Do you have impossible people to deal with?
Some people just can’t be helped….
And yet we persist in trying. We drain our energy, banging our head against the wall – and the biggest tragedy is that others, who would flourish with some encouragement ,are neglected because The Impossible One has emptied our tank of empathy and resourcefulness. Do you ever wonder if that person is a psychopath?
So, how do you know it’s them, and not you? Psychologists have identified certain personality types that are called ‘The Dark Triad’, which is a collective term for narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. You can find a list of their characteristics in Face to Face in the Workplace, (e.g. impulsive, lying, deceitful, ruthless, unscrupulous, charming, devious, lacking morals…do you want me to go on? ) but the bottom line is that some people are born with only the capacity to see things from their own point of view, and nothing can change that any more than you can grow a third leg.
Doing nothing is not an option either, otherwise we will find ourselves manipulated and used. These people can be very persuasive and charming, and your very best friend – as long as they get what they want. The minute you stop being useful for them meeting their own ends, the charm will be gone.
You can’t fix it, but you can manage it. First of all, do some background reading on the subject to check out your thoughts. In many cases, it may just be a personality clash (i.e the fault is yours as much as theirs!) or a temporary problem. If you suspect that Topi (The Other Person Involved) is a member of the Dark Triad, it is important that you protect yourself.
- Be wary of friendliness, it may be a ploy to lull you into a false sense of security. Keeping things strictly businesslike may be a better option.
- Look out for being led down the garden path. Are you being swept along, or emotionally blackmailed?
- Judge on actions, not words
- Flatter them if you need their compliance. That way, you’ll be giving them something they want and they may behave for a while. They so like to be at the centre of the universe.
If it’s affecting your health or wellbeing, think how you can remove yourself – or them – from the situation.
I was wary of including this chapter in Face to Face in the Workplace, but wanted to make the point that there are some people who can’t be helped. It is important that we recognise this and don’t blame ourselves when we have done everything in our power. Funnily enough, several reviewers have said that it is one of their favourite chapters – it’s mentioned by Manager magazine this month.
I had planned to write about The Dark Triad before I saw Oliver James on Breakfast TV this morning. He was talking about the Dark Triad too, so it must be topic of the day! He has a new book, Office Politics, on working with these types of behaviours, so do check it out if you want more in depth information. The Amazon link is here