This past weekend marked the end of a truly difficult working relationship for me that has lasted for years. People saying one thing to my face and another behind my back; making false promises; taking all of the credit for my hard work — the list goes on and on (and on).
Thankfully, though, this wasn’t my first rodeo. I have endured multiple run-ins with liars, cheats, addicts, alcoholics, narcissists, and players. My family laid the groundwork for me repeating the cycles of abuse and neglect I endured as a kid. I have come to learn that they only way of breaking these relational cycles is dealing with them head on. There are no shortcuts and the only way is through.
Each time I encountered a difficult boss, a controlling friend, or an addicted boyfriend, I learned from that experience. Sometimes we worked through our differences, but, more often than not, the aftermath and wreckage were so insurmountable that all I could do was limp away.
The common theme of each of these tough situations was that I entered the relationship as the “weaker” person – the subordinate – either by job title or demeanor. Then things fell apart as I grew stronger in my quest to heal. The very relationship was predicated on me being a victim who did not see my full potential.
Yet, this past weekend, I know I graduated. I had entered this situation knowing there was a history of mistrust and deception, but I initially remained cautiously optimistic. I was smart, energetic, and thought maybe, just maybe, I could turn things around. But I quickly learned that all of the brains, grit, and effort in the universe could not save this sinking ship.
The biggest change for me was that I did not even try. I did not run around trying to fix things or making excuses for false deeds. I also did not engage in arguments and walked away when people tried to pick fights. I refused to be the scapegoat.
This change truly was revolutionary for me. I stood tall and firm in my belief in integrity and hard work. I did my job, and I did it well. All the while, I was able to “rise above” the drama and chaos. While others wanted to play tug of war, I simply dropped the rope. Letting go was exhausting, but ultimately so freeing because I now had energy to make other plans.
I am at peace that this situation is ending and I am relieved that, unlike before, no bridges were burned and no drama ensued. I endured and saw the situation through to the end that had been coming even before I had walked in the door.
My ultimate hope is that I have mastered this lesson from the universe and will never be faced with such difficulties again. However, in a world that currently prioritizes dominance and control, I would not be surprised if similar situations present themselves down the road. I hope that next time, though, I will be too busy creating my own projects based on integrity and respect to even notice any toxic people vying for my attention.