Have you ever been in a toxic situation where someone – maybe a colleague – was making you miserable?
You spent hours trying to figure out why they did what they did, why they said what they said.
Lists of pros and cons, lots of mulling over, long conversations with friends…nothing shed any light.
No matter how you tried to rationalise it, it didn’t make sense.
So you took another route…
You made allowances for the other person’s behaviour – maybe it’s just a different style to you, a personality clash.
You put yourself in the wrong…maybe you’re too demanding, too easy-going, not good enough, a threat.
You denied the sick feeling you had whenever you thought about it, ignored it, eventually got used to it.
You told yourself that you were probably overreacting, it’s just your imagination, that you should be able to deal with it.
Why do people stay in these situations?
Sometimes people don’t recognise how toxic a situation is. They feel it. But they don’t understand it. So they try to work out what’s going on.
Manipulators and bullies do not operate at the same level as others.
Trying to rationalise toxic behaviour is a waste of time and energy.
Sometimes people do understand that they’re in a toxic situation. But they’re afraid to admit it’s going on.
They choose denial.
Maybe they don’t want to lose what they have.
Or they don’t know how the abuser will react.
Or they worry that others will judge them.
One thing is certain, once they admit it, things will change.
So sometimes it just feels easier to stay in the situation, to make do, to put up with it.
Leave a toxic situation and the change will always be for the better.
One of my clients was in one of these toxic situations. Over time it had drained her energy, her confidence, her vitality, her ability.
She’d become unable to fully grasp what was going on.
But today…she got out!
Yes, she’s worried about what the future might hold. And she’s angry at what her passive-aggressive business partner has put her through. And she feels ashamed that she was blind to it for so long.
But mainly she feels hugely relieved, happy to be free of it, and excited about the future.
Does she have any regrets about leaving? None.
It’s a lot less scary to admit it and get out, that to deny it and stay stuck.
Today it may not seem easy to get out of a toxic situation.
But the day after you do it, you’ll never look back.
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