You know them. You went to school with them. You even worked with them. You have been conversing with this person about mostly everything. Work, family, personal life, co-workers, church, etc. Trusting, kind, and sincere this person is.
You felt comfortable enough that you didn’t think your “trust” in this person could possibly one day used against you. And then one day, this “information” has been given to you on this individual (or individuals) by a trusted colleague or friend; usually in bits and pieces over a period of time. Once the bits are pieced together and you realized that 2+2 does not equal 4; you will know that you have just been backstabbed, as described in that classic song by the O-Jays(you know the song, smiling in your face, yet all the time they want to take your place).
Dictionary.com defines backstabbing as “…to attempt to discredit (a person) by underhanded means, as innuedo, accusation, or the like.”
From that definition, we can conclude that a backstabber would be an individual whose main goal is to say or do things in an attempt to make you look foolish, inept, and irresponsible; basically someone who can not be relied on or trusted for anything. Their main goal is to obtain power, respect, and approval by gaining the upper hand, by whatever means necessary.
You begin to see how the drama plays itself out. Say you are involved in a class project at school, and the project has just wrapped. One of your classmates who was on the project begins to complain about you not contributing anything and the little you had contributed was of poor quality. This is being done in an attempt to expose your faults and/or weakness in an attempt to make you look bad in the eyes of your peers.
Another situation would be for the backstabber to start dropping “hints” to co-workers and friends you have known and trust that you have been spreading lies and rumors about them, or accuse you of stealing ideas for an idea ”they” came up with. Again, this is being done in an attempt to alienate you and make you appear as a liar; someone not to be trusted.
However, the following situation takes the cake for me; it hits a nerve big time. It was as if you were talking with your best friend or your ya ya sister…listening to you atttentively, lending you their ear to allow you to vent when the job you applied for didn’t happened. They extended an invitation saying I am here to talk if you need to talk. And you accepted, after all you didn’t think the tables would turn on you, right? Then BAM!!!! It happened. Or maybe BOOM!!! sounds better. Either way, ALL my business got put out, words were revised and broadcasted; then came the pointing of fingers, whispering, I lied, that never happened, and I would not trust my dog poop to you…
It all comes back to you. You don’t get a chance to defend yourself, and the end result is you come off looking stupid(and a few other choice words).
You have just been backstabbed.
It is the next workday, and you are still hurting. How do handle it from this point? What I have done was to close myself off; go in, do your job, speak only when you have to (not even small talk), go home, and start all over again tommorrow, and the day after tommorrow, and the day after that. That is all good and well…if you want to be Robinson Crusoe. By doing this, you have helped the backstabber accomplish one of their goals; you have cut yourself off from everyone in your work circle. It will eventually become so unbearable that you will either quit, or screw up so badly that you will get yourself fired. Not a good move in the long run.
All right, what about a Plan B? There are tons of articles out there on how to deal with backstabbing and backstabbers, and I have skimmed through most of them. What I have done is mix and matched, and came up with this: You do not have to be the social butterfly, but a little conversation can go a long way. As for your job, work smarter, be on time, meet your deadlines, pay attention to detail, go above and beyond what’s expected of you; it will serve you well in the long run.
And last, but most important: WATCH YOUR BACK and WATCH WHAT YOU SAY, AND TO WHOM. Since a request to transfer is not an option for some of us, we will still have to work with this individual, but we do not have to stoop to their level. Be cordial, respectful and civil; you are worth it.
I have been at this for about a year…and I have been in the work force since the age of sixteen. It will not always be an easy haul, but it is doable.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY. -Mother Teresa.
See you on the other side.