The Backstabber Personality

The Backstabber Personality

I have been doing a personality column for Natural Health, where each month I provide some insight into different personalities. Here is some insight into The BackstabberDoes this sound like anyone you know?


Backstabber’s will say the nicest things about you in your presence, only to turn around and tell others what a good-for-nothing, hopeless waste of space you are. They feel insecure, emotionally vulnerable, and angry with themselves and the world, so make up stories about others or exaggerate minor mistakes and weaknesses of people. They like to stir up conflict and drama, and enjoy seeing people going at each other’s’ throats. Often, these people leave us astounded and confused when we realise what they are up to due to their stealth and subtlety. Unfortunately, Backstabber’s are everywhere. Here are ways in which you can spot one:

  • Some are overly friendly and can be full of flattery for no apparent reason. This is to win your trust and to disguise their unsavoury motives.

  • They can make a show about being friends with your, yet indulge in poisonous gossip about you.

  • They almost always deny their role in spreading lies or starting untoward rumours about people.

  • They are adept at making you, when you confront them, feel like the guilty party


Nobody likes being bad-mouthed or being the unwitting target of someone’s aggressive actions or intentions. Hence, there’s hardly anything positive to say about Backstabber’s  It is what we can learn from them, however, that can be positive:

  • You soon learn that going behind someone’s back, even with the smallest thing, can make matters worse.

  • You learn to keep away from overly friendly people, especially if you don’t know them well.

  • You learn to empathise with people who gossip, rather than take their backstabbing personally.


You want to avoid having anything to do with the Backstabber because:

  • Through vicious rumours and twisted truths they can damage your reputation and integrity.

  • They have no problem in belittling you in your absence, making negative comments about your work while taking the credit for your ideas.

  • Stirring up trouble among unsuspecting people is what they delight in and thus they are unlikely to stop their backstabbing behaviour.

  • They pretend to look after your best interests, only to walk over you with disdain when you are not around.

  • They are deeply unhappy, jealous, envious, and pathological.


How do I deal with a Backstabber?

If possible, stay away from Backstabber’s. Otherwise, the following suggestions could help in dealing with them:

  • As challenging at it might be, confront the Backstabber when you have evidence that they have been saying negative things about you. If you don’t, they will delight in their triumph and continue with more of the same.

  • It’s not wise to want to back-stab in return. You don’t want to become their enemy.

  • Avoid getting drawn into private conversations with backstabbing individuals. They will use it as an opportunity to bad-mouth someone. Keep the conversation brief if you can’t avoid being alone with such a person.

Am I a Backstabber?

You know you are a Backstabber when:

  • You habitually think negative thoughts about others and are always finding fault with someone.

  • Your unhappiness with your life is so profound, and you hate it when others are joyful and successful.

  • Bad-mouthing people is your main strategy for drawing attention to yourself.

  • Spreading lies about others makes you feel good, and you use it to manipulate people


Categories: Psychology, Uncategorized

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16 replies

  1. You had indeed better not come across them but then they are generally hard to avoid, aren’t they?
    Nice to come across this blog though.
    Regards, Dick

  2. Hello Dr Nicola, this is an amazing analysis. I would like to share my story if you don’t mind. I have a best-friend, she’s super nice and a sweet-talker kinda type. Lately I realized that she often badmouthing other people. For example: today she was talking bad about x, the very next day she can have dinner with x. She also talk bad about a, b and c, soon she has a playdate with them. It give me an uncomfortable feeling about her. I learn from my own experience that when people can said something bad about others to you, then they can say something bad about you too behind your back. Once, I confront her about this, then she said it’s because she was misunderstood about their behavior. Again, she keep repeating to other people.
    She has a best friend and she said her best friend said bad things about me. In fact that she posted picture of her and her best friend (they are remaining close to each other). What should I do? I couldn’t trust her again. Should I just leave her as an ex-best friend? if only people know what she had done, I am sure no one is willing to be her friend.. Thanks in advance Dr Nicola.

  3. Oh my – thank you for this article. I seem to be going through this with my sister. I have in the past, my daughter believes she has a Narcissistic Personality disorder. Many of her behaviors do align with what you have listed here. She has made terrible choices her entire life. She has 3 failed marriages (according to her, all the guys faults!) – one was in fact abusive. While nothing, nothing should allow such behavior – her verbal abuse – screaming at the top of her lungs was there when she didn’t get her own way. When she is in her rages, she belittles and beats up the people who upset her and they are most often the people she relies on the most (girlfriend room mate right now whom she lives with because she has nothing!). She lacks compassion. If someone is ill – in fact the driver of this episode came about because I contacted her to inform her our brother has cancer. I hadn’t had much contact with her to find that my biggest mistake most recently was very nicely tell her how “what she did made me feel” – she had compromised a conversation, I first said, I didn’t ask you to intervene or say anything about our conversation – so please don’t do that again. I assured her I was not angry, but it was important to me to be honest with her. I didn’t even ask for an apology – I simply needed her to know how her behavior impacted me. Oh boy, is she ever in a rage as I write this! I have ruined her life, I cried about an operation I had but didn’t give her the time of day when she was scared, I have ruined every chance for her to ever earn money, she has nobody because of me, she is homeless because of me…blah, blah, blah, her list is never ending and if it relates to something awful in her life, it is entirely my fault. My dear elder sis is more than 11 years older than I am, and since she was 18 (more than 30 years ago) she has lived out of State. She is alone, own nothing but a car and there is no doubt that the truth she states is… she is lonely! Of course she is! I am not sure what Ito do, but holy smokes she is emotionally draining. I love her, she is my sister. I don’t even have a clue how to have a relationship with her. I have taken breaks – years – and no matter what we wind up in the same old unhealthy cycle. She always fights to be right she will never take responsibility and she has never apologized – ever for her behavior. Might you share what your take on this is?

