#294 – How To Deal With Toxic People With Amanda Kirkland

Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode today we have Amanda Kirkland, Amanda. Welcome. Thank you for having me, Thomas. It is very much my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Um Sure I am a personal growth coach. I’m located in Ontario, Canada. So we’re, we’re having this conversation across a big body of water. Um Actually, my parents were both born in England and grew up there. Um And I have one sibling living there. Um Anyway, I spent 35 years in real estate development. A project I’ve been working on for 20 years was coming to an end and I had to decide whether to stay in the business or pivot. Um I came up with a business idea.

I started working with a coach who I thought was more of a business coach, but it turned out I ended up going down a whole I guess personal growth path. Um And one thing led to another, I started training with Avalon impairment, learning a lot about the unconscious mind, limiting beliefs, negative emotions. Uh Not realizing that that was all stuff that I had been, I’m gonna say program, the going through life the wrong way. And I had a lot of sort of work and, and healing to do that, I hadn’t realized. Um So while I was doing that, um I came to the realization that from what I learned about myself and the situations I’ve been in and how I handled things and the new tools I had that I couldn’t help but not want to share them with other women and some men and do what I can to help them avoid a lot of the struggles that I had in my, I guess, late teens and going through to my probably late forties, thank you for the introduction.

Um Now that you’re a coach, you’ll be, well, you’ve been helping many people. And my question is, what are some of the commonalities that people tend to? Uh, what types of problems do they bring you? Um My, my target client is um ones that are struggling with toxic and dysfunctional relationships and dysfunctional leadership in the workplace. Um One of the things that came out of all my work was that there was a pattern of dysfunctional relationships and toxic relationships and I didn’t realize that’s what they were until I was on the other side of things. Um, and I was handling every situation the wrong way. Um I was trying to change the situation and change the people, change the outcome, not realizing that, you know, you can’t change other people. And it was more my approach that needed adjusting and also trying to understand other people’s behaviors um and not be necessarily so reactive to them.

So those are the sort of things and the clients, I’m attracting the ones that are struggling with, with those sorts of relationships. And are those relationships uh significant other or parental or friendships? What, what do they tend to their parental, their significant other and their uh leadership? OK. And for, from a definitional perspective, cos you, you picked up on something which was I was gonna ask you anyway, which was uh what, what would it look like to be in a dysfunctional or toxic relationship? Uh For those that perhaps haven’t thought about it before. Um The first thing that comes to mind is being told that, you know, you’re the problem or you’re wrong or you’ve created something undermining negative comments, um chipping away, you know, someone’s character, um you know, super criticism, um not having your back, not being supportive.

Um making you second guess yourself. Those are just, you know, a few of the characteristics and um you said that we can’t change other people, but we can only change our approach from a personal growth perspective. How would someone deal with someone who is exhibiting those behaviors? One of them would be setting personal boundaries in terms of, you know, what sort of behavior you’ll accept. Um The other is I guess trying to figure out why another person is behaving that way. Um You know, they’re probably doing it to cover up for their own insecurities and why maybe they have them. So, you know, sometimes going in with maybe a more understanding, empathetic approach. It’s, it’s not gonna work with everybody but, you know, I know I didn’t do that so I probably fueled the fire and, you know, fed the beast so to speak.

So when I went in and tried to knock down, you know, the, the guy at the board meeting to his level because he was supposed to be working for us, the client, um, he just got louder and, you know, stood, stood up straighter with me challenging him and, and that didn’t work. Um, you know, I think it’s every situation is, is unique and the character, characters you’re dealing with, I mean, some, it’s a losing battle and I think sometimes that’s just something that we have to, whether we like it or not, you know, accept and also, you know, the less we make their behavior about us. Um, and like I said, reframe situations and I think it’s just having a different outlook on each situation. I mean, I just kept myself now going. This is what I would have done before, even the guy that drive through this morning.

