While it is often the intention to have a relationship that is free from games and all the drama that they can create; this does not always mean that one will avoid them altogether. And as a result of this, one may come to the conclusion that they have absolutely no control as to whether their relationships consist of games or not.
To see games as being random and just happening in a relationship is unlikely to fill one with hope, if that is needed, or a sense of empowerment. If relationships are only about games, then one may think that they are not worth having. Or one may think that playing games is the only option. But to do this may well go against their integrity and lead to further pain being created.
Now, every relationship that one has is made up of two people. One may well be called the victim and other described as the perpetrator. And while this is true at one level; it is still being made up of two individuals. Each one has their own choices and their own responsibility within the relationship.
Because although the other person may be playing the games, if one wasn’t putting up with the games to begin with, then they would have to stop. It is always a symbiotic relationship. If the game player wasn’t receiving the feedback that they needed to play games, then they would stop. Or they would have to go and find someone else who is willing to put up with the games.
So this is why I believe it is important not just to look at what could be going on for the person who is playing games, but also the person who is putting up with the games. To blame one and to describe the other as innocent; is neither empowering nor accurate.
And if this was the approach, it is only likely to lead to momentary or short term gain. But it is unlikely to uncover what the real problem may be for people who attract game players into their life. For if one continually creates the same experiences, it would surely be wise to look at oneself and see what one is doing to end up in these situations in the first place.
When it comes to games, both men and women are just as capable of playing them. One gender may often be targeted as the worst; but this is unlikely to be accurate. It might also be assumed that someone utilizes these behaviours over others at a conscious level and is therefore out to hurt or harm other person.
The Game Player
However, this behaviour actually says more about the person that is playing the games than it does about the person who is putting up with the games. We are all responding to life based on our own interpretations of it. So based on the interpretations that the game player is making of the relationship; they have come to see that they are required.
These games may well be played from the beginning or after the relationship has reached a certain point for instance. This will depend on different factors and one of these factors will be how comfortable one is with intimacy and therefore being vulnerable.
One of the primary elements of a relationship is being vulnerable and opening up to the other person. And if one does not feel comfortable doing this, then certain behaviour will have to be used to protect oneself from being hurt.
So what this can often mean is that the game player will have a certain level of closeness/intimacy that they are comfortable with and should another person go beyond this place it will mean that games will have to be played to create distance. Through doing this, the game player will be able to regain their composure and return to what feels comfortable to them.
As the need for intimacy is there, but cannot be fully embraced due to their fears of what intimacy means, it will mean that the other person is still wanted. It’s a bit like - 'I don’t necessarily want you, but I don’t necessarily want to lose you either’. What is clear is that there is conflict within and one’s head, heart and body are not in alignment.
These inner fears of what intimacy means are then being regulated by keeping the other person around. To allow them to get to close and to have a consistent relationship may well lead to one feeling; smothered, controlled, overwhelmed or that they may end up being abandoned and rejected.
And to allow them to leave may well cause one to feel; abandoned, rejected and alone. The interesting thing about these two dynamics, is that whether they allow someone in or whether they lose them, it is generally the same experience. So by keeping another at a safe distance, one can avoid both situations.
But this is unlikely to lead to fulfilment and is only regulating the fear that they have when it comes to letting go in a relationship.
The ego mind functions by forming associations around things and these then become what are classed as familiar and therefore safe. So when it comes to intimacy, ones ego mind can associate it to mean losing oneself, being taken advantage of or being controlled.
And if this is the case, one will project these associations onto others and interpret their behaviour in such a way. It won’t matter if the other person is like it or not. So unless one is aware enough to question their associations of what intimacy is; they may well end up creating the same scenarios over and over again.
The Other Side
So now that we have looked at what could be causing other people to play games, let’s take a deeper look at why one may put up with games.
For this person, just like the game player, there is a distance that feels safe when it comes to opening up. And while there may be frustration or anger at the game player for keeping their distance, at a deeper level it is likely to feel comfortable.
To get closer to them may well lead to one feeling similar to how the game player feels. Here they may end up feeling; overwhelmed, controlled or trapped should they get closer to another person. And if they were to walk away from the game player; it may well cause them to feel alone and abandoned.
So by going along with the games it allows one to avoid these two experiences and to maintain what feels comfortable to them. To their ego mind this will be what feels safe. And to do something else will lead to what feels unfamiliar to the mind and this will feel unsafe.
To have a relationship with another person involves being vulnerable and open. And yet if one has had experiences as an adult or as a child of being taken advantage while being vulnerable, this is not going to easy. The trust that is needed to open up may have been taken away.
To overcome this, one may need to seek assistance. A good therapist, speaking to a trusted friend and reading can assist with this process of opening up.
The ego minds associations of what a relationship is like can be changed; as they are not the truth. Some people out there may constantly play games, but there are also people out there who don’t.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.