Book Review: The Narcissist at Work

by Davina on November 17, 2012

Peace of mind on the job?

“Let’s face it: having to work closely with someone whose nasty ways make you feel like crap isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. Interacting with these people at work is something we all suck up and do, but many of us don’t know how to neutralize the toxic behaviour to the point where it’s easier to bear.”

We’ve all had to deal with bosses, co-workers or clients who have challenged our peace of mind while on the job. If you let it, it can interfere with your morale and your job performance.

Instead of feeling violated and powerless, or even questioning your own judgement, there is something you can do: become aware that this is a very real issue and there are ways to deal with this type of behaviour. You can be prepared. You don’t have to bury your head in the sand and take the abuse.

An awesome how-to guide for dealing with toxic people

The Narcissist at Work was written by Betsy Wuebker of Passing Thru, an entrepreneur with more than 30 years’ experience in corporate and small-business environments, and Becky Blanton, an award-winning photojournalist, author, ghostwriter and featured speaker at TED Global 2009. Her new novel is Bloodline: The October Abduction of Thomas Martin (March 2012).

Betsy and Becky have researched and compiled an extensive array of information to educate you on narcissistic behaviour. This is what this book will offer you:

1. How to identify narcissistic behaviour and understand what is behind the bullying.
2. Case studies in which people share personal accounts of their experience with a narcissist on the job.
3. Tips and strategies for both employees and independent contractors that will give them the confidence to stand their ground.
4. If you’re a freelancer, you will be introduced to systems and procedures that will allow you to identify potential problem clients and make informed decisions about who to take as clients.

It’s not about winning

Not only does this book teach you how to identify narcissistic behaviour and how to deal with it responsibly, but throughout the process its effect is to bring you more awareness and thus, encourage you to be more responsible for your own actions. The Narcissist at Work helps you realize that when you act responsibly and proactively, you are taking care of yourself and you are empowering colleagues and clients to be on their best behaviour.

You will attract more business and personal relationships that are aligned with everyone’s best interest when you choose to focus on what you are “for,” rather than what you are against. One of the most important things I came away with after reading this book is that this is not about winning. You can’t win with a narcissist and if you approach this with that mindset, you will only end up as one of their puppets.

The Narcissist at Work is available on Amazon.

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Hilary November 18, 2012 at 1:59 am

Hi Davina .. so pleased you’ve written this review and highlighted the book – as narcissists are people we come across in all walks of life .. they’re around us all the time. I think I’ll be getting this book … I know Betsy really well through blogging and obviously know of Becky …

I think one of the best things I was told when dealing with others and things perhaps I didn’t want to address – was the fact that only I could be responsible for my actions and whatever anyone else did or said – that was their decision.

Great review .. and the book reflects on life – it has lessons for our daily living too ..

Cheers Hilary
Hilary´s last blog post ..Oh How I miss you Blogfest …

Betsy Wuebker November 18, 2012 at 5:36 am

Hi Davina – Thank you so much for this review. Becky and I saw a real need to understand how to maintain a practical working relationship with a narcissistic colleague or client when necessary. Because there already is an inherent imbalance of power in a client/provider or supervisor/subordinate relationship, narcissists often target the work environment as a source of narcissistic supply. And, because narcissists often use passive aggressive tactics as a disguise, they can derail progress when you least expect it. The Narcissist at Work will help! Thanks again.
Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post ..Tuesday Photo: Osprey

Chris Edgar November 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm

It looks like this book talks about how it takes two to tango — in other words, it takes (at least) two people to create a dysfunctional relationship, and if we’re in a relationship we aren’t satisfied with, it’s important to examine how we’re consciously or unconsciously feeding it, as opposed to just seeing the other person as “the problem.” I think that’s a useful perspective.
Chris Edgar´s last blog post ..Creativity and the Willingness to Be a “Wuss”

Betsy Wuebker November 21, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Hi Chris – you’re right. It does take two to tango. Since we can only claim responsibility for our own behavior, it’s incumbent upon us to realize how we may be contributing to an unhealthy dynamic. Then we can break the co-dependent pattern. Thanks for emphasizing this. :)
Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post ..Tuesday Photo: Yellow-Legs

Davina November 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

Hi Hilary.

Thank you. I’m glad you are planning on purchasing this book. I know you won’t be disappointed. What you say is correct that we are with these people all the time and we are definitely responsible for our own actions. We all have some narcissistic qualities, so it’s easy to get caught up in the “battle” with them. So important to not take things personally.

You’re welcome, Betsy!

I enjoyed the read very much. This book paints a good picture of the narcissistic at work (love the title, by the way). The work environment is often competitive and fear-based as this is where folks earn their living. So I can see how narcissists will use that to their advantage. Thank you for this. This was eye-opening. I think people just need to be aware of this… to be able to put a name to it… so they can realize they are not the problem and that there is a way to handle it effectively.

Hi Chris.

Thanks for your comment. Yes, you’re right, it does take two to tango. As both you and Hilary have noted, we need to be responsible for our own actions. Some folk are faced with this situation everyday, especially in close relationships and with colleagues, and it is something that has to be dealt with, short of just walking away; sometimes that is the best thing to do, however.

When you can be more aware, and as Betsy has just mentioned (Thanks, Betsy for your comment), we can avoid feeding the situation. I believe we all want to be on our best behaviour, but when faced with a situation that causes us to question ourselves or to defend ourselves, fear can begin to influence our decisions.

Hilary November 25, 2012 at 3:47 am

Hi Davina and Betsy – we’ve had a furore over Twitter here in the UK – with people using it ‘illegally and undiplomatically’ to (re-)tweet re false rumours and expose names that the police had issued identity constraints on by a court order. This extends to the normal way of life …

These snippets are taken from The Week magazine and make interesting reading – which I wanted to add to your post:

‘Twitter is so informal, it fools us into thinking it’s conversation. It isn’t. Never forget that when you’re tweeting, you’re publishing.’

‘The internet, I fear, “has provided rocket fuel for sadism”: it gives a soap box “to every crank, inadequate and bully”. And in Twitter’s case every self-promoting gossip.’

‘But what really worries me is the effect that compulsive tweeting has “on the fragile psychology of a nation where too many live alone and don’t know their neighbours” …. somewhere in that chirrupping, cosmeticised, fun-fun-fun world today, it is making people sadder’

—– because those people trying to emulate others, end up feeling like failures …

Thankfully I don’t worry about what others think and don’t try and live as others do – but it’s a lesson many need to think about …

Bullying in anyway is terrible – and some people seem to be unable to understand how their actions hurt others .. and don’t put themselves into those shoes – some don’t seem able to see life from another’s point of view. Parents, communities, etc need to set higher standards …

All the best – Hilary
Hilary´s last blog post ..Miscellany … Arlee of A – Z Challenge, Blog Awards, Veg , the school girl Martha, and her book: “Never Seconds” …

Davina November 27, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Hilary, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I’m glad to hear that you have reached a point where you don’t worry about what other folk think.

You know, sometimes words just don’t do an offering of “thanks” any justice, but despite that… thank you for sharing these snippets. I’m appreciative of the essence of caring and concern that I feel from reading them.

The last one in particular struck me because I can see the truth in that. The depth of personal human interaction cannot be duplicated while online. It’s like we’re skimming across the surface and losing the connection with ourselves, and each other.

This less-than illusion leaves a person open and sensitive to bullying. But even more than that, the lack of personal connection brings up sadness, and a feeling of trying to fill up the emptiness. I think that after too much time in front of the computer, we forget how to talk to one another. We in essence, become machine-like.

Reader January 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

And perhaps those vulnerable people are just the kind of people that narcissists gravitate to without empathy or understanding (of the person or themselves) and ready to tear down further.
I look forward to reading this book as it relates to personal and other relationships with a narcissist.

Davina January 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Yes, you are right, Reader. There is a natural tendency for this.

Enjoy the reading!

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