Telling Your Side versus a Narcissistic Smear Campaign

There is a big difference between telling your side of the story and a Narcissistic Smear Campaign.

Telling your side of the story simply states facts. There is no need to share jabs or insults and it looks like this:

“I stopped talking to her because I was tired of the constant bullying and manipulation. A year later she posts this mean song all over the Internet, uses my name and identifies me. The song is her attempt to humiliate and ridicule me. It is classic cyberbullying and it’s against the law. I have asked her over and over to leave me alone. I’m not interested in fighting or continuing to engage her on any level, but she continues to watch me online and post attacks.”

A Narcissistic Smear Campaign looks like this:

“I stood up to this relative and there was a war of personal destruction waged on me as a result. However the goat metaphor was so funny that I could not help but write a song about it. I mean who calls somebody a goat? It made me laugh and laugh.”

What exactly is a Narcissistic Smear Campaign?

A Narcissistic Smear Campaign is the effort of an individual to ruin someone by embellishing the truth and/or simply spreading unkind and untrue rumors about them. The campaign is their attempt to humiliate the object of their obsession possibly with hope the person will come crawling back to them in order to get them to stop, or as an effort to control how other people involved will view the situation in their favor and also gang up against the Narcissist’s victim.

Malignant Narcissists will also employ the following tactics in their rage against their victim:

  • Initiating contact with mutual friends to ask them to join their campaign against the victim.
  • Continuing to escalate the attack by widely posting insults and jabs in public online forums in an attempt to engage the victim.
  • Actively seeks out and befriends or engages anyone the bully might perceive as being an enemy of the victim too.
  • Continuing to campaign against the victim long after the victim has stopped participating.
  • Eventually assuming a pious posture while claiming the victim deserves to be treated poorly.

I have seen this same turn of events played out so many times that I am no longer surprised by it. They spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing and executing every detail in an effort to destroy the victim and their credibility.

The pious posture is what I find most interesting. They all eventually hold themselves up high and mighty as if their prolonged bullying of a person  is somehow the right thing to do. “Watch me as I continue to pound on this person that won’t talk to me!! 

Do the bullies honestly think that the people that have watched this unfold, whether they feign unity with the bully or not, seriously find anything about what the bully has done to another human being, to be any kind of holy?

I don’t think so. In fact, I guarantee that 100% of them are tucking it in a bit after watching this scene. They know that to piss the bully off means they can expect the same to happen to them. The bully has shown their true colors and everyone can see them now. They aren’t pretty and they are definitely not the kind of behavior anyone can be proud of.

Responding back to a bully with just as much hatred doesn’t make you the better person and it only fuels the fire of a person that is already smoldering. Why fan those flames?

The difference between telling your side of the story versus a narcissistic smear campaign is that you can not care about anyone, or justify your actions as heroic, when your actions clearly show that your main interest is destroying another human being.

Think about that.


About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice, Personal Boundaries Primer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Telling Your Side versus a Narcissistic Smear Campaign

  1. silkred says:

    I so totally fell into this trap and the looser narcissist in my life twisted my defensive remarks and even my apologies together with my appeals for him to leave me alone in order to have me efficiently ostracised from my peers.. None of the others will comment, the narcissist made a new forum and off they trotted… Game over. He still attacks me.. Any time I am visible in public he will act out some form of attack.. I’m close to taking it all to the police.. I’m fed up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you feel that your life is in danger, do not hesitate to call the police. And make sure you CUT OFF ALL CONTACT. That is key.


      • Jeff says:

        I agree with cutting off all contact. I will say though that with regards to the article above, I agree with everything written except for the suggestion that people witnessing a smear campaign will denounce it. Some may actually see what is going on and choose not to engage as to avoid blow back from the narcissist/sociopath, but I think that many narcissists/sociopaths are so good at deceiving the average person that many people truly believe the narcissist/sociopath is the victim of the “abuse” they claim in the smear campaign. My father is a narcissist who engaged in a smear campaign against my wife and I with both sides of my family because I wouldn’t let him take advantage of my wife and I regarding a business decision. He managed to convince both sides of my family that I was victimizing him with my no contact before I even realized a smear campaign was under way. He did just as good of a job under cutting my credibility in the smear campaign to the point that not ONE person on either side of my family will ask me about what happened, and no one wants to hear about what happened if I initiate that conversation. I am slowly being pushed out. These people are highly manipulative, and VERY good at systematically destroying a person’s relationships and reputations. If anyone has advice on how to counter such a vicious smear campaign, I would love to hear your input. Right now, I am just seriously considering cutting my losses and just moving on with my life. I am MUCH happier and healthier now that I am on no contact anyways.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. silkred says:

    Reblogged this on stuff that goes on cycling to work and commented:
    So true it makes you want to cry.


