I wish I could tell you that there’s a high chance that things are resolvable but the stuff that makes narcissists un-coachable also makes the chances of alignment, resolution or mediation… mmm, how can I put this… err… impossible. (I politely decline to coach leaders who display strong narcissistic traits.)
But the good news is you’ve got two options
1. Stay and live with the insanity of the higher-ups not seeing what everyone else knows and lives through every day
The downside is even if you teach yourself to respond differently, the reality is you are scaffolding yourself or your situation. You’re coping, not thriving. The unjustness of what you experience and witness every day will cause you anxiety and upset. If you’re not in a position to influence a different outcome, you should seriously consider leaving if you value your happiness. While you have a narcissist in the mix, very little will change. And by the way, you have to ask why the higher-ups aren’t doing anything about it.
2. Find somewhere better for you and leave (in that order if you can)
And no, it’s not you who is the problem. There are a lot of ego-driven and narcissistic people around. Sometimes you need to be to survive or make it to the top because the culture is such that this is what gets rewarded, no matter how progressive the organisation’s policies are in writing. The reality is a very different picture and you have to decide if the fight is yours. It’s probably not your fight and it’s okay to say that. You have a lot to give. Somewhere else.
Leaving does not mean you don’t care about your teammates. It means you choose better for yourself. And you wish the same for them. But that is a decision they need to reach for themselves.
If they are good teammates, they won’t hold it against you for leaving. You might even be sending them the strongest signal you can to give themselves permission to choose better for themselves.
It is more than 200% okay to want something better for yourself, just as you would want it for your teammate. But YOU have to give YOURSELF that permission FIRST before you can commit to leaving and do your self-justice.
I feel like I should tell you to be patient, try to reach an understanding with them, use your negotiation skills. And yes, it can work. A little bit. Maybe. But the truth is, in the end, someone needs to decide they’ve had enough, that they’ve tried, and it’s time to choose better.