Dear Rhonda & Dr. Cheri: Dealing with authority bullies
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I’ve had workplace problems throughout my career. I’m a social worker.
I’ve left several companies because I’ve been brutally smeared with gossip, berated, shunned, and ignored. This behavior has always been by my superior and their groups. I feel like I never left high school.
I’ve tried talking with my bosses or respectfully confronting them. My friends say nowadays, many bosses are power-hungry narcissists.
My new boss complained about my approaches with parents of the kids I work with. I’ve never heard this.
I had to be “trained” to have more compassion. I’m not the one missing compassion. I’m a child advocate. Some parents have been arrested for child abuse, neglect, and drugs.
My boss kept looking at her watch and saying, “uh-huh,” but she didn’t actually listen or care. She was insulting and heartless. I think she’s a narcissist.
Not a Narcissist
Dear Lovely Lady,
We admire your desire to challenge bosses who may have authority figure problems. Usually they are the ones who are insecure.
Narcissism Personality Disorder is actually rare. However, recent psychological studies found that behavioral trends signal that narcissism is on the rise. Approximately 70 percent of students today scored higher on narcissistic scales than 30 years ago. Research shows lack of empathy as the main reason for this.
Before we label all bosses narcissists, let’s look at what defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD):
• Lack of empathy;
• Exaggerated esteem;
• A need for praise and attention;
• Arrogance and being judgmental; and,
• A need to feel superior.
Many researchers say that excessive unwarranted praise and admiration by parents, who were, conversely, the recipients of hyper-criticism and abuse, plays a large factor in a child’s lack of empathy.
Perpetrators who are authority figures have been shown to abuse their power. They can be disconnected from people and their organizations because of their inability to have empathy.
Workplace bullies get away with their abuse because their superiors don’t take the bullying seriously and subordinates don’t continue to report it.
You didn’t decide to be a victim, but you can continue to choose not to stay a victim, by standing strong (literally) and showing compassion anyway.
You can’t change the bad character of anyone else, but you can help create virtues, values, and care for others by your goodness and humble, yet bold example.
It doesn’t matter if your bosses are narcissists, it matters that our society educates others on empathy and helps to stop children from becoming entitled.
We need valiant people like you to change our current culture.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org. Join our 100th podcast celebration at BullyingLifeandStuff.com.