How to End a Toxic Relationship (Personal or Professional) - ToughNickel - Money
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How to End a Toxic Relationship (Personal or Professional)

FlourishAnyway is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.

Toxic people and working conditions aren't always worth salvaging.  Know when it's time to walk.  Some bridges harbor toxic trolls and just beg to be burned.

Toxic people and working conditions aren't always worth salvaging. Know when it's time to walk. Some bridges harbor toxic trolls and just beg to be burned.

Yessiree, This Is Gonna Hurt! (And Hopefully There's No Backdraft)

Hell yeah, I've burned a bridge or two in my day.

Now let me say that I don't do it without some serious provocation. But when I do, I want to make sure they know who lit the match.

Perhaps you're dealing with someone in your personal or professional life who is an

  • a-hole,
  • creep,
  • bully,
  • user,
  • frenemy, or
  • abusive in some way.

You've tried other solutions. You're spent, and you've had enough.

Aww, don't tell me you don't think about it. Get those matches out, baby. Here's what you need to know before you burn that bridge when you're dealing with someone toxic.

Save bridge burning for the special cases.  Use it to put some permanent distance between you and the one you dislike, whether jerk, frenemy, user, bully, or really rotten boss.

Save bridge burning for the special cases. Use it to put some permanent distance between you and the one you dislike, whether jerk, frenemy, user, bully, or really rotten boss.

Burn, Baby, Burn: Some Bridges Are Well Beyond Repair

When I was a much younger woman, I was more reluctant to give up on relationships that drained me emotionally, robbed me of precious energy, and weighed me down. I should have poured gas on a few of those unsalvageable bridges, and then just tossed a match.

But I was too nice, too hopeful. I instead bought in to that old mantra about never burning a bridge. Huh! Not anymore.

No need to use hand gestures. Use your words when ending your relationships.

No need to use hand gestures. Use your words when ending your relationships.

No Room for Toxic Trolls

I'm sorry to say it, but what your mama told you ain't always true. Sometimes those creaky bridges can become mighty cumbersome—dangerous even.

You may just need to blow them up as a way of resetting personal boundaries when all else has failed—and to remind yourself that you never need to traverse that awful terrain again.

Bridge Burning Is Your Wild Card Option

Save bridge blowing for the truly despicable, deplorable, or irreclaimable relationships where you're all out of options. For example:

  • the bullies and illegal harassers
  • the backstabbers, and
  • the negative Nellies who have no personal boundaries, poisoning your life with persistent and harmful naysaying. (We all know who they are.)

These people are toxic trolls, and you don't need to share bridges with them. When your back is against the wall, understand that bridge burning is your wildcard option. You indeed can use it—carefully. I'll show you how.

How to Quit Your Job on the Internet at 4:30 a.m.

Is This Really the End? Be Clear on Your Motivation

Whether personal or professional, relationships don't typically head south all at once. But at some point, you'll notice that you're not getting what you need.

You're on the receiving end of lies, shouting, blaming, innuendos, put-downs, disappointment, and rejection. Others notice it too. You're unhappy. Your self-confidence takes a hit.

That ain't right. So whatcha gonna do about it?

Smile: It's almost over. What will be left of you once your soul is sucked dry?  Both personal and professional relationships can involve toxic trolls.

Smile: It's almost over. What will be left of you once your soul is sucked dry? Both personal and professional relationships can involve toxic trolls.

Timeout From Toxicity

Maybe it's a bully boss who pushes your buttons and seems to enjoy it. You feel misunderstood, used, and not good enough. You walk on eggshells, defending your actions and over-explaining yourself. How long will you endure such treatment just because your bully signs your paycheck?

Or perhaps it's a so-called friend who is a bottomless pit of needs—someone who is always in crisis mode. She takes, takes, takes but cannot find the time to reciprocate. Ever. What a user! This is not a solid relationship. There is no true bridge here.

