8 Insecure Man Mind Games (And Ways To Handle Him)

by April Maccario

“Give me a tall, handsome insecure man.” I’m pretty sure no woman wakes up in the morning with those exact words on her lips. I mean, why would any woman desire to go into a relationship with a man that has the potential to make her feel miserable? Surprisingly, that’s what lots of women do. 

The reason is simple, insecure men don’t show all their insecurities when you first meet them. In fact, they may seem charming and interested in you, making you feel wanted in every way. If you are a woman who has been with a couple of narcissists in previous relationships, or someone who has very little experience in the dating world, such a man may appear appealing.

Make no mistake though, he is capable of drowning you with his insecure mind games, sucking up all the love you have to give yet blame you for all his hidden insecurities. To prevent this from happening, you need to be able to spot an insecure man and his mind games from a mile away so that you don’t get sucked-in without knowing

Is He Playing Mind Games Or Not Interested?

The following list in this article will help in that regard, men play mind games emotionally especially when they are insecure. Your best bet is knowing when someone is trying to use reverse psychology on you and beat them at their own game. This article will also help you discover if you are already in a relationship with someone who plays mind games emotionally to get what he wants. 

1. The blame game

Insecure men play senseless mind games with the hopes of scoring some points, just because they lack the self-esteem to be real and own up to their mistakes. These emotionally insecure men will do or say anything to get the attention away from themselves and make you feel bad instead. Rather than face the source of his low self-esteem, he resorts to a quicker cowardly way, by making you take the blame

 A good scenario could be his sexual prowess in bed, instead of seeking medical help from professionals or sex therapists, insecure men will switch to blaming you for being fat, not dressing appealing enough, or not being sexually motivating.

Make no mistake, verbal/emotional abuse can be equally or more hurtful when compared to physical abuse. Therefore, if this is getting too much for you to handle and leading to a form of emotional torture and unhappiness, my advice is that it might be the best time to leave. 

However, if you feel whatever you have going is worth keeping, perhaps you’ve gone as far as tying the knot, the best way to avoid these mind games emotionally insecure men play is to completely avoid such conversations.  Don’t give him the chance to get into it, and if he does, make it look like the complaints are not valid or worth arguing over. You’ll notice how powerless he’ll feel since there’s no point blaming you for something you don’t even consider important.

2. The exploiting game

The exploiting game

If you have an emotionally insecure man on your hands, then you may have noticed his constant whining. He’ll go as far as talking about “how things have never been great” and “how being a college graduate didn’t make a huge difference for him”. The underachievement makes him call himself names such as loser and stupid from time to time. 

Don’t fall for it, don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be emotionally supportive towards your man, but research shows that many insecure men develop a constant hunger for reassurance and favors. If you are a kind-hearted person, you may easily fall into the trap of playing ‘mommy’ or ‘savior.’

Make no mistake, insecure men aren’t dummies, they only appear that way because they sometimes put on a pathetic countenance. He’ll use this winning to exploit your emotions to get you into doing favors you ordinarily might not find comfortable. Furthermore, whenever you muscle up the courage to refuse, he’ll pull the guilt card on you, making you feel guilty for not helping him.

3. He plays the roller coaster with your emotions

This happens mostly when you just started to develop feelings for each other. Once he sees you are clearly into him, he’ll plan romantic dates and fun outings together to make you feel like he’s crazy about you. When it starts to feel like it’s the best day of your life, he changes the gear. 

Perhaps, the next morning, his behavior becomes completely different. Whether on phone or in-person, he treats you almost like your presence is not needed or is bothering him. It’s almost like he has magically turned from prince-charming to the big bad wolf. The aim here is to put you on an emotional-edge and make you worry if your last outing or date wasn’t as perfect as it appeared to you. 

You’ll probably start to wonder if he is playing mind games or not interested in you at all. I’ll let you in on what he’s trying to do, he wants to make it all about him by making you feel you might have done something wrong. That way, he gets you to focus on him in order to fix what you didn’t even break. Sneaky right? Emotionally insecure men like him are attention junkies that never love women in a healthy way.

When you notice this, indulge him a little, there’s no harm in giving a person the benefit of doubt. Perhaps something might be genuinely wrong, ask him the reason for the sudden change in his mood. If he’s one of those insecure men, he’ll likely respond like he’s oblivious to what you are talking about while his facial expression and body language will say the opposite.

 Once you’ve realized it’s nothing but mind games emotionally insecure men play, go ahead and let him know you won’t be tolerating such toddler-like, attention-seeking games. You deserve an emotionally stable man, not one that will play the ‘roller coaster’ with your feelings just to make himself feel good.

4. It’s your fault all of sudden

The average emotionally insecure man is usually smarter than the women they go after. Don’t be fooled, they don’t go after women they can’t twist easily with their words. It’s technically a prey-predator relationship, these mind games emotionally insecure men play can only be pulled off if the lady has no idea about what they are doing. 

They may appear quiet or shy, but that’s part of what makes them appealing to you especially when you’ve experienced relationships with guys that are too expressive so you are hoping for someone more gentle. When you have an argument, you will notice how he’ll skillfully make something you didn’t even orchestrate suddenly your fault. He’ll make you feel guilty for it and may even totally exploit the situation, turning it into something much bigger than it should have been. 

When you notice your man is constantly doing this, don’t give in to this kind of manipulation. Whenever you are right in an argument, don’t allow him to bring in the big guns and suddenly shift the blame or gain the upper hand. If he isn’t worth it, don’t be complacent by indulging his mind games, you can clearly do better than him.

