Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is quite controversial often because many misunderstand its condition. For example, you may think your boss is a narcissist. And while there’s a high probability they have narcissistic traits, it’s quite rare to meet the complete diagnostic criteria for NPD. In fact, only 5% of the population have it.
If you want to know how to deal with a narcissistic boss, these tips are a great place to start.
What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Unfortunately, “narcissistic” gets thrown around a lot in the media. And its definition is becoming skewed. For example, someone may call someone narcissistic because they have high self-esteem and are competitive. But narcissism is a personality trait that can exist in many, yet narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition with a persistent and characteristic trait that creates an overinflated degree of self-importance. And those with NPD seek attention and crave admiration. As a result, they may lack empathy and self-awareness to comprehend the feelings of others. Yet it’s important to know that not everyone may behave similarly, as there are different types of narcissism.
14 Tell Tale Narcissistic Traits
Besides the most common detectable trait of high self-importance, there are several other notable traits to increase your awareness about NPD. But it’s critical to remember that everyone is different, and the degree of their symptoms will vary.
- Callous or unemotional
- Need for attention and praise
- Desire for perfection
- Expects special favors without the work
- Behaves arrogantly and is perceived as conceited
- Fantasies about success, power, and superiority
- Wants to spend time with those who are equally superior
- May make achievements more exciting than they are
- Expects and wants the best of everything
- Judgmental and critical of others they feel are inferior
- Often manipulates and exploits others for their own gain
- Experiences jealousy and envy of others
- Also believes others are envious of them and experience distrust
How to Deal with a Narcissistic Boss: 9 Tips
1. Increase your knowledge
The concept of narcissism can be very difficult to understand. As a result, many have misguidedly called it a personal choice, and it’s not. Therefore, increasing your knowledge can help you understand that it’s not a personal attack (although it feels like one). Narcissists lack empathy and self-awareness to comprehend the consequences of their behaviors. Even more, they are driven by superiority and entitlement and see life only in these terms. So, when dealing with a narcissist, do your research to understand the psychology behind it.
2. Compliment them consistently
For many, someone who grovels may push their boss in another direction. But narcissists expect attention, accolades, and resulting praise. So, when possible, validate them, praise their strengths and accomplishments, and always provide positive feedback. It will put you on their good side.
3. Minimize conflict
Unfortunately, narcissists love to get a reaction. And as your boss, they may embarrass and humiliate you because they tend to create drama as a form of manipulation and to receive attention. But try not to give in and use your self-awareness to calm your thoughts and subsequent actions. For example, if you’re on the verge of exploding, step back, complete a few breathing exercises for anxiety, and recalibrate. Doing so will prevent more drama from heading your way.
4. Manage your expectations
One of the best ways to learn how to deal with a narcissistic boss is to manage your expectations. For example, although your boss expects validation, don’t expect them to provide the same in return. And while you certainly deserve praise for your work, expecting it from your boss will only leave you in a constant state of stress. Therefore, when you accept this aspect of their personality, it will become easier to move forward with your work.
5. Remember your value
It’s not always easy to give yourself a confidence boost, especially if your boss is doing the opposite. But try to remember what led you to receive the position in the first place. It was your hard work, education, skillsets, qualifications, and experience. Removing the desire to receive external validation from your boss and instead giving it to yourself puts you in a position of power. No one can knock you down when you radiate true self-love and self-worth. When in doubt, learn how to increase your confidence to become unstoppable.
6. Fact check
Always keep a paper trail detailing your accomplishments and any criticisms. This insurance plan will provide a safety net for future goals, including preventing your boss from portraying themselves as a victim at your expense. Additionally, fact-check the work you complete, and they provide you with a fine tooth comb.
7. Always be professional
Narcissists in power aim for perfection in every aspect, even in their employees. This means they will hold you to unfairly high expectations and will be on the lookout for a weak spot. But aim to be the better person, even when your boss is doing the opposite. For example, always be professional by showing up on time, meeting deadlines, avoiding conflict, dressing professionally, and being a team player.
8. Have an outside outlet
No one wants to take their work home, especially if their work involves a manipulative boss. So, create a system of coping behaviors to give you an outlet to release the stress. For example, confide in your closest friends, prioritize self-care by working out, eating healthy, and sleeping (Check out self-care ideas for mental health), and develop a hobby that fuels your passions. These positive habits will counteract the anger you feel at work.
9. Reconnect with your purpose
Dealing with a narcissistic boss or colleague means constantly bending over backward to keep them happy without them providing the same respect in return. Therefore, you may feel tempted to explode or even quit…often. Yet, if you love your job and don’t want to quit, reconnect to your purpose and what fuels you to keep going. It will be your guiding force when the drama becomes too much to handle.
Knowledge is your best advocate when learning how to deal with a narcissistic boss. Being equipped and understanding their traits will help you become less affected by their comments and treatments. Yet it’s important to remember that they may not change. Therefore, doing what’s best for your mental health, receiving support, and developing the necessary tools to protect your well-being will help you.
This post contains affiliate links.
Did you find these tips on how to deal with a narcissistic boss helpful? We’d love it if you’d share this post on Pinterest!
Looking for more mental health tips? Make sure to follow our Mental Health Board on Pinterest!