The Narcissist in Office:Bullies in the Workplace

495px-Narcissus-Caravaggio_(1594-96)

Narcissus Courtesy of Wikipedia

The narcissistic boss in the workplace is a bully.  This person is characterized as charming, arrogant, pretentious, and dismissing.  They are experts at underestimating and devaluing the achievements and accomplishments of others.  Narcissists tend to align with other pathological leadership not out of respect or friendship, but to gain greater control.  Superior entitlement, expecting others to defer to them and lashing out when others don’t react in the expected manner is descriptive of their character.  The narcissist has difficulty recognizing people’s needs and feelings and is contemptuous and impatient when employees share or discuss their (smart) ideas or concerns.  This behavior is intended to create defensiveness and shame in a person.  The employee bullied by a narcissist and the witness to the abuse are often impacted.

Lacking the ability to care or recognize boundaries – personal, corporate, and sometimes legal; they regard themselves as a gift to the company and this inflated importance makes them feel entitled to special treatment.  Narcissists in power will ignore or deny the existence of problems and grievances that interfere with a grandiose self-image. The demands of this false image and resulting systemic dysfunction in an organization often results in taking short-cuts in business that can lead to fraudulent practices.  Frequently, the pathology starts with the CEO/President and is an all pervasive part of leadership’s character.  The mistreatment of staff is akin to domestic violence at work.  The narcissist inflicts pain when and where they choose to keep an employee off balance waiting for the next attack while pretending to be a decent person.

The narcissistic boss demands perfection and endless performance.  Experiencing stress from the constant pressure to perform and conform to work load strain can lead to employee exhaustion. The unreasonable expectations are meant to make a subordinate doubt in their ability to meet objectives through their own resources.  When an employee manages to complete tasks the accomplishment and follow through is unrecognized and/or devalued.  The unrelenting push for perfectionism feeds the narcissist’s grandiosity and feelings of omnipotence. The motivating factor is a pathological need for complete domination over any environment or situation to affirm personal specialness.  This domination includes both control of the individual and group. They abuse power and control and willingly sacrifice people and resources systematically. The need to be more special than anyone else fuels their arrogance. The emphasis is on being the greatest, smartest and in control.  If they are not perceived as all powerful they feel humiliation driven by an extreme fear they will be found out to be ordinary. A bully having the thought “I am ordinary” is a nightmare.  Bullying includes verbal abuse, stonewalling, isolating, and character assassination, intimidating, lying, and dominating attention in group settings.

True leadership shares attention; adding to and facilitating the value of others.  The narcissist uses, abuses, and exploits others.  Misinformation, distracting, and derailing or interfering in company programs to sabotage the integrity of a subordinate or colleague is common.  The narcissist will present as patient, congenial, and with confident reasonableness as a front for smugness and superiority.  In meetings they are confident in their ability to block a competent colleague’s ideas while maintaining control and dominance over the sequence of events or flow of ideas.

The narcissist with power is very effective at controlling situations and relationships.  An attempt to create a cohesive team that works hard and has good will never survives in the midst of a narcissistic leader.  Good will and team cohesion produces independent thought and positive interpersonal relationships.  This challenges and threatens the narcissist obsessive need for control and their survival depends on admiration and blind obedience to whatever they want to dish out.  The employee that does the right thing by being nice and fair is often naive to this coercive behavior. As a result the narcissist is not confronted and the toxic unfriendly environment continues along with staff turnover.  The cost in lost productivity and resulting physical illness can be astronomical in a large corporation.

Being ignored and isolated at work is the worst form of covert bullying and is detrimental to physical and mental well-being.  Feelings of exclusion lead to job dissatisfaction, stronger desire to quit a job, health problems and feelings of helplessness.  The problem is that the abuse is not always obvious. There is nothing worse than a sense of not belonging in the workplace or feeling quietly victimized in your daily life.  What can you do to take care of yourself?  Learn from your experience and fully acknowledge who or what you are dealing with; avoid a victim mentality at all cost.  Speak up and discuss the abuse with human resources or designated staff.  If taking this action will affect your job standing, begin searching for new employment.  Invest in your well-being by learning about the red flags from a toxic boss or work environment.  Start building your self-confidence so you are less likely to be a target.  The narcissistic bully torments people pleasers for sport and covertly undermines the competent well-liked colleague.  Recognize who you are and take back your power.

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 put an end to relationship abuse.  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.

Roberta

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Narcissists are Never Going to Apologize: Escaping Purgatory

freedom1Narcissists are often angry and intimidating as well as charming, sexy, and exciting.  They can be cruel, critical, and insulting on a moment’s notice.  They have a sinister power to make partners (people) feel small, inadequate, and off-balance.  They insist on being in control of everything.  Many partners hang on for years waiting to hear remorse for the merciless behavior.  Hoping a heartless narcissist will change and admit they have been terrible to you and will never hurt you again is not going to happen.  The truth is there is nothing that is going to happen to make it all better. The narcissist refuses to take any responsibility for how their attacks make you feel.  If you have children witnessing the mistreatment they will probably learn to abuse or that they are of little value.  The soul is traumatized and lives are destroyed by narcissistic sadism.

