Did you know that having narcissistic traits that make you assertive without necessarily being manipulative to hurt others is healthy? Well, psychologists clinically diagnose and classify destructive narcissistic traits as narcissistic personality disorders (NPD). And, NPD varies from person to person depending on their most noticeable clinical patterns. So, are you or do you know someone who gets their narcissistic supply by outsmarting others? We call such a person, a cerebral narcissist. Let’s explore this narcissistic personality disorder below.
A cerebral narcissist is anyone who uses their superior intelligence to manipulate others. Here, they seek validation and admiration from others by acting smart. In turn, they see themselves as the most intelligent wherever they go. Plus, they look down at anyone they perceive to be less knowledgeable.
Cerebral Narcissism vs. Somatic Narcissism
Now, whereas a cerebral narcissist flaunts their brain as a tool to manipulate others, a somatic narcissist flaunts their body instead. Here, the somatic narcissists will want to have the most muscular, sexy, toned, tanned, or sexually appealing body among their peers. In addition, they will keep pointing out body “flaws” in others to put them down.
Signs of a Cerebral Narcissist
These are the most noticeable traits of a cerebral narcissist: –
#1: Trying to Appear More Intelligent Than Others
Have you ever met someone who uses complex words and phrases in regular conversations, making you appear less knowledgeable? They talk of cutting-edge technologies and theories or refer to famous authors by name to look sharper. Indeed, they aim to appear superior by intimidating you with their vast knowledge.
#2: Attention Seekers
When cerebral narcissists are in a group setting, they want everyone to focus on them. For example, they may start or join a conversation and talk over others to appear more knowledgeable than the rest. Other times, when another person they perceive as a threat begins to speak, they dilute the conversation by making it boring or baseless. These attention-seeking gestures are their way to get validation or admiration from their peers.
It is generally rare to meet a polite cerebral narcissist. Due to their unrealistic superior view of self, cerebral narcissists become arrogant when challenged. And, when criticized for their arrogance and entitlement, they become even more aggressive.
They also choose friends that they consider at par or above their mental abilities. This grandiosity trait is one of the ultimate goals of a cerebral narcissist.
#4: Preoccupation with Power
Cerebral narcissists get obsessed with power. In turn, they may: –
- View themselves as special and deserve your admiration
- Find it hard to empathize with the needs and feelings of others
- Prefer living in places or associating with people that feed their delusional view of self
- Fantasize about being famous or influential amongst their peers
When you meet a cerebral narcissist for the first time, they will use the opportunity to brag about their prestigious home, educational and professional backgrounds. Some even mock achievements that they deem too easy for them. Likewise, they may correct your use of words or how you pronounce the names of places as you also introduce yourself. This snobby and bragging character makes them feel superior and relevant in society.
#6: Lack of Sexual Motivation
Finally, since cerebral narcissists view those around them as less intelligent, they find it hard to get intimate with their partners. Hence, they may turn to pornography, masturbation, or sex toys to satisfy their sexual urges.
Dealing With a Cerebral Narcissist
If your loved one is a cerebral narcissist, cope living with the disorder by doing the following: –
#1: Understand and Empathize with Them
To effectively deal with cerebral narcissists, you must understand what makes them click. That way, you can empathize with their condition and develop strategies to protect your emotional wellbeing. So, if your child, spouse, friend, or parent is a cerebral narcissist: –
- Read their mood before engaging them in conversations.
- Maintain healthy boundaries and stick to them.
- Adapt a forgiving attitude when interacting with a cerebral narcissist.
- Hold hands, hug, smile, and extend physical intimacy without expecting the narcissistic partner to reciprocate the gesture.
- Accept the narcissist’s opinions as to their view, not necessarily to the correct perspective.
- Try and withhold your judgment, even when you know the narcissist is in the wrong. Opt for peace instead of being correct.
#2: Avoid Unnecessary Intellectual Talks or Debates
Never provoke a cerebral narcissist into an intellectual debate. You will only feed their ego by giving them the platform they want to put you down. Even when they realize they are in the wrong, cerebral narcissists will never accept defeat.
#3: Don’t Take It Personal
If you live with cerebral narcissists, they will always make snobby remarks to make you feel insecure and uncomfortable. It can be demeaning when this person is your boss, parent, or partner. Try not to internalize such remarks. Instead, pause and reflect on the response.
Looking at the bigger picture helps you calm down and avoid reactive behaviors that can trigger the cerebral narcissist to attack you even more.
#4: Walk Away When Necessary
Often, regardless of all your efforts to interact healthily with the cerebral narcissist, they always find a way to hurt you. When you reach this point, it is safe to take a break or end the relationship. Walking away gives you time away from the toxic interaction, allowing you to focus on yourself for a change. If you feel overwhelming guilt about the break-up, seek an external opinion from an expert or a trusted friend.
Cerebral narcissists have an unrealistic superior view of themselves. They flaunt their intellectual muscles to try and prove that everyone else is less knowledgeable and ignorant. Hence, it is almost impossible to please a cerebral narcissist. If your loved one has this narcissistic personality disorder find out all you can about the condition. Then, set clear boundaries when interacting with the narcissist. Develop a thick skin, forgiving the person and letting go of the nasty remarks. Still, if you must, walk away. It may be the only way for you to break free and start healing from narcissistic abuse.
To find out what narcissist type you’re dealing with, take our Narcissist Quiz!