I’m The Real Genius – Examination of a Parental Narcissist


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.

31 thoughts on “I’m The Real Genius – Examination of a Parental Narcissist

  1. alexissmith2016 says:

    I caught a little clip of the Celebrity V Child Genius Christmas Special earlier

    It made interesting viewing and I wished I could have watched more. The small bit I observed was Jimmy Carr (swoon, swoon) v Rahul now aged 14. I knew Jimmy was super intelligent but it truly opened my eyes up as to how exceptional his memory is too.

    Anyway, it was interesting to watch Minesh sweating and rubbing his hands profusely as his son went head to head on 80s music with Jimmy. He clearly felt very much out of control as Jimmy didn’t falter. But his wounding and fury were quelled at the end when Alexander Armstrong declared it a draw even though Jimmy had won. This appeased Minesh because Alexander told the world that Jimmy had a distinct advantage because he had grown up in the 80s and it was therefore not a fair test etc

    On another round they were recalling games of tennis. Rahul won, although Jimmy did not make it easy and it certainly appeared staged when Jimmy lost. Minesh was fuelled so much by this it made me want to puke.

    It got me thinking about the creature, is it easier for the creature to make it’s presence known in Ns who are not elite?

    My thinking is this, cerebrals only have their brain power, somatics their body, victims their illness or pathetic life etc whilst Elites can pull from all sources which gives them a distinct advantage over their battle with the creature, not just because they would have a more impressive fuel matrix but they also have considerably more strings to their bow.

  2. Claire says:

    Is this a bad time to say my 11-year-old made Andra Days “Rise up” sound like an angel was singing this morning after a shaky warm up? She pulled it off like a professional. I was a mess. She won’t let me post her video anywhere. I’ll accept her request. Haha

  3. Renarde says:

    I can relate to a lot of this, not as child but as a professional educator.

    Once a year, I had the misfortune of going through the single most stressful role I could ever perform; administering the Common Entrance exam. Everything else paled into comparison. It was stressful because

    1 – You never knew what might happen. Frequently there students are so stressed, so wound up, they might either vomit, have accidents or just completely freeze

    2 – If the student did not get in, very VERY often the parents would grill and I mean grill the student as to was there anything that happened in the administering of the exam itself? Anything I did as a professional was under the Electron Microsope if you will. The slightest slip up and I was done for. If the parent could find a way to challenge, they bring an action against the school in Court, they would. Very rare they won though but hell, if they are saving all that money on public school fees its worth a couple of K in Court?

    The one thing almost all of these students had in common was they had been hot housed, sometimes for years. So say £40 an hour each week for 30 weeks and times that by say 2 years, you’re looking at a good couple of K. Money well spent though to guarantee a brilliant education and potential entry to Oxbridge.

    One poor lad though one year lost it and collapsed in tears. His father was an ex-pupil as was his. What a weight of expectation was on that poor childs’ head? I’m going to call it; it’s child abuse. You would never get Social Services admitting that in a billion years though.

    I’m glad I’m well out of it. It was an extremely distressing event for all concerned. When it was over (you either did AM or PM), I would crawl back home and into bed.

    1. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

      Renarde. And those exams are manipulative, in the United States. And they change for various reasons. I knew someone who created those sort of national exams for High Schools, University and Graduate School, in the United States, where I live. He told me privately that they recycle all the questions, and study them, and they know what questions, more or less, that each gender and each region and each race answer correctly, or not. And, the Country selectively uses that data each year to specify the nature of the exams. For example, if one year, or for one decade or so, for some reason, the Country wants more females to score higher for elite High Schools University or Grad Schools, the exam makers are told to put the questions on the exams that they know females statistically answer correctly. If one year the exam creators are told that the Country wants athletes to score well during some years, to enter the better Universities, those questions that athletes usually answer correctly, will be on the exams, etc. Recently there is a movement in the U.S. started by some parents to change the exams overtly race specific, because Asians are scoring too well, for their liking. These exams are social mobility managers. To keep some out of, and to keep some in, the higher social stratosphere. Also, the higher the score on the exam, the more the financial aid to the student. So the richer students obtain more grants that are free and they do not have to repay, and the poorer and middle class students obtain more loans that will strangle them when they graduate, because of these exams. The Ivy League schools are having a crisis in innovation from their students. The Ivy`s say they are no longer graduating the smartest students, but rather the students that can do well on such exams and the students that can pay or agree to the debt, for the expensive intuition. In the U.S., the economy has been declining since the 1970s and many parents have found out the hard way about these exams, since they have had to move to various cities and neighborhoods that were not part of their dream, and now their children are subjected to schools where their children also are not doing well on national exams. And the tutoring does not always work, if a shift happens in the exam questions, in any given year, and the tutors are not informed of the direction of the changes. Or, if the tutoring is too little too late, in these parents and their children`s new circumstance. NOW, these parents are protesting for change. Saying the exams are not a measure of the academic ability of their offspring. Middle class families have been saying this all along to ears that ignored them. It is all much too late now. And many of these once wealthy parents can no longer find a way to buy out their offspring. Some parents are now refusing the exams starting in elementary school and High School and sitting their children out, because they know they are being socially and economically managed, because these parent were somewhat recently on the other side of the divide, and they still have a bit of fight in themselves. But, this is not changing anything. These parents are too few. And, a superpower nation does not turn on a dime.

      1. Renarde says:

        Totally hear you.

        The Grammar School system used to be a force for social mobility. I come from a working class background and both my Dad and his Mum attended their local one by sitting what was known as the 11+

        Not so anymore. It is very rare for a working class student now to get in. We know this because OFSTED check how many students are getting free school meals. It’s shockingly low.

  4. Sophia says:

    I’m not sure who is worse, the parents for their behavior or the people that promote it.
    Forcing a child to stand outside in the winter is child abuse. 😡 Is matrinarc in therapy?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Of course she isn’t,Sophia there’s no point.

      1. Claire says:

        Does she know you refer to her as a narcissist?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          No.

          1. Claire says:

            Send her a moms day card next year breaking the news.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            I will send nothing at all.

          3. Claire says:

            Even better send something she would hate on purpose.

          4. HG Tudor says:

            I would rather wound her than issue Challenge Fuel.

  5. empath007 says:

    With all due respect, I don’t know if the fact your kind operates well without recognition of others is due to genius. Like a lot of things it is due to lack of education, as well as peoples generally inability to look outside themselves and their own personal experiences and situations. I am not saying that in an insulting way, but it has been my experience with a lot of people I have met. If someone has not experienced this kind of abuse they will naturally think the victim is exaggerating, or simply just not care because it is not personally happening to them. On the flip side of that, if a child grew up with narcissistic abuse, that is the reality that has been presented to them since birth so I would imagine that (at least for a time) they would see it as normal and not question it.

    1. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

      empath007. I remember when I was a small child, we children knew full well what was going on in other children’s` home to a certain extent, and compared other families to our own family: We knew who had strict parents, which parents smoked weed with their children, what children were beaten and bruised, which children had snobby parents, which children had old parents, young parents, rich parents, powerful parents, poor parents, which children could have guests over and which children could not, which families did not have a father present, mean parents, well dressed parents, parents that called your parents first for events, which parents were alcoholics, clean looking and dirty looking parents, yelling parents, friendly parents, their occupations and on and on. Which children cursed out their parents and which children were afraid of their own parents. Which children always have to study, and could hardly ever come out to play. Loose parents. Parents that were seldom home. I am sure you have some examples as well, from your childhood experiences. So, children find out about their own family life though other children, as well. And, as children, we constantly gossiped with each other. Children’s` World had a lot of information. We knew more than our parents were aware of.

  6. IdaNoe says:

    Virus

  7. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

    Dearest HG: There is also the true story of Jennifer Pan. She had `Tiger Parents.` She did exceptionally well in school, following her parents dictates, but at some point she malfunctioned and she went as far as to forge her grades and awards, even after she dropped out of high school and her parents did not know she had drooped out, because she hid all of this so well. She then forged acceptance into University with letters that she showed to her parents. Her magical thinking went so far, that she actually bought the books for the classes that were part of the program she pretended she was going to in University, and she studied the books. Attach is a clip titled: Jennifer Pan`s Revenge on her Tiger Parent. When her parents tried to break he from her boyfriend, she snapped completely, and tried to kill both parents with a hit contract. One parent remarkably survived. Her father survivedhttps://youtu.be/28LdsO-_UcQ?list=PLwIqZKiv9BJRRQvZS7XBvLBEVCNafrq8e

