Friday, September 29, 2006

The Narcissist in the Workplace

Bullyonline. org is an excellent resource:

How do bullies select their targets?:

The bully selects their target using the following criteria:
  • bullies are predatory and opportunistic - you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; this is always the main reason - investigation will reveal a string of predecessors, and you will have a string of successors
  • being good at your job, often excelling
  • being popular with people (colleagues, customers, clients, pupils, parents, patients, etc) more than anything else, the bully fears exposure of his/her inadequacy and incompetence; your presence, popularity and competence unknowingly and unwittingly fuel that fear
  • being the expert and the person to whom others come for advice, either personal or professional (ie you get more attention than the bully)
  • having a well-defined set of values which you are unwilling to compromise
  • having a strong sense of integrity (bullies despise integrity, for they have none, and seem compelled to destroy anyone who has integrity)
  • having at least one vulnerability that can be exploited
  • being too old or too expensive (usually both)
  • refusing to join an established clique
  • showing independence of thought or deed
  • refusing to become a corporate clone and drone
Not just a "corporate" clone. A clone of WHATEVER club the bullies in that instutiton weild like a club. It could be "the coaches" in a scool, for example.

I have a slight criticism about this site. It has a bias characteristic of the European Left, which is very far left by American standards. And that bias skews the picture a bit.

What bias? The belief the "big guy" (the boss, the busines, or the corporation) is the bad guy and that the "little guy" is the poor, harmless, helpless and INNOCENT victim. This notion is so ingrained that most Europeans talk as though the definition of "bad guy" is "the big guy." And vice versa. It's an automatic assumption, a prejudice, that is just plain wrong. Not to mention simplistic.

The European political class cunningly promotes this line to promote a Big Brother government (who's a worse bully himself than your totalitarian big brother?) to oversee those evil business-types with intrusive regulation and a tyranny of political correctness. They convey the impression that corporations are the ones to watch for bullying. That bullies are MANAGERS. Not so. Anyone may be a bully. (Even a spoiled brat learns how to bully his or her parents with temper tantrums, especially in public.)

In fact, well-run coporations know how damaging bullying in the workplace can be and would never knowingly tolerate a bully manager. Bully managers are bad for business, because bullying pays nobody but the bully. Bully managers prefer the dregs to the best and the brightest. They ruin morale. They are slackers. They also frequently embezzle under the smokescreen of the witch hunt they orchestrate. That's why well-run businesses have good Personnel Departements.

Of course bullies who are managers usually (but not always) have more power than their victims. And of course, bullies are often (but not always) climbers who do achieve management status (through bullying to persecute any competing peers).

But in any workplace of 30 employees, you're bound to have 2 or 3 malignant narcissists. They know their own kind when they see them and develop a relationship like that between mating scorpions: "I won't sting you if you don't sting me, but just think what we can do to these other saps if we get together, baby."

In fact, in those cases I know, or know of, most of the bullies were NOT the manager! They even bullied the manager!

They do this by conducting a never-ending Ritual Hunt, in which they use their pets like hunting dogs to persecute whomever the bullies sic them on. In these unwholesome institutions, someone is always "getting it." "It" is persecution.

But aside from that subtle bias in this website, which is part of the European milieu, is excellent and offers much useful information. Just keep in mind that the malignant narcissist can be anybody, not just the boss.
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At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is ironic you should post this today, as last night I was discussing a job I left five years ago with a friend. It was very difficult to explain to my friend why I left. The Exec. Dir. exhibited most, if not all, of the Bully characteristics.

I could hear in my friends voice that she didnt "get it." Listening to myself tell the story, I was very sensitive to not sound like a disgruntled ex-employee or conspiracy theorist, but that was the way it went.

I watched this Nar single people out, methodically, for bullying. Most of them quit without other jobs. I wouldnt do that and it really infuriated the bully. I didnt know about narcissism at the time.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hands up everyone who thinks Kathy is changing the world? I must say that I consider this incredible woman and genius level human being a gift to a hurting planet in need of Warriors. I cry in relief sometimes when I come here (pretty much daily, to see what Ms. Thang has cooked up in that big brain of hers for us to enjoy) because I'm not alone.
Jesus waterwalkin' Christ...the tough, tough job we have as survivors is learning it's ok and correct to hate. GG

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous GH said...

