The Impact of Working with a Narcissist
Written by: Tanya Beaudry
Narcissist a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves.
- Do you know a Narcissist?
- Have you worked with a Narcissist?
- Do you have a Narcissist on your team?
Narcissist: this word has been thrown around lately more than ever before. You just can’t get away from it. The people around narcissists suffer because they are being manipulated. Narcissists are only focused on themselves and how they can get their next ‘fix’ whether it be gaining more power, closing a deal or taking advantage of a situation. They don’t consider the damage that they do to those around them. The damage they’re causing is insurmountable to the ones who want to support them.
There are different types of narcissists but handling them is always the same: be humble, don’t engage. Joseph Burgo, PhD. and author says to “ignore her ‘helpful’ suggestions, or offer polite thanks and move on. A direct challenge will most likely lead her to escalate her efforts to prove herself cleverer or better informed”. He also says “Don’t fight back in direct ways in order to stand up for yourself”. Essentially, don’t rock the boat and walk on eggshells. I have a hard time with the ‘handling’ part. I personally have a very hard time not confronting narcissists because their actions can be hurtful and usually very annoying.
Characteristics of a narcissist:
- Always the victim, always innocent
- No accountability for their actions
- Finger pointing
- Master manipulator extraordinarily good liars
- Defiant…….and more
Dealing with narcissists takes an absolute toll on you. In my opinion getting through to a narcissist is a lot of work and nearly impossible. To me it’s a ‘lose-lose’ situation, usually because I’ve been screaming inside, so I have a hard time keeping quiet. As Dr. Burgo points out this isn’t the best way to handle a narcissist, but when I’ve had enough, I’ve had enough. That said, having an outburst and reacting this way is also not good for your own health either. Hence being in that ‘lose-lose’ situation.
Effects of dealing with a narcissist:
- Emotionally depleted
- Fake- you always have to put on a show to keep up the charade
- Aging at rapid speed
- Can’t sleep
- Hopelessly frustrated
- Anxiety trying to get through to them
The overall stress of dealing with a narcissist is very hard on a persons’ body and soul. You need to prioritize what you’ll allow to get to you.
Here are some things to remember before it starts taking its toll on you:
- Try writing a list – a reminder list of the effect of allowing these stresses eat you up.
- Meditation – this keeps you calm and you can learn to adjust your reaction in a more serene way.
- Recognize the manipulation – set boundaries and don’t allow them to manipulate you.
- Don’t go into a conversation with a narcissist expecting different results, don’t set yourself up to be let down.
These days, narcissism is a hot topic. But besides the narcissist themselves, the people affected by their actions are suffering immensely. Having a narcissist on your team, or in your company can have a far-reaching impact. Engaging in coaching activities and performance management work will help. This will either highlight the impact of their behavior or create a path out of the company for this person.
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