Narcissists

Trump World: Looking Backward

Cover: A Canticle for Leibowitz

Cover: A Canticle for Leibowitz

The children ask how we got here, and I try to explain, though so much has changed that my stories only lead to more questions — “What’s a news network?”, “How did people live without augments?”

We had a Republic, once, and it was wildly successful. That attracted more people from all over the world seeking freedom and work. It was freedom that let new industries grow unchecked by jealous rivals, but over time citizens sought shelter from the rigors of a free market and elected more regulation-prone politicians who tried to soften all the hard edges. Finally we reached a time so advanced that children were supposed to grow up without any challenges, to be deemed special and successful without any accomplishments, and the resulting adults became childlike in wanting to silence any voices that disagreed with them.

The world as a whole had benefitted from the opening of closed Communist countries and free trade, with the costs of transport and communication declining rapidly. The boom in emerging economies lifted billions of people out of grinding poverty, the greatest improvement in world living standards the world had ever seen, and increasing wealth and freedom defused the Malthusian fears of overpopulation and resource depletion of the previous decades. But the competition destroyed the protected world of US unskilled workers, who had gotten used to living well after WWII destroyed most of the manufacturing plants of Europe and Asia.

“The Sound of Silence” was a famous Simon and Garfunkel song, written in the 1960s to protest the conformity of an earlier era — the 1950s — when broad consensus and the limited number of mass media options stifled outlier opinions. Capitalism broke that mold, when “outrageous” ideas and lifestyles could be marketed and make money. Selling rebellion was big business.

The Internet seemed to end the constraints on opinion, but a new sound of silence appeared when its two-way nature allowed crowds to join together to silence expression of ideas they found threatening. People lost their jobs because of one errant tweet, and politicians found it useful to stoke the flames of envy and resentment to gain votes. A new victim cult appeared, seeing racism and sexism in every element of US life, and command of the cult’s lexicon enabled entry to academic and government positions.

The left-behind grew angry, and simmered in disability payments and painkilling drugs while they saw their children discriminated against by the gateway institutions built by their forebears. They had supported the growth of the Federal government through costly wars and the building of a social safety net, only to be left out and denigrated by their ruling class. Federal agencies were taken over by progressives and affirmative-action hires, and wasted time and resources shuffling reports and holding grand meetings to write about working toward solving problems that barely existed while neglecting their core functions. The levels of incompetence tolerated grew and grew, until civil service employees could hold their jobs after being absent for years or being discovered spending most of their time viewing Internet porn. Major new government programs and projects failed and billions of dollars were wasted without consequence, those responsible for the failures being promoted to further damage the private economy by ruling from Washington.

The new media were staffed by college graduates who had been subjected to progressive indoctrination, and rarely questioned what government sources told them. And how could they, since time had been sped up and in the Internet age, stopping to investigate original sources that might disagree would only bury their story in tomorrow’s old news?

Trump appeared after two decades of Washington-centered rule by two factions of the same technocratic party. He gained the support of the dispossessed by voicing their resentments, long suppressed by the bien pensant. His supporters were so tired of being told their feelings were incorrect and didn’t matter that they failed to notice that Trump had no fixed beliefs of his own, other than winning.

And win he did, up against Hillary Clinton, who everyone knew was a habitual liar and corrupt influence-peddler. After she was nearly indicted for her negligent handling of secret information, Trump the bully won the election handily despite the rioting in major cities and the crashing stock market.

Thoughtful observers saw this as a test of the Founders’ three-branch design. In theory, the checks and balances and separation of powers between the three branches of government would limit the damage he might do. In practice, previous administrations had accreted so much power in the office of President that Trump was able to run roughshod over good government concerns.

Trump terrorized the agencies and the civil service bureaucracy. His bully-boys formed a shadow organization which intimidated any civil servant who dared stand against him — his friends in the Mafia proved useful in extralegal persuasion. If regulations got in Trump’s way, they were rewritten. Favored people and corporations found their way smoothed, while others who failed to support him were blocked and gutted. In that, he was only a few degrees worse than his predecessor, but the collapsing private economy provided no alternative routes for survival. Almost everyone knuckled under to wait for better days.

