Are You a Narcissist?

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Bad boss1

Are you a Narcissist? Perhaps not.

But I’m sure many of us have worked with or encountered narcissists sometime during our working life. Perhaps you may be working with one today.

It doesn’t matter if that person is your boss, your subordinate or your peer. Working with a narcissist can be extreme stressful and could seriously wear you down.

But what is a Narcissist? How do we determine if a person is a narcissist?

Here are some statements that will help you determine if your boss or your colleague or someone you know is a Narcissist:

    1. Self-centered

      • Defined as constantly thinking about oneself

      • Focused on getting one’s own needs met (often ignoring the needs of others)

    2. Sense of Entitlement or Superiority

      • Feeling that one is always right

      • Feeling that one is better or deserve more than other people

    3. Lack of Empathy

      • Lack compassion and feelings for other people

    4. Manipulative or Controlling

      • Use emotions to manipulate people

      • Tendency to be extremely jealous and controlling in relationships

    5. Strong need for Admiration

      • Demand admiration and praise

      • Like to be the center of attention

      • Upset if spotlight is not on him/her

    6. Difficulty taking feedback

      • Over-react to criticism

      • Have a hard time admitting one is wrong

    7. Easily wounded

      • Quick to feel hurt or angry

      • Frequently feel wronged by others

Does anyone come to mind as you read through the above checklist?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists all of these traits among the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. Although not a comprehensive way of determining if a person is really suffering from NPD, it is still a fairly basic way of knowing if a person has NPD tendencies. The more statements you check-off form the above list, the more likely that person has a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

However we should not confuse someone with NPD with someone with high self-esteem. A person suffering from NPD usually has an over-inflated sense of self-importance or a heightened desire for attention. But that does not mean they actually feel good about themselves.

A person suffering from NPD usually has a very fragile self-esteem. Deep down inside them, they feel very vulnerable. And it is because of this vulnerability that they tend to act out in ways that they believe would help them compensate for the fragile self-esteem that they feel. And these actions usually manifest themselves as loud, brash and controlling behaviours towards others.

A narcissistic person may appear to be the star of their lives, but in actual fact they have a very fragile self-esteem.

In contrast, a person with a healthy dose of self-esteem will have self-respect and self-compassion, and are usually aware of and feel comfortable with one’s own strengths and weaknesses.

So what has your experience been?

Have you worked with a person that fits the descriptions above?

Or are you working with one now?

What do you do to help you cope with working with a narcissist?

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February 10, 2015

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