I mean, the order taper, I just his tone, everything like raise the hassles on my back. And historically, I would have got to the cash and went, I don’t know who on earth you have on there. But, and I didn’t, I was just, you know, what, let it go and, and not for just letting people get away with things. But, you know, I spent my life and I knew certain people’s behavior was not right. But when I tried to change it, I was the one that looked like I was the difficult one and, you know, I know I wasn’t but maybe had I gone into a lot of situations and just let things happen, some of them may not have been this challenge. But um you know, some of it is choose your battles. I mean, I’m not gonna back down to everything now and I wouldn’t suggest my clients back down everything but just, you know, changing your perspective and the way you’re looking at situations um can help um you know, learning to say no, um learn to use the word, you know, I not you so that the other person isn’t immediately put on the defensive.

Have you given any thought to um the, in this context, the toxic or dysfunctional person? Um Any way that the other person can know whether or not it’s purposefully manipulative or whether it’s part of their character, you know, al almost involuntary. Have you given that any thought? Um I have, I’m gonna say debated that with some people and this is my own perspective. I’m trying to think carefully of how to say it. I think some people’s character, it’s just, it’s just in them. Um You know, I can think of personal experiences and I can think of, you know, friends, I know who, believe that somebody is, you know, spending hours plotting and doing all this stuff on purpose. I’m gonna say maybe in a couple of instances there is that happening? I think, I, I can’t remember. There’s a, a commercial and that’s maybe you’re born with it or something like that.

That’s the tagline. But I just think it’s, it’s ingrained in some people’s characters and they’re not gonna change. So, um you know, in terms of like the narcissistic boss, um when you are emotionally, you know, going in and trying to plead your case or change. And so, I mean, that’s exactly where they want you. The follow up question to that is, would it change how you treat them in any way? Uh Because if your approach is the same, it’s almost irrelevant. But um would your, would your actions change based on if you knew what their intent would be? Yes. And I don’t think I would be as reactive or, you know, poking the bear so to speak. Um Not that I was necessarily doing that on purpose, but now knowing that someone met, you know, checked off 20 characteristics of somebody that was exhibiting whether it’s toxic behavior, narcissistic personality disorder or something like that.

Um Yeah, that tread carefully and also realized that it’s, it’s a losing battle. I mean, I know with my, you know, in my mother’s case. And I estranged myself from my parents and one sibling 10 years ago, had I tried to even, like I tried setting boundaries before I knew what boundaries were and, you know, they came after me like there was something wrong with me. Um And if I were to verbally try to do it again, like I’d get a backlash. So, you know, I had to, I mean, it evolved and when I did try to explain why I was removing myself, I was told I had the problem and it wasn’t the problem. I was trying to move away from the problem and, you know, for self preservation. Um But had I tried to point out, you know, mom, you drove a wall between dad and I, and you won’t let him speak for himself anymore. And why can’t I take the dogs for a walk with him alone, victim martyr?

And there’s no, there would be no, I rationalizing no convincing the positive. Should we say? Um the right way to go about dealing with that? It’s almost the opposite. So if someone gives you boundaries and you want to have them, uh you want to be in a relationship with that person that you would listen to their boundaries, is there any point at which it almost reverts back the other way? I mean, you’re not gonna be able to fix everything and I’m, I’m not either suggesting that, you know, someone gives up their soul and their happiness and has to set all these rules, you know, for themselves or what they’re accepting or what they won’t accept from somebody else. I mean, that’s not the right we’re going to live either when you’re dealing with someone who’s dysfunctional or toxic in that way. Oftentimes, uh, it doesn’t really matter what you say anyway, they’re kind of gonna do whatever they want to do and they’re not too concerned with how you feel about it. So I don’t think there’s too much danger of that happening anyway. No. And, and, you know, in, in those situations, like, you know, the workplace where you’ve got a toxic colleague or coworker, um, I mean, I stuck out some certain, you know, work situations for a long time, um, because I, you know, may have liked what I was doing or the pay was good.

