What Is A Narcissist Smear Campaign? - Understand This Tactic

Last updated by Katie M.

We hear so much about these emotional abusers in every walk of life that we are sometimes so overloaded with information regarding them, meaning we often miss the red flags that, in hindsight, seem blatantly obvious. These vindictive manipulators often use smear campaigns as a way of getting back at their victims and villainizing them publicly. That's right, these evil campaigns are an effective method for them to change the narrative of the abuse, and to present themselves as victims, when in reality they are the perpetrators of the terror.

What Is A Narcissist Smear Campaign? - Understand This Tactic

What is the purpose of a narcissist smear campaign?

Smear campaigns are cleverly constructed webs of lies established by narcissists, in the aim of gaining support for their cause. For the abusers, smear campaigns are a survival tactic and are a means for them to diabolize the real victim in the situation. Here, the architects of the smear campaigns are generally ex-partners, who are bitter about their relationship being brought to an end. Once their diabolical plan is in place, the real victims can expect to find themselves painted out as the villain in the story, and, for their friends and family to be aware of this new and surprisingly different version of events. 

In reality, narcissists will stop at nothing to save face and make themselves look like the downtrodden party. They'll spread rumors, lies, and tell their made-up stories to anyone who is willing to listen. In short, they'll stop at nothing to ensure that their role reversal is a matter of intense public interest. These hate-filled campaigns are often put in motion following a break-up or even when the manipulator decides that they are bored and need a bit of spice in their lives...

>>> Discover; What is reactive abuse?

5 Things narcissists do to ruin your reputation during their smear campaign against you

Their sense of evil and willingness to hurt their victims knows no end.

1) They criticize you unfairly

A narcissist will voluntarily criticize you, despite how good of a partner you were. Just like they criticized their ex-partners, they'll do exactly the same with you, and trust me, they certainly won't hold back in exaggerating your flaws. For them, the goal is to make you look and sound like the worst possible version of yourself.

2) They'll harass you

Real victims of narcissistic abuse will find themselves on the receiving end of threatening phone calls, stalker-like messages, and menacing stares during the smear campaign against them. Narcissists will do everything in their power to ensure that their victims are incapable of moving on and recovering from the abuse.

>>> Read; How do narcissists treat their kids?

3) Lies and accusations will follow you

Your abuser will no doubt take pleasure in trying to convince your mutual friends that you were a violent monster, who tortured them both physically and mentally throughout the duration of your relationship. Here, you need to expect the unexpected because these guys have huge imaginations and will say anything to seek revenge on you.

4) They'll post compromising photos of you

Narcissistic abusers have no empathy whatsoever, which explains why they enjoy exposing (quite literally) their partners. Many of these heartless gaslighters often post compromising nude photos or messages on social media or dedicated websites, with the goal of attempting to make their ex-victim look bad. They love embarrassing people and really do get kicks out of making other people squirm.

5) They'll chase away and intimidate your new partners

Even though you've cut contact with a narcissist, that, unfortunately, doesn't mean that you are completely rid of them. That's right, these people are like bad smells, and never truly disappear. Whenever these guys see an opportunity to get back at you, they will, especially if it involves ruining your chances of finding happiness again. Indeed, they'll spread rumors and lies to your potential partners, in the hope of scaring them away.

💡 FAQ: What happens when a narcissist's smear campaign backfires? 💡

When a narcissist's smear campaign backfires, several things can happen:

  • Loss of Credibility: The narcissist's attempts to discredit someone can lead to their own credibility being questioned, exposing their manipulative behavior to others.
  • Isolation: As people recognize the narcissist's true nature, they may distance themselves, leaving the narcissist isolated and without support.
  • Strengthening the Target: The intended victim of the smear campaign may gain sympathy and support from others, strengthening their social network and resilience.
  • Increased Scrutiny: The narcissist's actions can draw negative attention to themselves, resulting in closer scrutiny of their behavior and potentially more consequences.
  • Reputation Damage: Instead of damaging their target's reputation, the narcissist may end up damaging their own, affecting their personal and professional relationships.

Overall, a backfired smear campaign can lead to significant social and reputational consequences for the narcissist.

 📍 FAQ: How to shut down a narcissist smear campaign? 📍 

5 Techniques for shutting down a narcissistic smear campaign against you. If you're dealing with someone who seems toxic, even dangerous, and you're in a situation where you can't escape them, it's important to protect yourself and to limit their lies. Behind the desire to trap a narcissist, there are 5 techniques you can use to foil his stratagems.

  • Technique n°1: Be firm with the narcissist.
  • Technique 2: Demand clarity from the abuser.
  • Technique 3: Avoid emotional expression with them.
  • Technique 4: Find their weak point.
  • Technique 5: Counter-manipulate to escape their grip.

💡 Narcissistic expert insights 💡 - Why they enjoy hurting their victims

Narcissists function in predatory mode, because they lack the resources to identify and take care of their feelings, emotions and needs. They have no empathy for others, but they have none for themselves either.

The implicit contract they make with the victim is; "Forget yourself for me, and you'll be loved and recognized by me". Obviously, this contract is a lie, as is all his behavior. They only give crumbs of love and recognition to the victim, just enough to make them believe that they can continue to hope for a change on their part.

In fact, the manipulator emotionally deprives their victim, instrumentalizes them, manipulates them to satisfy their objectives. In reality, they don’t want to assume their responsibilities, be they material, psychological, emotional or moral. In short, these folks are immature children, short-tempered, and dissatisfied. Their narcissistic omnipotence prevents them from recognizing the existence of others. They spend their time denying their prey through their psychologically, verbally, sexually, physically or economically abusive behavior.

How to recover from a narcissistic smear campaign? - 5 Techniques

Knowing how to react when we feel that we are being unfairly treated is never easy. Whilst our first reflex is often to lash out, when a narcissist is involved, we need to be much smarter and more calculated than that if we want to come out on top!

1) Rise above the provocation

On the surface, taking the high road may seem like an easy way out, or even a burying your head in the sand technique, but there's nothing that annoys a manipulator more than not getting a rise out of you. That's right, these people love to know that they are getting to you and making you feel bad, so this is your sign not to play into their hands!

2) Establish your truth

Just because a narcissist has launched a smear campaign against you, doesn't mean that you have to be silent about your sufferings. If you are ready, and above all, want to share what you have endured, go for it, you never know, opening up to other people might even be therapeutic and healing for you.

3) Don't feel ashamed

Victims of abuse often feel ashamed of sharing their stories or guilty for not having left the toxic situation beforehand. This is a common sentiment amongst those who have suffered at the hands of severe abuse, but there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. The victims in these unfortunate situations have done nothing wrong.

4) Live your life to the fullest

This is the best form of revenge anyone can get over a manipulative ex-partner, simply because they hate to see you doing well afterward. So, live your life and enjoy yourself because you deserve to feel free and to do as you please without having to answer to anyone. After all, you are your own person.

5) Understand the reasons behind the lies

Having an insight into why your ex has decided to act like this can also be fairly healing. Knowing that despite their vicious attacks, you've done nothing wrong might bring you a form of comfort. In any case, narcissists always seek revenge, no matter how much love and care they received for you.

Will a narcissist come back after smearing you?

No toxic person likes to be alone for too long; on the contrary, a manipulative person will always be looking for a new source to recharge, that is to say, someone who will make them feel better about themselves. Even though narcissists usually have a lot of pride, they have no qualms about returning to a past relationship as long as they think it will benefit them. This is especially true if they can make you believe they are doing you a favor by returning.

Narcissists are always looking for a source to recharge, and if they can get their energy fix while making you believe they are the most emotionally mature and forgiving person in the relationship, all the better for them. After a narcissist has smeared you and your reputation, they will adopt a modus operandi of pretending nothing happened. Here, you can expect them to show up when you least expect it and try to restart your life together as if you never broke up.

On the one hand, this will give them a tremendous sense of power, and on the other hand, it will be a good way to weaken you mentally and emotionally. From your point of view, I guess their actions won't make any sense, and I wouldn't be surprised if you have a hard time telling the difference between what's true and what's not. In case you are wondering if you are losing your mind: "Is my memory playing tricks on me about our last fight? In case you're wondering if you're losing your mind: "Is it my memory playing tricks on me about our last fight, or did I break up with him in the end?", let me reassure you, because narcissists like to confuse things in order to control their victim's reality.

Editor's opinion - We never truly escape a narcissist's grasp...

Narcissists always need to have the final word, which is why seeing the back of one is often very complicated. These people NEED to be in control and will only let you walk away and live peacefully when they've decided they have no more use for you. Everything needs to be done on their terms, but that's not to say you have to take things lying down.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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Thank you for sharing & writing this article. I have lived with smear campaigns against me for many years in the entrainment business. Constantly undermined & belittled by men & famous women (corporations empower)I have had to move & almost hid to try to escape constant abuse. I no longer post on social media I don’t talk to friends or family. The unfair campaign has isolated me. I don’t want to sound crazy that my cell phone is constantly hacked but it is…Anyway I still make music but unfortunately songs I wrote alone at home were hacked. If u can try to imagine hearing a song u wrote in ur kitchen on the radio but it’s not you singing it’s Pink or Adele & the song credits will not include your name. This is my truth if one can believe it or not and as you can imagine I don’t share with anybody because this is dangerous capitalistic world we live in. I know the truth & I guess that what matters most. I don’t see an end to unfair harassment of me & my hopefulness of a good career. managers & record companies can sell you out if you call them out & women who get older unless you’re Madonna & she’s part of the problem.. it’s not pretty but definitely a material world for her & her goons..smeared woman have no value or justice in the music business. Anyway wanted to share just wish there was justice or a fairy godmother to change my situation. Thanks for being a voice..-Melissa

Melissa 10 months ago

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How to detect a narcissist?

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"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde