Melanie Tonia Evans

The Narcissist in the Workplace

Written by   Melanie Tonia Evans Permalink 13
Written By   Melanie Tonia Evans

Many people in the community have requested an article regarding narcissism in the workplace.

Finally, I have enough of the backlog out of the way of articles that I wanted to write to be able to focus on this one.

As with family of origin narcissism, narcissism in the workplace is not really my area of expertise. But like with all narcissistic abuse – and this is how I will present the article – it is helpful to understand the dynamics of what is really going on in the first instance, and then accepting that our True Power always lies in the self-reflection on how we can empower ourselves in the face of this.


Narcissists in Power Positions

Understandably, narcissism in the workplace is rife in our world, because narcissists are very drawn to positions of power, and climbing the ladder to gain the resources and entitlements to get “stuff” – the position, status, money and acquisitions in order to gain attention and win approval (narcissistic supply).

Not all narcissists are successful, but many are – or at least successful in the sense that they appear “to have it all.” The truth is, with most of them, if you scratch under the surface (regardless of their earning capacity), there is a literal minefield of financial disaster. “Stable” and “sensible” in not the normal narcissistic credo. “Risks,” “excessive spending,” “flashiness” and “daring” are.

In many ways, I actually do feel qualified to talk about narcissism in the workplace. The first reason being: the true healing, the working on ourselves, is identical for any narcissistic relationship; and the second reason is because the two narcissists in my life ran their own businesses.

As their live-in partner, I was intimately aware of the dishevelment; lack of organisation, zero personal responsibility and how the numerous disasters that continually occurred in their businesses were always scapegoated onto someone else.

These men of course were never accountable.

The truth is: narcissism is narcissism no matter where it is played out.

I posted on my Facebook Page an announcement that I was writing this article and asked people to post their narcissistic work experiences. Thank you everyone for sharing – and I have included some of these messages in this article.

If you would like to join me in these discussions, please join my Facebook group here.


Employees and Colleagues Used as Tools

Like a black hole, narcissism sucks its environment dry in order to sustain itself, and narcissistic bosses or work colleagues are no different to any other narcissist. People to them are not people with a heart and soul or needs – they are tools to be used to grant the narcissist what he or she wants.

If the narcissist does feign that an employee or work colleague is “human,” then the shows of “clemency” or “benevolence” will come at a price, and will be used as a manipulation tactic to ensure the person hands over “more” for the narcissist’s benefit in the future.

As one Facebook member posted, “Every single person employed by a N is there for one reason and one reason only to line the pockets of the boss. As soon as you no longer meet that requirement you will be fired. The long lunches, gifts and theatre tickets etc. are a prelude to the expectation that you will work 24/7.”

The truth is even the most “charming” narcissistic boss will not be pleasant long-term. Narcissists all have the need to “kick the cat.” They have such a ferocious self-annihilating inner identity always threatening to eat them alive, that they need to project this self-hatred at the closest and weakest targets who will allow it.

One Facebook member reported this incident: “I had never seen rage and narc injury until that day. He followed me and raged. I thought he was kidding, since everything was a ‘ha-ha’ joke earlier; but to him he was wounded. From that moment onward, he has me in his crosshairs.”

What the narcissistic boss or colleague is really doing, as all narcissists do, is the unconscious acting out of, “If I project my disowned parts on to someone else, and then line this person up with abuse, maybe I can kill off the parts of myself that I hate.”

The narcissist will gauge and then attack repeatedly the assistant, the secretary, the office worker, or the factory hand that has low self-esteem or poor boundary function. Extreme security fears make people targets (I have to keep this job at any cost), as does the deep ingrained childhood patterns of accepting abuse as “normal.”

As one lady posted on my Facebook Page, “I realised that all these situations were a mirror of my childhood, of being raised by an N mother. Of being dependent on a Narcissist for survival. It was the same dynamic … endure their psychological torture, or end up broke and homeless. Life is a whole lot better now that I have worked on myself, but my heart does go out to anyone who is still a situation like that … ”


Workplace Idealisation, Devalue and Discard

People who work for the narcissist as “an integral employee” initially (like new love partners) are idolised, put on a pedestal and made to feel special and “amazing.”

Many narcissists in superior positions “deeply” befriend people they employ – or seem to grant them special consideration and attention.

On lady shared on Facebook, “She sucked up to me, became my “best friend,” promoted herself and how great she was constantly. But I didn’t see how she treated her subordinates, which was dreadfully. She just couldn’t do enough for me.”

The narcissist, in order to connect to people, has to conjure up a belief that they are of “high value” (my latest acquisition is “amazing”) and truly runs with this; yet it is only a matter of time before the narcissist’s hair-line triggers of insecurity start appearing.

Sooner or later “the wonderful new source” sends a look, action or word (or inaction) to the narcissist that triggers off an old inner unhealed wound deep in the narcissist’s psyche, and the narcissist then despises this person for “making” the narcissist feel this way.

As another lady wrote on Facebook … “One of them actually head-hunted me from another company. All part of the ‘flattery followed by annihilation’ dynamic.”

Therefore, as with all people who are drawn into the orbit of the narcissist as “valued acquisitions,” the honeymoon period of idealisation is followed by the inevitable devalue and discard – when it becomes impossible to supply the narcissist enough of the illusion of grandiosity that he or she requires to feel safe or sane.

No staff member (just like no family member or love partner) can EVER adequately reflect back to the narcissist. Not without stepping on one of these inevitable landmines … because 99% of these triggers are the narcissist’s deeply insecure imaginings.

People working for and with the narcissist will wonder how and why so many people are the “flavour of the week,” and adored one minute and ignored the next.

Naturally, like all addicts, the narcissist gets easily bored, and fresh and new sources of supply are necessary. There is a requirement of new people to impress, and new people to gain worship and acclaim from. Whoever will hand it out in a way that satisfies the narcissist’s grandiose self-delusions is who the narcissist gravitates to.

Because of the inevitable discard after being used, there could be a high turnover within narcissistic work environments. Employees and colleagues who are not stuck in survival mentality (I have to hang on to this job no matter what) may leave because of the narcissist’s behaviour.

This post on Facebook summed it up: “The last job I had the bullying was so severe, I even got a clip across the back of the head from the psycho boss. 18 women left that job, one girl was hospitalised from stress and he was never fired, as no one spoke up.”


Pathological Envy In the Workplace

A narcissistic boss or colleague will ultimately wish to be put up on a pedestal and revered by the staff as “special.” He or she needs to be superior – the best at the craft, the most intelligent and the most capable.

There is no letter “I” in team, and having someone shine “beyond” the narcissist, despite being an asset to the organisation, is a total emotional threat to the narcissist.

As one lady wrote, “Both of them took the credit for any business or contacts I pulled in, or any innovative ideas I had, and also blamed me for any mistakes that they made. One of the N bosses started a smear campaign after I left, citing that I was a drug addict and a thief. The other turned my colleagues against me, until the bullying got so bad, that I was forced to leave.”

The dire emotional insecurities of the narcissistic boss or colleague means that any great idea had to be his or hers, and any questioning of his or her functioning, ideas, and choices will be seen as a threat that needs to be shut down.

A shared, positive collective result is never the narcissist’s goal – the goal is personal narcissistic supply – the attention that gives the narcissist the significance of uniqueness and superiority to fend off the pain of defectiveness for a while.

True leaders lead by example. Narcissists are not empowering or inspiring leaders.

Neale Donald Walsh made statements on this topic which I love – “True masters create more masters,” and “True teachers empowers others to NOT need them.”

This model terrifies the narcissist because he or she believes, “If I don’t have the superior edge other people will overtake, undermine or harm me,” “If people are dependent on me for survival and security I have control of them” and “Anyone better than me is going to get all the attention.”

Therefore with a narcissist in the workplace you can’t win. You will rarely be “good enough” to satisfy the narcissist’s demands, and if you do shine – then the narcissist will need to kick the chair out from underneath you to bring you back down.

If you really shine the narcissist may conjure up grounds to lose your job.


The Instability of the Workplace

Narcissists are addicts for narcissistic supply – and this comes before sensibility, respectful boundaries and work etiquette.

The drive of addictions and constant need for “pleasure” (which is really the relief gained from the inner tormented self by getting a hit of the “drug” of attention) means that the narcissist have very little self-limits and self-respect and certainly doesn’t respect other peoples boundaries and limits.

People in the workplace are very susceptible for being recruited in games of divide and conquer (triangulation) against people that the narcissist is teaching a lesson to “How dare you challenge my False Self,” and people can also be groomed for sexual conquests, adulterous affairs or for long-term narcissistic supply (a “committed” relationship).

What is very true is: the insidious unwholesomeness of the environment generated from the nucleus of the narcissist’s disordered personality causes more unwholesomeness.

Things get very unhealthy for all concerned.

My friend Ruediger Fleisch, a renowned German psychologist, shared this assessment.

1. They create the problems for which they want to present themselves as the rescuer – first to you then to others.
2. They pretend loyalty if this seems to serve them.
3. Their communication is characterised by JADE.
J – Judgements in the first place
A – Accusations open and hidden
D – They commit disloyal deeds close to criminal acts, deny it and start counteraccusations against those involved to damage their image.
E – Explanations, long and weird, which don’t make any sense which confuse you.

Additionally, narcissists need acclaim and energetic payoff for their efforts, or they become incredibly manically depressed. That means “finishing off” and “attention to fine detail” is not the narcissist’s strong point. Big, flashy, immediate “wow factor” and instant gratification are all the name of the game.

Therefore narcissists cut corners, don’t follow through, don’t look after things and don’t clean up after themselves, and heaven help anyone who tries to get them to be mature, structured and responsible. Narcissists take very poorly to anyone trying to curb their freedom, or anyone attempting to control them.

Narcissists don’t like order; they don’t like regularity because it is too “normal.” It makes them feel like they are on the same level as everyone self – which is the terror of not having enough adequate distraction to avoid the sinking inwards into emotional “self-annihilation” (I’m not unique and special).

“Normal” and “calm” feels to a narcissist like being sucked down into a quicksand – a “slow death.”

Therefore, the workplace is somewhere where the narcissist either has to manifest drama with issues, poor organisation and terrible communication, or he or she will ignore work and have very little contribution to it – leaving it to everyone else’s devices, because of the need to generate drama and excitement somewhere else.

Many people working with and for narcissists have been constantly dismayed at the messes and disasters that regularly occur as a result of the narcissist’s loose and unaccountable behaviour.


Scapegoats Take The Fall

The narcissist’s self-image is everything, and he or she will wager everything on it – doing things that are unlawful, dangerous and criminal to uphold it. This naturally put his or her business at risk – and the narcissist has no issue in twisting facts and setting someone else up to take the fall when the trouble happens.

The justifications that the narcissist is capable of making to pathologise his or her behaviour are incredible.

Narcissists are disordered, their brain wiring is maladapted to circuits that are not healthy, or humane. The narcissist can justify immoral, inhumane and criminal behaviour easily because their soul was sold to serve the one true master – The False Self – long ago.

It’s important to understand narcissists will believe, firmly, that the person they are setting up to take the blame is at fault. Their minds are highly adept at creating a self-delusional story that exonerates their “above reproach at all costs” ego. Once this story has been replayed through the narcissist disordered mind a few times – it is TRUE to the narcissist. That is the extent of the disorder – superiority and impunity is necessary for the narcissist’s emotional survival.

This can seem incredibly personal – until we understand that narcissists are operating out of horrendous childish survival fears. The narcissist’s unconscious drivers are entrenched in this defence: “If I am exposed as wrong I’ll be annihilated,” which triggers the narcissist’s biggest fear – the bottom line terror of the ego – the fear of NOT existing.

The narcissist believes he or she must be seen as “perfect.” However, the intense fear and defences conversely create the narcissist’s character as not just “imperfect” but also highly disordered and damaged.

This becomes blatantly obvious if the spotlight is on the narcissist for any accountability for his or her actions or non-actions. This is when the narcissist becomes the most unhinged, or the most dishonest and manipulative.

He or she will do anything to avoid personal fault and scrutiny, and if someone can be scapegoated, the narcissist will employ this tactic.


Can Narcissism Be Channelled For A Greater Good?

Narcissistic personalities are often valued. Narcissists are exciting, daring, dramatic, “stand outs” and often very capable. It could be argued that people like this are needed to make incredible things happen – and could be a positive force if they could be steered and managed.

I don’t believe their energy can be channelled for “good,” because pathology is pathology – it is unwholesome, unstable and it disrupts and dismantles everything around it.

This sort of “energy” or “force” comes at a price, regardless of the “payoff,” and it is not a collective gain for the highest good of all concerned.

As many people have found out the hard way – trying to harness a narcissistic type personality for your own benefit means that you are in danger of being the next casualty. In fact, it is probable that you will be.

Narcissism is a very separated and self-entitled force that generates energy by insatiably consuming the energy of everything that is not it in its path– and then narcissism ultimately deconstructs and self-destructs itself.

Narcissists are the ultimate self-sabotage, self-annihilating machine. Just like cancer, they destroy the host (the environment) to such an extent that they ultimately destroy themselves.

This is the end point for all narcissists.

You may have someone in relation to the workplace who is dynamic, exciting and even “brilliant.” This could be a potential new boss or colleague. Yet despite the glitz and glamour, your warning bells are sounding. Something about their energy feels “off;” it feels unstable regardless of what they say. This person may be declaring how wonderful an association would be with them, but you can “feel” the “icky” grandiosity in these statements.

We need to understand a person of character and presence does not perform egoic demonstrations of “look at me.” Confidence is not arrogance.

The risk of connecting forces with such a person is extreme, because you are a disposable object serving the narcissist’s agenda – for as long as you are useful to that agenda. And at any time you could be trampled underfoot, betrayed, hi-jacked or thrown to the wolves if it helps the narcissist escape scrutiny or get ahead.


Taking Your Personal Power Back in the Workplace

In order to get out of the nightmare of narcissism in your life, if you find yourself in a narcissistic work situation (or any narcissistic situation), you need to take your power back.

We have absolutely no power to change someone else, and in truth we have no “right” – their journey is their journey – and we need to take 100% responsible for our own.

This always means asking ourselves, “Who am I, and what is my truth in this?”

These are some questions we can ask ourselves in order to start taking our power back:

“So now that I know I am being narcissistically abused what is my necessary self-reflection? What is my healing lesson in this?”

“Do I have previous wounds from narcissists that are unhealed that keep attracting ‘more of them’ into my Life”

“Am I carrying enough darkness (fear) regarding my own security and survival that I need to learn the lesson of NOT selling my soul out to abuse to try to survive?”

“Is there a pattern here regarding myself that I deeply need to acknowledge, heal and break free from?”

Then of course we are left with, “What am I going to do now?”

Here are the three options:

1)    Play along – never disagree or question, keep flattering the narcissist’s ego in an attempt to try to escape the abuse; or

2)    Call it out, stand up and lay boundaries; or

3)    Leave this workplace.

With option number one we have to ask ourselves, “Am I prepared to be inauthentic?” “Am I prepared to be manipulated and live outside of my truth?” And “Am I prepared to make statements to the Universe such as ‘I will mix with and rely on abusive people,’ and ‘I am prepared to NOT be real in order to survive’?”

To me, honestly, this would not be an option. I am determined never to sell my soul out for survival again. Firstly, because I know it is soul-destroying; and secondly, because I know it certainly does NOT bring survival relief. Inevitably my world always exploded and left me with less security as a result of trying to appease abusers who I had falsely assigned as a source of my security.

The second option “Calling it out” is tempting. And even revolutionary if you are prepared to stand and walk truth and work on yourself enough to lose the fear of what WILL happen as result.

Narcissists are vengeful, they take very poorly to being exposed and called out. And in fact what is very likely is that the narcissist will do everything in his or her power to set you up as the culprit for everything you are accusing him or her of.

Expect triangulation and even abuse by proxy with authorities, even to the lengths of police and governing bodies to punish you.

So, if you decide to confront, expose, and call it out, be prepared for the fallout – because it could be massive.

I highly admire and I know people who work enough on the healing of their own Inner Identity programming to do so, without fear. And this is not foolish, and it does generate great results.

Our own personal Inner Identity fears we need to be free of in order to take such an empowered stand are these:

“The fear of being wrong and therefore punished (shame and guilt)”

“Terror of authority”

“Terror of being persecuted”

I really want you to understand this: when people lose all fear and walk a straight line, they are impervious to the narcissist’s truly powerless bullying. The narcissist has no power of his or her own, it is all extracted from your fear and pain.

Many people who have no choice but to combat the narcissist do find out how powerful the results are when we heal ourselves from the inside out.

Sadly, many people in the workplace (for very understandable reasons) are too scared to stand up. We have all been conditioned so powerfully by our world that “Authority knows best,” rather than standing true in our own human rights.

What I think is wonderful is that now we are starting to awaken to the power of integrity and the power of truth, and how powerfully we can walk and generate real results … especially when we lose the terror of being so attached to outcomes and live for truth itself.

The third option I believe is a great option, too. I don’t believe it is your responsibility to call out the narcissist if that is not what you feel inspired to do. In fact, most people trying to call out narcissists are not doing it from a place of integrity (strength), but rather they are doing it from the triggering of their own wounds (victimisation) – and they simply feed the narcissist more attention and power.

This does nothing to rid our world of narcissism – it actually promotes it.

As far as I am concerned if everyone disengaged, walked away and refused “to play” the narcissist would ultimately be left with no one but his or herself. That would create the TRUE end of narcissism on this planet.

Such a level of our own self-respect and self-love states: “This is totally unwholesome for my soul and is Not My Reality.” Then we do the work on ourselves and up-level our old wounds enough to walk away to generate a much more inspiring, healthy, and wholesome reality in every area of our life.

That I believe is your highest responsibility to heal our planet, and it is your GREATEST and most beautiful responsibility to yourself.

There is a huge difference between walking away after having “gone through” this experience as opposed to walking away after “growing through” this experience.

If you have not cleaned up the reasons why you are still attracting narcissists into your life, you could leave a workplace, and no matter how wholesome the next one appears on the surface – you will still walk into your lesson again.

There is no “outside.” Any darkness that shows up in our external work is matching a “darkness” (a fear) in our internal world. And the purpose of this is the necessary feedback to become conscious and evolve.

