I can only conjecture why people ‘play games’, I don’t understand it and I can’t identify with it. I don’t remember ever playing head games.
According to Wikipedia it is “Psychological one-upmanship” and this definition surely describes what I see.
In the work world, we have this activity called training. Training is a way to get the job done and to get new staff up to speed quickly. It is an extremely beneficial activity because it instills confidence and creates efficiency. However, at some levels in the corporation, training becomes a competition, something to prove a point. From an external observation point withholding knowledge seems ridiculous for a number of reasons: The first reason is that often, the perpetrator believes that s/he is proving a point about another’s intelligence or lack thereof. This is never the case, because even if it proves difficult for the new person to complete a task unaided by support, no one ever views it the way the perpetrator wishes it to be viewed.
Sometimes this one-up-man-ship is just for self-gratification. The person with knowledge enjoys knowing something that others do not know. Watching others look for the information is a way to demonstrate one’s self superiority over others.
What I find most amazing about this withholding of knowledge is that, knowledge does not prove anything about intellect at all. Knowledge, in no way, demonstrates critical thinking skills, or reasoning abilities. Knowledge is just knowing something and something always changes over time. This perpetrator works hard to prove how smart she is and instead proves that her intellect is lacking. While knowledge may be power, strength is in numbers. Sharing knowledge is the only fool proof way to maintain knowledge.
The other type of mind game is the one where I pretend to know it all and won’t consider that anyone else is correct. From an external observation point, this is an extremely difficult stance to maintain. Many, many people work hard to maintain a know-it-all stance. From what I have seen and observed, the difficulty lies in the need to ignore information to the contrary of this belief “I know it all.” This person will tell everyone how to do the chore, when the chore does not work out or the instructions prove incorrect, this person must find a reason that proves that their instructions were above reproach and must have been either misunderstood or perhaps not followed. It is difficult to ignore all of the information that tells them that there was a mistake, but even more difficult is the need to convince others that their eyes deceive them. Instead of the “customer is always right”, the mantra is that “the boss is always right”. Or, in the absence of being the actual boss, just the person with a forceful personality.
As for the forceful personality: when it comes to discussing things with this person, there will be no discussion. If in fact, you do not agree with the point of view that they favor, insults will start. The conversation becomes harsh and ugly, because this is the behavioral fallback position of the bully (think Trump). Again, mind games, head games and one-up-man-ship are the rules of the discussion.
I normally do not write an article about a person, it is always a conglomeration of events that keep happening that I have a need to describe. Usually I describe to understand. And so it is with this discussion, just a need to understand.