People Playing Mind Games - Stoic Matchmaker

People Playing Mind Games

People Playing Mind Games

June 13, 2022

Ever have someone try to play with your emotions and make you feel inadequate?   

We’ve all faced such people in our lives at some time or another and will face it many more times ahead. These people seem to “live” to play these games with us. And how did you handle this behavior?

You know that it’s those who have some amount of control over us—a boss, a business partner, a loved one, or friend – that disturb us most. We’re dependent on them in some fashion, whether it’s for money or duty, which they know. It’s this dependency that makes the “game” of messing with us, antagonizing us, more enjoyable to them. Attachment theory indicates we have some type of emotional bond between each other. However, your position in how to address this uncomfortable situation is different from most.  

First, you analyze the each of your positions in this relationship. For a boss, a job is present for which you receive money to pay your bills; If it’s a business partner, you need this person because you’re both on a journey together to accomplish a similar goal. For a loved one or friend, you need their love and emotional support. 

Now, their position in this relationship. The boss, business partner, loved one, or friend needs your calmness, your ability to self-regulate, your ability to be secure … in difficult times. When times are good, you get their goading, their nitpicking, their attempts to play with your emotions. But when they’re stressing out, you ignore their stress and focus on finding a solution. Therefore, you are their rock when things go haywire, out of control in their minds, and when they can’t handle it. 

How do you have this strength? You’ve come to realize it takes a strong mind to not let those with whom you share an emotional bond affect you when times are good or bad for them. You’ve come to realize their attempts to unsettle you are not worth your time and you simply ignore them. You also view their poor behavior during the good times as testing your armor for when they ultimately need you on the battlefield to save them. It’s like they have to continue to push the test button on the smoke alarm (you are the test button) to be sure you’ll work properly and save them when they need you most. 

You are their confidence. You are their strength. You are their Secret Weapon, at least in their minds. So they have to keep you around, even though you irritate them by ignoring their behaviors.

Now using My S-T-O-I-C STORYTELLING method:

(S) What do people get out of playing with other people’s emotions? 
(T) “Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed, you must believe that you are being harmed. Which is why it is essential that we not respond impulsively to impressions; take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control.”  Epictetus
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Apostle Paul
(O) I felt strong and centered for not allowing someone to goad me into an emotional state.
(I) The choice to respond calmly and rationally to an emotionally manipulative situation was empowering.
(C) The approach has improved my self-control, empathy, and ability to effectively communicate with others. 

The Stoicess’ Secret?
They Need Us More Than We Need Them.

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