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Backstabbers - What to do about the backstabber in your life


What is a backstabber?

According to WordWeb: A traitor; someone who betrays you behind your back.

According to Les Parrott: An angry, sneaky, slick, seductive, saboteur.


What motivates a person to backstab others?

  • A need to be recognized. Just look at the queer behavior of toddlers who do not get the recognition and attention they need. They will try all techniques in the book to get that, even backstabbing their siblings. Parents rewarding backstabbing either negatively or positively actually encourage their children to acquire this technique as a habit that will make them unpopular in school and for the rest of their lives in all environments. Habits acquired and not immediately kicked during the first seven years of a child’s life get stuck in the unconscious mind, ready to be reacquired whenever needed. Backstabbing can become a habit at any age.
  • A sense of powerlessness. Backstabbing may be, in the mind of the backstabber, the ONLY method to achieve his/her goal.
  • Backstabbing may be an act of retaliation – the way of a vindictive person to clear his reputation, or to avoid punishment or defeat he/she may or may not deserve. This person will produce testimony in a Court of Law, proclaiming to be a spectator of a crime committed by his co-criminals. In times of war he will betray his country and fellow soldiers in order to be recognized as a human being with the right to live.

Who is the backstabber?

  •  A person with a low self-esteem.
  • A smooth operator, twisting others round his/her little finger, in particularly those who have the power and influence to give the wanted recognition and reward.    
  • A self-centered, selfish person, stepping on his fellow-man on his way to the top step of success.
  • The crawler, crawling up the ladder of success, using other people as steps, instead of climbing up, using his own skills and professional accomplishments as steps. 
  • Perhaps your best friend, your colleague, your superior, your husband/wife, your child, your neighbor, your mother/father, brother/sister, cousin.... anybody you trust who wants the recognition you have and they don’t have, or who are afraid that you might get the recognition they want.
  • Les Parrot’s quote: In all likelihood, Backstabbers are quite pleasant and supportive on the surface. But that's a mask.”  

What does a person actually do while backstabbing?

  • Subtlety, or not beating about the bush, backstabbers sow distrust, pretending that they are the only ones able and capable of meeting the expectations of others.
  • By using any information given to them, or obtained by them, they manage to turn the spotlight away from others and onto themselves.
  • Via subtle gossips and slanders, they damage and/or destroy others' good reputation.
  • Hypocritically concealing their true feelings and emotions, others may never recognize the evil in them, until it is too late.
  • Les Parrot’s quote: “They put on a front that appears accommodating, loyal, and yes, even sacrificial. Then, without warning, they raise their knife, and by the time you see the glint of the blade, it's almost always too late.”
  • Another quote of Les Parrot: “One of the favorite pastimes of Backstabbers is recounting slights and grievances they've carried for years.”

What kind of statements behind your back can you expect from the backstabber?

  • Most adult backstabbers are too clever to give anyone the impression that they are backstabbers. They will humbly fake befuddlement and despondency regarding the work or actions of others: “Sorry to bother you, Sir, but I really don’t know how to handle a delicate situation in our office. It seems to me that poor Victim, has some personal problems, for she/he keeps on doing this-and-that in spite of the fact that I’ve explained the policy and procedures how-many-times to him/her.” While Sir investigates the matter, Ms/Mr. Backstabber provides more negative information, destroying Victim's opportunity to prove their innocence completely.
  • Husbands and wives backstab each other when they discuss their personal disagreements with non-professional third parties, pretending that they seek advice while they actually seek recognition in the form of sympathy, praise, encouragement or love. “I truly don’t know how to approach my husband/wife, for I can do nothing right in his/her eyes....” Telling this to a marriage councilor or psychiatrist may have positive results.
  • Best friends stab each other in the back in order to get the recognition they need. Your husband/wife may (for all you know) easily be seduced by your best friend. “Why do you look so sad today, dear husband/wife of my best friend? By now I know you so well; I can easily sense your moods. Is there perhaps something I can do for you? I care for you, you know? You are such an extra-ordinary person; I’m actually in awe of you. You deserve a medal, for loving my best friend is not always easy, or what am I talking?”
  • Teenagers may backstab their parents and teachers in order to dodge some kind of punishment or defeat. “They never told/taught me that.” Seeking recognition, they may submit complaints and grievances are indeed rooted in the truth. “My parents are getting divorced; I am too stressed to prepare myself for tests.” Or it may not be rooted in the truth: “Mister So-and-So molested me.....” Of course, the latter may be true, in which case it may not be regarded as backstabbing, but statistics of court cases actually prove that many teenagers in serious need of recognition hoist the flag of sexual assault.
  • Kids will run to Grandma’s, crying, “Mommy spanked me!” - Innocent backstabbing in their quest for recognition in the form of sympathy and love.
  • Les Parrot’s quote: “You know that you have been stabbed when you feel the deep pain of betrayal.”

How to conquer the backstabber

Les Parrott’s quote: “Storing and nurturing your pain and hurt, plotting revenge - all these punish you more than they do the backstabbers.”