  4. You are not happy with someone. Maybe that person is not worth your time. Put a smile on your face and a smile in your heart. You will feel so much better. Love, Pam

  5. Earlier this year I lost my job because of a backstabber. We were employed to write articles about toxic relationships for a new website. She was so sweet to my face, told me how talented I was and then added grammatical errors to my work as she posted it on the site. When I told her I wanted to own my work and that it should not be changed without my permission she stepped up her campaign. To the point that when I sent her lots or articles she did not put them on the site, instead they were all her work. I realised what she was doing but she had become the champion to our employer and had clearly stabbed me in the back and that was when I was told there was no funding available. I also saw that there was someone else in the background who had become popular and sure enough she replaced me, even her photograph replaced mine and I was actually the co-founder of the site, if it hadn’t been for the skype group I set up none of these people would even have known each other.

    On the plus side after a nose dive down I have stepped up to become more confident and developed self-esteem that I have never had and am now trying to build up my own business of reaising self-esteem in ladies who have had troubled lives. Every cloud has a silver lining and I count my blessings that I do not have to deal with this person anymore.

    Thanks for giving me this opportunity to tell my story Dr. Nicola.

  6. My family has a neighbor we’ve known for years. We’ve never had a problem with him and he is a politician in the town. Suddenly, he decided to backstab my family and complain about an issue with their yard. They’ve done nothing wrong and no one else can see what the problem is. What would cause a neighbor to suddenly be a backstabber? My mother owns the house and she’s an elderly widow. Why would a neighbor she’s known for over 28 years suddenly backstab her? She’s done nothing to them and keeps to herself in the neighborhood.

    • I have a similar neighbour who is in his mid 70s who had stirred up a silly thing as an issue and bad-mouthed about me to the other neighbours before a Residential Community meeting. He let myself and the other neighbours argue on this silly issue (which i am entitled to do) and he remained silent and calm as if he knew nothing.

      This old man is still on the belief that he has done nothing wrong. I had come across 4 to 5 people who were associated with this old man and they told me that this guy is a backstabber. I said “OK” but did not realize that he will stab me one day and that happened last week in the meeting !

      Backstabbers are just everywhere, Just be cautious. Try not to mess with them. If you are messing with these people you should be prepared to tear their masks in front of everyone. I am now trying not to have any conversation with him.

    • Your Neighbour could be interested in your mother’s property. And thats the exact reason he is backstabbing now. The old man which I mentioned in the earlier reply had interests in a space near our Block’s Covered Car Parking lot. He had also asked Mrs B (my other neighbour) if she can sell off their car parking space. Mrs. B was like -” What the heck is he asking?”

      • Oh, I know he is definitely interested in the back-woods part of our land. He has actually inquired about it. We haven’t talked to him since the incident. He is a very nosy neighbor. I have found him, several times, on the strip of land between our 2 properties acting like he owns it and wandering around close to our property line for no apparent reason. One time, he even sprayed that fluorescent orange paint on one of our trees saying that my father had put our fence 10 feet onto the dividing property many years ago when we first bought the place! Again, the property isn’t even his but he has appointed himself it’s landlord somehow in his mind.

        But, since he was a member of the town government, and very cozy with the authorities, reporting his behavior would do nothing but cause more trouble. We usually just ignore his nonsense because it isn’t violent or really threatening. There is really nothing we can do about him. Small towns like mine are often hives of corruption.

  7. Thank you so much for this post. This perfectly describes both of my grandparents, and I, sadly, have to live with them for the time being until I get back on my feet. It’s difficult sometimes to want to do things with my life, since I just feel like I’m garbage in my family’s eyes. It sort of makes me want to continue being that way for some reason. It’s just constant bad-mouthing, hearing them whisper in the other room or say something at family get-togethers. I honestly believe I will cut off all communication once I get the heck out of here. I can’t stand feeling negative and hateful all of the time, and my grandmother always seems to drag me into conversations where she’ll talk crap about someone in my immediate family.

    I just feel like they think they’re morally superior, that they can treat me however they like simply because they are being oh-so-kind-enough to let me live in their home. Even though this place was my last resort. Thank you again for the post, and I apologize for the rant. And to all others who have a backstabber to deal with on a daily basis: do what you can to keep away from them. These types are miserable people, all fake smiles and “clever” put-downs (my grandmother, honest-to-god, brags about how good she is at saying mean things without the person knowing her snide intentions; it’s pathetic).

    They’ll never change, so do what you can to keep them out of your life. Otherwise, they will find a way to bring you down.

  8. Thank you for this article. I have tried hard to find anything on the Internet about why a friend would REPEATEDLY backstab me even after we had worked things out over a previous incident. Then you said exactly how it is, she is unable to stop because it IS in fact the only way she gets attention. I would have thought our friendship would have been more important than the half hearted attention she receives from backstabbing.
    Great article!

  9. Reblogged this on Bum's Landing & Restart – Andrè Michael Pietroschek and commented:
    These are the persons to really watch out for…

  10. I lost jobs and reputation on the losing side of similar personalities. Still, in my opinion and with my experience, it harshly ever remains at bad-mouthing, when money and success can only go to the winner.

    Once more thanks and my best wishes for your career and wellbeing, Dr. Davies.


  1. How to deal with a backstabber?How to deal with a backstabber? - The DailyPedia

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