My client and I were in her games room; she was playing on her Xbox. She had chosen to play on her own so I sat watching the game as she had requested. During the game my client started to lose and began getting cross. I asked her to calm down as it was only a game - she ignored me. Soon after that, things escalated and my client was in a full blown fury about losing the game. I explained that we should turn the game off if it was going to make her cross. At this my client became even angrier; she started shouting and being very rough with her game, with the Xbox and with other things around her. She was visibly agitated by the situation - shaking her head and arms, shouting at the television and ignoring what I was saying to her. She was becoming more withdrawn into herself and less aware of her surroundings.
At the time this was happening, it was clear that the game was the most important thing in my client’s life. Obviously, at that moment my client had felt like she had failed and was very upset by this. Once I had managed to get her attention I carefully moved her on to doing something else and it seemed like she had completely forgotten the Xbox and the game. During the afternoon we had had a good time and packed in lots of different activities.
When I asked my client to calm down this clearly made things worse, as did suggesting turning off the Xbox. It was only afterwards on reflection that I realised that, to my client, winning the game was the most important thing at that time.
For the future, I've learned not to be part of the triggers of her anger. If distraction doesn't work I think it would be best in future for me to leave the area and let her come back to me when she is calmer. I might also try to be part of the game, so that I could take the opportunity to lose - and my client could win!
Experience of a support worker in the Sheffield area
Posted: February 2014
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