2020-11-04 HR Examiner weasel seriees Heather Bussing img feature weasel t shirt crop 544x304px.jpg


You probably work with a weasel


The Weasel Spectrum runs from Jerks to Sociopaths, with Narcissistic Weasels in the middle. Narcissistic Weasels are different from regular narcissists. We are all a little self-absorbed sometimes. People call us on our stuff, we see it, we apologize, and change.


That’s not what I’m talking about.


photo of Heather Bussing on HRExaminer

Heather Bussing is our vice President of Strategy

I’m talking about Weasels with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). These Weasels can’t see how their behavior is damaging to themselves and others. All they see is what they want and what they need to do to get it. Since they can’t see the havoc they cause, Narcissistic Weasels operate on the basis that everything they think, believe, and do is right (even when it changes every other day). Narcissistic Weasels won’t ever change.


This is the most important thing to understand when dealing with Weasels who are on the NPD, Borderline, Sociopath spectrum. They think they are fine. In fact, they believe they are amazing, awesome, and wonderful. And anything that does not fit their world view must be overcome, rejected, or denied. They can’t see who they are or how what they do affects others.


Most of us are a little neurotic; some of us are really neurotic. But when it causes problems in our lives, or we notice our behavior is a little weird (or even ridiculous), we can recover. So when it dawned on me that it’s okay to take the garbage cans to the street even if there is still some trash in the trash bins inside, I could laugh at my obsession with getting every waste basket empty and out the door on trash night.


Narcissistic Weasels are different. They determine the proper way to take out the trash. Because they are very insecure under all that bravado, they do some research, get an authority, and find something special about the way they want to establish trash protocols. Then they insist that everyone do it their way. There are no longer multiple right, or even okay, ways to take out the trash. There is one, right way: the Weasel Way.


Yep. Lucy was probably a Narcissistic Weasel

Yep. Lucy was probably a Narcissistic Weasel


It is really difficult dealing with Narcissistic Weasels because they don’t care about you, the project, the good of the company, or anybody but themselves, power, control, and accolades.


Here are some ways to manage Weasels


1.   Run Away. I’m not kidding. If you can, get out. Don’t live with, work with, or deal with Narcissistic Weasels whenever possible. This should always be Plan A. Get the hell out.


2.   Have Boundaries. It’s completely useless to reason with, argue with, or take on a Narcissistic Weasel directly. They don’t listen, they won’t change, and they only hear what they want to hear anyway.


But you can have limits. Limit meeting times. Limit contact. Carve out specific things that you are responsible for and then go do them on your own. Contain your contact and interaction as much as possible.


If the Weasel is bugging you with constant emails, messages, and demands, figure out a reasonable time to handle the requests, then stick to it. For example, only look at Weasel mail on Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons. Respond then and don’t respond at other times. If the Weasel complains, explain that you have designated that time to give it your full consideration and attention. You don’t have to explain why the Weasel is “special,” just that she is.


3.   Put Everything in Writing. Understand that Weasels will misinterpret, mishear, or ignore whatever you say to them. It does not matter how many times you say it, or how clearly you express the idea, request, or directive. If it does not match the Weasel’s world view, it never happened.


So once you know you are dealing with a Narcissistic Weasel, communicate everything in writing. If you have a conversation, follow up with an email that reiterates what happened and what you said. That way, when things go sideways, or the Weasel changes his story, or just flat out lies, you have a record of what really happened.


4.   Don’t Take it Personally. This is very hard, because the Weasel really is out to get you and will make it very personal. But the truth is the Weasel can’t see you, doesn’t understand you, and doesn’t really care about you at all. You are merely an obstacle between what is happening and what the Weasel wants. So if you can see the Weasel spin and just get out of the way, often he moves on to a different arena, game, or distraction. But the minute you take it personally and start defending yourself, the battle is on and you just lost control of your time, energy, and peace of mind.


5.  Don’t Ever Tell Weasels They are Weasels.  Narcissistic Weasels are extremely sensitive to the slightest criticism and will completely lose it if you tell them how messed up they are. It will become their life’s mission to prove that you are wrong. You really don’t need that. Besides, telling them won’t matter because they won’t believe you, won’t change, and have no interest in changing even if they could. So it’s also completely futile.


6.   Pick Your Battles Carefully. Weasels love to fight, love drama, and love to be in the middle of it. So they will disagree, pull stunts, stir up trouble, and wreak havoc every chance they get. It will piss you off. It will drive you batshit.


Learn to let it go. In fact, learn to let most stuff go whenever you can. It’s not worth your time, effort, energy, or attention. Don’t take the hook. Even if you are really, really right.


But sometimes, it is a big deal and you have to wade in and take the Weasel on. When that happens, be prepared for a long drawn out battle where the focus will not be on the problem, the solution, or the Weasel. The focus will be on you and everything you have ever done wrong, whether it matters or is even relevant.


Which brings us to the one of the most important things:


7.   Get support. The absolute best thing you can do when dealing with a Narcissistic Weasel is to take care of yourself. You need a friend, or spouse, or therapist (preferably all of them) to help you remember you are not crazy, and to let go of the nonsense, accusations, and free-floating insanity. You need someone to remind you that you are safe and loved and that everything really is okay, even though you have to deal with a Weasel.


And then, as soon as you can, run away.


2020-11-04 HR Examiner photo img article from Heather Bussing about dealing with weasels at work and running away when needed 544x363px.jpg

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