How To Best Deal With Toxic Competition In Life
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You have to win at all costs.
You always have to come first.
You are going to take their man or woman, by any means necessary, because you are the best one for him or her.
Coming in the last place is for worthless losers.
Now, we will admit that the last sentence is a bit harsh, but these are the thoughts and words that drive winning and competition against all odds. In society, sometimes, the pressure to win at all costs seems popular and encouraged but may cause huge problems for all involved parties. This inspirational article is a long read and is intended to bolster self-awareness, self-growth, self-love, to greater magnitudes, and discuss aspects to better comprehend and deal with some aspects of toxic competition.
Competition can be a part of life. It is that noun that can make life interesting. Competition may occur among couples, siblings, employees, teams, coaches, counties, states, countries, and even continents. However, the drive to succeed is a path that can be laden with thorns and sharp pebbles.
Competition means to win for some folks and to take out or defeat their opponent. Sometimes, it goes beyond the objective of friendly competitive encouragement and motivation intended for others to challenge themselves into pure malicious rivalry, sabotage, a grudge or vendetta, a deep and unsettled feeling of insecurity, and lack of happiness and fulfillment.
Over the years, envy and jealousy are arguably the highest forms of competition, dating back to the beginning of the world. The biblical story of Cain and Abel is the beginning of rivalry in the world. It showed the extent to which human beings can go to gain superiority over their supposed competition – even through murder.
Fast forward to the 1990s, in 1993, British Airways paid a sum of £3 million to Virgin Air after the company admitted it used “dirty means” to defame the airline. British Airways was so hell-bent on bringing down Virgin Air that it would call its customers to say a scheduled flight was canceled. This competition, despite it being business-related, was fueled by a team that may have lacked emotional maturity and was hit by the inferiority complex of a new and potentially new threat in the airline industry.
Toxic And Negative Competition
Somewhere right now, there may be someone who is maliciously watching your every move from near or far or plotting to harm you because they may view you as competition and someone who must be dealt with. They may be in fierce and unannounced competition with you and see you as an actual or perceived threat. They may (falsely) believe that you are in a power struggle with them or wish to show them up. It does not matter to them whether you mean them no harm or is not in competition with them. They are focused on you for maleficent reasons and do not mean you well.
There is a popular African adage that says, if you look too closely at your neighbor, you miss the good things in your life. Competition is everywhere, but can you spot it? In a business or personal setting, rivalry can challenge good character. It can make people want to succeed by playing dirty and may be their driving force to getting to their finish line. However, at what point does one realize that friendly comradery, motivation, or encouragement is no longer in play?
What Defines Negative Or Toxic Competition?
Competition becomes toxic and negative when one no longer considers another’s survival, physical safety, emotional well-being, happiness, peace, and when someone really believes that winning or getting what they want is all that matters. Their thoughts may be followed by negative and harmful actions towards their intended target to beat down, neutralize, or annihilate them so that they win or get what or who they want.
This attitude in adults of beating someone down to the dust can take its root in childhood. Many adults who felt inferior as children or did not get the attention they craved growing up with an unfulfilled void may have adopted the attitude that winning at all costs will fill them up.
On the other hand, adults who were always the center of attention as a child or got everything they wanted may feel worthless or deprived if they do not always win or come first. They can see everyone as a rival and everything as a competition. Narcissistic, sociopathic, and psychopathic individuals may also compete against others and not care who gets harmed so long as they win or always get what they want.
Coming To Terms With Deep-Seated Rivalry
Toxic competition and deep-seated rivalry can create distrust and impact your circle of friends negatively (if you still have them and if you do, they may be like you). However, the reasons for this rivalry can be emotional trauma or abuse from the past. Superiority complex can come from years of feeling or being denied and not appreciated and hide one’s vulnerability, a wall of superiority is vainly, arrogantly, and pompously put up. Folks who behave as if they are superior to everyone else can actually be hiding an inferiority complex. They may overcompensate for their lack of self-esteem by going to extremes and having something to prove to the world. In their world, they always have to have the most attention, the most money, the best car, the biggest house, the best clothes, the best body, etc. Rarely may they confront the root of their insecurities and solve their dilemmas from within. Instead, they may seek to gain external things to make up for what they see as their deficiencies. Their insecurities also involve their fears.
Toxic Workplace Competition
I have to find ways to antagonize, ostracize, and distract Richard every day because he’s showing me up and is Employee Of The Month again.
I must repeatedly sabotage and falsely report co-workers who are a threat to the job promotion that I so badly want.
I can’t stand that phony b*tch, Sally who is always smiling and laughing with the boss, and a*s kissing for attention and favors.
Sasha is not in our clique and always declines to hang out with us at Happy Hour after work because she chooses to work overtime instead. We don’t like her because she’s trying to stand out to the boss. We have to find ways to get her reprimanded or fired from the job.
