We investigate the effects of competition between two complex,PT -symmetric potentials on the PT -symmetric phase of a particle in a box. These potentials, given by V Z (x) = iZsign(x) and V epsi;(x) = iepsi; [δ (x - a) - δ(x + a)], represent long-range and localized gain/loss regions, respectively. We obtain the PT - symmetric phase in the (Z, ε) plane, and find that for locations a near the edge of the box, surprisingly, the PT -symmetric phase is strengthened by additional losses to the loss region. Consequently, we predict that a broken PT -symmetry will be restored by increasing the strength ε of the localized potential. By comparing the results for this problem and its lattice counterpart, we show that a robust PT -symmetric phase in the continuum is consistent with the fragile phase on the lattice. Our results demonstrate that systems with multiple, PT -symmetric potentials show unique, unexpected properties. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.