Tag Archives: smart

About People Who Act Like They Know Everything Versus The Truly Intelligent.

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.


Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism

Narcissists Make Their Victims Feel Stupid

Some obvious forms of abuse are things like threatening, intimidating, accusing, name calling & controlling.  There is absolutely no doubt that the person acting this way is intent on causing harm to someone.  There is also on doubt the abuser is in control of the situation because he or she is making the victim submissive.  A person afraid of another hurting them will naturally become very submissive.

There are other forms of abuse that are just as aggressive & effective, yet not nearly so obvious.  These abusive tactics include things that give the message that the abuser knows best & the victim knows nothing.  Some tactics are disguised as being helpful such as being critical, offering advice that was not asked for or questioning another’s motives.  While there are times such things are done as a sincere yet somewhat awkward attempt to help, that is never the case with narcissists.  Such behaviors from them are done to belittle, shame or control a victim.  The underlying message is “I know better than you.”  Such behaviors make a victim feel incredibly stupid & that they must rely on the narcissist since they clearly know best.  These behaviors create a victim to be very dependent on the narcissist & very easy for the narcissist to control.

This happened to me in my first marriage.  My ex seemed to be convinced he was extremely smart.  The truth though is he was fairly smart, but not nearly as smart as he thought he was.  At the time however, I was unaware of that.  I was also very insecure about my own intelligence.  He used my insecurities to his advantage.  He made me feel as if I was stupid & he always knew best about everything.  I also felt that I had to believe everything he said since he clearly was so much smarter than me.  I honestly never thought of his behavior as abusive at the time.  It was just how he was & I should listen to him, or so I mistakenly thought. 

I think because the worst of the abuse I went through with my parents at that time was at the hands of my overtly narcissistic mother, it was very easy to think this way.  Not so obvious forms of abuse are easy to overlook in situations like mine.  A screaming, raging lunatic is clearly abusive, so when abuse isn’t like that & a victim is accustomed to being abused, subtle abusive behavior can be deemed acceptable.  At least until one learns better, that is.

My point in saying this is to remind you that abuse isn’t always obvious.  It’s often very subtle & even difficult to detect.  If someone you’re in a relationship with makes you feel inferior to them in some way, or as if you are stupid then it’s a sign you need to question this relationship.  It’s only normal that in some areas, others will be smarter than you.  You also will be smarter than them in some ways too.  It’s a balance & in a healthy relationship, no one is upset by it.  Anyone who is clearly is dysfunctional if not abusive.  Don’t let their dysfunction make you feel badly about yourself & don’t let them control you. 

If the person you’re in a relationship with truly is much more intelligent than you, that shouldn’t be a problem.  I’ve had extremely intelligent friends in my life who never made me feel “less than” them because I wasn’t as smart.  That is how it should be.  People should appreciate each other in a relationship, treat each other as equals & accept each other’s differences, not treat each other badly simply because one may be smarter than the other.


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Why Narcissists Play Dumb

There are some people who believe that narcissists dumb.  Too dumb to realize what they are doing is hurtful, too dumb to know any better, that sort of thing.  Covert narcissists in particular will act the part well even though the truth is they are far from dumb.  Many are extremely intelligent but hide it by being very good at playing dumb. 

Playing dumb works very well for narcissists.  People learn not to expect much from them, because if they aren’t smart, they won’t know what to do or how to do things.  This means these narcissists can relax while others do for them without complaint.

Narcissists who convince others they are dumb also can get away with pretty much any behavior because people think they don’t know any better.  They can do something hurtful, then claim they didn’t know what they did would hurt the victim or they didn’t realize that what they did was wrong.  Since narcissists are convincing actors, they may even shed a few tears.  As a result, their victim will feel they are wrong for being upset with the narcissist, & forgive them for whatever they did.  My late mother in-law did this one.  She used to go through my purse if I left it unsupervised.  Once, she left money in it.  It felt to me like she was doing that so I’d let her keep snooping through my purse, & I was livid.  When my husband confronted her, I overheard her saying she had no idea I’d be upset by that.  She said she just had all this extra cash lying around & she didn’t know what else to do with it.  She acted as if she was hurt that I was upset with her.  She appeared to be the victim in this situation & I was looked at badly for being angry at her.

Someone who isn’t smart would not have come up with handling a situation in this way.

If you ever have doubts that the narcissist in your life truly isn’t very smart or is unaware of just how bad their behavior is, then think about it for a few minutes.  Try not to let your emotions get involved.  Simply think about what this person does & how they do things.  Does the narcissist in your life behave one way when you two are alone & very differently when someone else is with you two?  That proves he or she knows what they’re doing is wrong.  Someone who truly doesn’t know their actions are wrong won’t try to hide them.  Is this person manipulative, able to get others to do whatever they like?  Does this person say they don’t know how to do something when you know perfectly well that they do know how to do it or things that are much more complicated?  These are signs that the narcissist is smart.  No one can be stupid yet highly manipulative.  It takes intelligence & the ability to read & understand people to be manipulative.

The next time you are forced to deal with a narcissist who acts as if they just don’t know any better or they didn’t realize their actions were hurtful or wrong, don’t believe the act.  True narcissists do know what they are doing, & they do what they do because it gets them what they want.  They aren’t naïve about their behavior.  The truth is that sometimes they don’t care that their actions hurt others & other times they get great pleasure out of hurting others.  That isn’t naiveté.  That is evil.


Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism