Fighting the Negative Outside Influences

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Let’s face it; we all have outside influences that affect us every day of our lives. I know I do. Daily, sometimes hourly, there seem to be obstacles that just get in the way of my journey. 

I want to share with you a very personal situation that affected my journey in a very negative way.

At the end of the summer of 2011, I started a new job. This job was something that I’d set out to attain several months before. I spent several hours in phone conversations with the management of this company. Many of these phone calls happened very early in the morning--good thing I’m an early riser! This job was everything I wanted. I would be working for a company I’ve had a relationship with for several years. I would be working from home, and talking to people, helping them to improve their own understanding of how business operated and how I could help make it better. These are all things that I wanted and, quite frankly, things that I am good at. I was told it could take several years to fully learn all the different software adaptations available within this company and I was willing to move as fast as I could to learn it all.

I found out quickly that I’d made a huge mistake by taking this position. I was given about two weeks before I was reprimanded for not knowing enough.  I started receiving daily phone calls from my supervisor telling me that the work I was doing had no value. I was told that the phone calls I was making trying to improve relationships with current customers had no value. It didn’t take long before I realized that everything we had talked about in our pre-hire phone conversations had nothing to do with the daily job they expected me to do. The overwhelming stress started to affect my health journey. The downward slide hit very quickly, and before long, I felt like not only did my work performance hold no value, but that I no longer held value. The stress of the job was taking the focus of my life away from where it should be.

Talk about an outside influence affecting my journey! I let this situation affect me in so many ways and thought I was on the verge of a breakdown, to be honest. 

The first way this situation affected me was in the form of emotional eating. I’ve stated in the past that I am an emotional eater, in fact, I wrote a blog about it.  I admit that I turned to emotional eating with the hopes of bringing some comfort to my misery. It was like second nature to reach to the snack shelf, 4 or 5 or 8 times a day. Looking back on it, I honestly can’t believe how easy it was to turn right back to food.  Such a volatile relationship that we humans have with food, isn't it? Food is something that our bodies need to fuel us and yet we sometimes abuse ourselves with it.  I knew what I was doing was wrong. I had lost control and was fighting to regain it again.

In addition to the emotional eating, I’d stopped running! Actually, I had stopped working out altogether. That is really hard to admit to myself and to others, but it’s the truth. I had let this influence affect my life so much, that I’d stopped doing the thing that keeps me centered. I mean, I wasn’t cross training, I wasn’t on the elliptical, I wasn’t running, nothing. I felt too physically sick to do any of the above. I knew what I needed to be doing, I just didn’t feel well enough to do it. I had convinced myself that my nerves were too shaky to do ANY fitness. So there I was doing exactly what I knew NOT to do. I knew what would happen, and sure enough, it did.

As a result of the emotional eating and not working out, I managed to gain some weight back very quickly.   So there I was, in the middle of a serious situation, watching myself do what I’d done for years before. I had gone back to eating my life away, while making every excuse in the book about why I couldn’t exercise.  I had to do something and I had to do it quickly. Thankfully, I was not the only one noticing this rapid decline in my personal health. With my wife’s encouragement, the decision was made to leave this job after only two months. Once I was able to step away, it was then I took inventory of this situation.

I learned that I am much more aware of my negative ways of dealing with stress than I thought. I wasn’t mindless during this time; even though I resorted to my old habits, they didn’t last long. I had learned to turn to my support system at home and took control of things eventually. Yes, I made drastic measures to change the situation, but sometimes that is non-negotiable. I’d come too far on this journey to allow an outside influence to ruin it for me. Using the power of positive influences, the negative ones were pushed back and my life was brought back into balance.

You see, sometimes negative influences can be seriously crippling. Even though I knew better, that influence caused some ugly habits to come rushing to the forefront of life again. I turned to my support system and changed the situation completely.

Spark Friends, I’m sure there are many readers today who may experience something similar to what I did. Share your stories; let us support you in those cases. I’ve said it before, what makes SparkPeople so special is the people itself.

How do you handle negative outside influences?

