“Mind games is used to define three forms of competitive human behaviors:
- a 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; also referred to as power games or head games. 
- 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.
- mental exercises designed to improve the functioning of mind and/or personality; see also brain teasers or puzzles.
The first known use of “mind game” is in 1963. The first known use of “head game” is in 1977.”
In intimate relationships, mind games can be used to undermine one partner’s belief in the validity of their own perceptions. Personal experience may be denied and driven from memory; and such abusive mind games may extend to denial of the victim’s reality, social undermining, and the trivializing of what is felt to be important.