Narcissists are stuck in an insecure pattern of seeking attention and validation.
They want all eyes on them at all times, and they want the world to revolve around them.
Cerebral narcissists are intensely convinced of their own intellectual superiority. They believe they are much smarter than everyone else and seek validation of that in every interaction.
So how can you spot a cerebral narcissist?
The most reliable way is to pay close attention to the way they speak and patterns of speech.
Here’s what to watch out for…
Cerebral narcissists love to put on a show. They talk up a storm on almost any subject, peppering it with buzzwords and intellectual terminology.
Even when they do not know almost anything at all, they will make an effort to sound like they do and to impress everyone around them.
They’re the star of the show and everything they say points right back to that belief.
This brings me to the next point…
2) Grandiose puffery
There is a time and a place for verbal elegance and formality.
But for the cerebral narcissist, every time and place is the right one.
The narcissist tends to use flowery language and sophisticated terminology for no real reason except to sound superior to others.
3) Fishing for compliments
Cerebral narcissists may believe that they are smarter than everyone else, but that doesn’t mean they’re satisfied with their own self-assessment.
In fact they’re guiding motivation is to be constantly validated and Amplified in their self-regard. For this reason they will show off in the way they speak, the terminology they use and the type of things they say.
Fishing for compliments is a common example of a cerebral narcissists tactic.
They will say and bring up subjects that they excel at or know a lot about in order to be complimented.
4) Hijacking conversations
Cerebral narcissists are professionals at taking over a conversation. They will enter any kind of discussion and make it all about them.
They will add some knowledge or perspective that they claim is extremely important, even though it may have very little to do with the discussion itself.
They always seek to find a way to show off their knowledge and intelligence even if it doesn’t fit into the interaction that is going on.
5) Name dropping and credentialism
Cerebral narcissists love to talk about how many important people they know and have a connection to.
This is especially common if they refer to prestigious individuals or academically venerated individuals.
They will make sure it is clear that they are in touch with folks who are widely seen as experts and geniuses.
The cerebral narcissist will also drop his or her credentials all the time, inserting them into conversations.
6) Trying to one-up everyone else
Whatever they are talking about, the cerebral narcissist is always trying to be better than whoever they are interacting with.
They seem to feel the need to one up everyone else. If somebody else has a degree from Harvard, The narcissist has a degree from Harvard and Yale.
If somebody is an accomplished corporate lawyer, the narcissist is an accomplished International corporate lawyer who also specializes in advanced human rights law.
7) Floating on fantasy narratives
Cerebral narcissists live in a fantasy world where their own brain power is all that matters.
They tend to reconstruct past events and accomplishments through the lens of their own superiority, often at the expense of the truth.
Cerebral narcissists often weave grandiose and semi-fictional narratives about their achievements, experiences, or intellectual pursuits.
8) Flexibility with the truth
In the previous point I mentioned how cerebral narcissists are not always truthful.
This is an important point to make, because the advanced vocabulary and impressive manner of talking of a cerebral narcissist can often drop people in. If you hear them speaking and don’t listen closely you may believe they truly are above everyone else.
However the conversational and cerebral narcissist quite frequently says things which just aren’t true.
They deliver them with such confidence and surety that most people never actually challenge them.
9) Implying they are misunderstood and underestimated
Narcissists love to play the victim.
Cerebral narcissists are no different, except they tend to emphasize their victimization in an intellectual sense.
They claim that they have been misunderstood and underestimated in every sense of the word.
They talk in such a way that it makes them sound like a misunderstood genius who’s been persecuted by society and who should be repaid by others with full attention at all times and complete agreement.
10) Reacting negatively to criticism
Often due to their high opinion of themselves and casting themselves as victims of misunderstanding, the cerebral narcissist does not take well to criticism.
Even being gently corrected on something they say or having it pointed out that their overconfidence is unwarranted in some small manner, and sent them off in an unpredictable and intense way.
Even though cerebral narcissists do not always have the outer hallmarks of dressing flashily or speaking in a loud voice that some narcissists may have, their deep feeling that they are smarter than other people makes them very much averse to being corrected in any way.
11) Dismissing the contributions of others
Cerebral narcissists are very dismissive of the contributions and ideas of others.
They feel the need to always one-up people, as I mentioned, and this extends into almost every domain.
When they have decided that a certain topic is a certain way or that they understand something more than other people, any insights or information on this that does not come from them is dismissed or downplayed as unimportant, mistaken or irrelevant.
If it is not from them it is not important.
12) Listening selectively and only hearing what they want
Cerebral narcissists have very selective hearing.
Because they are unwilling to take criticism and correction, they expect full compliance from others and respect for everything they say.
They only hear praise and validation, and they always want more of it.
They are not interested in what other people have to offer or add to a conversation or interaction.
They tend to jump right past this or interrupt and get back into their own ideas and theories.
13) Speaking in a condescending way
Cerebral narcissists are well known for speaking in a condescending way. In online discussion threads this usually manifests as sarcastic put-downs or ad hominem attacks.
Offline it manifests as using denigrating language to others or referring to people in a way that makes them feel embarrassed or lesser.
The purpose generally speaking is for the cerebral narcissist to assert his or her imagined primacy and put down any intellectual aspirations of others.
14) Raising their voice to drown out disagreement or other points of view
If it comes to it, the cerebral narcissist will physically raise their voice or use imposing body language to drown out the views of other people that do not agree with them.
Even those who do agree with what they say and do may find that they are drowned out if they try to make their voice heard in a real or significant way.
The cerebral narcissist may be repeating an idea that is well known by many people, but he or she wants full credit for it and wants recognition to come to them for their brilliant portrayal of the idea.
Contributions and input from others are of no interest to the cerebral narcissist and may become a threat if they try to get too involved.
Sidelining cerebral narcissists
Recognizing these speech patterns and habits is an effective way to spot a cerebral narcissist.
The best way to deal with a cerebral narcissist is to avoid feeding into their delusions.
When they demand your attention, you give it to somebody else. When they begin showing how smart they are you nod, smile and move on.
There’s no need to compete with a person who’s living in a heightened state of self-importance.
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