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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