cerebral narcissist

The Cerebral Narcissist – A Portrait

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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 (also known as histrionic) flaunts their sex appeal, sensual prowess, and attractive body.  Somatic narcissists 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 their target with a brainy fireworks display–gaining their worth from their intellectual abilities and achievements.  Their mind is the source of the cerebral narcissist’s 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.

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cerebral narcissist
Cerebral narcissists will try to impress others with 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.

How the Cerebral Narcissist Operates

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 blueprint 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 narcissists), the cerebral narcissist 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 themself a gift to civilization.  Their intelligent achievements are earth-shatteringly paradigm-shifting, forever penetrating, and superior. 

Periodically interacting with objects of conflict sustains their inner turmoil, keeping the narcissist on their toes…this infuses them with euphoric liveliness.  Should you demand more – you will become an encumbrance. They 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 when you first met was an illusion.

In Conclusion

If you’re ready to break free and get started on the stages of healing after narcissistic abuse NOW, there’s only ONE way to do it: Let me show you how to forget the narcissist and move on.  

Discover the strength inside you to overcome crippling emotional pain, defeat helplessness, and create a meaningful, fulfilling life.  

The Break Free Bootcamp, will give you the exact strategies to help you discover the key to transformational healing and overcoming the addiction to drama and trauma.

This therapist-approved online program for narcissistic abuse recovery is a practical and easy-to-follow program that has helped thousands of people from all over the globe to break free from suffering and trauma… and successfully guided them through the stages of healing after narcissistic abuse.

I look forward to reading and responding to your questions and answers below.

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Jelena says August 17, 2021

This is a perfect description of both my father and my husband. I’m ashamed to admit that, when I was younger and being a straight A student, I copied some of my father’s behaviour. He even encouraged me. Of course, it didn’t work in making me popular with other kids. Only much, much later I realized that he despised me

Brenda Trexler says August 16, 2021

Thank you so much Kim,I needed to hear t his, I just want to let go.God bless you❤

    Kim Saeed says August 19, 2021

    Bless you, too, Brenda. Xo

Ruth says August 16, 2021

Hi Kim, I am so excited to start working through your amazing thriver roadmap.
I have and still am doing everything possible to recover and heal from a very cruel narcissistic relationship which I didn’t realise it was at the time.
I thought and was brainwashed to think and believe that everything was my fault and all blame for anything was down to me.
So I thought he was this perfect man who I desperately wanted to love me and not keep criticising and accusing me.
I also didn’t realise that when he pushed me over really hard, it was abuse and an illegal action.
But I just let him get away with it all on the basis that he had convinced me that I deserved his punishment.
I know so much better and more now!
But I urgently need more help healing my trauma from within and finally getting to a place of peace.
I feel strongly that working with Kim will really help me to achieve this. Ruth ?

Janice Paull says August 16, 2021

Now at least one of my experiences with narcissists has a name Cerebral. Beneath the mask of being intellectually superior to the rest of the human species, my narcissist was an emotional void, desperate for adoration and fearful of discovery.
Ten years after leaving him, I remain prone to self-doubt and although conscious that I made the right decision, can occasionally indulge in romanticising the relationship.
I am the only one who knows how it was. Family and friends were impressed. The long term effect is profound. Thank you for identifying the form of narcissism.

Juanita M Jones says August 15, 2021

The article clearly described my narcissistic SO to a T. A more hideous, deplorable, demonic creature could not exist in the universe.

Monica says January 24, 2021

Thanks. Very informative and something that is commonly experienced especially by spouses of men in authority or popularity, but not recognized or acknowledged by society

Ingrid Fisher, Certified Life Coach ( iPEC) says January 24, 2021

For me the way is through daily prayer and medication to deepen my connection with Source, with Higher Self, and with Inner Child and ‘Inner Being”. I disconnected from God when my mother died when i was 14 and there was no-one to hold me, help me process, talk to about this and help me through it. This terrible abandonment trauma has played a role in all my relationships. but now that I am learning to ‘self source” and deepen friendships with “Recovery friends”, I am able to gradually let go of so many losses in life that it became overwhelming. Let Go and Let Go, is not a quick process for me but a journey of processing grieving and healing, as well of opening up to people who do not say” Gosh aren’t you over that yet? It is a long time ago ad kook at how many good things you have!”. I need to be allowed to grieve, rather than be fixed.

liz says September 11, 2020

THANK YOU for this article on cerebral narcs….it helped me very much…it is EXACTLY what I am now dealing with, and fits the N’s patterns and traits/behaviors to a T….absolutely dead-on accurate, too.
I’ve been going thru the Discard/Hoover nightmare now for about a month….even tho I am well-aware of what’s happened, I still can not fully accept or wrap my mind around how someone can be so utterly cruel and sadistic, emotionally and psychologically….
I feel like I’ve been hit with a stun gun, emotionally.
You’re articles have been a TREMNDOUS help.
Bless You for all you share….

