Have you found yourself in the awkward (and super-frustrating) position of being the target of a narcissist’s smear campaigning? Do people who used to like, respect, and maybe even love you- people who never had a problem with you before- all of sudden start avoiding you? Or being rude and disrespectful to you? Avoiding you?
Have you obtained a “Love to Hate You” fan club, seemingly overnight?
If your man is a narcissist, then it’s likely that you have become the target of the infamous Smear Campaign. (Sorry)
what is a smear campaign?
Anyone who knows a narcissist- whether or not they are aware that the person is a narc- knows that he has a history of bi-polar, or “crazy” exes. (I wrote an article solving that little mystery, and you can read it HERE, if you’d like). They also know that the narcissist has been the defenseless, and sad victim of Life’s cruelty.
What they may not know is that it’s all a bunch a garbage. A pack of fantastical lies, exaggerations, and delusion.
A smear campaign is the purposeful, and ill-intentioned, spread of false and vicious information about a person. Think of presidential campaigns, and how the candidates spread every bit of negative information about their opponent,that they can dig up, in order to destroy the opponent’s reputation and credibility. The only difference between that nasty political tactic, and what the narcissist does, is the narcissist doesn’t fact-check, in order to cover his ass…he just flat-out lies.
the purpose of the smear campaign.
There could be any number of reasons a narcissist launches a smear campaign against you. The most common reason, though, is that the narcissist senses that the relationship is nearing an end, and he fears being cast as “the bad guy” in the situation. He is afraid you’ll tell people about his abuse. So, instead of risking any damage to his almighty image, he launches a preemptive strike against you, so that he can save face….so that his true nature isn’t revealed. Not to mention, the sympathy/pity/outrage/commiseration/compassion he receives from others, when they are shocked to hear how “bad” you really were, makes for much quality supply.
If the narcissist senses the relationship could be coming to an end, then he knows he is in danger of losing his main source of supply, and if you go out and tell the others truth about why the relationship ended, then he stands to lose ALL his sources of supply. He simply CAN NOT let that happen. Without his sources of supply, the narcissist can not survive. He NEEDS to have people who are willing to tell him how smart, handsome, amazing, fearless, successful, etc. he is, surrounding him at all times, or (in his mind) he ceases to matter.
In a sense, this is about survival for the narcissist. It really isn’t personal against you. The narcissist is simply attempting to protect the source of his personal validation- that which gives him life. He doesn’t smear you to “get back at you”. He truly doesn’t do it to hurt you. Although, the harsh truth is that he just doesn’t care that you DO get hurt in the process. To him, that is a fleeting and superfluous detail.
what a smear campaign looks & feels like.
It feels like shit. That’s the simple truth. Someone you loved and trusted just said the ugliest things you can imagine about you to the people you cared about most… and most of them, believed it. That just plain sucks. Seriously.
Once the narcissist’s smear campaign has begun, you’ll start to get this “feeling”… like something is off. People start giving you weird looks, or you get the feeling that they are trying to avoid you. (If you’re someone who is sensitive to energy, then you’ll feel it powerfully, almost instantly… The angry, disgusted, protective energy, of the people the narcissist got to, is heartbreaking- and strong enough to knock you off your feet). You’ll be around a person that used to just love you to pieces (like in the case of one my own narcissist’s family member), and suddenly the energy is just…. sticky. They might try to act normally… but it’s obvious to you that something is just… not right.
You cease to receive invitations to friend/family gatherings. Friends are not so friendly anymore. People look at you like you just killed their dog when you say ‘Hi’ to them. All signs that you have been the target of a narcissist’s nasty smear campaign.
Since narcissists all seem to get their ideas from the same playbook, you will almost always be labeled “crazy”, or “bi-polar” by the narcissist. I’ve realized that this is because, really, it’s the only way for the narc to explain how such terrible things could be true about you, when the people he’s telling these lies to, most often, know you- have met you, and talked to you- and would otherwise find it pretty hard to believe you capable of such horrible behavior. Telling people that you are bi-polar, or crazy, is the perfect way to reconcile the difference between what people know from direct experience with you, and the what the narcissist wants them to believe.
Another tactic used, to get people to believe the lies told about you, is to exaggerate, then exploit your normal, human flaws. Between using your real flaws as the tiniest seed of truth, then claiming you’re bi-polar- or have some other mental disorder- it’s easy for the person hearing the lie to accept that you are what the narcissist says. You obviously just hide it very well…just like all abusers do. (Ironic, isn’t it?)
