Psychology Explains What Causes Someone to Be a Sore Loser

Psychology Explains What Causes Someone to Be a Sore Loser

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Have you ever played a game with someone who was a sore loser? No matter how fair the game, they pout and become angry because they didn’t win. There’s no way that you can always win in life or on a board game, but what causes these people to go over the edge just because they lost seemingly?

Maybe you know someone who is not a good loser, or you may be one yourself. The root of this issue possibly stems from anxiety disorders, and there is a way to cope with it. For instance, a person may be competitive, but when you add an anxiety disorder like GAD or PTSD to the mix, it can cause the person to tip the scales towards dramatic behavior.

Is Perfectionism at The Crux?

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Some people desire to be perfect in all they do. They tend to overthink everything, which only causes them great emotional distress. Perfectionism is a drive to be perfect in everything you do, and you can see why this is an unrealistic goal.


There’s no way that a person can ever achieve complete perfection in their life. Having this mindset only sets you up for failure. Assume Sally just got a rejection letter from the college of her choice. Even though her grades were good and her application was unique, she wasn’t chosen.

Sally didn’t know how to handle being told “no” and having her application rejected. Overcome by grief and feeling like a failure, Sally grabbed a pillow from her bed and screamed into it as loud as possible.

It’s apparent that rejection stings deep for her. Indeed, she becomes so overwhelmed with emotions that she doesn’t know how to deal with them effectively.


The Self-Esteem of a Winner and Loser

Each person classifies themselves as a winner or a loser in life. You use all your experiences to create this scorecard in your mind that shows you whether you lose more than you win.

Some families are more competitive than others, and it can drive an individual’s need to win. If you were to examine deep into the person’s inner being and see what they think and feel, you would find that the loser mentality has messed with their esteem.

Every goal that this person doesn’t make and every failure that occurs adds another notch on their belt of things they’ve messed up in life. You can see that after a few losses that it can do something to your belief in yourself and your abilities.


Fear of Failure

Anxiety and fear are words that can be used congruently as they mean the same thing. When you’ve had a few blows in life, then you might develop a fear of failure. You may be so afraid that you will fail that you won’t attempt anything new.

Carson works as a custodian at a local high school. He is one of the happiest people around, and most people love him. However, few know that Carson has a college degree and can make a great deal more money than he does.

Carson stays at his job because he feels comfortable there. He struggles to make ends meet, but he is so afraid of failing that he never goes beyond his comfort level. To him, the possibility of getting a denial letter or the insinuation that he wasn’t “good enough” terrifies him.

Rather than face this rejection, he stays put. Does this make Carson a sore loser? The outside world may view his choices as bizarre because you will never have anything in life if you don’t take some risks; however, he’s just playing it safe.

Something may have happened to him that has made him the way he is today. He could have rejection or even abuse that is fueling his anxieties.

When the Past Dictates the Future

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Liz was a bright person who was full of life. About the time she turned 30, she began to experience problems with her nerves. She went to the doctor because the anxiety became so severe, she was unable to function as she did before.

The doctor looked over her paperwork and asked a question that shocked Liz to the core. The doctor said, “Was your abuse physical, verbal, or sexual?” Lizz didn’t know how to answer because this was something she kept hidden. Her father abused her verbally.

With every bash about her weight, laziness, and all the other things he told her, she became more anxious in her interactions with the public. She feared that everyone would think the things that her father did about her.

The key here is this person that comes off as a sore loser when they fail again is channeling negative energy from the past. According to Harvard Health, your past can dictate your future, mostly when abuse happens as a child during those critical formative years.

For Liz, the abuse she suffered as a child was not common knowledge, and she had done everything she could to keep those past torments hidden. However, she couldn’t get over what had happened to her as it altered her thinking of herself.


Just like Liz, you may be a sore loser, but you need to find what is at the crux of the issue. If you were abused as a child and altered your perceptions of your abilities, you could work through these things in counseling.

Sore Loser or Spoiled Brat?

The term “spoiled brat” is undoubtedly a harsh one, but it’s a term that could be used to identify many people. Discipline methods have altered over the past few years, and some parents are afraid to hand down any correction to their children because they want to keep them happy.

Inspiration to your Inbox

Someone who is a sore loser may be merely spoiled. Assume you’re playing a board game with your children. Everyone is having a great time until your daughter, Nellie, loses. She gets so angry she throws the board game and all the components across the kitchen.


Nellie has never suffered from abuse, she doesn’t have a low view of herself, and she is a well-rounded child. The other obvious issue here is that Nellie is spoiled. She is a sore loser because she has been handed to and indulged so much in life she expects to win.

While you certainly don’t know why she’s acting this way, the worst thing you can do is not to correct the behavior. You must make her pick up the game and apologize for her actions. If you don’t fix this mindset, she will grow up and go through life throwing similar temper tantrums when things don’t go her way, which will cause her significant issues.

Learning to Be Gracious

Thankfully, you can learn to be a gracious loser. Have you ever watched one of those beauty pageants on television where all the girls gather around the queen? When it’s down to the last two contestants, they’re both nervous standing there holding hands. Or, they wrap their arms around each other.


When the winner is announced, the runner-up always looks just as happy for the other girl as she would if she had won. They embrace, share smiles, and the “loser” is escorted off the stage. Do you honestly think that girl was happy when she lost?

She could have been seething with anger underneath because all the hard work she put into the pageant was for nothing. She wanted to win and be the queen, but now she goes home with the runner-up title. The key here is that this lady was a gracious loser.

No matter how hard it hurt her to see someone else take home the crown, she never let it show on her face. She knew the whole world was watching, and there were cameras on her face. Thus, she didn’t dare do anything other than smile and cry along with the winner.

Life should be much like these pageants. So when your boss passes you over for a raise that you deserved or a promotion, congratulate the one who got it. Then go home and cry privately. Losing hurts, and there’s no way around it, but it’s what you do with those failures that count.

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Final Thoughts on Being A Sore Loser

Are you a gracious loser, or do you tend to be more of a sore one? It would help if you found out what drives these actions so that you can correct them. According to Neuroscience News, a loser’s behaviors often show negative personality traits and cognitive dissonance, which needs to be addressed.

While no one likes losing, you don’t have to fall to pieces when things don’t go your way. You can learn how to overcome the issues that give you such great fear of failing.


Chris is a happy dad, and a co-creator here at PoP. Since 2009, Chris has experienced multiple life changing positive events, released over 100 pounds, attained inner peace, created academic and professional success, and learned to see increased abundance in every area of life while remaining grateful and joyous through the journey. in the areas of personal health, fitness, and spirituality. He credits it all to the power of positive thoughts, words, actions and reactions. In his spare time, Chris enjoys running, yoga, fitness, plant-based nutrition and inspiring others to take positive actions steps in their own life. Chris also loves to spend quality time with his lovely wife Kristen and two beautiful daughters.

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