Whether you admittingly ever thought of any of the above or not, witnessed it, or are or were on the receiving end of toxic workplace competition and rivalry, it happens, can happen, and is not good either way. Toxic workplace competition can cause devastating effects for employees and companies. It can involve hostile and disruptive work environments, bad workplace morale, high turnover rates, employees calling out sick, office mobs, and even civil lawsuits. Furthermore, these issues can seep into people’s personal and home lives and romantic relationships.
Image Source: Unsplash
Image Source: Unsplash
Companies usually have written rules and policies against illegal employee workplace behavior, employee assistance programs, and/or steps that employees can take to access Human Resources or the chain of command for workplace and personal issues. But, what about the gray areas that do not deal with the covert or underhanded tactics relating to negative and toxic workplace competition and rivalry?
As an employee, it can be challenging to be faced with the stress of having the pressure and responsibility of keeping the paychecks coming in to pay bills and take care of one’s family and responsibilities while not wanting to appear as a complainer, bring attention to oneself, and risk the possibility of losing a job due to toxic and competitive co-workers. Some co-workers may be hyper-competitive and vicious.
There are a lot of reasons that some co-workers may be competitive. Maybe, they are taking care of a sick or elderly loved one with no help, need more money to pay the bills, and feel like a co-worker is coming between them and the promotion and raise they need to make ends meet. Perhaps, they are simply narcissistic, have a superiority complex, and take pleasure in seeing others fail. Regardless of the reasons, it is never right to operate with reckless, selfish, and hurtful disregard for the well-being of others. Some people may actually have worse circumstances than a toxic and competitive co-worker, yet find positive and non-harmful ways to deal with them.
Realistically, changing a co-worker’s behavior in the workplace may be difficult or impossible especially if they have higher and more powerful and influential workplace connections. So, you may need to seek creative ways to defend and protect yourself from toxic co-workers who are competitively “out for blood”.
At some jobs, it is possible to build and grow relationships with others while some workplace cultures operate with a competitive mob mentality. Basically, if you are not a part of or convert to the office mob mentality, then you are faced with having little to no support when it comes to reports made by you or to your boss about you. So, what can you do to defend yourself in a toxic and competitive workplace?
The traditional advice is to document dates, times, and occurrences in the workplace. Although an employer may not have an issue with an employee who makes reports, realize that in the end and no matter how much documenting you do, some employers may not wish to deal with the gray areas of toxic and competitive coworkers at all and especially if it’s not negatively affecting their bottom line. An employer may find it easier, although not necessarily economical, to get rid of and replace you and/or a toxic and competitive co-worker.
Consider staying focused on your job responsibilities and covering your tracks by finding approved ways to show that you have successfully completed all assigned work and had no major daily work-related issues. When dealing with any toxic or competitive co-workers, consider documenting, every day, if you had and attempted to resolve any work-related issues with them. Oftentimes, toxic and competitive workplace culprits will initiate the drama with you by coming into your space, compelling you into their space, or sending someone from their office mob your way.
Be aware of such tactics and stay polite, civil, and inform them that you need to focus on the work that was assigned to you by your boss, manager, or supervisor. If you choose, invite them to converse with you on break or at lunch if you have time. When in doubt, ask your boss or supervisor any questions, directly, or for any clarification concerning work-related matters, or direct the toxic and competitive co-worker to the boss, manager, or supervisor to do the same. This may prevent them from accusing you of giving them incorrect information, you receiving erroneous information from them, or otherwise.
If it becomes a pattern for a toxic and competitive co-worker to uninvitedly attempt to distract, sabotage, or confront you with drama, then consider your next strategic steps of how you will positively handle the matter and stay focused on getting your assigned work from your boss, manager, or supervisor completed that is in your job description.
Some targeted co-workers have even taken the bull by the horns to audio or video-record their interactions with toxic workplace competitors who have demonstrated ill intentions. Keep in mind that there are laws regarding video or audio-recording of others, with or without their consent, and it may be legal or illegal to record others without their consent in certain states.
Some employers, in various states, may have policies against cell phone usage or video and audio recordings at work, however, there may be employer cameras on-site at the workplace that can show that a toxic and negative competitive co-worker is repeatedly or frequently coming to you in what looks like an effort to sabotage your work progress. Lunch and break times are usually where any co-workers with good intentions can socialize, converse with you, and get to know you better if you don’t mind.
Do not buy into a toxic co-worker’s claim that you are anti-social and difficult to work with. After all, you were hired to fulfill a particular job description that may not primarily highlight making friends in the workplace. There is a fine line between getting your job done and being professional and polite versus having a toxic and competitive co-worker claim that you are anti-social and do not get along well with others because you do not walk to the beat of their drum of how you should behave in the workplace.
