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#5 – What makes it difficult for us to deal with toxic behaviour?

Toxic behaviour, especially in the workplace, is unfortunately not uncommon. And fortunately, we are becoming more and more aware of it, so that we can finally read, talk and hear about it. So education and mindfulness are increasingly taking their course. But knowledge alone is unfortunately not enough. If we find ourselves in such a situation on a daily basis and have to be treated in this way, it is important to find a good way of dealing with the existing circumstances for ourselves until there is perhaps a solution on the outside.

Please also note that such behaviour doesn't always have to be something really big - it can also be small, perfidious quirks, sometimes a slogan here, sometimes a gesture there, so sometimes it can be little things that you don't even notice at first and yet can create a lasting feeling of annoyance.

So what makes it so difficult for us?

First of all, we are all human beings who all had an individual childhood - whether good or bad - and were moulded accordingly. Not only have we learned certain behaviours, but we are also subject to certain belief patterns and value systems. These are all largely controlled by our nervous system, which regularly informs us via our triggers when we put ourselves under stress in certain situations. We are therefore constantly thrown back on ourselves and our injuries throughout the day, day in, day out.

If, for example, we grew up in a toxic home, if fear prevailed, if we were not communicated with openly but were brought up with silence, shouting, beatings or other punishments, a similar situation in the here and now can throw us back into our old behaviour patterns from our childhood. This happens completely automatically because it is our survival mode that works on instinct. This helped us and was able to protect us as a child. We thus adopted a behaviour that offered us the greatest security for survival at the time.

Activating our resources

But today we are adults and have the capacity and skills to behave differently in those situations that continue to threaten our nervous system. However, this requires the healing of our injuries and a regulated nervous system that feels largely safe. Unfortunately, it is therefore not surprising that we find ourselves in a feeling of helplessness, powerlessness, struggle or despair or even the famous people pleasing when we engage in toxic behaviour and are unable to deal with the current situation confidently. Our own behaviour plunges us deeper into uncertainty in these moments, because our mind suggests to us that we should actually be in control of the situation, but our body behaves in the opposite way.

When faced with uncertainty, it can't help but fall back into its usual survival mechanism.

Our system immediately senses toxic energy if we have been exposed to it in our past. Paradoxically, however, our system feels safe in this environment. Because this is what we know and no matter how much we have suffered and been hurt by it, our system always strives to return to this situation of supposed comfort and safety zone. It sometimes has the appearance of a strong magnetism. This is why it is also very difficult to implement changes in our lives.

For example, this is also a reason why, as children who have been beaten, we look for partners again who continue to beat us.

It is a cycle that must first be broken in order to find healthy relationships, to stand up for ourselves and to assert ourselves.

The view inwards

In toxic situations, it is essential to look at ourselves. What does it do to us? What does it trigger? How do we know these feelings and our associated behaviour?

At first, we automatically go into resistance and primarily see the triggers on the outside, so that in the rarest of cases we can directly accept, acknowledge and stand by our behaviour patterns. However, it is necessary to be clear and honest with ourselves in order to come out of the resistance and allow change. It is important for our mind to know that it does not mean that we accept and agree with the toxic behaviour. Ultimately, it's about not getting involved in these toxic games, but activating our resilience. Grotesquely enough, we first have to look at ourselves instead of the other person.

First of all, we need to recognise ourselves, discover our patterns and understand our behaviour. Then we can mobilise our strengths and position ourselves accordingly - using our own strength or with supportive measures. This new attitude makes it easier for us to heal old injuries, break through our behavioural patterns and adopt new ones.

The next steps

Of course, this does not mean simply letting people with toxic behaviour get away with it. But it is essential to strengthen ourselves before we confront them and to take other paths, which we can of course initiate in parallel, in order to master these situations well for ourselves and others.

My experience has shown that unpleasant and painful situations in particular harbour the greatest opportunities for growth for us as individuals. Let's focus on this first, instead of wasting our energy where it will not lead to any noticeable change at first due to our own blockages or, in case of doubt, will even make things worse.

Let us first try a change of perspective by looking at ourselves and not at the other person, their injustices and painful encounters, in order to strengthen ourselves, recognise our resources and agree to our change and dedicate ourselves fully to it. From this attitude, we can tackle the situation on the outside and find solutions with more calm and strength.

So let's accept the challenge and look for the gift in this situation! As difficult as it may be at the beginning, you will realise how much security you gain when you reclaim your self-determination and self-empowerment and use your energy for yourself!

Get support to give you confidence in dealing with such personalities!

There is always a solution! Trust yourself!


Coaching offers ideal support here to either take the first steps in conflict management and analysing one's own reaction structures or to directly implement new skills that enable and empower all those involved to learn to deal well and confidently with corresponding situations in relationships. Another option is to act as a mediator or observer and outline a neutral picture of the prevailing relationship patterns in the department or company and use this to provide insights and recommendations for action to the decision-makers.

Trusting that the best possible solution will be allowed to develop and be implemented.


Coaching can provide you with targeted support in overcoming upcoming challenges at every stage - internally in the team or as a leader in the company. Let's work out together how I can provide you in your individual situation with optimal support and customised assistance.

Contact me to take your next steps

Nicole Dildei Coaching

+49 157 58 267 427

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