A few years back I struck up a new friendship with someone that I had always admired. It was going along nicely until I realized that she was also friends with someone that was instrumental in executing a full blown smear campaign on me almost 10 years before. I had successfully cut this toxic person out of my life back then, but not before I sent myself to see a counsellor for help. I was emotionally devastated by this event and had no idea how to cope with the havoc this person injected into my life.
This person was so heinously duplicitous, I actually believed he was one of my best friends, when in reality he was secretly undermining and dismantling every corner he could weasel his way into.
When I said something about it to her it was my intention to quietly bow out of our online friendship, so I could avoid having any contact with someone I considered to be a malignant sociopath. As sweet as I believed my new friend to be, I could not understand what she saw in this person. I also could not understand or accept the flirtatious way she associated with him online. It made me physically ill to watch it.
When I broached the subject the first time she informed me “Don’t worry about him! I know he’s a bad person and I don’t like him either, but if I delete him now he’s going to ask why I did it and I’d be throwing you under the bus when I told him it was because I was friends with you now.”
I could not believe what I was hearing, but I did not pursue the subject with her. Evidently she was truly clueless about the sinister nature of this person she allowed a window into her life. For starters, this guy wouldn’t care one fig about her reasons for deleting him. If he had a caring bone in his body…I MIGHT STILL BE FRIENDS WITH THE JACKHOLE! Secondly, why exactly would I be the one thrown under the bus by her? I wasn’t sure I even wanted to ask her that question, but the fact that she would keep her friendship with me a secret and not be inclined to stand up for me if he did confront her, was the first red flag and I should have paid more attention to it.
I stuck to my plan of quietly exiting this part of my friendship with her, much to her chagrin.
She persisted in trying to convince me to stay the course by telling me that it would give her a chance to show him what a loyal friend she was to me. “I was going to tag you in a post the other day, just to show them, but I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable.” Wow! Ya think? Do you think that might have made me uncomfortable? Especially when I was trying my level best not to become a target again?
Besides the fact I was not a dog and pony show for her to parade around. “Hey! Lookit! I’m friends with that girl you hate so much! See? I like her now!”
Um, no thanks.
When she realized I was adamant about being released from the online nightmare, she pulled out all the stops and admitted to me that back then, she had participated in the smear campaign against me. “But see?! I like you now! So it’s all good!” She had never met me, had never even laid eyes on me, but she gossiped about me and spread rumors, just like this guy did. Fortunately for me, she told me that one of the people she gossiped to was a good friend to me and he advised her that she had no right to say anything at all about me because she didn’t even know who I was. He had told her to shut up.
I sat there stunned.
If she had taken a sledgehammer to my face, it would have had the same effect. I could feel the delicate bones in my cheeks crunch beneath bloodied flesh as she continued bashing me in the face with her reasoning to keep me in an online situation that sent chills down my spine. Her gleeful confession of the fact that she had maligned and disparaged me sent me careening for the exit. Was she truly so clueless that she had no idea what she had just told me?
HELLO?!! YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!
I felt like I was in one of those science fiction movies where you put on the special sunglasses and suddenly you can see what the alien’s face really looks like.
It felt like being raped over and over again. Hey! Let’s relive this horror show from your past just for shits and giggles! You should be so thankful to be my friend that kissing my ass right now would be a great idea! I’m such a GOOD person for liking you! Right?!
I proceeded as planned and removed myself from her grasp online. I had even told her I was doing it and that I wished to take our friendship out of the online spotlight. I was hoping there wouldn’t be any fallout. I truly hoped she and I would continue a friendship. I thought I knew her well enough that a smear campaign was beneath her, but I was prepared for the worst. I have realized that you never truly know anyone anymore.
Just like a well oiled machine, after sending me numerous notes the weeks leading up to the online deletion about how much she “loved” me, I get the hate note from her calling me names for deleting her. She then executed an online smear campaign by denouncing me on her Facebook page, in front of the jerk I was escaping, and all of our mutual friends. Not to mention that from the sound of the comments, she had already been maligning me to her colleagues and her family because everyone seemed to know exactly who and what she was talking about.