  8. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

    Dearest HG: My personal experience with a Golden Child: When I was in college, 3rd year, a Junior, I had to take a logic class. The class was intentionally difficult, because it was a class designed to give low grades, because students that took it were often on the pre-law route, and were to be `weeded out` in a sort of university `code,` with a low grade, considered to be B- or lower. There was only one student tutor for this important class. He was a student Golden Child his entire life, and went on to be the Valedictorian a year later, during graduation. He did not like me. I did not know why and did not wonder why, but, I still needed a good grade in Logic, and he was the only tutor. We could only be with him for 15 minutes each, around 3 logic problems. But, he would stay with me the entire 15 minutes with one problem. We both knew he was intentionally not helping me. I did not know what to do! I particularly needed a good grade in this particular class. However, I was a close friend of one of the logic students the tutor preferred, and I told my friend my dilemma and my friend said he would help me and he told me to do the following: to continue to get the one problem solved that the tutor would help me with, and then give him, my friend, the 2 or 3 other problems I needed help with, and my friend would go to him, and the tutor would solve them for my friend and my friend would go through the solutions with me. So, I would go in and get my one solution, and my friend would go in and get the other solutions, and we would corroborate all the solutions together.The tutor never knew about this. The tutor thought he had sabotaged me, but I found a way around it. Problems solved. hahaha. I received an A- at the end of the semester on my exam in Logic. A gleaming grade for that class. Yay! But, during the semester, I became curious about this Golden Child student. And would subtly discuss him with those that knew him personally. I found out that he bullied Professors, rewrote his low graded papers when some Professors allowed him to do so for a higher grade, dropped any class that he perceived he would not get an A, and that he took a lot of `guts` we called them: easy classes, and on and on for his 4 years of University. Nothing illegal. However, when he was accepted in a grad program at another University, he had problems: He could not bully Professors there, he could not drop classes when he wanted and switch out and he had to take without substitution all the classes on their syllabus without exception. No matter how difficult he found them to be. He dropped out the first year! He could not cut the salami. The last I heard he had a job that did not pay well, and that he suffered from clinical depression. He still could have managed better economically, if he were from a rich supportive and connected family, and a University degree was just a right of passage. However, he did not have such a family background and networks where he was connected enough to be supported in a career beyond having a college degree with honors, that he basically finagled. He actually needed to know how to work though difficulty situations and be productive on jobs. He did not and could not. He never practiced that. He was A Golden Child , no more.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you for sharing that experience, PSE.

  9. Tammy Scott says:

    I’ve seen shows similar to this in the US. One in particular comes to mind however I cannot recall the name. From what I remember, it’s a dance/beauty competition for very small young girls. Some as young as 5 years old. Mothers are pressuring and bullying these girls to win the competition at any cost. These girls are forced to spend up to 8 hours a day practicing, in the presence of their mothers, while belittling them, threatening them if they don’t do well, and completely robbing them of their childhoods. These girls are dressed to look like 18-year-old beauty queens and are told if they don’t win, they will never amount to anything. They have to be prettier than all of the other girls, they have to have the best costumes, they have to have the most flawless dance routine. Behind the scene footage shows these girls crying and telling their mothers they don’t even like dancing or wearing costumes and makeup and the mother’s completely disregard their cries and tell them they WILL continue and not embarrass their mothers. When questioned, these mothers will even say they are doing it for the good of their daughters. If that isn’t an utter joke I don’t know what is! What really pisses me off is these shows that promote this kind of competition and behavior just to get viewers and ratings, all at the expense of the children.

    1. Tammy Scott. There is also the true stories of parents who tamper on behalf of their children, like the story of Wanda Holloway from Texas. And Wanda Holloway solicited to hire a hit man, via her ex brother in law, to take out the mother of a competitor of her daughter that beat her daughter out to be on a cheerleading squad. The media called her: Cheerleading Mom. The mom was even on the cover of People`s Magazine for doing this. There are documentaries about this incident on youtube.

  10. nunya biz says:

    I had not read this, thank you so much. You help some future children as well.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

    2. Nunya Biz. Good point. These poor children are being forced to live in an alternate world created by their parents and when reality bites them, for whatever reason, these children, and sometimes even their parents have a difficult time finding substantive and healthyl balms for their wounds.

      1. nunya biz says:

        Thank you, PSE. I felt like I could really feel the child’s confusion while reading it. Of course I haven’t seen the footage. It reminds me so much of HG’s writing about his mother and his grades and how he felt a surge of power inside himself when she complimented him. It is very relate-able the way he writes it, and makes it accessible to understand. The idea of the father grabbing the trophy sickens me.
        I find it challenging as a parent to try to encourage some balance between under-achieving and overworking.