The doctors grumbled when they were drafted to serve in the new Trump Medical Corps, but after their licenses were pulled when they refused, they fell into line. Trump took over hospital chains by eminent domain and staffed them with uniformed Corps personnel; he had personally overseen the design of the new uniforms, gold braid trim and all. Federal medical costs were cut by 50% as salaries fell and procedures deemed too costly were outlawed. The upper crustaceans, of course, joined new luxury practices and went to private hospitals, as they always had. Medical school enrollments dropped and quality of the applicants fell, as it became clear doctoring would no longer be a high-status occupation. Research on new drugs evaporated when the primary source of drug profits, the US, joined the rest of the world in controlling their prices.

Apple’s new iPhone assembly factory opened in south Texas, and their mostly-immigrant assemblers tried to duplicate the quality of the phones built by contractor facilities in China that had taken decades to develop. The US-assembled phones cost $200 more and failed more often, but Apple made the transition successfully since all of their competitors were similarly hobbled. And by opening their own manufacturing plant, they instantly reached the better employee diversity numbers they had been pretending to strive for for years.

The Chinese and Russians were relieved when Trump was elected — someone they could deal with without any unpredictable concerns with human rights to interfere. Deals were struck and trade managed. For awhile this seemed to work, though the people of Hong Kong and Ukraine felt abandoned as they lost their remaining independence. The EU collapsed in disorder as internal divisions and new migrations overwhelmed their governments.

And so it was that the opportunity society became the are-you-with-Trump society. Bribery came back with a vengeance. Inequality decreased, but only because more people were poor. The world economy had stalled, and grew worse as Trump’s new tariffs and trade barriers decreased world trade. The Chinese people grew restless when their standard of living began to drop, and the Chinese leadership started warring on neighbors to distract their people.

And that’s what I tell the kids. We came here to be safe, to guard our traditions, and to last through these times. The radiation is better now, and our growing huts get more sunlight than in those lean years right after. We have a good stock of electronics, drugs, and solar panels, and our store of knowledge and technology is intact. It’s safe enough to go outside for days at a time, and soon we will be able to travel to meet with others who survive.

We’ve had all the time in the world to teach our children where we went wrong. I’m hopeful that this time they’ll get it right.


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More reading on other topics:

Jane Jacobs’ Monstrous Hybrids: Guardians vs Commerce
The Great Progressive Stagnation vs. Dynamism
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
Death by HR: The End of Merit in Civil Service
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Public Employee Unions
Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
Civil Service: Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Dream
Bootleggers and Baptists
Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
Death by HR: The Simple Model of Project Labor
Levellers and Redistributionists: The Feudal Underpinnings of Socialism
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
Trump World: Looking Backward
Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder
Selective Outrage
Culture Wars: Co-Existence Through Limited Government
Social Justice Warriors, Jihadists, and Neo-Nazis: Constructed Identities
Tuitions Inflated, Product Degraded, Student Debts Unsustainable
The Morality of Glamour

On Affirmative Action and Social Policy:

Affirmative Action: Chinese, Indian-Origin Citizens in Malaysia Oppressed
Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech<a
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
Child Welfare Ideas: Every Child Gets a Government Guardian!
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism

The greatest hits from SubstrateWars.com (Science Fiction topics):

Fear is the Mindkiller
Mirror Neurons and Irene Gallo
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
Selective Outrage
Sons of Liberty vs. National Front
“Tomorrowland”: Tragic Misfire
The Death of “Wired”: Hugo Awards Edition
Hugos, Sad Puppies 3, and Direct Knowledge
Selective Outrage and Angry Tribes
Men of Honor vs Victim Culture
SFF, Hugos, Curating the Best
“Why Aren’t There More Women Futurists?”
Science Fiction Fandom and SJW warfare

More reading on the military:

US Military: From No Standing Armies to Permanent Global Power
US Military: The Desegration Experience
The VA Scandals: Death by Bureaucracy

The One-Question Narcissism Test

Robert Morse

He believes in himself.

You may have heard about this on NPR — I did. A paper (“Development and Validation of the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS)”) by Sara Konrath, Brian P. Meier, and Brad J. Bushman) discusses the development of a single question narcissism “inventory” (normally a battery of questions!)

The question?: “To what extent do you agree with this statement: ‘I am a narcissist.’ (Note: The word “narcissist” means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.)”

Unlike most anti-social sorts, narcissists are apparently not only aware of their tendencies, but not especially ashamed of them. A normal personality inventory takes pains to ask many questions and include cross-checks and misleading feints to try to prevent gaming the test to avoid a socially-disapproved result. This simple self-evaluation question turned out to be about as accurate in scoring narcissists as much longer and more subtle questionnaires.


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More on Attachment and Personality Types:

What Attachment Type Are You?
Type: Secure
Type: Anxious-Preoccupied
Type: Dismissive-Avoidant
Type: Fearful-Avoidant (aka Anxious-Avoidant)
Avoidant: Emotions Repressed Beneath Conscious Level
Serial Monogamy: the Fearful-Avoidant Do It Faster
Anxious-Preoccupied: Stuck on the Dismissive?
Anxious-Preoccupied / Dismissive-Avoidant Couples: the Silent Treatment
nxious-Preoccupied: Clingy and Insecure Relationship Example
Domestic Violence: Ray and Janay Rice
Malignant Narcissists
Teaching Narcissists to Activate Empathy
Histrionic Personality: Seductive, Dramatic, Theatrical
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
On Addiction and the Urge to Rescue
Sale! Sale! Sale! – “Bad Boyfriends” for Kindle, $2.99
Controlling Your Inner Critic: Subpersonalities
“Big Bang Theory” — Aspergers and Emotional/Social Intelligence
Porn Addiction and NoFAP
Introverts in Management

Malignant Narcissists

The Charming Narcissist

The Charming Narcissist

There are few encounters more damaging than those you have with extreme narcissists — in romance or as managers they often end up trying to control you through abuse. Here’s part of the chapter on narcissists from Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner:

Extreme versions of the attachment types can be diagnosed in adults as disorders. Many theorists believe that an entrenched avoidant attachment is at the core of the narcissistic personality disorder.[1]

Narcissism to varying degrees is a normal personality trait—we could substitute “self-centered” for the term and be correct. Psychologists think youthful narcissism is a part of typical emotional development—the stage where you say “Mine!” when asked about any toy. Normal children grow out of this as they experience the evaluations of others, and create a more realistic view of themselves and others as they grow up.

Many high-achieving adults score high on a narcissism test, being preoccupied with how they look to the world and working hard to increase the admiration received from others. In many professions this can be a useful and even necessary trait. But the most effective of them also understand and value the feelings of others, and thus are more successfully manipulative in getting them to do their bidding.

When we talk about dysfunctional narcissism, we are talking about adults whose self-centeredness and use of others to satisfy a deep need to be the center of attention has gone beyond functional to become abusive. The harm they do to their partners comes from manipulation, verbal and physical abuse, and abandonment—because the attention of a partner is only valued when it is shiny and new, and the increasing distress of a narcissist’s partner is met with hostility instead of efforts to reassure. The narcissist has little empathy or sympathy for the feelings of others since he or she is only concerned about getting the attention needed to cover up the hollowness of their low self-esteem.

How does the narcissist get that way? As a defense to caregiving that devalues the child’s true self, often provided by a narcissistic caregiver who needs the child to be “perfect” and “special” because that is how the caregiver views herself.