It was the textbook behavior of a malignant narcissist.
I wasn’t that surprised.
I had kind of expected it.
At least I was prepared.
Been there, done that a few times already.
Yeah, with that kind of love, who really needs to make enemies?
Isn’t that sad?
I wasn’t willing to continue being in a situation that caused me high anxiety, especially when I had worked so hard to eliminate the thorny presence of this person. A good friend would have understood my discomfort and kept my friendship secure in an offline arena. She and I talked on the phone and knew each other in real life socially. This wouldn’t have been a big leap for her to make on my behalf.
A good friend will never ask you to continue in a situation that hurts you just to make them look good, or magnanimous, or caring. When she knew I had no desire to make my presence known, she should have allowed me to make my exit with grace and acceptance. Demanding that I stay just to “show” him, was mean and self serving.
Once I knew she had participated in his smear campaign, I should have ended my connection to her without another word.
She had no idea who I was back then and yet, she felt superior enough to laugh and spew sewage at my expense? Who does that? My trust in her friendship went flying out the window that day. Those actions did not endear her to me like she planned. I didn’t fall all over myself thanking her for throwing me a bone by being my friend. I wasn’t pathetic with gratitude. No, by then I was royally pissed off that she had deceived me.
This is what a smear campaign does to bystanders like her, that become active disciples of the sociopath.
Bystanders that listen to and believe the narcissist/sociopath’s lies and deceit, when he/she is actively building his campaign against someone, become his/her disciples. Many disciples can exhibit the same toxic behavior eventually in their own relationships with people that threaten them, because they know how well it worked for him.
It’s a vicious circle and it’s one I aim to avoid, at all costs.
I’m sure she’s made contact with him by now and I’m sure she has shared everything I told her. I hope they can both wallow in it and feel good about themselves for hurting someone that never did a thing to hurt them. It’s what they deserve. They deserve to have friends that are just like them.
Do I miss her friendship? No, sadly I do not. Had she behaved normally and not manifested narcissistic traits towards the ending of my friendship with her, I might miss her. But today I am just relieved she’s gone and that I never have to deal with her or any of this sordid reminder again. I left that behind me and that is exactly where it will stay.
The next time someone comes to you from a circle of folks that went out of their way to hurt you in the past and this person is seeking your friendship, take heed. Keep them at arm’s length and play your cards close to your vest. I’m not saying you will experience the same disappointments that I did, but I can guarantee that this person was part of the problem. Whether or not they are interested in making amends depends heavily on how they behave and who they keep close to them. If they are still friendly with the narcissist or the sociopath that caused you grief before, then rest assured that this “friend” has an ulterior motive and your comfort, friendship and well being, is not a concern for them at all.
And don’t be paranoid about everyone that knows the sociopath. Just because they know them, doesn’t make them a disciple. Don’t miss out on good people in the process of protecting yourself.
If you do get tangled up with someone you suspect is a disciple, you are better off just smiling and telling them “Not today!” and then turn your back and walk proudly and safely back into a future free of the nuance and duplicity of being friends with a sociopath’s disciple.
There are so many lovely and healthy people out there waiting to be your friend. Go out and meet them and leave the problems in the past, where they belong.
- Friendship: No response is a response of sorts (thefriendshipblog.com)
- Thirty Two Days of No Contact (recoveredannie.wordpress.com)
- What ever happened to friendship? (tesmaeili07.wordpress.com)
- 2 things (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Friendship (anchoredministry.wordpress.com)
- Obsession on Finding Out Why Me? (recoveredannie.wordpress.com)
- What’s Popping: Real Friendship (laurenperezmaiy.wordpress.com)
- The fine line between integrity and solving other people’s problems (sayinganythingatall.wordpress.com)
- Am I overreacting or is my friend a narcissist? (ask.metafilter.com)