How to deal with a backstabber

Backstabbers. These are people who act as your friends, pretend to care about you, lead you to believe you are the best of friends, but then silently plot your immediate downfall.

Try to ask anyone around you and you’ll surely hear hundreds of horror stories on how they became victims of these so-called friends.

Dr. Nicola Davies, a Psychologist and author of Health Psychology Consultancy website, defined a backstabber’s personality. She said, these people will mention good things about you in your presence, but tell others that you are a “good-for-nothing, hopeless waste of space.”

Why do they do it? Because they feel insecure and angry with themselves and the world, they make up stories, even exaggerating a person’s weakness to make themselves feel superior.

What to do when someone backstabs you?

1. Don’t lose your control.

via CityTv
via CityTv

No matter how much you feel like strangling that person, pull yourself together. “Take a deep breath and live to fight another day,” says Chester Elton, author of A Survivor’s Guide to Bullies, Backstabbers and Bastards.

2. Cut them out of your life.


Assess your relationship with that person. Do you value your friendship enough to overlook and forgive the wrongdoing? If you both can settle it, then do it (and hope it will not happen again). If not, then cut your ties with them.

3. Set things right.


If the offending party has spread damaging rumors about you, talk to those people who he/she had talked to. Share your side of the story. Celestine Chua, founder of Personal Excellence, said, “Address the damage as best as you can.”

4. Prove them wrong. 


Most of the time, when explanations aren’t enough, it’s always good to back up your words with actions. Let those people who believed the rumors about you eat their words. You cannot please everyone. Some may believe your actions, some may not. Just keep your conscience clear. At the end of the day, you can be proud that you have kept your values and stayed true to yourself.

5. Move on.


Chester Elton said, “the best revenge is to live well.” Forgive the offender and live your life well.

Spotting a backstabber

Unfortunately, backstabbers are everywhere. They can be found in our circle of friends, in our workplace, and, yes, in our families. So, it’s better to equip yourself with knowledge and identify a traitor before they damage your integrity and reputation.

  • They tend to become overly friendly, showering with you flattery, without apparent reason, so as to get your full trust and hide their inner motives
  • They deliberately deny bad-mouthing you, but you have this gut feeling that there’s something wrong with their stories
  • They provoke trouble among innocent people
  • They take credit for your ideas when you are not around
  • When you are with them, they tend to tell twisted stories about other people. (How can you be so sure they aren’t doing it to you in your absence?)
  • They are expert in making you feel guilty when you confront them.

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