The Cerebral Narcissist – A Portrait
Narcissists are convinced that people find them captivating. Their abiding charm is part of their self-imputed supremacy. This frivolous belief is what makes the narcissist a “pathological charmer”.
The somatic narcissist (and/or histrionic) flaunts their sex appeal, sensual prowess, and attractive body. Somatics are almost always in the latest fashion, driving fancy cars, and acting the celebrity.
The cerebral narcissist, on the other hand, seeks to captivate and mesmerize his target with a brainy fireworks display–gaining his worth from his intellectual abilities and achievements. His mind is the source of his vanity. He or she would much rather acquire obscure information, use big, complicated words, and write long, drawn out dissertations on their “ground-breaking ideas”. They don’t usually draw attention to themselves, preferring to go into full character by withdrawing from society; going out in public only occasionally…to remind the lowly human race of their deific existence.
Cerebral narcissists will try to impress others by their scholarly intelligence and command of the language, which is used not only to impress, but also to destroy anyone who questions them. They are convinced that they are unique and should only associate with other special or high-status individuals. In fact, when confronted with anything that contradicts their sense of god-like stature, you can bet that their reaction will be explosive and malicious.
Contempt is shown for those they deem inferior. When this narcissist experiences a loss of admiration they will become emotionally and/or verbally abusive. Their verbal sharpness is such that one is left staggering in the aftermath. In spite of these injurious traits, such a person can be charming and exhibit behaviors widely admired in society. There can be the ‘appearance’ of a genuine sense of benevolence towards others–though they’re not sincere in nature.
The Cerebral Narcissist generally operates in the same way as the somatic or overt Narcissist when it comes to securing a source of supply. However, there are subtleties that set them apart, such as:
During the idealization phase: they follow the blue-print when it comes to showering their target with affection and praise. However, the cerebral narcissist goes one step further by exclaiming that the new supply is their intellectual equal. This may very well be the case, but the cerebral narcissist doesn’t believe it because in their mind, no one can match his or her mental prowess. Their pretense is impermeable. Gifts often include poetry, books, and hand-written letters professing their undying love.
As with all Narcissists, this phase is to make you addicted to the constant attention. Once the emotional and chemical cravings set in, thus begins the devaluation phase.
The devaluation phase is very similar to other Narcissists, though manifests in a slightly different way. Instead of direct, snarky remarks meant to chip away at the target’s self-esteem (which is the MO of the less intelligent Narcs), the Cerebral will suddenly blow hot and cold, withdraw their attention, and give you the overall sense of not being as high of a priority as before. They begin to throw out occasional morsels in order to keep you in their loop. But don’t be fooled, underneath the cool demeanor they are secretly cursing your perceived ignorance and mocking you under their breath.
Although it may not come up in discussion, you begin to feel you’re being needy or clingy, so you back off in hopes of recapturing the attention you received in the beginning. It’s about this time that you may begin to question the depth of their feelings for you, trying to make sense of the widening gap that’s forming. They make a virtue out of their emotional truancy by convincing you they’re simply giving you space and freedom, or that they’re preoccupied with some big project.
The discard phase is where everything comes to light. It becomes apparent that the narcissist considers himself a gift to civilization. His intelligent achievements are earth shatteringly paradigm-shifting, forever penetrating and superior. Periodically interacting with objects of conflict sustains his inner turmoil, keeping the narcissist on his toes…this infuses him with euphoric liveliness. Should you demand more – you will become an encumbrance. He will dump you, disengaging quickly and remorselessly. The cerebral narcissist’s discard is often swift because they simply don’t have the endurance to tolerate the bleating morons they call partners.
During the discard phase, the narcissist reveals his or her authentic self. You experience their callous indifference as the relationship ends. You might think this is only a fleeting lapse, but in reality, this is their true nature which has been hidden under a dark cloak.
The scheming charm that existed in the beginning is gone – instead, it is replaced by the genuine contempt that the narcissist felt for you from the beginning. They feel absolutely nothing for you except the excitement of having discarded another unsuspecting target. It’s at this point you must accept that the dreamlike bond that existed in the beginning was an illusion.
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**Written in part with content found on Self-Care Haven and her article, Five Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head. Visit her site for more information on Narcissistic behaviors and self-care.