Dealing with the office psycho

The other day, former co-worker asked me for advice on how to deal with a difficult situation at work. Apparently I am regarded as “wise” in some circles. As this person was still stuck in the worst workplace I have ever suffered through, I thought the problem would be pretty dramatic. As it turns out, it didn’t sound very dramatic. In fact, what he really wanted was confirmation that something was going on at all because he wasn’t sure.

He described someone else in his project team that he thought was taking credit for for all of his work. They had clearly delineated areas of responsibility yet he always felt like this person was spending too much time looking aver his shoulder rather than doing their own work. She would drill him with a lot of questions so she had an effective working knowledge of what he was doing. None of this was necessary for her to do her own work.

Then she started answering questions from management that were directed at him. She would go so far as to talk over him if he managed to start his answer first which made him so uncomfortable he stopped talking. After this had been going on for a while he discovered she was sending “update” emails to management detailing his work but phrased to suggest it was all coming from her. Needless to say, he wasn’t being sent copies of these email communications.

“I feel like she’s out to get me, that she’s going out of her way to screw me over. But that’s crazy, why would she do that?”

The answer’s actually quite simple: she’s a psycho. Coming out and describing someone as a psychopath tends to get a laugh in response: “Yeah, she’s crazy all right.” But it isn’t a joke. This type of behaviour is a perfect example of psychopathic/sociopathic behaviour. The diagnosis of a psychopath in the workplace is often not taken seriously because the term is coloured by preconception. People often confuse it with “psychotic”. And those who know the difference are often influenced by popular fiction like “Silence of the Lambs”.

What the office psychopath and Hannibal Lecter have in common is a complete lack what’s commonly known as a conscience. They are perfectly aware of the concepts of right it wrong, they simply don’t care. They don’t feel remorse because anyone hurt by their actions is unimportant. The difference between a serial killer and an office psycho is what they want from you.

In case you think you think talking about psychopaths in the workplace is overblown, statistically, it’s almost certain you work with or regularly interact with a psychopath. Most studies suggest that between 3% and 5% of the population suffer from the milder condition known as anti-social personality disorder and 1% of the population are psychopaths. In other words, 1 in 25 people you meet is a dick (you hadn’t noticed?) and 1 in 100 is dangerous (a smaller number of these are violent predator types).

The likelihood of running into these characters at work is higher than this simply because of the number of companies who seem to actively encourage this sort of thing. How many managers would react positively to someone described as “a real results person, nothing gets in their way. They can charm anyone and won’t hesitate to go after goals other people say are impossible. Anyone who’s not on the team better get out of the way because this guy will crush them.”

This is not saying all high achievers are psychopaths, in fact, most psychopaths can’t maintain positive results for an extended period of time. This is mostly because they achieve their goals in an incredibly destructive way. They won’t hesitate to cause major damage to everyone and everyone around them. Because they simply don’t care.

The three main traits usually ascribed to psychopathic/sociopathic personality types are they are very egocentric, they have no empathy for others and they are incapable of feeling remorse or guilt. On the surface, this would appear to make them obvious monsters that could never fool anyone. The scary thing is that many of them are more than capable of faking all the human characteristics they lack in reality. The smarmiest person in the office, the one who easily makes friends and establishes trust can easily be the one who has no real concern for anyone around them.

So how to deal with an office psycho? The first and simplest rule is to get the hell away from them. These people will not hesitate to make your life miserable. They will destroy your career, your finance and your health. Don’t try to appeal to their better nature. They don’t have one.

Getting away from them means up to and including getting a different job. If you’re working in an environment that encourages and rewards sociopathic behaviour, changing jobs is by far your best option. Seeing as how there are usually people who say changing jobs isn’t viable for them, I’ll provide a few more coping strategies. Seriously though, there are times when you need to bite the bullet and change jobs. There are very few jobs worth the long term emotional and even physical damage a workplace psycho will do to you.

One of the common strategies a workplace psycho will use is to isolate you. You absolutely must not allow this to happen. They want other people to doubt you and they want you to doubt yourself. The best remedy for this is frequent communication with everyone but your tormentor. In the case of my friend, the psycho went out of her way to block his attempts at communication. I suggested he deal with it as follows:

Send daily email updates on progress to your manager. The psycho was not informed of these because they were nothing to do with her. My friend did not report to her and she was not directly involved in his work. The manager doesn’t even have to read these unless somewhere down the line there’s a clash with the psycho. Then you have a timeline of activity that should protect you from their attacks.

Seeing as the psycho had the habit of talking over him and answering “for him” when his manager asked questions, I advised him to find times when she wasn’t around to talk to his manager. These discussions don’t have to be formal meetings although there are times when meetings help. Something as simple as having lunch at a different time to the psycho and taking the opportunity to talk while she’s at lunch can work wonders.

If you are the target of the office psycho, they will go out of their way to make it look like you contribute nothing. The last thing you want is at some critical point for the boss to go “That’s true, what does that guy ever do?” Regular chats (whether informal or formal) will help keep the boss appraised of exactly what you do.

Another important point is to give the psycho as little information as possible. This goes for both your work and your private life. If their plan is to steal credit for your work, obviously you can make it harder for them by not providing them with the required information. If you’re going to starve them of information it’s vitally important that you keep other informed of what work you are doing (both your manager and trusted peers). That way if the psycho complains that you’re withholding information others can say that you’ve kept them fully informed.

If you’re put on the spot as to why you haven’t provided the same information to the psycho, be direct but not defensive. It isn’t their job and they had no need to know.

Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your private live private, either. These office psychopaths can be especially skilled at appearing friendly. They are frequently consummate actors and in fact they often appear to be the most emotional person in the office. But it’s all an act. The don’t want to hear personal details out of genuine concern for you or anyone else, they want to use this information as a weapon against you. Don’t give them that opportunity.

But one of the most important things you can do when dealing with an office psycho is to recognise them for what they are. Most of us are basically decent people and we tend to assume other people are as well. Psychopaths and sociopaths use that to their advantage. What we regard as a conscience, they regard as a weakness to be exploited. If you’re like my friend you’ll make the mistake of letting them get away with it for ages before doing anything about their behaviour.

These people are not just jerks and most studies suggest more than not being interested in changing, it isn’t actually possible to change their behaviour – their brains are different. One way to tell if a troublesome person is actually a psychopath is their propensity for lying. And I’m not talking about “No, that outfit doesn’t make you look fat” type of lies.

If someone can blatantly lie to your face and not back down even when you expose their lie, that’s a bad sign. If they can do it twice, they’re very likely to be a psychopathic personality. If they do it three times – hide the sharp knives.

Here’s a little more fun reading for you:

This Fast Company article is one of the best pieces I found while researching this post.
Bob Sutton has a simple suggestion for companies wanting to keep psychos out – implement a “No Asshole” rule.  No matter how good someone seems to be, don’t hire them if they’re an asshole.
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41 Comments

Filed under Work

41 responses to “Dealing with the office psycho

  1. Oh yeah…. my Sales Manger Bitch from Hell is definitely and office psycho!

    She preaches teamwork and talks a big game about “The better good of the company” and then she turns around and does everything on her own, completely ignoring the chain of command or procedures set in place.

    Most recently.. she actually had the audacity to steal a “customer” from the OWNER of my company. She took the loan, turned it in under her name and then had the idiocy to ask him “so how do you want to deal with this?” ……when he came to me with this, my response was simply — “The bitch gets NO commission from this loan. No way..no how!!”

    She’s nucking futs!!! ha..ha..ha…

  2. call them out directly – that’s the way to go – but with professionalism.

    send an email, or talk to them directly – “that was my idea/work for which you took credit. i do not appreciate it, don’t do it again”.

  3. Hel

    The trouble is any attempt to be professional and mature about it can result in them doing the lying (not only to your face, but to everyone) about taking the credit. Then there’ll be the sobbing, and the “I don’t know why he doesn’t like me”, “I just wanted to help” etc etc. Before you know it you look like the insensitive arsehole and unless everybody in the office is already wise to them (unlikely because they’re devious bastards), they will get away with the behaviour and you will be the object of mistrust. Not to mention the great Aussie tradition of nobody likes a whiner.

    I think the first bit of advice was the best way to deal with them: get the hell away from them. No job is worth that sort of stress and psychological damage.

  4. lizzy

    I worked with one of those in my last job, a government job, and even though he was a sociopath (and a stupid one at that), it took him trying to poison everyone on the floor by putting detergent in the coffee pot before they finally put him on “administrative leave.” Get away from them, pronto, because chances are, they’ll outlast you at any workplace and could become more than just a nuisance. I’d recommend, with reservations, “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout. There’s some good information in that book that you can glean from underneath her petty moralizing and tabloid-esque approach.

