Would You Rather Be Accepted or Only Tolerated?

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When people talk of tolerance, I immediately cringe. I don’t find the word very attractive because let’s be real here. The word itself has a bad smell. To put it bluntly, it sounds downright gross!

Sadly, many targets of bullying are so afraid of being alone that they settle for friends who aren’t friends at all. And the people the target associates with may keep the target under the impression that he’s being accepted when, in fact, they may only be tolerating him. And you can tolerate someone without accepting them.

I know a few who assume that acceptance and tolerance mean the same but they don’t. The difference between the two is huge.

For example, you’re in polite company and the guy sitting next to you, (who happened to scarf three huge bean burritos for supper last night, then put away three eggs for breakfast this morning) covertly eases forth a silent but deadly fart. You catch the first nauseating whiff but can’t hold your nose nor leave the room without seeming rude to everyone else in the room.

Instead, you only sit there, trying to keep a poker face, and nonchalantly hold your breath until you’re sure the smell has dissipated. That’s what tolerance is.

Tolerance means that people allow the target to be around but secretly wish he’d go the hell away. And it has a way of seeping through in how they think of the person, how they act around him, and how they behave toward him.

So, how is the target to know if he’s being tolerated?

Here are the signs:

1. The target will be excluded from any events or social gatherings.
If you’re the target, you’ll often hear the rest of the group talking about the barbeque or sleepover they had over the weekend. You know, the one that none of them thought to invite you to? Show these morons you have a modicum of self-respect and walk away. You don’t need them.

2. The target will feel left out because the other members of the group will be communicating with all other members except her. You’d much rather be alone than to be lonely. Alone is when you’re physically by yourself. Lonely is when you’re among people, yet you’re still alone because to them, you don’t exist. You can be alone but not be lonely. Realize that if you ever feel lonely and you’re in a group, that’s the time to tell them to go kick rocks and be on your way.

3. The target will feel as if he’s tagging behind the group.
Again, if they seem to always leave you behind, eighty-six them and bid them goodbye.

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4. Other members of the group will voice their hatred of the target anytime he isn’t around to hear it. The target will then hear about it later. If they stab you in the back, it’s time to ditch them. You’d much rather be by yourself and keep your dignity rather than stay among those toxic people and lose it.

5. There’s always that sickening “elephant in the room” feeling.
Feeling awkward around these people is a sure sign that they don’t deserve your friendship. Understand that this is only your gut trying to warn you about these people. Listen to it!

If people tolerate a person, they only permit having them around when there’s no other choice. And they’ll take every chance of voicing their seething hatred of the person when he/she isn’t around to defend themselves. They allow the person to be around because there’s no way they can make them go away or say anything without looking like a heel. When the tolerated person is present, the rest just grin and bear it.

Here’s why the target should drop these people:

1. By continuing to be around people who tolerate him/her, the target decreases his value as a person. That’s right. Anytime you must crawl behind people who don’t give a crap about you, you make yourself look like you have no other options. People who see this lose all respect for you and think you’re weak and worse, desperate. Therefore, your value will drop like a meteor!

Nope refuse

2. You’ll risk being used and abused. Any time you’re desperate to have friends, you’ll settle for any crumb of human connection. You’ll be willing to put up with shabby treatment just to keep from being alone.

Users and abusers will take notice of this and hang around only to get something from you. And those who are decent people and would otherwise be good friends will want nothing to do with you because desperation is so off-putting and only repels them.

3. You’ll only embarrass yourself and further erode your self-esteem. If you don’t have respect for yourself, no one else will either. No one respects anyone they deem pathetic.

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You need to muster up some pride and stay away from people who make you feel bad about yourself! Begin rejecting them and have nothing more to do with them. Then watch your value rise again and see how much better you feel about yourself afterward.

Tolerance just plain sucks! For both parties! It sucks for the others because they don’t want to be around the target but don’t know how to get rid of them without looking like a bunch of jerks. It also sucks for the tolerated person because he/she in a place they’re not welcome and in a situation in which they’re mistreated and even abused. It sucks for everyone involved because the energy in the room is bad.

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Anytime a person in a group of people is only tolerated, everyone feels it.

Tolerance includes resentment. It’s gritting your teeth, sitting there with contempt on your face, and drumming your fingers until the person finally leaves. Tolerance makes the tolerated person feel crappy because it’s begrudging and there’s suffering on the part of the tolerating people.

