Anger playing online games?

Postby zukabarli » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:21 pm

I hope this doesn't sound like a silly or stupid issue, but I've almost always had this problem ever since I was a kid (I'm 26 now) and it doesn't seem to go away with time. I've never really put too much thought into why I get really angry when I lose in online games because when I think about it rationally, it's just silly.

I don't even play competitively or anything, I just play for fun, and it seems as though I only enjoy playing as part of a team rather than 1v1, which is when I get extremely frustrated and angry. I Googled on how to decrease that anger and stress and tried several methods but none of them worked.

At a certain age of my life, I'd actually break something because I would get so outraged but as time went on, I decided to avoid doing that because it's not only costing me a lot of mental frustration, but also money. lol

I am not even an angry or violet person who gets easily frustrated or stressed in normal, real-life situations, but for some reason playing 1v1 in online games like FIFA, for example, makes me quite angry when losing.

I know that the easiest solution would be to just stop playing 1v1, especially in games like fifa, but at the same time I actually do enjoy online games when I have free time and I don't want to be that kind of guy. I sometimes find myself trying to avoid 1v1 situations because I know how angry and upset I will be if I lose.

As I said, it's a bit of a minor issue because playing online with friends and as part of a team is always much better and more enjoyable, but I don't want to start getting angry every time I play and lose a 1v1 game because that's just not healthy. I've considered talking to a psychiatrist about it but I thought I should give online forums a shot first.

Thank you for your time.
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#1

Postby Leo Volont » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:47 am

zukabarli wrote:I hope this doesn't sound like a silly or stupid issue, but I've almost always had this problem ever since I was a kid (I'm 26 now) and it doesn't seem to go away with time. I've never really put too much thought into why I get really angry when I lose in online games because when I think about it rationally, it's just silly.

I don't even play competitively or anything, I just play for fun, and it seems as though I only enjoy playing as part of a team rather than 1v1, which is when I get extremely frustrated and angry. I Googled on how to decrease that anger and stress and tried several methods but none of them worked.

At a certain age of my life, I'd actually break something because I would get so outraged but as time went on, I decided to avoid doing that because it's not only costing me a lot of mental frustration, but also money. lol

I am not even an angry or violet person who gets easily frustrated or stressed in normal, real-life situations, but for some reason playing 1v1 in online games like FIFA, for example, makes me quite angry when losing.

I know that the easiest solution would be to just stop playing 1v1, especially in games like fifa, but at the same time I actually do enjoy online games when I have free time and I don't want to be that kind of guy. I sometimes find myself trying to avoid 1v1 situations because I know how angry and upset I will be if I lose.

As I said, it's a bit of a minor issue because playing online with friends and as part of a team is always much better and more enjoyable, but I don't want to start getting angry every time I play and lose a 1v1 game because that's just not healthy. I've considered talking to a psychiatrist about it but I thought I should give online forums a shot first.

Thank you for your time.

Good Morning Zukabarli,

I was reading a recent Anger Management Book by perhaps the best Anger Management Author out there, Ronald Potter-Efron, a Psychologist who has even written college Textbooks on Anger Management as well as a bunch of more affordable popular books. The book I am referring to which I think applies to your case is “The Angry Brain”. One of the things I picked up from it is that there are two forms of aggression in humans and predator mammals, and each is controlled by a different section of the brain. The first form of aggression is that of a hunter-predator. It is calm and focused. For instance, a large jungle cat, or even a mouser domestic cat, will quietly stalk its prey, stay low, and when the time is right will charge while keeping its eyes on target. It is all business. There is no loud yowling. Even if the charge misses, the pursuit of an escaping quarry will be aggressive but silent. Think of “Cat and Mouse”. It never seems like the predatory animal is emotionally involved. The second form of aggression is defensive. You take the same cat and place it in a situation where it is cornered by an even larger predator, or even one of the same species which is threatening its territory, or presenting as a sexual rival, then you have a great deal of noise and bluster. The cat will puff up its fur and it will stand in profile to appear larger, and it will make the evilest possible noises it can conceive of in order to project the idea that it is a virtual demon from hell. Even a little feral kitten will present such a frightening aspect that most people will be afraid to get near it (but you should really just laugh and pick the little thing up and hold it to your chest. As soon as they hear a heartbeat their defensive aggression is naturally inhibited because they associate the heartbeat with being fed by it mother. Oh, but only up to a point. When a ‘kitten’ gets old enough to where it is likely weaned off of its mother’s milk and its fur is less ‘pin feathery’ and more like adult fur, then the ‘kitten’ would likely bite you up like a sewing machine. When in doubt, wear a heavy flannel shirt and wear welders gloves. You might have guessed, that in addition to volunteering here on the Anger Management Forum, I also work with cats).

Anyway, think about what it means to have two different parts in your brain which handle aggression: one that is calm and calculating, and the other which is batsht crazy. One is goal oriented and focused, and the other is purely survival defensive and only wishes the Bad Thing to go away. Every Sports Coach should know about this. Everyone already does, in a strange way. If you go to any High School or College Playoff Game, or even some Professional Games, and look at the behavior of the teams, you might notice that the Team that is ahead is intense but also calm and focused, but the Team that is falling behind is becoming increasingly agitated and vocal. The term for that is “choking” or “psyched out”. The term for the winning team is “psyched up”. In pool, billiards and boxing they call it the ‘eye of the tiger’. Unfortunately you can often see the Defensive Irrational Batsht behaviors even from the Coaching Staffs. They should know better. A winning team has to be focussed and goal oriented. Defensive Noise and Bluster looks scary but it won’t put points on the board.

Oh, a lot of Gambling Gamers and Sports Athletes know about how Anger brings Irrationality and Erratic Play, and so they will taunt and insult their opponents. I worked my way through College as a Golf Caddy and it was amazing how many ways the High Roller Players had to get on the nerves of their opponents. They call that “getting under their skin” or “pushing their buttons”. But most players should know what is happening and just treat it all like “Yeah, yeah… your mother too”. I don’t know about “1 vs 1” online playing and how much interaction between contestants is possible, but you should always test out being rude and obnoxious to see if it that works for you against particular players. If you ever a get a “yeah, yeah, your mother too” response you know you are playing against an equal and can save your breath.

Which brings us to you. Let me guess that you are calm and contained as long as you are well ahead on points, and that your behavior changes as you get the feeling that the other guy is going to be handing you your head.

Luckily you came to the right place. Over the years of reading all the anger management books and dealing with my own problems I discovered a trick for shutting down impulsive bouts of anger. But let me explain a little bit of it first. It seems that the Defensive Aggression Form of Anger is fuelled by a brain gland secretion called Cortisol. The brain gland that releases it is below the level of conscious awareness, and it may take a few seconds for your Conscious Higher Thought Centers to realize the onset of an anger episode, and by that time it might be too late anyway, because one of the first things Cortisol does is redirect Mental Brain Energies away from the Higher Functions and more toward the Animal Instinctual Response Center (which is another reason why Angry Players start playing very stupidly… and Angry Coaches start making tactically stupid decisions). Many Anger Management Books are stumped when it comes to this point. It would seem that everyone is simply stuck with Explosive Anger which starts from Subconscious Impulse and which then defies the ability of the Higher Mental Functions to control the behavior and shut it down. BUT HERE’S THE TRICK. The very first thing that happens when that brain gland just begins to release cortisol is that the Jaw Muscles tighten up. You might feel yourself clenching your teeth. You see, the jaw muscles are the first muscle groups to feel the influence of the Cortisol because they are within mere inches of that cortisol brain gland. AS SOON AS YOU FEEL YOUR JAW MUSCLES TIGHT UP, SIMPLY RELAX THEM. DON’T WAIT. DON’T THINK ABOUT IT FIRST. What you need to do is practice the Relaxation Response. One lady wrote back to tell me that she has learned to simply OPEN HER MOUTH. That makes sense, right? I should have thought of it, but that is why it is good to talk to other people. Sometimes other people think of some really cool ideas. So, anyway, whenever you feel your jaws tighten, or you clench your teeth, in that very millisecond Open Your Mouth.

I know it works. I have four cats that keep me well practiced. I love the things, but they can be naughty little devils and where I used to yell and cuss at them for being bad, now I simply feel my teeth clench and I open my mouth and just say “Foxxy you be good!” or “Punky you be good!” and that’s that.

Anyway, Zuka B, try it and let us at the Forum here know how it goes.
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#2

Postby zukabarli » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:23 pm

Thank you so, so much for your excellent, informative, and helpful reply, I truly appreciate the time and effort you've put into this, Leo. I've never heard of that author before but now I am inclined to start reading some of his works on Anger Management because at the age of 26, I've come to realize that it is a problem, be it minor or major, that I have to deal with.

