The narcissistic boss is a charming, beguiling, angelic nightmare who lacks empathy, has an inflexible personality, and inflicts great mental abuse on employees. They control their staff by intimidation and fear, constant criticism and cultivating a competitive hostile work environment.
Once a codependent employee’s initial admiration ends or the narcissist gets tired of being nice they punish the person for not being docile and obedient. What is a codependent? Codependents are people who feel responsible for the feelings of others and tend to seek validation and reassurance from a person who is unwilling to give them this type of support. A narcissistic boss uses this insecurity to inflict misery and make an employee feel insignificant. They are adept at finding the vulnerabilities in people’s psyches and need someone who is willing to cater to their needs and to give up their own desires. Expecting something from an abusive boss who has nothing to give can make a codependent employee feel crazy.
The narcissist damages self-esteem to assert control, superiority and grandiosity. This cruelty is done for pleasure as they are unable to empathize with the pain they cause. When you confront the inappropriateness of their behavior they perceive you to be intentionally frustrating and withholding admiration. They will shift blame because they will not accept responsibility for their own abusive behavior and instead blame their mistakes and/or bad behavior on the inadequacies of others.
According to the DSM-IV-TR, a patient must exhibit five or more of the following traits to be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
● shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
● grandiose sense of self-importance
● preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
● belief that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
● need for excessive admiration
● sense of entitlement
● takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own agenda
● lacks empathy
● often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
The narcissistic boss will not praise, reward, or recognize your work, no matter how long or hard you work for him or her. To meet their demands and please them, they will expect you to work late, come in early, and give up your lunch hour. Typically, every detail of the way they dress, their clothes, shoes, hair, make-up, accessories, are planned and usually of high quality. Some high status bosses actually use the services of an image consultant to guide them in projecting a lovable attractive façade. Narcissistic bosses surround themselves with “yes” people because they don’t like confrontation or anyone to disagree with them. They insist on having everything go their way. Employees are merely an instrument for their gratification.
Normal, ordinary, average, and hardworking employees are met with great disdain. These employees are seen as worthless and coldly ignored after they have served their purpose. Narcissistic bosses don’t have friends, they have fans. An acquaintance is a more appropriate term for what they call a friend. They require a daily regimen of narcissistic supply, admiration, awe, praise and obedience. The narcissist lacks compassion, and understanding and doesn’t identify with an employees problems or dilemmas. They actually don’t want to hear about you being overworked. They want to hear you call being swamped as “productive.”
Codependent employees are a perfect match for the abusive boss because they have an exceptionally high tolerance for emotional pain and inappropriate behavior. The high tolerance for pain helped them cope with family of origin dysfunction; as an adult they tend to become victims of abuse. Codependents from toxic family systems learn that any positive feelings about self are dependent on the mood of someone else. Lacking entitlement to their feelings, they tend to be indirect about their needs, deny hurt feelings, and distrust their intuition. They have the belief that being a good employee means sacrificing for my boss and putting up with whatever the boss wants to dish out.
When you don’t speak up about the behaviors and trauma from a narcissistic employer the abuse can slowly eat at your soul. Keeping the narcissists mistreatment a secret literally weighs you down as you eat, smoke, drug, or drink your feelings. Staying in a toxic situation is the beginning of a physical disease process in the bodies of many employees. Disability leave from employment stress is a prevalent issue, especially in hostile work environments.
Leaving a toxic work environment means you are ready to end the abuse, rigid rules, secrets, manipulation, betrayal, and feeling of desperation. Some codependents say leaving their job is the end of evil. Terminating employment also means that you are ready to feel the immense relief that comes when you begin accepting the truth and stop denying reality. You find the power to leave when you stop denying the inappropriate behavior and no longer make it okay to hurt yourself. You stop waiting for your boss to show respect or be someone he or she is not. You deal with your feelings and walk away from the insanity.
Tips for preparing yourself to leave employment with a narcissistic boss:
- Invest in yourself by learning about codependency and the narcissistic relationship.
- Use your deep capacity for love to develop enough love for yourself to stop the pain an unhealthy work environment causes.
- Work through your family of origin issues so you don’t find yourself working through them with employers.
- Learn to love and respect yourself so you will become attracted to employers who will respect you.
- Create a solid sense of self and the courage to speak up when a boss is abusing you.
- If you are having great difficulty leaving your employment, please seek professional counseling.
Thank you for reading my post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put an end to relationship abuse and emotional pain. And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.