I’m The Real Genius!

The gentlemen in the picture above is called Minesh. He is an IT manager in the United Kingdom and he looks rather pleased in the picture doesn’t he? Or perhaps it might be more accurate to state that he is looking rather well-fuelled as he holds a trophy aloft, drinking in the positive fuel from the studio audience he stands before (and positive Thought Fuel arising from the knowledge of a significant television audience also watching). What has Minesh won?

Nothing.

His son, Rahul, a 12 year old boy was crowned Child Genius 2017 last night on this British television programme. Well done Rahul.

Given the international nature of my readers, many of you will not be familiar with this specific programme but you will be very familiar with the concept of young children being pushed to succeed in respect of some particular field – general knowledge, spelling, dancing, sport, reciting poetry, gymnastics – with ‘proud’ parents pushing, sorry willing their child on, from centre stage, sorry did it again, the side lines. You will recognise similar programmes in your country which form part of the reality television franchise.

Child Genius did not used to be a competition. Previous series took on a documentary format as the relevant gifted child was shadowed by the programme makers and then the families of the gifted child were interviewed by a well-regarded child psychologist. Interestingly, this child psychologist resigned from the show because she was concerned at the direction the programme was taking. Her concerns are justified.

We will come back to Minesh to discuss his glittering achievement, whoops done it again, Rahul’s achievement. The show wasn’t just about Minesh. A mother named Susan had entered, not one, but two of her children, Fabio (aged 9) and Olivia (aged 12).  Susan referred to herself as a ‘helicopter’ mother who pushed her children to excel. Nearly all parents want their children to do well. Many would baulk at pushing their children to perform under the spotlight in a television series where the actual experience is of questionable use (more on that in a moment) but there are those who regard pushing their children as necessary and indeed helpful to the child. Such an approach will bring about divided opinions, but what about this comment from Susan to the programme makers which appeared on the aired programme

“I love my daughter dearly but I am rooting for Fabio.”

I wonder who is the golden child there then? What does Fabio think at being preferred over his sister? Does he agree with his status as the anointed one? Will he use this to his advantage (I know I did) or has Fabio learned sufficient empathy so far in his short life to counter this blatant favouritism?

How might Olivia feel about being triangulated in this way? Is she a scapegoat, is she the also ran who is given the veneer of encouragement but no matter what she does and what she achieves Fabio is the one who is always backed, lauded and admired? We will probably never know but a well established dynamic is rearing its head in front of us.

Of course no doubt if confronted by this blatant favouritism, Susan will deflect any such criticism. It would not surprise me if she actually forgot she was implicitly putting down her daughter on national television and saw it as a private conversation. I can well imagine there would be no acceptance of blame for this triangulation or even any recognition of it.

Is the competition of any real value? Depends on who you consider it being of value to. It is certainly of value to certain parents involved in putting forward their child, but it is of extremely questionable use to the children involved and this is for two reasons:-

  1. The word ‘genius’ is used but as with many words it is over-used. Genius refers to exceptional creative or intellectual power or ability. There is no creative genius in this show. The children do not break any creative ground and instead it is a test of cognitive recall which relies on technique rather than ability. Indeed, one even questions the extent of that technique given the allegations of parents mouthing answers to their children during the show.
  2. The children range in age from 8-12 years. They are placed in a highly pressurised environment.  The impact of this has left the children upset and in tears. Fabio, as mentioned above, went to pieces when he was trying to memorise two decks of randomly shuffled cards and this led to the monitoring child psychologist stepping in. Another boy, Joshua, who is 11, suffered a moment of freezing and ran off the stage sobbing. A 10 year old girl left her older also-competing sister inconsolable after the younger girl knocked her sibling out of the competition and this left the 10 year old also upset at what she had done.

Thus, one questions what actual use entry into the programme achieves and also one wonders what the impact of it really will be given the upset described above alongside the apparent punishing home regimes put in place by certain parents to ensure that their child wins the title of Child Genius 2017.

Let’s get back to Minesh. As Rahul made his way to victory and secured the title, viewers observed :-

  1. Minesh had stated “We’re a family who are used to winning and doing well in exams and competitions and things.” Hardly a crime to do well, but it starts to paint a picture. “Used to winning” which means that young Rahul has had the bar already set high for him. “We’re a family used to winning” but who is doing the winning? The whole family? Possibly, but I suspect it is more likely that Rahul is doing the winning, doing well in examinations and so forth and Minesh is acquiring these character traits for himself.
  2. Minesh laughed when another contestant, 11 year old Josh got a wrong answer thus conferring an advantage to Rahul. Such a response demonstrates several things:-

a. A lack of empathy towards a young boy in a pressurised setting making a mistake;

b. A lack of awareness that such behaviour was being filmed and evidently not caring (or even realising) how it made Minesh appear;

c. The desire to win at all costs

3. Minesh sat hunched forward in his seat in the audience, fingers crossed and held high for the world to see. His wife sat relatively impassively but Minesh was visibly supporting his son or at least that is how he would explain his over the top behaviour. The reality was he was on that stage, answering those questions, because young Rahul was his father’s extension, his little mirror.

4. Possibly the clinching moment of the crowning moment with regard to the trophy. Look again at the picture at the start of this article, There is Minesh, rictus grin fixed on his face, eyes staring ahead, fuel washing over him, right hand gripping the trophy, held aloft in his (not Rahul’s) moment of triumph. He pulled the trophy from his victorious son and held it aloft as he drank in the applause. It was his win. His victory. He was the genius.

Naturally one cannot say for certain whether Minesh is a narcissist or rather an especially zealous father who has got over-excited owing to the occasion,  but the behaviours exhibited during the programme, the comments made and in particular his behaviour when Rahul triumphed show at best a crass vulgarity in behaviour or at worst the fact that a narcissist father was trampling all over his son’s achievement as he drank in the fuel and claimed victory for himself.

Will the title of Child Genius benefit Rahul in the future? It is unlikely. The passage of time and the demands of the world tend to erode whether you achieved a particular title or grade back in your childhood. There is nothing wrong with excellence, striving to be the best and succeeding, I know this only too well. However, I have also realised the lasting legacy of the impact of being labelled as the golden child, the weight of the mantle of expectation and the harsh critical abuse when apparent under performance has been identified by a narcissist parent. The biting cold of snow under my feet as I was made to stand outside our house by MatriNarc in December until I could recite all three verses of Keats’ Ode To Autumn from memory and without mistake when I was 9 years old, is a memory which I try to consign to imprisonment but its legacy still impacts on me now.

What will Rahul’s legacy be? It remains to be seen, but we all know that Minesh will be fuelled from his achievement, apologies, his son’s achievement, for a while yet. I am not the only person to have noticed this behaviour. Many have expressed their concern at what they have witnessed, questioned the impact on the children of this behaviour and detailed their horror at the mind set of certain parents. As this was brought to my attention by readers it all had a ready familiarity of the narcissistic dynamic.

Has anybody else mentioned the N-word however?

No.

Once again our kind move amongst society and continue to function, operate and pollute without recognition or restraint by millions.

What word might describe such a pervasive, wide-spread, insidious yet effective state of affairs.

I know.

Genius.

29 thoughts on “I’m The Real Genius!

  1. ava101 says:

    I hope Rahul has read this.

  2. supernova says:

    This article has proved once again that I was indeed surrounded by Ns and in that (Minesh’a) culture it’s taken as special consideration and attention given to the kids in order to succeed. How many times my parents esp father has commented on my grades not good enough to match his intelligence and I was asked to work harder for better results. All my achievements were questioned and even when they were happy with my results it wasn’t enough to compete with their friend’s kid!