Um, and, you know, sometimes you just stick it out for a while and sometimes, I mean, I remember walking to a boss’s office, um, years ago and I love the job and I love what I did, but I’m like, I can’t do this anymore. He didn’t have my back. He wouldn’t take care of some really dysfunctional things going on with employees and senior level and it was affecting my, I guess, mental health and well being and, you know, I had to walk away. There’s nothing I could do and I guess, you know, in the sense of the family, there’s nothing I could do there. Um, with my oldest, that was my oldest dearest friend. Um, you know, I went to set a boundary finally and she walked it. Um, if you don’t mind me asking, what was that boundary? Um, I, she had called me late one Friday night and said her boyfriend had basically told her to leave his condo. Could she stay at my place?

And I was like, by all means, you know? Ok. And I, I’ve been in a new place about a year and a half. She hadn’t visited me yet, although I’ve been up to her new place a few times and she called me on the way down and texted me and then said, sorry, I was on the phone with him and just all these excuses and then called a mutual friend of ours who then called me anyway. Long story short. She finally arrives at my door at I 10 after one on a Friday night. And I had had a amazing day, had had lunch with some great coaches, something else that had happened. I can’t remember what it was. You know, I’ve been sitting on the couch relaxing. So all of a sudden, I’m like, not that my place is ever really messed, but I was quickly tidying up, probably got out of my sweatpants, um, and kind of put my whole evening on hold and she gets to the door and I was like, you know, hey, and I gave her a big hug and I’m like, where are your bags? She’s like, oh, he’s calmed down now. So she proceeded to come upstairs, continue a call with a friend of mine or a mutual friend.

And the whole time I was ruminating. I’m like, are you kidding me? Like, I just put my life on hold for four hours. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this and you’re turning around and running back to him. So she hung up the phone and I said, and I used the word I, which I now know I shouldn’t have. But I was like, you know, I just had a bleeping amazing day and I’m like, you just hijacked my night. And I said, you can’t, I said you can’t do that to me again or I’m not gonna let you do that to me again. And she stood up and was like, I thought you were a friend, you know, there when I needed you. You know, you’re just like her boyfriend’s name at the time. Um, and then she said something like I always screw everything up, but I don’t think she was talking about me. I think she may have been talking about herself and she basically grabbed her bag and coat, walked down the stairs, slammed the door and I never heard another word from him. And that’s like 19 months ago and I had a mutual friend. Um, you know, you two were so great together. Um, you know, I just want you back together and, you know, she, you know, you know, the way she is, she’s not like you and I, she’s not as strong and I was like, you know what, too much like, it’s just drained me and drained me and drained me.

And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back and she had zero respect for like my time and again, turned it around like I was the bad guy. And even when my friend tried to, you know, get us talking again, it was like I was the one expected to reach out. Well, she never said, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that last night. I know you’ve been there for me, you know, the way he is, you know, the way nothing. And I, you know, it, it, we’d had a couple of breakups over the years for various reasons and always got back together and, you know, you pick up where you left off and I’ve been around for her, her kids since they were, you know, born. And it’s sad, but it was, it was a very unhealthy, it was a very one sided relationship. Um, and you know, that my boundary was basically finally standing up and speaking my voice. When we do that, we’re not all, you know, it’s not gonna resolve the problem.

We’re, it sometimes has a bad effect. And, you know, I’ve had to do that with another family member. But something at one point in time and I tried to kind of set a boundary without verbalizing it. And they started to pick up on a shift to my behavior and, you know, it got resolved. But so it’s every situation is, is different. And um yeah, so with my clients, I work with them more on a case by case scenario. And like I said, I mean, I, I can look at the situations I was in now and say this is what I would do. I don’t know that it would have changed the outcome, but it certainly would have changed my energetics towards all of it. Thank you for that example. Um And I think it highlights uh a couple of things that maybe we’ve talked about and also one thing which I wanted to highlight, which was um any sort of critique of a person who um is let’s say disagreeable or not respectful of your boundaries uh is not allowed.