        My husband and I have ongoing discussions about the lawyers he works with all the time (I saw you had mentioned some law degree work?) who are clearly narcissists and they just work all the time. They don’t seem to be aware of an alternative or care and like to play the law games 20 hours a day, it fulfills them.
        I know from the narcissist who sent me here… he told some stories about his father, they were similar, about him driving him to particular accomplishments in a particular way.
        My dad’s narc brother was over the top with ideas of masculinity and family lore. He was a dark person though, a lesser I guess, and his family suffered.

      2. nunya biz says:

        I was thinking something else, also.

        “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?”

        It depends on the family if this confers any advantage at all I would think and it also depends on what traits are encouraged.
        But mostly I’ve always thought, and been offended by, the use of the concept of “favorite” even toward the favorite. I mean, the favorite CAN end up being very unlikable and even in the case where they are likable, I consider the very act of having a favorite ABUSE toward both the favorite and the non-favorite child. I remember feeling very hurt that my sister told me, “you were dad’s favorite, I was mom’s favorite” sarcastically like that was known and she accepted it and I was to accept my place. My immediate internal reaction was like, “what, so I don’t get a mom then? My dad favoriting me didn’t feel good, what if it means nothing? Why am I supposed to accept this?” and I felt pain over her saying something so callous to me. Ever since then I’ve thought “there is no love in being the favorite, it’s only a sign of abuse and it’s just as bad, if not worse”.
        My sister in law told me that my husband was the known favorite in his family and I got upset and told her off. Mostly because I don’t understand what sort of advantage this made up story is supposed to confer, if anything it is a harmful story, all it does is placate someone else’s made up story and encourage division and I want him and his brother to be true to each other, god knows no one else is. My husband is the only adopted child, the oldest, and lives the furthest away and I’ve never seen him given anything special, attention or otherwise, it’s just a story.
        I let it go, people really just need to figure out their perceptions for themselves I guess. But it’s not technically possible for someone to be a narcissist’s favorite, it’s like having a favorite blender.

        1. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

          Nunya Biz. I am so fascinated about narc. parents because I did not have them. I see, like an eagle, the pathos. Sometimes we have to experience some things to see them clearly, but sometimes we do not. I was neither a golden child, nor a scapegoat. I was the only girl, among athletic brothers, and I had a lot of fun trying to keep up with them. I loved my childhood, and wish all children could have enjoyed theirs. It never comes around again, and should have been a safe foundation for all, but I see that it was not. I never thought about childhoods until I came on the site. I realize how extremely important that developmental stage was. And I am quite upset about what many children have to endure as they learn to survive one way or the other. Those that do survive, one way or the other, anyway Some do not survive in any substantive way. I feel pity and sorrow for them.

          1. nunya biz says:

            Thank you, PSE, I do feel I had some things robbed from me and I’ve been working through resentment for a long time. HG helps speed that process with explanations. But for me it wasn’t as bad as some for sure, including some on this blog, and also there were good parts! I was very luck to live near my grandmother in the forest/farm for a few years, it was a very unique time and I talked to ants and had invisible friends. I also was a bit of a teacher’s pet early on. And my dad is nuts, many would agree, but he had also some really good qualities and taught me a few perspectives that I appreciate. He just had bad ideas about himself because his dad was an angry drunk. My mom’s mom was a full blown schizophrenic and she had 7 brothers and sisters so she was taught nothing of the world.

            Your childhood sounds great. I’ve been enjoying your stories and posts. I only have one boy and one girl and I think they *mostly* get along very well.

          2. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

            Nunya Biz. I am glad and I am sure you had happy moments, 🙂 but, a schizophrenic with 7 siblings? Sounds like a grim fairy tale. It never ends…. one can not make this all up. Unbelievable. It is amazing that many people survive at all on this planet.

          3. nunya biz says:

            I agree, PSE. I’ve always found that stuff saddening. I think in our societal evolution we are no where near as far as we like to think, and Grim fairly tale is a good parallel, it can look bleak. Narcissists don’t see things that way, I suppose.

          4. nunya biz says:

            P.S. it was my mom with the seven siblings, not her mom. 8 kids with a shizophrenic mom. My mom’s older sister is very nice and pretty well rounded amazingly.

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