Over the years there’s been a strong interest and fascination with the “zombie apocalypse” genre. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent with buddies playing Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies. Even though you’re doomed from the start, it never gets old for me. There’s plenty of reasons why people love the subculture, which I won’t dig into here.
As many of you hear me say on the podcast, I’ll be brief.
We live in a zombie apocalypse, and toxic people are the zombies.
Let’s compare, shall we?
What is a zombie? It’s an undead human devoid of humanity. It’s a creature that has no conscience or capacity for meaningful thought or action. It doesn’t care for its own survival. The only meaning in life is for it to find a human it can infect and turn into a zombie.
Let me ask you this: Does that not sound like a toxic person?
If you’ve spent any time around a toxic person, you know what it means to say they have no life in them. There’s no spirit in their eyes. There’s no passion to their movement or activities. They have no enthusiasm or intensity – unless it’s inflicting harm, grief, and misery on others.
In fact, that is what makes a toxic person a zombie. They have no drive, until they discover someone who is not unhappy or miserable. Then, they achieve agency and purpose again, but not to improve themselves or change their lot in life. They have a level of energy that seems unsustainable and yet never subsides.
Toxic people aren’t Machiavellian. They’re not particularly ambitious. They have no lofty aspirations. Their achievements are determined by how many people they’ve brought down to their level.
They decide one day to focus all their hate and loathing onto a person or persons. It becomes their idee fixe, their bete noir. Bringing harm to them becomes a single-minded obsession at the expense of everything else. Even when their campaign causes them damage to their careers, health, relationships, finances, they keep pressing forward. Like a zombie, they are unfazed by even genuine determents.
Why? Because they’re infected with misery and self-hatred, and they want to infect others so they won’t be alone.
Here’s the problem. If they go after you, there’s little you can do about it. Becoming anti-fragile helps, but no one is immune. Unless they break the law, you can’t prevent them from harassing you in sorts of creative ways. You’d be surprised what legally permitted actions people can take that create for you anxiety and dread. The more frustrated you become, the more they are emboldened. Your pleas to end the conflict is like slitting your wrists in front of a shark hoping it will make him go away.
There are a few takeaways from this.
One, don’t be stupid. Don’t provoke clearly broken human beings. If you’re trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, you don’t draw attention. You don’t alert a zombie attacking someone else. You keep moving and avoid unnecessary confrontations. You have no idea how many other zombies might become aware of you while you’re fending off one zombie.
Oh, and if you find yourself in an organization with toxic people, avoid them at all costs. If that isn’t possible, them get out. Sooner or later, they will infect you no matter what you do.
Two, when you get attacked, your best chance of survival is to have a band of brothers, a group of fellow travelers who will help you. Zombies love to swarm, whereas they dislike being swarmed by others.
Three, take some advice from Q of James Bond fame: Never let them see you bleed. Nothing they do can affect you. They subsist off your distress. Watching you carry on without complaint is genuinely painful for them. The best way to harm them is to become better at whatever it is you do and to ignore them as much as possible.
Want to learn how?
Masculine Geek goes live on YouTube every Wednesday at 6 p.m. Pacific time. Be there.