  3. whine-wine-whatever says:

    Madeline –

    I’m glad both you and Paula have taken pains to point out the difference between sharing your experience vs. a narcissistic hate campaign. Boy, you know, with both narcs and bullies, it’s so easy to get drawn in, to want to defend yourself with the very same actions and words used by the offender, to even the score. So all you’re doing is lowering yourself to their level. What good does it do to intentionally hurt someone with words or actions? I hate to hurt anyone, physically, emotionally, psychologically. But the bullies and the narcs? For some ungodly reason, they take some sick pleasure in it. I’ll never understand.

    I suppose, after reading all the blog entries on this subject, I should be able to offer some words of solace to “silkred,” though I’ve never personally been the object of a bully or narc. Silkred, if you haven’t already, go NOW and slowly read Being Nasty Back only Backfires, linked above, as well as about 25 blog entries here about bullies. Let them give you strength. Let this guy talk to himself. Don’t let yourself react to his ugly words. Cross the street to avoid him. Stand tall — you’ve done nothing wrong. And when you can, tell your story — factually — to your peers. Or find new friends. Don’t get stuck in a me vs them scenario. Soon he’ll be the ostracized one. And if he’s cyberbullying you, take your proof to the police. Be strong.

    P.S. If I’ve misspoken or steered silkred wrong, Madeline, please step in and correct me.


    • Your advice is spot on 🙂 I love your comments because you truly do get it, so Silkred can trust this advice for sure.


    • silkred says:

      I feel this as insightful and strong advice, thank you.

      Knowing this, and pausing before you utter a word, very often and more frequently result in no utterance at all.

      Experience with one of these losers teaches you that any utterance can and often will come back to you somehow. Meaning that any utterance however well thought through or however emotionally connected is simply fuel for their abuse.

      Knowing this is all well and good, being isolated and feeling like you intellectually understand all that I have just said leaves you checked on the great chess board of life. Restricted by moves made long ago, feeling all ways result in punishment, its infuriating.

      However that anger, frustration is so full of dark places, depression and fear that it does not reward any visit with light or love, much less laughter.

      Being strong this is not strength articulated with words or fists or otherwise, no, this is the strength you feel in nature – a flexible stoicism that holds you rooted to your soulful heart, gently sensing its loving ways.

      For me a beautiful emerging quality is that I find in moments where I may have been selfish before I will give space to others, let them go first, smile and be kind, generous with my spirit, I almost cant help it, the little moments when a kindness is acknowledged are my sustenance in these days, they remind me of the joy in humanity.

      Distance me from the jaunty sort of evil born of a malevolent narcissist.


  4. This is very true! Excellent post. 🙂


  5. Kylie says:

    Pondering Spawned sent me to you bc we’ve both written about our experiences with Narcissists, and I’m glad she did! Have you heard about this new study on internet trolls and personality disorders?


    • She had emailed me about you too 🙂 Happy to see you here!!

      I found the article interesting and correct. The problem is how to get rid of the trolls because there are people out there that love nothing better than to encourage them. I was in one group a couple of years ago and the female administrator allowed this one troll to ride roughshod over everyone, including threatening to rape one of the groups members. I left the group shortly after this incident. She allowed the troll to stay in the group though because everyone else found him to be entertaining. Now that’s twisted.


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  8. Harbans says:

    This is the world where we have to face our own problems ourselves. Positive frame of mind just can do anything ultimately.


  9. Brilliant article, these sentences sum it all up. Thank you.

    It’s the ones who feign care about life while simultaneously trying to destroy another’s life.

    You can not care about anyone, or justify your actions as heroic, when your actions clearly show that your main interest is destroying another human being.


    • Thank you Catherine! It always surprises me the number of people that just don’t understand that concept. In order to care about people, you can’t go around destroying them 🙂

      If you haven’t already, please check out Paula’s blog. She has taught me so much about relationships and about being strong and healthy. She rocks!


      • I’ve long believed in the proverb ‘actions speak louder than words.’ Its all very well for someone to tell you they love/ like/ admire you but if they then ignore/ hurt/ make fun of you, that is the true picture.

        I’ll have a read of Paula’s blog 🙂


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  11. Just came across the term “coercive control” which describes the methods that abusers use, very sophisticated, only visible to the victim.


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  14. Iwanttoremainanonymous says:

    I have been subjected to a smear campaign, I am still dealing with the situation, if there is such a thing.
    It started off with my father, he has always shown narcissistic tendencies although he isn’t the worst in the world for it, slowly, he has managed to manipulate my brother to turn against me and my mum seems to be getting there as well now.
    It has gotten to the point where I can’t bare to be in the same house as them. I’m 19 and I have a job lined up in a far away city from the one in which I currently reside. But I am scared that they are going to contact the company in hand and say bad things about me etc.
    I can’t go out in the city that I live in without being recognized and sneered at by total strangers which makes me think that they have circulated pictures of me around or gave out my twitter details etc., and the problem is I have not done anything remotely wrong,I’m no worse than any other teenage guy. When I confront them or even remotely try to bring up the subject they tell me that I am paranoid, to the extent that I now have a counselor.

