They’re played by drill sergeants, my Chinese roommate, and my brother.
There might be insults about your stuff primal to your pride like your weight, hair, or nationality, but it might be a game. For instance, my brother scolded me for long hair in one of our spats, but his son has long hair, and he never seemed to complain about it. Also his other son had long hair.
Now, some things people criticize are fair game by anyone’s standards. I mean, how can the Marines tolerate someone’s whose a slob?
The Sissification Game
This is where negative attributes of your behavior/looks are exaggerated to humiliate you. Again, it’s mostly fake and not real. For instance, my brother, on hearing that I said my time is all used up caring for my elderly parent, said: “Yeah, I’ve been working in the hot sun all day.” He doesn’t work in the hot sun all day. It was just a little remark to imply I was some wimp who wasn’t working like a Mexican, so my claims of working hard mean nothing.
The Go Home Game
This is where they offer you the continual option of leaving – even highly encouraging it. For instance, my Chinese roommate at the religious school would say, “What’s here?” The place was isolated – nowhere important. “Why not try your luck in Chicago or something?”
Of course the psychology here is that those truly deserving the job will not leave despite the mind game.