GG -- I think "hate" may be a bit strong (imho). It's definitely healthy to acknowledge that the way Ns abuse is wrong and that we have every right to speak up against, protect ourseles from, and refuse to quietly endure their abuse. But if we allow ourselves to be consumed by hate, all we do is continue to make the N the center of attention. (I imagine many an N quite enjoys thinking that s/he is important enough to be worthy of our hatred!)

Better than spending our lives hating the N for what s/he has done is to recognize that we have no obligation to put up with it, that we can walk away without feeling guilty, and that we don't have to give a sh1t anymore about what the N does, says or thinks. Our lives do not have to remain defined by the N!


At 1:14 PM, Blogger Kathy K said...

No, I'm not changing the world. In fact, a good psychiatrist would be the first to tell you that it's mentally unhealthy to repress your feelings. He or she would never tell you they're a sin.

The only difference is that I confront the issue openly. Though it's politically incorrect, I take on the holier-than-thous. Why? Because I know what it feels like to have that load of "You're a bad person" stuff dumped on you when what you need, and what is called for, IS THE OPPOSITE -- "You're a good person stuff."

The irony infuriates me, because these holier-than-thous do it -- for what? For the same reason a narcissist does -- to improve THEIR image at the expense of yours. In doing this, they are just piling on, jumping on a person who is already beaten down.

THAT'S what can break the victim's back and result in the victim now needing psychiatric care. So I hate that.

Unlike professionals, I make my living another way, so I can afford to blow against the wind.

And I'm no genius. I'm just a thinker who happens to know enough about religion to expose the flaws in their "doctrine." Like for example, I know that their God never condemned anyone EXCEPT the self-rightous = people like themselves. Not prostitutes, not adulteres, not Roman soldiers, not tax collectors or drunks -- just the pharisaical and people who went around quoting scripture at others. Those he laid a sevenfold curse on. Nobody else got anything but compassion, good words, and a blessing from him.

My knowledge of their religion and its theology gives me a real advantage most people writing on the subject don't have. For I can use their religion itself to blast holes in their half-baked preaching. It never fails that these are people amazingly ignorant about their own religion and unable to reason their way out of a paper bag.

So, I take them on. I want to comfort the victims of narcissists. I don't want victims to feel shame and guilt for their feelings. I want them to recognize these feelings (including anger) for what they are = psychological pain.

That said, I always nonetheless say that we are responsible for our conduct and therefore mustn't let our emotions take control of us. We must temper our conduct with moderation and good judgment.

We are all at different stages here. For some of us most of the pain has faded over time. For others it still rages. Those recently wounded can take comfort in knowing that over time the pain will pass. There will be scars. It will never completely go away, because memories can bring it back even years later (as in aggravtaing an old injury), but it does pass leaving no feelings at all for the narcissist.

Which is worse than what most people mean by "hate." Because that's exactly what those unworthy of anything but cold-blooded rejection deserve = NOTHING.

As for the victim's pain, it isn't fair or just. The victim is paying for the narcissist's sin. No forgiveness in that. Just extortion. The N is never held accountable for the damages. The victim pays the expense and repairs them. No forgiveness in that. Just extortion.

Unfair and unjust, but that's just the way it is.

The injustice is largely because holier-than-thou political correctness blocks all aveneues to justice and because the "innocent" byestanders are anything but innocent, leaving the victim alone against the world.

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, and of course "hate" is such a loaded word. SO darned subjective, you know? What I believe I am trying to convey is this: that there are some people and some behaviors that have grown to repulse me SO much both owing to their stand-alone nature AND my puke-ey reactions TO the abuse which I should have (!) been able to control and I just feel this libidinous, "EWWWWWW!", and absolve myself of responsibility for their weird-ass weirdness.
Came up with this today:
"Avoid those who you know have a history of fashioning enemies out of their friends. Their boredom will be the end of you and it never gets more interesting."
What I mean is that beating the Righteous S*** out of myself every day for having "failed" my community is kind of stupid. I don't have to forgive meanies.
Isn't that a great word? Meanie?
Kind of the way I've decided that "Muppet" is a much nicer word than "sociopath". My friend coined that expression for someone who is, well, like a muppet. This one musicians I know can't play his guitar for S***, yet this narcissistic so-and-so JUMPS on a banquette, windmilling away like he's Pete Townsend, looking every bit like a Muppet. The fact that he tried to hurt me a million ways come Sunday notwithstanding: MAN can that cat windmill.


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