A narcissist usually starts smearing you and defaming you long before you realize it. And by the time you notice something is going on, they have done irreparable damage. It is amazing how many people will listen to gossip about you and never bother to warn you. It’s even worse that many people will believe lies about you without ever asking for your side of the story or questioning if they are true.
I went through years of smearing with my sociopath ex. It finally calmed down as more and more people realized what he really was. Of course, I never got apologies from the people who furthered his lies. They just said “oops” and stopped trashing me. More recently, I went through another smaller smear campaign, and found out pretty quickly because the leader sent me mixed up hate mails and other people warned me. But still, you rarely know the full extent of what a narcissist is doing to try to destroy your reputation.
There are clues, though!
1. People who used to interact with you suddenly stop talking to you or disappear.
Sure sometimes people get busy or bored, or move on, but you can usually tell when someone is giving you the cold shoulder after previously being friendly. You never had any kind of argument with them, but they seem angry about something…and you don’t know what is going on.
2. People you don’t know show up and start making questionably rude comments to you, or are outright nasty.
You might not know who these people are, but they sure think they know something about you. When strangers start insulting you and you don’t know where they came from, a narcissist with a smear campaign is probably behind it.
3. You get confusing and unexpected hate messages.
Huh? Someone is mad at you, but you can’t figure out why, and you have no idea what they are talking about. They are mad about something…but you aren’t in on the story because they heard something false from someone else.
4. You overhear or see someone gossiping about you on social media, and you know it’s not true.
Where did that come from? You know you didn’t do it. You know no one saw you do it, (since you didn’t do it,) so why are people telling stories about something that you know never happened? Those lies came from someone….
5. You suddenly lose friends or followers.
Sometimes people are just acquaintances who clean out their friends list and decide you don’t make the cut. That’s fine. Respect their boundaries. But when you see this happen a lot of all of a sudden, you can be pretty sure someone is bad mouthing you and telling people to avoid you. Too bad the people who ditch you don’t bother to ask you about the real story….