As such, it doesn’t matter where we go or who we meet, we are always meeting ourselves. We are meeting the reflection of ourselves that are healthy, and the parts of ourselves that are not yet healthy.

Before taking on the evolutionary work of breaking out of old fearful patterns, we think we need to create more fear and hyper-vigilance to protect ourselves. That is not the answer – I promise you.

The answer always lies within. You need to become the change you want to see in your life. When you change your Inner Identity you will attract more of Who your Inner Identify is. You have always been attracting that anyway – you just may have not been aware of it. In order to change our Inner Identity we need to be prepared to go inside ourselves and identify what our painful inner patterns are.

If you have a narcissistic workplace in your experience (or family member, friend, associate or love partner) it is because you are learning powerful lessons – to be authentic.

Which means – to live your life without fear, and to create self-partnering in order to be authentic and emotionally secure in the world.

And most of all, to do enough work on yourself to escape the crippling Inner Identity programs of thinking that you have to become inauthentic, sell your soul and hand your power over in order to survive.

I know how crippling that model is. I didn’t do it in work situations, but I certainly did it in love relationships. Of course it is really terrifying at first to give up something that is hurting us to believe there can be something else for us. However, if we really work on developing ourselves past these limiting beliefs, we create the space and then the belief for possibility, and then this is what we create in our life.

When all of us realise that we can create a direct relationship with Life Itself, we can leave the illusions behind of dependence on another human being (such as a boss – or anyone for that matter) for love, approval and especially survival.

I believe for so many of us who have been through Narcissistic Abuse, we finally had to learn that handing our power over in this way was a huge invitation for abuse.

And then the agonising abuse that we suffered was the “loud and clear” message to heal these illusion of powerlessness, so that we could become our True Power.

I hope that this article has helped you recognise the dynamic you may be suffering through at work, and the healing opportunity for you.

I look forward to answering your comments and questions.


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Melanie Tonia Evans is an international narcissistic abuse recovery expert. She is an author, radio host, and founder of Quanta Freedom Healing and The Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program. Melanie's healing and teaching methods have liberated thousands of people from the effects of narcissistic abuse world-wide.

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41 Thoughts on The Narcissist in the Workplace
    October 2, 2014

    Very interesting Article Mel and thank you for putting up my little bit from the facebook post 😀
    During my employment with the company I worked for 6 months, the boss or ‘Branch Manager’ who gave me hell, decided one day my ‘performance’ was not up to his standards (whatever a narcs standards are)! and so fired me. I decided to take the issues I was having with him to the General Manager and I won an extra 3 months employment, even though I wanted to leave badly, I needed the money or I would have been homeless. Excruciatingly difficult time for me as the boss decided to bring out his inner demon to give me hell for the last 3 months there, trying to force me out sooner. He tried everything imaginable, but I stuck it out. He wouldn’t refer to me using my name, but instead..’she’ to my co-workers and would poke his finger in my face and back to get me to react. So he tried everything he could, until the clip across the head made me stand up, look him in the eye and say…’that is not acceptable, I will be reporting you’. I walked off (shaking like a leaf) but held my head high, got my stuff and walked out. I did report the incident to head office and I was able to leave with still a month to go, with full pay and entitlements and the General Manager who didn’t like the boss, which I didn’t realise, gave me a good reference and treated me with respect. Unfortunately that Branch Manager didn’t loose his job. Something criminal going on behind the scenes I would say, where they needed him. Turns out I was right. LOL!

    I have had a lot of issues with narc bosses and even teachers during my young years, always a target. Since my healing journey began, working on myself daily, I have been able to stand my ground and I seem to repel this energy now, instead of attracting it.

    For everyone who is in this situation or has been, as I have…Never say yes to someone, a job, boss, or whomever who is treating you with anything less than you deserve. If it feels uncomfortable, or off, it is. I have a friend that is in a job that is causing her a lot of stress, but she puts up with to keep her job. I feel for her but it is her choice and I can’t help her, just give her hugs and support.

    Love to all. xx

      Melanie Tonia Evans
      October 3, 2014

      Hi Jac,

      You are very welcome, and I agree entirely that selling our soul and just putting up is not the answer.

      You displayed great courage in choosing to stand up, and it is so wonderful you live the truth of you now Jac.

      Mel xo

    October 2, 2014

    PS: my secret weapon is QFH. It has given me the power to believe in myself, love myself and stand up with integrity, strength and knowing that anything less in life than what I deserve is not and will not be a part of my life ever again. A job should be an extension of our life, a healthy vibrant life, not control it and take life from us.

    xx <3

    October 2, 2014

    Great article, as usual, Melanie!

      Melanie Tonia Evans
      October 3, 2014

      Thank you Stronger,

      I am so glad you enjoyed it!

      Mel xo

    October 2, 2014

    is it possible to edit our posts? please guide, thanks!

    October 2, 2014

    Hi Melanie,

    Your downloads have been very helpful and healing to me over the years! Thank you for the work that you are doing to help women everywhere – the service you have done to my self-esteem is unquantifiable :-).

    This article is triggering for me as I have definitely come across and worked with these types before over a period of many years – in some situations enduring more abuse than others.

    The below is a free form response of what comes up so I hope it comes across halfway coherently…

    Self empowerment, looking out for oneself, setting boundaries, being assertive, NOT taking things personally but looking at issues not as anyone’s fault specifically but as collective issues that need to be addressed, are all absolutely critical in these situations. However, having lived through experiences with certain types of personalities in the workplace for an extended period of time in a variety of different organizations, I have come to believe that the 3 options above are still a bit too black-and-white and there is a lot more grey that should be further explored.

    Option one to me reads like essentially one of 100% placation and not being assertive – potentially losing ground, power and opportunities for yourself in the process. Certainly not ideal.

    Option two is “calling the narcissist out” – but to what end? Is one trying to change this person and make them a better person (if their own spouse hasn’t succeeded, what’s the likelihood that a colleague will)? Knowing how rarely narcissists take responsibility and apologize when confronted — what’s the probability of getting what one wants by doing this? Moreover, is this approach taking responsibility for whatever one may have done to trigger or contribute to the situation? It always takes two to tango – yes, there are narcissists and there are lots of other types of difficult personalities in the workplace too. Confronting them and holding them accountable to me sounds a bit like blaming rather than focusing on the goal – potentially triggering for everyone involved, and ultimately unlikely to be productive to move forward with whatever objectives one need to achieve in one’s organization.