We tolerate people we find disgusting and abhorrent.

Acceptance is a much better term. With acceptance, people are at least willing to see the value the disliked person brings to the table although he’s a person they wouldn’t have chosen. It’s receiving the person and allowing them a degree of freedom and respect despite differences.

Acceptance is sitting quietly and letting the person just be. It’s embracing her good qualities regardless of your dislike of him.

With that said, understand that you don’t deserve to be around the people who only tolerate you. Better yet, they don’t deserve the privilege of even being in your presence. It’s much better, not to mention healthier, to be by yourself until you meet people who will not only accept you but celebrate you.

I can’t stress this enough! You deserve to be among those who love you and who care deeply about you. Never, ever settle for people who only tolerate you just to keep from being alone.

Sometimes life tests us and we must be alone for a while before it finally rewards us with people who are meant to be in our lives. In the meantime, use this time of solitude for a deep self-evaluation and for getting to know yourself again. You just may discover strengths and qualities you never knew you had!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

How to Tell When Someone Doesn’t See Your Worth

There will always be people who won’t see your worth. And some never will see it. It’s just a part of life on this planet and we shouldn’t waste another nanosecond of our time on those people. However, some people are terrific actors and it can be hard to tell if you don’t know what signs to look for.

Here are the signs:

1.You feel bad or awkward around them. Energy doesn’t lie. Although you may not consciously know that the people you’re with don’t value you, you’ll feel it in their vibrations. Avoid anyone who makes you feel that something is “off” because the vibes you feel are a warning. Realize that these people don’t deserve to be in your presence or your life. You deserve better.

2. Empty promises. These people make all kinds of promises but never follow through. Again, you deserve better than them. It’s time to ditch and switch to better people.

3. Their words don’t match their body language or actions. They tell you that they like you, that you’re the best thing since the invention of the wheel but don’t act like it. Instead, they treat you like dirt and ignore you when other people are around.

4. They only want to be with you in private. This means that they’re probably ashamed to be seen with you. They’re all over you when it’s just the two of you but, in public or when others are around, they ignore you and act like they don’t know you. Again, get rid of these no-counts.

5, You make all the effort in the friendship or relationship. You are always the one to initiate contact, you do all the calling, all the texting, and messaging. You make all the visits to their house, using your car gas and your time. But they never reciprocate. This can get exhausting. At some point, you find yourself wondering if they really care. It’s time to stop making so much effort and let them do some of the work if they want to contact you, and if they don’t, there’s your answer. Find better friends.

6. They take and never give. They only use you for what they can get from you, then disappear. Again, this is so revealing. Have nothing more to do with this person.

7. They never tell the truth. If you find that a friend has been lying to you, you have to wonder what else they will lie about. It’s time to start choosing friends who are honest and let this person go!

8. They’re jealous of you when things are going well for you. If a friend resents your achievements and successes, it’s time to cut them loose. You deserve friends who celebrate your successes with you, not ones who are green with jealousy and see you as competition.

9. They get angry when you talk to your other friends or a family member. This is a huge red flag! A true friend would never want to keep you all to themselves and block you from associating with other people who love you. They would want others to love you too. Any friend who feels insecure any time you talk to someone else is not good for you. Get away from them, pronto!

10. They always disappear when you’re in trouble and need them the most. They may leave you to fend for yourself when bullies come for you. They may be unsupportive and not come around when you’re sick or feeling low. Again, dead giveaway. Steer clear!

If you see any of these signs in a potential friend, get rid of them…fast! This person should be about as welcome in your life as a turd in a swimming pool!

You owe it to yourself to let these leeches go!

Bullies and Constructive Criticism

Bullies don’t take constructive criticism very well. They only react to it as if it is a personal attack. Remember that bullies are highly egocentric. They must always be right about everything or, more appropriately, look as if they’re right about everything. Bullies have a knack for hiding beneath a veneer of total perfection.

They do this for several reasons:

1.It makes them look better than they really are.

2. The veneer of perfection can be used as protection from accountability and shield them from reproach.

3. It can be used to draw others to them and fool them.

4. It can be used as a weapon against their targets.

5. It gives them status and social capital.

6. It gives them the attention and admiration they seek.

However, bullies will use the guise of constructive criticism to disparage others they deem inferior and unworthy. They may tell the target that they’re only giving him/her this criticism to help them when, in fact, they’re doing it to show them they’re smarter or imply that the target is stupid.

