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Your Successful parent is your worst Enemy!




Randy Aneke





Imagine being ‘given’ a life to please, a life tagged as an experiment of ‘continuum’ – as a test subject of slow and limited change, devoid of personal identity or selfhood. Now imagine not meeting the ‘required’ standards for appraisal; having to be constantly looked at as a failed project, with the never ending roll of the eyes indicating a sign of disapproval, disinterest and disgust! This is how it is when your successful parent becomes your worst enemy.
Here’s a disclaimer about the title: “Not all successful parents are your worst enemies.” The title is reserved for a selected few who usually ticks this box – a parent who became independent from a young age, having to struggle and climb up the ladder to success without a mentor despite the odds.




When life Creates a Narcissist!
Navigating through life’s turmoil alone and succeeding, does not always bear the sweetest fruits. An idea of this can be painted in two scenarios. Imagine taking a premature fruit, wrapping it overnight in an effort to get it ripe. Then leaving another on the tree branch till it ripens. Both might look and feel the same on the outside but the taste of the former is bland when compared to the latter.
Now in that effort to succeed, a lot is learned through personal ‘failures’ rather than a mentoring ‘saviour’. The steps on that ladder (to success) is replaced with knives and each cut leaves a permanent scar for remembrance. Finally at the top, the wounds are so deep, it develops a new voice…“I’ve been there.” “I’ve done this.” “I know best what works!” These three statements constantly echoes in the mind, creating an unchanging pattern for reference. Life’s turmoil has has successfully created a perfectionist, an egotistic specimen with the mantra: “my way is the best way.” But you shouldn’t blame their choices, they became blacksmiths of their fate at an early age. Having to heat up their steel from scratch, forging their swords through sweat and blood. An experience like that would leave no one unscaled. Like the programming of a clock to tick towards a lone direction, life creates a monotonous mind, obsessed with control and oblivious to change. Life creates a “Narcissist!”



Creating a Continuum.


An innocent child whose mind is fresh and reeks of naivety is born. A new mission is set in motion, with the pulling of strings, the moulding of images and the influence of identity, in a desperate effort to unearth a ‘mini-me’. The questions of: “child what do you want to be?” is replaced with, “child I want you to be… I want you continue….” The idea of the need for ‘selfhood’ is blinded by their shallow definition of ‘parenthood’.
Now the child is left with conflicting ideas surrounding his individuality, with the thoughts of concern forming a ring of confusion around his head. Out of the rubbles of uncertainty, two questions emanate: “should I go where the path may lead? Or go instead where there is no path and leave a trail?”

It’s early in the morning and an aura of ‘change’ radiates round the child. He walk by the parents bowing low to greet but receives a cold response of disapproval. “They hate this new change!” The choice of individuality is perceived as act of rebellion. With the frown on their brows they say: “You have grown wings and can no longer listen to your parents.” As the years grew by, their relationship dwindled. He became to them a failed project, a puppet gone rouge. The child tries to weather the storm of rejection but the feeling of indignation forms a never ending dark cloud over his head. He pitches a thousand and one career ideas to the parent hoping for their support but they are all rejected and met with the same three statements: “I’ve been there… I’ve done this… I know best what works!”


A Peek at the Bleak future

It has now been a little over three years since the child pitched his first idea to the parents. The negative responses have all along remained unchanged. A visibly derailed child looks on at the possibility of an ‘empty future’ in front of him, if this charade keeps up. Growing weary at the constant stream of rejections, he ultimately succumbs to his parent’s wishes. “Just maybe this is what’s right for me after all.” He said to himself.
Four years on from the end of his ‘rebellious’ phase, things start to change positively for him. The child’s ‘success’ in his (parents) dreams sees him rise to the peak of his profession. His parent’s brows still frown at him, but they bare a new message: “Like we told you before, we know best what works!” They would gloat. This time he believed them. Who wouldn’t? Result wise, their choices for him have proved to be better than the thousand and one career ideas he had pitched to them earlier. Now that his success story is the talk of the town, what else can he hope for? “If only this feeling can last forever.” He said to himself.
The fifth year sees an unfortunate turn of events. After receiving a devastating phone call, the child rushes to the hospital and he’s taken to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Right there in the hall, behind those huge transparent glasses, the image he sees brings him down to his knees. The child’s parents lay side to side strapped in so many ECG electrodes they were almost unrecognizable. There is dead silence in the ward with the only sound left, coming from the faint beep on the EKG monitor. Beeeep… it says before dying down… his parents are pronounced clinically dead. The doctor comes in and fills him up with the necessary information: “Is there anyone that I should call… you can stay here as long as you want, to recover.” The doctor says before turning way.


