Toxic relationships

This post is not about friends, families, or significant others.

This post is about work dynamics, and in a roundabout, rather passive aggressive way I guess, about how I’ve been feeling for a few months now, and the situations I’ve needed to change. Situations that I personally need to handle better. Situations that I really just have to avoid. Some of the points certainly apply to me, and how I react to certain situations. I am fighting a lot of unhealthy behavior in my life, and I don’t always win and this damages my relationships with others across the board. I try to acknowledge this as much as possible, but I’m kind of at the point where it’s not a 100% hit rate. Anyway.

I’m going to take the Tiny Buddha points and rewrite them to describe how they may apply to a work setting.

1. It seems like you can’t do anything right.

Your efforts are constantly brushed off, mocked, or otherwise not taken seriously. Suggestions you make don’t count in the context of the group, and you are regularly being criticized without given adequate constructive material to improve.

2. Everything is about them and never about you. 

The goals are the only things that matter, and your needs and desires are not taken into consideration at any point for any reason. Any expression of discomfort or misgivings is met with accusations of bad attitude or undesirable qualities. At times, you may be talked over.

3.  You find yourself unable to enjoy good moments with this person.

It is difficult to enjoy the successes the group makes because of the anxiety building up to the next project. Any attempts at bonding between yourself and the group feel forced and awkward, as all of the silenced pent-up and unresolved negativity creates a barrier between yourself and the group.

4. You’re uncomfortable being yourself around that person.

“You don’t feel free to speak your mind. You have to put on a different face just to be accepted by [the group.] You realize you don’t even recognize yourself anymore, and neither do your closest friends and family.” – Basically. Every work relationship comes with a modicum of professionalism, but here you are unable to perform to the best of your ability simply because you do not feel comfortable showing your skills and talents, practical or interpersonal for fear of being mocked or rejected.

5. You’re not allowed to grow and change.

“Whenever you aim to grow and improve yourself, the other person responds with mockery and disbelief. There is no encouragement or support for your efforts. Instead, they keep you stuck in old judgments insisting that you will never be any different than you are now.” – Exactly. There is no growth or learning in a toxic work environment. Attempts to expand your horizons or try something different are rejected by the undermining of your character, skills, or talents.

If one or more of these apply to your group dynamic, perhaps there needs to be a discussion about the ways communication is or isn’t happening, whether or not there is clarity in the ways criticism is being offered, and what needs to be changed. Bear in mind that it might be you, and that you may be engaging in the same destructive behaviors you see in other people. As most things are, relationships are a two-way street. And while there’s something to be said for working at things and trying to make things work, if it’s taking a toll on your health and happiness, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your options.

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