How can we define a narcissist?

Plainly put, a narcissist suffers from a very self-centered personality disorder, i.e., “it’s all about me only”. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can be seen in people who have an inflated opinion of themselves. They are attention seekers who need the admiration of others.

Narcissists tend to sulk when outcomes are not what they plan. They are hyper-sensitive to criticism. They often openly display their disappointment and unhappiness, when not given praise or granted special favors which they believe they deserve.

People generally avoid narcissists who are seen as snobbish and self-centered.

People without NPD can display some narcissistic behaviors, which include:

  • the need to be constantly praised.
  • an inflated sense of self or ego.
  • the enjoyment of taking advantage or abusing others.
  • not realizing or caring about the welfare of others.

Here are some practical tips on how to work with a person having NPD.

See narcissists as who they really are

Narcissists are good at using their charm to get things going their way. A normal person may be drawn to a narcissist’s ambitious plans and promises.

Try to observe a person with NPD carefully, especially when he or she is off guard. You may find a narcissist behaving manipulatively, lying or disrespecting others, to get what they are after. There is no reason to believe a narcissist will not do the same to you under similar conditions.

Narcissists are not interested in your contribution or input for a project. This is because they think they have already figured out what needs to be done. Whatever you say will be met with criticism.

The best thing to do in such a situation, is to accept a narcissist for what he or she is, and leave it at that.

Make the change and don’t focus on them

When a narcissist is in your circle of colleagues at work, he or she seems to grab all the attention. Just bear in mind that people with NPD scheme very hard to keep themselves in the spotlight.

In fact, you may end up giving in to his or her ideas and opinions just to keep the narcissist happy and maintain a peaceful work atmosphere.

It is important though for you to stand firm when a narcissist starts to push his or her way into your area of work. Remind yourself that you are in charge of work assigned to you, not the narcissist.

Learn to speak up for yourself

It is best to maintain silence in some situations. Similarly, it is also best to stand up and speak out against a narcissist colleague when the situation calls for it.

You may need to strategize carefully if dealing with a narcissist who is your superior, a parent or your spouse!

Narcissists like to make their targeted victims uncomfortable and embarrassed in front of others. Plan well not to fall into such a trap, as your frustration or embarrassment will only encourage them to go further. Think carefully before responding to a narcissist.

Make sure you set clear boundaries

People with NPD think they are free to do what they want. They may see nothing wrong in rummaging through personal items in your unlocked desk drawers.

Narcissists may offer advice that you do not ask for, and take credit if their advice happens to be correct.

It is crucial that you set clear work boundaries with the “always correct” narcissist, to avoid any misunderstandings. Example – make it clear that there will be consequences if he or she goes through your personal items without permission.

It is important that you stand firm when a narcissist continues to violate your space after you set boundaries. If you don’t take action, they will not believe your “empty” threats and continue with their actions.

Note that a narcissist will only pay attention to a situation when he or she gets affected.

A person with NPD may need professional help

People with NPD cannot see a problem with themselves. As such, they rarely seek professional help or counselling.

You can suggest to your colleague with NPD that he or she may need help, but you can’t force it. Ultimately, the responsibility to seek help lies with the person with NPD; not you.

Time for you to move on

If a narcissistic colleague does not want to seek help, or shows a worsening and abusive attitude towards you, it could be time to refer your case to your superior or Human Resources. Ask for either one of you to be transferred and state your reasons clearly.

The last resort would be to find another job. However, chances are you may possibly end up with another narcissistic colleague elsewhere as well.

In conclusion: Narcissistic people are everywhere – at work, at home, at social gatherings, etc. It is important that you learn to stand up to a narcissist’s manipulative or abusive behaviour and nip things in the bud. If not, you will feel threatened, lose self-confidence and suffer emotionally, all of which are detrimental to your health and wellbeing.


By Aaron
15th October 2020 22:30

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