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HOW TO SPOT A COVERT NARCISSIST IN THE WORKPLACE

Updated: Oct 11, 2021




You may be experiencing high levels of anxiety and stress at work and be unaware of what or WHO is causing this.


For many people, their social relationships and colleagues at work are what makes or breaks their health and productivity. Researchers at University of Michigan and Texas have found that toxic relationships can also be seen as risks which may lead us down an even more negative path towards diminished wellbeing. Chances are you will be experiencing bouts of anxiety and depression when dealing with a narcissist.


So, while we spend so much money on a healthy organic diet, avoiding toxic chemicals, taking vitamin supplements, exercising regularly, meditation apps, Pilates classes, chemical free cosmetics, detoxes, etc..... why do we keep toxic people in our lives?

To anyone who has worked with or lived with a covert narcissist, they know the destruction and deceit that lies in the wake of this person. But, to the untrained eye, these people are masters at fooling you into believing that they are altruistic, kind and thoughtful. The covert narcissist parades and mimics as a thoughtful and decent person.


They manage up and work hard at grooming those who can help them achieve their desires because none of their actions are for the good of others. Their efforts at self-aggrandizing are often part of their plan to get to the next promotion, a larger pay check, a new car or a larger house. They seek constant recognition and kudos to feed their egos and materialistic desires.


They might seem humble at first but eventually this will turn into condescension, and someone who has no respect for you or the rules that govern others. To those unfortunate enough to see the truth behind their façade, they will drop the pretense and show them no empathy.


Here are a few more common observations about Narcissists in the workplace:

  • If you are working with a narcissist and uncover their deceit or call them out to management, they will go about planning your demise. They will assassinate your character, tell secrets about you and do whatever it takes to successfully have you replaced or sacked. They will stop at nothing.

  • They will tell you bare faced lies even when they know you have the facts.

  • They will take credit for other people’s work. They do this because they like to be seen as having market leading skills. They have large egos that simply do not match their output or capacity.

  • If you try to confront a narcissist about an issue or problem they will become enraged. They may fly into an ugly fury and spit abuse at you or they may simply leave the room. In both cases, they will try to throw you off their trail with points that are meant to distract and confuse you.

If someone leaves you feeling confused, invalidated, desperate, unhappy and generally uncomfortable, consider whether their patterns of behaviour are similar to those above.

Dr Ramani Durvusala, a leading expert in Narcissism, describes the following specific 'pillars' of narcissism which she believes captures their abusive patterns

  • Entitlement,

  • Grandiosity,

  • Lack of empathy,

  • Superficiality,

  • Hypersensitivity to criticism,

  • Admiration and validation seeking,

  • Emotional dysregulation and

  • Tendency to exploit and manipulate others


The best advice if you are working with a covert narcissist is to leave. It is completely futile to attempt anything else as they will always win. The narcissist does not see that there is a problem and will not be found in a therapist’s office seeking help. The narcissist is tricky and dangerous and will negatively impact your career and mental health.



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