Archive | 10:37 AM

Narcissistic Smear Campaign

3 Feb

I have been on both sides of the narc for this: The peripheral person being told by a narc how awful someone is (so many people over time!). And I’ve unfortunately been the one that the narc is disparaging.

As a peripheral person, I took everything the narc said at face value-why wouldn’t I? I trusted and admired her, she had never shown herself to be vindictive or a liar. Well actually… she had. But I had only seen the smallest flashes of that behavior or it was many degrees away from me so I didn’t take it very seriously or think it was any kind of pattern. At the time she told me about these other people who did terrible things to her, I thought–Why would her story be fabricated or exaggerated? Whatever person [target, but I didn’t know that at the time] she was referring to obviously acted awful and of course I should be wary of them. And if they were pushed out (of the job, the town, the state) they deserved it, and good riddance. I never questioned this, and never really thought twice about it as a bystander. I didn’t know enough details of any situation to be impartial or objective. I would only hear details in passing, or snippets–and all from the narc. The ousted people were never heard from again-at least in my vicinity.

The assistant, the receptionist, the former best friend, the last professional at work, the new professional at work, the high school VB coach–I heard how all of them did my ex-mentor dirty. Probably more, those are just the ones I can remember more than a decade later. And I didn’t think twice about the veracity of these stories. Now I wonder how much of it was these people just having enough of the games, and drama, and power plays? After dealing with that crap anyone would eventually lose their temper! [I know that now] How much was purely invented by the narc or perpetuated by her? How much was just the person retaliating for something terrible the narc had done to them (that I didn’t know about)?

I’ll never know. That’s one of the horrible things about narcs, you never do hear from their targets once this starts. They are silenced, discredited, or pushed into different geography, tail between their legs, or a shell of the former person. I wish I could talk to some of these targets and get their side of the story…

It’s important to remember this is ALL on the narc. Bystanders/peripheral people are not being malicious by not understanding the situation (unless they are taking an active part of the conflict themself). These people are just walking through the world hearing things and only seeing the manipulator’s side (by design). As a target, myself, I didn’t remember this. I was angry at everyone who played into it without evidence. How and why could they believe that about me when they knew me? When they saw my good work? When they listened how the narc talked to me??? I was pissed at all the people who didn’t help me. Now I know, nobody even knew the truth of what was happening. Also, these bystanders might have also been victimized and living in fear, or actively participating (the hairdresser) thus called flying monkeys. [We will get back to these mofos in another post].

Who and How Does the Narc Instigate the Smear Campaign:

Note-Narcs and their victims do not have to be in a romantic relationship, though that is common. There are narc bosses/co-workers, blood-relatives, and frenemies.

And my mentor tried all 1-5 on me. She told her spouse to stay the fuck away from me. Which worked a lot of the time and made me feel lonely and shitty. She told her friends that I came into contact with that I was a lazy, drunk loser (or whatever she said).

My mentor exaggerated to my parents what was going on. She painted me as an alcoholic, even though I drank equal or less than anyone at the Cabin-Mansion. If I had a problem, they all did. But the drinking was normalized for everyone else. Only I was put under a microscope. Even though I was taking a full course load of college classes toward a Biology major an hour away. Even though I never missed work, and did a good job while I was there. My mentor put out the narrative that I was sloppy and out of control. I was paranoid and anxious that I might be an alcoholic for years afterward. I even stopped drinking for 2 years just to make sure I could.

She tried to ruin my work life. I am an excellent worker, with an unparalleled work ethic. It’s part of what makes me the person I am. But my mentor demoted me from receptionist to kennel cleaner to try to humiliate and punish me. It didn’t work because I would rather clean kennels than deal with the public any day of the week. So she obviously told me coworkers whatever about me and nobody really interacted with me at work. I could work long days many days in a row and nobody spoke to me…

Neighbors were constantly visiting the Cabin-Mansion and I literally lived in the yard. But it was made known to all that I was banished from joining any fun or conversations feet away on the deck. My mentor would even host parties in the yard I lived in, and made a point to not invite me. At Thanksgiving, she hosted dinner at her house, and made sure to let me know I wasn’t invited. Even though a person would have to cross the dining room to access the only bathroom available to me.

I signed up to be a biology major and obviously I would need to attend school both fall and spring semesters. But my mentor got her wife to convince me to visit Missouri for Christmas break. Which, after the isolation and devaluing, and problems, sounded pretty nice. At least I could earn a bonus for helping to walk dogs over the busy holidays. When I came back the 5th wheel I had been living in was locked. The yard, which had never, ever been closed, was locked. The house that was unlocked 24/7 in case anyone wanted to make a social call was locked… I couldn’t get my stuff. There was a professional letter saying I was evicted. Like, instead of just talking to me or giving me a heads up, she had legal papers drawn up! I arranged a day to clean the 5th wheel out and surprise, surprise she had the electricity turned off. My dad had to go up to the house and convince her we needed the power to vacuum.

As the target, you don’t may not know (at first) that the narc is doing a smear campaign against you. You might never be able to confirm it because of the cover-up and lies. But you feel it. Suddenly people treat you differently. They’re more careful and hesitant around you. Or maybe they’ll weirdly press you for certain information. They’ll mention these random out of the blue (not really though) misperceptions. They sort of “handle” you, or you get this impression they are “dealing” with you. It’s very disconcerting being the target of a smear campaign, since you don’t know it’s happening for sure, and you certainly don’t know who was told what. How do you defend yourself against gossip and lies you don’t even know about?

And any sort of defense, or saying it’s actually the narc, or trying to explain the situation, just proves what this peripheral person already thought [was implanted with] you are problematic. Just look how heated you are, and how you’re disparaging the narc! Everything the narc said is confirmed because the target overreacts with frustration or won’t drop it or acts super-defensive. What innocent person is so hostile?

When it first started happening I was just confused, and taken off-guard. I couldn’t pinpoint what happened or when. I racked my brain, then dissected every past interaction trying to decide if something had been accidently misconstrued. Then, I tried to explain myself [to my ex-mentor, who I didn’t realize yet was/is a narc], and ask for her forgiveness. Finally, I just tried to stay under the radar and survive.

I think it began was I was telling my ex-mentor (menNarc?) that cheating on someone was stupid and shameful. Just break up! Douche had cheated on me with some German dude and I had no time for philanderers. I let it be known that I thought cheaters were scummy. At the time I was telling my ex-mentor this, I had no idea she was cheating on her wife with the hairdresser.

And I had absolutely not put together that she was a narcissist, and I was about to be punished for making her feel less-than. More importantly, I didn’t know I was about to be ousted from my narc’s life precisely because I didn’t look up to her as a role model anymore. The more I observed her personal and professional lives (very separate) the more I didn’t respect, let alone revere my (ex)mentor any longer. It’s not like I was rude, dismissive, or even let on that I was disappointed that I had been disillusioned. I just didn’t think her social life was anything to emulate anymore. She wasn’t very (authentically) nice to people. Maybe she could feel that change in dynamic. I certainly didn’t know I would be punished for that change in my perspective.

It would have been a lot less confusing, anxiety-inducing, and depressing had I known what I was dealing with at the time. As it was I was just thrown into the confusion of the relationship taking a complete 180 for no big reason apparent to me. And I felt alone because everybody put distance between themselves and me. And the narc gave me the silent treatment, which was honestly a relief, but disconcerting all the same.