Tag Archives: narcissistic

Never, Ever, Ever Do This With A Narcissistic Boss!


Narcissism (Photo credit: videocrab)

Never, Ever, Ever Do This With A Narcissistic Boss!

by Dr. Neil Lavender

Narcissists give off a lot of energy. They are exciting to be around. They seem to know what’s going on with everyone, they are very plugged in and people want to share information with them. Even if they aren’t headed towards the top, they appear that way.

One of the problems with narcissists, however, is that they do not respect boundaries. They will use private information against you in the workplace, for example. Things that you say in jest or in confidence; or, more correctly, things that you believe were set in jest or in confidence, will often come back to haunt you.

Because of their vibrancy and energy, you will be tempted to go outside your normal relationship with your narcissistic boss and want to connect with him/her on a more personal basis. You might, for example, want to be their friend or associate with them on a social basis. Perhaps he will invite you out for dinner with your spouse. Or maybe invite you to a membership with her social club. Perhaps even take a vacation with them.

Bear in mind that the narcissist is exploitative. That is one of their main characteristics. They are just using you to get something from you; be it your adoration, unique knowledge, things that you own which they want (including spouses!) or inside information that they can use in the workplace.

We can say from experience that these things will come back to haunt you. So here is some very good advice:

Always stay in your lane when you are working for narcissistic boss. The immediate gains that you get will be at best be temporary and the long-term effects can be devastating. Just relate to them on a professional basis. Don’t let their false promises and invitations lure you in. Do your job well and stay in your lane. Maintain proper boundaries and you will survive the narcissistic boss.



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Using Interventions For Narcissistic Personality Disorders.

Using Interventions For Narcissistic Personality Disorders.

Here is help for those involved with a narcissist

by Neil J Lavender, PhD

It is a real challenge to make changes in a one-way relationship with a self-centered narcissist. It’s all about them and never about you. Sometimes the best efforts fail. Getting an individual with Narcissistic Personality Disorder into psychotherapy is in itself a small miracle. Moreover, even the best psychotherapists can be challenged when dealing with the narcissist.
But there is one more option that is slowly emerging onto the psychotherapy scene. One of the newer cutting-edge technologies being advocated by experts for helping individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is “the intervention”. Doing an intervention with your narcissistic other can be a difficult yet valuable strategy in dealing with highly resistant narcissistic people. Interventions can take a good deal of time, preparation, and resources, and note that with intervention, you risk terminating the relationship.

An intervention is a technique that was originally developed to break through the denial and resistance in a substance abuser who refuses to acknowledge her problem. Several key people in the substance abuser’s life—family members, friends, and the like—confront her with her problem, the pain she has caused them, and their concern for her well-being. They are usually aided by a professional trained in interventions. In some instances, a bed in a rehab center has previously been reserved, so the patient’s bags are already packed.

More recently, interventions have been used to break through the denial of people with eating disorders. The fact that it is a technique specifically designed to prevail over denial makes it a good choice for narcissists because denial is one of their key symptoms.
Here are the steps in implementing an intervention.
1. Enlist the aid of a professional. Interventions can be very stormy and emotional experiences. While it is possible to have an intervention without a professional, your chances are better with the help of an experienced practitioner.

2. Recruit your participants. These should be people who have some influence over the narcissist or people whom the narcissist has hurt in some way. Stick to about four or five people if you can.

3. Plan your intervention. The key participants should meet at least one time to plan the meeting without the narcissist’s knowledge. In this meeting, you need to set goals, like getting the narcissist to commit to psychotherapy. Develop talking points; everyone should have only one or two key things to say. Try to stick to those points without hitting the narcissist with everything under the sun. Remember to communicate compassion throughout the session and resist the temptation to withhold it for revenge. Plan strategies for what to do if and when the narcissist resists. Be prepared to apply a consequence if the narcissist insists on carrying on the same old, same old. Ending the relationship, litigating, or not participating in certain activities with the narcissist are some possibilities. Leverage is your ace in the hole.

4. During the intervention, stay calm, for things can get rough. Remember, this is a loving gesture done out of concern. Make it clear that ignoring the problem would have only hurt the narcissist. You may be surprised that this show of support actually touches the narcissist. Avoid labels and general sweeping statements. Use I-messages. Stay upbeat and helpful.

