Working for a narcissist can be draining. They have difficulty managing their emotions and may display behaviors that could be damaging to you and those around you.
Thankfully, there are effective techniques for handling your narcissistic boss that will make the situation less stressful. With these skills in place, your working relationship will be much more pleasant overall.
1. Listen to Your Inner Voice
Listening to your inner voice can be a powerful way of dealing with a narcissistic boss. It may not be an easy task, but the rewards of listening are worth all the effort.
The initial step in discovering your inner voice is learning to distinguish it from voices that other people are telling you. This can be accomplished through meditation or other forms of stillness.
Once you can distinguish your internal thoughts and feelings from what others say, it will become much easier to listen to the wisdom within yourself. This is especially important if a narcissistic boss is trying to control you through their actions and words.
It can be beneficial to identify the physical sensations that arise when listening to your inner voice. These are usually signs that it’s time for action; fear, anger or even joy may arise when this voice speaks truth to you.
Another helpful tip is to write down how you feel when your inner voice speaks up for you. You might notice fear as a tightening in the stomach, or joy as something lighter and freer inside of you.
You may start to feel more at ease and serene when listening to your inner voice. Taking time out to practice this can build trust in yourself, helping guide you through difficult decisions with ease.
Furthermore, listening to your own inner voice can help you define boundaries and enforce them when necessary. With strong boundaries set, it will give you greater assurance when dealing with a narcissistic boss.
When you begin to feel pressure from a narcissistic boss and you’re not satisfied, it is time to take action. This could include as simple as not working for them again or asking for assistance from others in the office.
If you’re not sure what to do next, talk with a friend or colleague who has experience dealing with narcissistic bosses. This will give you someone to confide in who won’t hesitate to speak up for you and can constructively critique the tactics your narcissistic boss uses.
2. Don’t Be a Victim
Narcissistic bosses can be a dangerous presence in the workplace. They lack empathy, show no consideration for others, and require constant praise and approval from others in order to feel validated and valued.
They may also be manipulative and take advantage of people’s weaknesses to gain access to privileges. For instance, narcissistic bosses may steal ideas from their employees; some even go so far as to make those they steal from feel bad about themselves, according to psychologist David Germain.
They do this to maintain their image of perfection – and stay in power. However, you should avoid getting caught up in this trap as it will only harm yourself and your career in the long run.
If you believe your boss is acting in an abusive manner, talk to either your immediate supervisor or human resources about the problem. Once evidence accumulates demonstrating their unprofessional and potentially illegal conduct, you can start gathering proof against them.
Keep any proof outside the work computer to protect it in case your boss gains access. Doing this can help avoid a confrontation and ensure that both parties understand what’s wrong.
If you’re having difficulties dealing with someone in your life, seeking support and seeking professional help from a mental health professional may be beneficial. Your counselor can offer comfort, insight and solutions.
Finally, you can reach out to a friend or family member who is supportive of your situation and offers an alternate perspective. This could help you move past a narcissistic boss and cultivate a healthier working relationship with someone who shows you respect.
When dealing with your narcissistic boss, remember that you don’t have to put up with them forever. In fact, it may even be possible for you to leave your current job and find one more suitable to your personality.
These are just a few of the effective strategies for dealing with your narcissistic boss. If you need more support, Eleanor Payson’s book The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with One-Way Relationships in Work, Love and Family can provide invaluable advice on surviving this trying time.
3. Ask for Help
Narcissists can create a toxic workplace atmosphere, especially if they are the boss. Narcissists tend to be overly self-absorbed and take credit for other people’s work, making it difficult for them to show empathy or support their employees.
If you believe your boss may be a narcissist, it is essential to seek professional assistance immediately. This could involve talking with HR or even an outside expert from outside the company.
You can also seek support from co-workers or friends. They might be able to offer helpful tips or words of comfort, helping you feel more in control of the situation.
Support can also help you manage your emotions as you deal with this situation. This could involve asking someone out on a walk to decompress or having an opportunity to express yourself to someone else.
It will give you the opportunity to process your feelings and ensure they don’t cause you further distress or irritation, making interactions with your boss even more challenging.
Another essential step is defining and communicating your boundaries clearly and precisely. For instance, you might say something like “I do not tolerate yelling” or “I cannot sit around and listen to my boss yell and talk over me.”
Once your boundaries are in place, schedule time to meet with your boss to review them. These meetings should be brief yet informative, providing clarity and being firm.
Documenting your conversations can be beneficial, so that you have a record of what was said and how the meeting progressed. Doing this may prove advantageous if there are allegations made against you by your boss that they are violating your boundaries in some way.
You might also want to consider reaching out to a therapist or other mental health professional for emotional support and guidance on managing your feelings when working with a narcissistic boss. You can locate local therapists or use an online resource such as BetterHelp for this purpose.
4. Don’t Let It Get to You
Narcissists often utilize their positions of power to manipulate others. This includes micromanaging, placing unrealistic demands on staff members and verbally abusing employees. Narcissistic behaviors can lead to serious workplace issues like employee turnover, disengagement and even lost wages.
To avoid being overwhelmed by your narcissistic boss’ behavior, be mindful of their traits. This will enable you to make an informed decision regarding how best to approach dealing with their personality disorder.
If you believe your boss to be narcissistic, seek professional assistance. They may be able to give you more insight into the situation and teach you effective coping techniques so you don’t become another victim of their behaviour in the future.
Another beneficial step you can take is sharing what you’re going through with those who care and support you. Doing this will give you perspective and enable other people to offer honest opinions on how narcissistic your boss has treated you.
Maintain clear boundaries in writing so you can prove to your narcissist that they are trying to manipulate or ignore you. Doing this will demonstrate their ineffectiveness and provide yourself with a way of protecting yourself in the future.
Be proactive by keeping a journal of your work and accomplishments, according to Germain. Doing this will give you strength in the event of an employee-employer dispute or need for filing a complaint against your boss.
Finally, be sure to control your emotions. Letting emotions run wild will only create more issues between you and your boss. So, take time out of each day to breathe deeply, recalibrate thoughts and actions as needed, and learn ways to relax both body and mind before acting out.
If you find yourself feeling the urge to vent about your narcissistic boss, take a step back and reconnect with what drives you as an employee. This will serve as your anchor when workplace drama gets too much for you to bear.