How to Keep Your Job in the Midst of Narcissistic Abuse

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Jun 25
keep job narcissistic abuse

Do you hear that?

It’s the sound of distant sobbing. 

Heart-wrenching, soulful sobbing that comes with the loss of everything one has toiled for over the course of years, maybe decades. 

What if it that person sobbing were you, lamenting your misfortune after losing your job due to narcissistic abuse? Not only your job, but your professional reputation, the respect of your colleagues, and perhaps the ability to find similar employment in your field?

Even worse, could you lose everything that means the most to you?  The very reasons you get up and go to work every day?   Your children, home, car, finances, and self-respect? 

That won’t happen to you, right?  You’re probably thinking you can handle the heat…that you have what it takes to put on your company hat, go to work, pretend to have it all together, then return home and resume the nightmare that is your life. 

After all, the sign of a strong person is their ability to keep it all together, leaving their troubles at the door, right?

That’s what a lot of people think.  Until they’re called into HR and get a termination notice. 

Things may seem manageable today, but that illusion can be shattered in the blink of an eye.  It happens every day.  Narcissistic abuse victims lose everything because they think they can continue their toxic relationships, yet keep it all together at work.  In reality, many get fired, laid off, demoted, put on probation, and lose their licenses.  Significant licenses, such as those required to perform as a medical doctor or licensed therapist.

Trying to maintain a toxic relationship while maintaining a career is counterproductive, if not impossible.  First, there are the increased sick days due to the sheer overload on the body that comes with narcissistic abuse.  Not only the physical symptoms, but also the psychological decline when depression and despair set in.

Then, there are the humiliating and perilous antics of the persistent narcissist who calls your office or cell phone fifty times a day, sending unrestrained text messages and buzzing you while you’re attending department meetings. 

It doesn’t help that your disordered partner shows up in your employer’s parking lot to spy on you or to cause an embarrassing scene.

These things get noticed. 

Your colleagues have tired of hearing you quarrel in your cubicle, slamming the phone down when the narcissist pushes your buttons.  On top of that, your supervisor is noticing that you’re not meeting your goals and your productivity has been on a steady decline. 

And did you know that every time you visit the doctor or your therapist, it’s possible that your HR department knows about it?  Large corporations often have their own insurance claim representatives, and they’re taking note of your physical and mental deterioration.

The next thing you know, your department is being downsized and strangely, you’re the only one being let go.

Or, maybe you own your own business and you’ve lost clients due to your forgetting appointments or failure to follow through on deadlines.  Word-of-mouth isn’t helping anymore, which is what you’ve relied on for your bottom line…until problems started manifesting in your relationship and your reputation began a downward spiral. 

So, how do you end this crazy-making, losing battle?    Perhaps you’re not in a position to leave the relationship immediately, but there are steps you can take to begin the preservation of your career and livelihood.  It starts with applying these five basic steps of the No Contact Rule. 

How to keep your job in the midst of narcissistic abuse

One:   Re-establish your independence

Be mindful that you don’t have to leave yourself at the mercy of the narcissist.  Block him or her from being able to contact you via your cell phone.  If they call you at the office and your office phone has caller ID, don’t answer the call.  If your office phone doesn’t have caller ID and you pick up, don’t engage if you discover it’s the narcissist calling.  Once you hear their voice, hang up the phone. 

If you’re friends with anyone in IT, it might behoove you to see if they can block the narcissist’s ability to get through to you via your office line.

Two:  If the narcissist shows up at your place of employment, ignore them and walk away.  If the narcissist persists, inform them you’ll notify security and walk calmly into the building.  Even if your company doesn’t have a true “security” team, make this statement anyway and pull out your phone, pretending that you’re dialing the department. 

Three:  Stay with a friend or family member if necessary.  If you fear a nuclear fall-out from establishing new boundaries, it may be in your best interest to spend time away if you share a residence with your toxic partner.  However, gather any heirlooms or sentimental items beforehand and store them somewhere safe. If you’re married to your disordered partner, consult an attorney regarding laws in your state related to how you can reside elsewhere without affecting property division.

Four:  Don’t discuss the details of your relationship with coworkers.  Not everyone is as genuinely concerned with your situation as it may appear.  In fact, it’s entirely possible that someone in your office might arrange a secret meeting with HR to discuss your chaotic circumstances and how they’re affecting their morale and productivity.  Save your troubles for a trusted friend or confidante, your therapist, or your coach.

Five:  DO NOT make a lunch date with the narcissist to hash out the problems in your relationship.  It doesn’t look too good when you’ve been triggered and mistreated, then return to work half-crazed and barely able to maintain your composure. 

Besides, any appearance that the narcissist wants to work on the relationship is a scam.  Save yourself the grief and frustration.

These actions may understandably instill feelings of fear and anxiety, but which is worse, making the narcissist angry or losing your job?  Imagine being forced to parade yourself down the hallway in front of your colleagues carrying your office contents in a box.  Or, what it would it feel like to have to pawn everything you own of value and sell plasma twice a week to make ends meet.  I can tell you, it doesn’t feel good. 

