Psychopath/Narcissist: The Smear Campaign

     When the relationship with a psychopath/narcissist is over, a smear campaign by him, is sometimes, if not most times, waged against the survivor. One of the reasons he does this, is his FEAR of being exposed. The smear campaigns he wages are efforts to keep you in silence about his behavior and what he did to you. When you are in the throes of the aftermath, this can be a very painful experience and the pain can be so great, that you are unable to fight back. This is what the psychopath/narcissist wants. It may be what is best for you too, at first. . .

Oftentimes, the predator has already spoken about you in derogatory terms, behind your back before the relationship is over. His attempts to control you, are not limited to triangulations that you may not even be aware of during the relationship in his back stabbing. The isolation that occurs as a result of his efforts, makes it much more difficult when the relationship is over to speak up for yourself or to cultivate support for yourself, when he has told everyone  you both know, how “crazy”, “unstable” and “mental” you are. We can’t see that this is strategic, and just as it was in the relationship, to be a step ahead of you, to protect his mask, to keep control.

What is so painful about these smear campaigns, is that whatever it was that you told him about yourself, no matter how personal it will be shared with many others. Because you shared these intimate details, believing you were sharing in trust and love, some of what the predator says, can be just enough truth to make you feel that you have no defense, no way to protect yourself. What the psychopath/narcissist is doing to you, is the very thing he fears for himself. EXPOSURE. The most cruel aspects to his smear campaign is that he uses your reactions in anger, frustration, and fear, due to his sadistic provocations during the relationship, against you to create a portrait of a mentally unstable woman in some way. These hurtful attempts to smear you, can create the same reactions for you that you had during the relationship further validating his accusations and gossip. This is another reason why it’s so important not to react right now, at least not in front of him and not to others who would deliver your venting to add to his arsenal. It’s very important to seek out support during this time so that you can share your anger and outrage about what is being done to you in safety. Another reason to ‘lay low’ during this time is that your reactions will be twisted in that it is you who is stalking him. Due to their high levels of narcissism, the psychopath/narcissist, loves the idea that you can do nothing more with your life than think about him, his life, his new victims, etc. Survivors have been accused of doing this long after the relationship is over and she is past reacting or thinking about him. He will often tell the new victim that you never got over him and are likely to stalk them both! It’s ridiculous to think about, but this is seriously how narcissists think!

“They are sicker than we are smart”~ Sandra Brown, M.A.~author of “Women Who Love Psychopaths”.

I love this quote because it gives you an idea as to his total lack of empathy, which allows his “sickness” (psychopathy) to always be a step ahead of you. Without conscience, these men can strategize in a way that means you don’t have a chance to “beat” him or to “win”. 

If you have children with the predator, and are trying to divorce him, he will go to great lengths to get what he wants in sabotaging the process with endless court date changes, agreement changes, non compliance, etc. If your ex predator has access to a lot of money,  he will use this to hire a very expensive attorney and attempt to get custody of your children, or to prevent paying child support and/or alimony or the division of assets and property. Psychopaths will often choose an attorney who is also disordered, multiplying the likelihood of more losses for you and more “wins” for him. ALL of this is about control.

Some predators will let go entirely once they secure a new victim. The children you share won’t matter to him, as he’ll have a “new family”. If he has money, you may continue to get support, or he may decide that his money is more useful in combination with the new victim’s (cash cow), assets, property or bank account. In my case, once my ex husband secured a new victim, he completely abandoned us. There was no child support. No visitation. Nothing. While this was very painful to me at first (as well as his smear campaign), as I did not wish for  my children to be hurt by the abandonment, it turned out to be a significant blessing. Many survivors would rather the psychopath leave them alone.

In the case of my last ex, his now ex-wife hated him and wanted a divorce as soon as possible. I do not believe she understood that he has a personality disorder, believing him to be a lousy husband, but a good father. This, of course, gave him a lot of power in the divorce. She was bought out of their house and got child support and half his retirement in return for joint custody. I wonder if she regrets this decision, given what he has done to his children. The idea that a predator himself claims that he’s a lousy husband, but a good father, is contradictory and a reflection of his disorder. The children are weapons and objects, extensions of him. The manipulation he has done with his daughter, as well as I suspect triangulations, and using her to lure the new victim, is repulsive.