    Wow, I remember th first day I sat in therapist office trying to understand why I always felt low and that I wasn’t enough …here you go, with this brilliant writing you have shown me the way to my emotional freedom once again!

    HG, You are indeed the best!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Indeed I am and thank you.

  3. Kathleen says:

    I see them now! Well-now at least I look and think…. could be a Narc! Not just an overly outgoing individual.
    I observed a man with his wife in a restaurant the other week -the man started engaging with these two men sitting near them ..talking and talking and talking and talking and drinking and talking…And I watched the wife, sitting there…not engaging much..And I thought she probably feels how I felt many times out with my ex narcissist (who was a female)She’d often find others to engage with to triangulate. And like- whatever- stupid topics like yeah-how fascinating it is to reminisce about old local businesses and streets with a few strangers than pay attention to your wife. Now it may have been a one time thing… But now when I see those people in public especially in bars… They’re much more suspect to me. Thanks to HG and others informing us about the fuel quest!

  4. 12345 says:

    What parent takes a trophy out of their child’s hand? That’s odd to me.

    I relate to the mother with two children. My mother wouldn’t necessarily take a trophy out of our hands but she would find some other way to take the glory.

    My whole life she has told my sister that I was our natural father’s favorite and that she was his least favorite…that he didn’t really have any use for her at all. I felt guilty and she felt unworthy of love.

    After the pedophile saga ended she constantly tells me that my sister suffered so much more than me thus minimizing anything that was done to me. My sister feels terrible about this as she did her very best to protect me all those years and I felt like anything that happened to me was trivial.

    Both scenarios kill two birds with one stone. Both scenarios cause deep resentment between siblings. Both children feel like unworthy shit for life.

    1. Caroline says:

      Sometimes I don’t know what to say.

      I’m so sorry, 12345. Big hug…you should be really proud of how you’ve dug deep to muster self-love + strength for today.

      I wish you had a name on here, because you are most definitely *not* just a number.

    2. blackunicorn123 says:

      I’m so sorry, 12345 🤗

  5. narc affair says:

    To clarify these were parents born and raised in certain locations so im thinking different ethnic groups within would apply. It was more based on ethnic groups by location.

  6. narc affair says:

    Id read an article awhile back and ill try to find it but it was about ethnic groups and narcissistic mothers. It was a study done that ranked the ethnic groups with the highest amount of narcissist parents to the lowest. I personally dont think you can go by ethnic group. Number one on the list was great britian for narcissistic mothers. Im not sure how they came to this conclusion but i dont think where you live or your ethnic background puts you more at risk for being narcissistic.

    1. blackunicorn123 says:

      Ah, but we British used to love our “stiff upper lip”, which is basically a denial of others feelings. Very narcissistic. Now we are narcissistic in a millennial snowflake kind of way, which is all about me, me, me! Still narcissistic though. It must be in our DNA!

      1. narc affair says:

        Hi blackunicorn…i dont know if theres any truth to the study or not bc ive met some lovely british people who are the most giving empaths but on the grand scheme of things can it be said there are more narcissistic mothers in britian than in other countries.

    2. Morning sun says:

      Our country has the stereotype of the self-sacrificing, eternally suffering mother… and a great many mothers are like that. Those sons often grow up to become spineless jellyfish around women and men, and the cycle repeats itself, with the absent and weak husband/father and the overbearing mother who will never hesitate to croon “my poor baby” to their child over every little mishap.

      What is especially strong is the conviction that mothers have of being entitled to interfere with their children’s lives even when they are adults. So yeah, the ideal breeding ground for narcissism, co-dependency and other disorders.

      The most disgusting example I know of is a woman who founded a charity for children with disabilities, as she has a disabled daughter. She is hailed as a saint by the masses who can’t even begin to see that she’s exploiting her child’s condition to gain attention. It is all about her and her feelings and her experiences and growth etc. Sick.

