What to do about the narcissist’s smear campaign

7 minute read

‘Aaaaargh, what can I do to stop the narcissist’s smear campaign? There must be a way to end this nightmare!?’

Is this where you’re at right now?

The unfairness of it! The cruelty!

Not only are you reeling from the devastation of the abuse suffered directly at the hands of the narcissist, but you are now facing their indirect and equally damaging rampage as they get busy behind your back.

It doesn’t entirely surprise you that the narcissist has embarked on this calculated and methodical campaign to discredit and isolate you even further. You are no stranger to their mercilessness.

What is beyond comprehension is that you are losing people who are important to you. People you desperately need at this time in recovering from narcissistic abuse and who ordinarily, you would be able to reach for in hard times for comfort. Yet now, they are turning away from you.

How can it be that the narcissist has gotten to your people, and that astonishingly, some appear to be swallowing every bit of poison they are being fed?

You frantically think to yourself ‘I’ve just got to find a way to stop the narcissist’s smear campaign…what can I do’? This article aims to help you work out your answer.

For more info about smear campaigns as a narcissistic strategy, read Narcissists and smear campaigns: Why they do it.

isolation from narcissist smear campaigns

So, what can you do to stop the narcissist’s smear campaign?

The Kamikaze approach

Instinctively, you want to rectify the situation, right the wrongs being done to you, and prove the truth. Of course you do!

You may even want a little retribution (although if revenge is your thing, I recommend reading Are you looking for ways to punish the narcissist? before launching your attack).

You may be thinking…

  1. ‘I’m going to go kamikaze on that horrendous excuse for a human being, they won’t know what hit them’…or….
  2. ‘How about I give you a little of your own medicine! I’m going to contact your family, friends…oh, no that’s right you don’t have all that many left…ok, I’ll contact whoever I can, and tell them the truth about that false façade everyone believes in!’….or….
  3. ‘All these lies are slander, defamation! I’ll see you in court!!’

No one would blame you for considering any of these options. Or for following through on them. And depending on what is happening, the legal avenue may genuinely be needed.

But gorgeous one, in this situation, I urge you to fight your natural impulse to react.

In this situation, the best thing to do, is, well, nothing.

I know, I know, this goes against every single fibre in your body!

But before you do anything, consider the outcomes of going kamikaze versus going Zen.

Kamikaze outcome 1: Oh, the supply you will be handing over!

Reacting in any way at all to the smear is precisely what the narcissist is hoping for.

You must remember that your reactions, whether positive or negative, are what they feast on.

And it is irrelevant whether you react directly to the narc or not. In fact, by arguing your case with the flying monkeys (check Glossary for terminology refreshers), the narcissist is tickled pink. In doing so, you are actively contributing to your very own smear campaign by energising stories further!

Additionally, your engagement in the narcissist’s game signals you are still available for their supply. The narc knows as long as they can elicit reactions, they retain power and control over you. And the more supply is handed over, the longer their interest in you as their plaything endures.

Until you stop feeding the beast, you will never be free from the cycle of narcissistic abuse (read Why is it so hard to leave an abusive relationship with a narcissist? & Why narcissistic abuse & trauma bonding is so powerful for codependents on why breaking the cycle is critical).

Of greatest importance gorgeous one, is the longer you are exposed to narcissistic trauma (whether directly from them or through triangulations & flying monkeys), the longer you place your healing on hold.

Kamikaze outcome 2: Defending yourself backs their case, not yours

Let’s be real, you are mad as hell. And hurting deeply. Because of these realities, your reactions are necessarily going to be emotionally charged, and of course, defensive. This is after all, what wanting to clear your name is all about.

This is where the abusive narcissist’s Machiavellian cunning comes to the fore!

Defending yourself in an emotionally reactive way, sadly, tends to reinforce rather than assist in quelling lies told.

Arguments mounted from an agitated, subjective, and outraged position rarely neutralise anything. In the event of the smear campaign it is even less likely.

Instead, it tends to lend weight to the falsities spread by the narcissist. I’m sure you can imagine their glee as they exclaim…‘See how she froths with fury! She is out of control!’ or ‘Uh-huh, I told you he simply will not accept it is over’.

