In my experience as a systemic psychotherapist I have worked with victims of organisational bullying. I also have worked as a leadership trainer in various organisations and have sadly seen that narcissistic dynamics do and are allowed to thrive to the detriment of the mental health of many employees and the performance of many organisations.
These systems include private businesses, schools, universities, therapy/medical/nursing training colleges, the judiciary, the civil service, the church and many more types of organisations because narcissists and their harems can be found operating everywhere if they allowed to infiltrate the system.
I have also worked in a narcissistic environment myself and have supported many clients who had no option but to leave(often manipulated out) of their workplace due to stress. The narcissist and their harem had worn them down.
Other workers watch in silence and fear as narcissistic bullying takes place and as they are conditioned into believing they do not have a voice. Those that do hold their sense of self and voice leave or are bullied out.
Often the narcissist is jealous of their ability and is also threatened when they know they can be seen through or stood up to. This is a huge loss to the organisation as these workers are often the most creative and capable. This leaves the system to become more unwell as trust (the immune system of an organisation) and the organisational health further deteriorates.
One of the main objectives of narcissist is to gain power and control over people and relationships in the organisation. Their harem/flying monkeys help them achieve this power by feeding back information. Power is achieved by positioning themselves at the centre of the communications network. This puts them covertly in control of all relationships. This can happen regardless of their position in the company. I have worked therapeutically with victims of bullying where the narcissist was in middle management and was manipulating those senior and junior to her.
In communication they may exert their power by diminishing what someone has said or purposely excluding a person from a conversation or from a meeting. They can ignore the person when they speak. This is called alienation. They can also have a tendency to not speak directly to a person but through others causing confusion and destabilisation.
Narcissists feed on confusion - it is fuel for them. If they are angry they do not discuss their anger they ghost people without explanation - the narcissist can be particularly difficult if a person tries engage in open communication and ask reasonable questions.
The narcissist can also have a tendency to lie or change their story to each person on the same subject. This deliberately causes confusion, it results in people doubting their reality and it is a form of gaslighting and triangulation. People become frustrated with each other, when all along they were being set up by the narcissist.
When someone healthy tries to get clarity with the narcissist through discussion they are told they are imagining things. They are gaslighted via denial from the narcissist and their flying monkeys or via criticism which is turned on them. Whistle blowers come to mind and the difficulties they encounter.
I wonder why organisations allow this to happen when the very foundation of an organisation must be built on trust and teamwork to thrive?
More importantly narcissistic behaviour in organisations damages the mental health of our people and causes the exit of their best employees. Are management afraid to deal with the narcissist? Or are management in some cases part of the harem? Things must change for our people”s health and for the health of the organisation if it is to thrive and survive.
For more information about the subjects covered in this blog, contact Margaret Parkes - phone: 086 832 0422 email: email@example.com