Mind games  

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Playing mind games (also power games or head games) is the largely conscious struggle for psychological one-upmanship, often employing passive–aggressive behavior to specifically demoralize or dis-empower the thinking subject, making the aggressor look superior. It also describes the unconscious games played by people engaged in ulterior transactions of which they are not fully aware, and which transactional analysis considers to form a central element of social life all over the world.

The first known use of the term "mind game" dates from 1963, and "head game" from 1977.

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