Human Resources and Workforce

Never Say These 3 Phrases to a Narcissist at Work

Many reasons could lead a narcissist to target you. It could come from admiration or hatred. In this article, there are phrases that should be prevented from being said so that you are not being targeted negatively. Whether you are being admired or hated, both are not a good sign. If you spot a narcissist at work, it is almost impossible to avoid them, especially when you need to work with them.

What are the traits that make you their target?

A narcissist would not go to someone who looked incapable enough in their work. People who are at risk of their target are individuals who have amazing qualities and are easily exploited. Often, high-quality traits are mixed with negative characteristics, such as insecurity and shyness. It could make it easier for them to get closer to you. Having individuals with these qualities could validate them more as people. Thus, they gravitate towards those who are:

  • High-achievers
  • Empathetic
  • People pleasers
  • Accommodating
  • Talented
  • Charismatic

Based on the following above, anyone could just be their target, especially if you are ‘kind’ and vulnerable. Individuals who could cater to their own desire for validation and admiration are the ones whom they keep closer.

Saying a plain “No.”

With their intense need for validation, admiration and control, they cannot stand rejection and have a hard time facing disapproval. They like to cross people’s boundaries and limits, so they dislike it when others disapprove of them. It depends on every individual; they might lash out or take physical actions. For them, it is as if it is undermining their own selves. It is the reason why they have a hard time respecting a rejection from someone. Instead of just saying no, phrase them in a different way. For example, “Can we discuss this later? I am currently chasing deadlines.” Put more words like “I” instead of “You”.

Telling them, “You are wrong.”

Individuals with narcissism have a fragile ego and lower self-esteem, making them tend to get hurt when others say that they are not right. This is also due to a sense of entitlement, arrogance and superiority. According to researchers, due to the lack of grey matter within their brains, they are lacking in empathy. Thus, it is easier for them to think that they are always right because they are not able to understand others from different perspectives. To rephrase, say things such as “I see it differently” or “I have a different understanding of this.”

Using the word “Must and “Never”

Leaders tend to use the words “must” and “never,” which could trigger a response from a narcissist. It is important to remember that narcissistic individuals struggle to show respect to others due to their lack of empathy. Even if they do show respect, it may not be genuine and they usually gain something when they decide to give others respect. “Do you prefer doing it this way?” instead of “You must do it this way” could lead to smooth communication with them.

Making sure to be careful when communicating with narcissists is a way to avoid being targeted at work. If you are being targeted at work, you may be receiving blame for the things you do not do unless you have evidence prepared. Things could get worse when they bring their supporters, also known as the ‘flying monkeys’. A work environment with this type of individual tends to be toxic, which could either harm your mental health or cause you to quit that job. Thus, being prepared to face them could save you from hurting your well-being at the workplace.

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