Don’t Let Your Narcissistic Coworker Ruin Your Day

In the workplace, it’s not uncommon to encounter coworkers who exhibit narcissistic behavior. These individuals tend to be self-absorbed and lack empathy for those around them. They often seek attention and praise at the expense of others, making work environments toxic and unpleasant.

Dealing with a narcissistic coworker can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day or impact your productivity.

By understanding their behavior patterns and implementing effective strategies, you can protect yourself from their negative influence while maintaining a safe and healthy working environment.

This article will explore some of the common traits of narcissistic coworkers and provide tips on how to deal with them effectively.

Understanding Narcissism In The Workplace

Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by grandiosity, an inflated sense of self-importance, and a lack of empathy. When these traits manifest in the workplace, they can be incredibly disruptive to team dynamics and productivity.

Narcissistic coworkers often display behaviors such as arrogance, entitlement, manipulation, and belittlement toward others. These individuals may also engage in attention-seeking behavior or become defensive when their actions are challenged.

Although not all narcissists exhibit these behaviors in the workplace, it’s important to recognize the signs early on before they have a chance to negatively impact your work environment. Understanding how to navigate interactions with a narcissistic coworker can help you maintain your own mental well-being while still being productive at work.

Identifying Narcissistic Traits In Coworkers

  1. Narcissism can be exhibited in the workplace through an obsessive need for admiration, domineering behavior, and a lack of empathy.
  2. Those with narcissistic traits often seek recognition and praise, demanding attention and admiration from their coworkers.
  3. Narcissists can also display domineering behavior, with a need to be in control and an unwillingness to have their authority challenged.
  4. Furthermore, narcissists typically lack empathy, which can be seen through their unwillingness to consider the feelings of others or take responsibility for their own actions.
  5. It is important to recognize these traits in coworkers in order to be aware of their behavior and to protect yourself from the potential emotional damage this type of behavior can cause.
  6. To help defuse the situation, it may be beneficial to communicate your needs and boundaries in a clear, direct manner to the coworker in question.

Obsessive Need For Admiration

The need for constant admiration is one of the most prominent traits that a narcissistic coworker exhibits in the workplace.

This personality disorder creates an inflated sense of self-importance, leading them to believe that they are entitled to special treatment and attention from their peers.

They manipulate situations to ensure that they receive praise and recognition at all times, often disregarding the contributions of others in the process.

Their lack of empathy towards coworkers makes it challenging for them to recognize or care about how their actions affect those around them.


The constant desire for validation stems from low self-esteem, which drives them to seek out compliments as a way to boost their confidence.

When working with a narcissistic coworker who craves admiration, it’s important not to give in to their manipulations while maintaining a level of professionalism and setting firm boundaries.

Domineering Behavior

Identifying narcissistic tendencies in a coworker can be challenging, as their behavior may not always be obvious.

While the need for constant admiration is a clear warning sign of narcissism, another trait to watch out for is domineering behavior.

Narcissistic coworkers often have an inflated sense of self that leads them to believe they are superior to others and entitled to control situations.

They may try to dominate conversations, and decision-making processes or even take credit for others’ ideas.

Dealing with a narcissist requires emotional intelligence and setting firm boundaries without giving in to their manipulations.

It’s crucial to recognize these warning signs early on and establish healthy communication patterns before toxic behaviors escalate further.

Lack Of Empathy

Identifying narcissistic traits in coworkers can be a challenging task, especially when dealing with those who lack empathy. Narcissistic coworkers often display red flags such as an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement to control situations.

However, the absence of empathy is one of the most significant indicators of a narcissist. They may not show concern or regard for others’ feelings, making them susceptible to engaging in manipulative behaviors like gaslighting and other forms of narcissistic abuse.

This lack of empathy can cause severe damage to workplace culture and employee morale if left unchecked. It is crucial for human resources professionals and colleagues alike to recognize these warning signs early on and set boundaries while maintaining healthy communication patterns before toxic behaviors escalate further.

Coping Strategies For Dealing With Narcissistic Coworkers

  1. Narcissism can be characterized as an excessive sense of self-importance and a strong need for admiration, often without considering the feelings of those around them.
  2. It is important to recognize the signs of narcissistic behavior in order to take steps in dealing with it appropriately.
  3. Establishing boundaries is an essential strategy for coping with narcissistic coworkers, as it can help to create a safe and respectful workspace.
  4. It is important to set limits on what kind of behavior is acceptable and to be consistent in enforcing these boundaries.
  5. Self-care is an important tool for managing difficult situations with narcissistic coworkers, as it can help to reduce stress and maintain emotional balance.
  6. Taking time to practice relaxation techniques, engaging in healthy activities, and seeking support from trusted colleagues can help to manage difficult situations and stay resilient in the face of narcissistic behavior.

Recognizing Narcissism

Do you work with a narcissist? Narcissistic traits are not uncommon in the workplace, and can often lead to negative outcomes for those who have to deal with them.

Recognizing narcissism is key to coping strategies for dealing with narcissistic coworkers. There are 9 signs that someone may be exhibiting narcissistic personality disorder, including an obsession with power or control, a lack of empathy towards others, and a tendency to take credit for other people’s successes.

It is important to spot a narcissistic coworker early on so that you can adjust your communication style accordingly and protect yourself from any potential harm. Remember, it is not your job to fix a narcissistic co-worker, but rather to focus on maintaining healthy boundaries and protecting your own well-being in the face of their behavior.

By learning how to recognize and cope with narcissism in the workplace, you can ensure that you don’t let your toxic coworker ruin your day.



One effective coping strategy for dealing with a narcissistic colleague is to set boundaries.

Narcissists often struggle with respecting the personal boundaries of others, which can lead to feelings of discomfort, frustration, and even resentment among coworkers.

By establishing clear limits on what you are willing to tolerate from your narcissistic coworker, you can protect yourself from potential narcissistic abuse while still maintaining a professional relationship.

Setting boundaries may involve being assertive in your communication style or seeking support from human resources when necessary.

Additionally, handling criticism from a narcissist can be challenging but learning how to respond calmly and confidently can help ensure that they do not undermine your work or damage your self-esteem.

Ultimately, by setting healthy boundaries, you can maintain a sense of safety and control in the workplace despite working with a narcissist.


In addition to setting boundaries, practicing self-care is also an important coping strategy for dealing with a narcissistic coworker.

Narcissistic traits can be difficult to spot at first, but there are red flags to watch out for such as the constant need for validation, lack of empathy, and entitlement.

Working alongside someone who exhibits these traits can lead to emotional stress and even narcissistic abuse in extreme cases.

To protect your mental health from the negative effects of working with a toxic colleague, it’s crucial to practice self-care regularly.

This could involve taking breaks when needed, seeking support from trusted coworkers or friends outside of work, engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, and prioritizing your well-being above all else.

By being empathetic toward yourself and acknowledging the impact that a narcissistic coworker may have on your life, you can take proactive steps toward maintaining your sense of safety and security in the workplace.

Setting Boundaries With Narcissistic Coworkers

Dealing with a narcissistic coworker can be challenging, but setting boundaries is crucial for maintaining your sanity and productivity at work.

It’s important to recognize the signs of a narcissist in the workplace, which include a lack of empathy, the constant need for attention and admiration, excessive self-importance, and manipulation tactics.

Once you’ve identified that you work with a narcissist colleague, it’s time to take action. One way to deal with this type of toxic behavior is by establishing clear boundaries on what behaviors are acceptable or not in your interactions with them.

This could mean avoiding spending too much personal time together or speaking up when they cross the line. If necessary, seek guidance from human resources about how to address the situation professionally.

Remember that dealing with someone who has narcissistic traits requires patience and persistence; it may take some time before any changes occur. However, sticking to your boundaries will help protect yourself from their harmful behavior while still being able to maintain a professional relationship.

The Impact Of Narcissistic Coworkers On Mental Health

Narcissistic coworkers can have a significant impact on mental health, particularly self-esteem and stress levels. Studies have shown that people exposed to narcissistic behavior in the workplace are more likely to experience feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.