Rather than convincing anyone you’re once again being screwed over by the narcissist’s pathological rage and envy, you end up supporting the narcissists arguments about you, on these very same issues.

Do not fuel the machinations of the campaign!

The Zen approach: The power of dignity & integrity

Here’s the thing. You know the smearing is toxic. You know it is ugly.

how to stop the narcissists smear campaign and their poison?

Refusing to stoop to their level allows you to uphold your integrity and your dignity. Pursuing your best life of freedom & joy necessitates an active commitment to positivity.

Not one moment spent in the malicious cesspit created by the narcissist will bring you anything positive.

Doing nothing, and steadfastly declining to sully yourself by staying silent, is a powerful message to all involved.

Those hearing the rumours and falsehoods (well those who have half a brain anyways), eventually will realise the incongruence of your composure, dignity, and integrity with the picture of you as the mentally unstable and abusive monster.

In doing nothing, in not reacting, you have surfaced the truth.

Additionally, by not responding, the narcissist recognises that their spell is broken, they have lost all power & control over you. You have let go and the cycle of abuse is not a place you will revisit. Doing nothing is a massive step forward in seizing your freedom.

And to your own sweet self, you are reclaiming unapologetically your power and standing firmly in the knowledge of your worth. Though initially you may resist staying silent, the decision will foster exponential growth for your self-belief and self-respect.

After all, you are stating very clearly to yourself and all others, the only opinion of yourself that really matters, is yours.

As it should be.

Bridging the gap between kamikaze & Zen mindsets

Undoubtedly, the situation is a bitter pill to swallow, hence the unavoidable resistance to doing nothing until the power of dignity & integrity begins to weave its magic.

Here are some things to reflect on to help you get on board the Zen train.

Acceptance

From the very outset in meeting the narcissist, you have been steadily moving towards this situation.

At some point in abusive relationships with narcissists, whether with intimate partners, family, friends, or colleagues, they inevitably reach into their bag of tricks and pull out the smear campaign to manipulate, control and punish.

You know this. Indeed you will have experienced it. Whether aimed squarely at you, or in the role of confidante prior to becoming the target, you know this is their bag.

Recall those sob stories about the exes who were all crazy/jealous/unfaithful/addicted, or how in their opinion, your family/friends are bad for you because of blah blah blah, etc.? Yep, you do know.

And it’s happening. Now, to you.

In reality, there is nothing you can do to stop the narcissist from rolling out the smear campaign.

Additionally (and I’m so sorry for the utter injustice of this), there is absolutely nothing that can be done about people listening, nor the heartbreaking fact, that some people will believe the lies.

It is beyond your control. Accept this.

Loss as opportunity

One of the hardest things with the smear is coming to grips with people turning against you. Acceptance on this front is H.A.R.D.

An opportunity though presents itself in hitting this lonely place that feels a lot like rock bottom. Losing everything (as I know so many of you have from narcissistic abuse), means you get to rebuild a life that you love: your very best life.

There is no room in a life of freedom & joy for those who are easily swayed by fabrications about who you are, for the sake of fleeting drama.

Those who know your character, your history, your identity, yet still choose to hop on the narcissist’s bandwagon are just not worth your lovely self.

You are not a juicy titbit, or story to be chewed on for fun. This is your one, precious life being toyed with. Completely not OK in any way, shape or form.

Weeding out toxic people is a fundamental step in designing your best life. Every person you lose from the lies told, are necessary losses for your passage to your best life where freedom & joy awaits. No matter how much you might want these people to be part of your journey.

You cannot simultaneously keep darkness in your life and seize the light that is waiting for you.

Those who remain firm in their knowledge of who you are, are gold. These are the keepers, the joy bringers that are definitely a part of that best life of yours.

Leaving the rabbit hole behind

Gorgeous one, you’ve learnt this terrible lesson a thousand times over.

To engage in any way with the campaign, the narcissist, or any of their newly recruited flying monkeys, is to fall deeply into that rabbit hole of madness worthy of Alice in her Wonderland.

