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Escaping the Narcissist (Co-worker From Hell)

Share Your Story: Readers Describe the Behavior and Actions of Their Coworker From Hell

By Joanne

Describe the Behaviors of Your Coworker From Hell

This person was a true narcissist. Not only would she boast about herself and her accomplishments nonstop, if she did anything wrong she would blame it on an external factor, like 'being tired' or 'having too many things on (her) mind'.

I was the lucky person sitting next to her and, therefore, subjected to her nosiness. If I opened my drawer to take out a pen, her head would whip around as though pulled by an invisible string, so eager was she to see what I was doing.

This person loved to get people fired. If anyone made a mistake at work, she would drag the manager over and point out the errors to him.

Tell How You Dealt With Your Coworker From Hell

At first I was naive enough to believe this person was my friend. After all, she acted friendly; only afterward did I realize it was a narcissistic technique, namely something to get my guard down. The first cracks started to show when she took an idea of mine and passed it off as her own. After that I made sure never to offer any work-related advice to her. And if she asked me about something I would say "I don't know" in response.

The second crack occurred when the manager asked me to help sort out customer complaints via an internal web program. This person was swamped with other office jobs but that didn't stop her from being furious that I was given the job. From that day, she stopped talking to me. She also tried to drag me off that job and would always ask me to do data entry instead, even if the manager had specifically asked me to work on the CS. I didn't say a word to the manager about it because she was always sucking up to the boss, so I just kept my peace.

When I asked her if she wanted to do what I was doing, she always denied it. She specifically said she "didn't want the migraine" of doing that job. However, a few weeks later, when I went into the program to see what CS complaints were left to handle, I saw her name throughout. She was now working on it - thanks to management - and hadn't told me a word in advance.

Shortly after this I got transferred to another department. I was no longer working with her, but was still sitting next to her. Naturally, she tried to drag me off what I was doing and tell me I should be doing data entry instead! I solved this problem by going to my new supervisor and asking whether her work or the data entry was priority. She must have overheard me because she never tried that stunt with me again.

I also started calling a friend on the phone when she was at her desk and saying aloud things like, "She's so nosy! She keeps looking at me all the time!" Like a true bully, she couldn't handle it and stopped staring at what I was working on. Well, sometimes. I guess she's too nosy and mean-spirited to ever get over the thrill of spying on her co-workers.

Tips and Tricks

  • Don't act like a doormat around the person. This is what they want and they can smell weakness. Be firm and stand up for yourself - don't be rude but clearly point out the boundaries you expect between you and them. If you're working for a manager who understands, and if the harassment keeps up, by all means tell them about it.
  • If you're in a situation like I was where she was the resident rat to the manager, and where the manager used to tell her everyone's personal business, request a transfer to another department.
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