I think that there is also an element of guilt here, too. People hate to think that they’ve neglected someone in need. So, when the narcissist comes to them insinuating, or outright claiming abuse (some times the narc will NOT come right out and say things about you, but only hint around), and then uses a real flaw of yours (exaggerated to the millionth degree, of course), coupled with mental illness…well, that person practically has no choice BUT to buy into it.
They will probably have noticed a hint of the [exaggerated] behavior the narcissist mentions, and their guilt tells them that they “should have seen”, or they should have “paid closer attention”. A guilty conscience (for not being there for a friend in their time of need), can push a lot of people to believe things that aren’t true. And really, if you felt guilty that a friend of yours was being abused, and you didn’t even see/notice/take the time to care… would you really challenge anything they said about their partner, when they are standing right in front of you, putting on an excellent show of victimhood? Probably not.
Here’s an example of what I mean: I grew up as an only child. I pretty much got whatever I wanted, and didn’t often find myself in the position of lacking the means to provide the things I desired. Because of this, I obviously don’t think twice about ordering a drink to go with my burger and fries at McDonald’s, or ordering Happy Meals for the kids on days other than their birthday. Little things like that just don’t even occur to me.
On the other hand, the way my husband tells it, he grew up with four siblings, and a VERY tight budget. I’ve had to hear the same sad story about him being punished if he even so much as ASKED to have McDonald’s, more times than I count, and how he had to eat dry peanut butter sandwiches (with the most meager spattering of peanut butter, and of course, NO jelly), every single day, for school lunch, because his mom refused to spend money on any non-necessities. Stories of thrift store clothing, and brand-name longing, abound.
Because of these differences, my insistence of acquiring the things I enjoy- as long as it is within our means, obviously- comes across, to my husband, as me being “spoiled”. He wonders at the fact that I have a preference of bottled water (love Zephyrhills), and that I don’t just buy the absolute cheapest (and chlorine-flavored) bottled water, instead. Or really, why I can’t just drink from the tap.
He calls me spoiled for spending an extra dollar to buy real butter, rather than artery-clogging margarine. I got called spoiled, and told that I have”only-child syndrome” when I told my husband that I don’t buy steaks unless I have enough to afford either a New York strip, or filet. Those taste delicious, to me, and I don’t feel like eating tough, dry meat for no reason. It’s not like I demand filet mignon every day…I simply don’t buy steak unless I have enough to afford the steak I like. If I don’t have enough, I don’t complain about it, or really, even think about it. Still, having the preference- in my husband’s opinion- makes me spoiled.
Naturally, during the smear campaign, ‘spoiled’ became demanding, and controlling, and selfish. And because most people know that I can have some strong preferences as to what I like, or dislike- even if I never exhibited any sort or demanding, or abusive behavior, in regard to that part of my personality- they are able to put aside what they know of me, and believe the narcissist. Make sense?
what to do about smear campaigns.
Nothing. Ignore it.
There is nothing you can say, or do, to stop it…and once people have made up their minds about something, they rarely go back and change it- regardless of facts, evidence, or something as insignificant as the TRUTH.
The best advice I can give you is this: Just go on with your life. Hold your head high- and continue to be the awesome person you are. If someone wants to believe bad things about you, they are going to do that regardless of anything you could say or do. So, why waste your time and energy on trying to prove yourself to them?
Let go of the notion of revenge, or making him pay. Just do your best to take the high road. If someone is willing and open to hearing the truth, then speak the truth. Otherwise, forget those people. If they don’t have the decency to come to you and confront you with the ugly things they’ve heard about you, then these aren’t quality friend people anyway. They are not loyal friends.
If you can’t ignore them, because maybe they’re family members, or something, then just keep being your kind, and respectful self. Expect them to do the same. On the same token, DO NOT allow people to demean you, and disrespect you, just because they were dumb enough to faithfully believe negative lies (or insinuations) about you, without having the class to talk to you, face-to-face, about it.
If a person has the audacity to be rude, degrading, and disrespectful to you- and yet still expect to be in your life for whatever reason- PLEASE, feel free to cut that one loose. You’ve dealt with enough abuse already from the narcissist. You don’t need his #flying monkeys dragging you down. You don’t owe them anything. The minute someone gets disrespectful and nasty- that’s game over.
Let them have their “friendship”- or important relationship- with the narcissist. Honestly, they really, REALLY deserve it 😉
~The Narcissist’s Wife