Narcissism and Ostracism in the Workplace

Narcissism and Ostracism in the Workplace

A good boss will have respect for their workers.  There’s a big difference between a firm hand and an iron fist.  Employees can be motivated by being valued and encouraged rather than being motivated through fear.  This is what separates the good boss from the bad.

Narcissists pretend well.  They often appear to be charming and considerate but it’s the covert put downs and subtle digs that often go unnoticed by many.

We know that the narcissist likes to have control and attention.  There are certain occupations which tend to attract the narcissistic personality such as:

  • CEOsA firm hand
  • Surgeons
  • The Clergy
  • Police Officers
  • Lawyers
  • Journalists
  • Chefs
  • Politicians

Narcissists don’t think that normal rules of decency and morality apply to them. They have no qualms in intimidating and harassing their employees or co-workers and making their lives miserable.  Taking credit for another’s work, blaming others for their own mistakes, outbursts of rage, jealousy when other workers are better or smarter than they are themselves, are all commonplace.

When things go wrong, don’t expect the narcissist to accept the blame.  It’s not going to happen.  It’s got to be someone else’s fault.  You may think because you are efficient at your job and have great results, that the narcissistic boss will be thankful.  They won’t.  It’s a reflection on them, you work for them, they trained you to do the job.  Your outstanding contribution will all be down to them so don’t waste your time trying to convince them otherwise.

Don’t be fooled into becoming ‘friends’ with the narcissistic boss or co-worker. Their view on friendship is totally different from a normal person’s understanding of what friendship really is.  If they are being friendly, it is because they want something from you.  If you are of no use to them, they don’t want your friendship.  Don’t go down that route.  Save your friendship for those who deserve it.

Ostracism in the workplace is more common than the overt type of bullying and is perhaps the most evil of all, often destroying a target’s self-esteem.

Indefinite ostracism has been described as ‘social death’ (by Boehm, 1986; Williams, 2007) because it severed social connections necessary for survival.

This has a dramatic impact on the person being targeted who is being shunned and has absolutely no idea why they’re being picked on.  They have done nothing wrong and if no one says or does anything, it escalates.  The target is isolated and alone, when they walk into a room, others leave.  They are frozen out, left out of conversations, finding themselves sitting alone in the crowded work restaurant.  Everyone in the office is asked if they would like a coffee but the target is ignored.  They have become invisible.  Social rejection hurts and sadly often results in long term effects.  Everyone has an inherent need to belong. Being made to feel that you are not worth knowing and not being acknowledged can bring even the strongest amongst us to our knees.  The negative impact of ostracism may last for years after the event with a target experiencing long term health problems as a result.  History has shown us that some people who have been ostracised in school, college or work, have been so damaged as a result, that they have snapped and gone on to seek revenge by embarking on killing sprees.  Some have sought revenge on those who they believed excluded them whilst others have killed at random.

Workplace bullying and ostracism are unacceptable.  Management need to address and enforce anti bullying policies and take bullying seriously, because it is serious.  People who believe that bullying and ostracising someone is acceptable in today’s society need to be taught how their behaviour can have disastrous consequences to not only their target but to other people who are not even remotely connected to the situation.  Ostracism may be difficult to prove because it is subtle.  Education on this subject should be included in our children’s schools but let us not stop there.  Let us educate the judiciary, law enforcement, health professionals and legislators to make the perpetrators of bullying and ostracism a criminal offence punishable by a deterrent that makes people think twice before embarking on their despicable campaign.

Written by Anne McCrea

2 thoughts on “Narcissism and Ostracism in the Workplace

  1. Having been on the receiving end of this type of abuse in many different ways, shapes and forms within personal relationships, the workplace, friendships and within family, I couldn’t agree with you more! As an empath I’m quite weary that we attract narcissists unfortunately who use and abuse your easy going persona. Do you have any support groups in London, UK as I would love to get involved and contribute wherever possible and to spread awareness of what is very often understated/overlooked issue which has disastrous effects on victims.

  2. Absolutely it is far more common than ppl realize. Pack dog mentality sets in as soon as do workers figure out the target of the boss’s abuse. Everyone want to p,ease the boss so if the boss is treating an employee poorly, the coworkers now have yet another outlet to stand out, no sharing a common form of entertainment to bond boss with worker and gain boss’s approval and whatever perks come with that approval …suicide is often the result if these same targets don’t have healthy self esteem to begin with and an overwhelmg amount of problems outside of work, especially if this has happened to them before , and it usually has

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