My Personality Is a Problem: Jafar
If you know (or are) a know-it-all, read on.
Jayotta's brother Jafar is constantly telling her she's wrong. "He corrects me on child-rearing, he corrects me on cooking, he corrects me on defrosting meat, using computers, purchasing vehicles, which toothpaste makes your teeth the whitest, which toothpaste freshens your breath the most. He corrects me on what names to call my kids, on how to pronounce my children's names," says Jayotta. "I am an intelligent, educated, and articulate woman with a master's degree in clinical social work. He just makes me feel really dumb and I'm tired of it."


Jafar, who graduated from Stanford with a master's degree in mechanical engineering, says he's "definitely much smarter than the average person." As for why he tried teaching physics to Jayotta's 2- and 3-year-old in an effort to get them to stop jumping on the couch, he says, "I like to inspire my nieces and nephews to think and broaden their horizons."


Jayotta asks, "Dr. Phil, how can I break through my brother's know-it-all attitude and get him to acknowledge my intelligence?"

If Jafar's comments leave Jayotta questioning her own intelligence, Dr. Phil says, Jayotta has only herself to blame. "That's your choice. He can't make you feel the way you feel. Only you can," Dr. Phil tells her, "and you need to stop letting some tedious bore cause you to feel badly about who you are."


Turning to Jafar, Dr. Phil says, "I'm not concerned about whether you're right or not. I'm concerned about your need to be right."


Jafar explains that as a young child he was placed in remedial classes, so, he explains, "I kind of had a vested interest in demonstrating that I'm not an idiot.


"Well, how long you do you have to play catch up? And at what point do you stop being controlled by the fact that you were misdiagnosed as a child?" Dr. Phil asks.

 

There are different kinds of intelligence, Dr. Phil explains, and perhaps Jafar's social IQ is not high enough for him to realize that he's alienating people around him and condescending to them. Jayotta agrees, pointing out that Jafar avoids having relationships by hiding behind his know-it-all and condescending ways.


Before offering advice, Dr. Phil gives Jafar the benefit of the doubt, saying, "The only saving grace here is your brother is truly a nice guy!"


Then he suggests that Jayotta set a boundary. "I want you to make a deal with your brother that you only give her feedback and advice if and when she asks for it, and at no other time are you permitted to express your opinion," Dr. Phil says. "If whe wants your advice, feedback or input, she will ask for it. Unless and until she does, shut up!"