The way I think about it is the way I think about smoking cigarettes, because at first I did it not knowing the huge impact and negative effects smoking had and I actually enjoyed it, but the older I got the more I realized that it is a devastating and absolutely horrendous habit but unfortunately I have not been able to kick it completely yet. Anger at online games is like that for me, because when I got those outbursts playing online games as a kid, it seemed normal because I was losing, however nowadays I just feel like it's a huge issue that I should be smart enough and conscious enough to deal with it.

You're right, at time when I am stressed and feel like the match or game or w.e is slipping, I start clinching my teeth in hopes of restraining myself from becoming loud and vocal, but it seems like it actually has the opposite effect. And of course, being angry while playing a video game, exercising, playing sports, or just about any activity with competitive elements completely throws you off your game, which is another reason I have to tackle this problem so I can remain calm and collected.

One way that works for me is listening to music I like while playing 1v1 because although it doesn't break my concentration and focus on performing well in the game, it does relieve me of the stress and frustration quite a lot. However, that still shouldn't be the way I handle it because deep inside, I feel like I can get over this problem. I've also talked to some of my good friends who play online with me and it seems like every one of them has a similar problem but each of them deals with that anger differently.

I am going to attempt the method you mentioned of just talking or opening my mouth in general and avoiding clinching my teeth and hoping it works.

The main reason is not only for video games which sounds a bit stupid, but I also want to be in control of my reactions in life in general when things don't go my way. I've had similar outbursts when driving, for example, because unfortunately where I live, there are a lot of absolutely awful drivers who got their licenses by bribes and connections, so you have to be defensive the whole time. Another situation which really brings out that frustration inside me also happens to be heavy traffic, but again music really helps which is why I attempted it with video games and it seemed to work.

Thank you again, Leo, for all your help and I am going to try and follow that method in the future.
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#3

Postby Leo Volont » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:34 am

Dear Zukabarli,

It’s definitely uncanny. Accept for the details, it seems you are me when I was 26. If such is really the case you should take up violin right now. This is how it would play out: you would stick to it for about 10 years, learning to play by ear, until you were quite good, being surprised you could play so well without even having to think about it. Then you would go over to piano keyboard for about 30 years, until you got frustrated with pulverizing the cheap plastic things (even when they are worth thousands of dollars, they can’t stand up to energetic demonstrative playing… looking at all of the performing keyboard players on stage today, I can’t help but think they are all a great bunch of little sister pussies), so you will flip back to your first love, strings… maybe get a 5 string electric bass strung with higher octave ‘piccolo’ strings (because a real 5 string bass is “all thunder and no lightning”. And guitars have plenty of lightning, but the strings are too close together and that prevents any detailed energetic and demonstrative finger picking). You would use flat wound strings because that was what was on your old violins and you still like the old feel, and you would oil the neck so you could move and slip around better (and you would need any help to get the same Speed on a meter long bass neck as a tiny little violin neck). Taking up Music would give you the same Skill Challenge of Gaming with none of the competitive stresses and anxieties, though I must warn you that Musicians are the cattiest lot on the planet.

But yes, I also smoked. And I can help you with that too. Breaking that habit, as you have intuited by now, is not easy. I only started smoking cigarettes back during those old Hippy Days because, back then, we would all relax in the evening with a marijuana joint or two, and back then all the grass was really harsh ditch weed (I hear the pot today is much better, and that if anybody nowadays was sold anything that was only twice as good as what we thought was ‘primo’ back then, that they would complain of being ripped hard and deep). But, yes, nicotine is a very powerful cough suppressant and so all the potheads also smoked cigarettes in order to minimize the coughing and gagging (yeah, the weed was really “smooth” back then). But after 3 years, and I had stopped smoking pot, the price of a pack of cigarettes in the cigarette machines went up to three-quarters of an American Dollar which I thought outrageous at the time and so I resolved to quit. It took me 13 ‘tries’ over 3 more years before I could finally quite , and a ‘try’ did not count unless I could go 3 days without smoking, which is very difficult in and of itself, no? I learned how to make the first day easy, though… what you do is you go to a bar where you will plan to have beers for about 3 or 4 hours and you bring along two packs of a brand of menthol cigarettes called Newports. Of course, Newports were a fine menthol cigarette in moderation, but if you are determined to suck down two packs of them in just 4 hours, the things will make you sick and disgusted with smoking, and so the next day you will still be too green and nauseous to smoke. Then after you have one day under your belt, and realize that if you start smoking again, that your punishment will be to do the Newport Trick all over again, well, that gets you past day two and day three, etc. But then, there always seems to be something that breaks one’s resolve, such as job stress, or a romantic breakup… one time I got back to smoking because I made change for a dollar so that a man could buy a pack of cigarettes from a machine, and he offered me one in gratitude. Finally my Dreams came to my aid. It seems that I saw a pattern in which if I found myself smoking in my dreams, I would soon start up smoking again in waking life. So there was this one pivotal dream in which I found a cigarette the vee between my fingers and thought “no” and flicked it away. But just moments later in the dream I noticed that there was again another cigarette between my fingers, so I flicked it away too. Then it got weird and magical because every time I flicked a cigarette away, a new cigarette would appear in my fingers, and so it was kind of like I had turned into a repeat firing cigarette flicker. But I persisted until I woke up. Well, amazingly, I never smoked another cigarette after that dream. Cool huh? Apparently Dream Resolve acts like a kind of Deep Permanent Hypnosis. Oh, it works for Anger too! If you can keep from getting Angry in your dreams, you got it knocked. For instance, just a few weeks ago I had a dream that I was some Regimental Commander and my troops were occupying this one man’s Farm and certainly being a great inconvenience to himself and his family, and while I stayed close to the Family to assure that none of my men would take any liberties with the women folk, still the Farmer became all stressed out and addressed me in a very bitter, insulting and sarcastic way. So, there I was, a Regimental Commander, and could have swatted that man like a fly, but in a very intellectual and dispassionate manner I turned to him and said, “I completely understand. I’ll make arrangements immediately so as to locate myself and my Regiment so as to better secure your family’s peace and privacy”. The man was totally dumbfounded with my answering his rude surliness as though it had been a reasonable and well thought out petition. And yes, from the Anger Management Point of View, it had been an extremely well executed De-Escalation. Perhaps it was a mile stone for me. You see, De-Escalating Other People’s Anger is sort of the Holy Grail Master Piece Accomplishment for anybody who studies to be accomplished in Anger Management.

Oh, Zukabarli, thanks for the insight! It hadn’t occurred to me that anybody would grit their teeth in order to NOT get angry, but, OF COURSE THEY ALL DO! Thank you! I should have thought of that myself, but often we get caught up in our own Conceptual Matrixes and can no longer see the greater forest because of all those trees being in the way. So, yes, thank you. That is the kind of insight that helps me do my work around here.

Oh, and I thought you only had the one problem, competitive loser’s anger, and so I did not give you the general discussion I usually give to ‘Generally’ Angry People. But now I should. Of course, your Anger is not super serious Rage Anger, but still ANY degree of Anger will be a detriment to anybody’s career and relationships and how many party invitation lists you get to land on. The Trick to addressing General Anger is to adopt the methodologies used by the Psychology Therapists nowadays – Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Yes, buy books by that Psychologist Ronald Potter-Efron. Reading a chapter a day will keep your head in the game on the long term. Getting Good at Anger Management is Practice Practice Practice… just like gaming or playing the fiddle. And it will take years before you will become an Accomplished Player. Most Angry People give up too soon, at just their first small sign of progress, and so they eventually fall back. You need to commit early on to the long haul. Just like with my Violin. I knew I was picking it up for Life.

So, anyway, the Basic Principle of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, let’s call it CBT, is to REVIEW your thoughts and behaviors for conditioned and habitual patterns that are doing you a disservice, and then to REVISE them into better Thoughts and better Behavioral Habits. Reviewing is a challenge because often people think they have terribly good reasons for doing what gets them into trouble all the time. For instance there are Assertiveness Fanatics who believe that they need to explain to everybody else why the World is so Stupid and they themselves are so Smart, which makes them socially and professionally obnoxious. But they will have a thousand reasons that convince themselves that they must continue such behavior. So you must go into REVIEW with a clear idea of what you want to be… what results you want to see in your life. For instance, I wanted to be Socially Congenial, while still being Relationship Distant… everyone’s Friend but nobody’s personal property. Professionally I decided to be minimally competent but congenial and a pleasure for everybody to be around in the Office. Yes, there is a great deal of Corporate Propaganda about Excellence in the Workplace, and taking Ownership, and being Self Motivated and all that, but in Real Life some Self Motivated Highly Driven Employee that develops his own Agenda through some sense of Ownership will inevitably appear to become pushy, opinionated, selfish and overly territorial. Even the Boss might wonder how safe his own Job is if one of his own Supervisors decides to patronize this pushy little ‘Replacement’. So, forget everything the Corporate Masters SAY, and realize that the True Workplace Ideal is just the Happy Go Lucky Slob that Carries His Own Weight and is easy to get along with – no more, no less. I myself had the problem of being a Driven Employee, and while it often worked for me and I had a great sense of self-satisfaction at times, I can look back and honestly say that it was way over the top and actually hurt my career. Beside, looking at it Philosophically, being an Employee is simply to be a Wage Slave. If Workers were Partners it would be different, but they’re not. The Capitalists couldn’t be more up front about their position regarding the Exploitation of Labor. So, in that regards, it is simply silly to work any harder than one absolutely needs to, and it would be silly to ‘take ownership’ of what ultimately only belongs to the Share Holders, whoever they are. You know, if the Share Holders want drive and dedication, then let them come in and put on a shop aprons themselves. If they are not willing to do the work for their own profits, then screw, blue and tattoo them and then serve them up for breakfast on the morning of the dawning of Revolution. Yeah, yeah…. “We have nothing to lose but our chains”, and all that….

