Thursday, March 5, 2015

Alpha Mail: Diagnosis Gamma 2

Continued from Part 1:
Are You Gamma: Part 2

"You constantly throw out flippant remarks with the expectations they are always amusing, appropriate, and funny."

I do this a lot, it seems to be my main form of communication. Is it all about having a front, I don't really want people knowing who I am perhaps?

Ive also developed a tendency to stay "mad stuff". When I say mad I mean stuff your either not meant to say, its shocking or perceived to be shocking. The only purpose in saying it is to be shocking. Not sure whats happening there but I sometimes cringe the next day when I think about it. I did that last week about something. It tends to be with people who will laugh along whether its funny or not. If I suspect people will blank me or expose me I tend to just go quiet. I find people who I regard as "real men" intimidating, they are much less likely to find those things funny and I'm going to tend to feel cut out of conversations with them. They are what I'd think as "normal". I'm not sure exactly what "real men" and "normal" is but I know it when I see it. I think its to do with adulthood and maturity perhaps.
This, of course, confirms what we already knew. The Gamma's breezy, cheesy confidence is a massive false front. He is trying to impress people and establish a false impression, which often leads to attempting to control the narrative in order to prevent the falsity of that impression from being exposed.

The solution? Stop lying. First stop lying to yourself. Then stop lying to others. And quit being flippant. It's not clever, it's seldom funny, and it tends to be passive-aggressive:

This relates to the part of the list about competition, dealing with winning and losing. I've always played quite a lot of sport or competition although nothing athletic any more. One thing I've found playing pool is Ive found a level I'm winning at and rarely go any higher if it means my win rate will suffer. If I sense I haven't got an edge then I'll tend to move away from that or play that level the minimum amount of times.

I played in division 1 of regional league, till last year, and can compete reasonably well with lower level/B internationals if I'm playing well. I've had one particularly good run in a tournament at that sort of level but played very few. Given my ability I should probably be or have qualified for B international a few times over the years. The problem is competing at that level means I will definitely not feel in control, I'm up against players my own level or often better. The anxiety levels are much higher. In the tournament I did well in I struggled to eat or drink the whole day. When I did get beat I felt utter relief when I lost, all that anxiety gone, I joked to my friend at the time that you'll never see a guy with a bigger smile on his face after losing (more witty remarks?). This along with other experiences put me off playing at that level. Just didn't want to have to deal with those feelings/emotions.

The other thing is winning at pool makes me feel good but more importantly it can give me status in certain settings. Given I don't have it pretty much anywhere else in my life being "the guy who's good at pool" gives me some level of feeling of higher status. I can only get that at a lower level where those players look up to my game. Saying that I'd never play at a level where everybody is very bad I'm not sure why though but don't think it would feel like I'm "good". Need to beat people who at least think they are pretty good players to feel the sense of status I'm looking for. Objectively I am a "good" player, but being good and ending up with a 40% win/loss record feels worse to me than going a bit lower so it will be 60%+.

Had a bustup last year which is why Ive gone to another team in Div 2. It involved a guy who's about my level. A lot of people talk about frame and his seems to be very strong. I feel like guys like him can see straight through me. He was new to the team and perhaps over estimated how brittle I am given how I try to cultivate myself as the "drinker" "banter" "doesn't care" guy. He was just joking/ribbing with me, as well as going on a run of wins while we were practicing. I bottled this up a bit but it stung a lot, and I kept it in, getting ratty over that is pathetic so feeling that way must be kept in in my head. I got drunk later on and got ranty over who knows what. Think I stopped playing week after and wormed my way into another side at the club where I can play bad, scrape some wins, and still get legend status off the guys.

I'd rather play for Div 1 side and play in the tournaments but to do it I have to know how to manage those feelings/emotions so I don't end up blowing up and over reacting (over reacting doesn't have to be outward, can just be dropping out/bottoming out of things given little obvious signals to other people). I tend to avoid any situation where anxiety will increase to certain level, but in doing that I miss out on a lot. Its likely alcohol makes all this worse, however its become a huge social crutch to me, and my whole social life revolves around bar/pool/darts.
Being a big fish in a small pond is just another way of stating "fear of failure". What GW needs to do is STOP AVOIDING FAILURE. He needs to stop protecting his precious feelings at all times. My advice is for him to go into Division 1 and take his lumps. You have to learn how to lose before you can learn how to be a winner, which is different than merely winning.

