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Bullies at Work: How to be bold and deal with Narcissists at work - an article by Coach Gia Helena at The BOLD Lab

@work boldness bully narcissist May 01, 2023
Toxic Bullies: How to Deal with Narcissistic Behavior at Work

Believe me!
I've seen firsthand the detrimental effects of bullies at work, how their aggression (passive or active), their manipulation and games, have led to profound impact on the mental health and well-being of their victims. In this article, I'll discuss the basics: how to recognize narcissistic behavior in the workplace, the impact it can have, and provide tips on how you can deal with them at work. 
So, lets cover the basics all Bold Warriors must know:

What is a Narcissist?

In psychology, a narcissist is defined as someone who exhibits a grandiose sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and a constant need for admiration and attention.

If you suspect that a colleague or supervisor is a narcissist, there are several RED FLAGS to watch out for. These include:

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement
  • Lack of empathy for others and their feelings
  • Constant need for attention and admiration
  • Inability to take criticism or feedback
  • Blaming others for their mistakes and failures
  • Gaslighting - making you question your own reality or memory
  • Undermining or sabotaging others
  • Dominating conversations and meetings
  • Taking credit for other people's work
  • Disregarding personal boundaries and personal space
  • Refusing to listen to feedback
  • Exaggerating achievements and accomplishments
  • Manipulating situations to benefit themselves
  • Using others for personal gain
  • Aggressive or confrontational behavior when challenged

Narcissistic behavior can have a profound impact on the mental health and well-being of its victims.

Do know that narcissism is a pathology, that means, it is a personality disorder. They are not able to feel any empathy for others and they DO NOT CHANGE! A narcissist is in the sociopath spectrum. A bully tipically displays many narcissistic behaviours and traits. The good news is that their profile is VERY specific and their behavior can be very predictable.

Victims may experience anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and a loss of confidence. The negative impact can extend to their work, as well, leading to decreased productivity and performance.

How to Deal with Bullies at Work

Dealing with a bully at work can be challenging, but it's important to take action to protect yourself. Here are some tips for dealing with narcissistic behavior at work:

  • Avoid engaging in power struggles - narcissists thrive on competition and conflict, so try to avoid engaging in power struggles with them. Instead, focus on your own goals and priorities, and don't get drawn into their games. Do not engage!
  • Don't take their behavior personally - remember that narcissists' behavior is not a reflection of your worth or abilities. It's simply a tactic they use to gain power and control over others.
  • Use humor to deflect their behavior - using humor to respond to a narcissist's manipulative behavior can be an effective way to diffuse the tension and avoid getting drawn into their drama.
  • Practice self-care - dealing with narcissists can be draining and stressful, so make sure to prioritize your own self-care. Take breaks when you need them, engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, and seek support from friends or a coach if you're struggling.
  • Maintain your confidence and self-respect - narcissists may try to undermine your confidence and self-esteem, but it's important to maintain your sense of self-worth and respect. Don't let their behavior make you doubt your abilities or question your value as a person.
  • Know when to walk away - if the narcissist's behavior becomes too toxic or abusive, don't be afraid to walk away from the situation. Your well-being and safety should always be your top priority.
  • Educate yourself - learn about narcissistic behavior and tactics, so you can recognize them when they occur and respond appropriately.
  • Set boundaries - establish clear boundaries for what behavior you will and will not tolerate, and communicate them calmly and assertively.
  • Document everything - keep a record of all interactions with the narcissist, including emails, meetings, and conversations, in case you need to provide evidence of their behavior in the future.
  • Limit contact - minimize your interactions with the narcissist as much as possible, and avoid engaging in arguments or conflicts with them.
  • Stay calm - remain composed and level-headed in your interactions with the narcissist, and don't let them push your buttons or get under your skin.
  • Seek/Develop a support network - having a strong support network of friends, colleagues, or a coach can be incredibly helpful when dealing with narcissists. They can provide you with perspective, advice, and emotional support when you need it. Consider seeking professional help from a coach or therapist if you're struggling to cope. 
  • Know when to escalate - if the narcissist's behavior is seriously impacting your work or mental health, consider escalating the issue to a higher authority, such as a supervisor or HR representative.

I could talk about this topic all day, but for now please know that even when dealing with narcissists can be challenging, what is the most important is to prioritize your own well-being and avoid getting drawn into their manipulative behavior.


DO NOT ENGAGE! Do not react to them, nothing. That's what they want! And you are no giving them that. Let's take steps in the direction of you creating strong boundaries and healthy coping habits, so you can maintaining your confidence, sanity, self-respect and focus. DO NOT LET THEM MAKE YOU THINK YOU ARE THE CRAZY ONE HERE! (...not today satan!)

Reach out to me if you have further questions and need to educate yourself more on this topic.

Let's do BOLD together!

Gia Helena


Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. I do not know you personally so please, always seek the advice of a certified coach, therapist or consult a professional on your specific circumstances. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read online.

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