Continued from page 1
Narcissists are pathological liars. They think nothing of it because their very self is false, their own confabulation.
Here are a few useful guidelines:
Never disagree with narcissist or contradict him;
Never offer him any intimacy;
Look awed by whatever attribute matters to him (for instance: by his professional achievements or by his good looks, or by his success with women and so on);
Never remind him of life out there and if you do, connect it somehow to his sense of grandiosity. You can aggrandize even your office supplies, most mundane thing conceivable by saying: "These are BEST art materials ANY workplace is going to have", "We get them EXCLUSIVELY", etc.;
Do not make any comment, which might directly or indirectly impinge on narcissist's self-image, omnipotence, superior judgement, omniscience, skills, capabilities, professional record, or even omnipresence. Bad sentences start with: "I think you overlooked … made a mistake here … you don't know … do you know … you were not here yesterday so … you cannot … you should … (interpreted as rude imposition, narcissists react very badly to perceived restrictions placed on their freedom) … I (never mention fact that you are a separate, independent entity, narcissists regard others as extensions of their selves)…" You get gist of it.
Manage your narcissistic boss. Notice patterns in his bullying. Is he more aggressive on Monday mornings - and more open to suggestions on Friday afternoon? Is he amenable to flattery? Can you modify his conduct by appealing to his morality, superior knowledge, good manners, cosmopolitanism, or upbringing? Manipulating narcissist is only way to survive in such a tainted workplace.
Can narcissist be harnessed? Can his energies be channeled productively?
This would be a deeply flawed – and even dangerous – "advice". Various management gurus purport to teach us how to harness this force of nature known as malignant or pathological narcissism. Narcissists are driven, visionary, ambitious, exciting and productive, says Michael Maccoby, for instance. To ignore such a resource is a criminal waste. All we need to do is learn how to "handle" them.
Yet, this prescription is either naive or disingenuous. Narcissists cannot be "handled", or "managed", or "contained", or "channeled". They are, by definition, incapable of team work. They lack empathy, are exploitative, envious, haughty and feel entitled, even if such a feeling is commensurate only with their grandiose fantasies and when their accomplishments are meager.
Narcissists dissemble, conspire, destroy and self-destruct. Their drive is compulsive, their vision rarely grounded in reality, their human relations a calamity. In long run, there is no enduring benefit to dancing with narcissists – only ephemeral and, often, fallacious, "achievements".
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com