When I was in high school, my private academy was in a strange situation athletically. Minnesota had a two-class sports classifications based on school size. We were single A in terms of our class size, competed in single A in most of our sports, but for some reason, we competed at the AA level against much bigger schools in a number of sports in which we were historically strong, which were soccer, tennis, skiing, and track. That was only with regards to the state tournaments in those sports, however, our conference competition all consisted of single A schools.

My senior year, I won the conference championship in the 100m and 200m. However, in the AA regional championship, we competed in the inner city region against schools like Minneapolis North, Minneapolis South, Minneapolis Roosevelt, and Minneapolis Henry, AA schools that featured mostly black teams. In the finals of both events, I was the only non-black sprinter and I finished 5th in the 100m and 3rd in the 200m, thereby missing out on state, as only the top two sprinters from each region went on to the tournament. (Guess which region usually won those two events?)

However, the single A "state champion" was a sprinter from my conference, a guy I'd beaten in every single race we'd run that year. I even ran him down from about five meters behind after a bad pass in the 4x100 relay, which was probably the best race I ever ran. So, a fair number of people subsequently asked me if I was upset about that, if I felt I should have been the "state champion" instead of him. But I never felt that way, because I always wanted to run against the best, and in fact, I ran my fastest high school times in both events in the regional races I did not win.

To be the best you can be, you have to go up against those who are better. And if you don't, the knowledge that you didn't will always eat away at your confidence and destroy any lasting pleasure you take in your lesser triumphs.


Trust said...

People who can never accept failure or who can never be wrong are solipsistic, because it is basically an expectation that others should always accept failure or be willing to be wrong. I was that way.

Problem with always having to succeed or be right is that you build a constituency of people who can't wait to see you fall in your face.

Unknown said...

The core concept for those type of guys is they need to learn humility.

Ron said...

A huge part of my problem is that most of my role models were from TV, Always with the snappy remark, pedestalizing the perfect girl, and basically neurotic. or so far up along the alpha scale that I couldn't even begin to relate to it.

Halfway thru last year I tried watching a rerun of Chuck. I used to love that show, but watching the rerun I figuratively felt like throwing up at regular moments throughout the show. Because I had read enough and learned enough to realize a lot of what the characters were doing was awful.

I think a lot of us gamma-types make flippant remarks because we think thats what we are supposed to do. We simply don't ahve any other effective model of behavior.

Manu said...

I'd like to add that being a big fish in a small pond is bad for more reasons than those listed above. It breeds hostility and envy, because other individuals know you shouldn't be there. Gamma tendencies to lord over the losers don't help matters any.

I play paintball (woodsball) from time to time, and I used to play very frequently. Excuse my lack of modesty for a moment, but I was very good at it. It was, perhaps, the one time my Gamma instincts actually worked in my favor. In woodsball stealth and subterfuge is very valuable. There was a local field I went to frequently, and I demolished most people there. Looking back on it, this was a very stupid thing to do. There were mil-sim tournaments I could have entered that were higher level. But I stayed at the local field doing my thing because those victories were easy.

Anyway, one day we were playing tag the base and I was camping one of the defensive towers. Throughout the day, and several games, this poor newbie kept trying to rush the base. I must have tagged him a dozen times or more, and being the Gamma asshole I was, I made sure he knew it was me. One of the last games of the day, the refs decided to mix up the teams to make them more even. My team got hammered bad and I was the last guy left, alone in my tower against something like a dozen of them. The newbie whom I had taunted and lit up throughout the day snuck up behind the tower while I was engaged with the horde in front of me, put his marker on my back and emptied his hopper at point-blank range. He didn't stop firing when I turned around, either. He was pissed.

If you know anything about paintball, you'll know that hurts like a son of a bitch. Most fields have a 10-foot surrender rule for this exact reason. A couple of them actually broke skin and bloodied me up a bit (I think he dialed his velocity up too). The newbie was banned from the field for breaking the rules. I had those marks for weeks.

But looking back on it, I was the real dickhead. I deserved what I got. I shouldn't have been there in the first place, and even supposing I did want to go to a small field for whatever reason, I should have been kind and decent to the new people. Win, yes, but gracefully and respectfully.

Sometimes, a Gamma just needs to get an ass whooping. Or a point-blank paintball barrage.

VD said...

A huge part of my problem is that most of my role models were from TV

Yes, I can see where that would be a problem. Sit-coms and dramas alike are very poor guides to life.

Patrick Kelly said...

What's the difference between this and knowing your limitations and counting the cost?

Whenever I've competed in something new, I usually work at it hard for for 2-3 years to achieve some level of competent mediocrity, then get to a point where I realize I'm not willing or motivated to put in the time, effort, or sacrifice to get to the next level, and accept contentment with it as a casual interest or hobby from that point on. I'm just not very driven or passionate about anything much lately.

