They refuse to accept blame, will manipulate people and events for their own self-serving purposes, and react with rage when their omnipotence is questioned or threatened.
It is estimated that less than one percent of the population suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Most narcissists, about 75 percent, are men.
With a world population of approximately 6.
5 billion people, about 16,250,000 narcissists are female.
I had the unpleasant experience of working for one of them.
I found it hard to reconcile in my mind how this woman could be gregarious and personable outside the office and be indifferent, demanding, and hard to please when not surrounded by an adoring and fawning audience until I discovered the definition of NPD about a year ago.
A narcissist requires excessive admiration and will place themselves in a position to receive it.
Narcissists are experts at making people admire them.
Time and again I witnessed people fall under the spell of this woman's grandiose and exuberant tales of successes, one-up-man-ships, unequaled brilliance, and self-confidence.
Typical of a narcissist, she is adept at becoming the center of attention in any circumstance and can be quite charming.
Early in my exposure to her I, too, fell under her spell.
I was in awe of someone who demanded and received favorable priority treatment from everyone.
Through my association with her I met television personalities and national government figures.
I also heard her malign and ridicule those same people when they did not jump at the opportunity to do her bidding.
When a television personality's schedule did not permit him to make a reappearance at our national conference, he was referred to as a sawed-off little twerp who is more concerned with his television ratings than in helping the law enforcement profession.
When the attorney general refused to take her grant request out of the chain of command and push it for approval, he was called a Mexican yes-man with no backbone.
Narcissists demonstrate arrogant and haughty attitudes coupled with rage when contradicted or questioned.
My initial first-hand experience with this occurred when, during a friendly after-work drink, our boss asked a co-worker and me what needed to be changed to make the office run smoother.
Innocently believing that she truly wanted our input, we told her.
Unbeknown to us, our observations and recommendations were perceived as criticisms of her.
Narcissists do not accept blame or admit errors; whatever is wrong is someone else's fault.
Narcissists are easily offended and will harbor grudges.
She controlled her rage that evening, but my co-worker and I were assaulted by it for the next two months as we bore the brunt of her rudeness, impossible demands, and constant unwarranted criticisms.
Time and again I witnessed new employees grow tired of the constant barrage of boastfulness and arrogance as they began needing and demanding true guidance and supervision.
Narcissists will sacrifice being liked to achieve admiration and have little use for those who are no longer enthralled.
Narcissistic bosses are prone to temper tantrums, especially if a subordinate displays abilities that might overshadow the boss's abilities or indicate any independent thought.
Narcissists do not acknowledge other's contributions.
More than one employee has remarked on more than one occasion that a simple "thank you" or "job well done" would be a welcome respite from the turbulent atmosphere that pervades the office.
She constantly criticizes employees behind their backs to other employees to insure that those who do a good job get little respect from their co-workers.
Narcissists will manipulate people and events to make themselves look good.
I have never known such an expert conniver as this woman.
From pitting employees against each other to re-writing history, this woman is an expert at manipulation.
Anyone who questions her motives or contradicts her recollections will suffer her rage.
Typical of a narcissist, she is so adept at using people to achieve her personal desires that the person is not aware they are being used.
A typical example of this is her penchant for hiring people totally unqualified for the job.
She sets them up for failure so that she can later belittle them for their inabilities.
She also hires people who are not only unqualified but who also have personal problems.
Previous employees have included pregnant and unmarried women, people with a history of substance abuse, and people with emotional problems.
Those employees were grateful to be "rescued" and provided the adoration and worship that a narcissist craves.
They were all totally surprised when, several months after their hiring, she no longer required their particular type of adoration and fired them for their incompetence.
Narcissists are socially maladaptive, constantly changing the rules and introducing new variables.
Employees of a narcissist never have a clear picture of what is expected of them because the expectations are in a constant state of flux.
My co-workers and I refer to the constantly turbulent office environment as "mood of the moment" management.
Narcissists are great actors.
A narcissist can appear to be the perfect manager, fooling those he reports to while treating employees more like robots than human beings, setting unrealistic goals and talking down to them.
The narcissist uses subtle brainwashing and controlling techniques to keep employees in their subservient place while appearing to others to be a fair, caring, and competent manager.
Last year a member of the board of directors, one of the "adoring worshippers", left that position and became an employee.
She quit after just six months, disillusioned and disappointed after seeing for herself what this woman is really like as a boss and knowing this narcissist puts on an act for her board of directors.
Her ability to connive and manipulate insures that the only people who serve on the board of directors are pliable and naïve adorers.
A narcissist thrives in a position of authority.
His subordinates provide a never-ending supply of the awe, fear, admiration, adoration, and obedience that are required.
An employee who fails to provide this needed fodder is soon devalued by the narcissistic boss.
This also feeds the narcissist's need to show the world how they must handle everything because they can depend on no one.
When this woman goes off on tangents complaining that she must handle everything on all nine desks because the employees are so incompetent, several of us comment that she has climbed back up on the cross.
One article I read described a narcissistic leader as a monstrously inverted Jesus who believes he is sacrificing his life because no one else can possibly be qualified to do the job.
It is difficult to identify a narcissist.
It took me over twelve years to identify the underlying cause of this woman's erratic behavior.
Narcissists can be fascinating personalities.
Only on close observation does it become apparent that the narcissist is selfish, self-absorbed, defensive, emotionally needy, and willing to step on everyone to achieve their goals.
Because of the instability of the situation and the constant high tension and resulting stress, it is not uncommon for employees of narcissistic bosses to develop high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, gastro-intestinal problems, Post Traumatic Stress symptoms, and other maladies.
For nearly fourteen years I watched my co-workers develop one or another of these conditions.
Narcissists will never admit they have a problem or seek treatment voluntarily, and the behavior seems to get worse over time.
I eventually learned to play the game with her to keep the peace until I could remove myself from her emotionally unhealthy workplace environment.