Exposing Toxicity

January 16, 2023

By Nicole


Years ago, I was slaving in a position where I worked excessive hours. Weekends. Holidays. You name it. I was a one-woman show, and the more that was thrown at me, the more I strove to rise to the occasion. But no matter how hard I tried to please my employer, I couldn’t.

Can you relate?

What I didn’t know then is that this was a toxic work environment.

In the midst of my attempts at performing a job that really called for two people, I was met with excessive criticism, little support for my increasing job responsibilities, and even being stone-walled during team meetings. 

They were icing me out.

And the ironic thing is that this “get me out” operation was spearheaded by the very one who hired me.

The additional layer was that I knew there was racism at play, but the tricky thing with these kinds of scenarios is proving it. Especially when the one leading the sabotage made up the whole Human Resources Department.

The lone HR Rep legally understood all the ins and outs as to what the company could get away with in their shenanigans. Since I was the only brown face in the office, she knew they had to tread carefully.

Lucky for them, I resigned before they could fire me. I saw the writing on the wall, and though it hurt to even take that step (because I have literally never quit anything in my entire life), I knew I had to. Once I did, I saw they had to hire two people to take on my role, confirming my suspicions that I was overworked. But within days of my final day, I faced more trauma when discovering that my mother had passed. This experience saved me from having to actually train the new hire, which I’m grateful for, but of course, it carried its own bucket of pain.

Looking back, I see the red flags of my work position. I was being undervalued and demeaned for the first time in my career. They made me second guess my work ethic, intelligence, and even “calling” in the finance arena. I now see how they created an unattainable goal for me to do my job well and that the systems in place were their own obstacles. My situation was a lose-lose, and yet I kept trying to win.

I see the same scenarios in my past relationships. I was devalued, overly criticized, and manipulated to doubt my personhood and character. And yet, I kept trying to reach the goalpost of people pleasing, only for the goalpost to be continuously moved. 

They were toxic relationships.

God got me out of that job and rewarded me with my own company: ABN Bookkeeping. He gave me a season of rest to recover from the traumatic season and the blessing of being my own boss. 

I was even able to get out of those relationships. I am one of the lucky ones.

But not everyone is so lucky.

I came across a sad story about a woman who was violently assaulted and is fighting for her life. She was mowed down by her estranged husband while their children were in the car. Her name is Sophia Geraldo, and she is a domestic abuse speaker and survivor. 

Hearing this story was a reminder as to how abuse escalates, and there is simply no gray space to play around with it. 

If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, seek help. The next abusive cycle that begins may not afford you (or them) another opportunity to escape. 

The following are resources I’ve come across on this topic:

Why Does He do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (Book)

Jazmin Bailey “The Woman With The Oil” (Book)

The Love Fix (Podcast)

It’s Not Normal It’s Toxic (Podcast)

The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Dealing With Toxic People (Book)

Here is the link for the article for Sophia Geraldo, the woman who is fighting for her life. And here is the link for her gofundme.

May God meet you in knowing your value, understanding your purpose, and receiving the love and treatment you deserve.

In other news, did you know that I just dropped the pre-sale for my debut novel When Love Wins? You can check out more here! This time around there is an audiobook in addition to the eBook and paperback versions. Make sure you are subscribed to my email list to catch special offers, discounts, insider information, and more!

Are you on Instagram/Facebook? If so, please reach out. I have a series called “Word of the Day Wednesdays” where I share 5-10 minutes worth of nuggets that are on my heart, which I hope are encouraging to others on IGTV/FB Live! I have these also posted on my Youtube Channel.

And, lastly, if you have read “Stories for the (Urban) Soul, please put up an Amazon review here. I was SUPER encouraged and blessed when a new reader put up her review for my 2nd book which you can view here :).

As always, thank you for your support!



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