It was fall 2005. I was in the prime of my training career at one of the best hotels I have had the pleasure of working for. It was my favorite hotels not just because it was beautiful, but the people I worked with were just divine. The leaders made it easy to work there. It was the springboard that started me down the path I remain on today. While working for this hotel I had the pleasure and opportunity to pair with some pretty diverse people. Some of them impacted me in a very positive way and others in a word simply just brought me down. I am naturally a bubbly, happy person and this strange phenomenon of me allowing people to affect my mood baffled me. So I started researching this and came across this great book aptly titled “Nasty People” written by Jay Carter. The book was my first epiphany into this sort of human behavior that promotes negative feelings by invalidating people and emotionally bullying them. I thought it fitting to wrap up our final series with some tips and techniques that I have not only learned from this book but used in my personal and professional life as well.
It has been 21 years since I started my hospitality service career. I have to say I have seen it all. I have seen every kind of person, personality, situation, or occurrence. You name it I have seen it, heard of it or experienced it. The one thing that remains a constant in all of this time that has not changed and probably will never change is toxic people on both sides of the spectrum. From the agent giving service, to the guest receiving it. Toxic personalities have no color, respect of person, religion, creed, or sex. Toxicity is not biased in any way. I have endured toxic bosses and team members. The following are a few traps and pitfalls to avoid. While reading this article make sure you perform a pulse check on yourself to make sure you are not an offender.
There are two categories; The invalidator and the victim.
- Jay Carter states that an invalidator is described as one person injuring or trying to injure another. A rolling of the eyes can be an invalidation as much a punch in the nose. However the sneaky mental invalidations cause the most damage. A truly skilled Invalidator is most times difficult to recognize. They bypass the scrutiny of your logical mind and the victim oftentimes will find themselves feeling bad and not knowing why. Ask yourself if you have come across one of these people. Is it you? Have you had an invalidating boss, spouse, and co-worker?
- Invalidators chop away at your self-esteem. How you ask? Sometimes by giving backhanded compliments. They can praise something you are proud of, and then later make a negative insinuation about it. If we look at teams we have worked with that have morale issues, sometimes this is the case.
- Uncertainty, keeps you guessing about things, projection, takes their feelings and puts them onto others, and judgment are tools the Invalidator uses in his day to day arsenal to manage or supervise people.
I was once told: “Every Victim has a Villain.” Victims are compelled to stay victims in invalidating relationships. If you are a victim, work on breaking the cycle.
- The victim has a martyr’s complex. Allowing themselves to be under the constant stress of having to react to the invalidator. This brings about so many other issues negatively impacting emotional, physical and mental health and easily spills into your personal life.
- Victims start out as go-getters and team players. However after being put down and under appreciated and judged they go into a shell and avoid everything even constructive critical input just to escape the feeling of always appearing to be wrong or misinformed.
- The victim starts projecting their negative feelings and emotions. Victims will project bad feelings onto to others and earn the label “complainer” or “Debbie Downer.”
If you see yourself in either of these profiles, take the initiative to turn things around. Be honest with yourself. If you are an invalidator start breaking the pattern by finding genuine things to compliment and praise in others. Replace the word but in your vocabulary with the word and, use WE and not YOU or I.
If you are the victim, understand you are the captain of your soul. Figure out where your self-doubt is coming from and work to conquer it and don’t take it personally. Think about changing the work environment if you can and remember the fun part of what you do.