Furthermore, the stress of working with someone who is constantly seeking attention and admiration can be overwhelming, leading to increased levels of stress.

In turn, this can affect morale, leading to reduced job satisfaction, lack of motivation, and even burnout.

It is important for employees to be aware of the potential mental health effects of narcissistic behavior in the workplace and to take proactive steps to protect themselves from its damaging effects.

Taking notice of the warning signs and seeking appropriate help can help to mitigate the damage caused by narcissistic coworkers.

Impact On Self-Esteem

The impact of dealing with a narcissistic coworker can greatly affect one’s sense of self-worth and overall self-esteem.

Narcissistic behavior in the workplace is characterized by an inflated sense of self, often leading to an overemphasis on their own importance while disregarding others’ needs or contributions.

This exaggerated sense of self-importance may lead them to belittle colleagues, take credit for work that wasn’t theirs, and even disregard set boundaries.

Over time, this constant exposure to such toxic behavior could chip away at your confidence and leave you feeling inferior.

To combat these effects, it is important to recognize when the narcissist’s behavior is out of line and establish clear communication about what you will tolerate from them.

By setting boundaries and standing up for yourself, you can not only protect your mental health but also regain control over how much influence they have on your life.

Effects On Stress Levels

Working with a narcissistic coworker can have significant effects on stress levels.

Narcissistic behavior in the workplace is often characterized by an inflated sense of self and a need for admiration, which can create a toxic work environment for those around them.

Constant exposure to such behavior could lead to increased stress levels, as well as feelings of anxiety and frustration.

Moreover, working alongside a narcissistic coworker can also negatively impact team dynamics and overall productivity.

However, it is possible to mitigate these negative effects by learning how to spot a narcissist at work and setting clear boundaries.

By doing so, you can protect your mental health and regain control over your professional life while ensuring that the team’s performance remains unaffected.

Impact On Morale

Working with a narcissistic coworker can have a significant impact on morale in the workplace. Narcissists tend to prioritize their own needs and desires over those of others, often leaving coworkers feeling undervalued or unimportant. This type of behavior can lead to low morale among team members, resulting in decreased productivity and an overall negative work environment.

Additionally, individuals who are subjected to narcissistic abuse may experience feelings of powerlessness, anxiety, and depression.

As such, it is crucial for human resources professionals and managers to be aware of the signs of narcissistic personality disorder so that they can identify these behaviors early on and take appropriate action to protect employees’ mental health and well-being.

By fostering a supportive work culture where all employees feel valued and respected, companies can mitigate the negative effects of working with a narcissist co-worker while promoting positive morale and collaboration within teams.

Managing Work-Related Stress Caused By Narcissistic Coworkers

  1. Narcissism can be difficult to identify, but some common traits in the workplace include a lack of empathy, an inability to take responsibility for mistakes, and a tendency to manipulate others to get what they want.
  2. Establishing boundaries with a narcissistic coworker is critical in managing work-related stress. This can include clearly communicating expectations, avoiding engaging in gossip, and not taking their behavior personally.
  3. Building a support system is also beneficial in managing stress caused by narcissistic coworkers. This can include leaning on the support of colleagues, supervisors, or external resources.
  4. Ultimately, in order to be successful in managing work-related stress caused by narcissistic coworkers, it is important to have a plan in place to recognize and address the issues.

Recognizing Narcissism

Recognizing Narcissism is a crucial aspect of managing work-related stress caused by narcissistic coworkers. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, lack of empathy, and constant need for admiration.

It’s not uncommon to work with a narcissist as they can be found in various fields and positions. However, spotting a narcissistic coworker can be challenging since they often present themselves charismatically and confidently at first glance. That said, some red flags may include excessive bragging, putting down others’ ideas or contributions, taking credit for other people’s achievements, and having difficulty accepting criticism.

To handle working with a narcissist successfully, it’s essential to set boundaries early on while being professional and assertive simultaneously. By doing so, you’ll prevent them from affecting your productivity negatively without causing unnecessary conflict or drama in the workplace.

