Retired English professor Linda Labin brings Dracula and narcissism together in a thought-provoking blog post, “Dracula is The Iconic Toxic Narcissist“:
When I speak or write about toxic narcissism, which is, I believe, the source of all evil in the world, I often mention that toxic narcissists are like ‘psychic vampires,’ in that they suck the souls out of good, compassionate people in the same fashion as mythical (I hope) vampires suck the life blood out of trusting victims. That construct leads me to examine here the idea that Dracula, the epitome of vampirism, is also a perfect icon of toxic narcissism.
How apt a connection for this blog! At work, it’s not unusual to find
Dracula a narcissist in a position of power, influence, and responsibility. After all, some of the very qualities that give more decent folks the shivers have helped the narcissist climb up the greasy pole.
Like Dracula, workplace narcissists work best in the dark and in the shadows. Operating in stealth mode, they strive to ensure that their targets are left to defend themselves alone. They can quietly pick off these victims that way, one-by-one.
Also like Dracula, pouring sunlight onto a workplace narcissist is one of the best ways to diminish him. This process of illumination is very rarely a grand public gesture. Rather, it’s typically done through the grapevine, via an expanding circle of private conversations — mostly in-person, sometimes via e-mail or social media — where people share their stories and those of others. The clinical term may not enter the stream of dialogue immediately — livelier, often profane descriptors tend to be used — but at some point someone will mention that they “read an article about narcissists and so-and-so fits the description to a T.” Hey, you don’t always need training in clinical psychology to connect those dots.
So here’s the thing with workplace narcissists: Prolonged exposure to them is revealing. They may charm you at first, but eventually the manipulations, lies, bullying, gaslighting, and other lovely behaviors show themselves.
What counts is the potential impact of being outed. When the twisted practices of a workplace narcissist become well known throughout an organization, said narcissist may lose a chunk of his perverse power, because people are on to him and can sometimes neutralize him. It doesn’t mean that his power is completely dissipated, nor does it guarantee that all are now protected from his actions. But potentially, at least, it’s the beginning of the end for him, or at least a partial de-fanging. Bite on that, Drac.