  5. Spengler

    I had a boss (hi Jeff Fitzgerald) who would consistently steal & take credit for my work. Combination of insecurity and frustration on his part. His main tactic was hiding information. Keeping me out of the loop, and taking credit for my work – without me knowing about it (except that I began to learn about this.) Most of the smartest people in the group were younger than him, which was a threat to his rule & role, and that had him pretty stressed out. Rather than benefit from his subordinates’ talents, he tried to keep his boot on the neck of anyone he viewed as a potential competitor for his job.

    When confronted about it, he would become flustered (so maybe he was a psychopath in training?) but he wouldn’t come clean, despite being confronted with the facts.

    Anyway you’re right — ultimately, the best thing to do is just get the hell out of the organization. Often an organization that suffers such a critter is not an organization that you’ll want to be a part of.

  6. I really enjoyed this post. And thanks for providing the links for further fun. I work with two full-blown psychos, so I appreciate the reading material.

  7. bigstarlet

    I wish you were around 17 years ago. I could have used this advice, back then.

    I worked in a marketing department full of psychos, but there was this one bitch was the absolute worst. Her name was Joy (and no, I’m not making that up). She was sweet and kind and we were buddies, until a couple of male staff members came on board. Then her true colors came out. She started incessantly putting me down and insulting me in front of other staff members (especially the guys), doing what she could to reduce any responsibilities my position had (presumably so she could more work for the guys), taking credit for work I had done, and just generally acting as if she was the one who hired me in the first place.

    Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot I could do since she and my boss were good friends. I found that my complaints about her to other managers just made her even more emboldened to stab me in the back. My efforts to confront her about whatever issues she had with me got me nowhere, in that she twisted the situations to make it look as if I were totally at fault. She’d scream at me, making sure that the whole office heard, then she’d run to the other staff members and tell them what a bitch I was being. Eventually, they all decided they hated me too.

    It turns out I wasn’t the only person she was doing this too in that company, either. As described so eloquently above in your article Mr. Angry, she wasn’t above being a two-faced, backstabbing cunt if someone was either in her way, or personally dispensable. And somehow, after 5:00 PM, it was all supposed be not matter.

    In hindsight, I could have handled the situation way better than I did, for I was a short tempered straight shooter back in the day, with an occasional habit of being a bit too trusting. I walked into a lot of shit I should have stayed out of, as far as this office was concerned. And, in fact, because of my lack of personal CYA as far as dealing with her, her antics did eventually get me fired (I was emotionally damaged by the whole situation by then, as well as other things going on in my life at the time, and I wanted to leave anyway, so it was no big deal). I did find out, however, that bit-I mean, Joy, was eventually denied a promotion by the new department.

    Karma is a cruel mistress….

  8. bigstarlet

    That’s new department head. My bad.

  9. Greetings from Sweden ;)

    The most viable and important thing to do with office psychos is to starve them of information just as the poster commented.

    This will most often lure the psycho “out of the closet” and blow their “cover” for the whole company to see – this also means theat there is an iminent danger of retaliation if the psycho is the dangerous “hands on” type of psycho. Trust me I know.

    Unveiling a psycho for the rest to see is a dangerous task.

  10. Jack McCallum

    Thank you. I thought I must be nuts or just revolting to everyone around me in my office.
    I work for DOD and have had the worst five years of my life due to a retired navy master chief. This guy is rude crude and a tormentor from hell. he yells at you fromn behind sayes your name with distane and is a true butt to everone that does not out rank him. I fins myself hoping he will get killed in a car wreck going home each evening. He recently bought a motorcycle and I rejoiced. I am a christian and know I should not feel these terriable things toward him but this guy is out in left field. I recently taught a class and an young fellow with an EEO major ask me “Whats up with that? ” concerning the chief’s blatent rude remarks toward me. The younfg man ask me if it was some sort of game we were playing. I said NO he is always like that. I have reported this character seveal times to several differant supervisors to no avail, the “whinner syndrome” you understand.
    How would a person go about catching a fellow like this red handed, and having command in a hard place so they would have to do something about it.

    o,rd

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  12. Great post. I have suffered greatly at the hands of such a psycho. What I find the most disturbing however is that our corporate culture actually allows, nay, encourages many behaviors that are psychotic in nature. It’s insanity…

  13. simon

    I have a solution to the office psycho problem, wait for them after work with a mask on and a baseball bat in hand, beat the snot out of them in the parking lot.

