Not Your Issue…


    Last year was a very stressful work year for me because I had to re-evaluate some of my relationships and friendships at work.  This was due to people whom I thought to be friends showing their true colors and demonstrating that they weren’t whom they appeared to be.  I don’t want to spend too much time getting into it all because, frankly, the way that they proved to be hypocrites is not as important as the fact that they ultimately proved to be untrustworthy.  The important part is that I actually went through a period of time where I blamed myself and wondered if I had been the problem by being too outspoken or not reserving my thoughts on certain topics.

    That brings us to the real reason why I am writing this post which is to teach all of you never to doubt yourself.  It is now a full year later and none of those people even matter at all in my life.  On the other hand, they still continue to be the same miserable and deceptive people that they have always been.  As a matter of fact, a lot of them don’t even talk to each other anymore because, once they ran out of other targets to unleash their misery upon, they turned on each other like a pack of wild dogs.  How is that for a little poetic justice?

    Many of us have encountered toxic people in our lives.  They often come in many forms and present themselves in various ways.  However, in the end, their impact on our lives is still the same and they always end up infecting us with their negativity and drama.  The reality is that we are fully in control of just how much damage they cause but we don’t even realize this half the time because these individuals often come in the form of family members, friends, and co-workers who we worry too much about offending.  Unfortunately, they are not as concerned about our feelings as we are about theirs.

    In my own case, I am now keenly aware of what my personal boundaries will be from now on.  Never again will I  blame myself for the inappropriate and negative actions of others that are out of my control.  To think that I even allowed unimportant people who I just work with to even have that kind of power over me is ludicrous.  The reality is that we all go through periods of self-doubt when we are betrayed or wronged by people who we thought were sincere and had integrity.  They say hind sight is 20/20 and maybe, looking back, there were many signs that were there screaming loudly at me not to let these people into my inner circle.

    After the fact, I feel completely vindicated because I’m still the real, genuine person that I have always been and they are still the toxic people that they have always been.  The highlight of their day is to put others down, talk about people behind their backs, and generally spew their personal vomit on unsuspecting others.  Despite this, there is a very important moral to this story and it is to be weary who you allow into your life and never to take the blame for the dysfunction of others.  They are not your issue…

© 2011, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Michael Ann Riley says

    Wow. SOOOO well-said. I am still learning this. I have not had good boundaries and then I blame myself. It takes me a really, really long time to see the reality of the situation. Then when I do, it’s like, “What took me so long?”  I am very trusting of others probably to the point of being naive. I assume the best in people. I don’t want to lose that, but on the other hand I don’t want to be abused in this way anymore. It’s a fine line. I guess, like you said, we have to trust our gut. Those “clues” or feelings we get in the beginning, we should listen to. It’s really hard when it’s family. Great post!

  2. To paraphrase the line in “The Help”

    “Somepeople are just mean for sport!”

    The Cranky Old Man

  3. Great post. I got rid of many of those toxics in my life and it has been drama free since. I also had an encounter with a few “friends” that I thought were friends that turned out to be awful people. So good for you

  4. Wait, you just described my ex-sister- in -law. Notice she is now an Ex, her true colors finally came shining through.

    Loved this post.

  5. Angie Ballard says

    You make a powerful point.  It is unfortunate that it almost always takes a crisis for us to learn this lesson.  I’ve been off work dealing with complications from major surgery since April and of all the people I worked with daily for almost two decades only two people have kept in touch on a regular basis.  A vast majority of these “toxic people”, who thought nothing of calling me at home with outrageous demands at 3am, on holidays, and when I was on vacation didn’t even bother to send me a Get Well card.  Lesson learned.

  6. Well said! It’s too bad we sometimes have to learn this more than once…at least I have. We need to “be careful out there”! Guarding our hearts as Proverbs 4:23 wisely tells us:  Guard your heart, above all things, for it the wellsping of life.

  7. This is such a powerful blog post because it’s 100% true.
    Thanks for posting it. I am bookmarking it because I will need to read it more than once!

  8. I totally agree, and happy to hear you made it through it and realized they were toxic in your life. It takes other a long time to figure that out.

    We went through a few restructures at work… And often the ones that didn’t survive the restructures were the ones that exhibited the behaviour you discussed. After the first restructure, I learned to stay far away from them. Not only do they affect your life, but they can definitely hurt your professional career.

  9. This is such a great post, and SO true! I’m still learning how to do this, but it’s a challenge.  It’s time I accept that
    it’s not my responsibility to keep everyone happy. 

  10. Natasha Hemsley says

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’m having the same issue. It’s with a family member. Things got so bad that I had to tell this person in a really nasty way to stop calling me. I feel bad but whenever I try to have any type of relationship with this person they always have something negative to say. 

  11. So true! It’s more about them than you…. and those hard lessons make us better people as we move forward because we can recognize and learn from that!

  12. Angie Suthivarakom says

    I totally agree with you!  I recently went through a similar situation, but at my martial arts studio.  I saw it happen to a lesser extent to another ex-student, so I’m not too surprised that it happened to me.

    And good for you for realizing that none of their negativity is your fault!  It takes a strong personality to be able to look past the BS and see into the heart of the matter.

  13. MalikaBourne says

    “Toxic “people! I did not know there were toxic people until a friend nearly killed me. Now that is toxic. So glad you wrote this because I have the feeling that a lot of really nice people don’t know that toxic people are out there. We feel like crap and can’t figure out why.

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