Depending on who you ask – me or your mom – you’ll get different answers on whether I’m addicted to video games. I think she has some legitimate claims, but no one likes to think themselves an addict of any nature. Your mom doesn’t mind that I play, but more often than not, she will get upset about it because apparently I can be a dick to her (her words are “you’re so mean”), and I am unavailable for an hour at a time.
I really don’t intend to be mean to your mom. Something about competitive video games gets me riled up and impatient, and the excess testosterone makes me really rough around the edges. And because the game I play involves nine other (real) people, I have a hard time pulling myself away (and effectively ruin the game) so I can help your mom get something from the top shelf. I know, I know, there are no excuses for any of it. It’s a silly game, and I shouldn’t be prioritizing a bunch of strangers over her.
But I still play despite it being a divisive issue in our otherwise beautiful relationship. Besides, your mom doesn’t want me to stop playing or to take away something that I enjoy (just another reason I love her! Also note that this doesn’t apply to you if you’re grounded and we take away some futuristic gadget we don’t know how to operate).
So we’ve tried to come up with other solutions. For example, I tell her that I will be playing before I start so she knows I’ll be preoccupied and that I might be in “mean” mode for a bit. This worked out pretty well until it didn’t. Somewhere along the way, I started thinking that this “solution” or rule granted me some sort of immunity or exemption status. So whenever I told your mother I was going to play a game, I thought I was entitled to be mean, and if she took any collateral damage, it was her fault for getting in the way.
“Just because you’re playing doesn’t mean you’re allowed to be mean,” she would say.
Deep down, I know that to be true. But, I still argued that she invited my “meanness” by trying to talk to me during one of my game sessions. And so back and forth we went until we literally passed out in exhaustion (on a weeknight, no less!). All she wanted was an apology for me being mean, and all I could do was focus on this “rule” we had created to avoid these types of situations. First, it’s amazing how long we can talk in circles for. Second, I really don’t know what compels me to get so defensive and avoid apologizing. I’m sure there’s some psychology behind it all, but I think it just boils down to stupid ol’ pride and a desire to win.
I read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” I read John Gray’s “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” I’ve had family, friends, and strangers tell me “happy wife, happy life,” so it’s not lost on me that I am going about it all the wrong way. Unfortunately, you’re next on the list of people I’ll probably end up frustrated/impatient at, but between your grandma and your mom, I think they’re giving me sufficient training on how to work around that.
Anyway, I’ve apologized to your mom about all this even though it took a day and a half of mutual cold shoulder-ing. As a bonus though, it was the reason why we ended up with a living room that could accommodate our glamping adventure (your mom had gone ahead and rearranged the living room on her own during our cold war).