Michael Ballard and Mags Thomson both learned from experience how to deal with a toxic boss. How do they affect you and what can you do to protect yourself?
In a world where we are hardly viewed as people, and more as the embodiment of whatever job we have, we may need to ask: what are boundaries at work anyway?
Even when survivors distance themselves from a toxic person, we often still hear their voice in our heads, drowning out our own inner-voice and reaffirming the doubt that was planted a long time ago. In effect, we have a bully in our head.
I personally have suffered from workplace bullying in a major UK retail concern, and it was horrendous. Already suffering from low self-esteem, I was reduced to periods of extreme depression. I had to talk myself into going to work every morning because ‘I needed the money’.
Emotional abuse may be an elusive concept to many, for people who have been on the receiving end it is only too tangible. The effects of emotional or narcissistic abuse are many, and healing from these can be challenging.
Our most immediate association with the word violence is of physical aggression. But you can utterly destroy a person, and never lay a hand on them.
Recently I had a conversation with some co-workers about who had worked for the worst boss. When I said: “I used to work for a boss that hit me”. I had clearly marked the winner. “Why did you not just leave the job?” my friend asked astonished. Of course I did leave the job eventually, but it took me a few years, and some major health scares to realize what was going on.