In the early 2000’s Peter and I ran a business where we let a group of toxic people nearly strip us of our power. Peter and I remained strong through the constant bombardment of mental and verbal abuse and eventually managed to extract ourselves but the 3 years of fear for what was coming next took its toll on both of us. To this day I view the letterbox with suspicion.
Ten years after getting out we are still paying the price but we are older and wiser. What happened to us was the stuff of news stories, the sort of stuff that happens to other people.
I want to share what I learned about dealing with toxic situations and people during that time in the hope that it will help others in a similar situation.
Usually, when you have toxic people in your life it is a simple job to cut them out however these people ran the committee that dictated our rights and obligations. They were in a position of power and they abused it to the fullest extent.j
The first sign of the nightmare to follow was how difficult it was to close the deal when we bought the place. It took months and in the meantime, we sold our house and were living in a camping ground.
Those of you who have read The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield will know that this was a clear sign that we were not on our path. I know this sounds all a little woo but, in my experience, if something is particularly difficult, feels off, or smells like rotting fish on a hot summer’s day then you should perhaps trust your heaving gut and let it go.
Oblivious to the stink we pushed on but as soon as we’d settled into running the business it became clear what we were up against. A god damned truckload of rotten fish. After that first realization, it became a matter of survival both financially and mentally.
We worked together. He was the strategic analyst and I was the administrator/writer/mouthpiece.
I knew we would need people in our corner helping and supporting us through this time.
He told me that in this life you will come across toxic people. These are people you cannot connect with on any level.
When something or someone is toxic keeps the hell away and preserve yourself. If you must interact make it quick and for God’s sake don’t look them in the eye. The psychologist couldn’t help us out of our situation but he did help me to understand that the problem was not with me. In life, we can sometimes be exposed to toxins and we need strategies to survive.
Another important piece of advice the Psychologist gave me was the importance of having something to look forward to. Our Sundays were our time to switch off, they were sacred and we looked forward to them. We took a week off here and there to take trips. We had family come to stay and most importantly we gave the children a good life and treasured our time with them. Children have a way of bringing you back to centre and reminding you of what is truly important. I am not suggesting that you have kids to improve your life but we were lucky to have them to focus on.
Enlist others to support you. It may be just to lend you their ear for a good old off-load. Every little bit helps. One of our neighbours helped with completing the masses of paperwork needed to file a motion against the toxins, as I like to call them. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability and ask for help. People are suckers for underdogs and love to see them win, so enjoy being able to help how they can.
A beach holiday, a meal out, some time on the couch reading. Whatever floats your boat and will get you through to the next week.
Legal, medical. If you need it, get it. A note on the legal. It is my experience that the legal eagles love to write letters. Long, EXPENSIVE, letters that often incite retaliation. There may be more stock in going it alone for as long as you can. After spending a lot of money on lawyers, in the end, we extracted ourselves from the situation.
This is most important. You can’t fight the good fight if you are incapacitated. Eat well, get as much sleep as you can, take supplements, drink plenty of water and make sure to exercise. It is probably worth talking to your Doctor about what you can do to keep well.
I hope you never find yourself in a situation like this but if you do I hope this helps.