I own a leather-bound, name-embossed work compendium. It has pockets for receipts, pens, credit cards, etcetera – but its main purpose is note-taking during meetings.

Any psychological profiler will explain this means; I’m an organised person with personal and professional pride – in who I am and what I do…that, and I’m old school.

Studies show that writing, as opposed to typing, enhances conceptualisation and improves information processing. Anything to affect quality cognition, right.

It’s the old adage: when people tell you who they are, listen to them. While I also subscribe to the cognitive model, I’m all eyes and ears regards social learning theory and behaviourism as practice to build, manage and end relationships.

For example, I’ve worked with numerous narcissists – mostly vulnerable, as opposed grandiose. A ‘narc’, along with the Machiavellian and psychopath form the dark triad with all drawn to leadership roles, wreaking havoc.

They are manipulators who lack compassion, are often bullish in approach and prone to taking credit, when it isn’t due. Looking closely, one can see the personality gaps from across the room.

A roll-of-the-eyes or lopsided smile of contempt, the steeple hand posture in ‘God’ talking or listening, a jealous comment or put-down…all is revealed. Narcs do status like it’s going out of fashion – if you are beneath them or a threat, you’ll know it.

The narcissist is a little easier to take in the workplace, because the behaviours they inflict at home would never fly professionally. But, they are still pretty tough to take.

One particular Airservices Mach-narc manager Lisa, subsequently terminated during restructure for not being ‘a people person’, was a threat for those lacking servitude.

Besides yelling at staff, Lisa was skilled at tasking and trashing deliverables for missing the goal posts – despite the fact, the request was documented. Arbitrarily changing tack is a classic narc-ism.

I noted this behaviour early on, when Lisa asked colleague Mark to produce a branch newsletter article on project management.

Mark wrote-up the preferred organisational methodology, which she furiously negated. Lisa had forgotten that she’d emailed me the article specs – and his copy was en pointe.

Besides being accomplished liars, you’ll recognise a workplace narc as someone who belittles others intellectually or physically. And while, yes, the narc thinks themselves superior to the target…it’s largely because they are filled with self-loathing, not love.

Tearing someone down, helps to build themselves up psychologically. The narc has fantasies of power, success, smarts and looks; yet, that’s mostly all these delusions remain.

Their confidence is logical fallacy; that is, self-assured types never need to disparage anyone. Conversely, they are immune to a narc, because their self-worth has internal mechanisms. Hence, Lisa removed herself as my boss, unable to inflict her special brand of love.

But the truly scary paradox of a narc, is one whereby they feint interest, compassion and empathy – and not because it’s socially acceptable and allows them to fit in, which is true.

Moreover, it’s an information-gathering exercise, which is wielded against you – to your face and/or behind your back. It’s literally a case-of, show weakness at your own peril.

American psychiatrist Glassner’s choice theory posits that the behaviours we choose are central to our existence; his behavioural drivers are similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

He states, choice theory goes to an individual’s ‘quality world’ or images that constitute perfection. Perfect relationships, possessions, beliefs – its social construction of the tallest order resulting in a mostly unconscious framework.

From birth to death, we’re in a constant state of archetypal compare and contrast as the subconscious calibrates towards our best world experience.

Behaviour is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology. However, the doc believed humans only have control over how we think and act.

So, while the four behavioural factors are intertwined, thoughts and behaviours are driven by emotion and bodily response. Ask yourself; when was the last time you had a gut reaction that produced an emotion, which shaped a thought that was acted on?

And that’s the beauty of behaviourism as a ‘systematic approach to understanding human and animal behaviour.’

As per choice theory axioms…if all we can do is control our own behaviour; and give another person information, then the onus is on us – to set and enforce personal and professional boundaries, cleaning up our act in the process.

I mean, one can hardly have high expectations of others – if not modelling behaviours required of family, friends and colleagues? Lest, we typify narcissist tendencies: to do as I say, not as I do.

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