Experts on intervention with substance abuse vary in their reports on intervention effectiveness from 50 to 90 percent (with professional help). Statistics on intervention done with narcissists are not yet available.

The Institute for Advanced Studies in Personality and Psychopathology in Port Jervis, NY is a good starting place to set up a personal intervention
Web: http:/

Taken from Lavender, N. and Cavaiola, A. (2011) The One-Way Relationship Workbook: Step-by-Step Help for Coping With Narcissists, Egotistical Lovers, Toxic Coworkers, and Others Who Are Incredibly Self- absorbed. (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)


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Narcissistic Personality Disorder – A Great Introduction to the Narcissist

Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Psych Central.


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Narcissists on Facebook. Never!


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The Best Description of a Female Narcsisst Ever!

Although males outnumber females in the Narcissism department, the female of the species is often “more deadly than the male.”

This link will tell you all about it. Super job by June Walsh.Check her out!


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Here are 4 different types of Narcissists.

Reprinted from The One-Way Relationship Workbook: Step-by-Step Help for Coping With Narcissists, Egotistical Lovers, Toxic Coworkers, and Others Who Are Incredibly Self-Absorbed


By Neil Lavender, Ph.D. and Alan Cavaiola, Ph.D.

Not all narcissists are the same. Millon and Davis (1996) describe the following subtypes of people with NPD: the unprincipled narcissist, the amorous narcissist, the compensatory narcissist, and the elitist narcissist. As you read about these subtypes, see if any seem similar to the person you have concerns about. Note that both men and women can fall into any of these categories, and the narcissist in your life may exhibit traits of more than one subtype.

The Unprincipled Narcissist

What characterizes this group of narcissists is that they seem to be devoid of a conscience, or sense of right and wrong. They are often unconcerned with the welfare of others and are amoral, unscrupulous, and deceptive in their dealings with others. They exude an arrogant sense of self-worth and grandiosity. They are driven by a need to outwit others, which proves that they are smarter than those they prey on. It’s not unusual to find this type of narcissist in jails, prisons, and drug rehabilitation centers although many unprincipled narcissists go through life without running afoul of the law.

The Amorous Narcissist

Amorous narcissists have an erotic or seductive orientation. They construct and measure their self-worth around sexual conquests. They often run through a string of pathological relationships, casting aside the person they have just seduced only to look for their next conquest. Amorous narcissists are often known for being heartbreakers, as well as committing some rather outrageous acts, such as conning their sexual partners out of huge sums of money, pathological lying, and other types of fraudulent behavior. The amorous narcissist is truly the Don Juan character who compensates for deeper feelings of inadequacy by seducing others and taking them for all they’re worth. Each sexual conquest reinforces the amorous narcissist’s sense of self-worth and over-inflated self-image.

The Compensatory Narcissist

This type of narcissist is driven by a need to compensate for past hurts or childhood emotional wounds by creating an illusion of superiority. Compensatory narcissists live in a fantasy world of their own creation in which they “pursue the leading role in a false and imaginary theater” (Millon and Davis 1996, 411) rather than living their own lives. They are driven to enhance their self-esteem through what are often imagined achievements. In order to achieve this goal for prestige, compensatory narcissists need an audience of others who will buy into their deception. In fact, compensatory narcissists are often hypervigilant or highly sensitive to how others react or perceive them, often watching or carefully listening for any signs of criticism or disdain.

The Elitist Narcissist

In some ways similar to the compensatory narcissist, elitist narcissists are often obsessed with their own inflated self-image. They often create a false sense of self that bears little resemblance to their actual selves, yet they manage to convince themselves (and often those around them) of their unique talents and abilities. They feel empowered and entitled to special treatment because of whatever status or pseudo-achievements they may have attained. Elitist narcissists often turn relationships into competitions or contests, whether they are work relationships, friendships, or even love relationships. Here the goal is winning, no matter what the means or cost, in order to prove to others (and themselves) their incomparable superiority. Elitist narcissists are often social climbers and they think nothing of stepping on or over anyone in their quest for fame and status. They are very adept at marketing themselves and will not shrink from any opportunity to do so. Because elitist narcissists hold themselves in such high regard, they see little need to listen to others or follow directions.