So uh in, in that example, you know, I think most empathetic people would be uh upset about the fact that they had done something to upset you and not just sort of storm out. So I wanted to highlight that. And then the second thing was there if, if there is a disagreement and then another party is um attempting to get it back together again, that what they will typically do is speak to the most reasonable person rather than the unreasonable one. And I think that’s quite common. Have you seen that? That’s the case. Um, I hadn’t even really thought of that to be perfectly honest. That’s why I like these podcasts because there’s things that come up that, you know, in the reading and the things I’ve come across, um, that’s logical but in the situation where my friend was calling me. Um, yeah, that’s probably exactly what it was that she thought I would, especially in the line of work I’m in.

Um little did she know the reason I was pulled in my ground is because of what I’ve learned. Well, um you did mention one thing which was you, you would have done it slightly differently. So I’m interested to know, I mean, the outcome as you say, could have been the same. But what would you have done differently in that example? Um I wouldn’t have probably been as emotional cause it was, you know, I was really triggered by all of it and I sat ruminating while she was on the phone and I think I just would have said, you know what Brenda, that’s what you did. Just really isn’t respectful of me and my time and you know, I just put my whole night on hold for you and, and all that said it wouldn’t make a difference. So probably what I would do is not to say anything.

And after, you know, she left the, the relationship dynamics would change after that. And, you know, I would, um I, and I should, should have been able to answer that easier because I actually have an ebook and it’s um four secret, strong, greedy women need to know to rise above toxic relationships. And I have some before and after scenarios and one actually is that evening and basically the after is a conversation after the fact, um saying, you know, I love you. But from now on, as much as I like our young and the Restless updates, like I don’t want to hear about the drama anymore. We can talk about all sorts of stuff, but, you know, X is off the table and Y is off the table going forward because you asked for my advice and then you do the opposite and I, I just can’t take that anymore. You did mention setting nonverbal boundaries. And um I’d like to know was an example of that, for example, with my parents, I uh stopped going to their country place um for, let’s say a mother’s day or birthday.

Um And I was like, why don’t we just meet in such and such? I never said I wasn’t coming there anymore. I just sort of made it a neutral ground and when those things started to implode they didn’t happen anymore. And I would only meet them, you know, when they came into the city and they were at their friend’s house. Um, I would go there for, you know, a glass of wine after work or I’d invite them to mine where it was like I’m gonna say, safe territory for me. Um, and the, those subtle shifts in my behavior they started to pick up on, um, and thought that, you know, I was avoiding the place or the farm for, for whatever reason and to me it just wasn’t a safe place. Um, but for me to try to explain that to them, I had explained and they wouldn’t listen. Yeah, I just sort of physically changed how the interactions happened.

Um, I think in, in other cases it’s, you know, shying away from certain topics of conversation, um, you may not outwardly state it but you certainly can, you know, avoid asking certain questions to engage in the conversation, you know, about certain topics. I think most people perhaps would, uh, prefer the indirect approach, uh, rather than the, with the adult conversation of sitting down with someone and saying you have, you know, you, you haven’t treated me very well type thing, especially with someone who’s exhibiting toxic behaviors. Um, do you have a preference of either one of those two or what do you recommend when someone is, uh, is in that position and you’re coaching them? I’m very careful about that. Just from what you said, there’s some people, it’s just, it’s too dangerous. Um, and I use that in a very, you know, light way. I’m not saying it’s dangerous.

It just could be volatile and when you are dealing with that kind of personality, basically, you’re calling them out. Hm. So, it’s more, you know, I think adjusting our behavior about how we’re going to, um, what we’re gonna put up with without seeing it. So, I don’t know if it’s, you know, you back out of the room where it’s like I don’t wanna have this conversation right now challenging someone like that, you know, doesn’t work. She said a lot of the time, I don’t think these things are fixable. Um, you know, I hate to say it and the per, you know, normally when the clients are coming to us, as I’ve been one myself, like I wanna do the work, I wanna, you know, I know I’ve been told by coaches you’re not broken, but I certainly felt broken a lot of the time because apparently I was the one with the problem and I think I was the one that was more seeing that there was a problem and bringing it up and challenging it and that didn’t work.

So, you know, some of it is removing those people from, from our lives. Um, that sort of thing doesn’t happen overnight. Well, I appreciate you bringing both the, the options to the conversation because I think when someone’s in that position, having a, having something to choose from, um, I think it’s gonna be very, very helpful to that person. So thank you for that. One of the things that you, I wanna say specialize in or have expertise in is N LP. And um my perception of N LP. Uh I thought I found it really interesting but I struggled to um find practical application for it. Um What are the, what are the ways that you’ve used it in this particular context? Um I mean, N LP is really a, a um a manual for the brain and just to show, you know, how and why we do certain things. So um a lot of the work we I do is with the unconscious mind. So your conscious mind is sort of your, your neck up, 10% your unconscious is the neck down to the other 90%.

Um And your unconscious mind um stores in its cellular memory, everything that’s been ever said to you done to you, everything you’ve said you’ve done you’ve seen and it creates the filter through which we all see the world. So everyone’s experiences are different. Um You know, someone will see the wall behind me one way and someone will see the wall behind me another way if I were asked to, you know, describe it based on what our experiences are and how we’re filtering and processing things. Um I do um You know, there’s a couple of modalities I work with. Um one of them is a quantum time release and that is um releasing negative emotions, like anger, sadness, grief, guilt, fear. Um And then, you know, the limiting beliefs, um things like I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough, I’m not lovable. Um But all of that comes after doing a lot of detail work with a client because the client comes to you with a problem and it could be, you know, I’m not like at work, you know, my boss doesn’t listen to me.

That’s just the presenting problem. But we start peeling back down the layers of the onion to get to what the root is. And that’s maybe, you know, I’m not heard, I’m not smart enough. Um And it’s unlearning some of these beliefs that um we don’t even realize we’ve been carrying around and those beliefs, our control and how we’re acting in the world. Um So that’s, you know, one of the things um the, the QC P, the qua quantum change process, that’s forgiveness work. Um One of them is we go through like family of origin and relationships and, and, and um do muscle testing to see where there’s, I guess forgiveness that needs to be done. And then we clear that sort of thing and it’s not so much forgiving someone for terrible act.

It’s just, you know, you made me feel, but also understanding that somebody else is acting a certain way because of something that may have happened to them and may have happened to, you know, generations before them. So that’s just, it’s like I said, that’s sort of part of the unconscious, um, and, and unprogramming and, you know, trying to figure out how things are a problem and why they’re a problem. I can certainly see, um, the, the coaching side of things would be beneficial in terms of, um trying to find whether or not you have those limiting beliefs or those people to forgive. So, I, I mean, I don’t really see that there’s a, um an alternative to that in terms of if you were aware of it. Um And you wanted to forgive someone or overcoming li limiting belief, how would you, what’s an example of how you might go about doing that? We could install strategy so that when you start feeling that limiting belief, you know, you create a strategy to, I’m gonna say replace it with the new belief.

The coaching isn’t, it’s not a, a coming in and have a chit chat. I mean, there’s a goal at the end of the day and we work towards that goal and there is healing and there’s new strategies to replace old coping strategies. I do think that uh a lot of this stuff, it can be beneficial for pretty much anyone. So, um, I, I do enjoy the topic and thank you for bringing it to, um, to the episode today. Is there anything that I should have asked you about? Um No, I don’t think so. I think we’ve pretty much covered it all in a bit of a discombobulated way this morning. Well, if someone wants to get in touch with you, um, and do this, this self work, where do they go? Um You can find me on Instagram and Facebook at Amanda Kirkland coach or my website is Amanda Kirkland dot com and I have a, an introductory 30 minute, um, get to know you call, um, where, you know, we can have a chit chat, see where you’re at, where you wanna be and whether or not it would be the right fit to discuss doing some work together.

Well, I think that would be highly beneficial for someone to go ahead and do that. So, and Amanda, uh thank you for being a great guest today. Thank you for having me Thomas.