By Judi Light Hopson, Emma H. Hopson and Ted Hagen Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) How can or should you deal with toxic, hurtful people? Our favorite group of therapists share their top strategies on coping.
Tribune News Service
Are you overshadowed by a hurtful person who is hovering over you like a dark cloud?
Maybe it's your boss, who is making unwanted sexual moves on you. Or, is it a neighbor who is spreading gossip about you?
Poisonous people are everywhere, and they've been around since the beginning of time. The reason they continue to do their evil is that they know you're not likely to expose them. If you do, they will simply deny your claims.
Yelling for help isn't always an option. If it was, the MeToo Movement wouldn't have taken so long to materialize.
Also, employees wouldn't be waiting for decades to report a thief at work.
Or, school kids wouldn't be sitting on a therapist's couch in their forties, recounting horror inflicted by a teacher in the fifth grade.
The biggest issue, too, is this: Anyone you tell about your tormentor will likely deny or diffuse your claims. Getting others on board to protect you may seem next to impossible. But nonetheless, persevere. You'll land some help eventually.
So, how do individuals deal with toxic, hurtful people? What strategies can help turn the tide on these evildoers?
These tips can help:
-Document times, dates, and incidents in clearly written documents. Start a notebook or a computer file. Tell every detail you can think of, in case you need to show your documentation to someone in the future.
-Go to an authority figure outside your circle of life. For example, if you're a woman working at a bank in Atlanta, and you're getting harassed by a male co-worker, talk to a women's support group in Charleston. Obtain the name of a lawyer you can consult with in Charleston.
-Find support through social media. There are many supportive people out there, if you sincerely look for them. Therapists, counselors, and support groups can provide phone numbers and agencies to call.
Your support, when found, must equal the evil coming at you. This means you'll have to campaign heavily to find people who are outraged by your pain. And, they must be willing to take some kind of action on your behalf.
"Our condominium complex was being run by a group of criminals," says an HOA administrator in North Carolina we'll call Frank. "They were stealing our money and laughing at us behind our backs! Thank God some really strong homeowners stepped up and got a good lawyer. The battle to take back our power has been a 24-hour-a-day job for two straight years."
Frank says the only help homeowners could get was in another county. "The band of loyalty among the men in our city, because the condo administrator was a city official, was something like the Mafia. We've found out this criminal administrator has taken over many condo complexes in four separate states. So, we've now got the FBI involved."
A group of high school friends, now in their sixties, recently had a reunion in Georgia. They spent four days reminiscing about corrupt teachers at their school.
"We didn't know how to tell on anyone," says a man we'll call Phillip. "But, four of our thirty-three teachers were prosecuted over the years. Their crimes ranged from extorting money from students to sexual harassment."
The key to exposing the culprits was refusing to remain silent. Once an individual goes public with a story, others will follow. A bully cannot operate if people continue to speak up. ___ (Judi Light Hopson is the Executive Director of the stress management website USA Wellness Cafe at www.usawellnesscafe.com. Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.) ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.