The Narcissist in the Workplace

Written by Sam Vaknin


The narcissist turnsrepparttar workplace into a duplicitous hell. What to do?


To a narcissistic employer,repparttar 126192 members of his "staff" are Secondary Sources of Narcissistic Supply. Their role is to accumulaterepparttar 126193 supply (remember events that supportrepparttar 126194 grandiose self-image ofrepparttar 126195 narcissist) and to regulaterepparttar 126196 Narcissistic Supply ofrepparttar 126197 narcissist during dry spells - to adulate, adore, admire, agree, provide attention and approval, and, generally, serve as an audience to him.

The staff (or should we say "stuff"?) is supposed to remain passive. The narcissist is not interested in anything butrepparttar 126198 simplest function of mirroring. Whenrepparttar 126199 mirror acquires a personality and a life of its own,repparttar 126200 narcissist is incensed. When independent minded, an employee might be in danger of being sacked by his narcissistic employer (an act which demonstratesrepparttar 126201 employer's omnipotence).

The employee's presumption to berepparttar 126202 employer's equal by trying to befriend him (friendship is possible only among equals) injuresrepparttar 126203 employer narcissistically. He is willing to accept his employees as underlings, whose very position serves to support his grandiose fantasies.

But his grandiosity is so tenuous and rests on such fragile foundations, that any hint of equality, disagreement or need (any intimation thatrepparttar 126204 narcissist "needs" friends, for instance) threatensrepparttar 126205 narcissist profoundly. The narcissist is exceedingly insecure. It is easy to destabilise his impromptu "personality". His reactions are merely in self-defence.

Classic narcissistic behaviour is when idealisation is followed by devaluation. The devaluing attitude develops as a result of disagreements or simply because time has erodedrepparttar 126206 employee's capacity to serve as a FRESH Source of Supply.

The veteran employee, now taken for granted by his narcissistic employer, becomes uninspiring as a source of adulation, admiration and attention. The narcissist always seeks new thrills and stimuli.

The narcissist is notorious for his low threshold of resistance to boredom. His behaviour is impulsive and his biography tumultuous precisely because of his need to introduce uncertainty and risk to what he regards as "stagnation" or "slow death" (i.e., routine). Most interactions inrepparttar 126207 workplace are part ofrepparttar 126208 rut – and thus constitute a reminder of this routine – deflatingrepparttar 126209 narcissist's grandiose fantasies.

Narcissists do many unnecessary, wrong and even dangerous things in pursuit ofrepparttar 126210 stabilisation of their inflated self-image.

Narcissists feel suffocated by intimacy, or byrepparttar 126211 constant reminders ofrepparttar 126212 REAL, nitty-gritty world out there. It reduces them, makes them realiserepparttar 126213 Grandiosity Gap between their fantasies and reality. It is a threat torepparttar 126214 precarious balance of their personality structures ("false" and invented) and treated by them as a menace.

Narcissists forever shiftrepparttar 126215 blame, passrepparttar 126216 buck, and engage in cognitive dissonance. They "pathologize"repparttar 126217 other, foster feelings of guilt and shame in her, demean, debase and humiliate in order to preserve their sense of superiority.

On Empathy - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin

Alas, such an agreement is meaningless. We cannot (yet) measure sadness, quantify it, crystallize it, access it in any way fromrepparttar outside. We are totally and absolutely reliant on your introspection and my introspection. There is no way anyone can prove that my "sadness" is even remotely similar to your sadness. I may be feeling or experiencing something that you might find hilarious and not sad at all. Still, I call it "sadness" and I empathize with you.

This would not have been that grave if empathy hadn't beenrepparttar 126191 cornerstone of morality.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1999 Edition:

"Empathy and other forms of social awareness are important inrepparttar 126192 development of a moral sense. Morality embraces a person's beliefs aboutrepparttar 126193 appropriateness or goodness of what he does, thinks, or feels... Childhood is ...repparttar 126194 time at which moral standards begin to develop in a process that often extends well into adulthood. The American psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg hypothesized that people's development of moral standards passes through stages that can be grouped into three moral levels...

Atrepparttar 126195 third level, that of postconventional moral reasoning,repparttar 126196 adult bases his moral standards on principles that he himself has evaluated and that he accepts as inherently valid, regardless of society's opinion. He is aware ofrepparttar 126197 arbitrary, subjective nature of social standards and rules, which he regards as relative rather than absolute in authority.

Thusrepparttar 126198 bases for justifying moral standards pass from avoidance of punishment to avoidance of adult disapproval and rejection to avoidance of internal guilt and self-recrimination. The person's moral reasoning also moves toward increasingly greater social scope (i.e., including more people and institutions) and greater abstraction (i.e., from reasoning about physical events such as pain or pleasure to reasoning about values, rights, and implicit contracts)."

But, if moral reasoning is based on introspection and empathy - it is, indeed, dangerously relative and not objective in any known sense ofrepparttar 126199 word. Empathy is a unique agreement onrepparttar 126200 emotional and experiential content of two or more introspective processes in two or more subjective. Such an agreement can never have any meaning, even as far asrepparttar 126201 parties to it are concerned. They can never be sure that they are discussingrepparttar 126202 same emotions or experiences. There is no way to compare, measure, observe, falsify or verify (prove) thatrepparttar 126203 "same" emotion is experienced identically byrepparttar 126204 parties torepparttar 126205 empathy agreement. Empathy is meaningless and introspection involves a private language despite what Wittgenstein had to say. Morality is thus reduced to a set of meaningless private languages.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica:

"... Others have argued that because even rather young children are capable of showing empathy withrepparttar 126206 pain of others,repparttar 126207 inhibition of aggressive behaviour arises from this moral affect rather than fromrepparttar 126208 mere anticipation of punishment. Some scientists have found that children differ in their individual capacity for empathy, and, therefore, some children are more sensitive to moral prohibitions than others.

Young children's growing awareness of their own emotional states, characteristics, and abilities leads to empathy--i.e.,repparttar 126209 ability to appreciaterepparttar 126210 feelings and perspectives of others. Empathy and other forms of social awareness are in turn important inrepparttar 126211 development of a moral sense... Another important aspect of children's emotional development isrepparttar 126212 formation of their self-concept, or identity--i.e., their sense of who they are and what their relation to other people is.

According to Lipps's concept of empathy, a person appreciates another person's reaction by a projection ofrepparttar 126213 self intorepparttar 126214 other. In his Ästhetik, 2 vol. (1903-06; 'Aesthetics'), he made all appreciation of art dependent upon a similar self-projection intorepparttar 126215 object."

This may well berepparttar 126216 key. Empathy has little to do withrepparttar 126217 other person (the empathee). It is simplyrepparttar 126218 result of conditioning and socialization. In other words, when we hurt someone - we don't experience his pain. We experience OUR pain. Hurting somebody - hurts US. The reaction of pain is provoked in US by OUR own actions. We have been taught a learned response of feeling pain when we inflict it upon another. But we have also been taught to feel responsible for our fellow beings (guilt). So, we experience pain whenever another person claims to experience it as well. We feel guilty.

In sum:

To userepparttar 126219 example of pain, we experience it in tandem with another person because we feel guilty or somehow responsible for his condition. A learned reaction is activated and we experience (our kind of) pain as well. We communicate it torepparttar 126220 other person and an agreement of empathy is struck between us.

We attribute feelings, sensations and experiences torepparttar 126221 object of our actions. It isrepparttar 126222 psychological defence mechanism of projection. Unable to conceive of inflicting pain upon ourselves - we displacerepparttar 126223 source. It isrepparttar 126224 other's pain that we are feeling, we keep telling ourselves, not our own.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica:

"Perhapsrepparttar 126225 most important aspect of children's emotional development is a growing awareness of their own emotional states andrepparttar 126226 ability to discern and interpretrepparttar 126227 emotions of others. The last half ofrepparttar 126228 second year is a time when children start becoming aware of their own emotional states, characteristics, abilities, and potential for action; this phenomenon is called self-awareness... (coupled with strong narcissistic behaviours and traits - SV)...

This growing awareness of and ability to recall one's own emotional states leads to empathy, orrepparttar 126229 ability to appreciaterepparttar 126230 feelings and perceptions of others. Young children's dawning awareness of their own potential for action inspires them to try to direct (or otherwise affect)repparttar 126231 behaviour of others...

...With age, children acquirerepparttar 126232 ability to understandrepparttar 126233 perspective, or point of view, of other people, a development that is closely linked withrepparttar 126234 empathic sharing of others' emotions...

One major factor underlying these changes isrepparttar 126235 child's increasing cognitive sophistication. For example, in order to feelrepparttar 126236 emotion of guilt, a child must appreciaterepparttar 126237 fact that he could have inhibited a particular action of his that violated a moral standard. The awareness that one can impose a restraint on one's own behaviour requires a certain level of cognitive maturation, and, therefore,repparttar 126238 emotion of guilt cannot appear until that competence is attained."

That empathy is a REACTION to external stimuli that is fully contained withinrepparttar 126239 empathor and then projected ontorepparttar 126240 empathee - is clearly demonstrated by "inborn empathy". It isrepparttar 126241 ability to exhibit empathy and altruistic behaviour in response to facial expressions. Newborns react this way to their mother's facial expression of sadness or distress.

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