Toxic Client Syndrome: How to deal with a relationship that doesn’t fit!

by Kimberly Englot

The following can apply to ANYONE in your life, not just clients or bosses.


You have a client that drives you crazy.

They micromanage and don’t trust you. They’re demanding, calling at all hours, and expecting you to drop everything to serve them because they’re “paying you good money.” They don’t do their homework, don’t email you back, and don’t implement any of the tools you offer. They miss appointments without calling, or show up 20 minutes late and expect you to honor the full hour.  They don’t pay on time and constantly complain about your work. You’re pulling your hair out because they’re blaming their lack of progress on you!

You have a toxic client and it’s affecting your business.

You’ve tried to focus on the positives; you’ve tried being extra nice to appeal to their kind side; you’ve tried to talk to them about their disrespectful behavior. Nothing changes.


What is it COSTING you to maintain the relationship?

  1. They lower your personal standards. It’s like shouting to everyone around you, ‘You can abuse me if you pay me enough!’
  2. They lower your self-worth/ self-esteem; how can you feel good about your work if you put up with bad clients? (see #1)
  3. They lower your happiness. #1 and #2 combine to make you feel even worse about yourself, and you feel powerless because you’re stuck in the belief that you ‘need the money.’
  4. They take up extra time because even when you’re not working on their stuff, you’re worrying that they’ll call you up to complain or yell at you.
  5. They take up extra space; you only have some much time in the day, which means that you can only take so many clients and still maintain a high quality of service. This toxic client is using space that a more ideal client could take if there was room for them.


Sometimes the money just isn’t worth it. Here are some situations where you must let the client go:

  • No matter what you do, you can’t change your attitude and it is ruining relationships and your personal life. You cannot think of anything nice about this person. You have become apathetic about their results and have stopped caring altogether. It’s time to release them.
  • You work in an environment that is bad for your mental health (i.e: bullying, stealing, and lying). The client is domineering and always attacking you. Their account is in collections and they do not respect you or value your time. It is damaging your self-esteem because you are taking it personally now and beginning to wonder if you really don’t deserve to do better.
  • You aren’t valued, are taken advantage of, and can easily find another client. Even if it’s a struggle to find another client, your energy will be better managed and you will be more attractive to new clients if you don’t have the weight of a dysfunctional relationship holding you back.


Create a plan and get the heck away from this situation! You are valuable. You offer a valuable service that many can benefit from. You deserve success. There is no need to settle or tolerate a toxic client.



Kimberly Englot

Kimberly Englot is the President & Founder of The Center for Authentic Self Development. She works with women & heart-centered entrepreneurs who are willing to say ‘Yes’ to happiness, and ‘No’ to excuses. She is the author of The NOW of Happiness: Your Official Happiness Formula and contributing author to the Amazon Best Seller, Success Rituals 2.0: winning habits of highly successful women, how she does it and how you can too.

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