My ex predator is an excellent manipulator and he uses his money to do it. What teenager doesn’t want lots of “stuff” from the mall? Psychopaths/narcissists are extremely materialistic and this is projected upon his children in manipulating them with money, as well as encouraging them to become as materialistic, image focused and shallow as he is. Part of their smear campaign is never limited to just friends of the couple, but also the children. The psychopath takes the separation and divorce as an opportunity to separate and triangulate the children with their mother. I thank God everyday that I did not have to deal with what many of these women have.

My ex’s smear campaign of his wife was not as successful as other predators who have attempted this. His ex wife was so angry, she told everyone she knew what he had done (GOOD FOR HER!), including all their friends and those in their church. He didn’t leave her or the church without losing many of their friends. His wife was very well liked and a kind, faithful woman with a huge supportive family. She got angry. She felt her power in that anger. She had done nothing wrong except marry this man and stay too long, like many of us. For many survivors, this is not the case and often  her own family can be turned against her with the psychopath’s attempts to isolate and undermine her from any support.

The one thing that I swore to myself that I would never, ever do, is to remain silent about my experience. My silence would mean my abusers still had control in my life, even after they have been long gone. I will not allow them to have power in my life anymore. The abusers greatest weapon, is silence.

I encourage survivors to speak out about their experiences, providing it is safe to do so. If you are dealing with a stalker or some other very serious issues that would put you in danger, it’s best not to react in any way until you are in a safer place and some time has passed, but when you reach a place where you can begin to speak out about your experiences and share them with others, it will be an incredibly empowering milestone and in doing so, you eliminate his power in your mind and in your life. The more you talk about it, the more ridiculous the predator will look and seem to you.

Another gift in your refusal to be silent, is validation.

There is just something about sharing your experience about him and the reactions of others that validates your knowing just how sick this man really was/is. It has been very interesting to see a healthy minded person react and/or respond to what I share. It is simply unfathomable that someone could be so evil. Our experiences are best described as, “This stuff can’t be made up, it is so unbelievable, it has to be true”.

We live in a largely shallow world. We often live with some residual distortions when our relationships are over and one of them is that everyone exposed to the smear campaign thinks about what the predator said to them, day and night. The reality is that they don’t. People have their own lives to worry about, their own problems. Perhaps for the moment the lies being told to others, would seem believable to those listening, but we have to question people who are invested in the psychopaths drama. Do they really have any credibility when they believe without your side of the story? In the end, it doesn’t matter, even though at the time, it is very hurtful.

One of the most painful things a survivor deals with during the smear campaign is that she loses people that she wholeheartedly believed cared for her. This can happen literally overnight. It’s very difficult to put things into a balanced and healthy perspective when you are under a heavy burden of the distortions created by the psychopath and those who find him remotely credible. If people believe the predators narrative of you, you are better off without them. Healthy people will look with suspicion upon the predator’s stories of pity. Believe it or not, there are those out there who dislike this  man and his drama, but for those who are believing what is essentially no more than a five year old child’s verbal temper tantrum and “tattling”, you’ve got to question their levels of maturity. The predator is so self involved he believes that others want to hear his stories of woe. He believes that people think about him day in and day out, another reason he keeps talking, long after people have stopped listening, long after he is remotely believable. The psychopath/narcissists lack of empathy, always trips them up eventually. Give him rope by walking in dignity and grace without reacting.

The hardest thing you will ever do during a smear campaign is the refusal to fight back. Yes, you will get the opportunity to share your story, but in maintaining your silence until the dust settles and doing exactly the opposite of what the predator expects out of you in response (reacting, trying to prove you’re not what he says you are, etc), means you are walking in grace and maturity. Because psychopaths/narcissists are without empathy, if you walk in grace with a refusal to respond or react to his malicious gossip, it will be you who is ultimately more believable. If others attempt to speak with you about it, simply tell them that you will not, and that you do not wish to discuss him at all and do not wish to hear about his life. It is your right to do this. As he continues to talk, and you refuse to engage, he begins to look like the true asshat that he is. Time is the key here. This too shall pass. It is our reactions to what he is saying and doing, that encourages his belief that he has control in your life and can still hurt you.

