Coping With Bullies and Toxic People: Beware of the Hoovering Coworker

Hoovering. The art of toxic individuals sucking you back into a relationship with them, even though you have ended that relationship. Just like the vacuum cleaner, they’ll come humming around, making a lot of noise about how they’ve changed; cleaned up their act, even bearing gifts. Once they’ve sucked you back in, you end up in the dustbin, and dumped on, all over, again.

Beware of Flying Monkeys

If you are familiar with the story or the movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” then you are very likely acquainted with the idea of flying monkeys. Put simply, flying monkeys are those people around toxic individuals who continue to support them, even when they know of or have seen how poorly the bully or toxic individual treats you or others. They are enablers, but they typically can do nothing to stop the toxic person from their behavior, instead, they are used to try to manipulate you to back down from your accusations or they pretend to be your friend, while they report your thoughts and plans back to the bully, very much like the flying monkeys in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Building Boundaries to Brace Against Toxic Individuals

Personal boundaries are extremely important when dealing with workplace bullies and toxic individuals. Boundaries are the guidelines of behavior you establish for yourself or others that informs the limits of what you will or won’t do or tolerate. Consider personal boundaries your line in the sand for dealing with toxic people.

Get Happy: Happy The App For Your Self-Care Toolbox

Go to to download the app and get a gift of 10 free Happy minutes! Our compassionate community is ready to listen and to encourage you, and I can say from experience that “Getting Happy” feels amazing! If creating a more compassionate world is important to you, please copy and share this post with your friends. I’d be so grateful for your help in spreading the word!

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How Do You Deal With Toxic Enablers?

An enabler is someone who can do something about helping you deal with a toxic bully or group, but they turn a blind eye to your cries for help or proof of the bully’s toxic behavior. Enablers may also have a tendency to do things that may have the effect of rewarding the bully, or punishing the person being bullied. In the workplace, an enabler will likely be your boss or someone in HR who can take steps to keep you from being bullied, but they either put your concerns on the back burner, hoping they will resolve themselves, or they force you into an awkward situation with your bully in hopes that you both will resolve your difference or one of you will quit, allowing the enabler to keep their own hands clean.