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My colleague is a narcissist

(29 Posts)
lovesmycake Thu 04-Dec-14 12:46:37

I have just been reading a MIL thread and had a lightbulb moment my colleague is a narcissist.

He believes he is more intelligent then everyone and is always always right, even when I have challenged him directly about something that is right he then backtracks and spins a story to make out he was right all along.

He can tell two different things to two different people and when challenged on it will just keep spinning the story to make out he was in the right all along. (this was my lightbulb moment!)

He doesn't listen and in meetings or conversations just keeps talking over people louder and louder without ever actually listening to anything anyone else says. We have lots of phone meetings with the rest of our team (based in another city) and I see him just desperately waiting to make his point without listening.

He is overly involved and controlling in everything work or personal, he recently insisted that I should get a swimming pass to a swimming pool 40 mins away from where I live because it was such a good offer. Even when I explained why I wouldn't he just kept on insisting over and over like I was stupid until I gave in and 'pretended' to agree with what he was saying.

He talks to me like I'm an idiot constantly (not just me he treats everyone like this)

Everyone dislikes him, my boss has never completed any evaluations with me (always tells me to fill them in myself and he will sign them) and I suspect this is because he doesn't want to ask me about my job because he knows I will talk about my colleague and he will have to deal with it. When I had been with the company a year my boss also sent me an email praising me for managing to 'manage' the guys in my office. (Which I think was a reference to my difficult colleague)

The thing is I work with this person directly every day and he really really annoys me and stresses me out so I guess I'm wondering now I have had my lightbulb moment what can I actually do about it, it's not as if I can LTB !! Currently I ignore him as much as I can and try to undertake projects on my own without involving him (very difficult as we are a team of three and the other person works from home most day's after he told our boss that he cannot cope with being in the office due to unreasonable colleague). This works until I just get so pissed off I get angry and challenge him, I never win sad

So what are coping mechanisms for Narcissists?

BarbarianMum Thu 04-Dec-14 13:12:30

You have limited choices. If he makes it difficult/impossible for you to do your job directly because of his behaviour then you could take it up with your boss. Something may, or may not, come of this - either he or you could be moved to another team perhaps. Or you could leave.

If he's just intensley annoying but it doesn't directly affect your work (and he's not being bullying or otherwise abusive, which are also disciplinary worthy matters) your only option is to request a transfer/leave.

Quitelikely Thu 04-Dec-14 13:14:44

Just think of his poor DW!

GregsAnatomy Thu 04-Dec-14 13:19:41

There's always one prick at work! At least you know it's not you wink

All you can do is make a note of anything that affects you in a concrete way, and report it to your boss.

Your boss sounds totally spineless, btw.

lovesmycake Thu 04-Dec-14 13:21:53

He is separated from his partner and child.

Unfortunately he is just intensely intensely annoying and I don't want to leave, the job market in my industry has just gone through the floor redundancies everywhere. So I guess I just have to suck it up sad

AndTheBandPlayedOn Thu 04-Dec-14 13:36:39

Or you could leave.
For your sanity and even physical health (stress related illness can be caused in this environment) the best solution is to get away from him.
Another way might be for him to leave through a transfer or even a promotion -to another location of course.

As he feels it is ok to suggest improvements in your life, perhaps you could turn it back on him and plant a seed along the lines of
He really isn't being paid enough for all the work he does, he should really look for a better paying position. This would be against my usual policy of as little engagement as possible, but the payoff would be sweet: him leaving.

{{{Dream sequence: Think of the going away party...And then the real party the day after he is gone.}}}

Thehedgehogsong Thu 04-Dec-14 13:37:25

You could just tell him he's acting like a narcissist, then remind him every time he does something that perhaps he should look into why he is a narcissist. They hate being called on it, and it will mean you can be dismissive of his opinions because after all, he is a narcissist so his opinions don't really apply to other people?

AndTheBandPlayedOn Thu 04-Dec-14 13:40:04

X-post, sorry.
Sounds like you are stuck. Any chance of the teams being reorganized? And if one team member gets to telecommute/similar, then it isn't fair that you don't get to as well.

Mammanat222 Thu 04-Dec-14 13:40:25

the other person works from home most day's after he told our boss that he cannot cope with being in the office due to unreasonable colleague

Can you not do the same?

VenusRising Thu 04-Dec-14 13:44:26

You could start to plant the seed that his amazing talents are going to waste in your little company, and he should start looking for a bigger company to shine in.

Tell him it must be very boring for him there with just x and y to do, seeing as he's so much better than that.
And hope he jumps.

Take notes of everything he fucks up on, and collate the information. Get everything agreed in emails what he's to do and what your wfh colleague is to do and then if he fucks up it's all there and he can't spin it.

Oh your manager is being spineless, and you need to forge alliances with other teams and your wfh colleague. You need to go over your manager's head with the report if s/he's buried in the sand.

Mind yourself.

GoatsDoRoam Thu 04-Dec-14 13:47:09

Have as few dealings with him as possible, and apply for other jobs.

There really is no way to manage narcissists, other than to stay the fuck away from them.

PaisleySheets Thu 04-Dec-14 13:54:41

He might just be an idiot. The thing about narcissists is that they are usually very likeable. They go out of their way to manipulate and cut people down.