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LIS193 6/10/2020
Great article! Thanks Report
MARTOS1 4/16/2020

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ANHELIC 11/23/2019
Thank you Report
PAMBROWN62 10/21/2019
I’ll start by saying I am not a quitter. However, when I was laid off I was 58 and I could not find a new permanent jobs(ageism is definitely real) so I took a job I know I should not. Long story short, I was so miserable I would cry on Sunday night thinking about going to work, at lunch would sit in my car and dread it being over so I had to return inside to the job, and I would go home and eat, eat, eat.

My blood pressure shot through the roof with the stress. I realized it was better to live a leaner life than to kill myself in a job I hated. I was only there 2 months. When I tendered my resignation they wanted me to stay because I did a good job. I was honest and told them that I didn’t know how to do anything else but a good job but this job was making me ill.

I never got another full time job. I worked for 3 years through a temp agency and a lot of part time positions before I became old enough for retirement. I retired at 62. I had some lean years, but I also had my peace of mind.

That’s my gauge now, if it ruins my peace it has to go. Having “things” is good. Having Peace of Mind is priceless. Report
PAMBROWN62 10/21/2019
I’ll start by saying I am not a quitter. However, when I was laid off I was 58 and I could not find a new permanent jobs(ageism is definitely real) so I took a job I know I should not. Long story short, I was so miserable I would cry on Sunday night thinking about going to work, at lunch would sit in my car and dread it being over so I had to return inside to the job, and I would go home and eat, eat, eat.

My blood pressure shot through the roof with the stress. I realized it was better to live a leaner life than to kill myself in a job I hated. I was only there 2 months. When I tendered my resignation they wanted me to stay because I did a good job. I was honest and told them that I didn’t know how to do anything else but a good job but this job was making me ill.

I never got another full time job. I worked for 3 years through a temp agency and a lot of part time positions before I became old enough for retirement. I retired at 62. I had some lean years, but I also had my peace of mind.

That’s my gauge now, if it ruins my peace it has to go. Having “things” is good. Having Peace of Mind is priceless. Report
KHALIA2 8/10/2019
A great article! Thanks! Report
I the article was great. Some of the posts I read were quite heartbreaking. I hope by now things have gotten better Report
My husband seems to be in a similar situation now - he was laid off for 18 months and then rehired almost a year ago. But this new boss is something else (he's not the one that actually re-hired my husband - that guy was laid off about 6 months into his new job.). So it's a mess. Sometimes it's hard for me to get through to him that it might be best to cut his losses and move on to a better job. With age-related discrimination on the increase, I'm sure he is thinking he would be better off retiring and then taking some part time job. Gotta see what happens...but in the meantime I try to encourage him to stay active. Report
Very useful. Report
Very helpful! Report
Great advice. We all have to deal with negativity at some point. Report
Great article! Thanks! Report
Very inspiring! Report
Very helpful & useful Report
Thanks for a wonderful article! :) Report
Thank you, Jerome, for your honest and inspirational words. I am a man and an emotional eater. The tip about 'hunger urgency' rang an alarm bell for me. Sometimes I feel like on a bad day I could mug an old lady for her chocolate bar.
A lesson I've learned about workmates and supervisors is that these people are NOT YOUR FAMILY. As pleasant and friendly as they may be (or not) they are there to serve the organization. Never let your self-worth depend on the approval of supervisors. Don't trust that your loyalty and hard work will always be rewarded. And don't expect fairness. If you are the recipient of good evaluations, recognition and fair play you are one of a lucky minority. Stay true to yourself, protect yourself when necessary and get out of the typing pool if the shark bites are too frequent. Report
Stress comes easily when we involved in sort of regular activities without any break. And the reason of this anxiety is not just limited to it, the work and activity you do are not appreciated then we tend to lose our hope as well. It affects our behavior and health norms. Report
Wow! you just took me back to 2007! I was made to feel like such a failure! I was not into health at that time. Since spark I hope I can put what I have learned into action. But I think possibly I am not strong enough to withstand those kinds of brow beatings! Report
I think you and I worked for the same company. I stuck with it for 10 years and nearly killed myself trying to deal with the stress and the 70 hour work weeks.
I finally had to quit. I have been out of work for 9 months and it is very scary, but I no longer fear turning on my computer or hearing my phone ring. Report
I am a teacher. Right after college my interview process was very taxing. I had great credentials, a wonderful (possibly naive) attitude about the profession, but of course I had no experience. Also I was a young girl wanting to teach at the high school level. So many principals counted me out right away by the way I looked. I was finally hired at a Middle School I knew nothing about. It was completely overwhelming... the day after I was hired, students started (teachers usually have about a week in their classrooms). I loved my job and pushed really hard. I knew I was a good teacher and that I had room for improvement. My principal loved me and what I brought to the table; but I had a mentor that had other intentions. Every other day she would observe my class and give me a laundry list of all of the things I wasn't doing good enough. Being a perfectionist, I eagerly tried to fix them all!!! Not possible. Quickly I felt like i could never get my head above water.

