In the last few entries of the miniblog, I have touched upon some toxic people I met in work situations. The boss who hit me, and the girl who sat across from me polluting our office environment with her negativity. It just goes to show that abuse can take place in many different situations. An abuser is never only one thing to one person. They are partners, parents, co-workers, managers, ministers, preachers, neighbors or community leaders.
Abusers often need an audience. Not for the abuse, of course, that is all secret and hidden. They need admiration and applause, they crave people looking up at them. Stepping out to get that admiration also widens the pool for targets, and keeps targets isolated as the community looks up to the abuser.
When I was growing up my mother taught at the local high school. Whenever any one of us would run into one of her pupils they would ask: are you her daughter? To our affirmative answer, they would respond: poor you! It always puzzled me, but I suppose her pupils were better at picking up the toxic behavior than I was. I mean, it was all I knew then.
The greater the position of influence, the more impact a toxic person can have. Parents and partners often have the most destructive effect on their targets. Religious leaders and people in the workplace, however, can also be effective in destroying their targets. It is about access to the target, and power over them. When a bully is well liked by management, they can torment a co-worker like no other. And your average toxic person knows how to play the system. They know what boots to kiss and which people are vulnerable easy targets. They are excellent readers of people and situations and play them like a fiddle.
At SwanWaters we welcome anyone who has had to deal with toxic people because we know you can meet them anywhere, and they hurt!