So your boss is a psychopath. It happens. Here's what to do.

Since Mia Freedman’s No Filter podcast interview with David Gillespie, a lot of people have contacted us to say thank you.

Thank you for helping them identify the awful, perplexing person in their life who is making it so hard.

There could be one in your family, you might be dating one, or there might be a psychopath in your workplace.

In fact, there probably is. It’s a rare person who has not encountered one at work.

In almost every scenario, they are incredibly charming. They will say everything you want to hear and slowly gain your trust until you are under their control.

Once a psychopath gains this control over not just you, but everyone around you, it will be their core mission to destroy relationships in the workplace. There are a few key ways to identify a workplace psychopath, according to David Gillespie, and he has some invaluable advice for what to do once you have.

But, after working for a psychopathic boss himself, Gillespie has some advice about what to do.

You can listen to my full interview with David Gillespie on psychopaths, right here. (Post continues after audio.)

Mia: How do you deal with a boss who is a psychopath? 

David: In that environment, everyone will be off-balance. There is a cloud of emotional confusion, where suddenly people you thought you could trust, you’re not sure anymore. You certainly can’t talk to your colleagues about the psychopath because you’re never quite sure whether they are on the inside or not. You’re not sure if what you say will get relayed back to them and then you’ll suffer punishment. 


But you can’t just cut and run because they will probably cause you significant damage. The psychopath will probably treat that as some sort of an insult, which requires revenge and punishment. You may suffer financial damage, like suing you, especially if there is an organisation behind them.

Mia: So, should you talk to the psychopath?

Firstly, start applying for jobs but at work, you have to be the ideal worker. I mean almost robotic, which is you don’t interact with the psychopath unless you have to. When you do you, repress all emotional responses. They will try their very hardest to get you to respond emotionally. If you go crazy in a meeting because they say something that is seemingly innocuous, then you’re the nut bag.

Be honest at all times because they will try to get you to be dishonest. For instance, they might let you fudge your expense report or something like that.

“It’s all right. I know that was mostly a business lunch,” they will say. Then, they will use that as a lever against you when the time is right. 

“I didn’t know they were doing that. I had no idea…what a terrible person…we must get rid of them.”


So, be scrupulously honest, be cordial, polite, show no emotions whatsoever, as you try to get the hell out of there.

Mia: How do you protect yourself from them?

Take notes of everything you do. One of the things about psychopaths is that they have no particular attachment to the truth. The truth is whatever needs to be said at the moment to get what they need. They don’t care that it’s different to what they said yesterday because they’ll be able to explain their way out of it. Plausible deniability is built in second nature. Even stating the complete opposite of what they said yesterday and they’ll say it with such confidence that you’ll believe you’re the one who’s mad.

Writing it down gives you a very clear record of what is being said. Confirming all instructions in writing is another defence tactic you have to use. No sarcasm, no emotion, no questioning of their authority or power, simply confirming the instruction you’ve been.

Then one little thing that is the cream on the cake. Psychopaths are extraordinarily prone to flattery, even obvious flattery that you might consider was over-the-top obvious. They will think it’s perfect. They do think they’re the smartest best person in the world. So, occasionally telling them that we’ll keep you on their good side as you try to get help.

If you learned something from this article and want to know more, we have plenty more for you: