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Work colleague's a big know-it-all

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The Narcissist as Know-it-all

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Grandiosity, Fantasies, and Narcissism

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The Narcissist in the workplace

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I am Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" , a work of reference about the Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

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Work colleague's a big know-it-all
shirleymalove@[sign in to see URL]

Q:I have a co-worker who is a know-it-all. She uses big words, talks down to everyone and tells them how to do their job -- even those with more experience. We work on projects and she acts like her ideas are better than mine. She makes me feel like an idiot in front of others! I dread going to work. I want to quit, but can't. What's her problem?

A: Your co-worker seems to possess numerous narcissistic traits that cause her to appear exceedingly confident. However, this air of superiority is deceiving because at the core of her psyche she is extremely fragile.

Narcissism develops as a result of an overly frustrating early relationship with a primary caregiver whereby love or approval is withdrawn if the child differs from or disappoints the parent's expectations. Such parents see the child as an extension and reflection of themselves and not as an autonomous individual.

Nearly everyone has some narcissistic characteristics. However, when they predominate, interpersonal relationships are greatly affected.

Your colleague's offensive behavior is likely an effort to protect the vulnerable self. At times, she may doubt herself and subconsciously project these unwanted feelings onto others. Consequently, those people begin to question themselves and she has succeeded in ridding herself of doubt.

If you differ from her in your approach on assignments, she may feel threatened and need to reassure herself by criticizing you.

You claim that she makes you ''feel like an idiot.'' Perhaps she senses some of your vulnerabilities and targets them to serve her own needs. Remember, she cannot make you feel anything about yourself that doesn't already exist within you. Boost your self-confidence by acknowledging your strengths, which will allow you to improve upon perceived weaknesses.

Shirley Malove is a licensed clinical social worker.

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Mar/13/2009, 9:25 am Link to this post  

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