How to handle people who stab you in the back

Melissa Dawn By Melissa Dawn, 12th Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Relationships

People hurt us; sometimes deliberately. Being stabbed in the back by a friend, spouse or co-worker can really hurt, but knowing how to handle backstabbers is what counts, so it never happens again!

Backstabbing 101

We have all been betrayed or stabbed in the back by a friend, co-worker, romantic partner or family member, at some point in our lives. Handling backstabbers after the pain has been inflicted can be difficult and takes time and energy. Releasing yourself from the situation is the most positive thing you can do, along with placing safe guards so you never feel this way again!

Why backstabbers stab!

When someone hurts you by their words or deeds, it is rarely about you. Backstabbers are insecure, confused weak people and only truly feel validated when they gain control over someone else, even momentarily. Backstabbers love to feel important while coming across as caring, friendly, open and easy to make friends with, except they are only seeking to hurt.
We've all had one; the friend we have confided information to about a particular situation in our lives. They in turn have been sympathetic, offered advice, been there for us during our plight, making us feel cared for. Then ping! Somehow you begin to sense something is off', other friends begin asking you guarded questions, little snippets and comments are dropped over time, your information is out there. You have been backstabbed!

Confronting the backstabber takes diligence. Having been through exactly this scenario, I can tell you that confronting them while you are still shocked, angry and reeling rarely works. Handling a backstabber is like handling a tarantula, very carefully!
Dealing with a backstabber!

When the shock has subsided, you must take action. The first rule is never to seek revenge, no matter how much you would like to. Running to everyone you know and telling them you have been hurt doesn't work either. While you may indeed gain some sympathy, it will make you look weak. Instead confide in one or two close friends, your others will figure it out on their own!

Backstabbers love attention, so give them the minimum of yours. Instead of making endless telephone calls and demanding an explanation, (trust me you won't get a reasonable one, if they answer the phone at all!) sending endless emails saying, I thought we were friends how you could do this to me I don't know' writing letters, all of these things simply don't work. What does work is this; one short email, or one short telephone call.

Give your last communication with a backstabber little thought, which is exactly what they have given you. I have found that this standard short email (works equally well as a voice mail!) is this; It has come to my attention that you have shared personal information about me with other people. It doesn't matter why you did it, simply know it is unacceptable. While I have enjoyed your company up to this point, this friendship/partnership is over.'

Trust me, this works! I had to use it this past summer and the result was astounding. The woman in question sent me several emails, which from the title, looked like they were intended to blast' me. I didn't read them. When she failed to get my attention, instead of apologizing, she emailed several of my friends trying to justify herself; they ignored her too! She ended up very much alone, paranoid that everyone was now talking about her (we weren't!) and rarely visits an Internet site we all use to hang out on.

Recovering from a backstabber

It's never easy, but recovering from a backstabber can be done. If they should ever come back and truly apologize and show remorse, you can certainly consider letting them back into your life, slowly! Other than that, decide to be a little more careful with whom and when you share information, take time to get to know people and remember, there truly are good people out there if only we take the time to look!


Backstabbers, Manipulative People, Office Politics, People Who Hurt You

Meet the author

author avatar Melissa Dawn
I have been writing ever since I can remember, and currently focus my attention on articles, how to guides and e-books. Check out my group e-book at

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author avatar Erik Van Tongerloo
13th Jun 2010 (#)

Great article

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author avatar Retired
29th Jun 2010 (#)

Excellent article

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author avatar Noslen
30th Jun 2010 (#)

I agree. Back stabbers are weak. Smart people talk about ideas, weak minds talk about people. Nice article.

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author avatar Mystique1957
30th Jun 2010 (#)

Unfortunately, this is the only way to make them aware of their mistakes. I agree with you, indifference rather than hatred and revenge, for when we hate, we suffer much more than the object of our animosity. Great approach!
Warmest hugs and infinite heavenly blessings, sister!

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author avatar Zm
4th Nov 2010 (#)

I recently used this. Thank you SO much! You suggested email says it ALL. Especially the "It doesn't matter why you did it" part. We all know backstabbers try to say they were smearing personal info, lies, assumptions and all other kinds of drama they can brew up--because they are "trying to HELP us" somehow. There is NEVER an excuse to go to other's before trying to get results by talking to the subject of your concern first. A 'friend' recently did this to me--went to my mother before/rather than talking with me about her concerns. Turned out that she was wrong, got my mother all upset over nothing and then tried to pretend that it never happened.
I sent your most excellent message, and it worked beautifully. I never in a million years could have come up with anything as good. I can't thank you enough!

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author avatar Ivie
30th Mar 2011 (#)

A very interesting article. Even though it's written from a woman's perspective it still has some very valid points. Personally I do not think you need to respond to a backstabber and go through the email/phone thing. Silence is a form of speech and should be used. Any form of communication will make the backstabber feel important. Get an app for your phone so calls and texts from them are blocked. Set your email to delete all messages from them before you have a chance to open them. Then find some new friends and learn to keep sensitive stuff to yourself. If it's family then learn to handle them with care and keep a diplomatic distance.

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author avatar Christine valdez
26th Nov 2012 (#)

I have been back stab by my own daughter. It hurts to know what she did to me. How due I bring it up to her, I love her and it just hurts me to know she went that far to hurt me and my family. How do I be straight foreword to her, and be strong. I don't want to lose her.

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author avatar Virginia
6th Mar 2013 (#)

Please visit
parents of estranged children
or same website christian parents of estranged children. I know personally how much this hurts you will find support at these sites just google.
best wishes and hugs

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author avatar Karla
19th Feb 2013 (#)

I just recently confronted a friend for talking behind my back and I feel really bad about it but the confrontation needed to happen. This article made me feel better that I did the right thing. She has done it to too many people and she had to be put in her place.

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author avatar Farrah Sabariyah Yusof
20th Sep 2013 (#)

Nice one! Impressed! me to be who i"m today!!!!thank u....really my work place....

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author avatar Linda Frank
30th Dec 2013 (#)

My half sister has been stabbing me in the back since my birth. Fifty seven years and a lot of pain. Finally woke up with the last offense. Relieved I said good bye. Glad she's out of my life. I don't feel anything but relief. I wish her well. E-mail effective so far and I LIVE 3000 MILES AWAY makes IT EASIER!

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