“Blackballing” is an older term. It originates from the old practice of voting with colored balls to admit someone into a club. If someone wanted to join a social club, the current members would all vote whether to admit them or not by putting a ball in a closed container. The color of the ball they put in the box determined their vote. One ball meant “yes,” but the black ball meant “no.” Just one black ball would keep the possible member from being allowed to join.
Although clubs don’t usually admit members in that way anymore, the term “blackball” persists. If you have a narcissist boss, the may “blackball” you by smearing your reputation until you cannot advance in your job. If you leave a company, a narcissistic boss may blackball you by giving dishonest bad reviews to a new potential employer. If you work in a small industry, a blackballer may ruin your name so badly that you can’t get a job in your area any longer. It’s much like the narcissist’s smear campaign. A toxic person will blackball you until you are pushed out. They will make it so you a no longer accepted or welcome in a place or situation.
Blackballing can happen in any area of your life. According to Merriam Webster, “blackball” means:
- 1:to vote against; especially to exclude from membership by casting a negative vote
- 2:to exclude socially ostracize boycott
I think many, if not most of us, have been excluded or ostracized by the narcissist’s smear campaign. We have to leave our social lives, our clubs, churches, friendships, jobs, neighborhoods, and more, because the narcissist has blackballed us so badly, no one will talk to us or take us seriously.
This can also happen to us with someone that we aren’t in a relationship with. If you encounter a narcissist online, they might make you unwelcome in fan groups, forums, you name it. Because my narcissist ex is loosely connected to a famous musician, I have been banned from fan groups by fans who want to keep him happy. They want to stay on his good side so that maybe he will help them get backstage. I have a friend who was working for a sociopathic boss and finally quit from all the stress. When she tried to get a job in another district, she had a hard time getting interviews because the former boss trashed her within their career circles. I’ve even had it happen to me with this blog. A few years ago, a bigger page was copying my page word for word then taking credit. I repeatedly asked them to stop, and finally reported them. In return, the page owner sent me emails cussing me out and threatened to badmouth me to other pages, and he smeared me all over his page in an attempt to gain flying monkeys by acting like he’d done nothing wrong. The person felt entitled to take credit for my work to gain popularity for themselves, but attacked me for standing up for myself. They went on to blackmail me, saying if I didn’t do what they said, they would tell others not to read or share my page. I didn’t respond, so they had other people send me hate mail. They are still doing it and smearing me, as I have seen first hand and others have alerted me. I won’t name who it was, but as usual, I hope to give people the information that allows them to recognize narcissistic behavior.
Namely, if you see someone blackballing or smearing someone else, or telling you to boycott someone or a business, there may be some manipulation going on.
Someone who makes the effort to destroy another person is not healthy.
It isn’t unusual for a true abuse victim to tell others what they went through, but it is not normal for a person to go on a campaign to drive people out of their own lives and talk others into hating them. Someone who is blackballing you is trying to ostracize you until you can’t fit in or feel comfortable anymore. You may lose your friends, your social group, your spiritual support, your job, and even your ability to earn a living.
From the Urban Dictionary, (warning, it can sometimes be crude,) here are some other people’s descriptions of blackballing: (I fixed the spelling.)
“To conspire to ruin someone’s reputation until they become unemployable and people refuse to work with them.”
“the process where someone says things behind someone’s back to make themselves seem good, then acts all friendly towards that person when they see them”
“In fraternities, to remove a pledge from the chapter. John didn’t listen when the president told him to do his laundry. We’re going to blackball him next week after we make him drive all the girls to out party this weekend.”
Blackballing isn’t much different from a childhood bully keeping a child out of a game on the playground, but it’s also more sinister. It is meant to hurt people and keep them from finding success, happiness, or peace in life.