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    #132867 - 06/28/12 03:51 PM Re: Parental Fear of Success [Re: master of none]
    Grinity Offline

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Oh good HK - I was a little nervous to be 'speaking for you' but I've been in that space...
    Seriously - Gifted people can make great parents or not such great parents. If we decide to prioritize parenting we can be awesome - all of us here qualify as parents who care 'by definition.'

    But when sitting around with a bunch of PG adults recently, and the talk turned to the intense, self-involved, possibly Narsicistic Grandparent generation it's quite an eye-opener.

    Intense means that, like the girl with the forehead curl, when we are good, we are very very good, and when we are bad we are horrid.

    So either we are doing the externalized Perfectionism thing, which we certianly do at times, or PG Adults who don't actively prioritize their role as parents can really be hard to grow up with. See 'Dibs in Search of Self' or 'Drama of the Gifted Child' if you can stomach it.

    Of course when I hear stories of self-involved Grandparents, I think of what life must have been like for them as unidentified, unaccomdiated gifted children way back when. But that's just the shape of my mind - seeing connections and mirror images everywhere.

    We need each other.
    Coaching available, at

    #132870 - 06/28/12 05:29 PM Re: Parental Fear of Success [Re: master of none]
    DeHe Offline

    Registered: 08/07/10
    Posts: 735
    Hi MoN
    I really commend you for raising this issue, not only with yourself (which sounds odd sorry) but also here. I am very conscious of how I talk about my DS to him and about him. I was one of those, well sure he's great at this but did you see how he did that, untill I caught him listening. I realized i was doing it to fit in. The choice for me has been to be more silent than is my nature about certain issues, and even with friends who have been super supportive, I worry that I sound like I am bragging.

    With DS my fears, concerns come from my childhood. This whole rollercoaster with DS has raised so many issues about my childhood, some known and others not. And mine was not neglectful but rather a problem of intention - my father particularly believed that if he did not push, if he relaxed then we would, which is of course what happened to him. But his form of pushing was often very psychologically hurtful - and it was very much of the don't think you are such hot stuff variety because these others are better or I can find flaws in your accomplishment. And some of his doozy's have stayed with me, because they were not one offs.

    The reason I commend you for asking and trying to change is that the damage from the continued degradation that I experienced is incredibly persistent. Your stuff doesn't sound quite like what I dealt with, but your dd might be more sensitive. I don't mean to offend here, so I hope it's not coming across that way.

    My parents loved me, provided for me, and are proud of me. But I have little to no pride in my accomplishments. It's like as soon as I achieve, it's done, then what's the next thing I haven't done, or am not doing well enough. Or I try to find the one small area in a sea of good, like looking for the 10% rather than celebrating the 90%. But I am not a perfectionist. So it's not about my work or my work habits it's about my joy, my pride and my sense of self worth. And the worst part, especially for a girl, is the looking for validation, the craving to be patted on the back, job well done, or continual proof that you are loved. We all have that, but when it's the only thing driving you, there's no satisfaction in the work or the accomplishment. Or much in the way of self worth either. So it was very strange to be confident in my skills and accomplishments - but only up to a certain point - can my confidence in my skills be considered arrogance, possibly, I am good at a number of things, including my profession, but internally, something is missing as to me there is always someone or someting better, which means I did not do enough. It messes with your head in very strange ways.

    In your sentence - wow, that kid will be hard for you to beat - a simple change to wow, that kid is tough or good, without the comparison I think is the difference. The implicit statement in our sentence is that your dd won't be able to beat her - just take out your judgement of your DDs skills - or turn it around, wow, she's good, do you think she will be hard to beat? Then you are saying yes, you can beat her but it might take work. Now if dd chooses to not do the work, that is her choice.

    I have said some things that I hope DS does not remember - like noticing all the mistakes rather than what's awesome. It astounds me that I can do that knowing what the cumulative effect can be, I am trying so hard to not repeat my parents flaws - and recognition is the first step.

    Sorry so long, struck a nerve!


    #132874 - 06/28/12 06:42 PM Re: Parental Fear of Success [Re: DeHe]
    JonLaw Offline

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: DeHe
    It's like as soon as I achieve, it's done, then what's the next thing I haven't done, or am not doing well enough.

    This is a very concise statement of what the day to day practice of law feels like.

    #132924 - 06/29/12 09:40 AM Re: Parental Fear of Success [Re: master of none]
    DeHe Offline

    Registered: 08/07/10
    Posts: 735
    Glad to help! And I'm glad it didn't sound too bad, after reading it once, I got worried so was torn between not posting or adding the disclaimer!!


    #132932 - 06/29/12 10:11 AM Re: Parental Fear of Success [Re: JonLaw]
    HowlerKarma Offline

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Originally Posted By: JonLaw
    Originally Posted By: DeHe
    It's like as soon as I achieve, it's done, then what's the next thing I haven't done, or am not doing well enough.

    This is a very concise statement of what the day to day practice of law feels like.

    So you're saying that my DD's chosen profession is a natural fit-- maybe even a "calling"-- for my perfectionistic, slightly neurotic, argumentative, bibilioholic child? eek

    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

    #133114 - 07/02/12 06:00 PM Re: Parental Fear of Success [Re: HowlerKarma]
    CCN Offline

    Registered: 06/25/12
    Posts: 978
    Loc: BC, Canada
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

    I just CRINGE when I hear myself talk about her sometimes, because I cannot just make a complimentary observation about her to others. I have this pathological need to add "yeah, that part is terrific, but {this other thing she does is sure annoying/immature/dumb}." Just to make sure that they know she isn't insufferably arrogant and neither am I. frown

    YES.... me too!!! (poor kid). With BOTH of them. I can't just say something nice - it has to be followed by something derogatory. I'm so afraid of "bragging" or alienating people.

    Sometimes I feel like my kids' successes puts them directly in the line of fire (that was my own personal experience as a kid). Mediocrity and anonymity can be much less painful sometimes.

    #133118 - 07/02/12 07:10 PM Re: Parental Fear of Success [Re: master of none]
    ABQMom Offline

    Registered: 08/25/10
    Posts: 868
    I think you first have to do some serious self-searching to understand what is at the core of your fear of your children's success to really know how to address it. If it comes from seeing a propensity towards arrogance and superiority, you'd definitely address how you handled it much differently than if it came from familial comments that made you worried about how others would react to your childs' successes, etc.

    For my older two, being in a competitive sport that challenged them to beat their own last best score as well as competing against peers helped build a lot of character about how to handle their successes and failures. And because there were two siblings competing in the same sport, learning to temper one's own joy of success with sympathy for a sibling's bad performance also came with the territory. Maybe because it was physical and not mental, they were also far more comfortable being proud of their own success than they ever were in the academic realm.

    Don't beat yourself up for it, though. I'm impressed with your level of honesty in looking at yourself and think it's probably a sign of being a very good parent. smile


    #133126 - 07/02/12 07:51 PM Re: Parental Fear of Success [Re: master of none]
    Iucounu Offline

    Registered: 06/02/10
    Posts: 1457
    Originally Posted By: master of none
    Locounu: You seem to have your head in the right place regarding competition. Could you share your perspective on what it feels like to be good at things and to enjoy that you are good at it so I have a sense of what it feels like to dd?

    Also, What do you say to a kid when they ask if you think the team will win, if they ask if you think they will personally win, etc?

    I didn't ignore your post, but I've had to mull it over. I don't think I'm a good person to ask for advice on these issues, partly because I seem to be atypical and partly because I haven't successfully parented anyone yet (through to the end, at least).

    I don't know if I would say I have my head in the right place regarding competition. For one thing, there is a crushing-the-other aspect for me, which makes me feel good at the time but unhappy afterwards that I've caused someone to feel small. I know the specific seminal experiences that caused this, but it's hard to get past. I hope my children value excellence for its own sake, or, even better, that they're excellent at things as a matter of course and don't give much thought to competition for its own sake.

    I'm also more focused on validation from others than I'd like. I think there are lots of reasons one can engage in competition and this must be a big one, the thrill when someone awards a prize or strokes the ego, but it can give rise to depression when one goes for a stretch without the validation one craves. For me I think I value praise too much, but I also think I'd be just as happy if someone were to be afraid to face me. :|

    What it feels like for me, when I'm working on a legal or other intellectual problem, is probably not what it feels like for most people either. I focus intensely and for long periods of time, which is probably true of a lot of high-functioning people, but probably not to quite the same extent. I over-prepare. I also have a weird mental trick I can perform, where I give myself adrenaline jolts just by thinking of certain things. It causes heart palpitations afterwards, but I can "go to 11" on a moment's notice.

    What I feel when I am in a hearing (that I care about, which generally involves protecting someone from loss or a harsh consequence) is completely keyed up, to the point that time seems to slow down. I'm excited by the fact that, good or bad as I may be, I am the only one standing between my client and a disaster, and I would rather die than let that disaster happen, quite literally.

    I'm psychologically stripped down by that point, due to over-caffeination and lack of sleep. I don't need notes, although I do take them, because I remember everything that anyone says and cross-reference it with everything new that comes out at the hearing, looking for things to exploit. And when there's an opportunity to show righteous indignation, I can be almost feral... that's the best. I sometimes shock my clients the first time they see me in action at a hearing, because I'm so laid-back in general.

    When I was in software development, I would often focus extremely hard as well, but it wasn't nearly as nerve-wracking and my energies were channeled in more healthy ways based on love of making quality output, etc.

    I don't know that I really have anything helpful to give you. I'm a high school dropout who's overly focused on winning, and who nearly gives himself heart attacks on a weekly basis. Not a good model. laugh
    Striving to increase my rate of flow, and fight forum gloopiness. sick

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