J says December 30, 2019

In my personal experience, I can relate to some of this with a Cerebral Narcissists, however, there is definitely more to the patterns, highs and lows, distress triggers (for the C-Narcissists), and self-pity/pathetic/blaming symptoms than mentioned here. I’m curious if a somatic can become a cerebral… good looking guy when younger, then later in life really hit a streak of “intelligence” obsessively studying his topic. Perhaps the internet gave a new avenue to explore and study. The psychological intelligence is pretty sharp also, which is why reality can be twisted so suavely by their kind. This guy thinks no one lives in “truth” or “reality” and has an extremely hard time communicating to average people…in fact, I say he speaks “cryptic”… doesn’t fully explain anything that’s relevant to every day work/life. He wants to be liked and accepted at some level, complaining about my family & friends – one way or another he makes a negative comment….with the exception of the children (he wants them to like him). He has a couple of addictions, also. If he fakes sex, he’s really good. Loves porn. He’s more of a nurturing person – almost like healing hands. However, when he withdraws and gets depressed, or gets angry, he’s dark, dark, dark.

I originally thought he was on the autism spectrum. When I finally figured it out, I was blown away that Narcissism exists… beyond vaguely knowing that “pretty people” may love themselves excessively.

While he will apologize – it is not often – and it’s always my fault he did “xyz”.

He doesn’t have many friends, but the friends he has are old friends.

I am confident I was used publicly to friends/family/customers that he is a good person, and that he can be trusted, and whatever else he needed my presence to prove about his character.

He holds a grudge for a lifetime. However, he says he loves people and helps them. Yet, no one helps him. He is a wild card of confusion for me. I just want away. We have a young child together, which he “adores” and loves to use her/me as the reason we will all suffer a miserable life – if we aren’t together. From finances to a healthy child. It doesn’t matter which direction our conversation goes, we can’t have a good life if we aren’t together. (Please!) I definitely want to be around my child when the other parent is around, so I try my best to stay in my genuine kindness self…yet, keep relationship boundaries. It’s hard when I have to literally say “leave” or “this doesn’t mean we are in a relationship”. I feel stuck in an impossible situation where I move forward, yet have to be in contact with him because of our child. My protective streak is strong, yet I’m tired. Sooooo tired. A child break is nice, but it’s also hard. The child is so young right now. Regaining complete financial independence would be even better. Then I’d be less inclined to care if he is involved in the child’s life.

    Mama Juniper says August 16, 2021

    Your guy sounds like my ex. I think he’s got avoidant personality disorder and cerebral narcissism. We met in our late 30’s so I don’t know about his looks when he was younger, but I do know HE thinks he was good looking. He’s obsessed with his younger self. His feelings are so easily hurt – I’d been trained not to even mention issues because he’ll totally meltdown. His issues with me and my kids were always brought to our attention, though. He constantly rejected or ignored me, yet any attempts for me to do the same were met with extreme malice. He’s super opinionated about everything (always negative) but if I offered a contradictory opinion, he’d explode. He also “loves” his kids – but only as an extension of himself. As the children age and are less impressive, he has become more distant from them. My children were never accepted (because they don’t reflect on him in any way). His jabs were never overt, I wouldn’t have allowed that. Constantly bickering, no one else allowed to have differences in opinion, everything I loved was poop (always remarked in an offhand way like making fun of weightlifting knowing I did CrossFit or criticizing old houses when I lived in one). It wasn’t ME that was the problem – just everything about me. But if you asked him, he adores me. There’s a trap there that I couldn’t quite put my finger on – he put me on a pedestal and worshipped me while attacking everything I loved and dismantling my life outside of him piece by piece (my hobbies, my job, my finances, my home, my security, my children – he attempted to make me 100% dependent on him and his affection – which he’d withdraw whenever he pleased. He caged me like a pretty bird and he loved me like a pet – at his convenience.)
    I hope you and your child have been able to move forward and separate from this guy. I am eternally thankful I did not get pregnant with my Nex.

M. says December 5, 2019

My longterm On-Off is this kind of narcissist. I’ve read a lot about the disorder but this closed the last gaps.

Stef says November 6, 2019

I’m married to a cerebral narc and have told him I want a divorce. He has launched into all the reasons why I’m wrong and could never survive on my own. I realize now that what initially attracted him to me was the fact that I was a great student and he felt I was “smart enough” to be with him – though of course I could never live up to his level of extreme intelligence.

He is forever holding court and lecturing the family about various things he knows way more than we will ever know (ha) about. It has been a long road but I’m excited about my journey to freedom.

13 Unsettling Things Narcissists Do When They Think No One Is Looking - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says October 10, 2019

[…] all narcissists cheat, but most of them do.  The ones who don’t tend to be of the “cerebral” ilk and simply do not enjoy having intimate relations with other […]

Anonymous says September 2, 2019

I disagree that narcs aren’t aware of what they do. I have plenty of experience with narcs, and they know EXACTLY what they’re doing! My mother is a narc, and I’ve watched her plot and scheme on ppl as a child…even before knowing she was a narc. Some narcs are aware of what they are and some aren’t aware, but they all know what they’re doing. They just don’t care that it hurts ppl, because afterall…”they deserve it”

George W Forbes says June 12, 2018

Hi Kim! Terrific profile of my recently acquired business partner. He manipulated my vulnerabilities with his charm compassion concern and his sense of vision. All of it a convincing performance. The minute the partnership was signed he did a 180 and has turned into the darkside of his disorder. My question is How do I safely disengage from this nightmare?

Verline Black says April 28, 2018

Please help legally married to this man. I brought him to the unied states he treat me so bad.

    Kim Saeed says April 30, 2018

    Hi Verline,

    It’s never too late to start over. A marriage doesn’t mean a life sentence…have you thought of filing for divorce?

Clare says May 7, 2017

I find this rhetoric on narcissism very misleading and damaging. Narcissists do not “scheme” they are unaware, and if they are aware they are unable to control themselves. They are the equivalents of alcoholics- owned and controlled by their addiction to narcissistic supply- which includes both “highs” and “hang overs/ come downs”. When not in the grip of narcissistic supply addiction, they may return to being a normal person- either horrified or in denial of what they have done. These people are unhappy addicts who make everyone else unhappy. What they are usually not- is playing a game of knowingly evil chess. If they are manipulative they feel justified through twisted reasoning. Malic or cold, aware intent would be machiavellianism and psychopathy.

    Margarethe Albertyn says June 1, 2017

    I would have to agree here. I think that the information in this page is phenomenal but there should be a distinction made between sociopaths and narcs. Sociopaths are aware of, and enjoy, their deviant behavior, lies, and duping. Narcs have a disfunctional way of getting their needs met and only at the far end of the spectrum heading into sociopath territory are they “plotting and scheming” consciously. I understand that you want people to understand that they can’t “save” a narcissist and should instead save themselves… but it’s important to still be accurate.

      Kim Saeed says June 1, 2017

      Hi Margarethe, thank you for stopping by. I’ve replied to Clare’s comment if you’re interested in checking it out.

      I’m aware there is a new movement going around with the intent of portraying narcissists as just people who are dysfunctional and basically cannot help themselves, but I disagree. As I explained to Clare, I not only have personal experience with the garden-variety narcissist scheming, I’ve worked with many hundreds of clients over the past several years and I can say with certainty that narcissists do scheme and are often delighted in the outcome of such schemes, whether it’s simply pushing another person’s buttons or triggering trauma in their targets.

      maggie says January 12, 2018

      im sorry to say but they are fully aware of who and how far they can control manipulate and abuse each person in their lives. therefore, yes they are fully conscious of what they are doing to other people but to them it doesnt matter. the end goal is always about making them feel above and beyond their victims. plotting and scheming, maybe not, but conscious of the abuse they are pushing out there, YES 100%

    Kim Saeed says June 1, 2017

    Greetings, Clare. Thank you for your input, however I feel pulled to disagree with you. I’m not sure how you developed your belief, but there are many well-meaning therapists and PhDs out there who are humanists and advocate that narcissists cannot control themselves and are addicts. While that may be true to a degree, narcissists do, in fact, scheme.

    Many of the books and articles out there written by licensed therapists and doctors are based on theory alone…by people who have no personal experience being the target of narcissistic abuse Having personally overcome this kind of abuse, and having worked with many clients over the past four years, I’ve learned that we can’t always base our opinions and beliefs on theory. Narcissists do, in fact, scheme.

    I have worked with people who’ve been with the garden-variety narcissist, all the way up to a bona-fide sociopath. On a personal level, I was with a narcissist for eight years. I have enough experience and field research under my belt to say with confidence that narcissists do scheme and most of the time, they are aware that they are doing so.

      Heidi colonnese says December 13, 2017

      This description ,fits the hell I lived w for 25 years of my life.
      Very aware , behind closed doors,they are aware as any abuser, that’s why, they choose who to abuse & when.

Roberta Boulton says June 24, 2015

I am 34 years still in a marriage with a Narc, at this point I’m not sure what type but still a Narc all the same. I’m still in the marriage because I can’t afford to leave, he spent every penny and still is. But I’m a survivor because when I went to the bottom I didn’t want to get up and prayed God would take me, soon. He didn’t take me but led me to an alternative way of surviving, spirituality, so in essence, death saved me from death. I spent the next seven years focusing on all things spiritual, became a Reiki Master and Clinical Hypnotherapist but I still didn’t have an answer for years of physical and emotional abuse until I googled ‘serial cheat’ and BINGO! I found a website that described my husband in so much detail I thought they must be talking about him! I then spent the next two years studying Narcissism trying desperately to understand the chaos I’d been living in. Once I discovered why, I then had to deal with the incredible hatred I had for myself, how could I have been so weak, so stupid, be everything I hate in weak people, I had been one so again, spirituality came forward and showed me how to forgive myself and let go and here I am, alive, happy and free. I don’t look back with regret of a life lost, I now look forward to a future without pain. I don’t know what it holds for me and only live day by day, but I’m pain free. He still cheats, currently is, still spends every penny we have but, he can’t hurt me anymore and sometimes I delight in the look on his face when he realises it doesn’t affect me anymore, not very spiritual of me I know, but what the hell, I’m also human.

To all victims of Narc partners, don’t look back, learn to love yourself again and look forward.

Disillusioned says June 12, 2015

I am struggling with how I feel about a man I was seeing, who has since told me I was involved with him but he wasn’t with me. I found out he had been seeing someone else while seeing me, after he was beaten up by the other woman’s husband. He has rewritten what happened between us. That all we had was a moment, he toyed with the idea of a relationship, was only ever a ‘friendship’ sometimes we were loving friends, trusting friends, best friends, special friends. Never partners. For 2 years we were friends, he emailed me nearly everyday, I fell for him hook line and sinker, then as the friendship progressed when he changed work roles and we eventually got physical he also became more vindictive, putting me down, blowing hot and cold, being really kind and sensitive and then really cruel. Since I found out that he is seeing someone else, a junior member of staff he recruited and who reports to him (although he has got her a permanent job that wasn’t advertised, and no longer is her official line manager) while divorcing his wife he has been separated from for the last 5 years (who he told me was a controlling mad woman who would not let him see his children if he was even friends with another woman, I was special you see, that he would allow me in his home, come to mine as the risk he was taking was huge in relation to seeing his children – all lies, but I believed them!) and we all work in the same large organisation. So when I found out about the other woman he then emailed me to say never to contact him again, he wronged me and now punishes me by refusing to talk to me, to explain, to apologise. In my brain I know it is better to never to talk or see him again. In my heart I miss him. I miss the man he led me to believe he was and could be if he could get over all the emotional damage he told me other woman had inflicted on him over the years. I guess he is happy now, he has a new woman, while I have been discarded and left reeling from having believed his lies and having trusted someone who was just not trustworthy. I just wanted to believe the man he showed me glimpses of was real.

    Kim Saeed says June 13, 2015

    He’s angry that you found out about the other woman and because he won’t accept any accountability, wants you to believe there’s something about you that he needs to go No Contact for. This is a classic ploy they pull. Just be careful not to internalize his seeming “rejection” of you, and try to come to terms with the fact that the man you thought he was doesn’t exist. Easier said than done, I know.

    Wishing you all the very best.

      Disillusioned says June 13, 2015

      Thanks for replying. I think I have internalised it already. I feel completely rejected, I feel pretty worthless and have lost my sense of confidence that I always took for granted. I believed his lies. I even believed when he said he wasn’t seeing her again until I saw them sitting knees touching in a coffee shop. He has more or less moved in with her now. I was never allowed to stay the night at his or he at mine as he needed to be home in case the mad wife he wanted to divorce came looking for him, all lies. I don’t know if his wife now knows about the new woman, but because he has asked for a divorce, finally, and he is being pretty blatant at work about his involvement with the new woman I assume she might now know. I feel that I wasn’t good enough, he kept our friendship, then the relationship he refused to call a relationship secret from everyone, he allowed me (yes allowed, shows the control) to tell my mum and daughter last November. I didn’t even tell other family members as it was so important to him that I was a secret. And now he has someone else and is being open about it, not even going home at night. I feel so used, exploited, manipulated, hurt. I thought I was doing ok until the last few days when I just want to cry. I don’t really know how to move forward, there is no closure, since he emailed 6 weeks ago from work email I can’t contact him as I know he would use it as case for harassment (he has told me in the past he nearly filed harassment cases at colleagues who spread rumours about him, all true I now assume, I always thought he was misunderstood a bit of a nerd, very very clever, but kind and sensitive. But seems was all an act. I can’t get my head round all the kindness and care and patience I offered being trashed and him finding another woman so quickly. Well maybe not quickly as I had no idea he was seeing her until her husband found out. That feels awful too, that he was seeing someone at the same time as me. Explains his rules about what was ok to do physically from one week to the next. And he said I was misbehaving and inappropriate when I even just wanted a full body hug. Clearly he was getting hugs and more elsewhere. The feeling of being duped is so hard to cope with. I loved him. He knew that but chewed me up and spat me out and has moved on. I don’t even deserve an explanation in his eyes. I am seeing a counsellor but I still have no idea how to get past the constant washing drum cycle of rethinking things he told me that I can see now were pure fabrications, why did he need to lie? Why did he need to inflict such pain? January to April were hard months, I never knew where I stood with him. But the silence is the greatest punishment of all. It is like I don’t exist anymore. I have found this website a real eye opener, I had never really appreciated the abusive ways individuals can be with others, emotionally abusive I mean. And it is so so hard to let go and move on.

        Water Lily says June 30, 2016

        you just told my story almost verbatim down to the time span and the begging “for a full body hug” which was the reason for my most recent inexplicable injury/discard except mine was a divorcee (3 times but he lies and says he was only married twice)

Sandy says June 11, 2015

Now that I have learned about narcissistic abuse, I’ve been thinking back on guys I’ve spent time with over the years, and at least 3 come to mind who all had very abusive natures. But you know what’s raising my eyebrows now, just thinking about them? They all did things early on TO HURT ME, and they did it right in my face for the most part. Almost like trying to see what they could get by with. One of them, in a fit of frustration, actually began carving words on my dining room table-right in front of me! I halted that immediately, but should have banished the bum. He also had a penchant for disappearing with my car for 3 days. He’s sitting in prison now, so narc on that, buddy! The second guy was my initiation into the confusion of having someone suddenly be very upset at me, yet I’d have no idea why, nor would he tell me. He tried to tell me how to handle an online chat once, and when I told him to get his own chat and do his own thing there, he stormed off into my backyard and severed my phone line. Even threw my knife he’d used into my backyard; I found it days later. That same guy also touched a lit cigarette to an intimate area on me while I was sound asleep! I woke up and spun around and I will never, ever forget the fiendish look of pure impish delight I witnessed for a moment on his face. That same guy another time became so suddenly enraged by something I said, that he attacked and jumped on me like some kind of lunatic. And do you know, he always insisted to everyone that my anger was out of control. I remember always thinking, why does he think that, I wasn’t the one tripping out! After an incredibly public fall from his own self-constructed house of cards, he killed himself. And the 3rd guy…he killed my cat! My kitty went from the picture of health to failing badly. Turned out he had a ruptured kidney! The jerk admitted kicking the cat because it tried to get his pizza. What’s extra strange, he then spent over a thousand bucks trying to get him well. It didn’t work, and my kitty had to be put down.
I don’t know how I was so foolish in the past, but Lord help me identify and banish the next person that pulls outlandish stunts against me…dang!

Embre says June 11, 2015

This post describes my ex to a tee…. early in our relationship he made a point of the fact that he’d been IQ tested as a very young child and scored above the 90th percentile… he said that he got along so well with me (and we were together longer than any of his previous relationships) because I was smart, too. Yet later he had no problem tearing me down by calling me “immature,” “childish,” “selfish,” yet I was the one who managed our household and cooked him dinner and washed his clothes every week while he hid away to work on whatever his latest grand idea was. He accused me of being devoid of compassion (and later told me I should just get over my family member’s death).

It tore me apart to see his arrogance tearing apart his professional relationships and torpedoing his chances at a good education and career. I knew he was genuinely intelligent; I wanted only the best for him; yet he perceived his mentors as people who feared his potential and were out to sabotage him. He was a constant victim, even from the campus offices whose help he enlisted in his delusions of persecution.

Every night I’d cook him dinner, wait for him to break away from his projects, and dutifully listen as he ranted and raved about whoever was out to ruin him that week. The vitriol and fury in him alarmed me, but I couldn’t say a word. I couldn’t agree with him (for fear of fueling the fire, and I didn’t agree with him), and I definitely couldn’t contradict him, because then I’d be “against him” too. So I settled for a passive “hmm” of acknowledgment. Even that earned me anger if he perceived my response to seem too judgmental or critical (something in my eyes, I guess?).

He spoke occasionally about how he was THIS close to going on a shooting spree. Then he’d assure me that he wouldn’t ever, because it would ruin his chances at a career. I always reminded him of this when he drifted into that territory–that he was talented, smart, that he’d find a way out of his current predicament. I can’t say how serious he ever was but the fact that I didn’t flee right then should tell you how thoroughly enmeshed I was in that relationship.

I stayed so long–despite horrific emotional abuse, domination, control, neglect, paranoia, and rage–because he had hooked me in those early days together. Somehow I remembered the idyllic early months of our relationship and thought we’d get back to that somehow. I desperately wanted to get married because I thought I’d found a real catch, my soulmate. He alternately dangled the idea of marriage over me like a tempting morsel, then derided the concept as mere interference of the government in his private life.

Early on he was happy to clear his schedule and just spend time with me; cook me a fancy dinner; later, I was lucky if he sat on the couch with me to watch a movie “together” while he continued working on his laptop. Cuddling together in bed turned into me trying to sleep while he tapped away on his keyboard in bed. Preparing elaborate meals turned into promises to make dinner, working until I was almost ready to go to bed, then going into the kitchen and discovering there was nothing to eat, so having some cheese and fruit for dinner. But if I ever expressed the slightest whiff of dissatisfaction with this turn of events, somehow I was selfish, needy, wanting to monopolize his attention and stop him from being successful and supporting us in the future.

Finally, it took us being with our separate families over a holiday and him snapping into “obsessive, abusive control freak” mode via text for my family to see his true colors (conveniently hidden up to that point) and to intervene on my behalf. They helped me to realize my predicament and to break free from it.

I have no idea what I would have done if we hadn’t gone to visit our families that week. I doubted that I’d be back to visit them for some time (I lived several states away) and my ex was planning to transfer to a school halfway across the country. If I’d gone with him, I would have been even more isolated from my support network.

RIght after the breakup, I felt hollow inside, like my heart and dreams had been scooped out of my chest. But I also felt… released. Suddenly I could do what I wanted, go where I pleased, without having to ask permission or brave anyone’s disapproval.

Now I am happily supporting myself and doing all the things I love to do. I have a much greater quality of life than I did when I was with my ex because he isn’t sucking my dignity and spirit away from me.

Sometimes I find myself wishing I could talk to him and tell him what a piece of shit he was to me. In my fantasies, he breaks down and admits to abusing me, admits that he did terrible things to me. But the sad part is that I know this will never, ever happen. Hopefully I never see or talk to him again, and even if I did, I know he’d still lapse back to his same old abusive ways. It would only be a matter of time.

Fortunately, I’m free.

D.G.Kaye says June 9, 2015

“One of the most effective ways of ‘winning’ a game with a Narcissist… let them win. If you’ve been in a relationship with a Narcissist for a while, you’ll know that at some point they stop being ‘nice’ to you, it’s an effort for them, and they switch to being mean. They will tell you some awful truth about yourself for your own good, of course, they’re wonderful like that. Don’t try to prove them wrong, that’s what they want, that gives them what they need, all of your passionate attention. Tell them they are right and walk away”. That was the part that resonates most with me, about my mother. It’s the only way to win.

Debra Sutton says June 9, 2015

Great Post Kim, I have been involved with both types of narcissist. I can clearly see now that I am a target for these types. The key for me now is to change this.

trish says June 6, 2015

Kim found your website last March Im an empath and a HSP and my narc is a Cerebral Narc. I dont want to focus on him and as you remind us it is about focusing on us, our role we play and how we fix our root issues, raise our energy vibrations and understand how we danced with the narc. Doing simple things like cooking, cleaning and going to work was so difficult and exhausting to do. I became a skeleton of myself a ghost drifting and just making it thru the days. Tears as I write this of what I became. I could write the narc hundreds of long messages but now words dont seem to convey my journey. It feels important to share the steps and how everything you provided guided the journey. it is a multitude of things that help us recover – not just one and the recovery steps may vary based upon each person.

go no contact. the time without them does something magical it removes the veil they have over you and you begin to see them for who they really are but more importantly how beautiful and strong you really are

listen to meditation all of it all the time. the different meditation provided begins the healing process and as you heal different meditation is needed thru the healing stages. driving to work, before you go to sleep, doing dishes – whenever you can

meditate – I would drive for hours with my dog. the driving was my meditation it brought clarity and a calmness. I drove when ever I could and some weekends hours and hours. it felt crazy to drive so much

focus on your recovery. yes, get information to understand the narc but then stop reading on it and read on how to heal you. all of you, inner child, the need to be validated by others, PTSD, anxiety and the role we played

Aromatherapy. soothing scents to assist with calming and the anxiety that never ends

spiritual healers. right when I was ready one was recommended to me. this added another dimension to my healing

anxiety. this is something I still struggle with alot most everyday. find things like tapping, breathing techniques, taking walks, being in nature or meditation. always go back to meditation if the anxiety wont calm is ugly head

affirmations and gratitude. every day all the time. one of my standard gratitude is everyday the narc is gone. state what you want in your life and let go

pray to your higher power. pray to be healed, pray to have your higher power love with you and pray to be protected. Pray to heal the root issues remove them and heal the wounds. I picture these deep root wounds being pulled out with a hole left (this is how the narc hooks in the wounds and holes) and then a cape of healing over me. the cape is a cape of love, compassion, medicine, acceptance and guidance to covers me and protects/heals the open wounds.

get out of the house. my house I hide in, would read and read focus on how bad things are. forced myself to get out of my house even if only to arrive someplace and leave – I got out

Remain grateful, loving and courageous.

Raise your energy level. read and understand how this works raising your energy level or vibrations is the law of attraction. you will be attracting a better life, people, love, situations, etc. as you raise your energy level

by the grace of my higher power am I still here on this earth to share with all of you. praying the words may reach you

daveyone1 says June 6, 2015

Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

    Kim Saeed says June 6, 2015

    Thank you for sharing! 🙂

Been there with all of You says June 6, 2015

Hi, I am a guy who had a boyfriend for 2 years who is a narcissist and or psycopath. He fits everything Kim talks about on here. After almost going broke lending him money and getting him out of trouble because he is a drug addict and never pays his bills, steals, shoplifts and got fired from a great job in January this hear, he stole my credit cards one day and proceeded to use them all over town. In addition to that he offered to prostitute himself at the local carwash to the manager (a man). What is so funny about all this is he tells me he is straight and likes girls about half the time. I found out in November 2014 he put up an escort ad to sell himself to other guys, and often robs them according to what he tells me. I was heartbroken over this. I was going to drop the charges but changed my mind. He was arrested in April and in jail told people he was going to kill me when he gets out. Someone at our gym did bail him out and he has a protective order in his release not to contact me. I have been upset over this for months and had to face him in court initially. then he waived the pretrial and stood mute. his attorney, court appointed because he is broke, changed the date today for another pretrial and i waited 2 hrs to find out he wasn’t apprearing. now 2 more weeks to wait to even find out if he pleades guilty even though he told the police he did it and i did not give him the cards, he stole them. now he blames me. I have had to get a gun and the police are watching my home. He has said before that he will kill me someday, and I am beginning to believe he will try. What I would like is anyones opinion on giving a statement at the sentencing hearing. Would it be better to expose his devious illegal behavior so its on record if he does harm me in the future? or would it be better to just not go and ignore it and he will wonder why i vanished? I have changed all phone numbers and locks in the house and have an alarm system. Thanks all for your help. Kim, every day I thank God for what you write, Sometimes when I am really down and in a low mood your words keep me going. God Bless 🙂

    Kim Saeed says June 6, 2015

    I’m very sorry you’re having to endure this kind of experience. It might be worth it to try and get a copy of the police report where he confessed to stealing your cards, in addition to exposing his other illegal behaviors as you mentioned in your comment. My friend and colleague, Diana Iannarone, may be able to offer specific advice on the matter. She helps victims prepare for court against high-conflict people. It would definitely be worth scheduling a consultation with her to see if you have enough evidence to file a suit: Contact her for a free consultation: [email protected]

    Lastly, thank you for your very kind and encouraging words regarding my blog. I sincerely hope I can continue to provide you with motivation and healing <3

stuunta says June 5, 2015

He just left….. this time it was because I snapped at something he said. I realized it’s always because I “snapped” in however small a way. Our entire night/weekend is ruined. I plead for him to let it go that I didn’t mean it the way he thinks. Is it really that wrong? Do people in loving relationships occasionally get frustruated and use a less than loving tone? Is he right? Is it me?

    Kim Saeed says June 6, 2015

    Stuunta, assuming this guy is a Narcissist, then he did that because he’s trying to teach you to keep your mouth shut and not establish any boundaries for yourself. Yes, people in loving relationships do occasionally get frustrated. But if he is verbally mistreating you on a regular basis and you snapped, then it’s totally understandable…and in that case, it would be HIM.

[email protected] says June 5, 2015

This is the best description of the cerebral N i have ever read!!

Thank you!!!

Sent from my HTC One on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network

    Kim Saeed says June 6, 2015

    Thank you for sharing! 🙂

Sandy says June 5, 2015

When I notified my bf he needed to come retrieve his belongings, as I waited I was reading various articles about narcissistic abuse. Accounts of cruelty suffered in the discard actually had me thinking “nahh, he’d never do THAT to me”. Well, yes he SURE DID, and it shocked me so bad to see a woman by his side that it was all I could do to keep from fainting. It took the rest of the day to finally stop trembling and crying. Several more days later, as reality of the whole situation began to finally sink in, I had more than his abuse and cruelty to deal with. I also had to deal with the realization of how very long and hard I had researched and attempted various techniques, tricks, and ploys to somehow break through to him, somehow turn things around. I had to deal with the realization that I had read and then ignored the more experienced opinions everywhere I looked which all warned it was futile…you can’t change them, you can’t make them see, and giving them a taste of their own medicine is only going to bring you down to their level and make you even more disgusted with yourself. But I was sure I could do it! And boy, did I try my little crunched up heart out. Now it is so painfully obvious I was wrong. It is excruciating just dealing with the discard and the painful new reality. But pile on the regret of having tried so hard and worked so long and put up with even more abuse, just trying to “FIX THINGS” which are not broken—-they never even existed! The monumental waste of time, effort, sanity, and soul is just not worth it. To face the fact of your own foolish wasted effort on a person who trashes you like yesterday’s news…it just multiplies the pain in ways you hate to find out. We’d be so much better off if we’d just face one simple fact-Anyone worth your heart will never repeatedly break it. All others are bad times waiting to happen. Plain and simple. But oh, so painful when we fail to face the facts…

JJ says June 5, 2015

Nietzsche is quoted incorrectly, in that he said that if you battle monsters, you yourself can become one, because as you focus on that darkness it also focuses on you. This is particularly pertinent with the Narcissist because they can certainly bring out the worst in us. My N would torture and torture me until I finally lashed out, and this would give him something to point to when he wanted leverage or a justification for cheating or even leaving. The more obsessed we are with our dark partner, the more access he has to use us as a dumping ground for his toxic innards, until we are nearly indistinguishable from the monster.

Ane says June 5, 2015

Made me to cry this post..especially the last quote Beware that, fighting monsters to dont become a monster… i think that im on my way to become a monster..after 6 years tears, sufference and all what u can imagine since one month i decide that enough.. since than i am terrorizated in all the way for a last chanse because hes going to change, he cry, he implore, he dont know what to do just to trust him again and to go back to him, hes swearing on God and on dead peoples that at this time he mean it, im hes everithing and he cant live without me, i reject him more and more agressiv, i think he already beat out from me the last piece what remain from my heart, and when he cry and implore and promise the stars just make me to lose my mind because i cannot belive him animore, he put even hes parents to call me and they begin to promise too anithing just to forgave them son even if in front of them im was beated manny times, i get blue on my face then burned everiwhere with cigaret and when i scream from the pain and i ask why hes answear was that u deserve it..nobody was sorry for me..now why i should be sorry for him?since i left him he dont eat he dont do nothing only cry bombarding me with love msges..we repeat this story so manny times..i go back than he was more and more bad with me, he take hes revange…but at this time i mean it..i have nightmares at night and probablly if i will go back to him he gone kill me, hes able to do anithing i know what is behind him i know that hes like this till i will get back to hes house than hes going to “show me”.. i dont want to become a monster but i cannot control mysef because since im at home im alive and my name its not “shut the f..k up” animore so i just tell him all the hate what he put in me and all what i wish to disapair from my life and to leave me alone 🙁

    JJ says June 5, 2015

    Good for you! You are only a drug to him. He will hate you and consume you at the same time, and then resent you that he needs you! Stay away. You have a rightous rage in you. It doesn’t make you a monster. It is a sane response to an insane situation! Anyone in your position would feel what you are feeling. That hate will save your life right now. It is your force shield giving you the strength to walk away until you can stitch all the pieces of your soul back together. We are all on this journey with you, and I support you! The crazy will go away once you go to No Contact. Change your number. Change your email. Call the Abuse Hotline at 800-799-SAFE and they can help you find housing where he can’t find you. And then you will have the safety to heal.

      Hemlock says June 6, 2015

      I agree but I know what she means . I have looked at lots of these articles and they are accurate , but I see myself in some of the traits . I rant . Bombard him wth emails and call him names l there is an explanation that sugges this anyhow is natural lI get so mad that my feelings are ” irrelevant”/and that he hasexploited
      my trust while ruining my name that I tell him I will show the demanding emails, andI had it in my head if he’d let me do joint serious and tell my side that therapist would say to him that’s abusive when he heard these things , I also know he is creaming his kakhis over the libel case I promised not to file if we did two sessions. He says I want him back and says he will never have me . . He always seems to know what I think and feel . He forgets he comes back to me , full of apologies and I forget that he is never going to be good Of course I am madly in love with him and the sex was otherworldly in his brain. only it isn’t and I’m not . I just need to hold his feet to the fire . But I want it so bad I do feel like s monster . That is why narcissists ad goodness thieves . I get so wretched I eant to ate myself in because that overload makes the lies he tells seem true . I want to bash his face in or hand out the sex part selfies he is so proud of because theyre with my former student . He exploited her because like me she is damaged. She assumed he must be desirable because someone she thought of as smart was with him . He degraded her and me , for in the conversation they have before abd after this weird sex thing , I am the topic. YOU KNEW WHAT I WAS LIKE WHEN YOU MARRIED ME , he said when I asked him how he could do that . No, I didn’t . But it’s all my fault because o failed to give him a blow job on his birthday . It makes me spitting mad . I read the quote and put it on my screen to keep me from tumbling into the abyss .

Susan Boen says June 5, 2015

Thank you for posting about the cerebral narcissist as I am having a very difficult time going through a divorce with one and I also have had a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that he never loved me. I spent 12 years with him, 10 years too long. Can you please post about how to save or help children who have joint custody with a cerebral narcissist?

    Kim Saeed says June 6, 2015

    Susan, if you have joint custody, then the best approach would be to get your children in counseling. Not only for the purpose of helping them process any under-handed things your Ex might be doing, but if you are able to prove that their being with their father is detrimental to their well-being, you might be able to have the custody order modified.

    It usually doesn’t help your case if you try to prove your Ex is a “cerebral narcissist”. In fact, Judges usually lose patience with that sort of thing (I say that from personal experience). Just document everything, stick to the facts, and collect what you can from your children’s counselor.

    Wishing you all the very best <3

maryleemorgan says June 5, 2015

Wow, Kim, this sounds a lot like my father. Would you consider writing about–or can you refer me to–something written about how the cerebral (especially a cerebral religious) narcissist treats his children?

Jennifer says June 5, 2015

I was married to a cerebral narcissist for 13 years, followed by a two-year relationship with a somatic narcissist. Both were devastating. I’m glad I learned the distinction between the two types of narcissists because for a long time the two men seemed completely differently, until I realized they were exactly the same. Once I made the connection, I was able to see the pattern in my life, and with a lot of pain and effort, end the second relationship, and now I’m recovering from the different ways they harmed me.

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