Tag Archives: Orlando Christian counseling

How to Talk to your Narcissistic Boss

Handsome narcissistic young man looking in a mirrorAfter years of speculation, you have finally come to the realization that your boss is a narcissist.  Since this is not the type of economy where you can just leave your job and expect to get another one quickly, you find yourself stuck and miserable in a job that normally you would like except for your narcissistic boss.  In the beginning everything was great.  Your boss seemed to like you and you liked him/her despite the previous dozen or so former employees who left rather abruptly.  Then one day everything changed, as if a switch just flicked without your knowledge and you went from the best employee ever to the most incompetent human alive.

But you are stuck and despite the numerous attempts to flick the switch back the other way, it’s not budging.  Every day now begins with several duck and cover attempts as you dodge the verbal bullets assaults of your boss until one day when you have no option but to confront.  Finally, the issues on your desk have built up to an unbearable level and something has to give as there is no more time. While you know you need to confront your boss, you must do it in a way that doesn’t cost your job in the process.  So how do you do it?  Try a few of these suggestions.

Use the Hamburger method.  Think for a moment about a McDonald’s hamburger, would you ever eat the meat without the bun?  No, the meat is terrible without the bun.  Well for just about anyone, but a narcissist in particular, delivering bad news is the meat of the matter and without a bun it is likely to be spit right back out at you.  So, create a bun of praise around the meat.  Since a narcissist loves himself/herself, try praising your boss first, then follow it with the meat of the matter, and end it with yet another personal or professional praise.

Use it only once.  You are going to be shocked at how well this will work and be very tempted to repeat this for the dozen or so other meats but watch out.  Your narcissist boss will likely catch on and become even angrier thinking that you are manipulating him/her.  So when you do this, do it once per conversation, and never twice in the same day.

Pick your meat carefully.  If possible, prioritize the meat that needs to be confronted and do the most burning issues first, then follow it with the ones for greater long-term impact and end with the other not so important short-term issues that may just go away on their own.  Whenever possible, overlook meat so your confrontations are not frequent but don’t be irresponsible about the meat.  Some meat must be dealt with however insignificant it may seem.

When in danger…If the confrontation begins to take a bad turn, don’t defend yourself.  Never ever give ground to a narcissist unless you are willing to give that ground permanently.  Instead repeat back part of what your boss is saying, not too much to be obnoxious, but just enough to let him/her know you heard what he/she said even if this includes something negative about you.  That action alone, without your overreaction will be enough to take the wind out of his/her sails.

No emotion.  The thing about a narcissist is that he/she has no empathy of anyone else except himself/herself, so don’t waste your time getting upset or teary eyed.  The quickest way for a narcissist to stop being angry is for you to have no emotion whatsoever.  When you show emotion, he/she believes you have lost and treats you like prey instead of treating you with compassion.  When you don’t show emotion, your narcissistic boss will try another tactic such as changing the subject to try again to get the upper hand.

Don’t give ground, stand still, and stand strong and your narcissistic boss will likely soften around you instead of attacking the next time.  Just remember that a narcissistic boss is common and even if you left your current position, you are likely to find another one lurking behind some corner.  So stop fighting and learn how to talk to a narcissistic boss instead of running from them.

 

There is hope for your exhaustion.  Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

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Either Your Spouse Is Paranoid or Everyone Is Out To Get Them

paranoid-personality-disorderDo you feel like you are losing your mind?  Are you exhausted from everyday living as you desperately try to figure out every possible negative outcome to keep your spouse from coming unglued?  Are you beginning to believe that you are the problem and everyone else has it all together?

If you are married to someone who is chronically paranoid, your life is in a perpetual state of stress as you jump through whatever new hoop that is presented to keep your spouse calm.  This, of course, is at great expense to your own mental health as you spend less and less time thinking about what you want and more and more time thinking about what your spouse wants.  You find that you can’t do anything without running it through the “what will my spouse think” filter.

But this is precisely where your spouse wants you to be, completely and totally dependent on their opinion, unable to make the simplest of decisions.  (As a side note, this is not about submission.  Submission requires you to know and voice your opinion first before agreeing to go a different direction if necessary.)  Rather, this is about control.

While it may seem as though your spouse is trying to control every aspect of your life because they are power freaks that is not the case here.  Instead, your spouse is controlling because they are fearful of the dangerous outcomes that obsessively swirl around in their head every second.

Here are some common signs that your spouse maybe paranoid:

  • Constantly thinking that others are trying to harm them, you or your family
  • Fearful of being deceived
  • Believes that others are being disloyal to them
  • Struggles with trusting family, friends, and co-workers
  • Cuts off family, friends, and co-workers if trust is betrayed only once
  • Reluctant to confide in anyone
  • Suspects others will use information against them
  • Sees hidden meanings where others don’t
  • Holds grudges for long periods of time, way past the time of the offense
  • Unforgiving of insults or slights
  • Perceives attacks on character or reputation that is not apparent to others
  • Quick to react angrily or counterattack
  • Suspects without justification that you are being unfaithful
  • Hides money from you and believes others are out to get their money
  • Insists that you pull away from close friendships or family members
  • Reluctant to discuss their profession in any detail
  • Uses security cameras in inappropriate places such as facing inside the house instead of outside
  • Tracks all phone and internet communication repeatedly questioning meaningless conversations

If you find yourself in a marriage to a paranoid person take heart, you are not alone.  Usually it takes a considerable amount of time for your spouse to reveal their full paranoia as most of the actions mentioned about happen slowly over a long time frame.  Of course, your spouse can give you numerous reasons justifying their behavior, perhaps you have even done something to contribute to their paranoia.  However, understanding where you are is just the first small step in the process.  The next step is to decide if this is something you can live with or if it is a deal breaker.  Only you can make that decision.

Remember, this is not a decision about trying to change your spouse; you cannot change them.  Even with therapy they will have to decide to change on their own and that could take years.  But you can change yourself and how you view your spouse.  This kind of paranoia is so deeply rooted in insecurity and fear; it is hard not to have compassion for person who lives with this intense anxiety 24/7.  Get some help, find a support system, and read over this list until you can spot the unhealthy behavior and not let it cause you additional unnecessary anxiety.

 

There is hope for your exhaustion.  Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Recognizing Exhausted Woman’s Syndrome

Exhausted Woman“Burn-out” is an understatement to what you are experiencing; in fact it happened so long ago that it is now stored in long-term memory.  What you are experiencing is beyond burn-out and feels more like a chronic condition for which physical symptoms of stress have become the norm.

If this sounds familiar, then you might be suffering from Exhausted Woman’s Syndrome (EWS).  The symptoms are as follows:

  • Over-annoyed – Little things set you off like people who can’t use their debt card fast enough at the check-out isle.
  • Over-apologetic – Saying, “I’m sorry” when you are not really sorry just to move past this item and on to the next one as quick as possible.
  • Over-attentive – Fixation on potential problems trying to keep them from exploding into bigger ones to the exclusion of taking care of you.
  • Over-burdened – Juggling too many balls in the air at one time resulting in a couple of them crashing to the ground.
  • Over-committed – Taking on responsibility for things which others should do but aren’t doing to your satisfaction.
  • Over-competitive – Driven to achieve in every area of life at one-time with no allowances for failure.
  • Over-conscientious – Striving for perfectionism while denying that you are.
  • Over-dependable – So reliable that nearly everyone around you takes it for granted that you will get the job done.
  • Over-gratifying – Trying so hard to please others that sometimes the entire point of the activity is lost (especially true for vacations and other fun family events).
  • Over-protective – Feeling the need to defend your decisions, actions, beliefs, and emotions to the extent that you withdraw or withhold intimacy.
  • Over-thinking – Obsessing over a conversation, decision, or event over and over without coming to any new insights.
  • Over-whelmed – Stressed to the point of exhaustion and feeling crushed by the weight of everyday.

If this sounds like you, you are not alone.  Many women suffer from EWS which is brought on by the competing demands of work, marriage, kids, extended family, friends, church, and community.  Unlike codependency which requires a dependency on a relationship, EWS strives to be independent of dominating relationships.  However this effort is met with great resistance from every relationship and as a result each relationship pushes for dominance.  This results in exhaustion from trying to balance the conflicting requests.

There is hope for your exhaustion and it lies in repairing, restoring, and rebuilding your relationships to healthy perimeters.  Begin your journey by recognizing the need for help and then get it.

 

There is hope for your exhaustion.  Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

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