When dealing with toxic work colleagues it is important to try to stay focused on keeping your heart space open. Stressful work environments, particularly when they are toxic, have the potential to negatively impact on your worldwide. It can be tempting to see the world through cynical eyes when operating in a toxic organisation, that everybody is out for their own end and that you better grab what is on offer before the next person does. However, just because you are witness to toxic behaviour it does not follow that you should become like them. The world is not actually full of takers. There are also generous and selfless people in the world too. It is possible to maintain your healthy boundaries in spite of having to deal with difficult individuals in an office environment.
We tend to manifest what we contribute to the universe. Generous people, both in material and spiritual terms, usually get rewarded with good karma. We suffer when we allow mean spirited people to cloud our optimistic view of the world. For suggestions on how to manifest abundance see my latest article: Seven ways to adopt abundance theory in the workplace.
Toxic behaviour usually emanates from someone with deep wounding from their personal history. The person is not able to take responsibility for their feelings, attitude, their needs and their consequent emotional problems. Their interactions with others, particularly within organisations, is characterised at times by tense and hostile communication. You know you are around a person displaying toxic behaviour when you start to feel uneasy around them and you may develop a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. They might feel overwhelmed or powerless in their role (they may be in lowly graded posts within the hierarchy) and feel the need to be rude as a means of gaining one-upmanship. However, they might also be in positions of power and take vicarious pleasure from being unpleasant (because they can, in their mind).
The setting can be largely irrelevant. I have witnessed the worst form of toxic behaviour in so-called social care environments. Toxic behaviour typically is most raw when someone is not getting their own way. This is when they snap and show a rude attitude when asked to do something. It doesn’t matter that the task forms part of their job description. They do not handle stress very well so will be over zealous in their way of relating, which can come across as defensive, and they can suddenly start barking at you. You are left wondering what their problem is. What you don’t see is an insight into their inner world.
It can be confusing when dealing with these people as they don’t apologise. They may be overly nice next time you interact with them (this, in their mind, is a form of apology) but it is highly unlikely you will receive an apology.
The importance of not adopting a victim role in responding to such behaviour is crucial. It is equally important to not allow your perpetrator side to emerge in response to the attack. To understand more about how to deal with such scenarios read my latest article on how to boost your levels of self-esteem by learning how to cope with toxic people.
Why bullies don’t apologise
It can be very stressful dealing with toxic people whether in the workplace, family or in social circles. The key is to identify a toxic person before you trust them with too much of your personal material.Narcissism is different to toxic behaviour. Whilst all narcissists are toxic, not all toxic people are narcissists.
See this blog post for a list of how toxic people operate. Knowing how toxic people deal with others can help you to avoid the pitfall of falling under their spell.Toxic people are everywhere, including, you might be surprised to hear, in the medical field including counselling and psychotherapy circles.
For more, see my article on spotting the initial charm of toxic people.
Bullies are essentially cowards. They will not want to acknowledge their aggressive and offensive behaviour but will be intent on deflecting the attention back on you. So, in common with other toxic types, when confronted they will deny, dismiss, ignore and try to make out that you are the one with the problem, or that you are being too sensitive.
Bullies tend to gang up with other bullies and form little alliances. They are, at heart, frightened people who seek safety in seeking to dominate or ridicule others. So, if you have achieved a higher mark in an examination, for example, they will lash out by calling you a book worm or a swot or seek to undermine in some other way. In that instance it is important to acknowledge that they are jealous and can’t find it within themselves to be generous and be glad for you.
Often, bullies will be insecure about their own achievements and you might find that they have more successful siblings, or very demanding parents. Don’t buy into their nonsense. For them to apologise would be to own their own lies about their life and to address their own anger.
When dealing with bullies, stick to the facts and don’t play their game by getting emotive. If you are friends with such people and are subject to their aggressive projections, then ask yourself whether your life is enriched by their friendship. If not, ask yourself why you have them in your life. Setting healthy boundaries with toxic people brings about emotional stability and boosts your levels of self-esteem.
See my latest article on bullying and why bullies don’t apologise.
Click here for my article on toxic people and friends that can make you feel miserable. The article explains how to identify a toxic person in your life and how to deal with them and provides a short overview of transactional analysis and ‘complementary transactions’.