It’s tough when you get stabbed in the back. Especially if you didn’t expect it (which is the very essence of backstabbing, because if you did know about it, then it would be frontstabbing, right?), it’s a disconcerting feeling. It’s extra insidious, because when you see them, they’re all smiles and warm and friendly, then the moment you turn your back – you’re talked about, you’re made fun of, and you’re minced meat. And the ones who do it best, are usually the LAST people you would expect to plant hundreds of tiny daggers in your back. They never attack you upfront. The cutting down happens in small increments, little by little, one passing “harmless” comment about you after another. The character assassination is never done in an obvious manner, they’re too clever for that. They poison the minds of others to hate you in such minute doses that the hapless brainwashees actually think that they have arrived at this conclusion on their own, with no prodding from anyone else. It’s like putting half a drop of arsenic everyday in someone’s coffee. They’ll never know what hit them. Here’s a tip: if someone is talking trash to you about other people, TRUST ME, you’re not exempt from this. They talk about you to other people, the way they talk to you about others. Don’t let anyone dictate to you, who to like and who to loathe. This is the conclusion they arrived at. I’m not even saying they’re wrong. Hell, maybe they’re right! But make your own conclusions about people, based on your own experiences! What may apply to one person doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone else. If their relationship was permanently marred by whatever conflict, most likely, you probably had nothing to do with it. So, how do you know when people are saying things behind your back? When you enter a room and everyone suddenly goes quiet, like there was a vocal brownout. When the same people are extra, EXTRA friendly and solicitous to you after the incident (it’s called “guilt” or “spin control” or my favorite, “covering your ass”). When people who used to be cool with you are suddenly aloof, or wouldn’t talk to you in view of the others. When you hear people mouth sentiments that are obviously not their own, but they betray the fact that they picked it up from somewhere (or someone) else. When people are extra curious about your personal life, as if to confirm a rumor they heard passed around. When they ask you questions, as if fishing for an answer that would display a lack in either intellect, discriminating taste, or good judgment. And when they find one, they feast on it, like a school of lampreys, ripping at the rotting flesh of their carcass prey. When people you hardly know have such an allergic reaction to you, as if the mere mention of your name sends them ptui-ing, to get the awful taste out. And most delicious of all, when someone actually rats on them, and recounts to you the nasty things that they’ve been saying about you, word for vicious word. So busted, so wicked. But like I said, I don’t discount the chance that what these people say are accurate to a degree. Maybe they’re right, but maybe they’re wrong too. My beef is, they don’t give others a chance to discover their own feelings about people, because they are “fed” how to feel about them. As if the worst thing you can do is to like the people they have decided to communally hate. But to be fair, there is a veeeeeeery fine line between merely stating an honest opinion about others (which is everyone’s right) and all-out campaigning against them. Who is to say which is which? Only God can be the judge of our hearts’ truest intentions. I’m not here to finger specific criminals, I just want to discuss the crime. We have all been guilty of this at one point or another. Just because I write about it, doesn’t mean I’m comfy on my high horse, faultless of the follies I have written about. But the hope is, when you feel the sting of how it is to be on the receiving end, you remind yourself that once, you were the aggressor too, and that therefore it’s imperative you refrain from indulging in the urge again, the next time you feel the itch to tear somebody down. I guarantee you won’t be a happy camper if the same is done to you. That’s why I admire people who hear whatever others have to say, but who can filter all the information with an objective sieve, and reserve for themselves the right to deliver the final verdict. They’re not sheep in a flock, or germs in an infection. They wield something that sadly, very few exercise these days – independent thought.