  14. Mark

    I’m sure this solution never occurred to Mr. Angry:

    Psychopath: “So, how’s Project X going?”
    Screwed: “Terrible. The Fubar blew up, it’s going to take me a month to fix it.”

    Later, in the staff meeting:
    Boss: “What’s the status of Project X?”
    Psychopath: “The Fubar blew up, and I estimate a month to fix it.”
    Screwed: “What do you mean? I finished Project X yesterday.”

    Not sure it’s a good idea to get a psychopath mad at you though.

  15. I was planning to leave an organisation I had worked at for 9 years to start my own gig. While I had my own plans, the psycho, who was my peer, made the last 6-12 months a nightmare. It messes with your head, emotionally and motivationally. It creates a very unhealthy situation when you’re just trying to do a good job.
    As the poster says – get as far as you can away from them. And most importantly, starve them of information. I ended up just not talking to him. I was civil and talked when required, but never ever spoke to him when others couldn’t prove that I contributed whatever tidbit of information or advice.
    Great post – it perfectly sums up the situation!

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  17. Dom

    Robert Hercz has an excelent article on this topic called ‘PSYCHOPATHS AMONG US’ http://www.hare.org/links/saturday.html

    Well worth the read.

  18. Jack McCallum

    Ok you complain about this ass that degregates your every moment. he turns people against you in the office he sucks up to the boss so much that there is never any doubt whos the boosses pet. I am going to try the EEO route again except this time on the sly. I have been keeping a running record of the situations that occure. Yesterday this crud animal walked into my ofice and stood looking at me until i turned away from my work and ask him could I help hi, he smiled great big and said no …I just came into your office so i could fart. When i was in high school I would have torn this ass a new hole, but when you work for the military you have a code of conduct and slapping an ass hole silly will get you fired.

    Anyone have any good ideas on how to catch these screw balls. I may be mis informed but it seems to me that
    deliberately walking into someones area and cutting a fart is consitered an assult.
    Hones folkes were the victumes of a crime. we just dont have any teeth to fight back, we need a plan of action catchinbg thes butt holes in action and letting the world know. any ideas or comments.
    Have you notice my spelling goes south when I’m upset? It’s 3:45 in the AM I woke up at 1:30 thinking about his lates assult on my personnality and sanity. I came to the office and sat down to write this crap out. Mental anguish. Now I know the meaning. This site is helpful in that I know there is others delaing with the same situation.

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  21. Maree

    this post is excellent.

    i have found it really helpfully in explaining the crazy horrible cow i work with… Thank god i have resigned.

    Nice work…. your a good public service.

  22. Maree: most of what I write here is catharsis. For me and everyone else :)

  23. Rose

    I made the mistake of standing up to the office psycho. Oh my god, he threatened me, obliterated me emotionally, and turned everyone against me. No one believed that he was a psycho – he pulled the “poor me” act too often for that and was adept at charming people who wanted to be charmed. But I know that the flipside of insecurity is control freakery, paranoia, emotional blackmail and abuse. I hope never, ever to see the guy again. I felt physically ill when I watched him pushing every one of my boss’s buttons to charm her, when I knew he didn’t even respect her. I quit my job, fell into poverty for a bit, and had a bit of a breakdown because I couldn’t get out of bed for weeks. But now I’m stronger and know the warning signs of psychos. The thing is, he warned me multiple times but I refused to believe that he was what he said he was. Also, I know not to trust management. The problem with “managers” in Australia is in my experience, they don’t manage. They just do their work for a higher pay check, as they’re advanced for their technical skills, not people skills. My manager wanted to be everyone’s friend – I still despise her for taking his side.

    • JESSICA

      BAD MANAGERS ARE NOT ONLY IN AUSTRAILIA. THEY’RE IN AMERICA TOO. IN FACT, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE THESE DAYS. MANAGEMENT STYLE HAS CHANGED. NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO MANAGE AN OFFICE ANYMORE. AT LEAST NOT PRODUCTIVELY AND FOR THE COMMON GOOD.

  24. indignant2

    Watching the ‘office psycho’ practising his/her deceits and manipulations is grotesquely entertaining but not much fun at the time, especially if you’re the target.

