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Are You in a Toxic Workplace Relationship?


Is the thought of going to work causing you to feel dread, anxiety or stress?  Do your colleagues or manager have toxic behaviours towards you?  Are your confidence and self belief negatively affected by what others say or do in the workplace?

The Importance of Our Professional Relationships

As we spend so much of our time at work, how we feel at work can flow into how we feel about ourselves and other areas of our life.  Sometimes our professional relationships can be empowering and support our confidence, self esteem and personal and professional success.  In contrast, those relationships can be negative or toxic, and sabotage our confidence, self esteem and our success.

It is the quality of our professional relationships that determine whether we stay or leave an organisation.  If we are being appreciated, respected, valued and recognised we are more likely to continue working in that organisation than if we are unappreciated, taken for granted, undervalued or mistreated.

The Effect of Toxic Workplace Relationships

Research has shown that toxic employees have significant detrimental impacts on their colleagues. Some of these include angry, frustrated, and dissatisfied employees whose performance decreases or who end up resigning as a result of toxic employees’ behaviour.

According to one study*, of those employees who choose to stay:
• 66% decreased their performance at work as a result of the negative environment
• 80% lost time worrying about the negative incident(s)
• 63% wasted time avoiding the toxic co-worker or manager

In addition, I have seen many clients who have developed major mental and physical health issues as a result of toxic workplace relationships.  These include anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, insomnia, weight gain, pain and much more.  The cost of toxicity in the workplace is enormous, with many indirect consequences which can develop years later.

Toxic or Empowering?

Ask yourself the following questions and check whether your work relationships are empowering you or not.


  • you in stressful or energy-draining professional relationships
  • other people treating you like a doormat and walking all over you
  • you feeling used, being taken advantage of or underpaid for your work
  • you being bullied, being put down or criticised by others
  • other people not dealing with their own issues and “dumping” their anger, jealousy and insecurities on you
  • you compromising yourself and what is right for you in order to keep your job
  • you being treated as less than an equal, being treated unfairly or isolated by others
  • you in a one-way professional relationship where you do all the giving and they do all the taking
  • you not speaking up to avoid confrontation or other people’s anger
  • you feeling angry, frustrated, afraid, anxious, betrayed, abandoned, resentful or rejected by other people’s behaviour?

Left unaddressed, the above can often lead to a number of major health issues as mentioned above.

Leave or Stay?

If you are in a toxic workplace, you will need to decide whether to stay or leave that workplace.  Keep in mind what you will gain if you stay, and what you will lose if you stay.  Include the impact on your mental, emotional and physical health.

Make sure that any decision you make is an objective one rather than a fear based one.  For example, avoid making a decision to stay out of fear of not having a job if your leave.  Decisions made out of fear and insecurity are often regretted later.

It is important that you address any “buttons” that are being pushed by the toxic people at work.  This includes any of your fears, self doubts and insecurities.  This will help you to make an objective decision as to whether to stay or leave your job.  If you decide to stay, you may also need to learn how to better manage the situation at work for as long as you choose to stay there.  If you choose to leave, put in place a plan to secure your new job as soon as possible.

How to Leave Quickly and Easily

Here is just one example of a client who was in a very toxic workplace.  She addressed her “buttons”, learnt how to manage the situation at work while she was there, then secured her ideal job in a month.  You can empower yourself with these free resources today.

I look forward to answering your questions and empowering you further.


*  Grubacevic, V., PhD, Stop Sabotaging Your Confidence: How to Transform Self-Sabotage into Lasting Confidence and Success, Vesna Corporation Pty Ltd, Melbourne, 2014, p. 166

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