Figure out if it’s true psychopathy
People tend to throw around the word “psycho” pretty casually, but a clinically diagnosed psychopath is a very serious animal. There’s a big (and rather scary) difference between someone who is kind of mean or a little off and someone who is void of feeling and only wants you to suffer. According to Judy Rosenberg, PhD, an LA-based psychologist and author whose valued professional input has appeared on major outlets like CBS News and CNN, a psychopath is someone who can severely threaten your well-being, physically and/or emotionally. (They’re not all serial killers, contrary to what Hollywood would have you think. And they’re not easy to spot, either—many of them are normal or even quite charming.) “There’s a quality of the worse you feel, the better he feels,” she says. “Somebody who’s a true psychopath has absolutely no empathy at all.” Some marked features of a true psychopath, as she explains it, are severe paranoia, a high degree of narcissism, intense projection of rage or insecurity on others, and a general penchant for sadism. To put it bluntly, Dr. Rosenberg says, “They don’t mind cutting your jugular.”
Analyze the workplace dynamic
There are plenty of bad bosses out there in the workforce who make their employees unhappy or uncomfortable, but psychopathic bosses go well beyond that. If you think your boss is psychopath, don’t just observe him or her, but observe how she affects your coworkers and the general workplace environment as well. “Corporations can become like dysfunctional families,” Dr. Rosenberg says. A workplace that functions underneath the command of a psychopath will be very hostile and will seem very personal. Psychopathic bosses can turn employees against each other, allowing the abuse to pile up. This is because they don’t care about their employees as fellow humans. “You become a function, not a person,” Dr. Rosenberg reveals. “You’re just a thing to be used and if you have needs that’s not OK because they’re not his needs.” If you’re feeling used and abused by your boss, there’s an excellent chance that your coworkers are feeling the same way. In these circumstances, some individuals will bond together while others will become nasty or conniving in order to trump their coworkers in an effort to win favor with the big man. Now you’ve got to watch your back from all angles. Find out the signs your boss actually hates you—and what to do about it.