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Old 10-03-2015, 11:48 AM   #1
Undertoad
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Narcissistic Personality Disorder (a novella, sorry)

Hi Cellar! I've just ended a year and a half of employment where my boss suffered from narcissistic personality disorder.

Of all the personality disorders one might have, here is the one that you really don't want your boss to have. You are supposed to have five or more of these to qualify as NPD. He pretty much has them all.

-- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

-- Requires excessive admiration

-- Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

-- Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

-- Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

-- Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

-- Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

-- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

-- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

He would routinely shock and amaze me with fratboy statements out of nowhere. He seemed to want to impress me with his incredible levels of sexism, or to include me in his unevolved shit. He once said he thinks women are useless, during a discussion of how he enjoyed the strippers they had at a golf outing. I was often left speechless by insane levels of douchebaggery.

When we would talk about my counterpart in Britain, he would inevitably point out that he was a fat ugly slob and could not get laid. My counterpart was a normal human being with a wife and teenage children. My boss was also married with younger children. I imagine they got laid at a similar rate. My boss had never met my support counterpart in person and had only seen pictures.

He has absolutely zero empathy for others. Makes no emotional connection with others. He once asked me why he couldn't teach people. His method was to ask people leading questions they didn't know the answer to, embarrassing them, and making them feel like shit. The implication is, here is something I know and you don't know. Why don't you know it? Fix yourself! It is the least effective method of teaching I've ever seen. He said that it was the best way anyone had ever taught HIM.

The dynamic of the office meant he had to teach everyone an awful lot in order for the office to be successful.

(continued below)
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:48 AM   #2
Undertoad
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The workplace was a handful of people. A new hire found himself unable to make it to work in time in the morning. You know people who are simply late and unaccustomed to making a schedule. This was this young gent's first real job. Eventually he would be docked a day's pay for being late. My boss hated him for it. Meanwhile my boss would come in late, go out at lunch to work out and come back late, take entire days off for any personal needs, and leave early on a routine basis. I thought if timeliness was important, showing a good example would be the way to do that. But the rules were, he was the boss and got to set his own hours.

The office would only hire salespeople they thought/knew were losers. Why: it was important to think of them as losers, so boss would feel better about himself. He would complain bitterly about the people that he had decided to hire, and that they were such idiots they could not be developed. We'd be in his office, and a salesguy would come in and ask about something and not immediately understand; once they left he would say to me "You see what I have to deal with?"

He asked me why the Brit engineers were not interested in helping him, because I understand engineers. This led to an unrealistic escalation where he ended the conversation with "They can just get new jobs" if they don't like working with people like him. I didn't explain that even thinking the engineers should be fired is actually why they don't want to work with him. I didn't explain that I was his engineer, and that in casually dismissing people's engineering careers, he was casually dismissing mine.

Everyone else was always the reason he was not successful. In his mind, his own moves were fine and the actions of others were keeping him down. In every business there are issues and problems you have to deal with. In this one, these issues were taken personally.

He had a special hatred for gay people and would routinely say horrible things. When the news reported a center city attack of 14 douchebag high school students on two gay men, leaving them bloodied and hospitalized, he said the gay guys brought it upon themselves. I would say there is a 1/3 chance that he is gay and that this is part of the root of all of this.

I figured all this out very quickly and, for my own purposes, dealt with him extremely carefully, as if each statement was a mine in a minefield. When he asked why he couldn't reach certain people, I told him he was "intimidating" -- knowing this was not the real underlying cause, but that we couldn't discuss the real underlying cause. I figured he would take it as a compliment, and he did. Whenever he would bitch about things I would calmly take his side and agree with his ranting. This was a successful way to maintain.

When I announced I was leaving, he gave me wide berth the last two weeks. I suspect he took it as an insult, and one more way his people were making life hard for him.

But here's the thing!

I also sensed that he was this way because he was fundamentally broken. Deep in his heart, he is a ball of weird insecurities. All this harsh douchebaggery is really due to how he feels about himself. Every comment a weird reflection of crushing internal damage. Knowing this made it possible to work with him. I'd leave his office and think, how sad it is; how troubled he must be. This absolute jerk of a human being is that way because of human failings we all have. And I would concentrate on the good aspects of his personality and hope that his sociopathic charm would make us successful to buyers.

Had he known I felt that way, I think he would have considered me enemy number one. But it was the main thing that allowed me to work with him for so long.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:11 PM   #3
classicman
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This from you? I'm confused.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:20 PM   #4
Undertoad
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Ha! I understand. My own personality disorder is antisocial tendencies and a selfish starting point stemming from my upbringing as an only child without a father. It's not narcissism. I'm happy to discuss my own many horrible failings if that's how the thread goes. Do go on.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:39 PM   #5
xoxoxoBruce
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Quote:
He once said he thinks women are useless, during a discussion of how he enjoyed the strippers they had at a golf outing.
To be fair, isn't that the way he feels about everyone? I'd love to engage his wife in conversation after she'd had a few drinks. You know, when she starts whispering the just between you and me dirt.

