The Narcissist in the Workplace

Written by Sam Vaknin

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 withrepparttar 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,repparttar 126192 most mundane thing conceivable by saying: "These arerepparttar 126193 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 onrepparttar 126194 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 mentionrepparttar 126195 fact that you are a separate, independent entity, narcissists regard others as extensions of their selves)" You getrepparttar 126196 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? Manipulatingrepparttar 126197 narcissist isrepparttar 126198 only way to survive in such a tainted workplace.

Canrepparttar 126199 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. Inrepparttar 126200 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

On Empathy - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

This serves to prove that empathy has very little to do withrepparttar feelings, experiences or sensations ofrepparttar 126191 other (the empathee). Surely,repparttar 126192 infant has no idea what it is like to feel sad and definitely not what it is like for his mother to feel sad. In this case, it is a complex reflexive reaction. Later on, empathy is still rather reflexive,repparttar 126193 result of conditioning.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica quotes fascinating research which dramatically provesrepparttar 126194 object-independent nature of empathy. Empathy is an internal reaction, an internal process, triggered by external cue provided by animate objects. It is communicated torepparttar 126195 empathee-other byrepparttar 126196 empathor butrepparttar 126197 communication andrepparttar 126198 resulting agreement ("I know how you feel therefore we agree on how you feel") is rendered meaningless byrepparttar 126199 absence of a monovalent, unambiguous dictionary.

"An extensive series of studies indicated that positive emotion feelings enhance empathy and altruism. It was shown byrepparttar 126200 American psychologist Alice M. Isen that relatively small favours or bits of good luck (like finding money in a coin telephone or getting an unexpected gift) induced positive emotion in people and that such emotion regularly increasedrepparttar 126201 subjects' inclination to sympathize or provide help.

Several studies have demonstrated that positive emotion facilitates creative problem solving. One of these studies showed that positive emotion enabled subjects to name more uses for common objects. Another showed that positive emotion enhanced creative problem solving by enabling subjects to see relations among objects (and other people - SV) that would otherwise go unnoticed. A number of studies have demonstratedrepparttar 126202 beneficial effects of positive emotion on thinking, memory, and action in pre-school and older children."

If empathy increases with positive emotion (a result of good luck, for instance) - then it has little to do with its objects and a lot to do withrepparttar 126203 person in whom it is provoked.

ADDENDUM - Interview granted torepparttar 126204 National Post, Toronto, Canada, July 2003

Q. How important is empathy to proper psychological functioning?

A. Empathy is more important socially than it is psychologically. The absence of empathy - for instance inrepparttar 126205 Narcissistic and Antisocial personality disorders - predisposes people to exploit and abuse others. Empathy isrepparttar 126206 bedrock of our sense of morality. Arguably, aggressive behavior is as inhibited by empathy at least as much as it is by anticipated punishment.

Butrepparttar 126207 existence of empathy in a person is also a sign of self-awareness, a healthy identity, a well-regulated sense of self-worth, and self-love (inrepparttar 126208 positive sense). Its absence denotes emotional and cognitive immaturity, an inability to love, to truly relate to others, to respect their boundaries and accept their needs, feelings, hopes, fears, choices, and preferences as autonomous entities.

Q. How is empathy developed?

A. It may be innate. Even toddlers seem to empathize withrepparttar 126209 pain - or happiness - of others (such as their caregivers). Empathy increases asrepparttar 126210 child forms a self-concept (identity). The more awarerepparttar 126211 infant is of his or her emotional states,repparttar 126212 more he explores his limitations and capabilities -repparttar 126213 more prone he is to projecting this new found knowledge unto others. By attributing to people around him his new gained insights about himself,repparttar 126214 child develop a moral sense and inhibits his anti-social impulses. The development of empathy is, therefore, a part ofrepparttar 126215 process of socialization.

But, asrepparttar 126216 American psychologist Carl Rogers taught us, empathy is also learned and inculcated. We are coached to feel guilt and pain when we inflict suffering on another person. Empathy is an attempt to avoid our own self-imposed agony by projecting it onto another.

Q. Is there an increasing dearth of empathy in society today? Why do you think so?

A. The social institutions that reified, propagated and administered empathy have imploded. The nuclear family,repparttar 126217 closely-knit extended clan,repparttar 126218 village,repparttar 126219 neighborhood,repparttar 126220 Church- have all unraveled. Society is atomized and anomic. The resulting alienation fostered a wave of antisocial behavior, both criminal and "legitimate". The survival value of empathy is onrepparttar 126221 decline. It is far wiser to be cunning, to cut corners, to deceive, and to abuse - than to be empathic. Empathy has largely dropped fromrepparttar 126222 contemporary curriculum of socialization.

In a desperate attempt to cope with these inexorable processes, behaviors predicated on a lack of empathy have been pathologized and "medicalized". The sad truth is that narcissistic or antisocial conduct is both normative and rational. No amount of "diagnosis", "treatment", and medication can hide or reverse this fact. Ours is a cultural malaise which permeates every single cell and strand ofrepparttar 126223 social fabric.

Q. Is there any empirical evidence we can point to of a decline in empathy?

Empathy cannot be measured directly - but only through proxies such as criminality, terrorism, charity, violence, antisocial behavior, related mental health disorders, or abuse. Moreover, it is extremely difficult to separaterepparttar 126224 effects of deterrence fromrepparttar 126225 effects of empathy. If I don't batter my wife, torture animals, or steal - is it because I am empathetic or because I don't want to go to jail? Rising litigiousness, zero tolerance, and skyrocketing rates of incarceration - as well asrepparttar 126226 ageing ofrepparttar 126227 population - have sliced intimate partner violence and other forms of crime acrossrepparttar 126228 United States inrepparttar 126229 last decade. But this benevolent decline had nothing to do with increasing empathy. The statistics are open to interpretation but it would be safe to say thatrepparttar 126230 last century has beenrepparttar 126231 most violent and least empathetic in human history. Wars and terrorism are onrepparttar 126232 rise, charity giving onrepparttar 126233 wane (measured as percentage of national wealth), welfare policies are being abolished, Darwininan models of capitalism are spreading. Inrepparttar 126234 last two decades, mental health disorders were added torepparttar 126235 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual ofrepparttar 126236 American Psychiatric Association whose hallmark isrepparttar 126237 lack of empathy. The violence is reflected in our popular culture: movies, video games, andrepparttar 126238 media.

Empathy - supposedly a spontaneous reaction torepparttar 126239 plight of our fellow humans - is now channeled through self-interested and bloated non-government organizations or multilateral outfits. The vibrant world of private empathy has been replaced by faceless state largesse. Pity, mercy,repparttar 126240 elation of giving are tax-deductible. It is a sorry sight.

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

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