This is the final chapter in this series on coping with bullies and toxic people. I’m going to discuss closure or, rather, how to find freedom in walking away from toxic individuals without getting closure. I didn’t plan it this way, but it is fitting to have this post publish on Independence Day.
Closure is what you typically expect at the end of any relationship; an explanation or an apology for one or both parties’ bad behavior that ended a positive relationship. Having closure, you can rest easy that the person who hurt you is, at least, aware of what they did and they acknowledge how they treated you was wrong.
Unfortunately, you will never get closure from any truly toxic relationship. First, the bully or the toxic individual very likely do not see anything wrong in their behavior towards you. Second, if your leaving was part of their plan for harassing you, in the first place, they will never apologize for accomplishing what was likely their primary goal.
The trick to finding closure when ending toxic relationships is realizing that a) their behavior was not your fault, b) you didn’t deserve to be bullied, and c) leaving the toxic environment is the best think that you can do for both your mental and physical health. There is freedom in the knowledge that you finally got away from such a damaging environment. Your freedom IS your closure.
When I finally broke free of my toxic work environment, it was only after months (about 18 months) of planning and lots and lots of Gray Rock. Sometimes, to get closure, people get loud, trying to make sure that anyone within earshot can hear exactly why they are leaving, in hopes of shaming the other person into apologizing for their bad behavior. But, having grown up in a toxic household and being married to a toxic individual, in another life, I know that bullies don’t care about how they treat you, which is why you will never get an apology. Plus, if you embarrass them, they will retaliate against you, so it’s best to avoid bringing more drama to your experience. It’s best to make a clean break.
Once I realized that the toxic people I worked with were getting worse and not better and were actually being enabled by management, despite reporting the bullies for their bad behavior, I knew it was time for me to quit. Unfortunately, my life’s circumstances, at the time, did not allow for me to submit my resignation, right then and there. I had to prepare and find another job. When I finally did submit my resignation, I put in my notice and bent the truth a little about why I was quitting (I told them I was going to work for my friend, Eddie-a private individual. I didn’t mention going to work for Happy The App-a public company that they may have decided they wanted to work for, too. It was petty, I know, but I wanted to limit the chances of me ever having to work with any of them, again). Management tried every kind of way to get me to agree to come and work “occasionally”, but I declined to agree to any arrangement to ever come back.
Part of me wanted to tell management why I was really quitting, in a secret hope that maybe by telling my truth, they would change the way they manage and maybe get the bullies to shape up or prepare to ship out. But, past experience has shown me that toxic individuals and their flying monkeys will promise you anything to keep you in line. It’s best to walk away without concessions or apologies, and to do so quietly. I was not successful in changing bad behavior as I worked for or beside these people, there was absolutely no reason for me to believe that they would do it to appease an exiting employee. So I lied and pretended that I was exiting with completely amicable intent.
Since I quit, three months ago, I have received a number of texts and phone calls from the bullies and toxic individuals that I walked away from. They have all been friendly and polite in tone. But, each and every one has been ignored. I went No Contact as soon as I walked out of the front door.
Full disclosure, the money that I was hoping to make working for Happy hasn’t been the boon that I had hoped. I make money doing remote writing jobs and other remote tasks I can find, but not enough to help support my family. And, thanks to my toxic ex-husband who has decided to stop paying child-support, despite our children still being under the age of 18, the burden of providing for our household (and pay his own child support) fall on to my partner, but his income is not even close to being able to care for our family. It’s only in thanks to his family, especially his sister, that my partner and I have been able to tread water while I put in applications all over town and even all over the internet and work the mediocre jobs that I can get.
I mention all of the above, not to complain, but to declare that, despite the bit of misery that I have experienced since quitting a job that I actually loved doing to get away from toxic people that I could no longer bear to work with, I do not regret leaving for one moment. I haven’t felt this relieved since I divorced my toxic ex-husband (life was hard after leaving him, too, but I eventually landed on my feet. I believe I’ll land on my feet, this time, too). And, just like my toxic ex, I have no intention of every going back.
I didn’t get the closure that I would have liked: an acknowledgement that I should have been treated better. But, I left knowing that I did the right thing and I did what was the best thing for my mental health. I gained independence over my own well-being. I am no longer at the mercy of bullies being enabled by management or flying monkey coworkers. My life is not perfect, but I finally have peace in my life, without having to constantly fight off negative people and their energy every day.
My life could be better, but it’s still good. That’s my freedom. That’s closure.
Have you ever experienced closure after leaving a toxic the job? How did you do it?
Other posts in the series:
On this site, I will continue sharing my experiences with a toxic workplace and offer advice, based on my own practices, on how to stick it out, if you can’t leave, right away.
Feel free to send email to Contact@dizzydezzi.com with questions, comments, concerns or to share your own story or to get advice.