Toxic relationships or how to recognise them – sequel

In the last article about toxic relationships I was talking how to recognise them. This time I have some suggestions what to do, when the descriptions hit too close to home.

1. Boundaries!

Be aware of your own boundaries and don’t let the toxic person bulldozer them. They may try different scare tactics and manipulations, but hold your ground.

Boundaries aren’t about spite or manipulation and they don’t have to be about ending the relationship. They are something drawn in strength and courage to let people see with great clarity where the doorway is to you.

2. Be kind.

Even though the toxic person is acting less-than-noble, it doesn’t mean you can stoop to their level. Keep yourself accountable for your actions and stick to your moral values. If they can do it, it doesn’t mean you can too.

3. Be private.

Don’t tell them anything personal, because everything said in confidence will be repeated to others with a negative twist. Don’t gossip about colleagues, clients or friends. If you want a secret to stay secret, keep it to yourself.

4. Stay positive.

When you hang out with a toxic person that is the perpetual victim, you’ll soon start to feel tired, grumpy and start harboring some negative thoughts or even attitude. Trying to cheer up such a person will be in vain, as they love being the victim. Focus your efforts instead on those you love and they make you feel better.

What to do if the problem is a toxic work environment?

You can recognise a toxic work environment, if you feel weak, tired, have a headache, aching stomach, weak immune system, are under constant stress, you cannot focus on work, are depressed or even having suicidal thoughts because of your work (in the latter case try getting some professional help as well).

So, what can you do about it?

  • If possible, find a trusted friend at work.
  • Keep records of everything (especially agreements). When you (verbally) agree on something, follow up with an email about it. This will help you protect yourself, so that the toxic person won’t be able to lie or you’ll be able to prove it.
  • Don’t gossip or spread rumors. Focus on your own work.
  • Find something positive at your work. Anything. Maybe it’s a great stepping stone, you love the job (but not the team), it has great benefits, good pay, you learn a lot … Find something positive about it and focus on it.
  • Work-life balance. When your life spins only around your job, it’s time to start having some boundaries. Take a break, go out for lunch (instead of eating at your desk), don’t bring work home, have some friends out of work, don’t share private informations with your colleagues.
  • Stay true to yourself. Don’t sacrifice yourself to survive in a toxic work environment.
  • If nothing helps, know that there are other jobs. Start looking for a new one (it’s easier to search for a new one while you already have a job).

What to do if you’re in a relationship with a toxic person?

  1. Congratulations, you know something isn’t right!
  2. Talk to them. There is always a possibility they don’t know, that they’re hurting you. Try to talk it out and find some solutions.
  3. Start writing a journal. Everytime you hang out with them, write how they made you feel and what do you think about yourself. After a while, read it. If you think or feel less about yourself, after hanging out with them, you know it’s a toxic relationship.
  4. Take care of yourself. Start practicing self-care. Go for a walk, massage, or even that workshop you wanted to go for ages. Start meditating, doing sports – anything that brings peace back to your life.
  5. Walk away. When nothing else helps, walk away. It’s not about giving up. It’s about putting yourself first and self-care. It won’t be easy. It’s always brave and always hard, but so worth it in the end.

Food for thought:

Loyalty can be a confusing, loaded term and is often the reason that people stay stuck in toxic relationships. What you need to know is this: When loyalty comes with a diminishing of the self, it’s not loyalty, it’s submission.

I hope this list helped you. Till next time,
Helena

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