mind games

plural noun
Often, mind game. psychological manipulation or strategy, used especially to gain advantage or to intimidate.

Origin:
1970–75

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mind games
 
pl n
actions or statements intended to undermine or mislead someone else, often to gain advantage for oneself: she started playing mind games with me

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
So stop playing mind games with yourself and examine the evidence.
They will wax rhapsodic about the mind games-within-a-game hitters and pitchers
  play.
Leave it to a good author to play clever mind games with their audience.
Too many folks out there play those nonsensical mind games and think it's okay
  to hide things from one another.
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