You always thought your “Friend” was the one you can depend on, the rock you can build on, the shoulder you can cry on. It's all well and good, until the person you once called your friend starts to spread rumors and gossip about you behind your back. He or she calls you names, destroys your reputation, and does just about everything most friends would never do. Yes, maybe your friend is a two-bit backstabber.
It always hurts to lose a friend, but it definitely hurts to be betrayed by people you trust. After all that you have done for your friend, and after all the good times you shared, you feel so used and manipulated by him or her. You're faced with so many problems and consequences once you end a friendship because of a backstabber, not to mention having to repair and restore your standing among other people. Here are some ways to help soften the blow dealt by a backstabber.
It's Not Your Fault:
It's called “Backstabbing” for a reason; betrayal feels like someone plunged a sharp, rusty knife deep in your back, gave you a pat on the back to dig it in deeper, and still called you his or her friend. Some people tend to feel that they're the ones to blame, like they haven't been paying enough attention to their friends, or that they did something wrong.
The important thing to remember is that you're the victim. You've been a good friend to the person who stabbed you in the back. You were genuine, upfront, and you had nothing to hide. It's all right to feel bad for yourself, but you shouldn't blame yourself for being betrayed. You're the one who's already suffering from your friend's betrayal, so you have every right to be mad and feel victimized.
Start at the Source:
Nobody is born a backstabber, but there are many reasons why a person you once thought to be your friend can betray you. Get to the root of the problem: Why did your friend betray the trust you had in him or her for so long?
Some of the reasons can get quite ugly:
Jealousy: Chances are that your friend is insanely jealous of you. Maybe you're more well-off, more popular with others, or that you're doing better in life than him or her. Some backstabbers feel that they're being treated like that “Other friend,” and are not getting as much attention or respect as their other friends.
Selfishness: Another common excuse for backstabbing is, “I did it for you.” Some people try to justify backstabbing, and say that they only did it to protect you from people who want to do you harm, or are up to no good. Chances are your friend is just trying to get away with backstabbing you.
Somebody else made him or her do it: Two of the most common excuses a backstabber makes are, “I didn't know what I was doing,” or “Someone else made me do it.” While it's tempting to take the crocodile tears of your friend as genuine, don't believe a word of it.
Remember: He or She decided to freely and consciously betray your trust when he or she stabbed you in the back.
Demand an Explanation:
Some people have problems breaking up a friendship, even if they were totally betrayed. They may feel that the memories of the good times they spent together are more important than a “squabble” like a betrayal. For most people, a betraying backstabbing friend should be dumped and thrown out at the soonest possible moment.
Make it clear that you're not “asking” for an explanation; rather, you are demanding it. You want closure to the issue so that you can move on with your lives, and at least save enough of your past friendship so that you can both maintain a civil relationship.
You Have the Right to Overreact:
An insensitive backstabber will tell you that you're overreacting, or that because you overreacted, you're pretty much guilty of everything he or she said about you. No one can blame you if you're angry, or if you really blow your top off. After all, your own trusted friend was able to double-talk and make bad stories about you.
While it's your right to overreact, try to get a grip on yourself. It's OK to be mad, but try your very best not to be violent. Deal with the situation as peacefully and as diplomatically as you can. When you do overreact, settle down and don't make yourself look bad in front of other people. Your backstabber will try to bait you into proving that he or she is “RIGHT” about you.
Ignore the Backstabber:
A backstabber craves for attention. He or she will do anything to prove that the lies he or she is spreading about you is true. If you pay too much attention to the lies your friend is spreading about you, the lies will come across as true to other people.
When you ignore the backstabber, you send a clear message to him or her: you are not dignifying his or her lies with a comment. You have more important things – and more important people – to attend to, than a backstabbing loser. Show him or her that you can go on with your life just fine, and that he or she means nothing more to you than excess baggage.
Restore Your Reputation:
Many people realize that their friend is a backstabber only when the damage is already done. The lies your so-called friend has spread about you have already spread all over work or school. If he or she had it his or her way, then the lies have made their way all over town. When this happens, it's time for you to restore your reputation.
Restoring your reputation and standing will take a lot of time and hard work, especially if people believe the backstabber more than they believe you. Here are some ways that can help you restore the trust people have in you that was ruined by your backstabbing friend:
* Explain to them that your friend was spreading lies about you.
* Ask them if they would rather believe the backstabber, or if they would believe you.
* Show proof that you haven't been doing the things your friend is accusing you of. If your friend told friends and family that you don't pay your debts on time, show them documents, deeds, and receipts that show that you're financially stable.
The important thing to remember is that you shouldn't exert too much effort proving your backstabber wrong. Instead, your efforts should come across as genuine. You're not out to discredit your backstabber, but you're out to prove that you can be trusted. While it may seem wrong that you're restoring your standing on your own, there's pretty much nothing you can do. It may be too much trouble to ask your backstabber to take back everything he or she said about you.
Take It Up a Notch:
Some backstabbers may damage your reputation so much that they can damage your standing in your community. Sometimes you have no other option than to go to court and file a suit for libel or slander. You don't have to sue your friend if it's a minor case, but if you can no longer do business with local establishment, or if your reputation is damaged enough that people no longer want to talk to you, you may need to take legal action.
Before you file a lawsuit for slander or malicious intent, you first need to consult with your lawyer. At best, you're going to claim damages, but you have to think twice. Not only would you add to the many cases already docked in courts, but you can also give yourself a major headache when the case does proceed.
Learn to Forgive:
Not only do backstabbers cause a headache, but they can also cause heartache and grief. It's never an easy thing to lose a friend, especially if the loss could have been easily avoided. While you definitely have to move on with your life, you have to forgive your backstabber eventually. You don't need to take him or her back as a friend and start your friendship over, and it will definitely take time before you can learn to trust your friend again.
At the very least, you should find a way to maintain a civil and formal relationship with your backstabbing friend. You can't give each other the cold shoulder forever. You don't have to exchange hugs or spend some time with each other, as long as you still feel that you can do things together at work or at school.
Backstabbing can damage and hurt anyone's reputation. Pity, anger, and despair are normal reactions to betrayal and deceit. One day, you're going to look back at that backstabbing episode and learn an important lesson in life: thanks to a backstabber, you now know who your friends are.