So you see REVIEW can take on a Life of Its Own. Once you start Reviewing your Thoughts and Behaviors you may begin to question more than you started with…. Which is a good thing…. I think… I’ll have to think about it… But that is how REVIEW works.

REVISE takes Imagination. You can’t just NOT do thing and NOT think things. You have to fill in the Vacuums. So it is good to think about what you should think and do instead. For instance, with Driving. The books tell you to DISPUTE your Bad Thinking. Well, how would you dispute and correct thinking that somebody who cuts you off in traffic isn’t a horrible person and needs to be provocatively signaled in order that he or she may know that you have personally registered your disgust with them? Well, I determined that I should be Empathetic with them. For instance, when I myself am being cut off in traffic I have REHEARSED myself to think “Oh dear me! That person must be terribly late for work, or is obviously rushing his sick Aunt to the hospital! Quick! I must tap my break and move over. Oh, watch behind… I wouldn’t want to add to the alarm of any other of my fellow drivers, etc” … you see how that works, don’t you? You focus on making the best out of what you really couldn’t change anyway. Oh, that reminds me of a movie I had seen about two racecar drivers. In the first race in which they meet each other, the first thoroughly scientific driver had obviously planned his turn-ins and “lines” through the curves in order to achieve the best possible lap rates. But the second driver determined that that first driver would Win the Race if he were allowed to continue on like that uninterrupted, and since the First Principle of Racing is really to win the race and not to have necessarily the fastest time, he decided that he would gun into the next corner straight into the projected line of that other driver, where of course he would have to then break hard so as not to go off the track himself, which would slow down his entry into the next straightaway BUT that just getting in the way of the other driver would force him off the track and at least temporarily out of the race. Well, that is what happened. It had been an inspired Tactic and it worked like a charm. The Slower but Craftier Racer actually won the race. But that was followed by the scene where the Scientific Intellectual Genius Racer, who lost, approaches the Winner and expressed a great deal of anger towards him. But the Winner just laughs! He thinks it all quite amusing… that a man so obviously intelligent would know everything about racing except how to Win. Well, getting back to the Real World and our concerns for Anger Management and dealing with your mild version of Road Rage….the Road to Work is just like that movie Race Track, but ITS NOT EVEN A RACE. If we don’t even have to Win, then there is nothing to get angry about, is there? We only have to Plan our own “Line” in anticipation for what any of the other drivers MIGHT do. We only need to stay on the track.

Oh, and here is a Real Life Story…. there was this one time decades ago, when I was careless and had entered a lane while a car was coming up in my blind spot. It would have been a certain collision, but this guy coming up on me whipped his BMW off the road and through the empty outside lanes of a gas station, and then popped out on the road ahead of me, tires squealing the whole way. Wow! What Great Driving! And then I thought the man was going to be furious at me. But we came up to the next light which turned had turned red. I was so embarrassed and ashamed! I looked over at that other driver who had taken the next lane over, and he was only just lighting up a cigarette. He didn’t even bother to look over at me. Wow! That taught me a Life Lesson. If what I had done was not enough to piss off this other really fine driver, then nothing was! I guess from that moment on I had resolved not ever to get angry at anything while driving. Indeed, now that I think about it, while I had been plagued all my life with bouts of angry behavior, it seems that Driving was the one thing that I could do with perfect equanimity, and it was because of that early Life Lesson when I was in my twenties.


Anyway, this Post is getting monstrously massive…. I should edit what I got, and let you go on with it.

But, please, let’s continue our dialogue though. As you have noticed by now, I have replied to a quite a number of posts. Until you get your Books in the post, you can read some of my responses and get a feel for CBT as I have come to understand it. In Anger Management Circles, you could do a lot worse.
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