  • In the workplace you may request a meeting with the backstabber and the superior involved. During this meeting you should be honest, admitting your mistakes and shortcomings, and reveal your feelings regarding the issue. If the superior is wise and honorable, he will get the picture. If he is on the same level as the backstabber, report him to his senior by following the procedures of your company regarding the airing of grievances. If he is the only superior, you may take legal action via an attorney or any institution that protects the rights of employees.
  • Don’t descend to the level of the backstabber by discussing them with co-workers. For moral support confide in a trustworthy friend or a counselor.
  • Never trust the backstabber; don’t take them on ‘in private’, for whatever you do or say will be ‘held against you.
  • Don't lower yourself to the level of a backstabber. Keep their motives in mind – they desperately need recognition.
  • A friend who tries to seduce your husband/wife should be identified a.s.a.p. You may throw your cards on the table, asking them politely to respect your marriage. If necessary, you may even draw their attention to the fact that you have the Law on your side. You may take legal steps. Then save your marriage and give your husband/wife the recognition and love they deserve.
  • Teenagers showing the habit of backstabbing need counseling and recognition. Don’t let them enter adulthood with a craving for recognition and the idea that backstabbing is the way to get it.
  • Kids should be firmly discouraged to use backstabbing as a means to an end. They should get the recognition (and love) they deserve from all their loved-ones.
  • If you are a Christian, remember Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus. (Matt. 26-27, Mark 14, Luke 22). Jesus blessed him! Somehow betrayers always hang themselves, if not literally, metaphorically.
  • Matthew 27:3-6 Then Judas, which had betrayed him (Jesus), when he saw that he (Jesus) was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying: “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.” And they said: “What is that to us? See thou to that.” And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, “It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.”


Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 27, 2017:

Tamara Moore – Acts of deliberate betrayal boggle one’s mind and soul. It’s important for victims to comprehend their situation without sinking into depression. The fact that this hub has been read 50,228 times since I’ve published it in 2010 – an average of twenty times per day – gives one a vague idea how many people suffer the doings of backstabbers. Thanks for the hugs! Here’s some from me to you – xoxo

Tamara Moore on May 25, 2017:

OOH, they are a nasty bunch... On the other hand, this is an excellent post!

Scroll to Continue

Hugs from Tamara

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on July 03, 2015:

Hi L A James, having a backstabber in your life is surely a test for your own character. May this evil destroy itself soon :)

L A James on July 02, 2015:

Thank you. Your article has given me strength to continue being patient and respond in an appropriate manner. I especially like the portion about Judas Iscariot. I know he can't blame God for not giving him a chance. Also, I've heard that evil has a way of destroying itself. Somehow I wish I could help the backstabber in my life to improve their behavior.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 02, 2015:

Hi Thelma, of course, we all talk about each other - how can we not. Only the intention of a person's talks determine whether they are a backstabber, or a gossiper, or a friend venting frustration, or sharing good news..... etc... Thanks for the visit :)

Thelma Alberts from Germany on January 30, 2015:

Very well done! I so agree with you. People who talked to me badly about other people were also those who talked badly about me to others. I have experienced that too. So, I´m very careful.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on September 06, 2014:

M abdullah, thank you for your profound comment. . We do, indeed, sometimes inspire a person to stab us in the back - for them perhaps the only way out of an unbearable situation. Thanks for reminding me about this.

muhammad abdullah javed on September 05, 2014:

Hi MartieCoester. Good take on the important subject. Thanks. I agree with the contents. I would like to invite your attention towards the fact that most of the time the backstabbers happens to be our near and dear ones, seldom an unknown can indulge in such act. So the question arises why a person who lives with us got his unhealthy traits grown up so strong? That he inflicts some or the other kind of wound? To a little extent we should shoulder the responsibility of the negativity of such persons. Therefore one should have an inside angle of the issue.

Johnc987 on June 22, 2014:

This is one awesome blog post. Keep writing. kbbeddkbecdd

Johnk515 on June 22, 2014:

Very interesting subject , appreciate it for posting . All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why. by James Thurber. bbdecadgeada

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 20, 2014:

Sareera, we can but only do what's best for us, though it demands a lot of self-control and positive thoughts to be happy with a backstabber in one's life. Be like an eagle - don't catch flies :)

Sareera on February 19, 2014:

Martie, so great to have gotten a response. :) Wasn't expecting one, as the thread seemed to have ended a while back. To get back on the topic, this woman does not need to be 'given' the rope. She will find it herself... hehehe... people like them always know their way to hell.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 19, 2014:

Auuww, Sareera, I love your attitude. The highway is the best way. Just give her rope, let she hang herself :)

Sareera on February 19, 2014:

Oh what a wonderful piece! I found my head nodding itself off. Got my back stabbed real badly by a newbie subordinate. Guess she intended to crush my spine to bits. But I'm sure I have a stronger spine than that. Just waiting for her to figure that out herself. hehehe. I have not bothered with a confrontation. I believe taking the highway all the way.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on September 14, 2013:

My dear Sunshine, I will rather hit one in the face than in the rear. I hate underhandedness and backstabbing.... er... only sometimes I have to say something behind another one's back, but I call this essential venting and not backstabbing :)))

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 12, 2013:

I'm so not a fan of backstabbers. Begone! Don't let the door hit you in the rear!! :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on September 12, 2013:

