How to Deal With a Narcissist at Work

If you’re pressured to take care of a narcissist for any extended time frame — whether or not you’ve gotten the misfortune of being romantically concerned with one, or you’ve gotten one in your loved ones — you’re going to want to develop some coping methods, if solely to reduce the emotional wreckage these poisonous individuals inevitably go away of their wake. And issues aren’t any totally different whenever you merely work with a narcissist.

Even with the pandemic forcing many workplaces into the digital house, it may be troublesome to escape the manipulative and oft-destructive behaviours of a narcissist within the office. Now that extra of us are starting to migrate again into bodily workplaces, it’s extra very important than ever to remind ourselves how to take care of somebody who displays these tendencies — particularly if we’re going to be round them for 40 hours a week or extra.

What are the several types of narcissism?

Narcissism is a spectrum that features in accordance to varied levels of severity. A basic primer on the ranges could be useful for you when coping with a suspected narcissist at the workplace. Broadly talking, there are three sorts who exhibit the hallmark traits beneath:

Grandiose narcissists: These bigger than life personalities should at all times be within the limelight. They are individuals who crave adoration, typically at the expense of others — individuals who like to gloat, and who typically rise to the highest. (Maybe this particular person is your boss.)

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Vulnerable narcissists: This time period describes a supremely delicate one who typically likes to domesticate a sense of self-worth by means of affiliation with one thing they deem profitable or nice, like an costly clothes model, for instance. Still, this particular person is definitely wounded, is usually perceived as shy, and craves affirmation, regardless of typically pondering they’re higher than these round them.

Malignant narcissists: This is by far essentially the most harmful type of the situation. As Lifehacker identified earlier this 12 months, malignant narcissism is often a mixture of varied situations, together with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), sadism, and paranoia. These individuals are extra desirous about straight hurting individuals than different narcissists.

Understanding the behaviour you’re coping with may also help you keep away from being dragged into the myriad issues a narcissist will search to create.

What to do in case you work with a narcissist

Narcissism can manifest in a different way within the office than it does within the dwelling or inside a friendship or different shut relationship. For instance, a grandiose narcissist may be susceptible to claiming credit score for his or her colleagues’ work. If you end up in shut working proximity to this sort of particular person, it may be troublesome for you to declare possession of your successes.

In an article in Fast Company in 2019, psychologist Art Markman had this to say about grandiose narcissists within the office:

If you end up working with a grandiose narcissist, you do want to recognise that you’ll have some problem getting credit score on your contributions, as a result of narcissists have a tendency to co-opt the credit score for issues taking place inside their sphere of affect.

While it may be maddening to lose out on reward and even skilled accolades to somebody who falsely claims credit score on your work, it’s advisable to put down some boundaries. Lisa Romano, a licensed life coach who specialises in codependency and narcissistic abuse, tells Lifehacker that any makes an attempt to confront a narcissist will finally show futile.

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“When dealing with narcissists in the workplace, it is important to acknowledge that confronting them won’t work,” she says. “Trying to prove them wrong won’t work, and trying to hold them accountable won’t work. My advice is to focus on [your] goal and imagine you are dealing with someone from outer space that does not follow ethical norms.”

So what are you able to truly do in a sensible sense? Romano advises, “[documenting] your work and [getting] others to sign off on it while bypassing the narcissistic coworker.” Doing this, as well as to complaining as little as attainable concerning the state of affairs, might be your greatest recourse, she advises. And that documentation is essential — if it ever turns into mandatory, you need to give you the chance to precisely current your personal work (together with timelines and details) to the powers that be, she says.

If you end up unfairly robbed of credit score, it may be a higher choice to current the problem to your supervisor reasonably than hash it out straight with somebody who’ll by no means see your perspective. If the narcissist occurs to be your supervisor, nonetheless, it is determined by the sorts of behaviours they exude, Markman writes. Vulnerable narcissists will “take the credit for everyone else’s successes, but they will also spread the blame for failures out among others without taking any share of it for themselves,” he notes.

Unfortunately, in case you’re working underneath one in all a lot of these individuals, the perfect recourse is to comply with the recommendation above whereas doing all your greatest to get transferred out of their division — or possibly discover one other job totally, as the chances of bridging the divide are finally hopeless.

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A attainable profit?

While most narcissists aren’t any enjoyable to take care of in the long run, it’s attainable having a grandiose narcissist for a boss would possibly truly give your profession a enhance. People with this character sort are often fairly magnetic and infrequently ascend to the highest of their fields, into managerial and much more highly effective positions. Markman notes that in case you place your self appropriately (and supplied your relationship is optimistic), “you may get pulled into that person’s inner circle and have a chance to rise upward in the organisation with them.”

In the occasion that you simply’re not keen to enter a narcissist’s sphere of affect, it’s additionally a good plan of action to do the precise reverse, and keep as far eliminated as attainable. “I have learned that drawing my attention, focus, and energy away from coworkers like this helps me to maintain a sense of peace,” Romano says.

And when it comes to your work atmosphere, isn’t a sense of peace nearly the perfect factor you possibly can hope for?