My first experience of working with a narcissist at a workplace was the first shock I had to my psyche.
It all started with a sweet and accommodating demeanour, i.e the love bomb phase, which lasted for about two weeks.
After we started to get to know each other, we shared the universities we graduated from and apparently much like me, she didn’t study in Australia either, so I naturally intrigued to learn about her experiences at work in the country.
However, things took a turn for the worse, when she mentioned her university and I had inquired about the location of university, to which she took offense to the fact that I was supposed to know, because its a famous university according to her.
To which I responded, I was born and raised in Oman and I wouldn’t have any clue about some university in India.
From that day forward, all her behaviour, words, tonality and body language had an element of malevolence towards me.
At that time, I have never experienced this level animosity from someone for such a trivial matter. Hence, I didn’t right tools mental tools to handle that life situation.
However, I did know that I should focus my energy on what I can control and not what others do or say about me.
Hence, I focused on the job as best as I could.
The narcissistic coworker I had, was someone I was reporting to.
If you have ever worked for a narcissistic person before, you know exactly how this story is going to progress.
In a nutshell, it wasn’t good.
There were days I used to wake up at 3am to send an email I forgot to send the day before. That’s a small version of the mental pressure I was taking on.
Her instructions on tasks lacked detail, i.e lying by omission manipulation tactic. Ofcourse, I didn’t know this fact at that time.
When inquired about the details, the answers on chat apps were one word answers or if asked in person, she is either busy or reply with contempt.
Later I was let go from the role, because of a task that I had done for a client, stemming from the lack of detail in her instructions for the task.
My repeated inquiries about the task resulted only in answers without any specificity. Unfortunately, I didn’t document the communication.
Just like that, I learned my first lesson when working with a narcissist.
Towards the end of working at that workplace, I started doing a mental post-mortem of that experience as a result of which I learned about narcissism, manipulation tactics etc, which opened my eyes to the malevolent nature of these people.
However, the big mistake I did was I didn’t dive deep into this subject matter, because it felt too evil and I didn’t want to be a chronic cynic.
Instead naturally, I thought my past experience was probably a one off and says only about just this individual, and that I shouldn’t be brushing an entire group of people just because of the experience I had with just one person.
Hence, I kept my mind open and still trusting there are good people out there and I just have to find them.
Soon after this experience, I moved to another company hoping for a better experience.
However, in this company, I gained an unofficial PHD in the dark nature of humans. PHD in this context means permanent head damage lol.
Jokes aside, this company scarred me mentally, they took my soul and in return taught me a lesson I will never forget in my life.
I learned about the unconscious forces that dominate workplaces and oppress the lives of both men and women, whilst portraying an image of benevolence to the world.
If you know, you know!
In this company, I was psychologically harassed, verbally bullied, racially discriminated and I was becoming depressed with each passing day.
Then the pandemic hit us, it affected many people adversely.
For me, it was a blessing in disguise. I didn’t have to go to office and deal with the cluster b personalities at work.
During lockdown, I was able to invest alot of time to learn more about self-care without indulging in vices like alcohol or drugs, so that I could feel less depressed and be more productive for better career opportunities.
All my efforts to look for a better opportunity, only resulted in a common rejection, “Lack of local experience”, which is a euphemism for “you don’t have student debt so that we can control you by fear”, but ofcourse, I didn’t know that back then.
While working in that company, in one of the Christmas lunch we had I made a major discovery.
You see, a day before the day of Christmas lunch, I went to bed at 10pm and was only able to sleep around 2:30am. I woke up at 6am, because I wasn’t able to sleep anymore.
I was mentally stressed out. I was only 28 back then.
On the day of the Christmas lunch, I was high on caffeine to be able to function decently and I had a TON of turkey.
I enjoyed it so much such that, I just kept going.
After the lunch, some people stayed back for dancing but I took off.
To this day I don’t know how I reached home.
I recall going to bed at 6pm and waking next day at 1pm.
I was out for 19 hours. The best sleep I had ever had, all my life even till today.
I was curious, I had to figure out how I slept like that.
My research lead to the turkey I had the day before. Turns out turkey has a lot of L-tryptophan and its a precursor to producing serotonin in the brain.
Now turkey was really costly, so I opted for L-tryptophan supplements and I immediately started seeing benefits from it.
Albeit, not as profound as consuming turkey, but nonetheless decent enough to knock me out without too much alcohol or any other substances.
This discovery enabled me to handle the workplace stress better and I positive effects of that cascaded onto my workouts, my thyroid issues were getting subsided and I was becoming better every week.
After a couple of months, as I delved deep into self-development which involved reading books, I stumbled on Dr. Jordan B Peterson’s book “12 Rules for Life”.
Right at chapter 1, he talks about how serotonin affects the brain and the psychological aspect of serotonin, which illuminated my mind considering my first hand experience with “discovering” the positive effects of serotonin release in the brain.
Armed with this knowledge, experience and real life experience watching the patterns of narcissistic colleagues, I felt a high level of personal power to face the world.
I was more sharper, smarter and stronger to combat a toxic workplace. I wasn’t bulletproof, but I was most certainly progressing in that direction.
I had a deep sense of gratitude to God, higher power or the universe for giving me the fortune to discover this from my experience even though I didn’t have a mentor to reveal this to me.
Speaking of mentor, I had one. Here is what I learned for those c***s.