Your dignity has already been severely compromised in the relationship. You can begin to get it back by not reacting to him and his attempts to humiliate and degrade you. People will think what they wish to think, but what will be very important to you is to hold on to what you know is the truth, about yourself and about him.

Psychopaths/narcissist live for a reaction out of others.

Don’t give him one. Wait for the opportunity to come in the future, at which time you’ll be able to remove his power with your strong, healing voice.


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144 Responses to Psychopath/Narcissist: The Smear Campaign

  1. Barbara says:

    I am so glad I found this. I just had this realization yesterday and my mind is blown. He broke up with me two years ago on Mother’s Day, which was also the first anniversary of a loved one’s suicide. One week earlier he had come to my counselor’s with me for the sole purpose of discussing how to be supportive on that specific day!! He said the most cruel things and said he couldn’t believe I wasted two years of his life. I harmed myself and was hospitalized. I had a very hard time letting go even though I knew in my gut that he was bad. I found out while he was still texting me and saying that he’d always care he had been telling his new gf and every other person in town how crazy and in love with him I was that I couldn’t live without him. He had been bashing me and grossly betraying me long before we even broke up! His new gf has now joined in telling everyone that I am, in fact, a basket case. Every time I tried to break up with him, he would demand to stay together! In the last month we were together he told me that if I didn’t sign a release for all of my counseling records to be available to him we would break up, but if I did then *maybe* we would stay together. The month before that he asked if I would pay for a down payment on a house for *us* that would be in HIS name due to a car repo I have on my file. I couldn’t believe he went from “let’s get a house together,” to “you’re a wreck and I can do better” in two months! I really had become a wreck, though. I entered the darkest depression of my life. I was drinking heavier than I ever had, daily. The anxiety was debilitating to the point that I would not sleep for four days straight, almost every week for our entire relationship. I fell apart. I kept looking for some evidence to explain what was happening, but didn’t find it until after we broke up- and then just one small piece at a time. He and I both attributed it to a delayed reaction to my childhood. I had never been so out of touch before. He got a restraining order against me because my text messages were calling him out on what I was slowly learning. The anger is unreal. I am utterly humiliated and ashamed of who I am, and I have never felt this beaten down. When I went to the hospital, during intake he was SMILING AND TEXTING!! I was so deluded I intellectualized that it was- uncaring- but didn’t believe what I had seen. The smear campaign against me is so bad that I will never, ever be able to live in the same town as my daughter again (her father has primary custody- a story equally unbelievable and shockingly unjust). Then he tells people that he feels sorry for me and just hopes I get help!!! If you take out the consistent 4 days without sleep, and then drinking- my behavior was not genuinely crazy until the very end. I had simply reached the end of my rope. I am utterly ashamed at how poorly I conducted myself at the end and after the breakup, and fear I will never recover the damage done to my life, even though I am healing emotionally.

    • Barbara, you will recover. We all have. Your story is similar to so many women that have been involved with men with NPD. Been there and you will heal, just as many of us had. Do not be ashamed that you were a caring person that got taken advantage of by a disordered one. Hold you head up high. Someday some people may come to know the truth about this man–but only when he has used them as well. And in the meantime continue to heal yourself into someone that is even more than what you were before this person came into your life.

    • annettepk says:

      It sounds like you had/have PTSD which is a normal response to abnormal/crazy treatment. Every bit of your ‘crazy’ behavior was engineered by him. He was doing everything he could to get you to feel awful enough to act out. He chose every bit of your insanity for you in detail. He orchestrated your actions, and he manufactured your emotions. Smiling and texting while you are suffering from illness is enough to make anyone crazy. He used your vulnerability about the Mothers Day suicide anniversary to drive you crazy. I am sure he did many many other constant crazy making behaviors; the things you describe don’t happen in a vacuum or in the context of a relationship where he cares positively about your well being.
      I am sorry you endured this. I was the target of a bit of a smear campaign and a lot of trying to make me act crazy. It is truly horrible.
      The humiliation and shame you feel really should be his – the way he should be feeling. He has somehow transferred it to you. The blame should be put back on him where it belongs.