  25. coles/woolworth

    coles and woolsworth are full office psychos they are everwhere i think upper management only employ the assholes.

  26. Gonzo

    LOL.

    Great article. I work for the Postal Service in an
    office environment. Tell me about psychos.

    Wish I’d read this article 20 years ago, thanks.
    :)

  27. majuba

    I work at Woolworths in WA. Have been there 4 months and have been the victim of a bully manager. Funny enough her name was Rose (a sweet name for a nasty woman)’and she was 3IC manager in our department.
    Still don’t know what I did to become her victim. She was classic Psycho. Could be extremely charming when she wanted to be. Would be nasty to me for several days then suddenly be as sweet as sugar. That made be really nervous since I was always waiting for the fangs to come back out. She had chosen two staffers to be her little Pets (two young, naive, impressionable teenagers).
    As for her treatment of me, it was the whole nine yards. belittlement; giving me tasks but never giving me enough time to finish it before assigning another task (then yelling at me for not finishing the first task); degrading me to other staff; pilling massive quatities of tasks on me.
    I knew it was getting bad when she yelled at me in front of customers (previously she’d always done that in a back room).
    I began to doubt my abilities, suffered insomnia, became very withdrawn and loathed coming to work on the days she was also rostered. I took to answering every comment question or demand with monosylables – since anything more would send her into rants about how I was ‘trying to be smart’.
    The department manager was totally useless (lovelly lady, great worker but a total coward when it came to having to reprimand anyone).
    In the end I had to go over her head. Luckily the deputy store manager was much better. He was straight on the case….and straight on her’s. Sadly they didn’t fire her straight away, instead she was encouraged to resign. Later I found out she had been 2IC in another department but was so terrible that she was demoted and shunted to our department. I also found out that one of the other girls in our department was the previous victim and was secretly glad I came along to take the heat off her.
    I counted down the days till she left..it was the very best day of my career at Woolies!!

  28. Lena

    Wow I wish I would have read this article years ago. I was the assistant to a sales manager and she was the biggest Bitch queen I have ever met. She’d give me projects to do and then would ask where are they in a small time frame and then talked about how I wasn’t performing adequately. She had that wonderful smile while she spoke to everyone else, but with me she could have killed me and the west coast director would have said, ” oh well that is just the way she is. The company finally got rid of her but in her place they brought in two more crazies. I thought to myself what is wrong with this company don’t they have a no asshole, no bitch policy. Awww with very little sleep and a bunch of panic attacks over a 4 year time frame I finally left this job.

  29. bel00

    Wow, you have just described my very own office psycho. I have never before experienced this in the work place and couldn’t comprehend that someone could behave in this manner until now! I’m in a management position and my psycho is a new staff member. I’ve been very fortunate to cotton on to the behavior while she was still under probation, and could be easily removed if necessary. I just feel guilty that her behavior has affected my office and staff in this short time. She has blatantly lied about staff members, actually gone as far as to hide other staff members work, lied to clients and just generally been a complete nightmare. The scary part is when confronted with undeniable proof, she simply cannot take responsibility for her actions – it’s always someone elses fault. My only choice was to commence disciplinary action against her. When I met with her for this reason she resigned before I got two words out. Great I thought, problem solved, until a lawyer contacted me as she was commencing a workplace bullying suit against me personally. After a few conversations he agreed that perhaps he wasn’t given all the facts and advised me that he decided would not be handling the matter in future. Unfortunatly the fruitloop was still serving her notice period and I had to put up with her for another week. I still waiting to see if this comes back to bite me in the proverbial. Does anyone know if there is a basic screening test that can be subtly carried out during interviews to weed out this sort of behavior????

  30. Dee

    I am so glad I found this website! I am in the final throws of being the “victim” of the office bully. Everything I read here exactly described the way this woman acts. Not only did I have a hard time understanding someone with no conscience or morals, I have a real hard time trying to understand why management lets her get away with it, even when they admit she abuses the company! She started out just being incredibly rude to me, then she lied about me, saying I made obscene gestures at her ALL the time, including in front of people which DID NOT happen and when she told her manager, HR and my manager behind my back she pretended to “wonder why I didn’t like her”. When HR said they couldn’t fire me based on that, they said I had to be laid off due to “sales being down”. Only now they tell me they are “not sure if they will lay me off” and they are hiring another person who makes more than me. I don’t talk to her at all & avoid her. She has attempted to “push the situation” but I won’t bite. This is all too weird and is making me emotionally and psychically sick so I am preparing to leave. I agree the best thing to do is get away asap! Just because they will go to ANY extreme to hurt you and management will do nothing at all about it. Only justice is she has a 2 year old that has already been kicked out of one day care for violence and will soon get kicked out of the one he is in now. At the age of 2? I can see this one coming like a freight train. Like mother, like son.

