Why Do Good People
Stay In Bad Situations?
By Susan Fenner, PhD
There are many reasons why
good people stay in bad situations, even when they are being harmed in the
process. By understanding your motivation, you will be able to make a better
choice about when to stick it out and when to pack up and go.
People stay in bad
No matter how bad the
situation, they know what to expect. They feel more secure in a bad
predictable situation than a possibly better one that may entail some risk
on their part. They are afraid to deal with ambiguity, often because they
havenít done it in the past.
The bad situation has so
destroyed their self-esteem that they donít have the confidence to move out
and forward. They truly believe they are worthless or as inept as their
environment portrays them.
It has turned into a
game. One party is abusive; the other party enables the abuse to keep
happening. If either person were to change his/her behavior, the game would
stop. In some instances, once the game stops, the parties will find another
counterpart to assume the same role so the game can continue.
They keep telling
themselves things will change, even though there is no evidence that this is
the case. Itís not that they are an optimist, but rather, they are not being
They have seen other
people in their family play this same role and believe it is their ďlot in
lifeĒ to follow the same script, whether consciously or not. They lack the
courage and conviction to break away from the familiar past.
They refuse to set goals
and ultimatums and stick with them. They are waiting for some form of rescue
outside of themselves.
They think they are the
only ones in this kind of situation. They blame themselves, instead of the
They lack a strong role
model who could support them in their efforts to break free.
They enjoy playing the
role of victim because it gets them attention.
By not striving for more
or better, they never fail because they never try.
They feel insecure and
are afraid of losing what they may have acquired to date (financially,
These are just a few reasons
why admins stay with execs who are highly critical, teens stay in cliques where
they are derided, or spouses remain with abusive mates.
The way to a better job or
relationship requires support networking, building self-confidence and a skill
base, surrounding yourself with people who truly care, and taking small steps
into the unknown to assure that you can be the master of your own destiny.
- Susan Fenner, PhD is Education and Professional Development Manager of the
International Association of Administrative Professionals. She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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