    • Barbara,

      It takes a very long time to heal from the psychopathic damage. You’ve just begun. The first several months are filled with obsessing/ruminating about he and the relationship. All the knots he tied into your head through his projection and crazy making will take several months to into a couple of years to untie. If we were to try to untie it all at once, we’d implode. Once you get clear, you’ll begin to unravel your story with him and discover many, many traumas.

      As I read your story, it was uncannily familiar to my own with my last psychopath who was just as psychologically cruel as it appears yours is. He would do things on purpose to get a reaction from me, knowing all of my vulnerabilities. He constantly exploited my shame and guilt issues. He exploited my faith. I too, had an alcohol problem during the relationship that he coerced and encouraged early on. As soon as the relationship ended, the drinking did too. All of that is an outcome of the extremes in living with someone so toxic. I reached the lowest point in my life at the end of the relationship too, a foot in the door to a psychiatric hospital with the exception that I had some support when I got out. My ex used my text messages in a hearing we both had to attend after he was fired for his relationship with me as I was a client of his. To win his case, he spent the previous two months provoking me to knee jerk reactions, purposeful abuse, as he knew I would be so angry as to react and text. The night before the hearing, he had printed out two months worth of texts. It was totally and completely humiliating. When I realized what he had done, I was beside myself with hurt and anger at the betrayal. And he got his job back, and three hundred more potential victim’s that he has under him.

      I like to think of psychopaths like cockroaches. For every single single thing hidden, every single tactic that is strategized, there are hundreds more that we never know about. Just like for every one cockroach, there are a hundred more….

      Much of my dependence upon my last psychopath was a direct result of childhood trauma. He was strikingly like my own father. I was so desperate to keep the relationship together, I could not see the forest for the trees, Barbara. I put up with the most humiliating behavior and tactics. I just *knew* he was so great to everyone else, but that it was me that he just couldn’t love. I was only partially correct in that he definitely could not love, but it WAS me too…I have pathological parents and a pathological family, so I was not able to see my psychopath coming in the first place because he was so FAMILIAR to me…and my background is why. These are things that you’ll discover as you process your relationship with him.

      As I was reading, I cringed when I saw that he demanded your mental health records. Did you give them to him? Did you give him the down payment on the house?

      There is a point that survivor’s won’t cross in the psychopath’s demands. But when it’s crossed and the things we do…what we will do to keep them in our lives, is the depth of the dependence and addiction. Had I not gotten out at the time that I did, I may well have completely lost myself permanently. The behaviors out of him that I put up with, I know that a healthy woman would not. Not even close. I had become as sick as he was. I would have done anything to keep him in my life, my addiction and dependence upon him was just that bad. I can reconcile it now, but like you, I carried a great deal of shame about my own behavior. If you have wounds from your past, the most evil thing about these individuals is that they will exploit it. He knew you had some sort of mental health issue, and was going to make good use of it for his personal gain, whether it was financial or for the smear campaign. When you’re desperate at the end, so sick that you’ll do anything they ask you to do, it DOES create a deep level of shame. I look at this man now and wonder what I ever saw in him in the first place and sometimes this makes the same a little worse for me.

      Part of the work that will need to be done, is in therapy. I hope you have a therapist, Barbara because the level of exploitation he committed is pretty intense. I think the more dependent and addicted we are to the psychopath, is equal to the depth of past wounds. The crazy things I allowed my ex to do to me, especially toward the end, when it was obvious I should have gotten out LONG before, was not about him anymore, it was about me. This doesn’t mean what he did he is not responsible for, but with the extremes of abuse I was allowing him to do to me, said more about the depth of my addiction and dependence to him, then it did about his behavior anymore. He was sick and somewhere in my heart I knew it. But my childhood betrayals and trauma were loud, obnoxious screaming voices in my head and heart that said there was something wrong with ME and not HIM, even though my wounds meant that there WAS something wrong with me. LOL..hard to explain…

      I wish you peace as you heal, Barbara..

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