Leaving the Classroom Episode 5: Do it for the kids. The Narcissist Tendencies of Education Part 1

Apr 04, 2023

Leaving the Classroom: A Transitioning Teacher Podcast

Do it for the kids. The Narcissistic Tendencies in Education Part 1 

Education is a narcissist. And teachers are the victims.

I started learning about narcissism about a year ago. Before then I thought narcissism was simply being full of yourself and arrogant.

But it turns out it runs much deeper and carries many more abusive tendencies than I ever imagined. And, these tendencies can be found right in our own public education system. And like the typical abusive narcissistic relationship, teachers often cannot see the abuse or the way out of it because they are so immersed in it.

So I am here today to expose these narcissistic traits of the education system and show teachers the abusive cycle they are stuck in.

Listen to the episode here:

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Enjoy the podcast transcription:  

The opinions expressed within this podcast are solely mine, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of IDOL courses, or its affiliates. This episode contains content that may be alarming to some listeners. Please check the show notes for more detailed descriptions and take care of yourself.

Welcome to leaving the classroom. This is a podcast for teachers who are ready to transition out of the classroom and into a new career. Each week I'll share stories about what I've learned moving from education to the corporate world. I'll answer the most common questions and share my best tips to help you get started. If you are considering leaving the classroom, this show is for you.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Leaving the Classroom. I'm Kristi Oliva. And I'm so excited you are here. Today I'm kicking off a series called the narcissistic traits of education. I started learning about narcissism about a year ago. Before then I thought narcissism was just when you were full of yourself, you couldn't stop looking in the mirror, you're arrogant. But it turns out it runs much deeper and carries many more abusive tendencies than I ever imagined. And these tendencies can be found easily right in our own public education system. And like the typical abusive, narcissistic relationship, teachers often cannot see the abuse or the way out of it because they are so immersed in it.

So I'm here today to expose these narcissistic traits of the education system and show teachers the abusive cycle they are stuck in. When I first got out of the toxic relationship where I was experiencing psychological abuse, my therapist gave me a book called Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas. It was so enlightening for me to see the patterns laid out for me. My ex's behaviors were textbook, I began to realize that anyone who had been in a similar relationship could also point to those exact behaviors in their relationships. And then it dawned on me, this fits my relationship with the education system when I was a teacher. In her book, Taylor describes a narcissist like this. A narcissist will run you over and scold you for being in their way. They will endlessly complain about how you damage their car. Whoa. Now teachers did that just strike an uncomfortable chord for you. It should. So let's talk more about that.

Today I'm going to talk about some of the narcissistic traits that I see in the education system. The first one is that narcissists do not respond well to boundaries. Now what that looked like in my romantic relationship was him showing up at my house unannounced, contacting people from my past without permission, and expecting me to always answer the phone. What this looks like for teachers is the expectation to stay late, show up early, volunteer for extra duties, spend your weekends holidays, any time off doing work for the good of the students. Boundaries.

And this brings up the next trait of a narcissist, which is using guilt to make you feel badly for setting the boundaries in the first place. In my toxic relationship, it looked like this. He made me feel guilty that he would drive to come see me. He would quote to me how much he spent on gas and how much time he spent in the car to come see me. He would make me feel guilty for spending time or attention on my own kids instead of on him. Guilt. In schools, it looks like this. Have any of you ever had your school say one of these phrases? Do what's best for the kids. And they mean kids at school, not your own kids. Or what about this one? Remember your why. And they mean to make you feel like your why should be your purpose as a teacher not that your why is providing for your family. Or how about this one, we need more teachers like you. And this is not meant as a compliment but as a manipulation to make you feel bad for thinking about leaving or not fulfilling your purpose as a teacher. The way the education system does not respond well to our personal and professional boundaries, and then make us feel guilty when we establish healthy boundaries. These are prime signs of narcissism.

Here's another one lack of empathy. In fact, the narcissist will often turn any situation around to make themselves the victim. What is crazy about this one is that my ex would call himself an impasse, stating the exact opposite of what he was to divert me from the truth, which was he only cared about himself. One time, he made me feel like the bad guy, because I unexpectedly had to watch my kids on a weekend where he had planned to get away, how dare I. And the education system, this is the never ending cold response to any struggle that teachers have. 

Now, let me tell you about the opposite that I have dealt with since working in corporate. Let me preface this by saying that corporate isn't perfect and there are still toxic cultures out there. Even great companies can exhibit toxic tendencies. But with that said, I have overarchingly received a completely different response in my corporate career. When I'm having a rough day, or have a headache, I'm encouraged to take a walk outside, clear my head and maybe even lie down. When my kids are home sick with me, I'm encouraged to take time and make sure they're okay with the reassurance that work can wait. And when I struggled with writing a paper at work that I'd never done anything like before, my manager gave me unending resources and one on one guidance to help me.

Teachers, there is another path out there for you. Your skills are valuable, your knowledge is valuable, but most importantly, you and your boundaries and your sanity and your emotional health are valuable. There is better for you. I'm going to leave you today with a quote from the book Healing from Hidden Abuse. Psychological abuse, leaves no bruises. There are no broken bones. There are no holes in the walls. The bruises, brokenness and holes are held tightly within the target of the abuse. That's you, teachers you are the target of the abuse and it's time you get out.

If you are ready to leave the classroom, I invite you to check out IDOL courses Academy, sign up using my code Classroom100 and get $100 off enrollment. Don't let the abuse continue. Get ready to leave the classroom now. That's all for this episode. But you can find more at idolcourses.com or subscribe to the podcast. 

Send your stories or your questions to [email protected] or share them with me on Instagram  @leavingtheclassroom. This is Kristi Oliva. See you next time.  

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