Babies crave having their performance validated, they need to be seen and loved for who they truly are, and they need to be given an ongoing sense of belonging, of being a valued fellow being in the family. If a mother fails consistently to attune to her baby in this way and to respond to his complex emotional needs, the young child, feeling unknown and unappreciated, is unable to know or appreciate himself. He shrinks back into a sense of helplessness, smallness, defectiveness, and shame, which he may then defend against by clinging to his infantile grandiosity, a grandiosity one or both of his parents may promote.… Outwardly self-important, prone to pomposity, self-adoration, and an annoying attitude of entitlement, he is haunted by a fragile self-esteem. His friends complain he’s only interested in talking about himself, his boss that he takes frustrations too personally, his neighbors that he’s pushy and conceited.[2]

Narcissistic personalty disorder is a recognized diagnostic category defined by the DSM-IV-TR, with these symptoms:

• Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
• Expects constant attention, admiration, and positive reinforcement from others
• Envies others and believes others envy him/her
• Preoccupied with thoughts of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence
• Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
• Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior
• Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic

Splitting is the defense mechanism narcissists use to save their fragile self-images from real-world negative evaluation. The self is grandiosely inflated and all which fails to reflect this false high self-esteem is devalued, “splitting” the world into good self-and-adherents and bad everything else. “Other people are either manipulated as an extension of one’s own self, who serve the sole role of giving admiration and approval, or they are seen as worthless (because they cannot collude with the narcissist’s grandiosity).”[3]

Narcissists are users: they exploit others ruthlessly for their own needs, and as a result tend to have few or no long-term relationships, with shallow and utilitarian relationships predominant.

Because of their underlying lack of self-esteem and dependence on others, they are deeply hurt or angered by criticism or a lack of the attention they feel they deserve, imagining slights in the most minor incidents.[4] Not having a realistic understanding of the emotional states of others, constant reinforcement of their egos (called narcissistic supply) is required for them to remain stable. If a relationship partner is critical or fails to provide the needed supply of ego-boosting attention, the narcissist will go into a rage and devalue the partner, with physical or emotional abuse being a common control technique. Tearing down others makes the narcissist feel better about themselves, and one key to recognizing a narcissist quickly is a self-reported history of being involved almost entirely with unreliable, crazy, or otherwise defective partners. No relationship breakdown is ever the narcissist’s fault!

Narcissists believe they are special and better than other people, and if the universe fails to confirm their belief as it becomes clear in later life that their grandiose expectations will remain unsatisfied, psychic collapse and depression can result. Narcissists rarely recognize any problem with their condition until depression and loss have made them desperate.

How to Recognize a Narcissist

A narcissist tends to talk about himself in glowing terms and denigrate or diminish others in his life; if your date mentions several previous partners and has something bad to say about all of them, he’s probably a narcissist, because no relationship issue is ever his fault. Putting down others to feel superior is their thing.

The narcissist may have the outward trappings of success, but of all the types in this book, the narcissist is the most likely to be deeply in debt to keep up appearances. The car is leased, the teeth are capped, the successes they talk about are exaggerations. If no one you’ve met knows him well and you can’t confirm his stories, beware.

In conversation, if he seems unwilling to listen to you talking about your life and your feelings, beware. No matter how interesting he seems to be, if he doesn’t show signs of caring about how you feel, don’t get sucked in. Ask yourself why this person wants you around if they don’t care to know your history, your feelings, your friends, and your family—is it because you make a great fashion accessory? Does he look more successful when you’re with him?

Any hint of controlling behavior—extreme jealousy, paranoid accusations, the sense that you have to justify yourself constantly—is a red flag. Also note as signs: overreacting to mild criticism, rages and tantrums when questioned, denial of obvious facts and events you have witnessed, and frequent lies and evasions.

The Abusive Narcissist

The classic abusive partner is a narcissist. Using verbal and physical abuse to control and maintain his relationship with a partner treated as an accessory, a narcissist can spend years demeaning and abusing a partner who is locked into a co-dependence; commonly the partner has fallen into extreme dependence as the narcissist has manipulated his partner into cutting off relationships with friends and family who might help. The narcissist will at first build up a victim and treat the victim well, then devalue and abuse, and this can be cyclic—if about to actually lose their partner, they will pretend to feel remorse and behave more sensitively for just long enough to lull the victim into staying. A long-term relationship with an abusive narcissist can severely damage the victim’s self-esteem, finances, and support network, leaving him or her with few resources to recover.

