Surviving the Office Narcissist: 13 Ways To Navigate Toxic Work Relationships

By Krystal Brown

Dealing with a narcissistic coworker or boss can be challenging, but surviving and thriving in a toxic work environment is possible. Here are some tips.

Set Boundaries

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It is important to set clear boundaries with a narcissistic coworker or boss. This means knowing what you are and are not willing to do, and communicating your boundaries clearly and assertively. For example, you might decide that you are unwilling to work overtime regularly or will not tolerate being belittled or insulted.

Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

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It is important to remember that a narcissistic coworker or boss’s behavior is not about you. It is about them and their need for attention and admiration. Try not to take their words or actions personally; don’t let them get under your skin.

Document Their Behavior

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If your coworker or boss is behaving in an unprofessional or abusive way, it is important to document their behavior. This will help you to protect yourself if you need to file a complaint or take legal action.

Build a Support Network

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It is important to have a support network of friends, family, and colleagues who can understand what you are going through and offer you support. Talking to others about your experiences can help you to feel less alone and more empowered.

Seek Professional Help

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If you are struggling to deal with a narcissistic coworker or boss, it is essential to seek professional help. A therapist can help you to understand their behavior, develop coping mechanisms, and protect your mental and emotional health.

Focus On Your Work

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Don’t get caught up in the drama and gossip. Instead, focus on your own work and do your best.

Take Breaks

Man stressed at work
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Make sure to take breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout. Get up and move around, or step outside for some fresh air.

Take Care of Yourself

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Ensure you get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself will help you to be more resilient and to cope better with stress. It is important to set clear boundaries with the bully. Tell them what behavior you will not tolerate, and be prepared to enforce your boundaries. For example, you might tell them that you will not engage in conversation with them or that you will leave the room if they start to bully you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Leave

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If you have tried everything and the situation is still toxic, it is important to consider leaving your job. Your mental and emotional health is more important than any job. This may be something that you want to consider if you have tried all other avenues and are still struggling.

Stay Calm and Professional

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It can be tempting to react to a toxic coworker’s behavior in kind, but it is important to stay calm and professional. This will help you to maintain your credibility and make it more likely that others will take you seriously.

Don’t Take It Personally

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It is important to remember that a toxic coworker’s behavior is not about you. It is about them and their issues. Try not to take their words or actions personally.

Focus On Your Work

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Don’t get caught up in the drama and gossip. Instead, focus on your own work and do your best. Sometimes, toxic people will do anything to get attention, and when they are ignored, you may see a difference.

Talk to HR

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If you are uncomfortable talking to your manager or feel that your manager is not taking your concerns seriously, you can talk to HR. HR is responsible for investigating and resolving workplace complaints. If your coworker or boss’s behavior significantly impacts your work or your well-being, you may want to consider transferring to another team or department. This may be the best way to remove yourself from the toxic situation.

If you are in a toxic work relationship, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Some people care about you and want to help. Talk to your trusted friends and family, and consider seeking professional help. You deserve to work in a healthy and respectful environment.

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