Hi Carol, so nice to meet you! I am on my way to your corner :)

carol stanley from Arizona on September 12, 2013:

Just found your blog thanks to Shauna. This is very interesting. I also write for Hub (not as much anymore). Will stay tuned to more from you.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on September 03, 2013:

Hi Suzette, thanks for your most appreciated feedback. Now I have to go find you.... :) Oh, yes, I have a couple of backstabbers filed in my sh@t-folder :)

suzettenaples on September 01, 2013:

Martie: I've your new website! This is where I came across this article. Great article and analysis of backstabbers. You offer some great advice. We have all experienced a backstabber at one time or another in our lives. Enjoyed reading this!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 03, 2013:

Tiffany, indeed, a friend stabbing you in the back is worse than an enemy. Thanks for the visit :)

Tiffany Delite from Wichita, KS on May 02, 2013:

thank you for this hub...who needs friends when you have enemies, right? having people like this in your life is so difficult, but we can't control what others do...only what we do. thanks again...blessings!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on March 29, 2013:

Tycoon, yes, give them rope and eventually they'll hang themselves. All we have to do, is stay strong with those knives in our back. Thanks for your kind comment :)

TycoonSam from Washington, MI on March 28, 2013:

Very good Hub. We all have Backstabbers in our lives at some point in time. I'm leaning towards the "Self Hanging" method...LOL

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on March 28, 2013:

@ mary615 – oh, those backstabbers in the corporate world! They are everywhere and so often those who pretend to be the kindest friend. Thanks for sharing, Mary :)

@ lovedoctor926 – I think most people meet backstabbers while they are still children. And yet, we never learn; we simply learn how to live with invisible knives in our back.

@ DDE – They are like snakes in nature. We should spot them in time :)

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 28, 2013:

You have an excellent insight of a backstabber there are many around I try to keep my distance from such people, unfortunately society is riddled with backstabbers not running into one is rare.

lovedoctor926 on March 28, 2013:

Excellent hub! I have experienced this with people who I considered my friends and also in the workplace. I agree with Les Parrot's quote. Thank you for raising awareness. voted up useful!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 28, 2013:

I experienced hurtful backstabbying when I was in the "work world". It is a terrible thing to do to another human!

Voted UP. and shared.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on March 27, 2013:

@ Rocky Hammock - Thank you for deleting my article in your blog. Please remember that it is against the law to 'quote' (copy) the work of another writer or painter or photographer or, in fact, of anyone who has invented/created/brought something into existence. You need the person's written permission - or a receipt that proves your ownership. Giving proper recognition to the original writer according to the rules of International Copyright Law is NOT merely a gentleman's agreement.

But, as a matter of fact, a writer quoting (copying) other writers, is putting their own reputation at stake. Any writer plowing with the horses of another writer will lose the respect of even the most ignorant reader.

@ Marcoujor, thank you so much for your support. Amazing how many people start blogging on the Internet without familiarizing them with rules and codes of conduct. But eventually they all learn, and only true writers live on.... :)

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on March 26, 2013:

Dear Martie,

I have only now read your professional and well-written article, not once but twice. I read it here and I read it again on Mr Rocky Hammock's blog.

I wrote Mr Hammock a comment that he may or may not approve.

I find it disconcerting that your name is credited in a hidden manner in the second is not even accented with bold print. As the

author, you should have been asked first ideally...if not, at the very least, have your name most prominently as the author, right under the title.

As usual, you are all class in a world of ...well, ...have a lovely day.

Rocky Hammock on March 26, 2013:

I have inculded your link and recognition. Thank you.

RRock on March 26, 2013:

Great post. I have shared it here:

I hope you don't mind = )

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on March 23, 2013:

Jennifer, don't allow her to steal your happiness and joy. Best would be to cut her out of your life - if not physically, at least emotionally. Never under-estimate the power of bullies. They are like wild animals contaminated with rabies. You have to run away, girl! I wish you the best of luck.

Jennifer on March 23, 2013:

Hi. I am commenting because my own thoughts are happy thoughts. Am a person who hurts like everyone else. ^ want to say that being bullied at an adult age is very hard. I hope this person that never intended on meeting and being in my life can find some kind of peace in her heart.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 25, 2013:

Stellar, thanks for your comment. Why not start your own blog? For all you know you will love sharing your experiences and views.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 25, 2013:

shendify, I am using only Matthews 26 to prove my statement -

It is true, in verse 24 Jesus did condemn Judas: "Matthew 26:24 - The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born."

BUT, only a couple of verses further, Judas was one of the 12 that were blessed in the sense that his sin would be forgiven IF he drink of the 'blood' of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of their sins: "Matthew 26:26-28 - And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

BUT, we all know that Juda's feelings of guilt and regret drove him to suicide, and surely not because Jesus had 'condemned' him.

Anyway, the Bible is well-known for its anomalies and is a living word open for interpretation. One day we will all understand what we were not able to understood today.

shendify on February 24, 2013:

Hate to bring this up but Jesus did not bless Judas, he condemned him. Let's not twist the account in the bible around.

Stellar Phoenix Review on February 22, 2013:

This article is steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader sustained. Between your wit and your pictures, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost..aha) Excellent job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool! Stellar Phoenix Review

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 06, 2012:

Anna, of course, killing is not an option. Rising high above unfortunate matters is a challenge we should meet in order to become winners instead of losers. My best wishes!

anna on November 06, 2012:

i wish to kill my backstabbers, but i am afraid of the consequences.......

Jennifer on November 04, 2012:

too many people do this way too much. Sad, pathetic and just violating. There is so many assholes in the world why?

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 13, 2012:

Dear friend, I was an enthusiastic and devoted Christian, unhappily married for 20 years. I divorced my husband after I finally realized that people had the audacity and still have to interpret the almighty creator of this awesome universe according to their so-so-so limited perception of Him. If God is Love, of course it is NOT his will for us to be unhappy and miserable. Of course He cannot be a sadist enjoying the agony of a person jailed in a marriage like a lamb in the cage of a lion.

Thank you for the link, I hope readers will follow it to read Stephen Gola's book, "Divorce: God's Will?" summarized as follows: "God Himself is fed-up with His church condemning those who have had a divorce and married again, and those who may need a divorce and will remarry. Looking for the TRUTH concerning a christian marriage, divorce and being married again as taught in the Bible? It's in the book Divorce: God's Will? The Truth of Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible for Christians. About half the book is on this website plus other vital teachings."

BTW, many Christians backstabbed me after I've left my husband. Instead of convincing themselves that I have bread to eat, they tried to convince God that my (according to them 'lost') soul needed to be saved by Him...... ?

Take care, friend!

friend on October 13, 2012:

Thanks for your reply. I am not sure of your Christian persuasion but it is sure refreshing hearing a reality response to sush things as dealing with people who want to control and manipulate others. Instead of the usual response about loving and forgiving them and basically put up with it and just keep praying and especially if it is a spouse, what ever you do don't devorce. My brother went through a terrible time with his brand new wife and I had to look into the whole divorce thing from God's perspective so that I could give him godly advise. My conclusion is that God hates the sin that courses a divorce but provides protection for us in allowing it when necessary. Marriage is a covernant and even God had requirements for his people to keep when he made covernants with them and if they didn't keep there side the contract was void. His wife did not keep her promise to love and care for him etc etc. so as far as I can see she violated the contract and he is not required to continue it. Not that I'm saying divorce should be taken lightly but God loves us so much and his intention is not the letter of the law so to speak, his love for us is so great and diviorce provides that protection for those who find themselves in such situations. I can't remember now but God himself took wives off of their husbands and gave them to other men (somewhere in the old testament) because of their sin.

This site:::::

was very informative and intension is to provide a true biblical perspective on the issue and give hope dealing with the guilt etc. of those who have been throughf divorce or those who need too.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 13, 2012:

My dear friend, your comment touched my heart. I know all those emotions and doubts you are dealing with now. You are fortunate to have a supportive husband; a woman with such a supportive husband doesn't need friends. Especially not friends using her (and her husband and children) for personal benefit of any kind.

So many people are 'users'. 'Takers' and not 'givers', kind of parasites draining our energy instead of enriching our souls with lovely memories of fun, meaningful support, happiness and joy. However, all relationships eventually come to an end. Whatever comes alive eventually die. Even stars and viruses. If we're lucky, Death itself will end it, or rather force it into another dimension. But most of the time relationships simply develop into a state of meaninglessness.

According to your comment you know exactly what was wrong and what went wrong. All you now have to do is to ACCEPT the death of the relationship and to bury it. (Rather see the relationship as an entity and don't focus on the people with shortcomings who have established it.) Personally I don't see any reason why you should try to get it alive again.

Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds. We even miss our enemies when they are all of a sudden no longer part of our lives. We have to fill the spaces left by people who were part of our lives. My suggestion: Create a safe emotional distance between you and them. The fastest and easiest way would be to squeeze in new friends or a new hobby or two.

We are terribly disappointed and sad - and angry because of our emotional pain - when we come to the realization that we were stabbed in the back by self-centered people who presented themselves as our friends. But this is just another reality like sickness and death. It happens. Life happens while we live comfortable and even uncomfortable in our comfort zones.

I know you will keep on having an objective perspective on the situation. Stay on top of it. Keep your mind over the matter. I wish you all of the best, dear friend.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 13, 2012:

Dear Lana, so sorry I did not notice your comment coming in 5 days ago. I hope you will receive notification of my reply. You are in such a sad situation, being stabbed in the back by a so-called friend. This type of thing happens every day in the best of companies.

You can get your position back if you are willing to 'fight'. In my country reducing your hours (and income) for no reason and without proper notification in accordance with the clauses of the Labor Law, is violation of the Labor Law. In your shoes I would consult a professional consultant. In our country services of this nature are free of charge at the CCMA (The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) and also at some Lawyers specifically appointed by the Government. Even if you decide to resign and start a new life at another company, you can claim your losses from your current employer.

And simply cut your bonds with your so-called friend. Nobody need disloyal friends and backstabbers in their lives. You don't have to hate her, just wish her all of the best and MOVE ON.....

I wish you all of the best :))

friend on October 13, 2012:

Hi, Thanks for the article. I have just gotten over the shock of finding out my closest friend of 9 years has "stabbed me in the back". Looking back, I can not figure out what happened, when things changed, but I can see for a long time, maybe a year or two, I have been getting mixed signals from her. My husband and I felt like we shared the same beliefs, heading our families in the same direction etc ect. that we were prepared to put up with alot of stuff. Our kids have been friends all their lives so I just kept encouraging them to overlook all the petty little things. We didn't really have other close friends and I didn't want them to lose this friendship over things that we could overlook, we all have our faults. Now, this is the last straw, I don't want my kids influenced by their very selfish attitudes, their kids seem to be turning out much like their parents, just use people for what they can get out of them. I think I may have just hit the nail on the head, maybe? They have been using us and now they no longer have any use for us?? I kept thinking about some comments about how if you are loud about your success you may be a target, but we are not like that. Also comments about if they put others down etc to you then they are doing the same about you to other, but she never put other people down to me. But what I do know is that the husband and wife are both "users" and we were often annoyed about it. So, if they are using others, then they are using us? (Which we did know to a certain extent but kept making excuses for them) But all the time, 0coming across as the ones helping US out. Not physically but with much "wise" knowledge for us (if that makes sense).

Still, it is upsetting, I too, am one to wear my heart on my sleeve, and since we had been friends so long, I did trust her with many things. I have to practise selfcontrol over what I tell others and spend more time talking things through with my husband instead. Maybe us females have a tendency to want a girlfriend when we should be putting the time and effort in with out husbands instead. (I also now think there is some jeoulsy when it comes to our eldest daughter, their eldest daughter and our daughter are the same age)

I now fear I have done the wrong thing. When I was still in shock over it I talked to a couple of other ladies, these ladies also know these "friends". I wish now I had have said nothing. At the time I was really fearfull of what my "friend" had told them about us, so I asked them. My suggestion to anyone else dealing with this is to not do anything until the shock has worn off because you might regret it. I'm sure that those feeling of wanting to get even influenced my decission to talk to these other ladies and that was wrong of me but I can not take it back now. And even if I apologised I think this would just make thing worse, like I was making a big deal out of it if you know what I mean.

Anyway, sorry this way too long.

Lana on October 07, 2012:

Your article has really helped me!! I was hoping I could get your advice. I've been working with my best friend for about a month now-I actually got her the job.

Lately, I've noticed anything I did at work, she'd try to top it. A few days later I look at my schedule and my hours are being cut severely. I asked one of my co-workers if they new why I wasn't working for a week and why my best friend had all my hours. She said she had no clue. Next day, I tell my best friend what's going on and she tells me she had no idea she was getting all my hours. This Friday, me and my best friend hung out with some guys and had fun. By the end of the night she basically says that I'm her only true best friend and that she loves me like the sister she never had. I felt bad for even considering the thought that she would lie to me.

I get to work today and my other co worker ask me why I'm quitting.

I say, "I never said I was quitting. Where did u hear that from?"

Turns out my "best friend" told my boss that I'm quitting, So he gave her all my hours. Turns out everyone that I asked, lied to my face... I tried talking to my boss but he avoided being confronted and the conversation. I feel soo betrayed. Everyone tells me Im so Sweet and lovable. Maybe I'm easy to take advantage of. I don't know. I just don't know what to do... :(

fsheppard on October 04, 2012:

thank u :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 04, 2012:

fsheppard, what a sad situation, not having the wonderful privilege to trust one's own parent! All you can do is ask him not to be such a rude, disloyal and unreliable father, though it is actually too late now. He has already destroyed your trust in him and also your respect for him. Another thing you have to do is to NEVER follow his example. You have my sympathy :))

fsheppard on October 03, 2012:

hey thank u! question what about backstabbers who are parents?

my dad always talk about me behind my back to my enemies and to his enemies. he have turned alot of people against me. he is 83 yrs old im 27 yrs old. what should i do?

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 27, 2012:

Candide_girl, I don't know why I have not received a notification of your comment. I hope you will receive my belated 'thank you for sharing your experience'. "Sharing SOME of their own personal info so that you could tell them something about yourself," is indeed a typical technique applied by backstabbers. Take care!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 27, 2012:

Dear angel, I'm glad to know you are no longer confused. Take care of yourself :))

angel on August 27, 2012:

Thanks .. yo have saved my life again. Thank you so much . I was confused but now its all cleared.

Candide_girl on August 12, 2012:

Hi! I read every comment here. I also have the same experience with a backstabber. Backstabbers are lowly creatures but we shouldn't deny their skills in manipulating people. Most of them are good at forming alliances. Like others, I never found out until it was too late when I was covered by my own blood. One fascinating thing I notice about this person is she never stops. She had a libel case before but it absolutely didn't stop her from backstabbing others. I think ruining others is her way of life. Just be aware of the tell-tale signs: they are sweet talkers; they say negative things about people; they share their own personal info so that you could tell them something about yourself. Remember that he who gossips to you gossips about you.

If you are already a victim of backstabbers, you can always contradict what they say about you through your actions. Show sincere kindness and focus on the job that you're doing.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on July 23, 2012:

Well said, Jenny, and so true! Thank you :)

Jenny on July 23, 2012:

The minute you hear anybody talking bad about another person you need to be 100%positive they are talking about you too!Those stabbers have a phycological problem and they feel better when they ruin somebody's image.The best thing you can ever do to those people is to DETACH from them!You don't need anything negative in your life.The grass is greener on the other side of the mountain no doubt about that.Been there ,done that.And if this helps.....KEEP TO YOURSELF YOU don't need anybody to live a good life.Happiness is within YOURSELF.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on July 17, 2012:

Dear KJV - unfortunately the Lord never said that we would not have problems while we obey him. If you were blessed by Him with a genius for calling upon him, you should do THAT instead of judging and advising people who were hurt by Backstabbers.

KJV 1611 on July 16, 2012:

obey THE lORD JESUS CHRIST and we won't have any of these problems. Sounds to me like there are a lot of people worried about the wrong thing. I KNOW the world would be a better place if we all lived for JESUS CHRIST, so if you CALL UPON the name of the LORD JESUS thou shalt be saved.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on June 02, 2012:

kakaire amanda, you have all my empathy. Just keep your head high and live on. Your visible actions will always be the only proof of you being you. People believe what their eyes see and they don't easily believe what they have not yet seen. We can always prove the truth as the truth, but we cannot prove lies as lies... So don't waste your time trying to prove water down the drain was water... Go on... move on... let your actions tell who you are and who you are not. You've got my best wishes as well :)

kakaire amanda on June 01, 2012:

tnks guys for the lovely articles nwy just been backstabbed by one of ma closest friends right now i hve too much dirt on ma name i even fear walkin in public how can i convince people what she says is not true

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on May 05, 2012:

Definitely not pretty, Snakeslane. Especially not when she/he is your best friend. Take care :)

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on May 05, 2012:

Good advice Martie. I've seen 'the back stabber' in action, and it ain't pretty. Regards, snakeslane

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 04, 2012:

Sunshine, my computer was down for 2 days, so my inadequate cell phone was my only channel of communication. I'm on my way to Facebook now to thank Vinaya for his generosity.

Thank you Vinaya!

Sunshine, I take your compliment to heart. Many people don't even realize they are backstabbers. They stand on their human right to be 'honest' reporters of the 'truth' ~ their interpretation of the truth is unfortunately blurred by their hunger for attention and recognition.

Take care, Sunshine, and thank you for the visit and comment :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 04, 2012:

Vinaya, we can say nothing good about backstabbers. I try to understand them and their motives, I try to give them the attention and acknowledgement they need, I don't put any knives in their hands and I never turn my back on them. What more can one do? Thank you so much for your visit and comment.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 04, 2012:

Amazing!!! I met a few of those!! You do have a wonderful way of explaining mischievous behavior for those that might be a bit clueless about it.

I thank you my South African Ambassador!

I also thank Vinaya for sharing this excellent hub!

UP! Excellent! Wonderful!

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on April 04, 2012:

We can defend ourselves from those who attack us from front, but saving us from backstabber is very height. Your analysis is very interesting.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on March 15, 2012:

wba108 ~ There should be an official procedure considering grievances - We can really not allow backstabbers to corrupt human relations at work where we spend most of the hours in a day. We've got to keep them in check.

Thanks for coming over for the read :) from upstate, NY on March 15, 2012:

Great writing and advice! My foreman at work seems to fit this discription to a tee, but its so hard to be sure. Your suggestion about meeting the backstabber together with the boss sounds like the right thing to do.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 26, 2012:

liquidsapphire - thank you so much for enhancing this hub of mine with your profound knowledge and insight. I cannot add anything, but only agree wholeheartedly with you.

You may also find my hub about con-artists interesting. I'm going to get you the link.

Thanks again for your terrific comment. Significant input like yours is always much appreciated.

liquidsapphire on February 26, 2012:

There are a couple different back-stabbers I've encountered: the disturbed, desperate for attention and affection at any cost, and goal oriented con-artists.

The first kind are probably some sort of N/BPD/bipolar disorders; they have stunted emotional growth as adults and seem to be incapable of stopping themselves or keeping their stories straight.

The second are more likely to exploit workplaces and organizations; most of the time they CAN control themselves, except when they really really want something.

Obviously there is some overlap; both groups share a lack of self esteem and/or confidence in their own abilities. If they put a fraction of the effort into building themselves up as they put into tearing people down, they wouldn't feel the need to backstab anyone!

The comment by saddlerider1 is interesting:

"However the ones who chirped the loudest about their success were usually target by backstabbers."

I've been the target of both 'types' of backstabber, but the first kind(impulsive, adult child) in my experience is actually repelled by assertive behavior. Lay the law down and they slither away to find easier prey.

But the second kind fit this symptom to a T; it's as if they're draw like a moth to the flame. And when confronted they get WORSE, no matter how much evidence is documented. The only thing that stops them in their tracks is an authority figure(cop, lawyer, judge, webhost, etc) telling them "NO". But here's the baffling bit..THEY CONTINUE TO DO IT SOMEWHERE ELSE.

There must be something they process from people "chirping loud about success" differently from the rest of us. People brag sure, but some people are just expressive extroverts. Where the rest of us say, "Okay Hos, yay you, now chill already!", the backstabber feels 'Hos' success is a personal threat or something? And they feel entitled to undermine that success?

For whatever reason I know a higher percentage of extroverts who were a target of these manipulations.

Anyway, great article with good insights.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on February 02, 2012:

Thank you, ohmonsterzzz :)

ohmonsterzzz on February 02, 2012:

nice post :D

rk on December 17, 2011:

wow ! true true true

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 10, 2011:

akune – I really don’t know how I’ve missed this comment of yours. Sorry for this belated reply. I believe the more we read about an issue, the better we will be able to cope with it whenever necessary.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 10, 2011:

fpherj48 – I agree with you. Beware of those who speak negatively of others. That is how they reveal themselves as backstabbers. Thanks for the visit!

Suzie from Carson City on December 10, 2011:

Stop wondering if a so-called "friend" may be back-stabbing you. If 90% of what he/she talks about to you is critical of "others" and purely negative in can be certain you are included in that lot when they speak to "others." This isn't rocket science. The person who speaks poorly of her family members and friends behind their backs, yet smiles sweetly & dotes on them in person.....does nothing different where YOU are concerned. Keep this in mind. Thanks, Martie...this is a winner!

akune from Surrey, England, United Kingdom on October 24, 2011:

Brrr. A sudden blast from the cold world outside my cosy structure. Well described symptoms. Reminds me of a unique insight I got once on another vice.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 22, 2011:

thelyricwriter – and the bad news are – as long as the planet accommodates humans, back-stabbers will exists. Back-stabbing is a normal human tendency that has to be properly treated with antitoxin during the first five years of a person’s life and thereafter as a case of emergency whenever symptoms occur. Thanks for your visit. I'm looking forward to read more of you.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on October 21, 2011:

This is a very informative and useful hub Martie. Up, useful, awesome, and interesting. Lord knows they are enough of then in the world. You really mentioned some defined qualities about what they are, how they act, and their purposes.

Helen on August 31, 2011:

Thank you Martie...Thanks a million!!!!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 30, 2011:

Yes, they should at least teach 'Human Behavior' in school. Take care. Aim for the moon. If you miss it you will at least be among the stars :)))God bless you too, Helen.

Helen on August 30, 2011:

Martie, thanks again for taking the time to write to me! You are right, you are so right. Knowledge is power. Knowledge about work but also knowledge about life and people. It's sad that in school and college they never teach us that kind of staff. They don't give us the skills to cope with certain situations. it takes painful lessons so that we open our eyes to understand others and ourselves. And yes we should learn staff and grow. You reminded me of a motto i read years ago-we should grow and serve! I will make sure to read the links that you sent me. Thank for all your help. Thank you with all my heart! God bless you!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 29, 2011:

Dear Helen, my heart goes out to you and I wish I was able to remove those proverbially thorns in your flesh. I’m posting 3 links here to hubs that may help you to understand your enemy better. Once you’ve identify the reason of his/her actions, you will find it easier to control your own reactions.

In the meantime, lift your chin and pretend you are not at all offended – so used to work in an unpleasant environment that you actually feel at home. I have a motto: “Eagles don’t catch flies.” You are an eagle, they are flies. Focus on your work – be the best you can be and even better.

Why not do an online course relevant to your work – or hobby – to keep your mind busy – feed yourself, grow, become bigger than they. Knowledge (about anything) gives you power.

Here is the links to the relevant hubs -

Helen on August 29, 2011:

Martie thank you so much for taking the time to write to me all that great advice. I really thank you!What worries me is that it's been a few months and i am still struggling. Sure i am better than before-the fist few weeks i couldn't sleep-but it still hurts so. And what shocks me is this-how can a person do that to another person? That i don't get. It's true that they look nice and helpful on the outside. It's true that they try to make you look incompetent. It's true that they will say things that are not true. You know what? They will even watch you for little mistakes you make then use them to attack you. In my case they went to the boss and even threatened me to go higher than that. Don't know if they did. You are right about trying to do positive and constructive staff and to think about more pleasant staff. It kind of keeps coming back in my brain but i will fight it more. I can't change my job though. Sorry for writing so much but only the thought that someone has heard me and advised me, someone i don't even know gives me comfort and strength. Thanks a lot Martie, God bless you! Only one last thing-how exactly to behave around people like this? I try to act normal like nothing has happened although i inside i feel that i was treated so unfairly.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 28, 2011:

Helen – I can feel your pain. You are still in a state of shock, and no-one can blame you. Back-stabbing is rank treason and so-so painful. You definitely need emotional support, either from a loyal friend or a professional councilor, or perhaps a senior at your work who can give you appropriate advice.

You are indeed in a most unpleasant working environment. If you can’t find the strength (on your own or with emotional support) to cope with the negative vibes, maybe you should merely move on. We tend to think there is no other place for us to go, but there are many and even better places for us to be. You know when a door closes behind you another one opens at the right time ahead of you. Perhaps this is how Life/God forces us to move on to the next phase meant for us. But if you decide to stay, just know everything passes. Like storms - it just doesn’t last forever.

Also try to focus on more pleasant thoughts, instead of on your bad memories. You can, for instance, watch a couple of movies, or read a few fascinating books, or, as you’ve done here, read as much as you need about the topic and then move on to a more pleasant topic.

