Mirror, mirror on the wall…
As we’ve been watching the presidential race unfold, there have been hundreds of jokes about the candidates’ narcissistic tendencies. Charisma and confidence are key traits in narcissism. We want to be around people who are very magnetic. Our leaders have to have these characteristics to capture the attention of the world. At what point should we be concerned about someone’s personality? When does self-love cross the line?
The word narcissist is thought to have origins in Greek mythology. Narkissos rejected the love of Echo, and he was cruel to the nymph. This made the Greek gods mad, so they cursed Narkissos by making him fall in love with his own reflection. Ultimately, this led to his death when he drowned in a lake after looking at himself. Today, we think of narcissism as excessive self-admiration or self-love.
Narcissists are generally arrogant and believe they are entitled. They may think they are perfect and have a sense of superiority. Generally, a narcissist will have horrible boundaries. In other words, others were essentially put here to serve them. Another key element of narcissism is the inability to experience empathy. They may know the right words to create sympathy, but they won’t feel what you’re feeling.
Dealing with a narcissistic boss
You probably liked the person when you first started working for them. There are many different philosophies about why people stay with a narcissist. A lot of times, you don’t realize their true personality until it’s too late to back out. If you are dealing with a person who doesn’t respect your time or who demands too much, you’re going to have to make the decision about whether it’s worth continuing for them. You will not change their personality.
What can you do?
What you can do is to completely understand the personality you’re dealing with. There’s a difference between just having a huge ego and being a narcissist. You may have to stroke their ego to get by. Don’t gossip about the narcissist. Protect your own self-esteem and position instead of trying to take control of the situation. In fact, an alliance within the office may actually threaten the narcissist and put all of your jobs and mental health on the line. You will have to weigh the pros and cons of working in the environment. If it crosses the line into abuse and threatens your own well-being, it’s time to find another job.