Be aware that some of the more attractive people you will meet are narcissists, and they are life-destroying in a long-term relationship. Run like hell if you meet one.

Further Reading

Footnotes:

[1] Karen, p. 390
[2] Karen, p. 390
[3] Kernberg, O.F. (1970). “Factors in the psychoanalytic treatment of narcissistic personalities.” Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 18:51–85
[4] Jordan, C. H.; Spencer, S. J.; Zanna, M. P.; Hoshino-Browne, E.; Correll, J. (2003). “Secure and defensive high self-esteem”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85 (5): 969–978. “A person can have a high self-esteem and hold it confidently where they do not need reassurance from others to maintain their positive self view, whereas others with defensive, high self-esteem may still report positive self-evaluations on the Rosenberg Scale, as all high self-esteem individuals do; however, their positive self-views are fragile and vulnerable to criticism. Defensive high self-esteem individuals internalize subconscious self-doubts and insecurities causing them to react very negatively to any criticism they may receive. There is a need for constant positive feedback from others for these individuals to maintain their feelings of self-worth. The necessity of repeated praise can be associated with boastful, arrogant behavior or sometimes even aggressive and hostile feelings toward anyone who questions the individual’s self-worth, an example of threatened egotism.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-esteem


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More on Narcissists:

Malignant Narcissists
Teaching Narcissists to Activate Empathy

More on Attachment and Personality Types:

What Attachment Type Are You?
Type: Secure
Type: Anxious-Preoccupied
Type: Dismissive-Avoidant
Type: Fearful-Avoidant (aka Anxious-Avoidant)
Avoidant: Emotions Repressed Beneath Conscious Level
Serial Monogamy: the Fearful-Avoidant Do It Faster
Anxious-Preoccupied: Stuck on the Dismissive?
Anxious-Preoccupied / Dismissive-Avoidant Couples: the Silent Treatment
nxious-Preoccupied: Clingy and Insecure Relationship Example
Domestic Violence: Ray and Janay Rice
Histrionic Personality: Seductive, Dramatic, Theatrical
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
On Addiction and the Urge to Rescue
Sale! Sale! Sale! – “Bad Boyfriends” for Kindle, $2.99
Controlling Your Inner Critic: Subpersonalities
“Big Bang Theory” — Aspergers and Emotional/Social Intelligence
Porn Addiction and NoFAP
Introverts in Management

Narcissists at Work: How to Handle Them and Get Promoted

Robert Morse

He believes in himself.

Even if you’re secure enough to stay away from narcissists in your personal life, you often have to deal with them in a business environment. The narcissist’s strength in self-promotion and manipulation can serve them well for a time in the race to climb the corporate ladder, and you find them overrepresented in executive suites of major companies with weak management integrity. Narcissism and other Dark Triad tendencies can make the borderline psychopath or consciousless manipulator an apparent success as they leave damage in their wake.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal take on the topic, by Sue Shellenbarger:

Every office full of ambitious people has them. And we have all worked with at least one—the co-worker with an inexplicable ability to rise in the ranks.

“How do they do it?” we may ask ourselves or whisper to friends at work. They don’t have more experience. They don’t seem that brilliant.

But such co-workers may possess a dose of one of the personality traits that psychologists call the “dark triad”: manipulativeness, a tendency to influence others for selfish gain; narcissism, a profound self-centeredness; or an antisocial personality, lacking in empathy or concern for others. These traits are well-known for the bad behavior that they can cause when dominant in people’s personalities. At milder levels, however, they can actually foster skills that can help people rise through the ranks.

For instance, people with narcissism, who want to be the center of attention, often make a good first impression on clients and bosses, says a 2014 review of more than 140 studies on people with mild, or “subclinical,” levels of dark personality traits. They also can be persuasive when pitching their own ideas.