  7. NarcMagnet says:

    HG, I’m sorry to hear your parents were like that. My mother could have been, but no matter what I chose to do (or not do) from choosing to memorize Poe for my 5th Grade talent show, to refusing my nomination to the “Who’s Who of American High School Students” she supported me.
    It must have been difficult being a golden child. I really do feel for you.
    Is it safe to assume you are an ACON?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I am, although I do not choose to think of myself that way.

      1. NarcMagnet says:

        Hmmm HG, not blaming them? Could it be that you’re learning from us? 😉

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Don’t need to blame them here, would do so out there.

          1. Caroline says:

            If there was just some way to get you to blame bugs instead… maybe check with those docs.

  8. narc affair says:

    This reminds me so much of a mum i met the first day my kids went to kindergarten. Ill never forget my daughter was playing in the park with her daughter and she starts telling me how her daughter is in french immersion and countless other activities and excels at everything. How she is too advanced and will get bored of the grade shes in blah blah …. i started agreeing and said “it must be difficult being perfect” and walked away lol fast forward 7 years later and her daughter does excel at most everything but at what cost? None of us see behind the scenes how her mum treats her. Theres the external facade of loving mother cheering her daughter on but id like to see behind the scenes. Theres usually abuse going on in some form or other. Witheld love(tactic learned which us victims are subjected to). Love is given only when theres achievement made. Put downs are used to shame the child into trying harder. Triangulation to devalue so the child tries harder to attain the love they once had (sound familiar as a victim?).
    I no longer go by outward appearances. The real story is behind closed doors. Your child may seem perfect but at what cost? Im not buying the facade of perfection. Theres usually a narc parent behind it soaking up the attention and spotlight at their childs expense.

  9. Caroline says:

    I especially hate reading anything about narcissism and children, but my avoiding it changes nothing of the very real misery that NPD inflicts upon its youngest victims. The ending to this one makes me as queasy as anything you’ve written. Your childhood snow example made me teary. Then came anger.

    You’re right. The masses do not understand NPD — it’s not generally talked about by those who do — and it’s center-stage/in front of our noses everywhere. You’re doing your part to educate (thank you). The rest of us need speak up to those who would appear ready/willing to understand more about it… or by whatever other means we feel convicted to spread the word.

  10. EmP says:

    Glad Minesh gets to be smeared a bit on this blog. And I have to admit this story made me a bit nauseous – for reasons that are easy to imagine.

    On a random note HG, I love your use of the word ‘crass’. I remember you used it before to describe the indelicate Lesser.
    So appropriate.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is an excellent word.

      1. NarcMagnet says:

        Crass is good. Brobdingnagian is good as well.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Isn’t that the noise one makes when extricating part of one’s anatomy that has become trapped in a zipper?

          1. Caroline says:

            ROTFL, HG… needed that laugh, mixed in with all this tough stuff.

      2. NarcMagnet says:

        HG, LOL, Brobdingnagian actually means “Really big”.I suppose it might be appropriate for describing the scenario after the fact, depending on which part of your anatomy needs removal from said zipper.

  11. Moira Boyd says:

    Dear Mr. Tudor, I have not read you for long, but each post I read, I read twice or more. Most of what you write sickens me in a sinking gut kind of way as I recognize some of the men I have known, and myself as well. This post however struck me in a different way for in this post you have, from beginning to end, been sympathetic, empathetic, and made clear your own hurt from childhood, and now recognize it in other small children. That, whether you like it or not, (I’m rooting for you), smacks of you learning to be less of a narcissist and more human like the rest of us.

    There is a saying: Fake it until you make it your own. While much of your posts describe just that: faking sincerity, et al, as a disorder, I wonder, in writing this post, if indeed you tapped into something real in yourself, or was this another example of you mimicking depth? I think you seceded, if only for a moment, in finding your own depth.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Shows truly how effective a life of mimicry becomes doesn’t it?

      1. NarcMagnet says:

        Is it real or memorex?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I have skilled coaches.

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