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Personality Disorders 101 (Cont’d)

Personality Disorders 101 (Cont’d)

As I mentioned in my last blog, the individual with a PD has a key component missing from their personality; usually as a result of a flawed childhood of some sort. Here are some other characteristics:

1)      They appear normal. You may never identify the person as being “mentally ill”.  In some cases they can be loyal friends or charismatic leaders. Their PD might even help them succeed in life. They might be highly perfectionistic for example making themselves attractive workaholics to their employers.

Think Scott Peterson the guy who most likely killed his wife and unborn child. If he lived next door to you, you probably would have wanted to hang out with him!

2)      They usually don’t know they have a problem. People with PD’s tend to see their flaws as strengths. A person with Dependent PD, for example, might misperceive their clinginess as just being loyal and attentive. This lack of insight makes it difficult for them to see their own problems which they blame on others.

Perfectionists (Individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive PD’s) claim they are just trying to do the right things and that others are just slacking off.  People need to be more like them. You can see why dealing with these folks can be so difficult.

3)      They don’t do well in therapy. Indeed, due to #3, they usually don’t seek therapy unless they are prodded by others. New therapies are emerging for them which I will discuss in future blogs. Some people believe they are incurable.

The rumor(?) is that if a budding psychologist is taking the oral part of their licensing exam and tell the licensing board that they successfully treated a PD as part of their internship, they are sent home, without a license!

4)      They have a way of making you feel, behave and think differently than you would around other people. Many people, for example, when dealing with a person with Dependent PD tend to patronize or want to nurture them, even though they are not like that with others. The end result of this is you feel bad, they don’t.

Want to learn more? I’ll continue Personality Disorders 101 next time. I feel an excellent primer on the topic is our book Toxic Coworkers. Originally titled “Personality Disorders in the Workplace” it offers a highly readable introduction to all of the personality disorders offering advice that is highly useful in work and other relationships.


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People who are difficult to get along with may be more impaired then you think: Personality Disorders 101.

Okay, I get it. People can be a real pain in the ass sometimes. It’s just life. Get over it.

But what about the people who manage to find a home under your skin? The ones you have bad dreams about every night? The one over whom you are contemplating leaving your job. Or worse yet, considering divorcing.

They looked okay at the beginning; you might’ve even gotten along pretty well together. But soon there was the inevitable “tell”: he screamed at you in the restaurant simply because you ordered your own dinner, she slept with your best friend, he forged your name on some documents, he took credit for all the work that you put into your report, he talks about himself incessantly and never listens to what you have to say, even though you broke up with her she still calls you three times a night.

These people are not just a pain in the ass; there is a real good possibility that when they affect us this extremely they could have a “personality disorder”.

Personality disorders are different from other types of psychological disorders. Here, people are not hallucinating, delusional, having panic attacks, or babbling incoherently. They usually do not look or feel mentally ill at all. In fact, they may be the embodiment of what you might call normal: the most popular girl in the class, the teacher everyone adores, or that politician who was going to turn around this economy. But they’re not normal.

A personality disorder is one of a unique group of psychological disorders wherein those afflicted are missing an important part of their personality, such as a conscience or the ability to empathize with others. The rest of their personality appears to be intact, so people with personality disorders may look and act incredibly normal—so normal that it sometimes takes friends and coworkers, even spouses, years to recognize something is wrong. Complicating the diagnosis is the sobering reality that people with personality disorders don’t know there is anything wrong with them; they usually blame their problems on others. Although we have seen hundreds of patients in our combined careers and probably hundreds with personality disorders, neither one of us can recall even one person who ever made an appointment to treat his personality disorder. Clients with personality disorders may realize that they have problems in their marriage, with alcoholism, or with another disorder (which may be superimposed on a personality disorder), but not one of our clients has ever recognized his underlying personality disorder. That makes it all the more difficult to deal with.

There are somewhere around eleven to fifteen different types of personality disorders; the number changes according to which expert you are talking to. While each of these disorders is unique, a primary symptom that they all share is the inability to have good interpersonal relationships.

That means at work. That means in romantic relationships especially. This means friendships and family relationships. The most prominent feature that these individuals have is a disturbance in their relationships. And worse yet, they don’t see it.

They’re not bad people, they’re mostly like you and I. But with something missing. They want good relationships, but they just can’t seem to cut it.

And worse yet, they will bring traits out in you that other people don’t. You’ll find yourself behaving in ways that you never thought you would.

If you click around this blog, you’ll find some good advice on how to deal with narcissistic personality disorder at work. Click around some more and you will find out how to deal with a dependent employee (dependent personality disorder).

In our next blog, I want to talk about  some of the different types of personality disordered people you will come across in your life. Later, we want to discuss why they are so difficult to work with in psychotherapy and why you haven’t been successful in dealing with them.

Okay, even a little advice on how to get along with them.

(Reprinted in part from The One-Way Relationship Workbook:Step-by-Step Help for Coping with Narcissists, Egotistical Lovers, Toxic Coworkers, and Others Who Are Incredibly Self-Absorbed. Lavender and Cavaiola, 2011)



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More tips on how to manage the self-centered at work.

In our last post, we gave you some tips on how to cope with narcissistic coworkers from our new book, “The One-Way Relationship Workbook.

Now, here are some more.

Never Get into a Pissing Contest

Believe us, you will not get credit for winning a pissing match with a coworker. And in the process, you will look like as big a blowhard as the narcissist. Plus, when you get angry, you are making it personal, which lets the narcissist into your life. You really only need to state your point once or twice. Thereafter, your effort is fruitless. And never lose your temper, but always stay calm. Let your narcissistic coworker know that you are off limits and someone with whom it does not pay to argue. (Careful now: if your pride will not let you back off, you might need to examine some of your own narcissism!)

<B>Document When Necessary

Narcissists are notorious for making big promises without necessarily feeling a need to follow through, especially if it becomes inconvenient later on. (“I just want to let you know how much we appreciate you around here. See that new office going in on the first floor? That’ll be yours by the summertime, and that’s a promise!”) If you receive a promise from a narcissistic administrator, you will want to send an e-mail thanking the narcissist for the promise and save a copy for yourself. Consider copying others who might be key in this decision.

Also, document what the narcissist falsely claims she cannot do. For example, if your narcissistic administrator says, “Sorry, it’s really not my job to review your expense account,” send her an e-mail telling her that you appreciate the information, but you believe it to be incorrect. Keep a diary including dates, times, and places and exactly what the narcissist has said. Narcissists are notorious for misrepresenting events to make themselves look better. Be sure to keep other important documents, such as audits and timesheets. If you are forced to meet with a narcissist, consider bringing a witness.

<B>Network, Network, Network

Networking always makes good sense, even when you are not working with a narcissistic coworker. But the narcissist on the job will think twice before taking you on if he knows you have friends and connections. Here are some good ways to go about building up your social network.

  • <BL>Become enthusiastic about other people’s agendas. Pick agendas that you believe in and with people whom you would like to know better.
  • Identify and make connections with rising stars and become a promoter of the star’s talents. Consider training or mentoring someone new to the office. Experienced people often overlook newcomers. And, hey, this person might be your boss someday.
  • Toot your own horn. Sometimes it is tough to get lost in the gigantic shadows that narcissists cast. While it may seem self-serving, it is a good public relations strategy to let the public know about the good things that you do. You can do this informally through the grapevine or through other more conventional information channels. Some volunteer positions are more visible than others, and you should consider taking those that are.
  • Be mindful of existing social networks. In just about every organization, there is a tacit social organization not portrayed on the organizational diagram. Even though they are far apart within the organization, the guy on the loading dock might be the vice-president’s brother-in-law and best friend, for example. It’s important not to step on anyone’s toes, and it’s important to develop friendships across the various levels of your organization. You can do this by joining one of the extracurricular activities that many organizations offer their employees or simply by having a cup of coffee with someone you’d like to get to know.
  • Join professional organizations. Don’t overlook these. Try to attend the regular meetings and go to workshops as well. Stay fresh and informed. It will make you a valuable source of information and keep your own batteries charged as well.
  • Use the Internet. Networking websites for professionals such as Linkedin (see resources) make it easier and easier to connect with people who have similar positions to yours as well as people who can be helpful to your career.out!<endBL>

<B>Get a Mentor

Wisdom is a precious commodity. Find somebody within or outside of your organization who not only can help you with your career but also knows how to manage people like your narcissistic coworker. And now, with the advent of Skype, you can be mentored by anyone in the world. Pay your mentor if you have to. It’s worth it.


