Usually when I get a request about ‘workplace‘ issues, it goes something like this.
The client is very nice, very composed, very professional, and just a little bit shy. Their preamble begins:
‘I’m a bit uneasy about this person at work but I can’t quite put my finger on why. I don’t want to talk ill of them. I’m probably exaggerating you know (embarrassed laugh). I could be getting it all wrong. Maybe I’m too sensitive, what do you think? (sudden look of panic). This is confidential, isn’t it?’
After a little bit of probing the story starts to enfold, a narrative characterised with the usual mix of Machiavellian type behaviour centred on manipulation and power: stealing ideas, isolating different teams (so they can’t share notes and are more easy to play off against each other), shifting blame, slander, lying (outright and by telling half a story), and generally, just making sure they win at the game and not giving a shit who they trample on their way to ever greater personal glory.
Normally, the client is trying to find out how they can do their best, stay committed, and work around these individuals. I’m quite honest and tell them you can’t. Not if they are your Manager or Superior.
The problem is we have all been brainwashed to believe that to ‘quit‘ is bad, to ‘walk away’ is a sign of personal weakness, and that not staying somewhere for ‘long enough‘ is career costly.
Well, here’s my response to that – staying near a Dark Source individual (high on Narcissism, Psychopathology, and Machiavellian traits) is bad, bad news for your health.
They will use you, abuse you, and not bat an eyelid. You are merely a resource for them. If you stay to protect your CV you might end up losing your ‘self‘.
‘Bullying‘ is what we charmingly call it. I’ve also seen it referred to quaintly as ‘childish behaviour‘ (way to go folks, just you diminish the devastating impact). So, I call it assault: ongoing psychological violence with the aim of coercion and control.
Is this exaggeration?
Yesterday, I read an horrendous case of Mr. Sidhu, a Sikh gentleman who was racially hounded and psychologically abused by a feral gang of men he worked beside. The Line Manager did nothing – sales targets appearing to be more important than criminal behaviour. The Psychiatrist reporting to the Employment Tribunal stated that he did not think Mr. Sidhu is ever likely to recover from these ongoing assaults and is unlikely to be able to return to work. I truly pray that Mr. Sidhu finds a path to peace and recovery.
(Read the case via the below link in the comments – be warned it makes for awful reading)
Mr. Sidhu’s example seems to us extreme, but these types of behaviours are happening in homes across the country, these types of interactions are happening in the workplace globally everyday. The reason being, Dark Source individuals walk among us.
Unfortunately, for those of us who have been socialised adequately and within ourselves carry moral strictures and codes which modify our behaviours, we struggle to accept such twisted behaviour as existing. Even when we see it first-hand. Even when we are the one being victimised.
Instead we scramble around looking for alternative explanations: it’s an interpersonal thing, it’s a cultural thing, it’s a communication thing, it’s an emotional thing, it’s a forgiveness thing, it’s a spiritual resonance thing.
No, folks, sometimes it’s quite simply a Dark Source thing.
So, please, if you should find yourself feeling like you are suffering at the hands of someone close to you, but yet is seems so petty, you know, I really shouldn’t even mention it but…. but you are staying because of what might be – remember reality is right in front of you, in your lived experience, not in your fantasy of how it could be. Sometimes, walking away is the rational and only thing to do.