That Workplace Psychopath

10 Quick Lessons From Working With a Malignant Narcissist

April 12, 2017 | Singapore | By Jeng

Image Source: @ramblere

Nothing gives you a lifetime worth of lessons like that wretched workplace bully whom you thought nobody realised was crazy (except for you).

The truth is, if you are sane and you realised what these people are doing are mortifying — you are probably not alone.

The damage usually happens overtime.
Complete awareness only happens overnight (or over many nights); after some damage is done.

Not everyone is familiar with interacting with a psychopathic specimen.

I hope you’ll never have to.

In fact, I’m hoping you’ve simply stumbled upon this article on the net and you’re deciding this is irrelevant to you.

But oh no: If you’re still reading this, I’m calling the malignant narcissist we all know a “psychopath”.


10 Quick Lessons After I Met My First Workplace Psychopath

Lesson 1: Never call a psychopath a “psychopath” in his/her face. They are dangerous people with a grandiose sense of self and an arsenal of manipulative tactics.
Inexperienced psychos give themselves away when they explode into abusive narcissistic rage.
Experienced ones may have more control over their rages just because they are “socially” smarter.
Lesson 2: Never stoop to their level of manipulative tactics. You’re better than that. Stay above their bullshit.
Lesson 3: Read all about it. Read ALL about THEM. And you’ll find that they are emotionally weak (emotional parasites) who like to feed off chaos. You might even recognise signs of an identity disorder.
Instead of having real hobbies of their own, they may mimic what you like in order to first, strike a similar chord and next — claim that they are better than you when they are about to launch their smear campaign to make you feel powerless.
Lesson 4: Understand bullies are boundary breakers. And that they WILL make you feel confused. Work boundaries? They will break them too.
They believe rules don’t apply to them. They put themselves above social rules.
Lesson 5: Understand they need these from you — attention, validation, compliance (if you can’t stay away from them, the trick is when to give it to them without giving in to them).
Lesson 6: Understand that while they look and behave like normal human beings (sometimes, even “kind”), they always use tricks off the same book to silence you, confuse you and abuse you.
Look out for people who are overly “nice” when they need things from you. They are accessing your utility to them and they will get personal (sometimes way too intimately on a superficial level) just to learn your vulnerabilities.
Lesson 7: Psychopaths get emotional too (sometimes, a lot)— but don’t be fooled, they are sensitive to their own needs, not yours.
They practise mock empathy to blend in and get your emotional buy-in — only in the hope of destroying your sense of identity.
Lesson 8: If you ask me what is the most disturbing lesson on this list, it’s definitely this — they get what they want because they have aggressive traits that are deemed “beneficial” to an organisation.
They are good at making superficial first impressions. So don’t be surprised if a psychopath gets promoted in your work place. (It’s disgusting, I know.)
Lesson 9: It takes just ONE psychopath to effectively murder an office culture. People who want to do good, honest work simply do not see the same value in having a liar and a manipulator in the office.

I never said workplace bullies aren’t smart. They are. But at the bottom of their cracked psyches, they are often insecure individuals with the emotional maturity of a child. They need clinical help.

Yet the irony is that it’s often the people around them who are in need of counselling because of the sheer toxicity of their actions.

Why? Because they will never take true responsibilities for their destructive actions.

They need attention and validation and an endless narcissistic supply of people to give them what they need.

They have cycles too — which is why they may sometimes appear mild and covert until the next time they explode into yet another narcissistic rage.

They will never be wrong, you will never be right — they have a dirty track record of acting like little gods.

  • Observation 1: They may change their words.
  • Observation 2: They may even change their actions.
  • Observation 3: But they never change their patterns.
Lesson 10: Be professional, don’t trust them and don’t try to change them — because you can’t.

You can manage them. You can manage them again. You can give positive feedback when they do happen to be “empathetic” on a good day — just to reinforce certain work behaviour and reinstate your boundaries.

But always remember — there are no off-duty psychopaths.

The very same narcopath I met (and had cut off all connections with) had spent a great deal of her time consciously persuading me she is an empath and accused me (and other people) of “projecting insecurities” onto her — when she was doing the exact same thing to us. #mindfuck

This is what happens when a psychopath is skillful in the art of emotional language.

That One Psychopath Talk

I will always remember my first one-to-one meetings with the said workplace bully, in an enclosed room — without an audience.

In fact, I didn’t want to forget it so I wrote it down:

“You must trust me. You are MY writer. Your success is mine. And mine will be shared with you. If they criticise your writing, they are criticising ME.
I will extend the same friendship to you that I did to XYZ and others. This is how I work. You see the accounts doing well, a lot of it is me.
Trust me, I am very good. I know you have been trying hard to prove yourself to me. The harder you try the stronger it shows your self-doubt…You must trust me. You must trust me completely.”

Disclaimer: She wasn’t my boss, only a co-worker.

Hell, would you want to trust this person?


One Last Thing

Be afraid if your instincts tell you so. Fear is a reflex. Feel the fear and use your intellect to come up with a good response.

Sometimes, the best solution is to not respond at all.

Stand up for the morally right cause.

You only need to stand up once against bullying to make a point.

Like my great co-worker-turned-friend always say:

Work is just work.

Don’t let things at work get to you for too long! Your personal life and waking thoughts shouldn’t be dictated by a psychopath.

Don’t give power to people like that. You only need to hold yourself accountable for your own conscience, not someone else’s.

Don’t take someone else’s emotional baggage just because they tried to dump it on you.


Recommended Reads:

  1. 11 Signs You’re Working With a Psychopath
    https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/11-signs-you-re-working-with-a-psychopath.html
  2. 20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use to Silence You
    http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/
  3. Why Malignant Narcissists are Dangerous https://pairedlife.com/etiquette/Why-Malignant-Narcissists-are-Dangerous
  4. The Disturbing Link Between Psychopathy and Leadership https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/04/25/the-disturbing-link-between-psychopathy-and-leadership/#327d95a4104a
  5. Do Psychopaths Genuinely Lack Empathy, Or Are They Feeling You? http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/10287312