It is important to relate with narcissists with mindfulness

A client of mine had a boss who seemed to have traits of narcissistic personality.  He was bullied by his boss nearly every day in the office.  Whenever she passed his cubicle, she picked up something and criticized him.  For instance, one morning when she walked by his cubicle, she commented about the color of his suits being unprofessional and criticized that he had no common sense in business attire.  In another instance, my client submitted a proposal for a planned project to her.  Without thorough study, she criticized him for being naïve and ignorant in this area of the project and commented that the proposal was very poorly written.  However, before handing in the proposal to his boss, my client gave this to a few colleagues for comments and all of these colleagues praised the good quality of the proposal and his thorough understanding of the area of attention.  Due to my client’s personality traits, he tended to be very submissive and weak when being criticized by his boss.  He also did not know how to say no to his boss when she tried to give him extra work out of his scope of responsibility.  How could my client relate with this boss so that he could protect himself more at workplace?

If my client wanted to relate with his boss without being manipulated and bullied, he needed to be aware of his own habitual tendency and his boss’s behavioral patterns that affecting his judgment and thinking.  Being able to be aware of these requires the regular practice of mindfulness.  With mindful awareness, my client could have the ability to notice his sudden discomfort inside him when his boss was bullying and manipulating him.  For instance, when his boss commented his suits in the morning and he felt upset and shameful, he could start to reflect on his sadness and shame.  When he was being mindful of his emotions, he might be able to reflect that he took in her comments and felt he was having very bad taste in business attire.  In fact, after this mindful awareness, he could obtain more comments from other colleagues on his business attire and learn not to be too submissive to take in the comments of his boss.  In another instance, my client could mindfully aware that he might want to rewrite the whole proposal immediately after receiving the negative comments from his boss.  In this situation, he could reflect on his habitual tendency and not to be too accommodating to rewrite the proposal.

The above ability to have the mindful awareness of the interactions with someone with traits of narcissistic personality was developed through the regualr mindfulness practice.  There are many formal mindfulness exercises that we could practice daily, such as sitting meditation, body scan or mindful walking.  In fact, it is also important for us to learn to be more mindful in our daily lives when we are engaging in different kinds of activities, such as eating, brushing teeth or taking shower.  It is important to know that cultivating mindfulness requires perserverance and hard work.  It is this lifelong practice of cultivating mindfulness that helps us not to fall into the trap of the narcissists.

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