Except that it isn’t such a place of wonder. You know this all too well from the narcissistic abuse you have already suffered, time and time again. You know it only leads to darkness and pain.

Let the horror of the smear campaign serve as a concrete reminder of the narcissist’s capacity for cruelty. Mark it up now in your mind and let it serve as an antidote to any potential future moments of weakness when you are in danger of being hoovered back in.

No more.

You simply do not have the time nor energy for any more spiralling downwards because of the  narcissist.

The narcissistic abuse you have endured has drained almost every drop of your precious vitality.

Whatever you have left, you must greedily store away for your own self and healing.

Again. No more.

Cut your losses. Set yourself free. Walk proudly with dignity, integrity, and your ‘joy bringers’ in the direction of your very best life.

free yourself from the rabbit hole of narcissistic abuse

As always gorgeous ones, please share your insights, tips and experiences on the narcissist and smear campaigns. The more we share, the more we teach one another and help those in need to take their step towards freedom.

With gratitude,

Maggie x

bir4d

 

Hungry for more?

As with most topics I write on that expose the ugliness of true NPD (at the malignant end of the spectrum), I recommend the following key works on malignant narcissism/ Antisocial Personality Disorder’d (APD) individuals: The Sociopath Next Door by Dr, Martha Stout, and Psychopath Free by Jackson Mackenzie. Check them out, they are eye openers on spotting those to stay away from, and how to protect yourself. Mackenzie’s  work also explores the path to healing. Read up now!

(If using link/s provided to purchase, you’ll receive free shipping and titles heavily discounted. You’ll also be supporting my work in providing you free resources on this site, by earning a very small commission, at no extra cost to you – thank you 😊)

28 thoughts

  1. I absolutely love reading your posts. Truth without harshness, reality in small doses, understanding that provides relief to me and others who have been trying to get over lives with narcs. It is much needed and appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Dear Cheryl…thank you! Getting over the impact of narcissistic abuse is haaaard. To hear that some small relief can be found is entirely what motivates me. Your words mean a great deal to me. Sending you so much love & light, & speed in recovering Cheryl. With gratitude, Maggie x

    2. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve grown up with an alcoholic narcissist as a mother and in cutting contact, she has tried to ruin my life by attacking me, my husband and even involving my two year old son. I have given her no reason to carry on for the past year yet she still continues with the smearing campaign. We have had to start making plans to leave the country just to get away from her. We have lost all our friends as my sister has been promoted to golden child and now assists her with this smear campaign. We have been advised to take legal action, what would your advice be?

      1. Dear Jones Family, this is so very hard. I feel you. Very much so. What do you think you can do? Or are more inclined to do? Moving to another country and taking legal action are two very different approaches. The former will likely give you a modicum of peace fairly quickly, however at a high personal cost for all of you in the family. Whereas legal action will require BIG tenacity & the will to fight. A different kind of peace would be present in this scenario & would involve high financial cost (to be honest, also a high personal cost). No advice can be given without an understanding of what the priorities are for you & your family. I have done both, so know from experience that the right thing to do really can only be based on values & the need/intent. I am so sorry you are facing this decision, and wish you & your family all the light & love that should always have been yours. Maggie x

  2. All true but so difficult to digest emotionally. My adult children have been groomed by their narc father. They are the BEST thing I have done and where I can heal, but they are not available to me. I have twice let my guard down and without blame just set the truth before them about the violation of the separation agreement. I said their father had a disorder and he was helpless to stop himself. My children do not acknowledge any of it. That hurts me to my core. I was the one who loved them unconditionally, took care of their emotion needs, was always there for them and they still have an allegence with their narc dad. I have never said hateful things about him. In fact i interpreted his rages to them in a loving manner. I was a good actress! I know they are dealing with betrayal too, but the time it takes for them to acknowledge the elephant in the room is agony……

    1. Dear Kitty – I feel your pain. You are so right, the isolation that comes from narcissistic abuse is just so very difficult. Digesting emotionally, as you say, can be one of the hardest things I think to confront and accept. To my mind, losing people one has always been able to count on, and that one loves especially at a time of great need, is a trauma in itself. You sound like you have great wisdom though in knowing that your children will come around, and you will hold steady until that comes. I’m sorry that this is needed, it is extremely unfair. Light & love to you Kitty in your journey. Maggie x

    2. Kitty, I am right there with you! I am in the exact same situation and it is unbelievable that anyone could be so selfish as to harm our children for their own gain. Especially when we were the caretakers of our children and pour our hearts and souls into them. What I find even more extremely selish is the flying monkeys who assists the NARC in abusing any child’s mother. When you abuse a mother….you in turn abuse her children. I cannot understand how others cannot see this is the end result. It seems you have your head on straight and are a very strong person.

      I unfortunately fell pray time and time again to “reacting” to the extreme cruelty (he set me up to be taken advange of, which really amounted to rape, so it would look like I was cheating on him). Sadly, that isn’t the worst of what he did. My profound faith and my love for my children has been the only thing that has kept me going. I will not give up on believing that as I heal and am able to regain my dignity within myself, my children will begin to see the truth. I don’t really care about anyone else.

      Stay strong and know that you are not alone. I pray for each of us and our children always. I feel like the biggest victims of all are our chidren, and that’s what hurts the most. Not our own loss, but theirs. The loss of the loving parent who truly had their best interest at heart.

      1. Dear notgivingup. Your words brought tears to my eyes. Let me say that the roaring courage, strength and love for your children I hear resounding from your words will make ALL the difference for your babes as they walk through life. I’m so very sorry for the pain you are facing, and completely bowled over by the magnificence of your love for them.
        I thank you for sharing of yourself here on behalf of all the readers in the Narc Wise community who struggle with this same hardship, and for all the children/adults who are from a family system where pathological narcissism is present.
        Dear notgivingup, may I also make comment on your seflessness needing some very self-full attention as well. One cannot pour from an empty cup, they say and these are indeed words of wisdom.
        Separately there is much in you that deserves big time love. Make sure you invest in giving yourself some of this as well. You are so very gorgeous. With humble gratitude for your wisdom, and oodles of light & love to you, Maggie x

  3. Waiting prayerfully for our children to come around from their narc mother… just trying to stay calm and love unconditionally in small bits of time

    1. Dear Someone, I’m sorry you need to love your children is small bits of time – they are so very lucky though that you offer them unconditional love. This will be their saving grace. All the very best to you Someone, sending you much joy. Maggie x

  4. Thank You Maggie!!! Your advice on how to handle smear campaigns is So right on the money ..precious & priceless!!! And..a well needed reminder not to feed the narc!!! Thank you so much! Your wisdom is Beautiful! Xoxo, CW💕

    1. Dear CW, thank you for your kind message. I am so glad it was a helpful read. I’m assuming you are at the receiving end of a smear campaign to have read this article – if so, I’m so sorry you’ve been targeted. Yes! No feeding the narc! It sounds like you’ve totally got this. Kudos gorgeous one. Light & love to you. Maggie x

  5. My narcissister smear campaigned me and our brothers in Feb 2018 but I didn’t know at the time what it was. I didn’t know about narcissism, flying monkeys, smear campaigning etc. I just knew this was really weird, mean, and these people, her friends, were falling for her spin. I call her Miss Spider she spins her web well.Anyway, it hurt like hell.

    I remember crying at work after reading what her friends (some also narcs) wrote. She had her flying monkey friends do the dirty work. One of them I am sure is a narc too so he was particularly vicious. She let that nasty post sit on FB for months. My first mistake, in ignorance, I responded.

    My response was not kamikaze or emotional. It was rather an essay-like response, but it was a response just the same which is always narci-fuel. After I learned not to respond I just unfriended her and blocked her ass.

    But before my enlightenment I just knew something was really off about her and blamed it on her drinking. But everything was always all about her so I googled something like: “Alcoholism vs narcissism” to see which is was. It was obvious narcissism. Then I went on a reading binge and learned everything I could about covert narcissists. She’s classic.

    I found this site only after she made contact with me the other day in an attempt to Hoover me back into her web. Oh, the crocodile tears. “I miss you, little sister.” “I love you.” “Do you still love ME?”

    1. Dear laura r Williams, aaaaargh! The family narc. The sense of abandonment and betrayal when it is from one’s family-of-origin is almost unbearable. It sounds like you’ve come such a long way in just one year on your healing journey. You sound in control. You sound, as you say, enlightened. Still, I am sorry. For the hurt and the pain of your sister. Stay strong in your truth gorgeous one. You’ve got this. Light & love to you. Maggie x

  6. Hello,
    My husband and I are suffering from a smear campaign brought on by our covert narc daughter-in-law. This has been going on for 9 years. We have never reacted and we have never attempted to convince anyone she has recruited as her flying monkeys to see her for who she is. We know it’s pointless. We are now estranged from our son due to her master manipulative tactics to undermine us. We will never accept disrespect from anyone to save a relationship. The stakes will only keep getting higher.
    From research I’ve read that it’s best to simply stay quiet and never engage or react so as not to fuel the narc.
    Is it possible to tell a narc they have a leak in their network of flying monkeys and the undermining and devaluing comments have come back to us? From there we would shut the conversation down completely and walk out. Can we do this?

    1. Dear Petunia, I’m so sorry you are experiencing this. It is the hardest, most unfair situation. Particularly within the family, and with this impacting on your relationship with your son. I wonder whether if there is a leak and the information is coming back to you that people are starting to wake up to the reality of the situation? If so, it may be unnecessary to let your D-i-L know that you know. In that things may be working themselves out, although probably not at the speed with which they should. In terms of doing so – what are you wanting to achieve from doing this? I’m assuming it is to have the D-i-L to stop? In my experience, this doesn’t happen (this doesn’t mean though that it couldn’t work – it does depend very much on whether this individual has NPD or some other personality disorder or not). As you say, the stakes only escalate. Bizarrely, denial seems to be contagious, & even those monkeys who have attested to certain things end up backing the narc ‘that never happened’, ‘I never said that’, ‘they never said that’ etc. These points are made on the premise & assumption that you are wanting to expose their nature in order for them to stop. If your intention is different, for example, wanting to simple express what you know irrespective of any outcome that might ensue, then none of this is relevant. You would likely need to be prepared for all hell to set loose though. Shutting the conversation down may not work – still walking away from what isn’t serving you is empowering. Not a very cut & dry response I’m afraid because it does depend on the individual & the situation, and what you want. Trust your gut. Be true to you & you will know what you need to do. Light & love to you Petunia. I do hope you find some peace in your family soon. Maggie x

  7. Do you believe it’s possible to live in the same community as the narc and their family and survive a smear campaign? If the narc’s family runs the town (the industry I’m in)? I moved far away a number of years ago to get away from them but have not been happy here. The only way I think I could move back is if I totally changed careers. 🙁 Thoughts welcome.

    1. Dear Sedona. It is possible, absolutely. In your message you say you want to move because you are not happy where you are now. Gorgeous one, will you be happy if you move back? I would think that this depends on where you are at on your healing journey. Will you be triggered in that environment? If so, how will this align with happiness? If you are no longer triggered & their actions will be of no consequence to you emotionally & mentally, then with very firm boundaries it could work for you? Only you know dear one. Another alternative is to look at other places that may be more fulfilling for you? What about visiting for a time and seeing how you feel? This should give you insight as to whether it will work for you. Whatever choice you make, take care of you gorgeous one. Light & love to you Sedona. Maggie x

  8. This is such a powerful and true post. Ignore them and act with dignity and respect at all times, no matter what. It is painful to the very core of your being, but so worth it in the end.

    1. Dear Diane. You are so right: it is indeed so very painful, indeed almost soul crushing; yet there is such empowerment, healing & self-replenishment in refusing to jump on that hamster wheel that goes nowhere. Stepping off & treading one’s own path with dignity & knowledge of truth…whilst completely unjust…is the only avenue in this scenario to finding freedom & peace. It’s also a clear commitment to the self that NO games, NO threats, NO manipulations will sway one’s path again. Those days are done. Irrefutably. If this is the path you are treading dear Diane – kudos. This is no mean feat. I salute your immense fortitude & clarity of heart, mind & soul. Good things are surely coming your way gorgeous one. Maggie x