Setting Boundaries

Working with a narcissist can be particularly toxic, and it’s essential to recognize the traits of narcissistic personality disorder early on to manage work-related stress effectively.

One way to handle this is by setting boundaries that protect your well-being without causing unnecessary conflict or drama in the workplace.

This approach allows you to maintain your professionalism while conveying assertiveness and confidence when dealing with a narcissistic coworker.

It’s important to remember that narcissists crave attention (known as ‘narcissistic supply’), so responding calmly but firmly will reduce their attempt to make their behavior all about them.

Human resources departments are equipped to help if the situation escalates beyond what can be handled alone, but following these steps may prevent reaching out for external support altogether.


Narcissistic coworkers can be a significant source of stress and frustration in the workplace. It is important to understand their behavior, identify traits that may indicate narcissism, and develop coping strategies to manage interactions with them effectively.

Setting boundaries is crucial when dealing with these types of individuals, as they tend to lack empathy toward others. The impact of narcissistic coworkers on mental health should not be ignored.

Constant exposure to their negative behaviors and attitudes can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and burnout.

Managing work-related stress caused by toxic coworkers involves finding healthy ways to cope and seeking support from supervisors or colleagues if necessary. Dealing with narcissistic coworkers requires patience, resilience, and consistent effort.

Although it may seem daunting at first, focusing on one’s own well-being while setting firm boundaries will ultimately lead to a healthier work environment. As the saying goes, ‘you cannot control other people’s actions but you can control your reactions.’

FAQs | Narcissistic Coworker

What exactly is a narcissist?

A narcissist is someone who has an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.

What is a narcissistic coworker?

A narcissistic coworker is someone in your workplace who exhibits narcissistic tendencies and behavior that affects the work life of those around them.

What should I do if I suspect I have a narcissist in my life?

If you identify a coworker as having narcissistic personality traits, it’s not easy to deal with them. But it’s natural to feel stressed and uncomfortable around such a person, and you should take steps to protect your own wellbeing and job performance.

Can I ignore a narcissistic person and hope they go away?

Ignoring a narcissistic coworker is not a good idea since narcissists always need some kind of attention, and not giving them that attention can backfire. It’s best to establish professional boundaries and respond to their behavior in a calm, matter-of-fact way.

How can I spot a narcissistic coworker?

Narcissistic coworkers can often be identified by how they crave excessive attention in the workplace, exaggerate their skills and accomplishments, and preoccupy themselves with being the center of attention.

Why can narcissism be particularly toxic in a workplace setting?

Narcissism can be particularly toxic in a workplace setting since it can create an environment where everyone is fighting to be the center of attention, the narcissistic person gets all the glory and rewards, and the needs of the team aren’t met.

How can I deal with a narcissistic coworker?

Establishing professional boundaries and responding in a calm, matter-of-fact way can help you deal with a narcissistic coworker. It’s also important to stay focused on your own work and job performance, and not let the narcissistic coworker get under your skin.

Should I feel sorry for a narcissistic coworker?

While it’s natural to feel empathetic towards the narcissistic person, you should remember that they are responsible for their own actions and behavior. Don’t condone their actions or try to fix them; it’s not your job to serve as their therapist.

What should I do if my first impression of a coworker is that they are a narcissist?

While it’s important not to judge someone too harshly based on first impressions, if you feel like a coworker is a narcissist outwardly, you should still interact with them in a professional manner and focus on getting along.

Can a narcissistic person change?

Since narcissists have a sense of their own importance and manipulate people to get what they want, change can be difficult for them. But it’s not impossible, and some narcissists may seek professional help to manage their behavior.

Derrick Wilson

Derrick Wilson

Derrick is a 55-year-old veteran life and wellness coach who specializes in helping people achieve success and happiness in their lives. Derrick is based in Bay Area and has extensive experience spanning around 30 years in helping people from all walks of life. His unique approach combines the latest scientific research with tried-and-true techniques that have helped millions of people change their lives for the better. If you're looking for help in any area of your life, he is here to help.