What is and how to handle the narcissists smear campaign.
The smear campaign is the narcissist’s protection as they lie to others about what we’ve been doing to them, which indeed is most often precisely what they did to us.
The smear campaign is when a narcissist wants to destroy you any way they can.
”When they can no longer control you, they will try and control how others see you.”
A narcissist will do this through exaggeration, twisting the story of what they did to you, yet telling others you did to them, lies, slander, half-truths, spreading rumours and much, much more.
The narcissist uses the smear campaign so that they can keep their toxic behaviours hidden from society, so we look like we’re jealous and either wanting the narcissist back or wanting to seek revenge on the narcissist. They use the smear campaign to make us look like we’re crazy or obsessed with them. They will either play the hero that tried so hard to help us, and we are often left looking and acting depressed, a shell of our former selves, or they’ll be playing the victim of how we’ll no longer allow them to see their children or that we abused them, they’ll exploit others by using their empathy against them. They’ll be telling all those who’ll listen everything that they did to us, only they’ll be making out to others that we did to them. So they shift the blame and walk free from any responsibility.
They will tell people who gossip first to spread their manipulative lies further. They are twisting the story to play the victim and gain attention in any way they can.
A narcissist will most often blame those around them for what’s gone wrong within their own life. Some will say the ex abused them. Most will go for the ex is crazy, the ex will not let them go, the ex stalks them, which those exes might very well be acting like making the narcissists lies more believable, this is often due to the trauma bond and the fact that most narcissists just up and leave, moving straight onto the new with no closure.
There’s always more than one side to a story. There are also those screenshots, and when ALL the exes are crazy, ask yourself. What was the common denominator? Just like a leopard will not change its spots, a narcissist will not change their ways, their lies yes, their partners yes, their masks yes. Change their ways NO. They have a disorder narcissistic personality disorder. It’s who they are.
The smear campaign is a method the narcissist uses so they can escape any accountability. They can often start the smear campaign before the relationship is even over, and we often have no idea it’s happening. They can be triangulating us with friends and family without us even knowing. Nobody ruins a special occasion like a narcissist not being the centre of attention, as many a narcissist believes they are special and requires excessive attention, so if the occasion isn’t about them, they can go all out to ruin, to either make you feel anger, resentment, frustration before you even hit the event, then once there the narcissist will become their life soul of the party. At the same time, you look fed up, and they’ll be telling everyone how you didn’t want to go, they’ll be events you knew nothing about, and the narcissist will have blamed you in some way for why you didn’t turn up to an important family celebration, this all helps with their future smear campaigns.
You might be having a conversation with someone who brings up the event you knew nothing about. If you ask the narcissist, they’ll either lie about it or lie some more.
Often the first we know about the smear campaign is long after it’s started, our boss calling us in over a phone call from someone about lies that we have to explain away.
Their family and friends cutting us off, and our friends and family cutting us off as narcissists will go all out to isolate us from any form of support.
The narcissist can smear you to theirs and your friends, the narcissist’s family members, and yours throughout the relationship. They will be most likely to try and get your friends on their side before they discard.
With your neighbours, we all know what a narcissist can be like inside the home. Yet, outside the home, they might be charming all those neighbours into thinking how wonderful they are and how negative you are. Some will also be trying to move in with a single neighbour just to cut you a little deeper.
Children, if you have children together, most narcissists do not co-parent. They counter parent, any game or stunt they can pull to get at you. They don’t care for the damage they cause to the children’s minds so long as they are getting to you.
The new partners, they’ll be painting you out to be the crazy, depressed, the abusive one, and trying to provoke you in any way they can so your actions match their stories, and they gain sympathy.
Work, they will make snide comments about your co-workers, your boss to you, to create a hostile environment at work for you, as you begin to doubt those people you work with. Some even go to the extent of calling your workplace sometimes under the false pretences of helping you, others in obvious ways of trying to destroy you, might be obvious to you what they are doing, might not be so obvious to your work.
Court. A favourite smear tactic game of a narcissist is further Emotional and financial abuse through the court system. Excessive divorce proceedings or child custody arrangements, always breaking court orders, using whatever they can against you, lies, exaggerations, smear campaigns to sink you.
Some lies they might use in their smear campaign.