Take a timeout from the troll's toxicity to consider whether you want this person in your life. What damage is their wounded self-image inflicting on you? What will be left of you once they suck your soul dry?

Bridges are meant to connect people, but that's not the nature of your relationship with this person. They make offending and maligning you a habit. Ponder whether you really want to stick this toxic relationship out. Can you afford to allow the relationship to simply fizzle? Is that even possible?

Remember this advice by motivational speaker Jim Rohn: "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Stats About Unhappiness and Bullying

  • A Gallup poll found that 70% of Americans either hated their jobs or were actively disengaged, with poor management being the major source of frustration.1
  • It's not just Americans, however. Worldwide, Gallup found that 87% of the workforce worldwide is emotionally disconnected from its work.2
  • Surveys commonly find that up to half of employees report being the target of workplace bullying at some point in their careers.3
  • Every happy friend that you have increases your likelihood of happiness by 9%, whereas unhappy friends decrease your happiness by 7%.4

Optional: You Can Fire One Warning Shot—Only One

(Note: Skip this step if you already have your matches out. You're obviously a quick study.)

Warning shots are optional, and they're as much for your benefit as for the benefit of the toxic troll whose bridge you intended to burn.

Usually warning shots just buy you time to accelerate your job search or find your gumption to break it off with your not-friend. Find it fast, and remember that you're doing this for you. The toxic troll in your life is not going to change.

And most importantly: Only one warning shot is permitted, so make it stick.

Toxic trolls can be personal or professional.  Get ready for a bridge burning, toxic troll!

Toxic trolls can be personal or professional. Get ready for a bridge burning, toxic troll!

Reader Poll: Toxic Trolls

Don't Screw Around With Wimpy Language

Fire your warning shot using strong, transparent language. Wimpy language won't cut it. That time has long since passed.

Consider this a cease and desist notice, and include your toxic troll's name when you address him or her directly. Using a person's name gets their attention. Here are examples:

  • Steve, stop bad mouthing me behind my back. Friends don't do that.
  • Kim, lower your voice right now and don't ever shout at me again. I won't tolerate a work environment where people shout at me.

Create a Buffer

Since you've already tried unsuccessfully to discuss the problem behavior with your toxic troll (you did do that, right?), follow your warning shot with some interpersonal distance. Consider it your protective buffer, the silence before the storm.

Let your message sink in by decreasing the amount and frequency of your contact with your troll. It'll make him wonder about the status of his doomed bridge.

If it's a friend, be too busy to return texts or calls. If it's a boss, resort to email and blunt communication. Stop volunteering for extra work or taking work home with you. (It's not like you're staying anyhow.) See if their behavior improves.

If your judgment was correct about them being a troll, they'll slip again and you'll have to move to the next step: relationship destruction. Blow their freakin' bridge, my friend.

Use Technology to Tell the Boss, "I Quit"

Congratulations! You've Decided to Blow the Bridge

The Truly Toxic Troll

Be ready for this possibility. Truly toxic trolls—those who have been at it a long time and are in positions of power over you — will likely force you to go directly from your warning shot to bridge blowing, as they fire back with counter assaults of threats and blame. They'll

  • feign surprise
  • name call, and
  • deny all personal responsibility.

Be direct, firm, and leave no uncertainty. Ka-pow! Let the pyrotechnics begin. Shock and awe is your only option. Let your feedback rain down on them, then walk away before they know what hit them.

Less Noxious Varieties

Less noxious trolls, on the other hand, will leave you the choice of planning your bridge blowing or waiting until they're up to their old shenanigans (e.g., yelling, name calling, lying) before you go medieval on them.

Light your match, but get it right the first time.

Light your match, but get it right the first time.