It's been almost 3 school years now. I've gained a lot of respect from my administrators and some of my colleagues that have had the chance to get to know me and my teaching skills - however, I still walk around and hear whispers about me, others still point out in staff meetings that I'm too young to know what I'm talking about, and worst of all colleagues that purposefully try to make me look bad and force me to do the extra work of their job so that I don't fall behind. I love to teach, I love to watch students grow... but I'm hating my day to day life in this position.

I've gained 40 lbs in the last three years, I always feel tired, I'm back on medication for anxiety, and I've lost the confidence and happiness I used to have for myself/my life. It's really evident when I'm around my family and loved ones. I need so much support from them because I"ve lost it for myself. I am angry doing the things I used to love... I needed/need to make a change.

Second semester I decided to balance my life a little. I promised myself that I would leave for work 40 minutes earlier so that I could leave exactly at three o'clock every day. A few weeks in I still wasn't happy so I added to my list. Having the most amazing boyfriend live with me, I decided that I would stop talking about work and bringing it home in my mind... this was amazing! Our relationship only grew. Now, with 7 weeks left in the school year. I have a desire to teach again. However, I know that I have to move on from this school. This is hard because I'm a very loyal person and I hate change... but I know it's better for me. Since I've committed to this decision I'm back to working out (15 of the last 18 days streak) and loving the things I used to enjoy - family, volleyball, etc. I am completely terrified of being rejected again... but I need to be assertive and move towards my most happy life...

Looking forward to the weight coming off of my shoulders as well as my body! :) Report
What a wonderful and honest article. What do I do? I eat when I get stressed - but I've recognized that. You know what else is awesome. The ANGRY RUN. I put on my headphones, crank some death metal, and run angrily through my neighborhood. It's very cleansing. ;) Report
I had a job a few years ago which caused me to be very stressed out, and like you basically have a big meltdown. It was an exciting job, I enjoyed 90% of what I did and not something everybody ends up doing. I wasn't told till two months into the job I had been doing certain tasks wrong. It was so frustrating as it was a job where details were crucial so I'd have to try to backtrack and it felt like it was an impossible thing to fix.
I ended up being let go (for missing out on work due to stress, depression and anxiety and panic attacks...yeah not a good job for me) which at first was devastating, but now I see it as a blessing in disguise.
I am one myself. Not loving having to admit to it, but def own it. Some days/months are better than others. But I love Spark and it somehow helps to read how others deal. I am work in progress, refuse to give up!
This is very timely. I like my job but yesterday I actually got a headache from the absolute bombardment of negativity from a coworker. She started right in first thing today; she didn't sleep well last night, she doesn't feel well, her eyes are itching, her sinuses are blocked, blah blah blah

The difference being that today I'm not letting her drag me down with her. It's a beautiful spring day. I have allergies too, there are drugs and eye drops for that. After work today we're taking the dog to the park for a walk, I'm looking forward to it and nothing she can say is going to dampen my mood.

