A few years ago I worked with a woman who I am sure had a narcissistic personality disorder. Going to work was like walking into hell. Though I knew she was ill, I experienced her as evil. Her previous manager had written her an exceptional reference then when she was in position, he retracted the reference openly admitting he had done it to get rid of her!
In her previous position she had actually nearly bought down a whole borough service. Now she was free to do the same in this post which she did within a year. I managed to get out at 6 months but the hideousness of that time still remains with me. She was everything a worst bully can be but always presented herself as the victim.
Everybody was inferior to her except another person who constantly re-inforced how brilliant this hideous person was. They developed an intimate relationship and the whole service quickly evaporated as they developed a siege mentality trying to destroy everything around them (including me) whilst their role was to set up a new service which they did not get further than painting the bathroom of the building we were to work from.
Sadly, a manager above them was sacked for not managing them but the pair were unmanageable. I am glad to say funding for this new service was pulled within a year as they did not have the skills to actually develop it as their task became to destroy all around them. I have since worked with people who have specific traits this woman had but never to the extent.
You cannot challenge these people. If you do prepare to go it alone and be alienated by others who do not want the bullying directed towards them. Managers are unable to manage them so going above them does not work. I tried. Two people who knew her from her previous post looked in horror when they realised she had moved boroughs and one woman left her post stating she would never work anywhere this woman worked again.
These people are rife in the caring professions. They feel superior to people ill and in need and once in position start going up the management ladder. I wish there was a way of filtering out such people. Though she was unbearable a part of me also felt sad for her when I saw slash marks on both forearms which re-enforced my belief she was ill and should have been a client of a service herself rather than a manager.
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