Some times it is due to conflicting commitments, whether family, Church, work, etc. sometimes due to injuries or just plain ole' despair...

Manu said...

"What's the difference between this and knowing your limitations and counting the cost?"

You don't try to spin it as a victory.

Revelation Means Hope said...

Remember the movie "There's Something About Mary"?
Remember how that Private Investigator character decided to play ball with the retarded kids, and was dominating the field like a grade A a$$hole?
Remember your reaction to what a doucebag that character was?

That's how people will start to view you if you stay in your small pond just so you can dominate it.

I think a number of the gammas who have visited Vox Popoli in the past realize that they cannot dominate that particular field, so they leave and go back to their safe echo chamber rabbit warrens. Leaving the few gammas who are truly oblivious to continue making fools of themselves.

It is similar to the contempt I felt in college for students who spoke native Spanish since childhood who were taking Spanish 101 because it was an easy A for them. I despised them for wasting their precious time and money in college. Then I encountered the same thing years later when I took some community college Japanese classes, and there were kids in their with 4-6 years of grade and high school Japanese who were doing the same thing.

Revelation Means Hope said...

If you want to play in the small pond, and also want to avoid looking and feeling like a douche, there is a simple solution.

Mentorship. Maybe not formal, but most men and almost all women appreciate a generous and non-arrogant bit of advice.

You'll go from being the black belt bully who loves beating up the yellow and white belts, to becoming a respected sensei.

LP2021 Bank of LP Work in Progress said...

Failure hurts for a little while, somehow, someway that failure can be a lesson or be an opportunity for greatness. This week there was a huge legal failure, I thought, fine, we'll move on. 2 days later the pain is gone and another avenue was opened.

Face conflict and rejection with the thought of perhaps, a pearl is made from great irritation. so maybe for a time take the critical as objective not personal and dont run from men who you might find better than you. The matter might be they dont even notice you or might think you are their competition, then again my advice isn't always sound or applicable.

LP2021 Bank of LP Work in Progress said...

These gamma posts are helpful to understand the gammatude mess I encountered (which I handled poorly). Instead remaining disgusted by the outcome. I can just take it as a lesson and move on not hating anyone but by having a little more compassion.

Hammerli 280 said...

One thought...the bigger the league, the more honor you gain from just being there. Anybody can whip the local talent. You have to be good to step onto the national or world stage and compete.

VD said...

One thought...the bigger the league, the more honor you gain from just being there.

Exactly. Notice during the Champions League, they will talk about various players being "the Dutch international" or "the French international". Merely to be an international is huge status in the soccer world. I've played against four internationals in my life, and everyone on both teams was well aware of their (former) status.

Unknown said...

I think I'm getting a much better idea now what’s going on. I’ve browsed self-acceptance books over the years, and also seen people about the problems I’ve had with myself over the years but nothing has ever really clicked to me. Its thinking of it in terms of social hierarchy that is making it clearer to me.

When I’ve heard people talk about “self-acceptance” I’ve not known what they really meant. It never seemed to work in my head. The reason is that its not self-acceptance what it is more like is “being in the world acceptance”. Its not an internal dialogue with yourself its accepting the experience that your currently in and the emotions that are happening, which are ALWAYS based on that social hierarchy (in a world of robots I’d have no anxiety). Its not even accepting my position in the social hierarchy as such, but accepting in the here and now the ups downs within those experiences. If I’m around more dominant men I’m going to sense that and its accepting in that moment the emotions that I feel are real and they aren’t something I can deny without hurting myself. I think I’ve been under the illusion that its wrong to feel that way, one shouldn’t feel challenged by other men simply by their presence, one should be above all that in some way. I’ve got that all wrong.

In the moment where pressure/stress is on me, and the emotions start to build, I need to let them happen, stay in the moment not let the reality denying mentality try to pretend its not happening. I want to pretend that I'm not happy I’ve won, that "it doesn't matter". But it does to me so why lie. I think the lie is to protect myself from failure and out of loyalty and consistency I have to also deny the happy moments of victory. If you give it the big one when winning and take losing horribly it looks terrible.

I’ve proved very unreliable over the years, but my plan for the weekend is to try and apply what has been said to our regional pool game on Sunday. I also plan to join the over 40’s Welsh tour. I need to stay in the moment as much as possible and not fight whatever emotions rise. More importantly I need to be unafraid to go in their with genuine ambition. I’m faking that I don’t care, have no ambition, in order to protect myself from failure.

On a general note is the psychological community blind to all this and is it deliberate? I sense that its infested with an egalitarian delusion and that I’d get advice from a lot of counsellors that I really shouldn’t feel challenged by other men. And their version of self-acceptance is the one I described earlier its like each human lies in an egalitarian vacuum where self-acceptance has little to do with other people and is largely an internal dialogue.

This has all been very useful to me.

VD said...

More importantly I need to be unafraid to go in their with genuine ambition. I’m faking that I don’t care, have no ambition, in order to protect myself from failure.

Never enter any competition without deciding that you're going to play to win, and you're going to play your best. And understand going in that your best may not be good enough, because there is ALWAYS someone stronger, faster, or better. Even if there isn't today, there will be tomorrow.

Win magnanimously and find something to compliment about the loser. Even if you beat them 13-1, tell them you're impressed with how they never quit. Lose graciously and tell the winner "congratulations, you really played well." Don't talk too much, don't ramble, keep it short and sweet.

Even if you feel the ref jobbed you or you blew it and handed the other guy the win, save that stuff for later, to bitch about when you get home. The post-game ritual is extremely important to adult men. It's a way of saying "okay, the battle is over. Let's be friends."

In my soccer league, the home team makes dinner for the visiting team. Usually, after several bottles of wine, the losing team will raise their glasses and shout a salute to the winners. The winners always return the favor at once. And the friendly spirit is such that often, when I happen to be walking through a neighboring town, someone who plays for a rival club will recognize me, walk over, and say hello.

The truth is there is nothing competitive men admire more than a hard-fighting but gracious foe. That's why you see boxers who were trying to KO each other up until the last bell fall hugging each other after it rings. That's why Bill Russell of the Celtics paid his own way and flew to Jerry West's last game to tell him, in front of the entire Lakers' team and crowd, that if he had only one wish, it would be for Jerry to be happy the rest of his life. Why did he care so much? Because they'd spent about a decade trying to beat each other and even though Russell usually won, he admired West's spirit.

To be respected by other men, you must be respectful and respectable. Magnanimity in victory and grace in defeat is an important part of that.

Manu said...

"On a general note is the psychological community blind to all this and is it deliberate?"

The whole culture is blind to it, presently. #GamerGate critics frequently refer to "toxic masculinity." Western feminists have been trying to push out masculinity for a long time. More Gammas are the immediate result. Whether or not the psychological community is in on it consciously or not doesn't really matter.

Athor Pel said...

"JCclimber said...
It is similar to the contempt I felt in college for students who spoke native Spanish since childhood who were taking Spanish 101 because it was an easy A for them. I despised them for wasting their precious time and money in college. Then I encountered the same thing years later when I took some community college Japanese classes, and there were kids in their with 4-6 years of grade and high school Japanese who were doing the same thing.
March 5, 2015 at 9:44 AM"

Welcome to the world of credentials. They weren't just doing it for the easy A. They were turning the previous childhood training into an adult world credential and they were doing it the only way they knew how.

Think of it as transfer credit that they paid to transfer.

They understood the game within the system and they were gaming it right back.

I've done something very similar. I took the same class twice in graduate school and got credit both times. The class number changed in the years it took me to finish the degree. As far as the graduate school was concerned, different number meant different class. Don't tell anybody I told you this.

Or the internship hours I got in graduate school. All I did was hand in a daily work journal and some examples of the map product I created for a temp job I got after my graduate assistantship money ran out. Two instant A grades. Winning.

Desiderius said...

"Yes, I can see where that would be a problem. Sit-coms and dramas alike are very poor guides to life."

At this point, TV is the short bus of the entertainment world.

Trust said...

To say nothing of the fact that real people don't stick to "the script."

Midknight said...


These gamma posts have given a lot of food for thought. Don't know where I am now, but recognize all to well where I was.

If I had not been taught intellectual integrity to the truth, and some competitive spirit, I don't know where I would be now. Surely not on the road to self-improvement, as late as it is in my life.

Thank you all for your insights.

Unknown said...

Reading Vox's posts make me to wonder If I am a gamma. I go to college and sometimes I say things to lighten the mood. I don't do it often so I am not sure it counts.I read your posts and they make me wonder if I have some gamma behavior because of that. Most people don't talk in class anymore while they wait and it usually takes someone to start before they actually talk to anyone.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Markku said...

If your reaction to seeing a cute girl, who nevertheless is way below an alpha's interest, is to go have small talk with her (but with a realistic expectation that there MIGHT be sex down the line) and it comes naturally, you're delta.

If even that requires you to force yourself to do it, or worse, you chicken out entirely, you're gamma.

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