games…and i’m not talking yahtzee.

i am a big fan of old school video games.  my favorites are mario rpg: legend of the seven stars, super mario world, donkey kong country, spyro the dragon for playstation, diablo ii and a few others.  fun stuff.  i like those games.  i like board games.  i still enjoy a good game of candyland or sorry.  apples to apples is hilarious.  i like all sorts of games.

there is one kind of game, however, that i hate.  i despise this sort of game.  loathe it.  stronger than loathe.  can i revile these games?

the kind of games i’m talking about are head games.  they’re games that people play to try and throw someone else off-guard.  really all they are is a power play.  the people who play them feel small, and they want to make themselves feel bigger by putting someone else down.  by trying to show that they have the power.

i see these games a lot in relationships of the romantic variety.  i’m going to list a few of them and bitch about them, because i’m flat sick of seeing them.  i’m not going to sugarcoat anything, and i’m sure as hell not gonna play nice this time, kids.

how to play:  while this may seem self-explanatory, this game involves using every method except speaking to get across a vague, sometimes conceptual meaning.  don’t say what you mean; wave your arms around and expect your partner to get it.

who plays it:  this game is for people who have not progressed past being two years old, and haven’t learned how to communicate like adults.

how to beat it:  use your words like a big boy or girl, and explain what you want to say to your partner so that you can progress past whatever issues you have.  if your partner is playing this game, ask him or her what it is that they want you to understand.  if he or she won’t tell you, well…let them know that when they decide to address problems like an adult, you’ll work on solving them.

how to play: ah, yes.  love triangles.  how we hate them.  this involves two people yanking on another, each trying to pull her/him over some invisible line to win.  and usually, people don’t play fair.  try to find out weaknesses, wheedle the poor rope to come closer, make a big show when it appears you’re winning, or sometimes outright yell at the other puller to let go.

who plays it:  this game is played by people insecure enough to want to be with someone they know isn’t entirely into them, when they could just wait until they find someone who really thinks they’re special.  also people who, far and above actually having feelings for someone, just have a driving need to win everything.

how to beat it:  let go of the rope.  aside from the obvious glee you can feel when the other puller falls flat on his or her ass, this gives the rope in question the chance to see what it’s like to be yanked in one direction.  he or she can then decide what he or she wants, and if you’re the lucky winner, go you.  if the rope is indecisive, see above, re: finding someone who really thinks you’re special.

shaving cream and a feather
how to play:  so this isn’t a game so much as a practical joke, and this game can have varying degrees of cruelty.  this is when someone purposely puts his or her partner into a situation where the partner cannot avoid getting covered in mess, and then watches while the partner attempts to extricate himself or herself–never ending up clean to the game-player’s satisfaction.

who plays it:  people who either feel so small that they expect everyone they try to be with will behave in the worst possible manner, so they self-fulfill their own prophecy by setting their partner up for failure, or emotional sado-masochists.

how to beat it: communication.  find out what it is that is bothering your partner, and why he or she decided to use this particular method to vent frustration and/or fear.  games like this are emotional manipulation, and if you address the offending partner respectfully and calmly explain your feelings, your partner ought to understand.  if not, and your partner freaks out, wails, and calls you names, maybe you should find someone with an emotional maturity level beyond that of a blueberry scone.

how to play:  this is when you have more than one ball in the air, as it were.  and these balls probably don’t know about each other.  and each one thinks it’s on its own, just spinning happily through the air.

who plays it: people who are intent on showing that they can manipulate several people at once, therefore making themselves feel all strong and mighty.

how to beat it:  thing is with juggling–you can’t keep them all going forever.  you’re gonna drop them eventually, and then you’ll just look like a class-a jackass.  if that wasn’t already evident.  if you’re one of the balls, and you figure it out, don’t let yourself be thrown around in the air–roll your round little self away.

snipe hunting
how to play:  this is when you’ve been very naughty, so you send someone off looking for something that doesn’t exist just to get the attention off your assholish self.

who plays it:  people who are already in over their heads in sticky situations (into which they waded of their own volition).  they want to get the attention off their own indiscretions, so they try the old bait and switch technique.

how to beat it:  if you suspect your partner has you off hunting snipes, if, for example, you ask an innocuous question, and your partner flies off the handle in a completely absurd direction, ask a blunt question.  this is usually, “are you having an affair?”  if you know your partner well enough, you can probably tell if the answer is a lie.  if he or she is not being dodgy, hopefully at this point, your partner would explain to you if there is something distressing him or her to the point of madness.

how to play:  if you are not sure if you want to leave your partner, just do it.  you can always come right back.  again.  and again.  and again.  repeat until insane.

who plays it:  people who want to eat their cake and have it, too.  they’re not really sure if they want to be with you or not, but they know they don’t want to be alone.

how to beat it:  if your partner has half a brain cell to rub against his or her cranium, it’ll be obvious that if you throw a boomerang, it keeps coming back…and eventually, it’ll hit him or her right in the face.  don’t let it get that far, though.  if someone’s leaving and coming back, leaving and coming back, you deserve better than that.  you deserve more than someone who isn’t quite sure.

how to play:  some people get off on seeing others try to get small objects rolling through the grass and into tiny wire hoops.  some people are assholes.

who plays it: this is played by people who delight in making others bend over backwards to please them.  who like to have someone wrapped around their little finger at all times.

how to beat it:  sit down in the grass and play with a caterpillar, instead.  if your partner is making unreasonable demands of you and expecting that you give 150% when he or she only gives 2%, there is something seriously wrong.  address it.  if they won’t fix it, bounce.  relationships are a two-way street.  good relationships are, anyway.

scavenger hunt
how to play: also known as wild goose chase.  this involves leaving a series of clues that make someone run around in endless circles trying to get to the end.  but there is no end.  this is similar to croquet, in that you’re always running around trying to please your partner.  it’s different in that you have no idea where you’re going next.

who plays it: again, this is played by people who simply cannot be pleased, no matter what you do.  you could most likely gold plate the entire house and serve your partner tiramisu from the polished gem-studded surfaces of priceless ancient relics, and he or she’d get pissed because you forgot to put a doily under it.

how to beat it:  see above.

loaded questions
how to play: this is when you specifically ask questions that you know will start a fight just to feel like you’ve got the bigger balls and make your partner feel small and weak.  bravo, jackass.

who plays it: people who are overcompensating for their own lack of self-esteem.  if they can break you down, they feel better about themselves, especially if you’re a strong person.

how to beat it:  tell your partner you’re not comfortable answering questions that he or she will not answer.  or, in some cases, politely inform your partner that it is your own business.  there are things that you don’t need to disclose, and if you do, it’s your own prerogative.  disclosing those things is a show of trust.  people who play the loaded questions game often will turn around and use the information you give them to rip you to shreds in arguments.

…and that’s it for this blog.  granted, there are a lot of other games that people play with one another.  the bottom line with all of them is that it’s a power play.  usually the game player is insecure in some way, or arrogant and manipulative.   with the former, you can usually address it to some recourse.  with the latter, it’s usually better to just cut and run.

the point is that these games are damaging, hurtful, and in a lot of cases, deceitful.  that’s why i hate them.  they hurt people.  there are plenty of ways to resolve issues that are perfectly healthy.  open communication and trust are vital.  if you’re straightforward, people respect that.  if they don’t respect it, then they’re probably not someone you ought to waste your time on.

the best way to deal with these games that i’ve found is to refuse to play.  just pack up your toys and go home.


About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on 17 March, 2009, in rants, soapbox, thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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