    I really hope that somebody can help me!


    • It’s truly sad when your own family attacks you, but hang in there. Just because they’re family doesn’t mean you can’t make some strong personal boundaries to keep them in line. Stick with your counselor. Keep personal details to yourself and share nothing with the family that they might use against you. Keep planning to take your new job and move on and away from them. Keep your chin up. You sound like you know who you are and nobody can take that away from you.

      Liked by 1 person

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  19. Foothill says:

    These articles are the best description of the hell my divorced Narcissistic parents have put me through the past few years. The lengths they have gone to to try to ruin my life to save their reputation are unimaginable.


  20. Enough says:

    Not a lot of new information here, only because I sadly recognize this from past experiences. I have been a bully magnet since I was a kid, and reading over the smear campaign elements, I realized these steps have been used on me more than once. I know my narcissistic mother groomed me to be afraid of confrontation and made it almost impossible to defend myself. Before I understood what personality disorders were, I married someone just like her. When we divorced, he not only co opted my best friend from college (who now won’t speak to me), he alienated my son from me as well. Sometimes you can walk away from a really vicious smear campaign, but the scars remain for a lifetime.

    I found this post because once again I am the victim of a smear campaign. Someone who was previously friendly and with whom I had no disagreements (in fact treated more than generously) turned on me out of the blue. I got a call from my landlady at 1:00 in the morning asking why I was planning to sue her (???? I wasn’t). Then I got a demanding email from the bully saying I owed her a large sum of money. When I wrote a terse, businesslike reply stating I had no intention of paying her any money and that any further contact would be considered harassment and handled accordingly, she began calling friends of people I know, again repeating the bit about owing her money and how I was damaging her reputation (I have gone out of my way to ignore her and say nothing about her).

    She has threatened to call the police on me and to turn me into immigration. I live in a small community as an American expat (she is also American but grew up here), and she has no legal grounds to stand on, but given the corruption where I live, I’m not sure I am safe. I have animals and can’t just pack up and leave. In fact, the whole smear campaign started when I moved into my current residence about a month ago. She helped me move, and I suspect her campaign was triggered both by jealousy (my place is the kind of place she has been looking for but cannot afford) and her sniffing out vulnerability in my situation (I live alone, I have few friends, my last landlord took advantage of me, etc.).

    Clearly, I have some “victim stench” that draws bullies to me. A friend who was also bullied when she was young says it’s because I have the qualities these disordered people lack, but I think it’s some behaviors I learned as a child that are still there. With every passing year, I become more and more withdrawn and isolated because it seems like I can’t have more than superficial relationships without somehow giving away my status as a bully magnet. I also live in a place that seems to attract a lot of disordered people and in a culture that allows and even promotes bullying. Any information about making yourself less of a target would be appreciated. Short of just not having relationships, I don’t know what to do. I find myself saying, “I hate people” a lot these days, and I don’t like it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow! This is an outstanding comment and one I hope many readers coming to view this post take the time to read too.

      Removing victim stench may take some time, but it eventually disappears. I promise. As you continue to heal and make better choices, your old skin will shed and you’ll be a brand new and much stronger person for having had this experience. Much love to you from me in the meantime!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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  23. Enough says:

    Thank you! Just having the support of someone who knows what I’m going through means a lot to me. It’s time to break old patterns. I’ve had enough of being a bully magnet!


    • I was so moved by your comment that I wrote an entire post about it. Thank you so much for finding me. You are stronger than you know yet.


      • Enough says:

        You are a gem! Thank you for the support!

        In this week’s installment, Miss HPD “misunderstood” another person’s conversation with her that only tangentially related to me, went with her equally unstable mother to the home of a woman I barely know, interrupted her *anniversary* dinner, and told her (in front of her special needs children and many neighbors) that I was on my way over to hurt her and the kids. She was apparently told by mutual acquaintances who knew I was up to no such thing that her behavior was unacceptable, at which point (classic) she broke down and sobbed because she was a *victim* in all of it.

        The other woman had had an abrupt, mysterious falling out with HPD earlier this year but had no idea how off the rails she is, so initially she believed her, causing quite a disruption in her home. I was told HPD eventually apologized to her and she has “settled down,” but that’s what everyone always thinks, and then she goes off on one of her vendettas again. My guess is she thinks the behavior was wrong because it scared the kids, not because it was an ugly cornucopia of lies and stuff that could get her put in jail in the country where I live (which takes defamation seriously–the upside of corrupt politicians who don’t like to be shredded in the media).

        I have given this no response, other than to the person who told me about the incident. It seems HPD is escalating her campaign and having some sort of break. Her pattern seems to be to retreat for a while and then come back worse than ever. I wish she would get fixated on someone else. This is exhausting. It’s 4:30 in the afternoon, and I could go to bed already.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No response is a good thing. The less you respond, the more time you have to make new friends and leave this drama behind.


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