Personal Reflection: Rising Up from Toxicity

Anxiety. Anxiety and fear. Anxiety, fear and a constant belief in failure. 

I am not paraphrasing Monty Python’s’ Life of Brian,’ I am describing feelings experienced within my previous career as a teacher.

I used to have nightmares. I would go from floods of tears to naked aggression within seconds. I would scratch my legs so constantly it would draw blood and leave long marks. 

A year after exiting the profession I was invited into a teaching post and sensing the chance to recover some dormant skills I agreed to consider the job as long as it meant being able to arrive, deliver then leave.

 Within a week I found myself stuck in an altercation between two members of staff, one ‘lower’ down the food chain, the other in a more senior position. Both wanted to offload all the work connected to the curriculum by shoving it in my direction. My response? A return to anxiety, rudeness, explosive behaviour (which later turned out to be PTSD) and self-harming.

Where hierarchy breeds a sense of entitlement this kind of behaviour is common.

Two days later I was back to my ‘new’ life: writing short stories and coaching clients. Equanimity returned. I emailed the member of staff I had offended and apologised.

He never acknowledged his fault.

Toxic work environments breed paranoia.

Toxic work environments devalue the experiences of employees and desensitise awareness of their own pain.

By revisiting this older negativity I have been given a timely reminder.  I now connect with organisations that serve their employees.

When I stand up for myself I engage in healthy working relationships. When I apologise for my mistakes, I improve my happiness and wellbeing.

#toxicworkplaces #selfharm #selfcare #positivewellbeing #compassion #transformation

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