Manipulators influence others for their own gain, using flattery or deceit if necessary. But these personalities—also called Machiavellians—can also be charismatic leaders and forceful negotiators, says the study, in the Journal of Organizational Behavior. And while antisocial personalities lack empathy or concern for others, they can be creative because they often enjoy testing limits.

Researchers are increasingly studying the dark triad because it is “a well-organized framework for a big chunk of individual differences that are relatively unstudied, especially at work,” says Seth M. Spain, lead author of the 2014 research review, and an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Binghamton University, part of the State University of New York. Learning to spot the traits in employees can help employers improve their career paths through training and wise job assignments.

Also, “everybody can learn from” understanding how narcissistic or manipulative people use subtle skills to gain influence, Dr. Spain says. It can also help co-workers and bosses spot extreme cases early and rein them in before they cause grumbling and discontent.

People with dark traits are often attractive job candidates because they display charm, assertiveness and apparent leadership ability, the research review says. Researchers believe narcissists tend to do well in training programs because they want to be seen at their best.

“It’s hard to go anywhere and not find such people,” says Toby Bishop of Toronto, past president of the 71,000-member Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and an independent antifraud strategy adviser. They are often skilled at making a good first impression, and “people who can talk a good talk and impress others will at least initially be respected and put in positions of authority and command by others,” he says.

The flattery often used by manipulative people is helpful in getting named to corporate boards, but only if it’s used skillfully, says a 2010 study. Managers who framed flattery as a request for advice, such as, “How were you able to pull off that strategy so successfully?” improved their chances of winning a director’s seat, the study found.

Those who were clumsy about it, however, stating flatly, “I really admire you,” or, “You’re the greatest,” hurt their chances, says the study of 1,822 managers, CEOs and directors in Administrative Science Quarterly.

Manipulators are also skilled at forming political alliances. “One of the reasons these people climb so high in the company is that they’re very forceful,” says James D. Ratley, president of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

The careers of people with these characteristics tend to derail over time, in part because they tend to focus on short-term benefits for themselves rather than long-term results for their organizations. Colleagues may come to view them as hostile, harsh or arrogant, Dr. Spain says. And when present at extreme or clinical levels, these traits disrupt lives. One thing that trips people up, Mr. Ratley says: “They think the rules don’t apply to them.”

Mr. Ratley and other corporate accounting experts cite former HealthSouth Corp. CEO Richard Scrushy as an example of a manipulative personality who could also be forceful and persuasive. Mr. Scrushy used charisma and salesmanship to build the chain of outpatient surgery and rehab clinics he founded in 1984 into a $4 billion publicly traded giant.

“He’s a classic good salesman,” says Aaron Beam, a former chief financial officer at HealthSouth, and a speaker and author of a book on the experience. “He had this magical ability to get people to agree with him.”

Mr. Beam says Mr. Scrushy also made life hard for employees who disagreed with him. “He would literally scream at you,” belittling and berating employees at weekly staff meetings, says Mr. Beam, of Loxley, Ala. He also spent lavishly on a flamboyant lifestyle.

HealthSouth hit the rocks when regulators uncovered a $2.7 billion accounting fraud, and Mr. Scrushy was fired as CEO in 2003. Mr. Scrushy was acquitted of criminal charges in connection with the fraud, but a state court later imposed $2.88 billion in civil damages against him for fraud. Mr. Beam served three months in prison for bank fraud. Mr. Scrushy got out of prison in 2012 after serving five years in connection with a different scandal, for bribing a state official.

“I do accept responsibility that it [the accounting fraud] happened on my watch,” Mr. Scrushy says in an interview, but he admits no personal wrongdoing.

For more perspective, consider how you might adopt some of the tactics of the narcissist and fight back when their manipulations are harming your team. This Psychology Today entry by Neil J. Lavender is worth a full read, with these key strategies:

Stay in Your Lane

Another simple yet often overlooked strategy is to simply do your job and not to get distracted by the narcissist. We believe that this is always the best work strategy. Being known to your employer as a good and conscientious employee will protect you from the slings and arrows aimed at you by narcissistic coworkers. Don’t get involved in the office gossip about or with narcissistic people. If the narcissist invites you to do something outside the office, such as playing golf, politely decline. If the narcissist asks you to do special favors, simply say you are too busy doing your work. If she starts denigrating another of your coworkers, excuse yourself and go back to your job. It may take a while, but eventually the narcissist will get the picture and troll for supplies elsewhere. And don’t forget that when you stay in your lane, do your work, and resist the bait (“Wow, you’d make a great addition to my political action committee!”), you are supporting your organization’s goals, which makes you an invaluable employee who is worth protecting. Even from narcissists!

Don’t Get Taken in by the Flattery

Remember the process of splitting? After the narcissist adores you, he hates you. The narcissist will flatter the heck out of you in the beginning, projecting his fantasies of perfection onto you. If you have something that is valuable to him, he will think that you are wonderful. If you accept the flattery, you will have opened the door to a relationship. When the narcissist inevitably finds out that you are only human, he will become disappointed and then will totally devalue you, and you will be persona non grata. So, don’t be deceived by the flattery in the first place.

Lookout for Possible End Runs

If a narcissistic coworker is someone whom you have to work with or go through on a regular basis, sometimes you may choose to go around and not through her. For example, suppose you are doing a report with a narcissistic coworker who is grandstanding and wasting time by trying to expand her portion of the report. Rather than telling her to speed it up and risk a vitriolic and self-serving attack about how you cannot appreciate all the wonderful things she is putting into the report, go to the narcissist’s boss and ask the boss to ask your coworker to speed things up.

It helps to be a strong networker and to cultivate relationships with others who may have more influence over the narcissist than you do. You may be able to find common ground in your organization with key individuals. Although someone might be three layers of management above you, that person is your equal while the two of you attend the same church or when both of you collect and have an affection for old vinyl records or when both of you belong to the local Rotary Club. Maybe you have a mutual friend. It would be very difficult, indeed, for your narcissistic boss to abuse his boss’s outside-of-work associate, that being you!


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More on Workplace Issues:

Introverts in Management
Malignant Narcissists
Teaching Narcissists to Activate Empathy
“Big Bang Theory” — Aspergers and Emotional/Social Intelligence

More on Attachment and Personality Types:

What Attachment Type Are You?
Type: Secure
Type: Anxious-Preoccupied
Type: Dismissive-Avoidant
Type: Fearful-Avoidant (aka Anxious-Avoidant)
Avoidant: Emotions Repressed Beneath Conscious Level
Serial Monogamy: the Fearful-Avoidant Do It Faster
Anxious-Preoccupied: Stuck on the Dismissive?
Anxious-Preoccupied / Dismissive-Avoidant Couples: the Silent Treatment
nxious-Preoccupied: Clingy and Insecure Relationship Example
Domestic Violence: Ray and Janay Rice
Histrionic Personality: Seductive, Dramatic, Theatrical
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
On Addiction and the Urge to Rescue
Sale! Sale! Sale! – “Bad Boyfriends” for Kindle, $2.99
Controlling Your Inner Critic: Subpersonalities
Porn Addiction and NoFAP

Teaching Narcissists to Activate Empathy

Well-written article in the Atlantic by Olga Khazan, discussing a study which showed people with high narcissism could be persuaded to exercise their (usually less active) empathetic abilities when directed.

Only the most malignant narcissists are incapable of imagining the feelings of others; but everyday narcissists’ skill in that area is seldom used because they are always focused on what they need, ego support. When researchers asked them to put themselves in another’s place, they were able to do so. This implies consistent signals rewarding displays of empathy might help the narcissist do better at acting on the feelings of others.

Robert Morse

He believes in himself.

Love is great, but it’s actually empathy that makes the world go ‘round. Understanding other peoples’ viewpoints is so essential to human functioning that psychologists sometimes refer to empathy as “social glue, binding people together and creating harmonious relationships.”

Narcissists tend to lack this ability. Think of the charismatic co-worker who refuses to cover for a colleague who’s been in a car accident. Or the affable friend who nonetheless seems to delight in back-stabbing.

These types of individuals are what’s known as “sub-clinical” narcissists—the everyday egoists who, though they may not merit psychiatric attention, don’t make very good friends or lovers.

“If people are in a romantic relationship with a narcissist, they tend to cheat on their partners and their relationships break up sooner and end quite messily,” Erica Hepper, a psychologist at the University of Surrey in the U.K., told me. “They tend to be more deviant academically. They take credit for other peoples’ work.”

Psychologists have long thought that narcissists were largely incorrigible—that there was nothing we could do to help them be more empathetic. But for a new study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Hepper discovered a way to measurably help narcissists feel the pain of others.

“I think what’s going on here is that people who are low on narcissism are already responding to people—telling them what to do it isn’t going to increase their empathy any further,” Hepper said. “But the higher on narcissism you get, the less empathy [you feel]. By instructing them to think about it, it activates this empathic response that was previously much weaker.”

And the narcissists weren’t just faking it. In a third experiment, Hepper showed that extreme narcissists had lower-than-average heart rates when listening to a recording of a woman in distress. (That is, “Their lack of empathy is more than skin-deep,” Hepper writes.) But if they were told to take the woman’s perspective, their heart rates leapt back up to a normal level.


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More on Narcissists:

Malignant Narcissists

More on Attachment and Personality Types:

What Attachment Type Are You?
Type: Secure
Type: Anxious-Preoccupied
Type: Dismissive-Avoidant
Type: Fearful-Avoidant (aka Anxious-Avoidant)
Avoidant: Emotions Repressed Beneath Conscious Level
Serial Monogamy: the Fearful-Avoidant Do It Faster
Anxious-Preoccupied: Stuck on the Dismissive?
Anxious-Preoccupied / Dismissive-Avoidant Couples: the Silent Treatment
nxious-Preoccupied: Clingy and Insecure Relationship Example
Domestic Violence: Ray and Janay Rice
Malignant Narcissists
Histrionic Personality: Seductive, Dramatic, Theatrical
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
On Addiction and the Urge to Rescue
Sale! Sale! Sale! – “Bad Boyfriends” for Kindle, $2.99
Controlling Your Inner Critic: Subpersonalities
“Big Bang Theory” — Aspergers and Emotional/Social Intelligence
Porn Addiction and NoFAP
Introverts in Management

“Why Honest People Sometimes Fall for Narcissists”

Good article from Psychology Today’s web site.

At the heart of the article:

The second part of the answer comes from recent evidence that honest people tend to see others, particularly close others, as more honest than they actually are. By the same token, narcissists tend to see others as more dishonest than they are, and thus see their honest partners as deserving to be exploited. Because of this imagined similarity, honest people may give narcissists the benefit of the doubt when the exploitation begins.


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.

 


More on Narcissists:

Malignant Narcissists
Teaching Narcissists to Activate Empathy

More on Attachment and Personality Types:

What Attachment Type Are You?
Type: Secure
Type: Anxious-Preoccupied
Type: Dismissive-Avoidant
Type: Fearful-Avoidant (aka Anxious-Avoidant)
Avoidant: Emotions Repressed Beneath Conscious Level
Serial Monogamy: the Fearful-Avoidant Do It Faster
Anxious-Preoccupied: Stuck on the Dismissive?
Anxious-Preoccupied / Dismissive-Avoidant Couples: the Silent Treatment
nxious-Preoccupied: Clingy and Insecure Relationship Example
Domestic Violence: Ray and Janay Rice
Histrionic Personality: Seductive, Dramatic, Theatrical
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
On Addiction and the Urge to Rescue
Sale! Sale! Sale! – “Bad Boyfriends” for Kindle, $2.99
Controlling Your Inner Critic: Subpersonalities
“Big Bang Theory” — Aspergers and Emotional/Social Intelligence
Porn Addiction and NoFAP
Introverts in Management