Betrayers ruin our days, and sometimes much more than that. It feels like a big part of your life has collapsed, but it hasn’t. The backstabber is a single infectious rat that scuttles within the walls of your house every now and again, but rats can’t ruin your life. Learn how to get rid of backstabbers calmly and methodically with this guide.
1. Slowly build evidence.
Don’t be the person with the list, but you should keep an eye out for their actions. Backstabbers manipulate information, create lies, and waste so much time scheming that they need to cover up their own shortcomings. The opportunity always presents itself to those who wait.
Backstabbers are so busy moving against people that they will eventually slip up. You don’t need to go onto the offensive; in fact, you will make yourself a bigger target if you do. Even a manager or co-worker might paint you with the same stripes as the backstabber in question if you fight back frequently, vigorously, or viciously. You don’t want to earn the same reputation as the person that you want to discredit.
Recruit witnesses early in the game. They will help you to keep an eye out for the backstabber’s behaviour. They can help you in two ways: they can feed information to you and they can act as witnesses to back up your case if and when the time comes. Don’t act like you’re trying to catch someone red-handed. Act mildly reluctant to believe the worst in someone. Mention how you can’t ignore the pattern of behaviour.
2. Understand backstabbers.
Why do they betray people? Such people usually act maliciously out of fear, revenge, self-preservation, or for personal advancement. Figure out which one or combination of motivations the backstabber in question might possess. This is by no means a legal prosecution, but it helps if you can piece together a puzzle of motive, opportunity, and means.
Figure out why the backstabber has betrayed you or might plan to do so before taking a case to anyone.
Beware that those who act out of self-preservation often work diligently to cover their tracks. They are especially defensive and manipulative, which will make them difficult to catch. They don’t overextend themselves to strike at other people very often, if at all. You’ll need a creative solution to implicate such people, however, they don’t pose nearly as much of a direct threat to you as those motivated by fear or personal gain. Take your time in dealing with them.
3. Know the arsenal.
Backstabbers fabricate lies and bend the truth. They wheel and deal information derived from gossip and the negative tendencies of others. They also use flattery strategically, so be sure to recognize out-of-place compliments for what they are. The backstabber is not trying to meet you halfway to establish a truce.
Rather, the backstabber seeks to outplay you by placing you in a false sense of calm and pride. Requests often follow flattery. Backstabbers that ask for your advice usually seek to employ it against you in some way. In a work environment this will probably play out in a scenario in which the backstabber employs your idea, fails, and then places the blame on you for feeding failed ideas to the office. Don’t become a pawn.
4. Engage the backstabber.
Backstabbers operate with information, so cut off their supplies of information. Their methods of gathering and distributing information will differ depending on the person, the backstabber’s network, and the environment in which you interact with people. Do you need to cut off the person’s access to private spaces in the office, or keep that person busy with extra projects to eliminate time for gossip? Consider ways to keep social backstabbers away from their phones so that they can’t constantly text your mutual friends or acquaintances.
Alternatively, you can feed them misinformation to beat them at their own game. Use this tactic carefully, as it will only work once or twice per person. Feed them outrageous lies if you know that the backstabber will spread that information with malicious intentions, and then laugh hysterically at the notion when you catch wind of it again.
You can even say what really happened if you’re comfortable doing that. The point is that that you don’t even need to call out the person directly—you’ve shamed the backstabber so clearly that others will doubt that backstabber’s sincerity or authenticity.
5. Call for an explanation.
Do this in private if you have already been betrayed and seek closure. You need to be alone or else the backstabber will create something else in front of mutual friends, co-workers, or supervisors. The betrayer won’t even give away hints in body language if he or she feels scrutinized.
Diplomatically call foul on the explanation with a calm and level voice. Don’t make your voice harsh either, as you don’t want the other person to know how frustrated you might be. Have your evidence ready or mentally on-hand in order to challenge the person.
6. Know the warning signs.
Keep these lessons in mind while moving forward; this backstabber won’t be the last one in your life! Appear to forgive them even if you don’t, especially in workplaces. You’ll be judged based on your ability to work with people effectively despite experiencing disagreements, confrontations, or examples of workplace drama.
Never forget what the person has done to you, but appear to forgive the offences. You can never trust that person again, nor should you. Simply limit the person’s effect on your life moving forward and assume that the person will always act against you.
7. Take a step back.
Don’t stop trusting people. Simply acknowledge which people cannot be trusted and act accordingly around them. Don’t include them in meetings, don’t feed them information that they might turn into ammunition against you, and don’t be afraid to voice the backstabber’s dishonest character to people that matter while behind closed doors.
Let people earn trust your trust and work to earn theirs. You’ll never get anywhere in life without trust, professionally, socially, or even romantically. One betrayal in your entire life won’t shake things up. Backstabbers are pathetic, scheming rats that occasionally scuttle through the basement walls of a house. Exterminate them with patience while going about your regular day-to-day activities and you will rid yourself of the infestation.