A bully’s hypocrisy knows no bounds.

If you ever find yourself being unfairly criticized by someone you know is a bully. It’s important that you tell them in no uncertain terms to keep their noses out of your business.

And if they insist on keeping it up, hit them with their own book of standards. You can always say something similar to:

“That sounds real good coming from someone who doesn’t practice what they preach. Now, get out of here and go on about your business.”

This is one comeback you can use. Nothing fancy- you don’t have to get cute or witty with it. Just say what you mean and mean what you say, and say it in as few words as possible.

With knowledge comes empowerment.

Bullying, Adrenaline, and the Innate Fight or Flight Response

Any time a person has been the object of relentless bullying at work or school over an extended period of time, that person comes to be in a constant state of high alert. Although useful in short, immediate circumstances, this hyper-vigilance can be unhealthy if the person remains in this state for too long, causing stomach issues, headaches, and fatigue, among many other ailments.

Even worse, such a continuous feeling of being under threat can also cause the person to overreact in response to certain occurrences.

Here’s an excerpt from “From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying).”

“…Every living creature has an innate and perfectly natural physiological reaction in the event of a threat or attack. Called the Fight or Flight Response, it protects us from harm in dangerous situations in part through the release of adrenaline. When adrenaline is released into the blood, it becomes next to impossible not to do either of two things- fight or flee.

When I was being bullied and abused during school, escape was not an option for me. Usually, I was cornered or surrounded, either backed into a wall or some large object. With flight cut off to me as an option, what did I have left? Fight! I lived on this adrenaline every day, all day long. Just being around my classmates put my body and mind on constant alert. It was a horrible way to live.

Getting on the school bus and walking through the entrance to the school felt like a death march. In the afternoons, I had horrible headaches that triggered violent nausea. For so long, I had managed to keep from vomiting.

Eventually, my luck ran out. I recall an afternoon in English class when my mouth and eyes began to water. I swallowed hard to control my gag reflexes as I approached the teacher’s desk to ask to be excused to the bathroom.

‘What do you want?’ Mrs. Caraway asked rudely.
‘I don’t feel good.’ I replied.

Without a word, she gave me the hall pass, and I scurried my way to the girls’ room, barely making it to the first stall before launching a stream of the bitterest, most horrible tasting green liquid into the toilet.

This was followed by a long series of dry heaves, which were quite painful. Instead of making me feel better, the vomiting made me feel worse, and my headache became next to unbearable.

I’ll never forget the sound of the bathroom door as it flung open and the teacher stormed in, demanding to know why I was taking so long. I began to cry and, in between gags and wretches, pleaded with her to let me go to the office and call my grandmother….”

She accused me of making myself vomit so I could go home early.

When you’re a bullied kid, even a few teachers, having heard the rumors and falsehoods being spread about you, begin to bully you too. It’s a very lonely and heartbreaking position to be in.

As time went on, the fear of going to school and having to face my classmates grew in me. It was like an infected tumor getting bigger and bigger with each passing day. My stomach would draw up every morning when I set foot on that school bus.

The next eight hours were like walking through a minefield, never knowing when my next step could mean BOOM! and I would be hit, shoved, kicked, or bombarded with a torrent of taunts, insults, and names. It was a situation I saw no end to, and to say that I was afraid would be an understatement. I was petrified.

Most never think of the magnitude of fear the victim must live with or the health consequences of living in that perpetual state of fight or flight. And sadly, although the impact on the victim’s physical health may not show up right away, it may rear its ugly head later in life.

But this doesn’t only happen in school; it happens in the workplace also. What was believed to only happen to school-aged people also happens to adults in the workplace. Bullying knows no age group.

Many bullied victims get into serious trouble when the bullying finally escalates and becomes physical. Every day, innocent targets are unjustly suspended and expelled from school or fired from work because they were forced into fight mode to defend themselves.

Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.

Bullies have a real flair for charming and seducing supervisors, managers, teachers, and staff, lying very convincingly and making the target look like the aggressor. Targets are often severely punished for nothing more than trying to protect themselves, while the bullies are either given a slap on the wrist or escape with complete impunity.

