- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Parkhurst Brothers Publishers Inc; Revised ed. edition (April 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1935166301
- ISBN-13: 978-1935166306
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 741 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People Paperback – April 1, 2010
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Books like this help you understand. And I think "understanding" is unfortunately about the best you can do. I found learning about the narcissist personality and tactics they will inflict on you help you to build armor around yourself. They will make you think YOU are the problem. You have to be strong and know that you are not the problem. Knowing their modus operandi helps you to counteract it. For example, don't fall for the gaslighting, consciously recognize when it's happening so you can protect yourself.
I'm not sure anything can help you solve the problem. Every bit of advice I found said "non-communication" is the only solution. That's hard to do when the narc is a colleague on a small team and you MUST communicate. I found these helped me:
-- Do not meet with the narc without someone else present. EVER. Because everything said will get twisted by the narc and make you look bad. You need someone else (a non-narc and a non-friend of the narc) so someone else can corroborate your side of the story. Believe me if you don't want your professional reputation ruined, DO NOT EVER MEET ALONE with a true narcissist. ESPECIALLY a covert narcissist. Also the narcissist will say negative things and use body language (eye rolls, scrunched up face) that may likely make you emotionally upset. Getting upset and recovering from it is very distracting when you have work to do. This treatment might be less likely to happen if there's someone else in the meeting who is your ally and not the narc's ally. And if the behavior does happen, someone else can corroborate your description of what happened. My workplace has a team environment, so it was easy in our culture to be sure someone else was always at meetings with our "office narc." Usually several people are working on a project together. If you don't have a team environment, you may have an office best friend who might be willing to help you by sitting in on meetings with you.
-- Definitely do not ever meet behind a closed door with only you and the narcissist. Keep that door open, especially when there's people working outside the door who can overhear. You want them to overhear. If you meet with the narc alone, everything will get twisted, it's your word against theirs, and if you are not also a wolf, they will make you look bad. They're better at that game than you are. Keep the office or meeting room door open. If the narc wants to close a door, tell a white lie like the temperature isn't comfortable, you need air (who would argue with that?) etc. If the narc closes the door, get up and open the door again while saying this. It's not likely they will try to close the door again, unless they really are ridiculous. And yeah I think it's ridiculous that you have to get into games like this, but this is the destruction of reasonableness by narcissists.
-- Instead of talking, communicate through email. You will have documentation of every instruction you give (that typically isn't followed, understood or it's argued with unprofessionally). And you will have documentation of every word the narcissist writes to you. You will likely see some really unprofessional behavior come from the narcissist. They can't help themselves. You will then have this documented. You want this. Usually they are so full of themselves that they will be unable to see that what they wrote is unprofessional. They will try to frame you as unprofessional. But you will have it in writing, in black and white, and any reasonable boss or HR rep will be able to see the truth. I did this and it helped other people see the true nature of the communications between me and our workplace narcissist. I can't emphasize the importance of this enough. DOCUMENT. Try to not discuss important things verbally. When things go wrong, it will become them vs you and you will have no documentation if communications are verbal.
-- They may figure out what you're doing and accuse you of not talking to them. Our workplace narcissist did this to me. I responded very frankly (because the person's boss and a VP were in the meeting where we discussed my non-communication) that I had to communicate by email because when I didn't, the narcissist forgot things or didn't follow things. And they seemed to do better when instructions were given in email. And, to be honest, I wanted to create a papertrail about this. You can call it exactly what it is first, so they can't blame you for making a papertrail. There is nothing wrong with papertrails. Many office procedures are specifically designed to build papertrails. Our workplace narcissist's problem with following instructions was known to many. I stated a fact, I didn't get emotional in response to hist attack, and actually he admitted he had a problem remembering things and following instructions and he would try to do better. So ... know that you may get attacked for following these steps. Be prepared to defend yourself with a rational explanation. Documentation and papertrails are very rational and appropriate for the workplace.
-- If the narc is your boss, look for another job. I'm sorry but having dealt with this personality, that is your only option to save yourself, your career reputation, and your livelihood. Wise up to it fast. It hurts but the situation won't change. Face reality and take the actions you need to get out.
-- If you want to attack the narc, be prepared for their attack back at you, and be prepared that they will be very good at what they do when they attack you. They may attack you behind your back and you won't see it coming. This is why I recommend DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT.
-- Have good people in your personal life who can help support you. Focus on building and maintaining your good reputation at work with others. Get professional counseling if you must. You need to protect yourself. Work out your frustrations with exercise, try not to use too much alcohol or reality TV shows. :) I admit I wasn't so great at this last bit of advice -- bad TV is so good!! :)
This review went way beyond the book - but this was what worked to help me, and I expect you are here because you're having a problem. My advice relates to workplace narcissists because I haven't yet run into one in my personal life. I hope my advice helps you! I wish all the best for you!
I had no idea that there was such a personality known as "covert-aggressive" but now that I DO know, I realize just how many times in my life I've been raked over the coals by these types, most times leaving my head spinning in shock that it happened, yet again.
I never "got it" until I read this book.
I've always been considered a "nice" person. Sometimes maybe TOO nice. And with this perception often comes "confusing kindness with weakness."
Covert-aggressives cash in on this full-throttle. They're sneaky, conniving, smart, and ALWAYS watching you to decide which move they'll make to get what they want, in the same way a cat watches a mouse: quietly. Cats never come right out and pounce on their prey; there's always the "lead up" time where they just take it all in and STUDY their victims. This is PRECISELY what covert-aggressives do for a living with flattery, baby-talk, no conscience, no accountability, "poor me" and "I had no idea" all rolled into one hugely dysfunctional (and damaging - to YOU) burrito.
THIS is the new "evil." Pay attention - they're everywhere.
So, read this book and find out what to look for IMMEDIATELY.