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Strategies for dealing with your self centered coworkers

reprinted from the “One Way Relationship Workbook. . .” by Lavender and Cavaiola.

Narcissists at work present special challenges, but the difficulties depend most upon how much power and influence and daily face-to-face contact exists. Thus, a narcissistic boss with whom you have constant contact will be a much greater challenge to you than a narcissistic coworker whom you rarely see. Because a good deal of your financial and emotional welfare depends upon your employment, destructive narcissistic relationships can be a little more critical than, for example, social relationships with the very self-centered. As a result, effective interactions can become even more important. The exercises in this chapter were designed with the workplace in mind.

<A>Some Key Strategies

The following strategies are designed not only to protect you from the narcissist’s toxins but also to make you a valued employee who is less likely to be dismissed from your job due to fallout from the narcissist.

<B>If Possible, Avoid the Offender

Perhaps the most obvious way to deal with one-way relationships at work is to simply avoid them. If there is a narcissist in the lunchroom, eat somewhere else. If she is in payroll, avoid payroll. This may not be easy because people are drawn to narcissists, and there is usually a lot of action whenever they are around. Narcissists like to be seen as movers and shakers, and being around them often fills a need within us to be a part of it all. It makes us feel energized and important. Plus, narcissists always have some way of drawing you in. Remember though, narcissists are like Las Vegas: a lot of flashing bright lights with tons of excitement, but you usually walk away the loser. Better to stay away if you can.

<B>Develop Talking Points and Stick to Them

Take a lesson from the politicians. When you are in a position where you have to interact with a narcissistic coworker, rehearse the discussion as much as you can beforehand. Have a strategy. Know exactly what you want to achieve and stick to that. Don’t let the narcissist suck you in to his own agendas or distract you with flattery. Politely acknowledge his agendas and get right back to your talking points. And keep the list of talking points short, two or three at best.

<B>Stay in Your Lane

Another simple yet often overlooked strategy is to simply do your job. We believe that this is always the best work strategy. Being known to your employer as a good and conscientious employee will protect you from the slings and arrows aimed at you by narcissistic coworkers. Don’t get involved in the office gossip about or with narcissistic people. If the narcissist invites you to do something outside the office, such as playing golf, politely decline. If the narcissist asks you to do special favors, simply say you are too busy doing your work. If she starts denigrating another of your coworkers, excuse yourself and go back to your job. It may take a while, but eventually the narcissist will get the picture and troll for supplies elsewhere. And don’t forget that when you stay in your lane, do your work, and resist the bait (“Wow, you’d make a great addition to my political action committee!”), you are supporting your organization’s goals, which makes you an invaluable employee who is worth protecting. Even from narcissists!

<B>Don’t Get Taken in by the Flattery

Remember the process of splitting? After the narcissist adores you, he hates you. The narcissist will flatter the heck out of you in the beginning, projecting his fantasies of perfection onto you. If you have something that is valuable to him, he will think that you are wonderful. If you accept the flattery, you will have opened the door to a relationship. When the narcissist inevitably finds out that you are only human, he will become disappointed and then will totally devalue you, and you will be persona non grata. So don’t be deceived by the flattery in the first place.

<B>Lookout for Possible End Runs

If a narcissistic coworker is someone whom you have to work with or go through on a regular basis, sometimes you may choose to go around and not through her. For example, suppose you are doing a report with a narcissistic coworker who is grandstanding and wasting time by trying to expand her portion of the report. Rather than telling her to speed it up and risk a vitriolic and self-serving attack about how you cannot appreciate all the wonderful things she is putting into the report, go to the narcissist’s boss and ask the boss to ask your coworker to speed things up.

It helps to be a strong networker and to cultivate relationships with others who may have more influence over the narcissist than you do. You may be able to find common ground in your organization with key individuals. Although someone might be three layers of management above you, that person is your equal while the two of you attend the same church or when both of you collect and have an affection for old vinyl records or when both of you belong to the local Rotary Club. Maybe you have a mutual friend. It would be very difficult, indeed, for your narcissistic boss to abuse his boss’s outside-of-work associate, that being you!

Also, don’t forget the strategy of going over someone’s head. While we do not feel that this is a good strategy to use all the time, it is certainly handy when used strategically.

Need more strategies?


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