Helen, you’ve got ALL my sympathy. You are really in a horrible situation. But nobody is going to lift you out of it except you yourself. So don’t make this a matter of self-torturing. Take action. Do something positive and constructive. Only you know what it should be. I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to email me via the ‘contact MartieCoetser’ on my profile page.

Helen on August 28, 2011:

Great article. But what if the pain is so intense i can't get over it? What it the shock was too much? What happens when you find it hard to find happiness in your work again? What if they backstabbed you just because you did a good job but never never boasted about it? What if you had previously helped them but they forgot all about it? What if they formed groups and you don't know how to survive? How do you work with them again? I still have nightmares. My head keeps on replaying staff. I am scared. I loved my job. Now i am disappointed. I feel nothing is worth an effort anymore. Please guys how do i forget about this?

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 13, 2011:

*** giftlady2 - I don't know why I have not received a notification of this comment you've made, but anyway, I've finally discovered it. You know, I am always reluctant to say/think/wish that others will get what they deserve, because my next thought will be: What have I done to deserve what they've just done to me?

Fact is we are all guilty of one or the other wrongdoing to ourselves and others, and all we can do, is to be aware of all the rights and wrongs and to try our best to avoid all the traps in this live in order to be happy and contented. Thanks so much for agreeing with me about backstabbers.

*** twilightnera - This is more or less exactly what I've just said in the comment above. We need to see AND recognise the signs. Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm looking forward to follow you.

twilightnera on August 13, 2011:

What a great article, people are doing it more and more now-a-days and you need to see the signs coming. This article does the trip for that!

giftlady2 on July 17, 2011:

Man I agree with you on this . They will get what they diserve.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on January 20, 2011:

Sandra – I believe in Karma – one will reap what one has sown. But still, a stab in the back hurts more than we are willing to admit, and I hope you will soon look back without feeling any pain. Thanks for the visit! Mooi loop, bly gesond, hou die blink kant bo!

Sandra on January 19, 2011:

I have been stabbed in the back with a very big long dagger and only have one word left...."KARMA"

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 24, 2010:

Dr irum - and the worse of all, we will never get rid off them. Thanks for the read and welcome in my corner. I promise I will never stab you in the back :))))

Dr irum on December 24, 2010:

I think we all have lot of people around us they doing backstabbing so you highlighted a great issue . i enjoyed reading this post .

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 15, 2010:

Darlene Sabella – Thank you for honoring me with a visit. I just love the comments you leave on hubs, and I’m thrilled to have you now on one of mine as well.

I will probably never completely understand backstabbers. All I really know is that they do have their motives. Your neighbor obviously desires to be regarded as more important as her real self, and unfortunately she is trying to reach her goal with the wrong activities. Where did she learn how to gossip? Somewhere – ha-ha – there was/is a rolmodel in her life... and s/he is probably dead by now. Gossiping is such an incurable, contagious illness!

Nothing you can do about it, hey? Just count your words carefully in her presence. Oh, and even when you do, she will hear a word or two she can sharpen with her own just to give you a stab in the back. They can’t help themselves. They are like that - human scorpions. Most of them are very lonesome, because nobody wants to be their friends. Thanks again for the visit. My best wishes to you.

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on December 15, 2010:

I have a neibhor that does this, it more like the gossip lady, she walks her dog all the time, gets the scoop on each person then tells eveyone about these people and all their problems. She is so hard to be mad at and you want to trust her, I have learned the hard way. Great hub rate up peace & love darski

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2010:

skye2day – I love you visits today at three of my hubs plus an e-mail. I feel soooo honored! It is amazing: we are millions of miles away from each other, though spiritually with each other. Thank you, my friend, for being so supportive. I’m so glad to know that you can see my love for God in my writings, for as you have noticed by now, I don’t preach the gospel, but only His love and the way we should cope in this life in accordance with his word. I love you, sista! Take care.

skye2day from Rocky Mountains on October 16, 2010:

Martie You are such a fantastic writer. You are skilled and so talented. GOD has truly Blessed you in this arena of life. You my friend touch many lives. Mine included. I think you are precious. Your love for the Lord GOD is beautiful You keep on Many Blessings Martie. Hugs Galore sista

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 01, 2010:

Micky Dee – Wow! Perfect song! ‘They smile in your face... all the time they want to take your place...’ Thanks for the link!

Micky Dee on October 01, 2010:

You play them a song by the Ojays! "Backstabbers"

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on August 31, 2010:

Just A Voice – It is so nice to know I am not the only ‘saint’ in this world! I envy those women who never say and do anything – they always look like ladies drinking tea with the queen while I do all the talking and the organizing, trying to create nice atmospheres, and by doing this I make myself an open target for critics and backstabbers. On the other hand, quite a few of them did admit somewhere along the line that they wish they were like me. However, I’ve outgrown my desire to please people and to organize social functions and to create gregarious atmospheres wherever I go. I prefer to be alone, doing only what I like. And now I’ve discovered HubPages, and see what I’m doing? With my heart on my arm! So I kind of wonder when will I get shocked by people in the cyberspace and how will I react. Thanks for the nice chat(s). I can’t remember what the topic of this hub was? Oh, backstabbers :))))))

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