In my last blog How to protect yourself against emotional, mental and financial abuse in marriage I discussed narcissistic abuse in the context of marriage or in relationship with your life partner. Today, I would like to continue the discussion with respect to the workplace where emotional, mental and financial abuse can run a mock as well. How do you stop narcissistic abuse when you believe your boss, your employee, a subordinate, a colleague or even a client is engaging in abusive narcissistic tactics?
All abuse relates to misuses of energy and losses of power. The abuser takes energy from another and the abused allows the energy to be taken on some level. As a result power is lost and equilibrium is looking to be re-established. The work environment is ripe territory for this to happen as power relationships are unequal and often unstable. Employees want to keep their jobs, employers want to hold on to their staff while keeping them motivated and productive, companies want to satisfy their clients while making a profit, and colleagues want to get along with each other. Generally speaking most people want to avoid conflict and are reluctant to rock the boat.
Identify where, why and how you are losing power
The first step to stop the abuse is to look at the power you are losing. Here the point is to build awareness of your energy and how the energy drainage is affecting you without judging or trying to fix the situation.
- Where is it happening? With whom …
- Why is it happening? What unmet needs are at play for both so called “abuser” and “abused” : Needs for recognition, to be liked, to stand out, to get promoted, to get job done, to stay under the radar, to make enough money to give you the freedom you are seeking, to be profitable….
- How is it happening? What strategies are being used: triangulation, gazlighting or silencing?
Narcissistic abuse is all about power plays where energy is taken from another. This can be done by using narcissistic weapons of triangulation, gaz lighting and silencing and any other tactic used to take someone’s energy to boost your own power rather than learning to cultivate, manage and grow it yourself. To learn more about power you may like to refer to chapter four “Embracing and Growing Power” in my book Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning and Abundance.
Close your eyes, connect to your breath…Bring your awareness to how are you losing your power: Working too many hours, not being paid a fair wage, surrounded by uncommitted staff, being taken advantage of by your employees, being belittled, criticized, facing too many demands at work, not having the needed resources/training to do your job, not understanding your job, not having a safe, clean environment to work in…
If you are losing your power you are allowing this to happen on some level. Notice what fears are controlling you and permitting the abuse, without judging or trying to fix anything. Are you worried about losing your job, not getting that promotion you want, being short staffed, not being liked or admired, not wanting to complain or rock the boat, not getting the job done. Compare these fears with needs that you outlined earlier.
Close your eyes and bring your awareness to these fears and notice whether or not these fears are creating the situation and if they are a result of any unmet needs outlined earlier. Notice anything else that comes up for you.
Taking action always starts with accepting the situation as is. Once you have a clear picture of how you are colluding with the behaviour and notice the tactics being used, you can gain a new perspective on the situation. You suddenly move out of victimhood and realize you have a lot more power to reclaim your energy and restore equilibrium within your energetic system. Sometimes the awareness will cause the shift you need, sometimes the awareness will need to move to acceptance and sometimes more drastic action will need to be taken to resolve the conflict. The goal is always to honour both parties and find win/win solutions rather than pointing fingers, punishing or getting rid of the problem which will simply perpetuate a narcissistic culture at work.
When you work towards stopping narcissistic abuse at work or in any area of your life, you are really healing your own narcissism which is simply the shame you hold where you do not accept yourself for the perfection you are, as well as, any associated fears and judgment that go along with denying your true nature. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices help you heal your narcissism by building awareness of your body, mind and spirit so you can connect to who you truly are and to what really matters.
Nicole Rolland is the author of “Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance” .
You can visit her anytime at Nicole Rolland Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness (NRYM) www.nicolerolland.com to learn more about her classes, programs, mindfulness coaching, as well as, her blogs, podcasts and other healing tips to help you experience and remember the wholeness and perfection you are.