8 Signs that you are working with a narcissist coworker
Signs you are working with a narcissist
Do you have a narcissist in your office?In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a hunter with a beautiful face and a rotten heart. Coming upon a clear pool in the forest, he fell in love with his own reflection. All Narcissus could do was pine over himself until he withered away and died.
Unless you took part in some seriously trippy weekend conference, I'd guess that nothing like that's ever happened at your job.
However, that doesn't mean there aren't narcissists among us. In fact, most people have a bit of a narcissistic streak — it's really more of a spectrum than a dichotomy. Odds are, you probably work — or have worked — with one (especially if you live in a big city and work in an entertainment-based industry, according to Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman).
Here are some signs that you are working with a narcissist:
Drake Baer andVivian Giangcontributed to a previous version of this article.
They hate emotions
The "very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure," says Harvard Medical School psychologist Craig Malkin
That's why narcissists abhor them.
Feeling an emotion "challenges their sense of perfect autonomy," he continues. "To admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them."
As a result, narcissists tend to change the topic of conversation when feelings come up — especially their own.
Depending on your office culture, you may or may not be pouring your heart out to your colleagues. If one of your coworkers seems unusually allergic to emotions, they might just be shy or reserved — or there might be something more going on.
They are young and male (and possess all the other traits)
After 34,653 face-to-face interviews, psychologist Frederick Stinson found that men tend to be more narcissistic than women across their lifespans.
Narcissism is also believed to peak during adolescence and decline with age.
They like to put people down
Narcissistic people intentionally put down others in order to maintain a high positive image of themselves.
"Seeking admiration is like a drug for narcissists," said Mitja D. Back, a psychologist at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. "In the long run it becomes difficult because others won't applaud them, so they always have to search for new acquaintances from whom they get the next fix."
Needless to say, serious control issues and the need to build themselves up at the expense of others may not make for the ideal manager.
They swear all the time
Psychologists Nicholas Holtzman and Michael Strube from Washington University in St. Louis found in a study that subjects who scored higher in narcissism are argumentative and curse more than their modest counterparts.
They also tend to use more sexually explicit language.
So watch out for the workplace potty mouth.
They have delusions of grandeur
Many people fantasize about rocking out to a packed stadium or leading the country from the Oval Office. It's pretty normal to imagine yourself doing great things.
The problem with narcissists is that they buy their fantasies — they think they're just that great and special, according to PsychCentral.com.
So keep an eye on that colleague who leans over and tells you that she's going to be running the company one day.
They struggle with envy
This one's kind of a double-edged sword, according to the Mayo Clinic.
On the one hand, narcissists are convinced that everyone else is jealous of their brilliance. So that coworker who keeps dishing on how everyone in the office is out to drag him down should set off some red flags.
On the other hand, narcissists tend to feel acute envy as well. When others do well, they simply can't feel happy — they believe thattheydeserve that success.
It's great to have self-esteem. Once this confidence verges into arrogance, it's toxic. PsychCentral.com reports that haughtiness is a definite sign of narcissism.
Arrogance isn't just about pounding your chest and yelling about how great you are. Watch out for the quietly haughty narcissists as well.
Video: Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist
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