In addition to helping you save your job, these five steps will work in your favor if you find yourself in need of filing a restraining order

They will also put you well on your way to No Contact and, eventually, your freedom and recovery.

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(10) comments

Michele May 11, 2017

When I was discarded and replaced, I had a hard time concentrating. I moved out, into a friend’s basement, but still would worry that he was going to show up (he would randomly do so – even so far as to blindside me about the divorce) at my work. It came out of the blue (well, back then, I felt that) and he had full access to my office. I would have always been looking over my shoulder wondering if I would run into him and his new love (supply).

I recently moved (after being separated and divorced finalized 3/28/17) to another city in another state. Although unemployed but hopefully will be rectifying that soon, I am in a much better place. NC is hard. I had to block on all social media because I would “stalk” i.e., look him up and see how happy he was with his new supply. After 9 years of roller coaster, kicked in the gut feelings, I’m finally getting better each day. Not without anxiety every morning, but better. Life will be much better in the long run. I’m just now getting out of the FOG and intend to keep the NC intact.

Reply
    Kim Saeed May 13, 2017

    Thank you for sharing, Michele. It takes a lot of courage to take the steps you’ve taken. Wishing you all the best in your healing journey.

    Kim XoXo

    Reply
chand sitare July 25, 2016

i couldn’t function nor perform my job duties mentally emotionally and physically. And although I am free after going absolute NC with him and changed my number. It is become difficult for me to get a job! trauma took its toll on me!

Reply
chand sitare July 25, 2016

too late for me, i lost my job, due to being involved with one!

Reply

When I was in the midst of divorcing my ex-narcissist, my employers were stellar. They provided extra security and even turned over a letter he had written to them about me, unopened. I realise that I was very fortunate to have that safety and support at work. It became a haven in my life.

Thanks for a great article. People need this information. 🙂

Reply
Lydia June 25, 2016

I was one of the lucky ones (I know there are no ‘lucky’ ones in any of this), but I had a gp who provided me with the medical certification I needed to have leave from work for 6 weeks, as well as having accumulated a load of paid sick leave I could access so I could keep paying mortgage, bills etc. It was without doubt the worst period of my life, I couldn’t function at an adequate level in any area of my life, and it left me feeling useless and weak. Physical illnesses and inflammations and flu I couldn’t shake, nightmares, anxiety, brain fatigue and then being numb and totally out of whack with my own circadian ryhthms and I didn’t even know how to explain what had happened to me to my boss, colleagues, friends and family. Taking that much leave had an impact on my reputation at work, and my career prospects (having gaping big breaks of sick leave is never a good look on your cv if you are applying for other jobs). I know of others who wernt as lucky as me. Its taken me 3 years to claw back a semblance of order and rhythm to my work life, and I hope those who are struggling with this can hang on and know it gets better. Love to all.

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Phoenix Laur June 25, 2016

Please when obtaining a lawyer ask about if they’ve had domestic abuse cases! Also make sure they don’t support the profession of your ex! I had limited choices in my divorce and halfway through my lawyer, who I’d had to pay pawning everything I had taken with me to my mothers funeral, ( N spouse changed locks and moved girlfriend in while I was gone!) because lawyer supported the fire/police groups decided the divorce was bad for his law image and did a poor divorce case job to save his reputation. My ex N called my employer and had his friends call and make false complaints about me, I was called in and fired. I worked there 3 years, no complaints, I later heard that the asst manager, her fiancé worked with my ex and the N ex would talk to him at work, her fiancé would talk to her at home and because of what my ex said she was worried about my safety and the companies safety!!! I went to work in a locked facility next after being jobless for almost a month. The second day I showed up to work there at the new job one of his minions was parked across the street… Don’t dismiss any scenario! N wants to destroy you! I pity his new girlfriend. Thank you for this article. I truly believed my ex N would be cordial during the divorce… This is a LIE, put on your armour, and decide you’re all you have because the N will attack you in every part of your life… Test people’s loyalty, will they sell out to the N? I’m 2 years past this devil evil N and it’s time to stop tolerating this abuse! Too many victims… Hear me girlfriend? Oh yea, you were washing his truck and his jeep, while your car was dirty…. Been there done that.

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revengestar June 25, 2016

Very useful advice, thanks for sharing!

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Smile and Breathe June 25, 2016

Been here. Went all the way down these steps a couple years back stopping short of losing my job. Had to just pull it together. After a few months and working with HR, I was informed that in the US the Family and Medical Leave Act can provide some protection so at least I can leave work, unpaid, on the bad days without fear of job loss as long as physician or counselor can document you have a “condition” or situation requiring it(since emotional trauma or “mental conditions” are specifically included.) or the condition of a family member requiring your care, like wife or children, if the torment is coming from outside the immediate family. In my case the documentation contained discussion of the need but no specifics so the employer has no specifics of the drama. Just a piece of my experience in case maybe it might apply to others or be of some help through those times.
Smile and Breathe

Reply
    Kim Saeed June 25, 2016

    Thank you for sharing that, Smile and Breathe. I hope others see your story 🙂

    Reply
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