However, school staff and workplace management should know well that, just like all God’s creatures, bullying targets have this fight or flight instinct.

It’s only natural that if you corner a dog and kick it enough times, sooner or later, you’ll get bit!

Let Them Talk All They Want

Gossips are everywhere! Too many people worry needlessly about what people are saying about them. But here’s the thing, people talk. They’re going to have something to say about you until the day you die. Get used to it. Better, yet embrace it! Love it!

Here’s Why:

1. When people talk about you, they make you relevant! Good or bad, it means you’re an exciting topic- you’re not dull. Remember that it’s much better to be good or bad than to be boring.

Businessman not listening to nonsense.

2. When people engage in petty gossip about you, it means that they can’t get you off their minds. Somehow, someway, positive or negative, you’ve made an impact on them. You’ve stirred emotions up in them.

3. When people talk about you, it means they don’t have lives of their own and are obsessed with yours, which means your life must be more exciting than theirs.

4. When people talk behind your back, they reveal much more about themselves than they do you. Remember the old proverb, “Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, and Small minds discuss people.”

5. When people can’t shut up about you, you’re the one who’s in control of them. Because you occupy a large amount of space in their minds, you’ve affected them profoundly and with little or no effort.

6. The people who blab about you expend a lot of their energy on you while you get to save yours. They’re thinking of you without getting so much as a thought from you.

7. When you’re the topic of others’ discussions, it means that they’re your fans, only they don’t know it.

8. In a nutshell, when people can’t stop running their mouths about you, it only means that you have a tremendous amount of power over them, and you didn’t have to make an effort to get that power! Yay, you!

So don’t give their talk any validation by reacting. Just sit back and be amused by the talkers. Petty gossip is just that- petty!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

A Closer Look at Frenemies

Every single one of us has had that one “friend” or that handful of “friends,” if that’s what you prefer to call them. They seem to really like us and want to be around us all the time. They cozy up to us very quickly (too quickly), seemingly mesmerized by us, bombarding us with attention and laying the flattery on super-thick really early in the relationship and wanting so badly to be a part of our lives.

They butter us up with compliments, smile at us, and pat us on the back, making us feel great about ourselves. If you’re being bullied and are feeling insecure like I was years ago, this is such a welcome change!

You’re bullied, lonely, rejected, and this seems to be just the thing you’ve been waiting for, giving you that much-needed shot of dopamine you’ve been craving for so long!

Suddenly you feel great about yourself and think that maybe, the bullying might be coming to an end. Soon, however, you notice subtle signs in the person that doesn’t feel so good, occasionally seeing out of the corner of your eye those split-second flashes of disdain on the faces of your “new friends”…a sneer here, an evil, piercing glance there.

Although your gut begins to sound off, telling you that something is “off” about this person (or these people), you only mentally make excuses for them.

“Maybe he/she is having a rough day.”
“Maybe someone made him/her angry before they came to visit.”
“Maybe they’re just in a bad mood.”

Wanting to believe the very best of the person(s), you mentally explain away the signs that tell you that something just isn’t right. Then, when it happens again, you begin to ask yourself,

“Was it something I said or something I did accidentally to offend this person?”

Next, your new buddy or buddies seem cold toward you. They begin to alternate hot and cold, and you’re left bewildered as to the causation, all the while your sixth sense is telling you to put some distance yourself and these people and to do it fast! But you don’t because this person is a friend. You love them and don’t want to seem like a heel or that you don’t appreciate their friendship.

Also, the bullies have suddenly disappeared, and you want to keep it this way. Even worse and more pathetic, you dread the possibility of going back to square one…eating your lunch alone, walking alone in the halls, and once again, being the target of bullies.

So, you continue to tolerate unacceptable behavior because, deep down, you don’t think that you can find better people to be pals with. You’ve been bullied and shamed for so long that you have actually forgotten what a true friend is and what it’s like to have one.

When you finally work up the nerve to ask the person about his/her behavior, they either lie about the behavior, downplay it, or worse, tell you that you’re imagining things or being too sensitive. However, as time goes by, those tiny micro-expressions of ire, the split-second glares, and subtle, back-handed compliments and coldness only become more frequent!

Now, your Spidey-senses are screaming! Others you thought were decent toward you are now giving you the silent treatment, and you don’t know why.

