Self-Preservation: How to Work with a Narcissist

Working with a narcissist is very difficult and given that we are living through a narcissistic epidemic, you probably work alongside one. If you let the behaviour of a full-blown narcissist get to you, it can wear you down, ruin your working life and impact on your mental well-being, both in and outside of work!

Self-preservation is key when you are spending long periods of time with someone who is so self-centred, they couldn’t give two hoots about you.

The first thing you need to do is understand how a narcissist operates. Then you can work on keeping the behaviours of your narcissistic colleague at arms’ length. You’ll be pleased to learn that while it’s unlikely you will change your colleague’s narcissistic tendencies, there are some things you can do to prevent his or her actions doing you psychological harm.

One thing is for sure. If you are working with a narcissist, you are probably working for a business with a toxic culture. Let’s take a look at the behaviours of a narcissist and how they impact on people in the workplace. If you feel powerless to change a toxic culture, looking for a new job might be your only option.

What exactly is a narcissistic personality?

Firstly, there are varying degrees of narcissism, but you can usually spot a narcissist a mile off. Full-bodied narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is actually rarely diagnosed by trained psychologists or psychiatrists. However, narcissistic personality traits are common and some can be found in many people to a greater or lesser degree.

Some narcissists are actually quite fun to hang out with, albeit occasionally. You probably know someone who likes to hold court and tell funny stories. They probably have a few narcissistic tendencies. But when narcissistic tendencies become unhealthy, such a person can become obnoxious to work with.

There are lots of tell-tale signs of a narcissistic personality. Here are some of them:

  • A grandiose sense of importance
  • Preoccupation with own success
  • Believe self to be special
  • Strong sense of entitlement
  • A need for excessive praise and admiration
  • Exploit others
  • Lack empathy
  • Arrogant
  • Jealous of others
  • Can’t take criticism, though heavily criticise others

How might narcissistic tendencies show themselves at work?

Almost all workplaces have at least one person who is slightly self-obsessed. At first the office narcissist can appear charming and charismatic, but you’ll soon get to grips with the fact that your colleague (or worse, boss) is concerned only with themselves. Incidentally, narcissists are more likely to be leaders and a moderate amount of narcissism can be a positive in business.

However, narcissism can easily hurt others and have a negative impact on business culture.

At work, extreme narcissists are only concerned with being at the top or being right. They need constant attention and validation and feel superior to their colleagues. Narcissists have a great need for control and take the credit for everything. They will also blame others for their own mistakes and can’t bear criticism.

They will hog the spotlight and dominate meetings, reminding the team of their accomplishments. Narcissists are also namedroppers, so they’ll be boosting their prestigious status by telling the whole office who they mingle with.

Perhaps the worst character trait of your narcissistic colleague is that they will steal or take disproportional credit for yours and other colleagues hard work and ideas. These are very frustrating people to work alongside, especially when that person is your boss. They will always cut corners and take advantage of the good nature of the people they work with. They truly think they are above the rules.

Some narcissists will display passive-aggressive behaviour and may over-accentuate weakness and victimhood to elicit sympathy. They can be gossips, sarcastic and often put others down.

One minute you will be your narcissistic colleague’s best friend, the next minute they will hate you (especially if you disappoint them).

How to work with a narcissist

The first thing you have to do when working with a narcissist is accept is that you are never going to change their personality. That may feel defeatist, but you don’t have to resign yourself to a life of misery at work. There are things you can do to minimise the impact your narcissistic colleague has on you.

  • Don’t be attracted to his or her charisma – they will have no loyalty to you
  • Don’t be drawn into competition with them or be tempted to get even
  • Never react with anger towards this person
  • Avoid challenging a narcissist
  • Have confidence in your own abilities and document your achievements at work
  • Don’t share personal opinions or give personal information to the narcissist
  • Understand your employment rights – harassment is unacceptable under the Equality Act 2010
  • Maintain your own self-esteem
  • Study them and play the game – if you know what the deal- breakers are, you can keep under the radar and predict how they will behave
  • Set your own boundaries and don’t doubt yourself
  • Compliment them
  • Remember narcissistic behaviour is dysfunctional – recognise the toxic dynamics

Dealing with extreme narcissistic behaviour isn’t easy and if you are faced with an unbearable situation at work, it may be time to move on.  An extremely narcissistic boss could cause you a lot of emotional and professional damage if you get on the wrong side of them.

Unfortunately, as narcissists will have established a charming relationship with any people in your organisation who have power over them, it is unlikely you will find the support to deal with them appropriately. It’s not impossible to work with a narcissist, but it is challenging.

Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie likes to share her experiences and knowledge through her blog posts and has written for various online and print publications. When she’s not writing Annie likes cooking healthy new recipes and relaxing with a good book’. Twitter: Annie Button


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

61 Responses to Self-Preservation: How to Work with a Narcissist

  1. naija news says:

    Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic article. Much thanks again. Awesome!.

  2. canlı bahis says:

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this superb blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to
    my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will
    talk about this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  3. Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, terrific blog!

  4. I am really impressed together with your writing skills as neatly as with the structure in your blog. Is this a paid subject or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent high quality writing, it’s rare to look a great weblog like this one today..