5. He body shames you or the way you dress

Insecure men sometimes have psychological issues they need to deal with, living in denial rather than dealing with it via a professional could be the reason for these hidden insecurities he’s trying to use to pull you down. This can easily be noticed when a man you just started dating adopts dark humor and offensive styles of joking when relating with you, like body shaming you or mocking your fashion style. 

This is a negative approach to coping with whatever is wrong with them, in some cases, you’ll find such men trying to completely adjust your style when there’s clearly nothing wrong with it. Do not give in to such pressure because the more you alter your lifestyle, the more their insecurities grow. 

It was never about you, it was him all along, no amount of alteration you adopt will help him. Until he accepts he’s got issues and is ready to seek professional help, he won’t stop the mind games. If you don’t leave you might get hurt or even psychologically impacted by all the emotional abuse.

6. ‘Your friends are jealous and don’t like me’ mind game

An insecure man can be on the dangerous side in addition to being manipulative. Asides wanting you all to himself to control you so that he can give his own not-so-accomplished life meaning, he also wants to make sure you are cut off from your friends

He knows friends are a threat to whatever manipulative mind games he’s trying to adopt. As long as your friends are still in your picture, they may be able to get you out of his corner because they can always give you a reality check whenever you let them in on what’s going on in your relationship from time to time.

When you introduce him to your circle of friends, you might notice unfriendly behavior; smirking, not paying attention, or generally being a jerk. The aim is to manipulate you into thinking you don’t need your friends. Furthermore, since emotionally insecure men, like him, probably don’t have anything going on in their social life, cutting you off from yours will obviously be perfect for him.

If you are already falling for him, he may find it easy manipulating you into thinking your friends don’t like him. Once he cuts you off from your support system, love bombing you for his selfish interests without any external influence will be easier for him. Don’t allow this once you notice. If he doesn’t want to hang with your friends that’s fine, but let him know he can’t make you choose between him and friends.

7.  Accusation game

Emotionally insecure men are usually unhappy with themselves, because of this, many of them find it hard to stay in a relationship. Whenever they are lucky enough to find someone willing to put up with their issues, they mess up whatever they have with jealousy and overprotectiveness. Furthermore, their insecurities cause distrust which leads to accusing their partner at the slightest opportunity. 

You’d be surprised to know the distrust and accusation is exhibited not only with friends or random persons he sees you talking to but also with family. If you happen to be living with an emotionally insecure person, it can be very exhausting when all your moves are questioned. My advice is, put your foot on the ground. Don’t fuel his insecurity-driven accusations by trying to explain yourself for everyone he sees you with or hears you speak to on the phone.

Furthermore, don’t give him the luxury of constantly reassuring him you are not cheating or you won’t leave him. Remember, it’s not you, he’s the one with issues, no matter how hard you try, he will drain you unless he comes to terms with his insecurities.

8. Being mean for no reason

Being mean for no reason

When a man is insecure, masking his insecurities is like a lifelong task. Since his charming and supposedly caring attributes were only used to get you hooked on him, he’ll suddenly start to behave mean since he can’t continue to pretend to be nice forever. Remember manipulating you and oppressing you makes him feel like he is in control of something; being mean gives him that control. 

If you notice this frequently, trust me you don’t have to get used to such an abusive relationship. It’s not pretty, as being constantly bullied by a mean person could in turn affect your own self-esteem. Handle this by letting him know this attitude is not going to fly with you. You do not need to be mean to him in retaliation, but be genuinely honest by telling him his actions are completely unacceptable. 

It’s possible he can see he has insecurities and decides to change his behaviors. If you want to continue the relationship, then be careful, otherwise, it’s better to move on from such a person and his mind games, trust me, you can do better.

FAQs

How do I beat him at his own game?

Once you realize you are involved with someone playing mind games, the best approach to beat him at his game is not to allow him to play you at all. If you want to give him a taste of his game, have self-worth, make him want you by stringing him along then drop him off abruptly.

How can you tell if someone is playing mind games?

Guys who play games like to toy with others’ emotions by being there for you one minute and ghosting you the next minute. The aim is to make you want them so that they can control you and have you eating from the palm of their hands.

Why would a man play mind games?

The games men play are often a means to massage their ego, playing mind games also makes some men feel like they are in control. Sometimes, the games men play are simply revenge tactics against a girl that has played hard-to-get previously but now shows interest. Some men don’t even need a concrete reason, they simply have an inferiority complex, and are trying to manipulate their way through life. 

How do you play mind games with a guy who broke your heart?

To give a guy a little bit of his medicine, make yourself highly appealing by improving your self-worth. Determine never to fall for his charms, then make sure you string him along as much as possible without sleeping with him before dumping him when he least expects it. 

How do you tell if a man is playing games?

If a man is clearly toying with your emotions yet pretends he’s not aware whenever you try to talk to him about it, he’s clearly playing mind games. Furthermore, once you notice he tries to blame or shame you for something that’s clearly not your fault, just to make him feel like he’s in control of you, then he’s playing mind games.

To Sum Things up 

I hope you enjoyed reading through this list,  while the points are not exhaustive, you’ll certainly find them useful. They’ll help you avoid getting trapped in a man's manipulative games whether you’ve started dating one or you are about to. 

You can use the comment section to tell us how you feel about the article and share it if you want others to benefit from the list as well. 

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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