Bridge Destruction Options

Be absolutely sure that you'll never need to cross this troll's bridge again. Then, select an appropriate bridge destruction option:

  • the controlled burn: simply terminate your relationship; blow the bridge and walk away
  • fireworks: give the troll an experience to remember you by, something with a little pizzazz
  • the jolt: try to invoke sudden change through an "Aha!" experience
  • publicly humiliate him
  • leave the troll shattered and broken
  • start a personal war (better watch out; he's meaner than you and probably has more time on his hands).
Celebrate your decision to burn that bridge.  You don't need that toxic troll in your life.

Celebrate your decision to burn that bridge. You don't need that toxic troll in your life.

It's a Matter of Scale

Whether you plan an all-out assault or just want to throw your grenade and walk, scale your bridge blowing activities based on your troll's offensive behavior and the impact you want to make. Use good judgment in your own bridge blasting endeavors.

I'm not a fan of hurting trolls (just burning their bridges). They are already so harmful to themselves. Besides, overdoing it makes you look like eerily like the troll.

Relationship Destruction 101

When time finally comes to set fire to the bridge, keep these tips in mind:

  • Be direct. Get straight to the point, and don't back down.
  • Remain calm, even in the face of your troll's bitterness, surprise, or tears.
  • Don't permit discussion. Time for that has passed. This is a one-way conversation, and you are informing.
  • Name their toxic behavior(s). This reminds them what is creating conflict for them. It's likely a recurring theme in their relationships, and they need to hear again what's causing so much damage.
  • Describe briefly how their toxic behavior makes you feel, but realize that toxic trolls aren't known for their empathy so don't dwell.
  • Tell them how long you've put up with their abusive behavior—your wasted investment in this relationship.
  • Say clearly what you are doing about the situation now. Be final, emphatic, and exact.
  • Then walk away. You're over it, done, and ready to move on.
  • Celebrate! You've destroyed a relationship but saved a little piece of yourself.

Take This Job and . . . Give It to Somebody Else

In the professional world, burning bridges can attract a lot of attention. However, when you work with a truly toxic troll, here are 5 reasons why it might not matter as long as it's a rare event:

  1. It's not like your troll is going to help you get another job. Aren't there coworkers or sympathetic others who can help you land a new gig?
  2. What that troll is doing to your psychological and physical health is slowly killing you. If you've tried everything else, ask yourself if you can really afford to wait until s/he retires, gets promoted, is fired, or decides to change his terrible ways. Life is short, and it's just a freaking JOB. Put it in perspective.
  3. Lots of people have had bully bosses, awful coworkers, and have worked with companies that don't share their values.
  4. You have great skills and a solid track record of performance, right?
  5. Depending on how you handled yourself during bridge burning — creative vs. insulting—you may get brownie points from others for standing up to a known troll (the underdog phenomenon).
Shower your chronically rude, mean, toxic troll with some candid feedback when you break off the relationship.  It's over.  No reason to hold back now.  Let the fireworks begin!

Shower your chronically rude, mean, toxic troll with some candid feedback when you break off the relationship. It's over. No reason to hold back now. Let the fireworks begin!

Move Forward From This Toxic Land

The bridge is on fire. Walk away, and do not look back. Don't even take time to gather your stuff. Send an envoy later to pick it up.

The relationship is over, so move forward out of this toxic land. (No sifting through the burnt ashes.) You're wiser now.

May you build better bridges ahead, my friend.

Okay, you've burned your bridge.  Celebrate, but don't gloat too much.  More forward.  There are better bridges ahead.  And wipe that chin.  You're slurpy.

Okay, you've burned your bridge. Celebrate, but don't gloat too much. More forward. There are better bridges ahead. And wipe that chin. You're slurpy.

Burn Your Bridge With a Toxic Person With These 4 Steps

Name the Toxic Behavior(s)Describe How the Behavior Makes You FeelTell How Long You've Put Up With ItSay What You Are Doing About It Now

Ron, you've YELLED and CURSED at me for the last time.

Your behavior is out-of-control. It makes me feel degraded.

I've put up with your abuse for 3 years.

I have no choice but to quit this job.