Researchers once planted electrodes on the brains of rats and there was a lever which was placed in front of them. Whenever the rats pulled the lever, the researchers would stimulate the rats’ dopamine levels (a rewards system). This ultimately made the rats develop a craving so strong that they pulled the lever over and over again for hours. The rats refused to eat or sleep, and they kept pressing the lever until they dropped from exhaustion. And then the researchers again did something remarkable, they reversed the entire process by blocking the release of dopamine to the rats as a reward. This process created semi-dead rats. They refused to eat, drink or mate. They lost their will to live (raison d’etre) along with the dopamine.

Seeing his parents in their death bed, the child realizes something; that just like how the rats’ loss of the stimulated dopamine resulted in their starvation and unwillingness to function, his body also became numb as his dopamine was sadly stimulated by the smiles and approval in his parents faces, all of which are now lost forever. His raison d’etre now ceases to exist along with his parents.


After carefully scanning the hall and seeing that he was alone, the child glances at an open widow close by and being on the fifty eight floor of the building, he makes for the window and jumps out of the building to end it all. Right before he lands to his doom, the child jerks up from bed realizing he had fallen asleep after getting his latest career idea (his one thousand and first) rejected yet again by his parents. “So this was all a dream”? He says, drenched in a pool of his own sweat… “A nightmare of a dream.”

Deja vu unchanged


The child finds himself thrown back to reality. “Is that how it would all turn out if I followed their way?” He says to himself. He shudders at the cold thought of the zombification of his mind all in the name of pleasing his parents. Having to continue their dreams at the detriment of his individuality, his happiness, peace of mind. The child finds himself weeping profusely, his heart wrenching at the idea of being put on a leash like a pet… chained to a dream that’s alien to him, and feeding off the scraps falling from the tables of his all-knowing, high and mighty parents.

It is early in the morning and the child makes his biggest decision yet. No longer keen on waiting on his parents, the child dashes out the door. “I want what I can call mine… something unique and personal.” He says, walking out to a new challenge.


Now having to navigate through life’s turmoil alone and succeeding, the child is forced to learn a lot through personal ‘failures’ rather than a mentoring ‘saviour’. With each step on the ladder (to success) being replaced with knives and each cut leaves a permanent scar for remembrance.

Ah, this process feels familiar, it feels like it has happened to someone in the past. Yes! It is the same process that turned the child’s parent into the egotistic specimen, obsessed with control and oblivious to change. It’s the same process that created the narcissist he once loved but feared. Finally at the top of the ladder, with his wounds so deep, it develops a familiar voice…“I’ve been there.” “I’ve done this.” “I know best what works!” These three statements constantly echoes in the child’s mind, creating an unchanging pattern for reference… but wait, there is something different, a new and softer voice emerges, a fourth voice that seems to be a little more dominant than the rest. “I know best what doesn’t work!”


The new voice echoes.

The child now learns to unlearn from the past. What was once a recurring, habitual process is now eliminated by the fourth voice: “I know best what works but I also know best what doesn’t.” The child says to his child. “I know best that continuing from me without first finding yourself is more bad than good… I also know that having you already completes me and so I have no need to un-earth a mini me… I want to be your mentoring saviour, child!” Dropping to his knees and getting hold of his child’s hand he asks: “child, what do you want to be?”

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