You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

When I emerged on the other end of the divorce process, I felt like the dark cloud that was always following me had lifted and I was seeing life through a new set of eyes.

Toxic personalities can drain the energy from a room. They can rob you of your soul if you let them. The scary thing is, you rarely see it happening to you.

To this day, I still cannot reconcile how I let another human being grind me down to a shell of my former self. I was completely blind to my own situation. Being trapped in such a poisonous relationship was killing me, yet I refused to face reality and break away.

I lost a number of friends because of my blindness towards how my she brought everyone around her down. I defended her, and ultimately enabled her by carrying the load brought on by her learned helplessness and oversized sense of entitlement.

After deep reflection I realized that I had also become toxic to my friends, family and coworkers as I struggled to keep it all together. I always felt drained, and from time to time I resorted to self medication in a desperate attempt to fill the holes growing inside of me.

While she may have been my chief tormentor, I can now see that my ex-wife was not the only toxic personality that I encountered in my life and my career. There have been many, although I didn’t recognize the signs at the time.

This is an excerpt from 40@40: Beware the Toxic Personality.

In celebration of my 40th birthday, I decided to write 40 blog posts to reflect on 40 of the most important lessons I have learned throughout my life. You can follow the full series here:

Mike Topalovich

Hi, I’m Mike. I help companies like yours do business in new ways with Salesforce.


I am a freelance Salesforce Developer, Architect, and CTO as well as a part time instructor for Salesforce University.


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