so there. Report
There is so much negativity in the world and those of us who are prone to it tend to get it in large quantities. When someone who is negative by nature finds someone who is fighting so hard to be positive they seem to dump all over the positivity in an attempt to bring the other person down. It is when we make the choice to be positive and continuously fight for optimism then we can also choose to put ourselves ahead of those who pull us down. I've had to make that choice several times. I now choose to keep fighting to be positive as much as I possibly can. Report
I feel ur pain I had to make the decision to quit a toxic job too. I lost my house & went bankrupt too... I ballooned up and am now working to put health first. It is a difficult journey. I hope it goes well. I want to lose the weight & keep it off. I want to be a good Mom and partner. I want to eat to live not live to eat. Report
Isn't it amazing how many of us can relate to your story. I'm (hopefully) coming out of a very similar situation myself. A new job, after 19 years at my old one, and totally losing my sense of self to it. I am now trying to get back into my health habits and eating. So far I've lost 11 lbs and have many more to go. Like you, in the past, I've slipped back into my negative habits after losing 10 lbs. Not this time. I'm looking for a new job but cannot leave my current one because I'm single. Thank you for being so honest. Your message really hit close to home. Report
Our team was going through that time with you, and while we didn't know all the details, we knew that you were hurting. So glad that you came out stronger and wiser! What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

In the past, like you, I resorted to emotional eating when stressed. Today, I am able to divert that energy into something productive - usually exercise, but sometimes it's focusing on a task, like income tax preparation or studying, to take my mind off of food!

Sometimes only God can remove the obsession with food. That's when I have to "let go, and let God" take over the stressful situation. Acceptance is the answer to all my problems. Report
One of the greatest things about this website is reading stories from real people who have the experiences I do where food is concerned.

I know I succumb to those bad habits when life starts to steamroll me but with the help of family, friends and Sparkpeople, I'm learning to recognize those backslides and make changes to put myself back on track.

In reading all the comments its seems like all of us have something stressful going on in our lives and it certainly seems sometime to me like life is just beating me up. Yet I get a lot of encouragement from all the comments to keep going. Don't let this get the best of you. I read a lot of motvational books todays read was really on target with this. Look At today as a gift from God. No matter what the pressures of the day are and whatever pressures and trials we have it really is just another building block for whom God wants you to become. The efforts a, trial, challenges, and blessings of responsibility are the way God reaveals his strength as you Dig deep and keep on trying. God Bless You
Thank you for sharing. Report
Nice honest blog...........Love that...........! I had a friendship I had to step away from. she was so toxic that I became a person I did not like. She did not have my best physical or mental interest at heart. Instead of supporting me on my weight loss efforts she would destroy them. Of course I was not emotionally strong enough and I let her. But no more. No one will do that to me again. Report
I needed to read this,, my husband has been in and out of work for two years, and I am working an on call three times had an opportunity for it to go full time and dissapointed and crushed three times, I have been under so much stress sometimes gets overwhelming I too am an emotional eater, I am working on creating a healthier me out of this stressful situation , last week I just wanted to check in and just hide away from all outer society . Report
Thx for sharing. I too am in a stressful job; I'm a high school teacher. I love teaching but the stress is difficult. I started SP during summer vacation last year and lost 30 pounds by Thanksgiving then hit a wall. Stress was the culprit. It's spring break now and I am getting back on track; the school year is almost over. I'm going to hang in there for two more years to get my retirement then I'll start looking for a different occupation as I don't see the teaching profession getting any better. Report
Jerome, This is a difficult situation to be in. Many people can relate and have been in the same environment. I hope you were able to find suitable employment with a a more positive atmosphere.
In my own experience, when I become discouaged, I have found help in relying on the fact that God has created me as an individual. One of a kind. No one other person is exactly like me. I have been given special gifts that can use in a positive way. My gifts may be in the form showing encouragement, providing support, listening, cooking, or sewing. There are still other people that do these things better than I can but at least I can be a contributor. God loves me even though I may not measure up to someone else. He has helped me when I felt no help was available. I just kept praying and placing my concerns, needs on Him - NOT WANTS. I found it important totake the high road and be the hero when it is not easy but the right thing to do. I had to look at things from the other persons perspective, admit that I could not do things their way. In the end, I found I made improvements in my own life and actually became a little better person than I was before the incident. I stll have problems, make mistakes, poor decisions because I am a work in progress but at least I know in my heart that I can turn everything over to God, follow His guidance and progress to become a little better than I was before. I hope you and others experiencing these difficulties will find peace and contentment as you work through the difficulties you face. They will not go away but hopefully confronting the roadblocks will be manageable.
IIt is difficult to take the high road and we all deal with these things differently. I feel bad when I can accomplish what someone else expects of me but I try to do what is right.
As you go forward with your new changes, I encourage you to remember. A strong reliance and faith in God has helped others and He is there for everyone who seeks Him.
I pray you will continue to find encouragement to meet your goals too.
May you feel blest Report
Thank you for posting such an honest blog. I can relate to a lot of it, although I am one of the owners at our small company. My job is secure as long as our company is secure, which was not saying much over the past two years.
I had gained back about 25 of the 70 pounds I lost, but am finally back on track again with 35 more to go. I have realized that I am worth it and life's so much for fun when you're active. Report
I had a similar experience several years ago. I ahd to walk away from the situation befeore my health was affected. Best of luck...... Report
We all seem to have experienced many of the same kinds of things. Thank you for sharing............ Report
I am in a similar situation right now. A decision I have made 2 years ago is pulling my down now for a couple of months. I am not ready to quit yet, I am with the company for 10 years now and I am really convinced that it is a great employer. But my direct boss isn't. So I activated my network I have grown in the last 10 years, looking for a new job within the company. If that doesn't work, I am ready to quit.. I hope ;) Report
That had to be tough to write. Having been in a tight spot before, I could feel your pain. really hurt to read that, but it was valuable in the sense that you showed us that even in the darkest of times you were able to reach out. You still had a small spark within in you that made you realize you were about to spiral down. I'm so glad you were able to turn that one around. This whole process is a spiritual one for me too. This was a great lesson on how to reach out and dig deeper than you ever thought you could....thanks J-man. Report
Jerome- wow, you have been through it. i wish I could say I couldnt relate. Been there but I stayed in that situation far too long because I was scared to leave, jobs are hard to find. way to turn it around and thank God for a strong and supportive wife at your side. thank you for sharing your difficult situation to help others along. Report
Sometimes it's just best to say no and walk away! Even when we know something isn't working and is effecting us negatively, it takes insight and courage to do something about it. It's easy to feel a failure by leaving a new job or relationship in the early stages but if it's not right, it's not right. Thank you for the great blog! It's important to remember that nothing is set and we have the ability to accept things or change them. Report
I went from a 15 year marriage to being a single mom of two daughters, in the span of 6 months. I was miserable, but trying to be positive for my girls. It seemed like every time I turned around, there was something else broken, something else that needed to be replaced, and no one to help me. I ended up actually having a nervous breakdown and spent 6 days in a hospital getting a grip on my emotional state.

It took me 6 years to get here to Spark. In the 9 months I have been here, I have learned alot, made many new friends, somehow managed to lose 28 pounds even when I messed up, and have a much better outlook on life. Report
Thanks for being so honest about your situation. Like many others have said, a lot of us have been there...and done that. I consider myself a recovering emotional eater...not very different from being a recovering doesn't take much to put you right back in that hole you climbed out of!

The one thing I've learned to help me to deal with negative outside influences is selfishness. If it's a choice between me (my health, my emotions, my well-being,etc.) and whoever or whatever the "negative" is, I choose me all day long and twice on Sunday!

I am the most important thing here.

My feelings are what count and what matter.

I WILL NOT be dumped on or put down.

I WILL feel my anger and occasionally vent my anger.