Overtime a partner’s individual autonomy gradually erodes as self-esteem and the capacity to make independent decisions are affected.  Fear of making it on your own is reinforced by the narcissist’s brutally coercive message in words and/or actions that you are worthless.  The psychological abuse degrades and humiliates facilitating helplessness as a survival response.  The narcissist treats you as the guilty partner believing you deserve the punishment and that you secretly must enjoy the mistreatment.  They despise your inability to leave purgatory and relish in the sadistic power they have over you.  Leaving an abusive relationship requires admitting what you know about your partners character, that you are being manipulated, not living your dreams, and are capable of thinking for yourself.  Accepting things as they are and doing nothing may seem easier and feel less threatening.  Doing nothing means you are subject to control and putting up with whatever your partner wants to dish out.   It can also be a dangerous game to play because it is impossible not to disturb an abusive person and their behaviors are more likely to get worse than better.

The relationships breaking point usually occurs over a series of unresolved fights many times before the real separation.  The decision to end a narcissistic attachment is significant and painful, leaving deep scars that can also become the source of wisdom and change.  Relationships are tied to places, events, and histories making it difficult to let go.   Often there is sadness and fear with the decision to escape and for most it is not made quickly or easily.  Financial insecurity and having children keep many trapped.  People pleasers (codependents) have an especially difficult time separating.  They are reluctant to give up denial, to explore their emotions and scared of the anger that drives their caretaking behavior.  People pleasers in the extreme have an undeveloped identity based on a false self and built on rules defined by others.  They are the perfect hostage for evil control.

Escaping an abusive relationship requires acceptance of reality and changing how you relate to your inner and outer world.  It involves creating a new identity and new interests.  When you enter the final stage of anger, rage, and sadness you stop explaining away behavior that is unacceptable.   You admit that your partner’s sickness is destroying any chance for joy and find the courage to leave.  The repetitive endless arguments in your mind against abandoning the nightmare will end followed by immense release and relief.   You then begin owning your power.  Experiencing fear and resistance as you do this is normal.   You may feel empty and lost for a time.  Keep telling yourself that you want to stop denying reality.  One day you will wake up and know it was the best thing ever to walk away.  Most important of all is developing a compassionate relationship with yourself; you must take care of “you” now and always.  Staying out of a new relationship is imperative until you recover and create an independent manageable life.   You cannot be victimized and happy at the same time.  The demoralization from psychological battering is devastating.  Eventually you learn to stop fighting evil, simply because you cannot win.  The more you focus on changing the narcissist, the more unmanageable life becomes.  So stop the insanity and focus on loving yourself.

 

Why are Narcissists so Angry?

Courtesy Photo Stock

Courtesy Photo Stock

At the beginning of the relationship a narcissist is in need of constant attention, admiration, and approval.  Much like a child he or she is dependent; any sign of disapproval transforms the charming angel into a sadist.  As children, most narcissists grew up in families where explosive behavior and verbal and physical abuse were common.  Many experienced a consistent sense of dread that things would go badly and they would not survive.  To avoid feelings of failure and inadequacy they learned at an early age to control others with rage.  The narcissist tends to be anxious by temperament.  Self-hatred, feelings of powerlessness, fear of abandonment, and emotional deprivation are sources that fuel their rigid, systemic pattern of abuse.  Eventually attempts to control these feelings fail because the anxiety is within them, not in their environment.  The narcissist resents dependence on others for attention.  The frustration between an all-pervasive dependence on adulation and any perceived lack of subservience makes him or her prone to outbursts.

The narcissist cannot feel others pain and will never put a partner’s needs above theirs.  Anger and jealousy are the only authentic emotions they ever experience.  They are incapable of acknowledging how their cruelty hurts others and erupt compulsively without regard to the negative consequences.  The most devastating part of being involved in a narcissistic relationship is you love them and they don’t care.  Brief periods of stopping fury may occur out of concern for losing a mate or until a replacement can be found, but eventually the narcissist will be off again on another tantrum.  Control over anger is lost as a relationship progresses, much like the progression of drug addiction.  The narcissist is addicted to the rush of negative excitement and the look of pain on the face of a victim.  They sometimes pick fights for the high.  A partner’s trapped desperation makes the emotional sadist feel self-important and all-powerful.    The abuse becomes increasingly cruel as the partners self-esteem is no longer under their control.  Anger, revenge and vengefulness destroy any chance for happiness.  This power over people provides pleasure as they pull you into their shadow.

Narcissists are often preoccupied with resentment and fantasies of retaliation which continually leads to uncontrollable outbursts.  Most are professional martyrs who dramatize their lives to manipulate, deflect responsibility, and feel special.  The academy award-winning displays of emotion is not caring or empathy, it’s a trap.

“Stonewalling” or resounding silence are a favorite sadistic weapon meant to punish you for disagreeing with him or her.  The person is left feeling abandoned, unheard, undesirable, and insignificant.  The emotional abuse tends to happen every day and the effects are insidious and cumulative.  Living in an emotional combat zone, partners lose dignity and become unable to think, feel or act autonomously.  The narcissist’s voice becomes so well internalized in his prey that he no longer needs to say anything to control their submission. The heartless infliction of emotional pain contributes to a partner’s hyper-vigilant stress response and frequent mood swings.   The sadistic narcissist delights in cruelty and is vindicated in anger.  Anything short of obedience is not tolerated.  Why are narcissists so angry?  Because narcissists hate themselves and are true cowards with empty souls.   They are forced to suck the joy out those they take hostage to feel alive.

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 put an end to relationship abuse.  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.

 Roberta