Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Know If You're a Toxic Sponge

Are you the one that colleagues or your boss turn to when there is a crisis or they just need to unload their negative baggage? Do you then feel pressure to fix whatever is going wrong – as they walk away feeling better from having unloaded their troubles on you?
If so, you may be a toxic sponge.
While others find your calm demeanor and attentive presence reassuring and comforting, the reality is that you can only absorb so much negativity. After a while, you will begin to pay a price for a willingness to take on the troubles of others, and it may start to impact your own work or personal life.
The key is that you have to set limits. Maybe you like being a trusted employee or colleague and want to feel that you can be counted on in times of trouble. But there are ways to do that while still maintaining an emotional equilibrium that lets you be of service without absorbing all that negativity.
  • Knowing when to step aside. You don’t become a mental health professional just by watching Dr. Phil. If a colleague or boss has serious problems such as an addiction, an abusive relationship or comes to you again and again with the same complaints, then it’s time to suggest they seek professional help. Don’t try to be an armchair psychiatrist. Learn to back off from this person so he or she will be forced to admit professional assistance is needed. As long as you continue to absorb the problem, things won’t get better.
  • Setting limits. When you’re a toxic sponge, others may not recognize that you’re overloaded because you seem to so calmly accept whatever they say and want to help. But you’ve got to learn to set your own parameters of how (read more here)

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