I have often said that there are no dead-end jobs, only dead-end people. They are inimical to the progress of any organization, family or establishment. They are always the high-maintenance types in any relational engagement. The emotional capital that it costs to work with them is invaluable. If you work with them, you do well to minimize contact or engagement with them to only perfunctory levels. If they are your boss, you do well to be on the lookout for another job while doing your level best to manage them. If they are your subordinates, try to help them. If that does not work, minimize function with them to purely professional levels. At the earliest opportunity, replace them if you have the authority to. If you are married to one of them, you will need the grace of God and the patience of the legendary Job not to wake up one day and walk away in frustration. With them, tails you lose and heads, you still lose. Any attempt to impress them is like grating your body with sand-paper. They drain you of energy and can make the best of workplaces miserable.
Enter the toxic ninjas, the enfants terrible of every relational dynamic.
In this write-up, I would like to share with you how you can recognize them. Let me say at this point that none of us is perfect and we carry various degrees of toxicity depending on the circumstances of our connection with people. However, when you see any individual who consistently manifests a combination of these traits, be on guard.
You can know toxic ninjas by how they make you feel when you are around them. It has been said that people may forget what you said or did but they never forget how you made them feel. People who flow into your life can either be encouragers or discouragers. When some people come around you, a few moments with them and you feel like you can literally pluck the moon, even if you were feeling depressed before they came. Conversely, some people would literally take the wind out of your sail after a few minutes of their presence. Because they are not going anywhere meaningful with their own lives, they are natural killjoys who don’t think anyone else deserves to be happy.
If anybody’s presence constantly makes you nervous or drains your energy mentally and physically, minimize the relation to only when necessary.
Imagine you stepping out in what you consider to be a well-tailored cloth that fits and looks good on you and someone looks at you and says, “The suit fits you but this colour looks funny! You shouldn’t be wearing it too often”. You spent quality time doing what you thought was a great job as affirmed by several people and you were feeling good with yourself. Then a boss looks at your report and says, “Hmmm… nice try but your logic is lopsided. And that just messed up the entire report.” One thing that toxic people are good at doing is paying back-hand compliments that make you feel worse than if they had just shut up.
Negativity and cynicism are Siamese twins. A prime indication of a toxic relationship is the damage it does to your self-esteem. With a toxic person or partner, you never measure up. Whether as boss or spouse, words like “dummy”, “stupid”, “imbecile”, “useless” are his favorite words in the English lexicon for describing others.
For them, criticism and condemnation are synonymous. They condemn before they understand. To them, it is as if praise or commendation is anathema or makes them look like weaklings. Show them a young person who is successful and they immediately conclude that he must be a “Yahoo boy”. Show them a young, single lady making rapid progress in her career and they waste no time in telling you that she must have slept her way up the ladder with various bosses.
Toxic ninjas will crack jokes at your expense and about your person in the most deprecating way openly before several people and later tell you when they see that you are upset that they were only joking! But they already succeeded in publicly demeaning your personality.
The toxic ninja is perpetually pessimistic. To him, the glass is always half-empty, never half-full. Share a vision with him and he will give you twenty reasons why it would never work when all you need is ONE good reason why it would! If you make the mistake of submitting your inspired vision to him, you might as well kiss the vision goodbye.
Toxic people come into a relationship with an entitlement mindset. When they place a demand on you that you cannot meet, they hold it against you. Then begins a process of emotional blackmail that makes you feel demonized for not doing what you were not in a position to do. Their sense of entitlement comes from their having done you a favour sometime in the past. Thereafter, they believe that the rest of your life is their payback time. When you hear statements like, “In spite of all that I have done for you, is this how you should repay me?”, be careful, the toxic ninja is about to unleash his poison.
If you work with someone who is always playing the victim card, blaming one person or the other for his errors of function and judgment, keep your distance from such people before they inject you with their malady. Toxic people never take responsibility for their actions. Somebody or something is always responsible for their predicament. To them, everyone should understand why they are dysfunctional. After all, the circumstances around them have been less than favorable. “My boss is too tough.” “The weather is not friendly.” “The assignment was too tough.” “My team members are antagonistic.” The list is endless.
Because they are so self-absorbed, toxic ninjas are hardly ever grateful for anything they receive. They are always convinced that the world owes them more. Their conversations are always around how life has dealt them a bad card. The dark clouds are more prominent to them than the silver lining or the possibility of rainfall. They struggle to count their blessings but effortlessly enumerate their woes. Their focus is always on what they lack with no appreciation for what they have. They are constantly living in the delusion that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence even when they refuse to water the grass in their own yard.
When you give him more space than is necessary in your life, the only agenda of the toxic ninja is to infect you with his virus by imposing himself, opinions and ideas on you and making them your own reality. Stay too long around him and you will soon begin to manifest his thought pattern and conduct. In time, what you hated in him would become your character. This is why people hang on to abusive relationships.
The only way of escape is precisely what you do to avoid being infected with corona virus. Social distancing!
Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!
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