  31. DINESH R MAKWANA

    If you add the article below from Dr Burch from Auckland, you will see how much value and merit there is in your article. You are essentially right about workplace bullying where extreme individuals exist with a high repeat rate at some one in ten and so there are really “psychopath bosses”. Well done for bringing this article to my attention too. In the world of law and recruitment and self care, these articles are invaluable.

    Dr Burch said his research shows psychopaths created “toxic workplaces” with bullying, manipulation, sexual harassment, lying and fiddling the books.

    “We all come across people at work from time to time who are difficult, devious and troublesome,” Dr Burch said.

    Dr Burch said most people with personalities generally fitting under the ‘psychopathic umbrella’ do not commit obvious crime and are not imprisoned or hospitalised, but function within normal society – often with apparent success and the respect of their bosses.

    However, workplace psychopaths are generally highly destructive and manipulative individuals with “dark sides” who have no remorse for their actions, which can result in a range of serious issues for organisations and the people within them, Dr Burch says.

    And they’re making you ill, he said.

    Victims suffered insomnia, depression, were more prone to heart attacks could even be traumatised to the point of suicide.

    “Unrelenting stress from a toxic workplace causes anxiety and clinical depression in 30 percent of female and 20 percent of male targets, according to international research. The risk of cardiovascular disease is 30 percent more likely when workers believe their workplace is unjust….”

    Best Regards,

    DINESH R MAKWANA (INORBITS AND DREAMWORDS)

  32. alika

    awsome…dont have an office psyco..but do have a psyco in personal life…wi will surely use the tips!:)

  33. quietAsian

    I am dealing with a workplace psychopath for years now.She used to drive by my place when my husband and I are still dating and would tell people that I have a guy in my apartment….makes nasty notes, crossed out things that I have done, talks bad about me to my friends and colleagues. It made me doubt myself and even made me think of changing career at one point. Now, I realized that the problem isn’t me, the problem lies on her and that she will never be happy no matter how I try my best. She however succeeded in isolating me to some of the girls that I work with and they think she is just awesome. Although she is still going out of her way to try to make my life miserable, it doesn’t affect me much anymore. My boss knows her scheme and they don’t believe most if not all the things she says. I tried to avoid her as much as I could and she hates me because i’m still here and she knows she can’t break me. My family life is very fulfilling and thats all that matters to me. Hearing her name still makes me cringe and seeing her conniving and fake face still makes me sick but I know her and her kind. She will never fool me again. I know her from afar and I know what she is all about.
    She still tries to go thru what I did during my shift and looks for errors or sets me up to make me look bad…but it doesn’t bother me anymore. As my husband said, don’t give her the satisfaction of knowing that she succeeded in making your life miserable. Don’t read her nasty notes, ignore everything she does and don’t say anything about your personal life to anyone who she has a connection to. Lastly, document everything and you might have to set up a camera outside your house, you’ll never know what a crazy person will do just to get you out of their way.

  34. Flo

    They will make you physically ill, maybe even in chronic pain, like me. I told my new boss that my old (psycho) boss talks bad about others to make himself look better, and that he has no empathy. Luckily my new boss is now sceptical of what psycho says and has given me more meaningful work to make up for psycho saying I was useless.
    He brings his kids to work to make himself appear to be a family man.
    He bad mouths everyone, even his own wife.
    He has already lied and tried to blame me for something but I had already told the truth and he ended up lying on speakerphone unknowingly to everyone present including me.
    Another coworker says out loud he is full of himself.
    He has tried to guilt trip another coworker into saying he plays solitaire all day, and when called out claim it was a joke.
    Beware confronting them, they will shiver silently like an angry chihuahua. Does no use.
    He talks a lot to higher ups to ingratiate himself and appear to others to have more influence than he does.
    Best way to handle is tell someone else about their behavior. They will watch out for them. Unfortunately, they are everywhere, once the antenna is raised. I escaped one psycho workplace to land in another. Good luck. Article is true, thanks for writing.

