Most workplaces have at least one narcissist on staff. These are the kind of coworkers who steal credit for other people’s work, give backhanded compliments, and ridicule or blame their colleagues for any problems.
You probably know at least one of your coworkers who seems to know and exploit your weaknesses and maybe they even try to get you fired or demoted. You probably also have heard them lie to get ahead.
These are the people who compete with everyone, spread gossip about you and then deny it if confronted. They might even be sabotaging your work. They also are likely to pressure you to do unethical things.
If you do accomplish something great, they won’t be congratulating you; rather, they are jealous of your wins. They will do anything to look good and get everyone to believe they are the best. That includes tearing others down. They are a handful, but read on for tips on how to handle them.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
What can you do to make your toxic coworker can’t undermine your work? Here are six strategies you can use to make sure they can’t undermine your work.
1. Don’t Fight with Them
The narcissist is great at manipulating situations to try and take you down. They are always looking to get you demoted or even fired. Don’t give them the opportunity by fighting with them.
They’re great at exploiting your weaknesses, and if they can get you to engage with them in an argument, they will definitely use that talent to their advantage.
Don’t let them have the satisfaction of getting you to take the bait. They will determine what your buttons are and push them incessantly, so keep in mind this individual has a mental disorder. Don’t let them get your goat; instead, just walk away.
2. Get Everything In Writing
Ask for any instructions you need to do your job to be emailed to you so you have it in writing. You want to make sure you have documentation of anything your narcissistic coworker says and when they said it.
It’s best if they can email them to you, but if that’s not possible, at least write them down and make sure you check to make sure they are accurate. Be sure to note the date and time of the communication and what was said.
It’s also important to document any issues you have with this toxic coworker. Again, note the date and time, what happened, and what was said in the exchange. It also might be worthwhile to consult with an attorney or someone in HR or one of your managers.
3. Maintain Your Distance
If you tell them your personal opinions or give them personal information, they will surely use that against you. They are emotional vampires, and if they know something personal about you, they will exploit that.
They will also try to bait you into giving your opinion about sensitive issues like the work of other coworkers. If you tell them your opinion, even if it’s positive, they will twist it into something negative and use it against you.
Your best defense against their attempts to get personal information or view is to change the subject or even just walk away. Whatever you do, do not give them any information.
4. Have a Witness for Every Interaction
It’s a good idea to have a witness to any interaction you have with a narcissistic coworker. If they say they need to talk to you privately, get someone to be a witness to that conversation.
That can make them think twice about doing or saying something negative or manipulative. Additionally, you’ll have a witness who can verify what happened in that conversation if the narcissist later claims something different occurred.
5. Know Your Rights
It’s important to know what your legal rights are in the workplace. This is particularly important if the narcissist is someone who has power over you like a supervisor or manager.
Many narcissists will walk just up to the line without crossing over and doing something illegal. They often know what they are doing and are careful not to do something that will jeopardize their own job.
You have a right not to be harassed, and if you feel as though the narcissist is doing that, contact an attorney. No one — neither boss nor coworker — is allowed to make your work environment intolerable to the point a reasonable person would not be able to stay.
If you feel like that’s happening, it’s important to report the individual and follow through with consequences. It’s the only thing the narcissist will understand.
6. Avoid Them Like the Plague
If it’s possible, avoid contact with the narcissistic coworker. If you don’t engage with them, you can’t be drawn into one of their games. That can be difficult, but do everything you can to just stay away from them.
If you have to have contact with them for your job, stick to just the facts. Don’t give opinions and don’t discuss anything personal.
If you don’t have to contact them, but they persist in engaging with you, you might ask your supervisor for a different office or work location where you won’t be around them. You can also consult with HR or an attorney if you feel like you’re being harassed.
A narcissistic coworker is one of the most challenging individuals you will encounter. They can jeopardize the quality of your work and your job.
Given that you usually spend at least eight hours of your day at your workplace, this can really affect the quality of your life. That’s why it’s important to be very aware of the strategies that can help you to avoid falling into the narcissist’s traps.
Most workplaces have a narcissist, and you have a right to not suffer harassment at your jobsite. If you aren’t already, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with your workplace rights. Your job is a big part of your life and the narcissist can make it a nightmare if you don’t take the appropriate steps to protect yourself.
It’s also helpful to learn how to say no to a narcissist. I can help by sending you a free copy of “5 Must-Know Techniques to Effectively Reject a Narcissist.” Click on the link below this post, and I’ll send it directly to your inbox.
If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel