How to Cope With A Gaslighting or Narcissist Boss

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Your boss openly criticizes you, with the intention of shaming you in front of your coworkers.  He tells you to meet him in his office.  You immediately feel the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Under no circumstances do you want to be alone with your boss.  Your boss changes your performance evaluation after you’ve signed it.  He puts you in unsafe situations.  Working for a boss who is continually harassing and sabotaging you can drain your energy and cause your relationships outside of work to become strained.  What do you do?

First, there is a difference between an incompetent, boorish boss and a gaslighting/narcissist boss.  A gaslighting/narcissist boss isn’t just ignorant—he lives for getting power and control over others.  There is nothing better to a gaslighter/narcissist than to make you feel dependent on them for your job, while at the same time he sabotages and insults you.  Gaslighters/narcissists can be covert or overt.  Overt gaslighters/narcissists will embarrass you in front of others, treat you terribly in front of office guests, and brag about their accomplishments.  Covert gaslighters/narcissists use sneakier methods to exert their power.  They may sign into your computer and delete files, spread rumors that you are incompetent, or quietly call you names as they walk by your desk. The covert gaslighter/narcissist can be even more dangerous than the overt one, due to the fact that you now have the uphill battle of wanting others to believe that the boss treated you egregiously.  Covert gaslighters/narcissists know just how to fly under the radar.  They engage in behaviors that are despicable, but they don’t necessarily break any company policies.

Keep documentation of your interactions with your boss, including date, time, and quotes.  Keep this information off your company-owned devices.

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