    Option three – if one walks away just because one has encountered a narcissist in a position of power – at least personally I am not sure where one would find a job in a large organization in certain industries where one WOULDN’T encounter such personalities! And the higher up one moves on the ladder, the more likely that these personality related issues will come up. There is no point in denying the existence or prevalence of these personality types. Deciding to quit over a handful of difficult people when there are lots of other good people and opportunities to create impact in the organization – is doing oneself a disservice, because in some way this narcissist is winning, one is unable to achieve one’s full potential in the organization by letting that person’s existence stop him or her from trying to move forward. And in the next job when one encounters someone like this, yet again one would have hit a wall and not figured a way to transcend the narcissist – and one is likely to keep repeating that same challenge throughout their career until the day one overcomes it.

    I am far from having figured out the ultimate solution to this issue but here are a few things I think that I’ve learned in the last few years in trying to practice keeping up constructive working relationships with these types of personalities where it has been a necessity to do so:

    1. There is no way to fundamentally change the other person and that should not be the goal.

    2. There are some battles not worth fighting, and some that are.

    3. There are at least two sides to every situation. Sitting down to at least acknowledge and understand the perspective of the other person who one may think has narcissistic tendencies, and trying to find common ground, can do a lot of good in moving in a constructive direction.

    4. There is no harm in owning the fact that everyone has an ego and occasionally helping the other person to feel good about themselves. Let’s put it this way – who doesn’t like compliments? Who prefers to be constantly “held accountable” for all their flaws and told what they are doing wrong ALL the time? If it is in service of keeping the relationship constructive, then to me a compliment or two outweighs whatever downside might exist in providing a mild form of “narcissistic supply” as it defuses a bit of the fog of someone else’s insecurity and allows them enough clarity to see a little bit more of your side of the issue – some of the time.

    5. Do not take things personally and try to take a step back from the conversation if it is triggering something emotionally. Focus on the root problem that is at hand, try to find common ground, and try to find a viable way to move forward.

    6. If this person DOES work well with some people, then get advice from them on what works to make that working relationship constructive and to get your objectives met within the organization. In general, do not self-isolate and make sure to build a network of other support from trustworthy mentors and colleagues in the organization so that you can always take a step back and get another opinion about a situation you are having difficulty seeing objectively.

    7. Try not to let a lot of negative, subjective judgments about the other person’s intent or attitude cloud your ability to be constructive – adopt a positive mindset and try to see the good – everyone has SOME good quality

    8. Think about the ways that working with this person may potentially benefit you – either what you can learn from them about yourself and what to do or not to do to be effective in a work situation, how you can help them and how you can ask them to help you in return (reciprocity concept) – and ask. ESPECIALLY if that person would otherwise have a tendency to take advantage of people who don’t assert themselves. If the other person commits to helping you, you can absolutely follow-up (within reason) and hold them accountable for that.

    9. Protect yourself and do not be a doormat. If the person is lobbing insults at you even jokingly, turn it back on them and don’t just sit there and absorb it – but don’t engage too much further than you have to in order to assert or defend yourself. If the person is lobbing insults at you in a serious way and the conversation is important, clarify when the comment is not reasonable or well-founded but do not engage in devolving the conversation further – stay constructive.

      October 2, 2014

      Jaye, you are certainly right, with “mild” narcs or big egos which can be found abundantly in the workplace, your tactics work just fine. With full blown narcs they don’t, because narcs never change, they will play their games and keep going until they go bankrupt or are fired exactly as Melanie explains in her article. I had the same experience and left employment, my world turned into a so much better place after that. It needs courage and faith to leap into the unknown. I am sure that employes who apply your suggested tactics are so much less productive and will suffer high stress along the way. For some people your advice might be welcome and enlightening but only for a short stretch and with the clear goal to benefit from the situation and outwit the ego-inflatet person. With narcs, they will lead to disaster.

      Melanie Tonia Evans
      October 3, 2014

      Hi Jaye,

      That is very true that self-empowerment is not about taking matters personally. And the goal is to have done the work enough on our own wounds to know “is this a young underdeveloped part of myself being triggered?” Or “Is this something unwholesome that I need to face and clarify?”

      All of it is about honesty and showing up in integrity and allowing people to join in on a higher vibration of connection and transparency.

      There are many opportunities for growth and healing for all concerned with people having off moments, off times and even unconscious blind spots if they are willing to become conscious and grow, as a result of someone honestly and lovingly “showing up” for them.

      What separates a person suffering from NPD is extreme unconsciousness, and the inability to reflect and grow.

      What you are discussing is not that situation, and truly regardless of whether we are in an NPD environment or not, the greatest gift we can ever bring is the wholesomeness of integrity. This is not blame or shame. It is honesty, disclosure and the sharing of feelings and truth. That is what generates trust and connection and grants permission for others to do the same … If they choose.

      And if they don’t, you simply are a self-empowerment model creating “more” in your experience.

      What is not a match will leave your experience.

      Mel xo

        October 3, 2014

        Totally agree – thanks Mel! Hope your trip in Bangkok is going well!

        • Melanie Tonia Evans
          October 3, 2014

          Hi Jaye,

          thank you re well wishes for trip.

          It has been initially a huge challenge – with internet connection and other things, but as I sit typing at Star Bucks outside the MBK Center in Bangkok with my AIS dongle – all is finally getting back on track.

          Now I AM going to be able to love it!!

          Mel xo

    October 2, 2014

    Jaye, you are right everyone has good points to them, but the problem is does the cost of having to deal with a hostile narc justify the benefits? In my opinion, the answer is a resounding NO..The answer to this may differ depending on the circumstances of the person/ victim involved etc.
    Melanie gives an amazingly accurate description of what is to be expected from a Narc at the workplace; the final decision a person takes may depend on their own limitations, other pressures or priorities in life etc

    Melanie Tonia Evans
    October 2, 2014

    Hi everyone,

    Just letting you know I’m here, but working out some internet challenges in bangkok. Will get to in depth answers when I can.

    Mel xo

    October 2, 2014

    Mel, Yes,yes, yes. All I can say. Wonderful article,so true. When stuck in a workplace situation like that, it”s like prison. Just horrible. Plan your exit strategy. Be free.

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      October 3, 2014

      Hi Billy,

      so true … and so not in alignment with our True Self, thank you for you comment!

      Mel xo

    October 3, 2014

    Loved it!!

    As a NARP member you helped me recover from a narcissist partner in love and another partner in work!


    October 3, 2014

    Wow Melanie. This is exactly what I needed to read. How timely! You know me as someone who worked through the Narp programme and came out the other side renewed and empowered. I found a new relationship with a lovely authentic guy..(which is still going strong!) And I set up a new business which was going great until I employed someone who…surprise surprise..turns out to be a narc.

    I won’t go in to the details of his behaviour, but he fits the profile. When it dawned on me that yet again I had attracted a narc into my life I had to ask myself why this has happened..again.

    The answer that came is completely clear. It is a test of my fearlessness. I have decided unequivocally to sack him, despite his threats and aggression etc etc. I feel no doubts, only this this strong inner conviction that I will never bow down to this kind of bullying ever again.

    This situation has made me aware that I am very strong, my boundaries are firmly in place and I will not compromise on my own inner truth. I am amazing myself with my own courage, which seems to be flowing from that inner sacred place of peace which you taught me how to find.

    Despite the fact it is a difficult situation..and it really is! I feel unshakeable. I also feel a deep sense of gratitude that I was given this opportunity to prove to myself that I am empowered…for real!

    I hope this makes sense to you. My first thoughts were..oh no…still have unhealed wounds to deal with…but it is turning out to be something else! My chance to prove my courage. myself.

    I almost feel sorry for the guy.

    I am all in favour of standing up to them, but I would advise anyone who does so to be absolutely sure and clear that in order to so we must be inwardly healed, and are coming from a place of inner peace and security. Because, as I have just discovered, when you act from a profound sense of inner truth, there is simply no contest.

    Keep up the good work Melanie. You are an amazing woman.Thank you for every thing you taught me.

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      October 3, 2014

      Hi Carolyn,

      I am so pleased this article turned up at the right time for you.

      I am so thrilled you have done such a marvelous job of uplevelling yourself with NARP – and congrats on your new wonderful relationship 🙂

      I adore your orientation – because it is so true! It can be such a human tendency to fall into victimization, rather than seeing the glorious growth opportunity that has presented.

      This totally makes sense to me – because it is the way I now live my life to the best of my ability always. Otherwise I would only be signing up to the same “repeat disappointments” that would continue because I hadn’t grown.

      4 Decades of that was more than enough!

      You have expressed this perfectly – better than I think I ever could – “When you act from a profound sense of inner truth, there is simply no contest”.

      I will be facebooking that quote tonight…

      I am so proud to see where you have come to!!

      Mel xo

      Jane M.
      October 7, 2014

      Love your article! Resonates with me in all aspects of life!
      Your post is so inspiring. Beautiful said.

    October 3, 2014

    The exNarc was assaulted by a business associate at a party. He and exGF created the drama. ExNarc, parades around as successful entrepreneur. LIE. He has tons of outstanding tax fraud liens. He blaims his accountant, who rightfully kicked him to the curb. New accountant is a criminal. Perfect. Said he recently bought a house The truth is he’s house sitting. The list of lies is mind blowing. You’d never guess by looking at him. This is just the way Narcs typically live. Impulsive, unethical, no boundaries, victim, projecting and abusive.

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      October 3, 2014

      Hi Elisabeth,

      very true.

      And inevitably what is not integrity is a house of cards.

      It does not stand the test of time.

      Mel xo

    October 3, 2014

    Text book case – welcomed to the new role with open arms; promises of amazing success & rewards; offered independent working conditions; not even 3 weeks in & micro mgt begins; starts at half dozen calls per day wanting to know whereabouts; within another week it is a dozen calls per day – just checking where you’re at with…. ; leads to saying no to resources I need to complete my role; after 3 mths of this I wake up to what it is; but not until after mths of negativity, I rcv a message saying how awesome I am; this is when I realise what she is…. I was devastated.
    I had recently left a narcissistic marriage & needed my work so much to support my children & mortgage that I failed to see what was hitting me on the face.
    Right now – I am finding the courage to resign – problem is the narcissist company owner is who I thought was an old friend & she has employed a fellow narcissist who I report to. I choke at even the thought of communicating with them now I know what they are. I have given them way over & above where I work way too many hours unpaid, & am now unwell but keep going.
    So reading back over this – it’s a no brainer… I clearly haven’t healed from my marriage. It’s time…

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      October 3, 2014

      Hi Andrea,

      that is awesome that you are self-reflecting and taking your power back.

      Truly you can see this opportunity, work on you, up-level and leave “narcissism” behind as Not Your Reality.

      Life always brings us what we need to heal.

      You will do this, and never look back.

      Mel xo

    October 3, 2014

    OMG – you are so smart Melanie!

    ‘Am I carrying enough darkness (fear) regarding my own security and survival that I need to learn the lesson of NOT selling my soul out to abuse to try to survive?’

    FEAR = Darkness…here I thought I was a ‘lightworker type”.

    Getting it!

    Thanks you Melanie for sharing your wisdom.


    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      October 3, 2014

      Hi Jean,

      you have made such a powerful point – and it is so true.

      I relate wholeheartedly.

      I too believed “I am a good person, I’m spiritual and I would never hurt anyone knowingly” thinking that was “light”.

      It took me a long time to realise that the fear I carried within me was “darkness” that attracted the “darkness” of narcissists.

      It’s like being a vegetarian and thinking a lion would never eat you!!

      This is exactly the up-levelling we require to transcend narcissistic abuse – the up-levelling of all of the parts of us that are in fear to a much higher vibration.

      THEN we are impervious.

      You are so welcome Jean, and I love that you are embodying this truth!

      So many “lightworkers” and “great people” need to!

      Mel xo

    October 3, 2014

    Thank you
    Melanie you are spot on.
    I keep writing about my work environment , then deleting it.
    I want to explain so much about my past work environment. Jobs are tough,sometimes every things right ,yet so wrong.
    Melanie,you have described about 45% of what I went through ,so I will leave it at that and keep working on my inner self.

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      October 3, 2014

      Hi Richard,

      I am so glad this article resonates with you!

      Great stuff in taking your power back – to where it needs to be – inside you …

      Mel xo

    October 4, 2014

    Melanie, Hope you get to see this….I have a question……Can a person who suffers from narcissism show there behavioural patterns late in life, for example get triggered by an emotional drama……or does the patterns show up from adolescents. ??
    Cheers Jan

    • Melanie Tonia Evans
      October 5, 2014

      Hi Jan,

      yes I am here!

      There are psychologists that believe narcissism can be triggered later in life.

      My take on it is this – is that the outer world reflects back to us our woundedness in order so that the unconscious becomes conscious and we can heal these parts of ourselves.

      For some that means abusive childhoods is the beginning point – its all a part of the divine plan of the soul to present karmic growth opportunities (which the soul willing agreed to) which may or may not “worked out” at that time, but the opportunity will keep presenting lifetime to lifetime, until it is “worked out”.

      In the case of adult narcissism, it means something has erupted from within usually as a response to what has happened “on the outside”.

      Then the choice is “Am I going to embrace this pain and evolve these parts of myself or not?”

      If “not” that is the “unconscious” model that stunts all self-refection, healing and personal growth.

      This is a model both narcissists and perpetual victims adopt.

      So, yes I believe unconsciousness and a maladapted personality can occur at any age.

      I hope this clarifies.

      Mel xo

    Karen D
    October 5, 2014

    All I can say is WOW! My Ex Narcissist spouse started a business together and within 3 years, he successfully orchestrated me out of the environment. I assisted him from the beginning with loaning him money, setting up the business, all marketing, managing the office and business side of it. Even when I worked from home, he still made it impossible. I am now walking away from the business and our relationship ended abruptly 2 months ago… now the no contact begins. I have also recently discovered after spending eight years with this man some very dark sides to his life and that this is a regular pattern for him. Reading all of your blogs certainly is helping me gain my power back. The sad part is he has jumped right into another relationship with an old friend of mine who has NO idea what kind of crazy ride she will endure. But again like me , she will believe all his lies and manipulation and have her life destroyed, just like he almost managed with me. So hard to believe, good kind people can get so sucked in. Thank you for this post!

    October 5, 2014

    Thankyou Mel, I am sharing your articles every month on my FB page and have a bit of a following, its incredible how many of these people walk amongst us…cheers Jan

    N. Johnson
    October 23, 2014

    Hi Melanie!

    I purchased NARP in September 2013, left the Narc boyfriend in October 2013, and quit my job with Narc boss in January 2014.

    The Narc ex-boss was always late for work (sometimes didn’t bother to show up), a liar, gossip, insecure, picked favorite employees, and annihilated us through “grammar edits,” which were really veiled personal attacks. The workplace was miserable.

    After NARP, I understood that I couldn’t change her. I left with no job prospects— just my savings and retirement. I just trusted that everything would work out.

    Now, I have a narc free job making 2.5 times more money, I lost 30 pounds, and my acid reflux and anxiety are greatly reduced.

    You’re right. When I change on the inside, things change on the outside.

    October 31, 2014

    Thank you!! I read this whilst on holidays and it was so perfectly timed. I returned to work the next week and over the course of the week knew that I was no longer aligned with this place and my Narc boss. Waiting out my last weeks then on to new and exciting things. Trusting the journey and trusting me 🙂

    October 29, 2015

    The scapegoat in every Regional Center in California (there are 21 regional centers in California) is the service coordinator, who is used as a “messenger” directed to say and do whatever the narcissistic leadership expects the person to do. .

