The wound is usually deep, wide, bleeds for a long time and is very hard to get over. I’m sure you have known a person who finds pleasure in inflicting this type of terrible pain on others. No? Sure you do! We call them backstabbers.
A backstabber is “A traitor or hypocrite, such as a co-worker or friend assumed trustworthy, but who verbally attacks when one’s back is turned.”
These people may claim to be your “best friends” or a co-worker who has “got your back,” but they are really mean-spirited, gossiping liars. Backstabbers have a goal of personal gain or power and can cause real damage. Whether it is in your social circle or at work, the lies told by this type of person are damaging and often can’t be undone even if confronted and proven to be wrong.
When I was married to my first husband, we were able to have lunch with each other almost every day. He would pick me up at the door and then we would drive to the parking lot of the nearest bank, park under the trees and eat our lunch. At the time, he had a tiny little truck and the big cooler we used to keep our lunch fresh barely fit between us.
Most people thought that our young love was “so cute” or “just beautiful.” All I knew was that I enjoyed our times together. I was too young and naive to understand the harm of backstabbers in the workplace.
On one bright, sunny day, my manager called me into her office. She was young and had never been a manager before and in retrospect, I bet she was nervous.
“How are you doing today?” she asked.
Thinking it was a weird question considering I only had about an hour before my “day” was over, I said, “Fine, thank you.”
“That’s good,” she said while looking down and slightly shaking her head up and down. “Did you enjoy your lunch?”
Now I knew this was a very strange conversation. “Yes, very much,” I said.
“The whole building is buzzing and it is because of your lunches with your husband. You have to stop eating lunch with him,” she boldly stated.
The building where I worked was a LARGE building with MANY floors. I had absolutely NO IDEA why anyone was talking about my lunch, nor did I understand why she thought I had to stop eating with my husband.
“I’m not going to stop eating lunch with my husband,” I replied just as boldly.
“If you do not stop having lunch with your husband, I am going to fire you.”
Completely confused and quite angry I said, “You CAN NOT fire me for having lunch with my husband! Why are you saying this to me!?!”
In a very calm voice and looking me straight in the eyes, she said, “Everyone is talking about how you go down to lunch with your husband and have sex in the parking lot of the bank every day. That is very bad business behavior.”
I think my jaw probably dropped to the floor, but just as quickly my redheaded anger shot to the ceiling. At the time, I did not control my temper at all. In fact, my temper controlled me which is why I yelled, “I DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH MY HUSBAND IN THE PARKING LOT OF THE BANK! WHERE DID YOU GET SUCH AN ABSURD IDEA! WE BARELY FIT IN HIS TRUCK WITH THE COOLER BETWEEN US!!!!”
That is when she made her mistake. She glanced out her “all glass office wall” behind me. I whipped around to see her staring straight at the older, redheaded woman in my department who was looking straight at us. Suddenly, it all made sense and my stomach sank.
“I’m going to consider this conversation over, but first I want to tell you something,” I said barely containing my anger through gritted teeth, “I have never had sex in the truck in front of the bank. My husband and I are newlyweds and we enjoy talking as we eat our lunch each day. We don’t go out to lunch because we do not make enough money to do so which is why I pack our food in a giant cooler. You obviously have believed a liar and I highly advise you to let her know that I am getting an attorney. I am going to sue her for slander and you for falsely accusing me.”
Now it was my manager’s turn to have her jaw drop. I knew that we did not have the money for an attorney to sue such a larger corporation, but it sounded good anyway. I calmly stood up, opened her office door and stood briefly in the doorway looking at everyone in the large open area. My eyes stopped and rested on the gossiping, backstabber. She squirmed in her chair and looked down at her desk.
Seething, I walked to my desk, grabbed my purse and went straight to the Human Resources department.
Although both the redheaded backstabber and my manager had to apologize to me, the rumors were very much alive and in my face the entire time I worked for the company. I was so embarrassed for such a very long time and cried many a tear over the humiliating lies.
I know that I am not the only person who has suffered from the words of a backstabber, so here are a few tips to help you avoid being in situations that can be quite unpleasant:
- Beware of people that “seem” ingenuous and believe your gut reaction.
- Remember there is a difference between friends and acquaintances. Especially recognize pushy people who want to get something from you all the time or have you do something for them constantly.
- Pay attention to the things that are going on around you.
- If you hear a rumor about yourself, immediately confront the people who are talking about you.
- Do not tell secrets to people who are known to have “loose lips” and can not keep a confidence.
- If someone betrays you, beware of ever trusting them again.
- If the backstabber goes too far with the slanderous gossip at work, speak to your boss, the human resources department or the backstabber’s boss. If the person is in your personal life, consider staying away from them and don’t mingle in the same social circles.
- Do not confront the backstabber face-to-face alone or in a secluded location.
- Do not under estimate the power of a backstabber.
- Since backstabbers are manipulators, be aware of how much you are doing for someone who doesn’t ever reciprocate in an equally helpful way.
I have many knife scars in my back as I’m sure you do too, but I think I’m a better person because of them. Lessons learned the hard way are never forgotten, so I chalk it all up to that now. I also laugh a lot about how jealous that woman must have been of my very handsome husband. Just remember this…We can not change other people nor can we control their actions, but we can rise above them if we stay in control of our own actions.
Just to prove I’m totally over it all, I think I should have sex in front of the bank tomorrow.
(Hysterically laughing at the thought of doing such a thing!)