Does anyone else play this game:
In any situation, you randomly pick someone to be your rival then closely study them so you can assess whether you are ‘winning’.
Now the fun part of the game is to simultaneously find reasons why life is giving them an unfair advantage (they are prettier or thinner, they suck up to the boss, they are wearing red shoes – it doesn’t matter what the reason, so long as you can hate them for beating you) while constantly changing the goal posts to ensure you NEVER win.
You can play this anywhere – at work, at school, at home, waiting in the queue for the toilet, walking down the street. Pick someone and then compare yourself. Are they thinner? Do they have better hair? Are they better dressed than you? It works best though if you are in close contact with them, close enough to see their sucesses but not close enough to know how hard they’ve worked for it – that way they seem to beat you effortlessly every time.
Of course, you never let your rival know it’s competition, you just play it out in your head. The ultimate objective is to make sure you never, at any time, feel like you are good enough. You get resentment and envy and sick inside. Even when someone gets something you have never wanted, you hate them for it.
I do this ALL the time and I’m only starting to realise. Sometimes I can use it to my advantage – if I’m running and I pick out someone I want to beat, I run faster – but mostly it’s just a stupid head game.
As a kid, my mum constantly compared me unfairably to my sister. Because that always works out well. My sister was the popular one who always fitted in, I wasn’t. My sister worked hard to get good marks, I never worked hard (but got good marks anyway). I only found out as an adult that she did the same thing to my sister.
It’s a horrible thing to say but I think on some level my mum was so insecure that she never wanted us to be close.
I can’t change my childhood but I can change how I react to things as an adult. I don’t win by being the thinnest or having the most money or the best hair (I still want to have the prettiest shoes though). I win by not competing in the first place – working out what makes me happy and going after it, not worrying about anybody else.