The horrible humans in our lives aren’t the murderers or the rapists. They usually are the people closest to us – our friends and family.
This goes out to all those who have ever been backstabbed. There will be many reactions to this, two of which I know for sure. The first is identification. All of us will identify with this statement because as horrible a human being we might be ourselves, we have been backstabbed, or believed it to be true. The other reaction is disassociation. You can judge me for assuming the moral high ground and dismiss this as a call for sympathy. Frankly, your reaction is your problem. I will just leave you to it.
There are a few categories of backstabbers. They are the compulsive cheaters, haters, idiots and the sadist. The haters and the cheaters are two sides of the same coin. One lashes out while the other plays victim. Both are highly convinced of their reasons for betrayal. They have their answers readily at hand and are highly emotionally driven. In fact, the emotional point is true for all types.
The idiots are the most difficult to deal with. They feel free of any responsibility for their actions and roam freely as the dog that just bit your hand off on the street. They are compulsive idiots whose moves are (un)planned on the ‘impulse’ (got to hate this word) they feel when they are directed by their shortsighted brains to reaction. They almost believe that they are preserving the self from some unknown threat – back to the analogy of the dog who sometimes bites for no damn reason.
The last kind is the sadist. Surprisingly, I feel the saddest for this lot. I am convinced that only a suffering mind can want to inflict pain on another to feel better about it. Let’s not even dissect this pitiable case.
Each time I am faced with a creature of the back stabbing kind, I feel like I can outsmart them – win at their own game. Each time I gather the energy but find myself exhausted within minutes of scheming. I think about this video that explains how minutely inconsequential our little pettiness is to the larger scheme of things. I immediately swell with pride at being about to look beyond the madness and think of myself as the better person. But that doesn’t work either.
Feelings of letting myself down, of not being able to fight it out and emerge a winner irk me. ‘Why can’t I show these people their place?’ I reprimand myself? Then I turn to reason and tell myself that humans aren’t meant to know the devils ways. It is a good sign that I do not understand the tricks of their trade. ‘But still…’ my mind wanders again.
Days pass and life continues as normal. I feel good that I am productive and positive and leave the shit behind. If you are lucky, you can move on – and just like in a Disney movie – you live happily ever after (not). If you do not have too much at stake, you can move on. But what if you do? What if your family peace, your financial stability, your self respect is at stake? Shouldn’t you be able to fight back for what is rightfully yours?
My understanding tells me that it is difficult for a decent human being to beat them at their own game. You can argue that your happiness and peace of mind depends on beating the enemy. I can empathise with that too. But to answer the question of how one should react to being stabbed, we must assume that we need to do everything possible to not repeat the stabbers behaviour.
A few obvious attitudes to avoid are self-pity, treating people like obstacles in your path to happiness, pettiness, self-righteousness and entitlement – yes, a lot of emotions involved basically. How do we undo the attitude of the backstabber without being the anti-villain? I am certainly not suggesting that you ‘offer the other cheek’ and wait for them to fall at your feet in the agony of self-realization. Hoping that they would be struck by lightening, as part of some divine plan, seems more realistic.
The best possible way that I have found involves objectivity, intelligence and greatness. If we can in some way, use the experience of being cheated on to enhance our own insights and actions by looking at the actions objectively. It is like a challenge, a test to overcome and in some cases a battle worth fighting that needs all your brain cells working overtime.
The first step is to stop feeling like the victim yourself. Calm down, this isn’t really about you. You have not somehow provoked the evil in someone – unless you have! (Joke. Laugh). You just happened to be the vulnerable easy target. Now that you can think straight, objectively understand the person you are dealing with – their motivations, strengths, weakness and what about you make you vulnerable. From here on, you can chose to move on having learnt a valuable lesson or fight on if too much is at stake for you. You have a better chance at both with your head on your shoulders, your heart in the right place and your eyes on the long-term solution.
I may have just scraped the surface but I have used this advice and felt at peace about some unfortunate occasions. It is a great place to start and how far you go depends on your intelligence and luck. However, I hope this advice never comes in handy as you steer clear of horrible people and their narrow-minded machinations!