  9. Hi Maggie, I’ve been a victim of my mothers covert narcissistic behaviour for the majority of my life, but have just recently discovered what she is. I moved 8 hours away for my undergrad and moved closer to home for work about three years ago. Since moving back, my life has been hell, with my physical and mental health suffering as a result of her antics. Five months ago (December), I confronted her with abusive behaviour from my teenage years and was indefinitely given the silent treatment through our private chat. During that time, she sent us a Christmas card, a handmade birthday card (March), paid for my wedding dress, and bombarded my public Facebook page with nice comments, saying how much she loves and misses me. I now know that this is called “love-bombing”. In mid-March, after realizing that she had no intention of taking accountability for her actions, I wrote to say that some of her wedding responsibilities were being removed. Still, radio silence. Shortly after we’d sent out our invitations I received word that my mom had been running a giant smear campaign against me, trying to convince my entire family to boycott our wedding. Dealing with the flying monkeys has been crippling but I’m learning who has my back and who doesn’t deserve to be in my life. We’re getting married in just over a month (June) and never could have imagined that we’d be dealing with this nightmare. I went no-contact when I heard the news and know that I’ll never be happy if she’s in my life.

    I truly believe that knowledge is power and have been reading everything about narcissism to help me understand and heal from the abuse. I have to say that your articles are the best that I’ve come across and have provided me with a lot of insight. I will for sure be responding more with zen going forward. Thank you so much for your work and for making me feel not so alone in this battle to reclaim my life and sanity.

    1. Dear CJ, congratulations on your upcoming wedding gorgeous one! Let this be your focus. Your start with your partner, and celebrating the love you have for one another. Nobody should be seeking to taint this for you. I know this is hard but…DO NOT LET THEM. As you note, whilst learning who doesn’t deserve to be in your life is crippling (and it truly is isn’t it gorgeous one), knowing who really does have your back, who would never taint your joy, and who clearly loves you, is gold. Focus on these bods, and your special day. As hard & tight as you can, and enjoy every single second. I’m sorry you’ve had to tackle all of this, and for the pain you have experienced. Kudos on deciding no more. Sounds like you have many new starts happening. Embrace them. May your wedding day surpass even your wildest dreams, full of light, laughter & big, big love dear CJ. Maggie x

  10. 6 years, 6 years ago I left my abusive narc ex and to this day ive felt nothing but fear. we have a son and ive always acted in a way to ‘keep the narc happy’ because ive been afraid of what will happen if I don’t please him. first court case for access to our son after I left him left me in a heap on the floor. as I had only told his mum about the abuse I didn’t have a leg to stand on…why? because she denied me ever telling her anything.
    4 years on and he has been having regular contact with our son, and it was going ok until my son said his dad was abusing him. my world fell apart. his dad on the other hand has went on a fully fledged smear campaign sending a 30 page statement to the court about how bad and crazy I am? how I lie about everything and he wants my son to live with him.
    he manipulated my own mother into believing I was lying and she believed him! I’m sick of having to justify myself to people, but today I’ve had a urika moment! the worry and fear I feel, its his issues being mirrored onto me, I don’t need to feel this, I’ve done nothing wrong. and I will walk into that court room with my head held high, as I am telling the truth. I will walk away from anyone who doesn’t have my back and start to heal and help my son to heal.
    thank you for helping me in the first step of my healing process

  11. There is a petition called Lilith’s Law to make narcissistic abuse a crime. Go to the website and endorse the petition. You can request to remain anonymous. Red Flange #192 Lilith’s Law Petition. Just short of 120 signatures needed to send it to Congress.

  12. Hi,
    Thank you for this article, we are dealing with an ex that’s narcissistic. The problem is that she does the smear campaign constantly, but with the kids. We try to show the kids constantly how you should treat others and we don’t discuss her or things that are going on with them. We constantly support her and her new partner, don’t pressure them or put them in the middle. But as I said she keeps using the kids as a way to get to us. How do we deal with that? We are getting scared about her pressuring the kids to want to start just living with her. We don’t want to loose our kids and certainly think it will be very unhealthy for them to live with her full time. Any advice?

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