Quote:
This from you? I'm confused.
What? You didn't know Dr Toad analyses everyone? The Cellar, for that matter the world, is his couch... not that there's anything wrong with that.
Actually trying to figure out peoples motivations, rather than just snap judging their actions, is a good way of coping with people, it shows empathy.
Remember the universal truth, people suck.
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Old 10-03-2015, 01:22 PM   #6
footfootfoot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadmeister
Of all the personality disorders one might have, here is the one that you really don't want your boss to have.
Nor your mother, trust me.
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Old 10-03-2015, 01:35 PM   #7
Undertoad
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I do feel like I should add to this -- this is venting. This is the inevitable vomit at the end of a year and a half of being handcuffed to somebody. This is the rude situation of the office, where you spend MORE time with some people than with your loved ones.

He did an awful lot for me, in this period of getting my mojo back. So this is entirely unfair and I only get to do it because it's anonymous. I assume there is much fiercer ranting happening in his household, about my failings. Which are many. And horrible.
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Old 10-03-2015, 02:04 PM   #8
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWlk...22CA5F091EBAA4

Dr. Sam Vakanin. Self proclaimed Narcissist and author of Malignant Self Love

I work with someone who fits that description very well, btw. 11 years now.. It's exhausting at times
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Old 10-03-2015, 02:08 PM   #9
xoxoxoBruce
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Quote:
this is venting
I knew that. You put up with me, and others, for your own reasons. Often showing remarkable unnecessary restraint in most post replies, when people who know you, know you don't suffer fools easily, and are capable of scathing dialog.
For that we loves ya, but makes me cringe a little when you're being diplomatic, but I suspect you would really like to breath fire.
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Old 10-03-2015, 02:27 PM   #10
Undertoad
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I couldn't vent about you if we were handcuffed for ten years buddy. You make emotional connections with others, you have empathy, and it turns out that is the most important thing.
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Old 10-03-2015, 05:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by footfootfoot View Post
Nor your mother, trust me.
Nor your husband
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad
...you have empathy, and it turns out that is the most important thing.
It is! And you have it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad
I also sensed that he was this way because he was fundamentally broken. Deep in his heart, he is a ball of weird insecurities. All this harsh douchebaggery is really due to how he feels about himself. Every comment a weird reflection of crushing internal damage. Knowing this made it possible to work with him. I'd leave his office and think, how sad it is; how troubled he must be. This absolute jerk of a human being is that way because of human failings we all have. And I would concentrate on the good aspects of his personality and hope that his sociopathic charm would make us successful to buyers.
My question is, is it better to use the above as a starting place to help people like this, or is it more empathetic to assume that the broken simply cannot be fixed? On the one hand, they "deserve" help like we all do, but on the other hand, the extreme of empathy is to absolve them of all responsibility/hope to change.

I am down with the "there is a reason they are the way they are" mentality, but I struggle with my instinctive and permanent writing off of people that I see as being beyond help. I feel bad for them, but I also refuse to deal with them, and I'm not sure if that's more or less moral than hoping to fix them.
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:42 PM   #13
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Q: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Well, it only takes one psychologist; but, the lightbulb has to really want to change.

I cut my losses until they want to change; then, when they do I'm there for them. Life's too short to waste on some of the agonistic free wills out there.
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:03 PM   #14
xoxoxoBruce
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Originally Posted by Clodfobble View Post
...on the other hand, the extreme of empathy is to absolve them of all responsibility/hope to change.

I am down with the "there is a reason they are the way they are" mentality, but I struggle with my instinctive and permanent writing off of people that I see as being beyond help. I feel bad for them, but I also refuse to deal with them, and I'm not sure if that's more or less moral than hoping to fix them.
Empathy is good. Helping them is good. But self defense is also good. It isn't wise to jump in after someone who's drowning if you can't swim.
It doesn't help, it just adds drama, and complicates the situation. There will definitely be times you feel bad for them, but there's not a damn thing you can do without harming yourself, and times you just can't do a damn thing.

Oh, and if you believe in karma... they deserve it.
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Old 10-04-2015, 01:05 AM   #15
it
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
I also sensed that he was this way because he was fundamentally broken. Deep in his heart, he is a ball of weird insecurities. All this harsh douchebaggery is really due to how he feels about himself. Every comment a weird reflection of crushing internal damage. Knowing this made it possible to work with him. I'd leave his office and think, how sad it is; how troubled he must be. This absolute jerk of a human being is that way because of human failings we all have. And I would concentrate on the good aspects of his personality and hope that his sociopathic charm would make us successful to buyers.

Had he known I felt that way, I think he would have considered me enemy number one. But it was the main thing that allowed me to work with him for so long.
That's narcissistic injury, it's what people with NPD usually believe about themselves, and work so hard to shove the dangerous thought away, as well as anything that could link to it. Ironically, this usually ends up creating that which is "broken" with them in the first place, or rather - destructive.

To say that they are right about that deep down held belief - that they actually are fundamentally broken and thus develop NPD to cover it up - is a more problematic assertion. In order for something to be fundamentally broken or flawed there has to be a "way it's supposed to be" but isn't, or a use/meaning that it can't fulfill properly, which I don't think humans really come with.
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