I’m sure you know someone with an extremely competitive nature.

They eat, sleep, and breathe winning. They fantasize and might even have trouble focusing on the task at hand because they want to win.

I’ve noticed this with a friend and how hard it is for this person to not win or be the best. The reactions are intense and spiraling.

It’s one thing to strive for excellence and have a strong work ethic…but it becomes a problem when it crosses into an extreme of all of nothing style thinking that controls a person’s belief about “who they are” because of winning or loosing.

Fear is what drives this kind of person. They fear what losing means for them…about them. Their shame based thinking transfers their identity to be determined by if they won or lost.

If I win and I’m the best then I AM good and have worth. If I lose, I am not good enough, bad, a failure, and a loser. The over personalization of who they are is based on their performance. This is dangerous because NONE of us are perfect, so mistakes are inevitable.

To simplify it, this person has conditional love for himself. He will only love himself under the conditions that he has performed well enough. It is sad that they can only see their value if they win. So his obsession with winning is to protect himself from the negative spiral that comes from loosing and having to sit in the mindset of…I can’t love me because of my failure.

I know this is some deep explanation of our competitive friends, but I hope you understand a little more about their irrational mindset that is driving the addiction to winning. Remember that it has more to do with their internal war than it has to with them beating you.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC