One of my biggest pet peeves stems from my narcissistic ex husband. He acted as if he was highly intelligent, intellectually superior to most other people, but me in particular. I believe this behavior was partly to let me know he believed that I was stupid so I wouldn’t make him look so smart, as well as a way he could try to convince himself that he was as brilliant as he acted.
This type of behavior is pretty typical of narcissists who are insecure about their intelligence. Sadly it also can happen with people who aren’t narcissists, yet are insecure about their intelligence. One person I know is very intelligent, but comes across as a know it all. It stems from insecurity. He grew up with a mother who treated him for years as if he was special, then suddenly treated him like dirt. Going from one extreme to the other in his formative years obviously did some damage, which is only natural.
Thankfully, I have known many more people who truly are intelligent & were humble about it. I’ve also known ones who weren’t exceptionally intelligent yet felt no need to portray themselves in any other light or make other people feel badly about themselves. All of these people were secure in who they were.
I firmly believe that security is one of the hallmarks of truly intelligent people, no matter their IQ. People like this know that everyone is different, & no one is better or worse than other people. They also know that a person’s IQ or education isn’t everything. They know that person can be highly intelligent yet not have graduated high school or have an IQ of 160. A truly intelligent person has common sense, not simply book knowledge or the ability to learn things at record speed.
Another hallmark of someone who is genuinely intelligent is they don’t feel the need to brag or show off. There’s an old saying… you never see advertisements for Rolls Royce cars. They know their worth & value, so they don’t have to advertise it. That goes for people as well. A person who knows their true worth won’t try to convince other people of it. And, a person who is intelligent won’t brag about their intelligence.
They also don’t feel the need to put other people down, making those people look stupid & making themselves look smarter. They have the sense to realize that type of behavior is not going to make them good, & it’s going to hurt the other person.
A really subtle but wonderful sign of intelligence is when an intelligent person explains something to others, they don’t make those people feel badly or stupid for asking questions. Instead, they have a way of making the person asking feel that their question is important, valuable & yes, even smart.
If you are faced with someone who acts as if they are much more intelligent than you, I hope you remember what I have said today. It can be easy to fall victim to feeling stupid around someone who appears obviously smarter than you, especially if you’re insecure or have been a victim of narcissistic abuse. But, if you pay attention to the person’s behavior, it shouldn’t take you long to realize what this person is all about. A person who makes you feel inferior most likely feels that they are the inferior one to you instead of you being inferior to them.
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