Mabel, you've LIED ABOUT ME BEHIND MY BACK for the last time.

Your behavior is mean-spirited. It makes me feel distrustful of you.

I've put up with your two-faced ways for 2 years.

We're no longer friends.

Dennis, I'm done with your CONSTANT NAYSAYING and CRITICSM.

Your behavior is obsessive. It drags me down and makes me feel depressed.

I've put up with your negative talk for 6 months too long.

I'm moving out.

This Guy Had a Brass Band March Him out of His Job

Quotes About Burning Bridges

"I demolish my bridges behind me, then there is no choice but forward."

—Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian explorer

"When one burns one's bridges, what a very nice fire it makes."

—Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet and writer

"It makes no difference if I burn my bridges behind me—I never retreat."

—Fiorello LaGuardia, New York politician

"I'm not a wilting flower. I'm honest, so I pick a lot of fights. I've burned a lot of bridges."

—Scott Thompson, Canadian actor

"The hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn."

—David Russell, Scottish guitarist

"He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven."

—Thomas Fuller, English historian

"Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge."

—Don Henley, American singer/songwriter

Relationship pyrotechnics is not for the faint of heart.  It's dangerous behavior, an acquired skill. Engage in it too often or too lightly and you will get seriously injured.

Relationship pyrotechnics is not for the faint of heart. It's dangerous behavior, an acquired skill. Engage in it too often or too lightly and you will get seriously injured.

Notes

1Stebner, B. (2013, June 24). Workplace morale heads down: 70% of Americans negative about their jobs, Gallup study shows. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/70-u-s-workers-hate-job-poll-article-1.1381297.

2Adams, S. (2013, October 10). Unhappy Employees Outnumber Happy Ones By Two To One Worldwide. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/10/10/unhappy-employees-outnumber-happy-ones-by-two-to-one-worldwide/.

3Civility Partners, LLC (2013). The Top Three Myths Of Workplace Bullying. Retrieved from http://www.noworkplacebullies.com/the-top-three-myths-of-workplace-bullying/.

4Barker, E. (2014, March 14). How To Make Friends Easily And Strengthen The Friendships You Have. Retrieved from http://time.com/24122/how-to-make-friends-easily-and-strengthen-the-friendships-you-have/.

Interviewer Puts Boxer in His Place

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 10, 2016:

rajan - Brilliantly said! Thanks for reading. Have a great week.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 09, 2016:

Useful suggestions and when a relationship is beyond redemption its best to burn that bridge, to leave no way for a return, and move on.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 08, 2015:

firstday - Thank you for stopping by my bridge burning hub! People can be too wishy washy. Sometimes you have to take a strong stand and let the pieces fall where they may. I appreciate your sharing this.

Rebecca Be from Lincoln, Nebraska on April 07, 2015:

Hub Pages alerted me through email on this article which I love. I have shared it with my friends on Tsu the new social network. Thanks for writing this...great fun! Also I gave you a thumbs up.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 07, 2015:

VioletteRose - Yes, sometimes you just need to kick 'em to the curb when you've tried everything else. Thanks for reading and commenting!

VioletteRose from Atlanta on April 07, 2015:

Hi FlourishAnyway, I very much agree with you. There is sometimes no way other than burning the bridges, especially with toxic relationships.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 07, 2014:

Perspycacious - Well said! Thanks for reading.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 06, 2014:

As a cautionary comment: "Give up friends as slowly as you made them." Even friends have bad days. They were there for you. You should be there for them.

That said, burn baby, burn!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 01, 2014:

MizBejabbers - You had a toxic troll on your hands. Nasty lil creatures.

ologsinquito from USA on October 01, 2014:

You too.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 01, 2014:

first day - Thank you for reading. Some bridges never should have been built in the first place. At least we can correct our errors.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 01, 2014:

Very good advice. I've burned very few bridges, but a couple of people have burned their bridges with me and then thought I was chump enough to let them back into my life. When somebody badmouths you online to the world, then tells you to delete their addresses and never contact you again, you do it, or at least I do. Six months later she started trying to get back into my life, and this has been going on for five years. When you burn bridges, you need to mean it.

Rebecca Be from Lincoln, Nebraska on October 01, 2014:

I enjoyed this. It takes bravery to burn a bridge. I have burnt a few also. I found this useful. There are so many comments it looks as if a lot of folks enjoy your writing.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 01, 2014:

ologsinquito - Thanks so much for your kind support. Have a great week.

ologsinquito from USA on October 01, 2014:

Still one of my favorites. Voted up and shared.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 11, 2014:

Cesky - Although they say never burn a bridge, I disagree. Sometimes it's necessary and cathartic. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Cecilia Karanja from Nairobi on September 11, 2014:

This is such a comprehensive guide. It is always important to do away with toxic relationships.

ologsinquito from USA on July 29, 2014:

You're probably right. I'm the type that doesn't like to burn bridges.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 29, 2014:

ologsinquito - Thanks so much! It's so important to be strategic but not shy away from burning that occasional bridge. People will respect you for it.

ologsinquito from USA on July 29, 2014:

This one continues to make me chuckle. There comes a time when we need to move on. Maybe we don't need to torch everything in our path, but we need to drop what's not working and walk (or run) away from it. Pinned again.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 17, 2014:

Carolyn - Glad to provide inspiration and humor. Thanks for stopping by!

carolynkaye from USA on July 17, 2014:

Love this Hub! Lots of good advice here and funny too :-)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 11, 2014:

Cherylann - Thanks for the thumbs up, girl!

Cherylann Mollan from India on July 10, 2014:

Wow! What an article! I've read countless ones on how to be tolerant, and how to love and how to forget, and all those other mushy topics. But, rightly said, sometimes you just need to blow the damn bridge. Very useful suggestions here. Voted up.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 08, 2014:

Carolyn - I'm sorry that your friends aren't proving to be what you thought they were or wanted them to be. I wish you the best in moving forward, full steam ahead. When you let go of people who hold you back, it can be liberating. You'll open yourself up to new experiences and opportunities ahead.

Carolyn Emerick on June 08, 2014:

This was SO APT for my life right now! I'm someone who likes to cling to people of the past even when it's not healthy or they have become bad people. Recently, I had to let go of some very old friends who had not been very good friends. It IS difficult when you have known these people for 2/3s of your life... but it was the right decision and I look forward to meeting new people who are right for right now. Thank you very much for this article which was affirmative confirmation of the difficult choices I have had to make recently. Upvoted and shared on my personal FB wall :-)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 05, 2014:

Writer Fox - Some relationships cannot be fixed and are better off scrapping. Thanks for reading and voting. Have a great day!

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on June 05, 2014:

This is absolutely an interesting subject and you covered it so well. I think some people feel they need permission to walk away from a bad relationship. I'm glad you gave yours along with the reasons why it can be necessary. Enjoyed and voted up!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 02, 2014:

Easy Exercise - I'm happy I was good for a grin. Thanks for the kind compliments. Have a great week.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 02, 2014:

vespawoolf - Everyone has to blow a bridge from time to time just to feel the impact. Of course, sometimes there's toxic fallout, but bridge blowing is fun in the moment. And running is a good idea. Why hang around? Thanks for reading and comment.

Kelly A Burnett from United States on June 02, 2014:

FlourishAnyway,

Oh, you the smiles - you made me grin time and time again! Delightful! I love the rap song with the office worker dancing and then the donkey and i could go on - you are wonderful!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on June 02, 2014:

As always, I enjoy your high energy and humorous writing style. I agree there are toxic people and emotional vampires who I won't share my bridge with. I'm more of the blow up the bridge and run away type. Thanks for sharing!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 27, 2014:

Torrs13 - High five, sister! Thanks for reading.

Tori Canonge from North Carolina on May 27, 2014:

I've definitely burned a few bridges, but all have been for the better good! I feel like sometimes people, or jobs, can bring us down and we have to burn the bridge in order to be happy again. I've held on for far too long in some cases and the pain was much worse than if I would have just ended things when I knew there was no turning back. As you said, we need to be cautious in some instances, but burning bridges is not always a bad thing. Thanks for this great read!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 27, 2014:

Hi, Jackie - No need to mince words when it comes to goodbye, huh? Thanks for reading!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on May 27, 2014:

No room for 'it's not you it's me' in this one huh?

Fun read, great advice. ^

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 27, 2014:

Anna - I like bridge burning sorts. I find them full of character, vim and vigor. Thanks for reading, and have a terrific week ahead.

Anna Haven from Scotland on May 27, 2014:

You manage to be funny, practical and sassy all in one hub. Good advice and also engaging and interesting to read.

I am a bridge burning sort of girl, without looking back but only when the dire need arises. :)

Life is way too short for people who bring only negativity into your world.

Great work.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 26, 2014:

Nell - Good for you. Glad you had a real friend who made you see what was really happening.

Nell Rose from England on May 26, 2014:

I had to burn one big time! my so called friend more or less totally trod on me, and like an idiot I kept her around because she was, well, my friend! till in the end it took another friend to say, what the hell are you doing? so yeah, of she went with 'a flea in her ear' as my mum used to say! lol!

Lisa René LeClair from the ATL on May 24, 2014:

No neex for thanks; your hubs are awesome! ;-) Cheers!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 24, 2014:

Sassy - Backyards need cleaning, too. Thanks for reading and rooting me on. I appreciate it! Have an awesome holiday weekend.

Lisa René LeClair from the ATL on May 24, 2014:

Hilarious... I think we older we get; the less we care about saving a one-sided, toxic relationship. I cleaned house a few years ago and never looked back. Unfortunately, most of my cleaning was in my own backyard. Life is way too short for drama! Voted up, cheers!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 24, 2014:

Suzanne - Thanks a bunch! I've seen research that (no surprise) indicates that on-line trolls tend to be off-line trolls as well. I'm with you. Down with them. Burn their little bridges. Let them drink their own toxic water, the little devils.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 24, 2014:

Frank - Oh, it was great fun! Thanks for reading and voting! Have a terrific holiday weekend.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 24, 2014:

what don't I like about this hub.. damn must have been fun putting this together voted up and awesome!!!!

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on May 23, 2014:

Down with trolls! They deserve to have their bridges burned, whether they're boss trolls, internet forum trolls or other troll-like individuals. Liked this hub so much I've scheduled it in for What The Hub? on Facebook as well as voting it funny!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 23, 2014:

shanmarie - I may have done battle with a troll or two. Have a great holiday weekend.

Shannon Henry from Texas on May 23, 2014:

Boy-oh-boy, did you ever peg the troll! The videos are quite entertaining, too.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 23, 2014:

truthfornow - Amen to that! Thanks for visiting!

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on May 22, 2014:

I love the term toxic troll. There is nothing wrong with burning a bridge or two every now and then. It is true that the older one gets it seems the less willing they are to put up with all the drama. Life it just too short to waste time with people who make you feel bad. Nicely said and funny too! Voted up.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2014:

Devika - Thanks for reading. Although it's unfortunate when you have to do it, if you need to at least it should be memorable for both parties.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 22, 2014:

Linda - Thanks for your support and encouragement!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 22, 2014:

Awesome hub! The lay out and so interesting about burning bridges a great rush of action.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 21, 2014:

This hub is a very entertaining way to deal with a serious topic, Flourish! I love the way in which you mix amusement with practical advice. I'll share this hub.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 21, 2014:

Kathleen - Yes, you do ... on occasion. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Kathleen Odenthal from Bridgewater on May 21, 2014:

I enjoyed this. I know from experience that typically, it is better not to burn bridges, but sometimes, you just gotta cover them with gas, throw a match, run and never look back!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 21, 2014:

Audrey - If something is worth doing, it's worth doing right.

Audrey Howitt from California on May 21, 2014:

I am generally not the bridge burning kind--but when I do it, I agree--do it with style

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 21, 2014:

kikinusbaumer - Glad you enjoyed it. Sing a little chant as your toxic troll swims for shore in your dust.

Kiki Nusbaumer from Chesterfield, VA on May 21, 2014:

This post lifted my spirits. I won't be burning my bridge, but rather gently unhooking the ropes so as not to ever tread there again, but this still felt like a big cheer and a hearty well wishing. Also funny as hell. Thank you!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 21, 2014:

Sha - Na, I'm here for a good while! I love your quittin' style. Way to go!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 21, 2014:

Whew, for a minute I thought you were leaving us! Love this post, Flourish. I quit my last job via email. On a Sunday. After I'd called in sick three days in a row. Of course, I wasn't really sick. Just sick of the lies and deceit.

Love the girl who quit using a white board. Good for her!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 21, 2014:

Jo - Thanks so much for your kind and enthusiastic encouragement. It makes my day!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 21, 2014:

travmaj - Ka-pow! Just remember to aim first then fire! Have a great day!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 21, 2014:

grand old lady - You have to surround yourself with positive people, else the toxic water will rot you through and through. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on May 21, 2014:

Flourish, brilliant! Funny, interesting, useful and always practical.

Well done, up all the way and sharing.

travmaj from australia on May 21, 2014:

Wow Flourish - talk about fire in the belly...I've got to admit my procrastination and in many instances didn't burn that bridge when clearly I should have. Where was your hub? But that's in hindsight. You made me laugh and think (and squirm) Am now checking my list before I fire - out of my way Toxic Trolls. Thanks for an enlightening, entertaining hub. Voting.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on May 20, 2014:

There really are times when you have to burn bridges. The biggest bridges you have to burn are the people who are only there to use you, want to get something from you because they think you have everything and they have nothing (which is never true, even if the person is Donald Trump and the other person is myself). It's emotionally and physically healthier to surround yourself with positive people who contribute wisdom, true friendship, support and love to your life. Wonderful hub.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:

Bill - I'm with you. I'm seen some pretty awe-inspiring explosions over the years in my HR role. Even when I felt management had been outsmarted, outfoxed, outdumbed, or otherwise beat at its own game, there were some bridge burnings that I applauded for their sheer brilliance, creativity, and gusto. I did wonder where certain employees landed their next position, too, but some places are meaner places to work than others Thanks for reading and commenting, as always.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:

Faith Reaper - I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I've thought maybe my next hub should be "How to Mend A Fence" but nah. That ain't no fun.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on May 20, 2014:

I've seen some pretty entertaining bridge burning at work over the years. As funny as they can sometimes be to witness it' often sad to see people reach the end of their rope. Great job Flourish, very entertaining.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 20, 2014:

Ka-pow! Love this one, Flourish. I really enjoy your writing style. You have a one-of-a-kind style and you stand out. Your captions under your photos are hilarious and perfect. LOL Oh, the videos are great.

The best part is your keen insight into these nasty situations and advice on what to do "before going medieval on them". lol

Voted up +++ pinning, tweeting and sharing

Blessings always

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:

OldRoses - Good for you! May your life be filled with only roses, no thorns.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:

MsDora - Thank you! Thankfully it's a rare activity and the rest of the world we fill with hugs, smiles, and good tidings. Blessings to you.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 20, 2014:

I will never hear about burning bridges again without thinking of this article. The power and passion in the tone is motivating. I'm thinking that everyone needs this at some time in their lives. Love the four steps. Thanks for all of it. Voted Up and More.

Caren White on May 20, 2014:

One good thing about growing older is that I realize I don't want to waste any more time or effort on idiots. I don't bother with burning bridges. I just walk away. I only want positive people in my life now. My life has turned completely around now. It's wonderful.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:

JayWill - Thanks for stopping by.

Jay Williams from Austin on May 20, 2014:

Another witty, clever story. Good job.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:

Lybrah - I'm delighted that it registered that way with you! Thanks for the feedback!

Lybrah on May 20, 2014:

I loved this hub. It was excellent, well written, and funny.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:

csmiravite-blogs - Thanks for the kudos. After awhile, you'd wonder whether the toxic trolls would get a hint that there's something that needs fixing 'bout them bridges.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:

CyberShelley - Those troll relationships are tough teachers. Glad you've learned from each one. Thanks for the kind compliment and for sharing.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:

Jodah - Glad you enjoyed it. Anyone with a real backbone has burned a bridge. I worry about those who say "never."

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 20, 2014:

Funny but useful hub Flourish. I too have burnt bridges once or twice, and love a song called 'burning bridges' by Jackson Brown. Thanks for this hub and the videos...'take this job and shove it..' Is good too.

Consolacion Miravite from Philippines on May 19, 2014:

I love your style! I love your spunk! I love how you tell people that you're out of their shitty lives! How I wish I can be as upfront! Ah nah, probably too old for that! Lol!

Voted up! :D

Shelley Watson on May 19, 2014:

It the experience and wisdom that comes with age, toxic relationships must be cut, if one cannot change the relationship, change the circumstances and baby burn that bridge! I've done it a few times, sometimes it felt really good other times I wished it could have been different. But today I know I am better for each burned bridge! Great, great piece here - so enjoy your writing. Up, interesting, funny, beautiful and shared!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 19, 2014:

Sheila - There's nothing wrong with lighting someone up who really has it coming! Thanks for reading.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 19, 2014:

I have to admit that I have burned a few bridges in my time, but they needed burning. Now there are a couple, I wish I had burned...I think I just scorched them a little! Great hub! Up and useful! :)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 19, 2014:

Martie - May the glow of such a burning bridge warm your heart as you walk away unscathed. Let that ole' toxic troll find someone else to pester. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on May 19, 2014:

Hear-hear! Thank heavens we finally reach the stage where we are able to distinguish between essential bridges and dilapidated, high-maintenance bridges leading to Nowhere.

Burn the damn bridge and move on!

We are on the same page, FlourishAnyway :)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 19, 2014:

Liz - I think you can only do that once in a lifetime. I do wonder what they did as their next job.

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on May 19, 2014:

Very entertaining hub. I loved the videos and the styles of quitting. Priceless!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 19, 2014:

Thanks, Mari!

dragonflycolor on May 19, 2014:

Very well put, Flourish!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 19, 2014:

KawikaChann - I couldn't agree with you more. Save the bridge burning for the very vile ones!

Kawika Chann from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on May 19, 2014:

Yep, burned a few in my time, but happy that I held back on the matches for most of them, they have become super-highways that I traverse with ease. But for those that I burned, my what a delightful flame they made. Thanks for the memories. Upvoted/useful. Peace. Kawi.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 19, 2014:

ologsinquito - That's my preferred mode if it's hard to make a clean break -- ignoring the little buggers and allow the relationship to die from starvation. I wish you the best as your turn your back and find another route across the river. Thanks for commenting, sharing, pinning.

ologsinquito from USA on May 19, 2014:

This is funny. Although, right now, I am choosing distance in one relationship, it won't end with a flourish. (Pardon the pun.) I am simply letting the relationship fizzle out, and, if asked, I will say exactly why, in a polite way. The main thing is, in my mind, I've decided it's hit a point of no return and the investment is no longer worth it. This was not a rash decision. I've debated doing this for a few years. Thanks for a great article. Voted up, shared and pinned.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 19, 2014:

Bill - I think I'll keep you as well. ;-) Have a great day.