Have you ever worked with or known someone who is great at their job? Maybe they are a great teacher or mentor. Perhaps they’re an outstanding team leader.
And then one day, you realize an ugly truth about this person: they care more about how their great skills reflect on themselves than they do on positively impacting you.
I’ve written about narcissists: the “I am awesome and everything is about me or will be once I twist things around to be about me” crowd.
This particular brand of narcissist is the sleeper. We don’t hear their boisterous pontification. They may not be physically demonstrative. However, when they ask you a question, they will always interrupt you and regale you with anecdotes about how they handled the same situation, how successful everyone was because of their guidance, etc.
I feel frustrated with these people. They need a good swift kick in the ass and a heavy, heaping dose of reality.
What bothers me most is they often talk badly about or put down others, especially those by whom they feel threatened. These folks are also quick to look for accolades, even going so far as to say “wow, did you see that?! Look how great [insert whatever] was. All I had to do was [insert annoying recount of story in inflated egomaniac terms].” The sleeper narcissist will pry that compliment from us forcibly and without hesitation.
It would be great if these toxic people came with that hazardous materials insignia on their clothing so we’d know straight away with whom we’d be dealing.
Toxic people suck the creative energy right out of us. They belittle others by taking away their successes and making them their own. It’s pitiful. Remember: we don’t condone bad behavior.
I keep my ego in check as often as possible. It’s difficult to do sometimes, but I keep good people around me who help kick the pedestal out from under me when I’ve been slacking.
Are you a megalomaniac? I hope not. If you know someone who is, do them a favor and put a lot of space between the two of you. They have a hard enough time finding room for their egos.