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The NPD-afflicted lurking among us

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)There’s been a lot of talk recently about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) due to one of the current candidates in the U.S. Presidential elections. Those of us with forty years of career behind us know that almost all professional paths are strewn with both the NPD-afflicted and their victims, so it’s a good thing to recognize them because the only way to deal with them is to avoid them. Yes, just find another job!

If that sounds categorical, it is. Getting someone who thinks he or she is always right to admit an imperfection or error is not only a Herculean task but, if successful, potentially dangerous; NPD verbal hyperbole and bile can easily turn to nasty action. The NPD-afflicted have a twisted relationship with facts and the truth, and they do not suffer critics. They may react by badgering, belittling, and badmouthing you. Because they are also insecure, they will be conflicted about not having you like them, so you may never know where you stand with them. It’s that on-again-off-again behavior that destabilizes and, in the long run, can result in depression and even cancer for the victims.

There are many descriptions of Narcissistic Personality Disorder available online. If you find yourself describing someone with words like conceited, self-important, self-absorbed, know-it-all, snobbish, arrogant, pompous, exploitative, pushy, and lacking empathy for others but feeling fully entitled themselves, then that person is probably somewhere on the NPD scale that determines whether s/he is just a nuisance or rings the disorder bell.

It’s a little curious that you can take an online test to see if you are NPD-afflicted because it is doubtful that anyone truly afflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder would actually take the test, let alone answer the questions with any lucidity. But, if you think you are dealing with one in the workplace, you can run the person’s personality through Isabelle Nazare-Aga’s easy 30-point checklist – in English and in French. If s/he scores 13 or higher, jackpot!

At the very least you are dealing with a polished manipulator.

If you really can’t get away from them, which may be the case of an afflicted parent, child or husband, Nazare-Aga hasmo_9782761936323 many easy lessons for learning counter-manipulation, in order to deal with NPD-ers, in her book, “Manipulators are Among Us” (“Les Manipulateurs sont Parmi Nous“).

In professional life, either walk away or learn how to play!

I have personally met (mostly women) victims who have ruined their health trying to brave it out with a boss incapable of saying one kind thing or giving a raise or saying thank you for over five years while taking full advantage of competent and loyal employees who shrivel up from lack of an empathetic workplace.

NPD candidates are often lodged near the top of the corporate organization chart. Whether or not they actually deserve their repeated promotions, they are often very smart and create so much spin about their self-perceived successes that it lubricates their ascension. Outside coaches and consultants are often boggled to find themselves called in as management consultants by the NPD-afflicted only to realize that the boss is the very problem that needs solving.

Recognize the signs and proceed with caution.