    July 9, 2018

    When my brother-in-law married the second Abusive Narcissist, I was conscious. Four years prior to the incident, I decided to no longer attend family functions with my loving, fabulous in-laws (after 30 years) so as not to interact with the Narc. One day my husband came home from the family Christmas triggered, and again started accusing me of all the things that my sister-in-law was doing to his brother’s wife -mirroring what happened for five years when the first wife was abusing his brother. At that moment, I decided that the only way to be free of my brother-in-law’s Narcissistic wife’s hold on me was to divorce my husband.
    My now ex-husband kept telling me “I am not a trained monkey.”
    Once I learned about ‘flying monkeys’ I finally told him. Oh you are a trained monkey alright. You just aren’t mine.”
    Then I found NARP. The triangulation year campaigns and on me continued. Despite clearing and clearing, two and a half years later I did have to divorce to be free of the abusive Narcissistic Sister-in-Law. As far as I know, she (well her husband who isn’t allowed to decide what he eats, own books and now has nine cats) is now the sole heir to my ex-husband’s estate…..well his 40% of it. So I moved to my hometown and took back the job I had 30 years ago. The business had been purchased. I don’t know if there was a Narc there and I didn’t care. They had what I call the “Don’t Worry About it ailment.” They aren’t going to ‘worry about’ government regulations, professional industry regulations or standards. My personal integrity allowed me to work there only a week.
    Then, one night as I lay in bed, I thought, “I am not going to focus on people doing things wrong. I will focus on who is doing things right.” I emailed an industry contact, and without details just asked a couple questions in order to be validated. His responses validated my position and he asked if I planned to attend the industry conference. I told him of my dilemma. He said he had a position available. The Universe was working with me.
    At the drop of a hat, I moved 2,087.3 miles away. I worked with a guy who flew into a rage one day cussing and screaming at me. I told my manager that I wouldn’t tolerate that behavior (laying my boundaries). We had a meeting with him and I thought things had gotten better. About two months later I realized that this perception was because he was ignoring me and not talking to me. The owner and my new manager said that he would punish the previous person with ‘freeze outs’ and it drove her nuts. Well things went along nicely again for about a month. Yeah sure the manager who told me to just ignore him also told me to go to him when I needed help. I vaguely learned that he would simply not respond to me at all, so I started saying, “Manager’s name told me to ask you….” He would obfuscate, prevaricate and give me two mutually exclusive answers. I just went to other people to get help and told the manager who helped.
    Well very early on in my employment, this man predicted that I would get sick because my predecessor ‘thought he could come in and work here full-time and he got sick and quit.’ I also noticed that one long-term employee said that she had been sick ‘constantly’ the first six months she was there. She was the precipitous of his rage incident.
    This man literally told me to ‘go away’ and ‘go home’ and ‘you don’t need to be here.’
    Well I got very very sick and back to back I had four complaints. The second second set of complaints, the office manager, who had been out on family leave for the invited the Rager into the conversation. This opened the flood gates and he started talking to me again.
    A few days later he decided to punish me. He asked me if I could do something and I said, “no.”
    I literally wasn’t capable of doing it. He said loudly to all, “Candi is going to…..” I
    wonder what others thought was the purpose of that? I believe it was designed to punish me by humiliating me.
    Then he said loudly, “Happy Birthday” to someone.
    He told me, “Do you see how I screamed at her? She loved it!”
    He was again trying to CONvince me that my perception of the difference between a red faced, cussing, screaming man throwing a temper tantrum and a loud man saying “Happy Birthday” was askew.
    I told my manager I wasn’t going to do that part of the job anymore. He told me just to take a break and I went back to work.
    The next morning, I arrived 20 minutes early. The Rager waited until one minute after I was suppose to clock in to give me assignments from the pervious day and ‘apologize.’
    He said, “I am sorry that you were in my face. This is a sincere apology.”
    You know, just because he used the words ‘sincere apology’ didn’t make it resonate with me. I told him that I wasn’t going to have that conversation with him. Then when I went to do my job, I found everything in disarray. So I came into the office and asked for help from other people. The Rager helped me (ingratiating behavior to manage the impressions of others).
    Now, it may very well look like this incident is related to the complaints for which I take 100% of responsibility because it was when the office manager invited him into the conversation and he started gloating and saying, “you didn’t believe me,” that I started getting upset.
    In my mind the two were not connected. I was taking 100% responsibility for my own work. But then I thought about how all the Narcs I have ever known have set up people. I wrote an email to my manager speaking about things that had ‘magically’ happened which might have caused me frustration. But, alas I am so good at my job, they did not generate the complaints.
    My manager said, “I hope you aren’t saying that you think someone in our organization is deliberately doing that.” (was that a threat?)
    I said, “Oh I definitely am. I know that people who behave in the bullying, hostile, combative, aggressive manner that this man behaves toward me definitely do these things deliberately.”
    Then I mentioned that the company needed to think about why they had such enormous turn-over.
    Well we have a meeting on, my birthday of all days, to discuss my concerns. I am clearing and clearing. Please keep me positively in your thoughts. I am happy to accept any result of me asserting that I observe this man’s behavior which he intends to be covert. I have no fears…… I think.

    November 21, 2018

    I am currently involved in a Triangulation scenario with a women I work next too. This week she told me going forward I would need to do a job function she handles as she would be training on something else. I texted my co-worker on the other side of her and she could not believe what she heard. When the lady who told me I would be doing something else went on vacation the previous week, she left a whole lot of emails for the other co-worker to clean up even though she had been tasked with doing this responsibility by our boss. Needless to say, before I knew it, my co-worker and I were confronting the women who is trying to control us. She is supposed to be our team member and does not have any responsibility over our jobs and is not supposed to dictate responsibilities. While both of us confronted her actions, she immediately sat back down in a huff and said she doesns’t have time to talk with us. After this scenario occurred, I went into our bosses office and stated we need a meeting as the three of us were fighting and it needed to stop. He called us into a meeting and I stated how I felt, and so did my co-worker, only to have the lady tell us it was a miscommunication. Problem is, I know exactly what I heard. Right after the meeting, the lady walked out of the bosses office and went into another department to begin her Triangulation process with co-workers who believe her stories, which I am not sure why. Before we left that day, she also went into another office and shut the door in full view of me, and by the way I am being treated now by the person she spoke with, I can accurately say she spoke about what happened and how she felt maligned and victimized. I have heard this lady some of the most terrible things about people in all departments, she has even said horrible things about her mother. I have always tried to empathize and not come to a conclusion about her behavior. I now know she truly exhibits the behavior and actions of a narcissistic individual with a victim mentality. I have healed from a relationship with a true covert narcissist and have done the healing I need to do to not only recognize this behavior but to realize it is time I leave a toxic environment. This is the sort of person that talks behind people’s back but acts nice in front of them so they would never know she behaved with such ill will. Until I find a new job, I am so proud of myself because my reaction is to completely cutoff her anger or ignore her silence as a form of punishment, until I realized today I just don’t care one way or another about her actions, or her presence, or what her life entails. I have become able to deflect the persona of the individual and walk through my day with respect to others, but I know I have changed by drawing into myself to protect my myself against an individual who intends to do me harm by using others to make her false ego appear intact. I have learned the hard lesson of a narcissist, and I will never, ever fall victim to abuse by someone who manipulates others as puzzle pieces to make themselves appear justified with their anger. Until I find new employment, I face each day with respect for who I am and hold myself with confidence and pride that I will make it through another day and find the place I need to be with people who respect me.

    February 14, 2019

    Hi Mel,

    I realized that the leading figure in the business where I work since a month is a narc (covert). I recognize all the fears you describe.
    Facts: first I was idealized, told how welcome I was etc…but now I don’t get the hours that were promised, I get to hear that clients who ‘follow fashion’= clothes are arrogant (I like to wear what seems pretty to me and is linked to my personality), when I try to talk about the hours I get no answers or the whole group needs to decide (have the feeling that this put people up against me), she’s telling she cannot pay her bills, nearly everyone become sick or had/has an accident…so I have the feeling that I tried to make my boundaries clear and that my capacities are also threatening her…so now she seems to want get rid of me, can that be right?
    My important question is how can I exist this situation with minimal fall-out? because i feel this isn’t healthy and I’m so afraid to have my own practice. i went to work there become financial independent from ex but that survival anxiety made that I didn’t recognize this one. So it’s like a vicious circle: dependent because of narc abuse then trying to have a job to become independent but if I don’t watch out I’m not approving…Leap of faith to own business?
    Thank you so much for this article!

    April 22, 2019

    pathological envy……wow. indeed

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