When you go against a narcissist either by cutting them out of your life or by simply disagreeing with them, they cannot handle this. Victims are supposed to agree with a narcissist, tolerate any abuse the narcissist wants to dish out, benefit the narcissist and not have any thoughts, needs or feelings of their own. Victims are also not supposed to criticize a narcissist or say their behavior is wrong, hurtful, bad, etc. Doing any of the above or something that does not benefit the narcissist creates a narcissistic injury, which can create an ugly narcissistic rage.
One way many narcissists vent their rage is by creating a smear campaign. A smear campaign is when they try to ruin their victim’s good name to anyone who will listen. It can be very obvious or it can be done more subtly, under the guise of concern. “I just don’t know about my daughter. She’s acting so strange lately. She’s always been mentally unstable though. Did I ever tell you that she used to do drugs? I wonder if she’s doing them again.” (never mind the fact she never has been mentally unstable or did drugs in her life..)
Although it is often done out of anger, the smear campaign also can be a preventative tactic. Sometimes (albeit rarely), a narcissist realizes their actions went too far, and the victim is angry. Before the victim can tell people what the narcissist has done, the narcissist tells people the victim is abusive, crazy, on drugs, a liar, or other lies. This is done to discredit the victim to others, so if the victim speaks against the narcissist, no one will believe the victim.
Or, before introducing a victim to other people, the narcissist tells those people about the victim’s supposed problems or flaws. My ex husband did this with his mother. Before we moved in with his parents, he told his mother to watch how she talked to me because I was over sensitive. A few months after moving in with them, she told me this, and said, “I don’t know what he was talking about. I don’t see that in you at all.” I too was confused. Only years later did I realize why he said that. It was a preventative measure. He knew we would fight (as we often did), and if I said anything to his mother, if she thought I was oversensitive, she would not take my complaints seriously. She would think I was exaggerating or overreacting.
Smear campaigns can be incredibly frustrating and painful! It hurts having people you know and love believe the lies the narcissist spreads about you or even try to tell you how wrong you are where the narcissist is concerned.
There are no easy ways to deal with smear campaigns, unfortunately. You cannot make any person believe what you would like them to believe. (Narcissists can, only because they are very skilled manipulators). There are some things you can do though.
Do not defend yourself against smear campaigns. Instead, let your true self shine. People watch how others behave, so hopefully when they see what a good person you are, they will realize they were lied to. If they continue to believe the narcissist’s lies, at least you know this person truly does not care about you and you can respond accordingly.
Never show your anger or hurt in front of those who have been lied to about you, because it only will prove to them that the narcissist is right and you are unstable, moody, crazy or whatever was said about you. Instead, remain calm around these people, then vent later when out of their company.
Think of the situation this way – people who blindly believe someone over you really are not your friends anyway. People who truly love you will not listen to someone talk badly about you. They will question the person saying such things and defend you to that person. In a way, smear campaigns are a good thing because they are a very effective way to filter out your true friends from the not so good friends.
Most of all, pray. Ask God to show you what you need to do, how to do it and to give you the ability to do whatever it is you need to do.