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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How Codependents Leave Employment with a Narcissistic Boss

The Apprehensive Man Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Apprehensive Man Courtesy of Wikipedia

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:

  1. Invest in yourself by learning about codependency and the narcissistic relationship.
  2. Use your deep capacity for love to develop enough love for yourself to stop the pain an unhealthy work environment causes.
  3. Work through your family of origin issues so you don’t find yourself working through them with employers.
  4. Learn to love and respect yourself so you will become attracted to employers who will respect you.
  5. Create a solid sense of self and the courage to speak up when a boss is abusing you.
  6. If you are having great difficulty leaving your employment, please seek professional counseling.

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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.

Roberta