As long as you successfully meet or exceed your job description, are professional, polite, on time, and do not allow yourself to get pulled into office politics by toxic and competitive co-workers, then you should not allow yourself to feel bad if things do not work out. Consider that there may be something better and more suited for you that offers more peace and less drama from toxic and competitive co-workers (or bosses).
Another traditional piece of advice is for an employee to get transferred to a different team or department to avoid dealing with toxic and competitive co-workers. This may be helpful, but keep in mind that if the toxic culture of the workplace or company is universal and news of your transfer (even to a different company location) travels fast, then the toxic and competitive culprits may get wind of your transfer and you may be subjected to continued behaviors of the co-workers on the new team or in a different department.
It may even come to a point where after you have tried everything in your power to resolve toxic and competitive workplace issues, you may find that nothing works. So, what are some of your options to deal with these issues?
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• Over the course of time, work on saving at least 3-6 months worth of savings for rent, food, utilities, travel, and emergency expenses to pay bills (while you're still employed) and find a new job or seek other survival avenues. Each time that you are paid, take a portion of your money (no matter how small), put it into an account, and do not touch it until you need it.
• Look into starting your own business, from some of your savings, where you can set the tone for maintaining a positive and healthy work environment for your employees.
• You can also apply for any agency or government grants that help you start your own business and expand your financial options and plans of what you would like to do next.
• Look into getting your real estate license to sell property and make money, while you still have the job if you do not believe that you are meant to work in a traditional workplace setting.
• Enroll in or go back to college or take up a trade until you figure out your next move, decide if you want to find a different job in the same or different field, or pursue other options. FYI, some trades pay more than a college degree.
• Find a roommate or stay with a trusted family member to split rent and utilities, and/or and work part-time while taking classes. Consider a job that will pay for your college or classes while you work to earn more money to expand your options and decide where you want to work and who you would prefer to work with.
• Depending on the nature and severity of the issues you are experiencing with a toxic and competitive workplace, consult with a lawyer or professional for your legal options. Some toxic and competitive co-workers (and bosses) may be putting the company at risk for liability for any unlawful behaviors.
Keep in mind that the above options can be considered while you are working a job that you are facing issues at and may not intend to stay at. Also, keep in mind that a company may terminate you for cause or no cause, depending on what state you live in and even if you have union protection. A different set of rules or guidelines may have to follow to discipline and/or terminate you when you're in a union. However, termination is still not impossible.
Sometimes, no matter what you do – no matter how civil, professional, or polite you are with others, if you try to form alliances with them, work on being likable, or talk with them to resolve any misunderstandings or miscommunications, the behavior of others will be beyond your control. Only you can ultimately decide how you will positively and successfully deal with toxic and negative workplace competition and rivalry.
Competition In Romantic Relationships
A recurring theme where negative and toxic competition can be seen is when it comes to romantic relationships. A toxic and rivalrous man or woman may get maliciously or viciously competitive or jealous of someone they see as a threat and get the love and attention from someone they want to be with. This can involve intense negative feelings of fear, bitterness, resentment, hate, insecurity, and loss for them and can lead and has led to physical fights, property damage, injuries, and even death.
Coming to acceptance and terms with the bigger picture is realizing that all of the toxic and cut throat competitive tactics in the world will not make someone want to be with or stay with you if that is not what they want. Going bat sh*t crazy with jealousy or negative and toxic competition against someone you see as being in the way of who you want to be with may cause unwanted issues for the one you say you love and want to be with and all involved. It takes things like emotional maturity and intelligence, insight, hindsight, and foresight to see the bigger picture.
The best course of action may be to move on or seek professional help or therapy to resolve inner conflict and pain to heal and move on. If you claim to genuinely love or care about someone, then you would move on as much as it may hurt you because you would want to see them happy and fulfilled – even if it is not with you.
Positive And Healthy Outlooks For Toxic Competition
So, what does it mean for someone to have a positive and healthy outlook and not be led and overcome by a dark and competitive mindset? It means for someone to look at the bigger picture when it comes to how they see and interact with others in the world and get down to the bottom of why they think and act in toxic and competitive ways. It means that they come to realize that everyone in the world can or may experience problems no matter how rich, poor, pretty, handsome, secure, insecure, muscular, thin, heavy, wise, mature, or immature they are.
It means that one can empathize with or model others who they see as having more admirable traits and abilities than them, even if they choose not to befriend, associate with, or interact with them. It means that one chooses not to intentionally bring harm to others for their competitive feelings of jealousy or feelings of inadequacy and will instead find ways to positively, constructively, and non-harmfully deal with their issues. Ultimately, it means that one comes to believe themselves to be valuable and self-worthy enough to take the time to fully discover and know themselves, figure out why they do what they do, and love and respect themselves and others to experience positive self-growth independent of their comparison to others.
