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Psychoanalysis of the Difficult Boss — When to Cut Bait

As a male INTJ, I need to have complete autonomy in my work life -- but what if you aren't in a position yet to free yourself from a toxic boss? While it's not ideal to keep working under the authority of difficult boss, it helps to practice what I call mental health self-defense.

I choose to use the word, "difficult" because people are too quick to diagnose others with serious psychological disorders. Moreover, it's not the label that matters as much as the action steps you can take to change your situation. In other words, you can't change another person but you can change your response. And by staying mentally strong, you can cut bait and swim away to find a better fishing hole (workplace).

Cutting you down and building you up

One of the first things you will observe with a toxic boss is the way he or she will alternate between insults and flattery. The goal is to make you more and more dependent on external validation. Because of the extremes, you may develop deep insecurities. And, although it sounds counterintuitive, insecure people act narcissistic and insensitive.

Action step: Listen to your internal voice. When you find yourself acting or saying something mean that's out of character, think about where it's coming from. Do you feel hurt? […]

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