They Smile In Your Face
In the corporate world there is a word used to describe a most unpleasant event. According to a survey of 250 advertising and marketing executives, conducted by The Creative Group, an advertising and marketing staffing company, over 50% had the dubious honor of experiencing this nefarious act. I suspect that among the rank and file the actual percentage would be even higher. During my own tenure in the corporate world I faced it often. The R & B group, The O’Jays had their first million dollar hit with a song about it:
What they do
They smile in your face
All the time they want to take your place
We are talking backstabbing. The practice of criticizing someone without their knowledge while feigning friendship and fidelity to their face. Some take great pleasure in their ability to deceive. They feel empowered and talk about how they were able to “take out” the competition. Others are quieter, they operate on the fringe and in the shadows. They appear as friends, but it is just a ruse to cover their true intentions.
And it’s not only in the workplace, but also in our homes, our marriages (who would have thought?), our children, our families, our schools, our friends, our civic organizations, our politics (boggles the mind doesn’t it?), and our churches. The truth is backstabbing has become a part of our culture. It is a factor of our lives. We literally can not find an area that has not suffered from backstabbing.
What makes this so painful for the victim is the violation of trust and confidence. This betrayal of trust can be so acute that Jennifer Freyd first coined the phrase “betrayal trauma” back in 1994 to describe the effect on the victim. Since she first used this phrase an entire theory has been developed and put forth that defines the inner workings of the brain when an individual has been backstabbed and the attending psychological backflips the person initiates to shelter themselves from the mental pain.
Like most, I’ve been victimized more times than I care to think about. But, I am not the type of person who wants to throw up a number of defensive actions to protect myself from future backstabbing. I’m cautious, I don’t want to be stabbed again, but I’m not focused on making sure all my bases are covered either. Plus I don’t want hold people at length. This world already has enough of that. I want to be open. If I’m going to error, I want it to be on the side of grace.
Without picking at old wounds, tell me how you deal with it. Are you still trusting? What are you doing to insure you are not victimized again? Is it hard to trust? As always, I look forward to hearing from you.