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Doc@DrIrene.com

16-Narcissist At Work

THE NARCISSIST IN THE WORKPLACE

by Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.

"When you produce results you gain credibility.
When you have credibility, you will have an easier time producing results."
--Brian Koslow

February 27, 2002

Dr. Vaknin is author of of the informative book, Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited. He also edits various mental health categories on Open Directory, Suite101, Go.Com and SearchEurope.com.  While his doctorate is not in mental health, this well-informed author clearly did his homework and writes from  experience.  Dr. Vaknin's CV is published here. His book, and much more, is available in hard copy or download on his main web site.

Dr. Irene

EDITED 2/09. Unfortunately, while the content itself stands on its own in helping people understand narcissism, the writer's credibility may be questionable. For example, see here: http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2006/07/03/wikipedia-is-satan

 

Question:

The Narcissist turn the workplace into a duplicituous hell. What to do?

Answer:

To a narcissist-employer, the members of his "staff" are secondary sources of Narcissistic Supply. Their role is to accumulate the supply (in humanspeak, remember events that support the grandiose self-image of the narcissist) and to regulate the narcissistic supply of the narcissist during dry spells (simply put, to adulate, adore, admire, agree, provide attention and approval and so on or, in other words, be an audience). The staff (or should we say "stuff"?) is supposed to remain passive. The narcissist is not interested in anything but the simplest function of mirroring. When the mirror acquires a personality and a life of its own, the narcissist is incensed. When independent minded, an employee might be in danger of being sacked by his employer (an act which demonstrates the employer's omnipotence).

The employee's presumption to be the employer's equal (friendship is possible only among equals) injures the latter narcissistically. The employer is willing to accept his employees as underlings, whose very position serves to support his grandiose fantasies. But the grandiosity rests on such fragile foundations, that any hint of equality, disagreement or need (that the Narcissist "needs" friends, for instance) threatens the narcissist profoundly. The narcissist is exceedingly insecure. It is easy to destabilize his impromptu "personality". His reactions are merely in self-defense.

Classic narcissistic behavior is when idealization is followed by devaluation. The devaluing attitude develops as a result of disagreements OR simply because time has eroded the employee's capacity to serve as a FRESH source of supply.

The employee, taken for granted by the Narcissistic employer, becomes uninspiring as a source of adulation, admiration and attention. The narcissist always seeks new thrills and stimuli. The narcissist is notorious for his low threshold of resistance to boredom. His behaviour is impulsive and his biography tumultuous precisely because of his need to introduce uncertainty and risk to what he regards as "stagnation" or "slow death" (i.e., routine). Most interactions in the workplace are part of the rut - and thus constitute a reminder of this routine - deflating the narcissist's grandiose fantasies.

Narcissists do many unnecessary, wrong and even dangerous things in pursuit of the stabilization of their inflated self-image.

Narcissists feel suffocated by intimacy, or by the constant reminders of the REAL, nitty-gritty world. It reduces them, makes them realize the "grandiosity gap" (between their self-image and reality). It is a threat to the precarious balance of their personality structures (mostly "false", that is, invented) and treated as such.

Narcissists forever shift the blame, pass the buck, and engage in cognitive dissonance. They "pathologize" the other, foster feelings of guilt and shame in her, demean, debase and humiliate in order to preserve their sense of grandiosity.

Narcissists are pathological liars. They think nothing of it because their very self is FALSE, an invention.

Here are a few useful guidelines:

bulletNever disagree with the narcissist or contradict him;
bulletNever offer him any intimacy;
bulletLook awed by whatever attribute matters to him (for instance: by his professional achievements or by his good looks, or by his success with women and so on);
bulletNever remind him of life out there and if you do, connect it somehow to his sense of grandiosity ("these are the BEST art materials ANY workplace is going to have", "we get them EXCLUSIVELY", etc.);
bulletDo not make any comment, which might directly or indirectly impinge on his self-image, omnipotence, judgment, omniscience, skills, capabilities, professional record, or even omnipresence. Bad sentences start with: "I think you overlooked ... made a mistake here ... you don't know ... do you know ... you were not here yesterday so ... you cannot ... you should ... (perceived as rude imposition, narcissists react very badly to restrictions placed on their freedom) ... I (never mention the fact that you are a separate, independent entity, narcissists regard others as extensions of their selves, their internalization processes were derailed and they did not differentiate properly)...".

You get the gist of it.

Well, we certainly know YOU do!

Good stuff, nothing else we would expect from Dr. Sam!  Now, the bibliography for all this:

bulletI. The Narcissist and his Family
bulletII. Narcissists and Violence
bulletIII. Can the Narcissist Get Better - Should I Wait?
bulletIV. Divorcing the Narcissist
bulletV. Male and Female Narcissists
bulletVI. The Narcissist in the Workplace

can be found here.   Dr. Irene

About the Author:

Sam Vaknin, PhD, a very popular contributor to this site, is the author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited", the owner of the Narcissistic Abuse Study List, and the editor of mental health categories in The Open Directory, Suite101, and searcheurope.com.

His web site: http://samvak.tripod.com E-mail: palma@unet.com.mk

Frequently asked questions regarding narcissism: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq1.html

Narcissistic Personality Disorder on Suite101: www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/npd

www.suite101.com/topic_page.cfm/6514/2051

Q&A regarding relationships with abusive narcissists:
samvak.tripod.com/indexqa.html

Narcissistic Personality Disorder at a Glance: http://samvak.tripod.com/npdglance.html

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Tips: http://samvak.tripod.com/npdtips.html