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How Codependents Leave Employment with a Narcissistic Boss by Dr. Roberta Cone

The narcissistic boss is a charming, beguiling, angelic nightmare who lacks empathy, has an authoritarian personality, and inflicts great mental abuse on their staff. They control their employees by intimidation and fear, constant criticism, and cultivating a competitive hostile work environment. Once an employee’s initial admiration ends or the narcissist gets tired of being nice, they punish you for not being docile and obedient. They work at lowering your self-esteem as a means to reassert control, superiority, and grandiosity. This cruelty is done for pleasure as they are incapable of empathizing with the pain, they cause you. When you question the inappropriateness of their behavior, they perceive you to be intentionally frustrating and withholding admiration. The narcissistic boss will not praise, reward or recognize your work, no matter how long or hard you work for them.

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Leaving a job with a narcissistic boss means you are ready to end the abuse, rigid rules, secrets, manipulation, betrayal, and feeling of desperation. Some codependents of narcissistic employers say leaving their job is the end of evil. Narcissistic bosses inflict misery on their employees to make them feel insignificant and damage the lives of almost everyone they encounter. They are adept at finding the vulnerabilities in people’s psyches. Abusive narcissists require staff to give up their own desires to cater to their needs instead. Expecting something from an abusive boss who has nothing to give can make a codependent employee feel crazy.


Codependents have an exceptionally high tolerance for emotional pain and inappropriate behavior. This coping skill helped them survive growing up in a dysfunctional family system. These adult children learned that any positive feelings about self are dependent on someone else's mood. This learned belief is the ideal set-up for narcissistic abuse. Lacking entitlement to their feelings, codependent employees tend to be indirect about their needs, deny hurt feelings, and distrust their intuition. Codependents believe that being a good employee means sacrificing for their boss and putting up with whatever the boss wants to dish out.


When you keep secrets and don’t speak up about a narcissistic employer's behaviors and trauma, the abuse can slowly eat at your soul. Keeping the narcissist's secrets literally weighs you down as you eat, smoke, or drink your feelings. Staying in a job with a narcissistic boss is the beginning of a physical disease process in the bodies of many employees. Disability leave from employment stress is prevalent, especially in hostile work environments.


Leaving employment with a narcissistic boss also means that you are ready to feel the immense relief that comes when you stop denying reality. You stop excusing the inappropriate behavior. You stop waiting for your boss to demonstrate respect or be someone they are not. You honor your feelings and walk away from the destructive attachment.


Codependents have a deep capacity for love, but they haven’t developed enough self-love to stop the pain that an unhealthy work environment causes. You must work through your family of origin issues, so you don’t find yourself working through them with the people that employ you. Once you learn to love and respect yourself, you will become attracted to employers who respect you. Having a solid sense of self will help you muster the courage to speak up to an abusive boss. If you continue to have great difficulty leaving your employment, please seek professional counseling.


Do you struggle with a narcissistic employer, or do you know someone who does? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.


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