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How To Cope With Narcissistic Abuse In the Workplace

Narcissistic abuse can happen anywhere and at any time, but what can you do if you encounter it where you work? Whether it be your boss or one of your coworkers, how do you deal with narcissistic abuse in the workplace?

Let’s take a look at narcissistic abuse in a work environment and provide a few helpful tips on how to counteract it and cope with it.

Some Examples of Narcissistic Abuse

One of the common traits of a narcissist (at work or anywhere else) is they often try to make the other person feel like they’ve done the wrong thing, even when they haven’t. True narcissists don’t like to take ownership of blame for anything and will project blame onto those around them. In conjunction with this, a narcissist might also attempt to make you look bad in front of others or smear your reputation.

Belittling your emotions is another common practice of a narcissist. If you react to something they say or do, you’ll often be told you’re over-reacting, when instead you’re simply responding. They might even go so far as to say that something is all in your head and therefore there is no reason to react at all.

Then there is both physical and emotional abuse, which can happen in the workplace, although physical abuse is probably more common in domestic relationships when it comes to narcissists.

Let’s take a look at some ways to deal with a narcissistic employee at work.

First Recognise and Accept That the Person is a Narcissist

This is important because if you can recognize someone as having a narcissistic personality and accept that it’s just the way they are, the impact and effect they have on you will be diminished. While it’s never pleasant dealing with a narcissistic bully in the workplace, at least you’ll recognize their behavior, realize it’s probably nothing personal, and therefore won’t take things to heart so much. It’s also important to understand that they likely won’t change much.

Set Boundaries

Work out your boundaries so you understand what you will tolerate and exactly where to draw the line. If a narcissistic workmate steps over that line, be sure to let them know. It’s not your job to just put up with anything they throw your way while you’re at work trying to do your job.

When you set boundaries and stick to them, you’ll feel a lot better, even if the narcissistic workmate doesn’t really alter their behavior. At least you’re standing up for yourself and they’ll realize you won’t just sit there and continuously suck it up.

Boundaries are only useful if you’re prepared to stick to them though.

Can You Talk To Your Boss?

If a narcissistic person finds out that you had discussions with your boss about their behavior, the situation might just get worse. However, if working with this person is proving to be impossible, you’ll have to take action.

Maybe you can be moved to another section of the workplace where you won’t be dealing with the narcissist? Or, your boss has already recognized that the worker in question is posing a problem for others and may decide to let them go.

Discussing the situation with your boss might be your last resort if things are getting really bad, but you may feel like you have no other choice.

Find An Ally In Another Employee

Is there another employee that you work closely with? Chances are, they’ve been struggling to cope with the narcissistic worker as well. If you two become allies, it will be far easier to deal with the narcissist if you don’t feel like you’re in it alone.

You Could Just Try Ignoring Them

Narcissists invariably like attention and they love getting a reaction out of others. Therefore, you could just simply keep ignoring them until they get bored and stop bothering you. This approach won’t always yield results, but it is something you can try and see what happens.

The Takeaway

It’s never pleasant dealing with a narcissist with a tendency to be a bully, and having to cope with this every day at work can feel like torture. However, there are solutions and most importantly, don’t deal with the situation alone. Always seek out support from others.



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