Are you Working for a Narcissist?

A Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a psychological disorder where a person believes everything is about them. It comes from the story of Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection. When something excessively, is always about me, me, me and sentences begin with I, I, I, let alarm bells go off to see if you are dealing with a Narcissist.

In a relationship, a simplified version would be this. On an A4 page, how much of the space is taken up by the person and their needs and how much is about you and your needs? This could also apply in the workspace.

Most narcissists attract to themselves empaths who easily fall into the role of serving them. In the work setting because of the power dynamics it is quite common to find narcissists in an executive leadership role who are prepared to destroy the human beings around them to ensure the image of perfection is maintained in terms of performance and reputation on the outside. At times one as a subordinate could find oneself admiring the ability to achieve such high standards on the outside but hate the personal price that one pays to achieve this on the inside.

There is much on the internet about narcissists but let us focus on how do you manage a narcissist especially if you are forced to work with them or even report to them.

Knowledge is Power:

Know thy enemy: research everything you can to help you become more aware of the disorder and how it presents itself. Keep reading to see if the signs are there. Are you dealing with a narcissist?

Know thyself: gain awareness about your personal history with narcissists. When did you first get exposure to a narcissist? How did you respond? Are you an empath?

Most of what you read will tell you: GET OUT, but in work relationship this sometimes is not possible.

Managing the Narcissist

Image is everything. If you do anything to attack/ damage the image you will get the “narcissistic rage” designed to intimidate you and punish you. If you do anything to challenge them you may get the “rage”. Know this and adapt your behavior to survive this.

Survival Strategy:

  1. Avoid if you can: confrontations with them, issues, challenges. Egos need to be stroked not challenged.
  2. Do not take their behaviour personally. Remember how a person treats you says something about them, how you choose to respond says something about you.
  3. Pause in the face of destructive behaviour: Choose to respond not react. Stay calm and don’t be provoked. Also, don’t go into fear. Practice assertiveness.
  4. Strengthen yourself in terms of assertiveness and managing boundaries. Narcissists usually do not respect boundaries.
  5. Take care of your own physical, psychological and emotional health.
  6. Have an objective support network to help you process incidents that may take place or behaviours designed to manipulate you.

If your physical, mental and psychological wellbeing is being compromised, decide if staying where you are is in your best interest. People with personality disorders almost never change. They may adapt behaviour occasionally but fundamentally they never change.

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