Dealing with Bosses & Co-Workers Who Drain You Dry

Do you work with vampires-- those bosses or coworkers who try your patience, sap your energy and drive you up a wall?  Albert Bernsetein, Ph.D., author of the new book Emotional Vampires at Work, joined us with some advice for dealing with these draining individuals.

 

Who are these Emotional Vampires?
The term is merely clinical psychology dressed up in a Halloween costume. Emotional Vampires are people with sub-clinical Personality Disorders.  
In graduate school, I learned this simple distinction: When people are driving themselves crazy, they have neuroses or psychoses. When they drive other people crazy, they have personality disorders.
People with personality disorders, like vampires, are driven by a single insatiable need. Their careers and the people they work with are merely the source for gratification of that need. Vampires have no empathy, and they never play by the same rules that normal people do.
 
What kinds of Vampires are there and what are their needs?
 
ANTISOCIALS need fun and excitement. They hate boredom worse than a stake through the heart. They love sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and gambling with other people’s money. The smartest of them are natural born con-artists. like BERNIE MADOFF, The less talented are often bullies.  Either way, they gratify their needs for excitement by taking advantage of the people they work with.
 
To protect yourself:
  • Always ask for time to think!
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it is
  • Stay calm in the face of attacks
  • Say no to crime

HISTRIONICS live for attention and approval. They are consummate actors who can look like whatever you want to see. Beneath the façade, there is little substance.   Histrionics are bored and baffled by day-to-day responsibilities. Because of their outgoing personalities, they are often good at sales, and good at getting promoted beyond their level of competence. Middle management is full of people who play the role of manager, but don’t actually manage. They rely on the magic of motivation to make problems disappear. They are the people who hold motivational rallies and who decorate hallways with captioned photos of soaring eagles and sweaty athletes in lieu of art.

 

 

To protect yourself:
  • Act like a popular kid in high school
  • Ask for priorities
  • Keep asking
NARCISSISTS just want to live out their fantasies of being the greatest, smartest, richest, most powerful, all-around best people in the world. They don’t care who they have to step on to do it, or how silly they may look to the nobodies around them.
DONALD TRUMP could be the poster boy for the Narcissistic Personality Disorder Association.
There is plenty of Narcissism without greatness, but no greatness without Narcissism. Many Narcissists, like STEVE JOBS are heroes to the world, but heartless tyrants to the people closest to them.
Another salient characteristic of Narcissists is how foolish they can be with their pants down. So many great men, like BILL CLINTON and DOMINIC STRAUSS-KAHN seem to believe that everyone wants to have sex with them, and that no one will care if they do.
 
To protect yourself:
  • Suck up!
  • If you are outraged by outrageous people, you’ll be the one who suffers
  • Ignore promises. Make them pay up front
OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVES want safety. They are terrified of mistakes – yours, because they don’t make any. No detail is too small to criticize. No issue is too trivial to be driven into the ground. Obsessive-Compulsives take pride in being control freaks. Their perfectionism is a vice that masquerades as virtue.  A good example is your MICROMANAGING BOSS
 
To protect yourself:
  • Learn to be a Control Freak Whisperer by seeing their fear, not your irritation
  • Don’t let your inner teenager make your business decisions
  • Reassure by taking notes and generating progress reports
  • Ask for priorities
  • Keep asking
If Emotional Vampires have a psychological disability, how do they manage to get hired and promoted into upper management?
 
Emotional Vampires are really good at some things: Antisocials at telling people what they want to hear, Histrionics at cheerfulness and social skills, Narcissists at self-promotion, Obsessive-Compulsives at attention to detail, and Paranoids at certainty. Emotional Vampires are Ferraris in a world of Toyotas. Too often, decision makers assume that since they are so good at one thing, they will be good at everything.
There is also the fact that Emotional Vampires communicate differently than normal people. For most of us, communication is a way of conveying what we think, how we feel, or the specifics of a situation. When Emotional Vampires communicate, everything they say is directed toward achieving an effect in the person who is listening. The truth, as we understand it, is almost irrelevant. Vampires will do or say anything to get what they want.

 

For more information, visit Al's website.

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