13 Signs He's Playing Power Games with You
A terrifyingly large percentage of men think that relationships are best when they control and dominate women. If you notice he's playing power games with you, it's time to cut and run.
Most women have, at one point, met a man who has an obsession with gaining power over women. Sad as it is to say, it's an experience that reminds women that we live in a world where toxic masculinity has its grips in many otherwise good men.
That unsettling obsession so many men have is extremely dangerous for them, and the women around them. Men who have that need to control women around them tend to have serious problems.
Unsurprisingly, guys who have this trait are almost always abusive. If you're female, you owe it to yourself to watch out for guys who have a power problem. It can be what makes the difference between life or death. The games he plays aren't healthy, ya know.
One of the first signs that a man could become a violent controller is the use of "power games" in interactions with you. If you notice he's playing power games with you, or any of the warning signs below, run and don't look back.
He takes his time to shake your hand, or acknowledge your existence.
When you first met up, did you notice he did not make a point to prioritize you, or was he busy checking his phone, or finishing up reading the newspaper? Did he take an inordinately long time just to talk to you, or acknowledge your questions?
If so, it's very likely that he's playing power games. By making you wait, he's trying to prove that your time doesn't matter to him—or that you should be happy he's even speaking to you.
When he speaks to you, it's always done in a condescending tone.
A man who's playing power games is a man who will make a point of talking down to people. People who condescend others either see themselves as superior or do it to try to make others see them that way.
Guys who talk to women this way will often do so as a way to "put them in their place." It's one of their favorite methods of showing that they are "bigger" than women.
The best way to deal with it is to limit your interaction with him, and tell him that he can talk to you more when he shows you more respect.
He regularly makes subtle digs at you, then backpedals when you call him out on it.
This is a classic habit of abusers, and is a sign that you should be running (not walking) away from him. Men who are threatened by powerful women, or feel like women have higher status than them, will often insult them, as a way to lower their self-esteem.
In the Pickup Artist Community, this term is known as "negging." Even if they seem truly apologetic, it's a sign that he's playing power games with you. Don't expect him to change or stop. It's his prerogative to keep doing that, until he chips away at you enough to gain control of you.
You can't help but notice that he regularly brings up your gender when asked why he's so controlling.
Most guys who have a power obsession specifically target women because of their deep-seated issues dealing with sex and sexuality. The most common card they play, at least from what I've seen, is using a women's gender as an excuse for their controlling behavior.
The vast majority of the time, guys try to pull a woman's empowerment away from her, just by claiming that women are "crazy." This is why you see so many misogynistic men roll their eyes and go, "Women, right?"
He may also bring up the fact that "other people" may see a woman's behavior as bad, trying to frame his controlling behavior as concern for your best interest. You might have even seen this happen before.
A man who's trying to pull power cards with you may say something along the lines of, "Yeah, it's okay when I do it, but you know, you're a woman. You shouldn't do that. I'm just looking out for your best interest."
If you notice that your gender regularly becomes an excuse to control you or ignore your concerns, he's playing power games with you, and it's time to cut the cord.
He's the king of the guilt trip.
Some men tend to use women's empathy as a weapon against them, and this is actually called emotional blackmail. By making girls feel guilty or ashamed, just for having control over their lives, they're able to get women to cede power over to them.
Take a look at the way that he behaves around you. Does he always make it feel like something is your fault? Does he guilt you if things don't always go his way?
Do you feel awkward acting confident around him? If so, he's playing power games with you—and he's doing it in a way that's very emotionally damaging to you. This is a red flag you need to watch for, and if you see it, it's time to make things come to a close.
You're pretty sure he just tried to gaslight you.
"Gaslighting" is a behavior people do that makes you question yourself, your memories, and your expectations. When he's playing power games with you, this behavior is what helps him establish control.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that men who play power games are abusers. I know this, and so do they. Power games, by default, are abusive.
That's why a lot of guys, who have a weird obsession with controlling women try to cover up what they're trying to do. This is where the gaslighting tends to come in.
To make sure that no one notices their behavior, until it's too late, many men will try to convince girls that they are being unreasonable or mis-remembering things to hide what they're doing.
The best way to handle gaslighting is to ghost, so by all means, cut him off.
He regularly says things that make you feel like you have to fight for his affection.
Men know that people tend to want things they can't have, and those who have control issues typically will use this against women. A guy who's playing power and control games with a girl will often make a point to make the woman he's targeting feel like she has to fight to get him.
For example, he might tell a brunette that he only dates blondes. Or, he may seem totally nonplussed by efforts you make to please him, and ask you why you didn't do anything better.
If he's playing power games with you, you'll always find him tossing out little "frisbees" to catch in order to gain his affection. Don't fall for it. He's emotionally withholding as a way to control you and amuse himself.
He pretends he's not interested in you, but starts to chase you when you leave.
This weird power-grabbing move is what guys use in order to keep women who have low self-esteem wrapped around their little finger. If he's doing this to you, you have to recognize it for what it is: abuse.
If he's running hot and cold, you better understand the games men play. He's doing this to keep you in the palm of his hand, and it's not something you should tolerate.
At this point, you have already fallen for his tricks. He already has you where he wants you, and you're in his control. The best way to save yourself from further abuse is to leave, and not look back.
You often get the nagging feeling that he's going to dump you.
Some men get women to scramble for their affection by acting as if they're about to dump them. Among Pickup Artists, this is often called "Dread Game," and it's a control tactic men use to keep women "in line."
Does he seem to pull this any time you start standing up for yourself? There are two reasons why this might be. Either he's playing power games with you, or he legitimately doesn't want to bother with the relationship anymore. Either way, it's best to walk away from him when you see this.
He refuses to talk to you, or shuts down unless things are done his way.
This is also called "cold shouldering" or "stonewalling" by relationship experts, and it's often a sign of a dying relationship. That being said, this isn't on you. The people who stonewall their partners are usually the ones who killed the relationship.
People who stonewall others typically do this because they are either socially inept, or because they are trying to control women. The idea behind it is that they hope women will eventually give in, in hopes that their partner will go back to being engaged and loving with them.
When you confront him about his behavior, he doesn't seem fazed or refuses to apologize.
Men who tend to have a control obsession need to control everything about their interactions with women. This includes the way they react when called out on their shit.
For this category of guys, nothing quite makes them feel like they lost control like admitting fault or seeming guilty about their behavior. So, they will avoid admitting fault, apologizing, or even acting like what they do is a big deal.
It may seem like ego is what causes this, but in reality, it's a need for control. They want you to submit to them, even if it means bullying you into it and making you feel like you're crazy to do it.
He regularly hits on other women in front of you.
Any man who has common sense would know that hitting on other women in front of his partner or a girl who likes him will be hurtful. It's just the way life is, and it's also a matter of human nature.
This form of power play is called "triangulation," and it's a way to set up a way to get two women to compete over one man. The women aren't in control here, because they're too busy doing the "pick me" dance. The guy is, though, because he's the one who chooses.
Other people point out that he's playing power games with you.
Finally, there's something to be said about what others notice about someone you're dating. Many women have come across the dilemma, should you tell your BFF that her boyfriend is a douche? A good friend will. Most people can tell when someone's being manipulative, for the sake of gaining power over someone, even when the target doesn't notice it at all.
If you aren't sure if he's trying to do weird mind games with you, ask your friends to observe his behavior. Chances are, they will pick up on vibes that you might not be able to see.
Born in the Ukraine and currently a citizen of New York City, Sasha Konikovo has become obsessed with makeup, fashion, and anything that keeps her svelte figure looking sharp. She hopes to marry a billionaire and have a lifestyle like Paris Hilton soon enough.