  5. Stephenpep says:

    viagra over the counter buy cheap viagra viagra over the counter walmart

  6. Jamesgreat says:

    can you have multiple orgasms with cialis generic cialis generic cialis bitcoin

  7. Travisshoob says:

    viagra price viagra no doctor prescription viagra online canadian pharmacy

  8. Eddievor says:

    ed therapy erectile dysfunction medication buying pills online

  9. Jamesspura says:

    viagra without prescription generic viagra viagra from india

  10. Jamesspura says:

    viagra no prescription buy ed pills online viagra online canadian pharmacy

  11. Jamesspura says:

    buy real viagra online buy viagra online viagra online canada

  12. Jamesspura says:

    generic viagra cost buy viagra generic canadian pharmacy generic viagra

  13. Jamesspura says:

    buying viagra online buy viagra online no prescription viagra

  14. 404413 452727Right after I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get four emails with exactly the same comment. Is there any method youll be able to take away me from that service? Thanks! 723224

  15. Ernestjiz says:

    buy ed pills online cheap ed pills generic ed pills

  16. Ernestjiz says:

    100mg viagra without a doctor prescription generic ed pills treating ed

  17. Ernestjiz says:

    buy prescription drugs online without generic cialis ed treatment

  18. Dannymug says:

    cialis coupon code generic cialis cialis in canada

  19. Dannymug says:

    buy viagra cialis generic cialis for sale cialis 30 day sample

  20. 74932 914189Your blog has exactly the same post as an additional author but i like your much better.~:; 737754

  21. BruceBep says:

    ed online pharmacy generic ed pills errection problem cure
    cheap ed medication

  22. BruceBep says:

    drug prices comparison drug prices comparison ed meds online without doctor prescription
    ed causes and treatment

  23. BruceBep says:

    ed drug comparison drug prices comparison over the counter ed medication
    ed meds

  24. MichealRot says: valtrex price australia

  25. MichealRot says: prednisone without prescription 10mg

  26. MichealRot says: amoxicillin online canada

  27. WilliamMedlY says:

    buy generic drugs cheap buy generic drugs cheap tablets

  28. WilliamMedlY says:

    drugs from india buy generic drugs online from india

  29. WilliamMedlY says:

    payday loans online fast deposit speedy cash payday loans online

  30. WilliamMedlY says:

    india pharmacy online pharmacy

  31. WilliamMedlY says:

    cheap generic sildenafil sildenafil online

  32. berkey says:

    Hi, I do believe your site might be having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent site!|

  33. StephenNup says:

    buy viagra online usa buy cheap viagra online pharmacy viagra

  34. RobinSeike says:

    what are the side effects of cialis buy cialis cialis price

  35. RobinSeike says:

    viagra 100mg viagra pill viagra cheap viagra online

  36. RobinSeike says:

    does viagra or cialis help with pe cialis tadalafil canadien cialis

  37. RobinSeike says:

    generic name for viagra viagra coupons 75% off no prescription viagra

  38. RobinSeike says:

    best way to treat ed canadian drug stores best ed drug

  39. RobinSeike says:

    natural ed cures cheap Amoxil cheap medication online

  40. RobinSeike says:

    buy generic ed pills online online pharmacy canada prescription drugs online without doctor

  41. RobinSeike says:

    buy cialis online cialis tadalafil how long does 20mg cialis keep in system

  42. RobinSeike says:

    price of viagra cheap viagra viagra otc

  43. RobinSeike says:

    buy ed drugs canada pharmacy online drugs that cause ed

  44. RobinSeike says:

    erectile dysfunction medication buy Nolvadex viagra without a doctor prescription

  45. RobinSeike says:

    viagra cheap buy viagra viagra cheap

  46. RobinSeike says:

    does medicaid cover cialis cialis tadalafil cialis vs levitra

  47. RobinSeike says:

    ed meds online without doctor prescription canadian pharmacy viagra ed symptoms

  48. Heya! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the outstanding work!

  49. Good write-up, I’m normal visitor of one’s blog, maintain up the excellent operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

  50. Traviserony says:

    drugs prices: treatment for ed how to cure ed naturally

  51. Traviserony says:

    best male ed pills: pet antibiotics without vet prescription online ed meds

  52. LarryCague says:

    zithromax prescription where can i buy zithromax in canada generic zithromax india

  53. LarryCague says:

    herbal ed canadian pharmacy online ed doctor

  54. LarryCague says:

    mens ed pills canadian pharmacies shipping to usa online meds for ed

  55. LarryCague says:

    where to bay cialis (tadalafil) pills 80mg cialis vs viagra samples of cialis

  56. LarryCague says:

    online pharmacy viagra goodrx viagra viagra price

  57. 801741 428554Hi my friend! I want to say that this post is awesome, good written and incorporate almost all significant infos. Id like to see much more posts like this . 489753

  58. LarryCague says:

    cheap zithromax pills buy zithromax without prescription online zithromax for sale cheap

  59. LarryCague says:

    where to get zithromax zithromax 500 cost of generic zithromax

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.