say, using past favors to make you feel indebted or ungrateful. The goal here is to make you feel like you always owe him something.

This constant scorekeeping can make normal relationship interactions feel like transactions. 

You end up feeling like you can never give enough to balance out what he’s given you, which can make you feel perpetually guilty and obliged to make up for it. 

That’s a lot of pressure and not how a healthy relationship should feel.

6. The Blame Game

In relationships, some men might play what’s known as the blame game. They shift responsibility for their actions onto their partner. 

For example, a guy might forget an anniversary and then accuse his partner of not reminding him. 

Here, instead of apologizing, he makes it seem like it’s her fault for his mistake. Such behavior can make someone feel guilty for things that aren’t their responsibility.

Another aspect of the blame game involves constantly criticizing. A man might pick apart everything his partner does, from the way she talks to how she cooks or dresses. 

By focusing on these faults, he tries to make her feel less confident. Over time, this can wear someone down, making them doubt their worth and abilities.

7. Playing the Victim

Playing the victim is a common trick where a guy acts like everything is against him, even when he’s the one causing issues. 

Imagine someone making a mistake but instead of owning up to it, he says everyone is always blaming him. 

He might argue that he’s misunderstood or that you and others are making his life difficult. By playing the victim, he tries to gain sympathy and dodge responsibility for his actions.

This tactic can flip situations around, where instead of addressing his behavior, you find yourself comforting him. 

Over time, this can be really draining because you’re always trying to soothe his feelings instead of solving actual problems.

8. Silent Treatment

Giving silent treatment is when a guy refuses to speak to you after an argument or even if he’s just in a bad mood. 

He won’t talk, answer questions, or acknowledge your attempts to communicate. It’s like he’s punishing you with silence. 

This behavior can make you feel invisible and unimportant, as though your thoughts and feelings don’t matter to him at all.

The silent treatment can make you desperate for any kind of response, good or bad, which gives him control over the situation. 

It’s a way to manipulate the emotional tone of the relationship, often leading you to apologize or concede just to end the uncomfortable silence.

9. Overwhelming Jealousy

Overwhelming jealousy involves a guy feeling extremely threatened by any attention you give to other people, even if it’s completely innocent. 

He might question why you’re talking to someone else or get upset if you spend time with friends or family. This jealousy often masks his insecurities by projecting them onto you.

Living with this kind of jealousy can feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells, trying not to make him upset. 

It’s stressful and can isolate you from people who care about you, as you might start avoiding social interactions just to keep the peace at home.

10. Unrealistic Expectations

Setting unrealistic expectations is when a guy expects you to meet impossibly high standards that he doesn’t even follow himself. 

He might demand that you always be available, perfectly understanding, and supportive, no matter what’s going on in your life. 

Meanwhile, he doesn’t hold himself to these same standards at all.

These expectations can be exhausting because you’re always striving to meet his demands, only to find that the goalposts keep moving. 

It’s like no matter how hard you try, you can never quite get it right. This tactic can chip away at your self-esteem and leave you feeling inadequate in the relationship.

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Anita Oge

Meet Anita, a relationship writer with a passion for helping people navigate the complexities of love and dating. With a background in information science, she has a wealth of knowledge and insight to share. Her writing is sure to leave you feeling empowered and inspired.

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