1. They might say you have a drinking problem. Many a person who’s been in a narcissistic relationship, often due to anxiety, can turn to drinking. The narcissist will happily exaggerate, to those close, the narcissist’s version of events look believable because the narcissist will completely miss out on the part they played, they never explain how they provoke people, the narcissist will only ever discuss how you reacted, and most victims blame themselves in the beginning, and a conversation would usually begin with “If I hadn’t they wouldn’t.” A Narcissist only wants to discuss what you did wrong. They might say you have a gambling issue, going to the bookies. If you like the odd bet, they’ll exaggerate as to how you’ve blown all their money. If you’ve gained a little weight, they’ll blame it on your addiction to take away food, as they have already told people that you’re no longer taking care of them, the children, or the home, long before the relationship is over, and often with anxiety, depression and CPTSD, you might be struggling, the narcissist will not tell people how they helped you struggle, only how they tried their best but had to walk away, often the narcissist will have walked straight into the arms, home and family life of another, playing the victim of how you didn’t care for them, are jealous of their the new relationship, will not allow them to see the children, even though they’ve not even bothered to ask how those children are, and while your left picking up those pieces for the children, the narcissist will happily start court proceedings so that they can continue their smear campaign and abuse through the family courts.
2. Money, they will tell people they worked hard every single day to provide for the family, that they had to leave the home they own for the sake of the children having a roof over their heads. Only the narcissist never owned that home. Just like they’ll inform the new supply after you, they owned yours. Yet, the narcissist will claim they did the right thing by you leaving you there. Nobody falls in love faster than a narcissist needing somewhere to live. If the narcissist owns the home, they’ll do all they can to get you out of it while lying to others about how you’re a gold digger and how you spent all their money. Anything you were lucky enough to buy, the narcissist will claim they did. The narcissist will either not work and sponge off you while twisting the story to those around them, asking for you not to work, barely giving you enough money to survive or financial abuse you. Again if you’ve been with a narcissist, you probably already know they try to bleed you dry.
3. The narcissist will tell people that you’re crazy, that something is wrong with you. They might say things like. “they’ve got mental issues. I’ve tried to help, but they’ll not listen. I don’t know what else to do.” Yet again, they entirely miss out on what they’ve done to drive you that way and are indeed talking about themselves. They will happily discuss the times you’ve reacted. Some will even get you in to see the doctors or councillors claiming to help, while it’s all supporting their smear campaign against you. Once you wake from all the narcissist’s hideous gaslighting, the more you try to point out to those people the narcissist has already got their version of events across to that it’s them and not you, the crazier you look. Let’s face it, and it’s hard enough for us that have lived it to wrap our heads around, so those who haven’t have the narcissist lies that we once fell for. If we don’t get our emotions in check, which as narcissistic abuse can cause brain damage is difficult to start, those people also have our behaviour which is why staying out of the smear campaigns is your best line of defence. It’s difficult as it’s human nature to want to defend ourselves and set the story straight, yet with the narcissist’s manipulation of others, when we do, our actions often match their words. When we don’t, their words are just smoke without the fire. Sometimes no response is the best response, and people don’t always like this as they feel staying silent turns them into narcissistic behaviour. Always treat people how you want to be treated, then if they can not treat you that way in return, communicate with them the only way they understand, the way they do you, silence or “I’m sorry you feel that way.” They do these things to hurt people. We do them to heal ourselves from all the abuse they put us through.
4. They’ll talk to anyone who will listen, and the lies those narcissists tell are their truths. The narcissist will make up stuff you’ve said about them behind their back, Triangulation, divide and conquer. If you’ve been with a narcissist, you know they are incredibly jealous and envious of all others and happily talk about them behind their backs. Again they are often describing themselves, their thoughts and their feelings. What people say about others says more about themselves than it ever will that other person.
5. They will happily twist the story, and their story will be their truth. They will claim you cheated on them. You lied to them. You hurt them. You abused them. You stole from them. You never helped them, you don’t give them any love or affection, how they’ve tried time and time again to keep the family together. As they believe they are special and requires excessive attention, even when you’re walking on eggshells doing all you can for them, it’s never enough. As they want power and success and they want to be in control, if they feel they are losing control of you, they will go all out to blame you. As they lack cognitive reflection skills, their lies often become their truths.
6. They will tell others that all they did to you, you did too them, that you’re abusive, they will tell people how badly you treated them, not letting them have any money, not letting them have their say, not letting them go out with friends, always stalking their phone, ( which you may have done if you suspected they were cheating.) not looking after the home or children correctly. ( which might have happened to some who end up with anxiety and depression due to the narcissist’s manipulation and gaslighting.) Not showing any affection to them. Locking them out of the house ( which you may have done out of fear.) They will give a long list while making out how good they were putting up with you. Not letting them see the children ( which might be the case if safeguarding is too great.) They will either tell you all the things that they did to you yet twist the fact you did it to them, or they’ll tell how you reacted while missing out on the part of what they did in the first place to cause your reactions.
You can not stop them before they begin as you’ve not worked out what they are or what they are doing.
What can you do now?
1. The best response is to ignore it all, it’s hard when everyone seems to be talking about you, and the narcissist wants your reaction to help with their lies. By giving no reaction, people soon find something else to gossip about. The fact you’ve not even paid any attention to it will genuinely anger the narcissist. They know it works best when you react, as you may appear to look crazy and match the narcissist’s slanderous words. Rise above and heal yourself. The narcissist will always be stuck with themselves, repeating the same pattern of destructive behaviour, and you can walk free.
2. Any evidence you have, videos, messages, or third-party witnesses, show those you’ve been smeared too, especially in the workplace and, if possible, in front of the narcissist, as no one throws a bigger tantrum than a narcissist being shown facts and evidence of something they definitely did do. Or if the narcissist is lying about things you or someone else has said, if possible, ask the narcissist about this in a safe environment with all parties involved in the triangulation present, but let people make their own minds up. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to explain and defend ourselves. The narcissist will have forced their opinion on them without actual evidence, and you can show them and let them make their own minds up.
3. If people ask you, remember often they just want to get gossip, just say. ”yes, they’re my past. I’m looking towards my future now.” “Yes, they always liked to control how people think. I know they tell lies. I’m not interested in listening to or defending myself. The truth will go out one day,” this will stop them from spreading more gossip. You could add if they are, “the police are looking into it.” Or the ”wow, this is fascinating, almost movie-like, I’m on the edge of my seat, please tell me what I did next.” Gossips usually get confused by this response, as they are looking for more gossip from you. Do not defend yourself to others. It doesn’t work; the narcissist gets in there first. People asking questions are only interested in more gossip. Instead, concentrate on helping yourself heal. They will always carry on being a narcissist and not change. Yet people will see how much happier you are without them, and they will then make their own judgment call. Keep your mind focused on your life, the things you can sort out, the things you can do, and the things you can help yourself with. Keep your mind on your future, not your past. With some of those narcissist games and lies, try to find the funny side and laugh it off. Others talk to people who understand and support and call authorities.
4. If you need support, only talk to the really good friends you trust. Or online help to recover. Do not talk about it to those who believe the narcissist lies. Who’s blaming you and believing them? You know better than anybody how well a narcissist can lie and manipulate. So don’t hate them. They’ve just been used by the narcissist. Unfortunately, they will learn in their own time just how toxic the narcissist is, and we can not show them. People do have to learn for themselves.
5. Remember, Learning to stop emotionally reacting to the narcissist, do not let them know it’s bothering you, hard yes, but narcissistic people thrive off attention; if they’re getting no reaction, they may switch tactics. The less you play their games, especially in the smear campaign, the less you play into their hands, the less they have to twist and use against you and the more they will look to find attention elsewhere.
6. The best response is to ignore it all, it’s hard when everyone seems to be talking about you, and the narcissist wants your reaction to help with their lies. By giving no reaction, people soon find something else to gossip about. The fact you’ve not even paid any attention to it will genuinely anger the narcissist. They know it works best when you react, as you may appear to look crazy and match the narcissist’s slanderous words. Rise above and heal yourself.
7. Remember, you can not control what the narcissist does. You can not control what the narcissist flying monkeys think of you. Just work on talking to yourself kindly. Those who judge have their own insecurities, and those who cling to gossip have their own faults, don’t blame the flying monkeys. Most are unwittingly under the narcissist’s spell, with the narcissist’s poison infecting them like a virus. They are being manipulated just like you once were, do not judge them, just leave them be.
The narcissist will always be stuck with themselves, repeating their same pattern of destructive behaviour, and you can walk free.
How narcissists bait you into the smear campaign.
Click the links below to join Elizabeth Shaw – A life Coach on social media, for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.
The courses Elizabeth Shaw has available.
The full course.
The free course.
Help with overcoming trauma bonding and anxiety.
All about the narcissist Online course.
Recovery from narcissistic abuse and help with Co-Parenting.
For 1-2-1 Coaching with me, email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with Click here for BetterHelp. (Sponsored.) Where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
Video for triangulation.