I knew one in the workplace once, and he went through people like water. He would have a new best friend every six months and would burn through people. People were at first enamoured with him, then they caught on slowly.

His behaviour was incredible. If you tried to argue with him, you came away completely confused. It was like talking in circles and something he managed to push all credit onto himself for good things and divert blame onto others for bad things.

He tried to create problems ad get other people to hate each other so he could divide and conquer. It was an awful environment to be in.

Steer well clear!

lovesmycake Thu 04-Dec-14 14:19:17

Ah paisley he is most definitely not likeable so possibly just an idiot after all.

I do however like the idea of calling him a narcissist as suggested by hedgehog we have a team meeting in a log cabin in bumfuck nowhere next week and last time that happened I got so annoyed I told him some home truths blush (not something I am proud of, my anger got the better of me ) It's not out of the realms of possibility that I will get pissed off and call him a narc this time!

The wfh colleague is in sales and I'm an engineer so not so easy for me to wfh - though I do take the odd day here and there which my boss has never commented on, probably because he is spineless and doesn't want to start a conversation about it!!

I am heading the warnings about him though, I had never thought about it before but I know he is threatened by me as he once got horrendously drunk and told me so!?

lovesmycake Thu 04-Dec-14 14:20:41

heeding not heading confused

lovesmycake Thu 04-Dec-14 14:36:12

Just thinking about the verbal/ physical abuse side of it too he is incredibly aggressive and regularly storms out of meetings. He also shouts a lot and throws things, though thinking about it he only throws things when it's just the two of us in the office and never at me.

It generally just gets dismissed because he is that way with everyone so I shouldn't take it personally but I'm the one who has to sit next to him.

IrishBloodEnglishHeart Thu 04-Dec-14 16:17:16

He sounds like an irritating, insecure, gobby prick but I am not sure from what you have said that he is a narc. The narcs I have known (2 of them in one lifetime, I hope that's it) have a nasty, cruel streak.

the thing that upsets me most about your OP though is the way your boss avoids dealing with him and has never completed an evaluation with you. I think that's outrageous. If you have a difficult colleague you should be able to discuss that with your seniors and have them help you to manage it. If you aren't happy in work you aren't productive - that's my view anyway.

BrucieTheShark Thu 04-Dec-14 16:22:51

If he behaves in such an aggressive, unprofessional way then I would start raising grievances against him every time he does. Go over your boss's head if he can't handle it.

If there is misconduct then you might be able to get him out. If not, then over time he may be encouraged to move on at least.

Cleo22 Thu 04-Dec-14 16:26:22

Could he be persuaded to work from home?

Jux Thu 04-Dec-14 16:43:24

That would work! He could wfh and your current wfh colleague could come back to the office (probably won't want to, though).

See if you can bear to call him on everything that's even a little bit out of line. Document everything.

TimeWarp Thu 04-Dec-14 17:12:26

I would feel intimidated by a colleague who throws things in a temper. Being told that that's just how he is is not acceptable. Get it documented by email with HR everytime he does anything physical, like throwing something or moving close to you to shout. Make sure that you say that you feel threatened. If you want you can ask for a solution that does not require you to be alone with him, an office reshuffle of some sort. If they refuse to consider that then hint that, as have been warned of his behaviour and have failed to take measures to ensure your safety, if anything does happen they will be at fault.

The benefit of being physically removed from him is that you will be better able to keep communication to work stuff only.

In the meantime what I used to do with a colleague who was never wrong (we used to call him Teflon Man because nothing stuck) was to keep everything in email format. Any meetings or conversations I would follow up with an email straightaway with actions, timings and an indirect reference to an idea being mine if it was something I thought he might take credit for.

CogitOIOIO Thu 04-Dec-14 17:25:30

Whether he is a narcissist is debatable. Sounds like a pushy bully to me. Only responses open to you with a bully in the workplace are either to stand up to them, bring them to the attention of management or leave the company. If there are other people on the team, stand up to him together. Forget ideas of being polite or keeping your head down. A well aimed 'fuck off' sounds long overdue.

CogitOIOIO Thu 04-Dec-14 17:28:31

And should have said..... talk to a solicitor. If this person's behaviour is not corrected and if you and others feel forced to leave as a result then you potentially have a case for constructive dismissal. Your boss might take his head out of the sand if there's the possibility of a law suit

PaisleySheets Thu 04-Dec-14 17:30:19

Just as a comment here, standing up to a bully is the right thing to do. With a narcissist, it's the worst thing to do.

I stood up to my narcissist boss. Shortly thereafter I had a paycut due to tightening belts and my colleague got a new BMW S3 convertible given to her.

Just saying that narcissists are not like bullies. They are evil. they lack all empathy, all scruples and they will take you down if you come at them. The only way to really irritate them is to not react and seem generally unimpressed. They can't stand that.

TimeWarp Thu 04-Dec-14 17:49:38

I agree with avoiding disagreeing, saying "I'll bear it in mind" or "it's worth considering" promises nothing and might have cut short the swimming pool argument better than you telling him why his idea wasn't suitable for you. You can't ever disagree with somone who is always right, only fail to agree in the blandest possible way.

CogitOIOIO Thu 04-Dec-14 18:08:07

'Fuck off' also cuts the argument short.... hmm

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