Suddenly, BAM! It happens! The person lashes out at you for reasons that are so trivial, or worse, reasons which seem to be made up! You know you should tell them to take a hike, but you only blame yourself or give misplaced apologies instead, looking even more pathetic to bystanders and witnesses! Even worse, now, you look like an even bigger target to bullies!

Continued in Part 2…

Getting Rid of Toxic People

Toxic people! They’re the people who are ungrateful, who are notorious gossips, complainers, and whiners- the Negative Nancies and Debbie Downers of the world. Toxic people undermine your accomplishments and successes and stun you with backhanded compliments. In a nutshell, they suck the oxygen out of the room with their negativity and make you want to run for the nearest exit when you see them coming.

I can’t stress enough the importance of giving these happiness thieves the old heave-ho and the things it can do for your self-esteem.

As tweens, teens, even in our twenties, it is only natural that we all want to be liked, be cool, and be accepted by our peers. However, when you are a target of bullying, those wants can be hard to attain due to lies and rumors that bullies may spread to keep their victims isolated and alone.

You see? The last thing a bully wants is for anyone, and I mean ANYONE, to like you or want to be friends with you.

Often, bully targets will become desperate for friends- for any human connection with anyone their age. As a result, they may get involved with the wrong people-people who only tolerate them.

But because these new people in the target’s life are not directly abusing them (hitting, shouting, name-calling), the victim may mistake this as a friendship and latch on. Or they may feel that it’s the best they can do and there’s nothing better out there for them. But targets can do better. They just don’t know it.

And while the targets’ back is turned, his “new buddies” at school or at work are rolling their eyes and talking through their teeth. These people are no better than the bullies. They only feel sorry for the target.

These people are toxic. I understand that being alone is tough. I’ve been there. But wouldn’t you rather be alone than to crawl up behind people who only tolerate you? I know I would.

Hit the road concept, road – 3D rendering

Be selective of who you call “friend” because a smiling face does not a friend make. And anyone who makes you feel bad does not deserve the privilege of knowing you. So, get rid of them and fast!

You may be friendless for a time, but I promise you will meet new people and make friends. You are worth it! For now, just spend time with family and do the things you enjoy. Better people will be placed in your life when you least expect it.

It pays to be your own best friend.

Protecting Yourself from Bullying: Types of People You Should Avoid

One of the first steps in protecting yourself from bullying is to know what types of people you should avoid. And understand that trusting your feelings is also important as some people are experts at hiding their true intentions and some things just aren’t so obvious.

It’s a good thing that we all have a sixth sense and are able to sense the vibes and energy others put out. That can also work in our favor.

Here are the types of bad eggs to be aware of and avoid at all costs:

1. The gossip – this person is a walking tabloid. You’ll see and hear her talking trash about different people and you’ll notice she does it all the time. Many gossips will even talk about people they don’t know but have only heard about. They always seem to know everything about everyone- everything, short of their bathroom habits.

Know this! If they talk about others, they will talk about you too.

A closeup of a young beagle pup who is being nosey and doing some investigating. Shallow depth of field.

2. The bignose – this person is virulently nosy and should be considered a twin sister to the gossip because most gossips tend to be nosy. They consistently have their face in everyone’s business. You will often find them asking others personal questions, eavesdropping on conversations, eyeing people intensely, butting in, and inserting their cheap two-cents worth where it doesn’t belong.

 3. The two-face – An even closer sister of the gossip. These people pretend to be your friend but stab you in the back. The sad thing is that you’re usually the last to know. Again, if they’ll talk about somebody else…

Be careful what you share, not only with these people, but with anyone. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t want anyone to know.

Two words of advice. Steer clear!

4. The drama queen/king – This bad egg is a chronic complainer who always seems to have a problem for every solution. They are never happy and impossible to please. Moreover, this person also seems to have unending misfortune- bad break after bad break, back-to-back. Sure, we all have times when we must vent, and we all have bad luck at times. Perfectly normal. But when it’s constant, you have to wonder if the person is unknowingly bringing much of it on themselves somehow.

These people complain about everything and everybody. And they will complain about you too eventually. Bad moods have a way of spreading fast. So, if the person consistently dogs your mood, it’s best not to have anything to do with them. No one wants to be around a sad-sack nosebleed who whines constantly because, being around them can quickly become a drag.

Closeup portrait unhappy woman giving loser sign on forehead, looking at you with anger and hatred on face isolated on gray background.

More importantly, drama queens and kings also tend to be suspicious of people. They’re the type who think everyone is out to get them or everyone has ulterior motives. And if they think everyone is out to get them, they’ll think you’re out to get them too and they will get you before you get them.

Again, steer clear!

5. The passive-aggressive person – this person is sneaky and should be avoided as well because if they even think you’ve slighted them somehow, they’ll unless a rash of covert attacks- attacks you won’t even see coming until it’s too late. Also, if they have an agenda and you just happen to be standing in their way, look out! They will make your life a living hell. This person is to be avoided at all costs!

6. Anyone who puts out bad vibes. When we’re around some people we can sense that something is off about them, or we pick up on the vibes and energies they put out that doesn’t feel good or doesn’t feel quite right. Always listen to your gut feeling because vibrations don’t lie.

When it comes to bullying, many people, including me, have found out the hard way that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Save yourself years of trial and error and the heartache that goes with it. Avoid these people at all costs!

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying and Mobbing- How I Did It (Part 4)

(Continued from Part 3…)

I remember a night when one of the flying monkeys, Shelly, a CNA, approached me in the hall, from behind and began screaming, cursing, and threatening to jump me over a rumor that had it that I was stabbing her in the back.

She threatened to attack me there on the spot physically, and there were bystanders!
When I turned around, faced her, and called her out for being unprofessional, Shelly became twice as angry.

Later, I was afraid that I might face termination because Shelly had escalated the confrontation to an unprecedented level. Also, I’d seen so many others whom these people had pulled the same tactic on getting fired left and right!

I remember thinking,

“Well, if I do get canned, they won’t be able to say they didn’t have to work hard at achieving that goal! At the very least, I’ll leave here knowing I put up one hell of a fight!”

One of the bystanders was Deb, the charge nurse, and Shelly’s supervisor and buddy. Therefore, I knew that Deb would sweep Shelly’s behavior under the rug and paint me as the instigator.

Sure enough, she did. These people had a way of turning everything around to fit their narrative and getting others to agree with it.

The other guy was always to blame.
It was always the other guy’s fault.
It was never their fault, and they were never wrong.

They reported the incident to Darnell and suggested that he terminate me right then and there. When he talked to me about it, I calmly explained that Shelly had approached me from behind in a very threatening manner, that I feared for my physical safety, and didn’t know what she would do had I not faced her down.

And by this time, I’d worked under Darnell long enough that he knew the kind of person I was and that I was only taking care of myself.

A crowd of people surrounded the red man. Accusation of crime, mob law over a person, lynch court. The leader in the center of the crowd, the leader, an example for diving. Angry crowd

So, again, Darnell had my back and went to bat for me. Also, I had made an awesome friend out of Jane, who was another charge nurse at the nursing home. She, too, went to bat for me as did several of my coworkers.

Each time nothing happened to me, the bullies only became angrier and crazier, until they were all out for blood!

It was then that I starting noticing Jules hovering around in the hall just outside the door to the laundry room. Later, I’d see him milling around nearby anytime I’d stop in the hallway to greet and talk to friends. And I’ve got to tell you! He gave me such a creepy vibe!

Next, I began seeing him standing across the street from my apartment, smoking a cigarette. And I could tell he was watching my apartment. Now that freaked me out!

I found out that he and the neighbor across the street had begun dating and that he was there to see her. She didn’t allow smoking in her house, so he had no choice but to smoke outside. Still, I didn’t feel any better. I felt as if I was being stalked!

I knew why he was hanging around so close. Jules was an eavesdropper for Cammie and her group, listening in on our convos in the laundry room and my discussions with friends in the hallway. Everybody knew it because he’d eavesdropped on many others.

My instinct also told me they’d enlisted him to watch my house. He was watching to see what company I had over- looking for any information with which to report back to Cammie.

The fact that Jules’ girlfriend lived across the street from me was a convenient cover for him and they knew it. Although I knew what was going on, I didn’t speak of it because I knew I couldn’t without sounding completely nuts. I did the best thing by keeping it to myself but filing it in the back of my mind. The only people I told were my closest family and they knew I wasn’t kidding.

Luckily, his girlfriend was a good friend of mine and I knew she only kept him around because she was lonely. So, I used it to my advantage, and cozied up to her a little bit more so she would volunteer to tell me little tidbits about what he was doing. Sure enough, she confirmed my suspicions.

Not much later, Darnell, having himself become a target of the vitriol that inflected the workplace, announced to us that he had put in his two-week notice of resignation and was moving on to a better job and a better work environment.

Although we were happy that he’d finally found something better and was getting out of that hellhole, we were also deeply saddened because we’d miss him so much. We saw Darnell as our fearless leader, our Captain Ahab, and our hero!

What kind of leader would the new supervisor be? And would they protect us from those devils down the hall as Darnell had?

Choosing not to leave anything to chance, I decided that I’d put in my notice as well. Being the type of woman who would always think ahead, I knew that once Darnell was gone, I’d be totally at their mercy. I had a sickening feeling that the next supervisor would toady up to the bullies in the upper echelons of management and the social order.

Strict Boss: Angry upset young business woman with blank speech bubble on white on gray background. Vector illustration.

I knew that Cammie had long waited, with bated breath, for the day when Darnell would either quit or get fired. Then, she could begin working on the new supervisor, ingratiate herself in them, and turn them against us.

Sure enough, my closest coworker told me she’d overheard Cammie saying precisely that, and she was recommending that the new supervisor terminate three of us. Knowing I was one of the three, I quickly filled out my two weeks notice of resignation and gave it to Darnell.

Darnell introduced us to the new supervisor. She was a short, dumpy woman in her forties and by her facial expression, which was hard and cold, I made the conclusion that putting in my notice was the smartest thing to do and gave myself a pat on the back.

Off and on during the last two weeks, I’d catch those tiny micro flashes of suspicion and contempt the new supervisor would flash toward me and a few others. And the bullies were completely enraged once word of my pending exit reached their ears. But once I was out of there, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I was quite proud of myself for having escaped that toxic place and walked away from the job with confidence and my self-esteem still intact.

But the best and juiciest part is yet to be told!

(Continued in Part 5…)

Toxic Friendship

Have you ever had so-called friends who seemed to turn hot and cold toward you? Who manipulated you into doing something you didn’t want to do? Fake friends who never had your back and always threw you under the bus whenever you were in trouble or in danger? Who treated you shabbily and didn’t seem to care how they hurt you? Whom you had to apologize to for things you weren’t guilty of just to keep the peace?

Have you ever had that particular friend who seemed possessive of you and wanted to keep you all to herself? Who would get angry when she saw you talking to another friend of yours, or worse, treat the other friend like a fifth wheel because she feels threatened by your friendship with the other girl?

Or…maybe it’s less obvious. Your so-called friend discourages you when you tell him what your plans for the future are. You tell your frenemy that you’re planning to cut a CD, or write a book and publish it. And he shoots you off your saddle by telling you in the most caring and concerned tone,

“I want to warn you before you get your hopes up because the last thing I want is to see you disappointed. Most singers and writers never get anywhere with their music and books. It’s hard to make it in that industry today.”

Although that may be true- it’s very difficult to make it in both the music and publishing industries, your friend should at least encourage you and be proud of you for having the guts to try. Because, who knows? You may be one of the lucky few who do make it. However, if you don’t even try, you won’t even have a chance of succeeding.

Maybe you have a dream of one day becoming an actor and your friends ridicule you for having that dream and tell you that you’ll only crash and burn.

Maybe you’ve made a great achievement or won an award and your friends only give you backhanded compliments, or trivialize your accomplishment.

Any time friends discourage you like that, you have to wonder if they’re only discouraging you because they’re afraid that you just might be successful. You also must ask yourself whether they believe in you or not, or if they’re secretly resentful of your success.

If you’re having these problems with those who are supposed to be your friends. My loving advice is to find new friends. You owe it to yourself. Realize that real friends make us feel better about ourselves not worse. Real friends enhance your life, they don’t cause pain or humiliation.

Toxic friends only suck the life out of you and leave you feeling worthless. You deserve friends who are ride or die. You deserve friends who are there for you no matter what kind of storms you may be going through. And you deserve friends who value you and don’t want to lose you.

But first, you must value yourself. And how you value yourself is to get rid of anyone who doesn’t treat you as well as you treat them. You may be alone for a spell, but your people will find you eventually and it will be worth it in the end. I guarantee it!