Josephine worked at a popular restaurant, where she had worked for close to 5 years. She was a single mother with 3 school going children. All was going well for her, until she was transferred to a branch that was out of the way for her. She lived in Kikuyu town and worked at the supermarket branch in Limuru. Suddenly she was being transferred to the branch in Kiambu town. She did not have a car and relied on public transport to and from work. She would use one bus to and from work, but transferring to a branch over a hundred kilometres from where she lived would disrupt her life. She was not prepared for such a disruption, especially because her children attended day schools near where they lived.
Josephine spoke with her supervisor about the transfer, expressing her desire not to move far from where she resided. He explained to her that her services were required in the other branch so she would need to take up her position there. This did not go well with Josephine and she opted to quit the job without further discussion.
Searching for another job proved very difficult and her family suffered tremendously due to the loss of income. She could not go back to her previous job because she left in defiance.
What does ‘burning one’s bridges’ mean? It means that you end a relationship in a way that irreparable damage is done. You can never go back to the relationship, not unless you had to put in the work to rebuild it. It could be friendship, a job or any other relationship.
Maybe you have been in a romantic relationship with someone and you have found someone else whom you consider to be better or you and your lover have differed. Do not rush to burn the bridge, telling someone who probably has stood with you through thick and thin to get out of your life and never contact you again.
You might have disagreed with your employer and you are very upset. Rather than rushing to burn the bridge, give yourself time then address the issue when you have cooled down and are sober.
When conflicts happen, be slow to speak hurtful words or to do anything that could cause permanent damage. Be slow to take permanent decisions in temporary situations. Everything comes and goes, even emotions. You might be angry at the moment but you will feel better later.
There are people who sabotage themselves by burning bridges even when they stood to benefit from the relationships they are destroying. They deny themselves the chance to benefit from such relationships.
Conflicts happen and it is normal to disagree with people from time to time, but conflict does not necessarily mean the death of a relationship. People disagree but they can take a break from the relationship without necessarily burning the bridge, then sort out their differences when they are sober.
It is wise to end relationships well such that should you need to go back to them, it is still possible. However, there are some cases where you should not hesitate to burn bridges, probably for your own peace of mind or safety.
1. Abusive Relationships
Abusers are sick people who feed off the pain and suffering of others. Abusers brainwash their victims. An abuser makes their victim believe that they cannot make it in life without them. The reality is that it is the abuser who would feel lost without a victim to abuse.
If you have been in an abusive relationship and manage to set yourself free, burn that bridge without second thoughts. Abusers rarely change so should your abuser apologize later and promise never to abuse you ever again, the most likely thing is that they will still abuse you.
2. Toxic People
There are people who thrive on belittling others and making them feel bad about themselves. They make fun of other people’s pain, magnify their problems, trivialize their successes and make them feel guilty about something. Being around a toxic person always makes one discouraged and stressed. If you manage to break a relationship with a toxic person, burn the bridge and never look back.
3. People Who Take Advantage of Others
Some people are like ticks; all they are interested in is what they can gain from the other person. They do not bring value to the relationship as everything is about them and what they can gain. They are forever needy and looking for some favor.
Relationships with people who only withdraw from the account without making any deposit deserve to die.
Some people will resonate with you and others won’t. You will never be able to please the 7 Billion people on planet earth so you will have to let some go, for good. Be cautious however not to burn bridges with people you could still need in future.