But at the end of the day, I WILL be healthy...mentally and matter what! Report
Thank you for this inspiring blog !! Report
I've learned over the years that most supervisors and managers have no clue how to manage people. A few years ago I was in a similar situation, with a manager who was doing her best to turn my new dream job into a nightmare. I am fortunate enough to be in a unionized workplace. Union members can get fired for cause, but not at the whim of the boss. I decided if she wanted to get rid of me she would have to fire me and she would have to show a good reason for it, so I kept coming to work, doing my job, and smiling into her face every day. To deal with my stress, I increased the intensity of my martial arts practice and when we did punching and kicking drills, I imagined her face on the focus pads.

Long story short, I'm still working at the same place, had a promotion and a new boss, and she's long gone.

"How do you handle negative outside influences?"
* Sharing them with my closest friends and family.
* Setting up healthy boundaries. Report
I for one am so glad you made that choice.. and like I always say you got to do what you got to do for you.. way to go.. Report
Oh, how I wish I read this two years ago. I have worked at the same company for almost 17 years, slowly but surely moving up the chain in the company. Two years ago I was riding high. I had lost 170 pounds and was still losing. I was the director of operations for one of our two offices. My nest was emptying and I was going to pour myself into bettering things for our company. Then the bottom fell out. My boss made what he called a lateral move for me (but it was obviously a demotion to everyone else). I went from being the supervising for over 30 people and in charge of our office to being in charge of no one and basically reporting to the then-27-year-old that I had hired who my boss moved into my old spot. My self-esteem totally disappeared. Add to it my dad getting ill and then gall bladder surgery due to my rapid weight loss and then overeating again and I totally gave up on myself to the tune of gaining back 120 pounds. I have been struggling to get myself back to where I was two years ago before the bottom fell out but it is so much harder this time. I have gone back to school to get my masters and once I have my degree I am out of this company (if I can last the year it is going to take to finish). I have lost 20 pounds and I am trying to reach out here more. I am determined to lose all I regained and continue until I reach my goal weight. Jerome, people like you show me it can be done and I am so grateful I found you here. Report
I am sure we can all relate to this in some way. In situations like this food becomes our answer. It is the feel good thing in our day ; our friend but we can overcome one day at a time. As I have said before you are my inspiration my friend. Great job and thanks so much for sharing. Report
I had a similar experience. I was working as a stylist outside of D.C. I was young and new to the game and quite frankly I wasn't making ends meet. I took this job in a "fancy" D.C. salon that shall remain nameless, it sounded great on paper, sounded great at the interview, and then DISASTER. I took the job full of hope and less than a month later I was told what an awful job I was doing. How so much more was expected from me even though nobody ever defined EXACTLY what was expected of me. I tried to change myself to fit their needs. I worked too many hours to squeeze in work outs. I started eating fast food nightly as I got of the Metro around 9 and didn't want to cook. In 11 months there I gained nearly 30 pounds. I was FAT, and Miserable! Bryan told me to leave many times but the money was allowing us to pay off credit cards and i had free health care. Whats crying 5 nights a week into a pint of ice cream, a bag of taco bell, or a box of chinese take out VS. Having a good income, paying off credit cards and having money to do fun things! Well it's ALOT! I was super negative about everything I hated everything and everyone. When Bryan finished his P.h.D. studies he got a job in Germany and we moved. We gave up cars and MANY convenient "creature comforts" we had no dishwasher no microwave no washer and dryer no air conditioner we ride bikes rain or shine. I started losing weight and lost around 20 pounds in the first 2 months. But then it became normal and I stopped losing. I had another baby I only gained 6 pounds the entire pregnancy because I rode my bike everywhere. I started to slowly gain weight after having the baby only 5-10 pounds but I knew I was uncomfortable. My AH HA! moment was while I was sitting eating Chili I put cheese on it I scooped a big spoonful of Crème fraîche on top and while I was eating i just happened to turn the container around and notice the calorie count. I had eaten nearly 600 calories in Crème fraîche ALONE!!! That night I signed back into Sparkpeople and I got back down to business! In the month I have been back I have already lost nearly 5 inches from my waist 3 from my hips and just under ten pounds! I am so glad to be surrounded by my fellow sparkers. This time I can do it I WILL do it! Thank you so much for your inspiration! Report