Image Source: Unsplash
Image Source: Unsplash
At some point in life, we are faced with a competition that leaves us gasping for air. We struggle to find out who we really are versus who we claim to be. What happens when you’re the toxic and competitive man or woman? Here are some steps to overcome negative and toxic competition:
o You must understand that every individual’s strengths and weakness is different. This is the first step to discovering yourself.
o Do not make everything about winning – we live in a society where only winners are recognized. The truth is winners need people to get them in a place of winning. Yes, those behind the scenes may not be recognized, but are oftentimes the glue to the success of others.
o Do not compare yourself to others even if you are in the same position. There’s a saying: Comparison is the thief of all joy. Emotional intelligence creates room for positive growth and you should consider knowing when to pull back from comparing yourself to others than sending a sorry note later for something you may regret doing to someone out of jealousy or a competitive spirit filled with malice.
o Learn peace and acceptance for things that you cannot change. Realize that there will always be someone wiser, kinder, more caring, prettier, more voluptuous, more handsome, more muscular, thinner, or who has other traits that you admire.
o Self-awareness is fundamental – when you choose to compete, you can lose yourself. At some point, you may not be aware of how your feelings and/or actions negatively impact others. This can cause more rifts and put you in an insecure place with yourself and others. So, pursue and meet or exceed your own goals in life.
Setting Personal Goals To Combat Negative And Toxic Competition
The need to always win affects us more mentally than physically. It is also a two-sided coin; it can be someone at the top or someone below. To avoid getting trapped in a complex web, draft a personal goal, and work towards achieving it.
o Start by developing a winning mind (or, thought process) rather than a competitive one. This way you are driven to succeed on your own terms instead of that of someone you view as competition.
o Secondly, stop comparing yourself or using your competition as the
evaluation standard for your success. It only breeds more envy and jealousy,
especially when they succeed over a task that you failed at.
o Thirdly, build a mental attitude first before developing the traits that will enable you to succeed positively and healthily. You cannot be a great man or woman if you do not feel it. The same goes for who you see as the competition. Until your behavior toward who you see as an opponent is stable, you may always feel insecure, defeated, broken, inferior, inadequate, and worthless. The only way is to develop healthy and positive traits that will help you overcome a negative and toxic competitive mindset.
Having personal goals can mitigate malicious thoughts such as envy, jealousy, and the need to overcompensate your role. If you always have the urge to want to prove yourself in any situation, something is amiss, and you need to discover it. This is the only way you can move ahead without feeling inferior to anyone.
Image Source: Unsplash
Image Source: Unsplash
Confidence Building And Managing Toxic And Negative Competition
Are you a confident man or woman?
Let’s put the question this way; do you think you are a confident character? If you answered yes to this question, then check out the following inquiries.
o Do you feel threatened by success or intimidated by the thought of failure?
o Do you feel the need to impress people around you?
o How do you calculate your self-worth?
o Do you feel you have the skills to successfully motivate or compete healthily in your current space?
o How far are you willing to go to win a coveted position in your office?
o Is your self-worth, self-love, or self-esteem tied to a romantic partner’s or love interest’s acceptance or rejection of you?
Now, to the question again, because some folks may say what they think are all the right answers, but may not be honest with themselves. Are you a confident man or woman?
Confidence changes a lot of things. Winning is part of life. It drives success, no doubt, but you need the belief to do it properly. Confidence is when you know that no matter how many times someone tries to do things to make you feel inferior, that you will still love, nurture, and protect yourself. So, what are some ways to deal with toxic folks who are in competition with you and who you did not invite into a competition?
There are some folks who will intentionally belittle, criticize, and demean you to make you feel inferior to them. When you are confident about your skills, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, peace, happiness, and goals, you do not need to look at anyone to achieve anything. This can be a tricky situation, especially if you always feel the need to prove yourself. Never buy into the attempts of others, no matter what, who are in competition with you to make you believe that you are worthless and they are better than you!
Image Source: Unsplash
Image Source: Unsplash
Overcoming the impact of toxic competition can be a challenging but not impossible journey. Toxic and negative competition impacts people tremendously and can affect their mental health. It may be natural to want to compete, but it can come with so many negative emotions, including envy, jealousy, hatred, and sabotage. Subjecting yourself to this situation deprives you of genuine feelings and can build an inferiority complex and lack of confidence.
But help is available. If you are struggling with toxic and negative competition, seek counseling, therapy, or professional advice to help you overcome the pain of toxic competition.
In contrast to positive and healthy competition, toxic and negative competition primarily hurts you more than your target. Rather than focus on who you see as your opponent, create your goals, and pursue them with the same vigor as the amount of opposition you have for your competition. Winning is positive and healthy when it is primarily for you alone, not to prove your abilities to others.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this nor any Cell Block Legendz inspirational articles is intended to be legal advice.