  35. articles like this have saved me alot of trouble. there is no known cure for psychopaths, and most people don’t realize what is going on anyways. besides that, there are different ‘levels’ of psychopathy, so you arent always dealing with a full on psycho, maybe bits and pieces of the disease.

    the best thing is to focus on your work, your responsibilities, and ignore them. keep track of everything, your accomplishments, the time you spend on various tasks, etc. yes it is a huge pain in the butt, but it is like the Tao te Ching says — water wears away the stone.

    now, you should also keep logs of the other persons behavior, but in secret, where nobody at work can find it. not just so you can document the other person’s BS in case it comes to that, but also for yourself. you will read on these sites about how people arent sure if they are going nuts or not, people who feel like somehow it is ‘their fault’. well, if you just write all this stuff down, and go back over it a few weeks/months later, you will be able to realize very easily what is your own paranoia/exaggeration vs what are legitimate objectively problematic events.

    lastly, simply ‘talking about it’, even if its only to your diary, can be therapeutic. to tell and retell the story.

  36. Melissa Smith

    Thank you so much for the information! I just lost my job at the hands of one of these monsters! I will call her “K”. “K” was stealing money from the cash drawer and blaming me for it! I later found out the business had most likely just wrongfully fired another girl for stealing. “K” was responsible for training me and kept telling me to do things wrong making me look incompetent, she threatened me with physical violence, constantly questioned if “I knew what I was doing” in front of superiors, etc… it got so bad I ended up running out on my work in mid shift crying! I then wrote an apology letter to my employer explaining what happened and asking for a second chance but by then “K” had my superior convinced that I am unstable and a threat to my coworkers! RUN! RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN BEFORE YOUR REPUTATION IS RUINED LIKE MINE NOW IS!!!

  37. Uraman

    I have a same problem at work. Can’t stand with one Malay woman. Her bitchy mouth and arrogant attitude. She always badmouth about me in her stupid facebook

    I just stand listen to that bitch voice. Sometimes, feel like slap her.

    Now days I just ignore this person. That makes me feel better.

  38. Uraman

    I do not know how to handle this woman anymore. If I face to face with her, I might slap her. I did complain to HR to take action but according to them, she only comment in her facebook. Nothing much can be done.

  39. Denise Stephens

    A psychpath (& convicted rapist!) just got my husband fired from his job managing the IT department at a giant building services company. If anyone else told me the stuff my husband told me about his experiences at the company I would think they were nuts or lying. The rapist has insinuated himself into the good graces of the elderly owner of the company. The VP of operations to whom my husband reported never believed anything my husband told him about the rapist’s misbehavior, unexplained absences, neglect of his job, lying, nasty behavior to his coworkers, etc. I don’t know if the guy is just a simpleton, in cahoots with the rapist, or is just himself afraid of the rapist. The company pays an IT vendor over $100k annually to do the rapist’s work instead of just hiring someone who can do the job themselves. I have to wonder if someone is getting a kickback from the vendor. The same day my husband was fired the company also fired an older Asian gentleman who my husband hired. The rapist complained about him too, made fun of his accent, told everyone the Asian fellow was incompetent. The rapist depends on the inability of coworkers outside the IT department, to judge his skills which are minimal and sketchy. Anyone who has real skills and understands network topology is a threat that has to be eliminated. Hence, rapist fabricates stuff about the two people who see the emperor has no clothes. He won’t ever get another IT job with a rape conviction on his record so he has to hold on to this one. My only comfort in this: Houston is a good job market and my husband has already had recruiters submit him for 9 jobs in two days…and the owner’s son can’t stand the rapist and knows he’s deadwood and said he is going to get rid of him when his father retires. Even though it happened to us, it’s still hard to believe. The company holds itself out as a Christian organization, and the owner is knowingly harboring a violent sexual offender. I only found out the guy was a rapist by googling his name. His sex offender registry info is on the first page of results. No one warned my husband who he was dealing with. My husband was put in the impossible position of managing this rapist. He couldn’t get him to do anything and ended up getting fired. Google Devonne Galloway and see the awesome Christian company that employs him. His employer is listed right on the offender registry. If I owned a company I would be ashamed to have my good name associated with a rapist!

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