smear campaign

5 Shades of Smeared: The Narcissist’s Smear Campaign

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Did you recently escape a toxic relationship with a narcissist and now no one will give you the time of day?  Does it seem your co-workers, friends, and even your bank teller suddenly regard you with thinly-veiled contempt?

It’s not you…it’s the narcissist.

You’ve been smeared!

When it comes to being smeared by a narcissist, it’s important to understand their strategy in order to lessen the confusion and humiliation of being emotionally rejected by people you’ve known for years.  Allow me to share an insider’s view of this ordeal from A-Z…

Shade 1 – Your relationship was over before it was over

The reason everyone now runs in the opposite direction from you is that the narcissist has been smearing your reputation since before the relationship even ended.  The two main reasons for this are:

1) All relationships are doomed in the narcissist’s mind and they want to get a running start on assassinating your character.

2) They assume you will vent to people in your shared social circle, and want to ensure they cut you off at the pass so you will look unstable when you muster the courage to start talking about your experiences. 

These actions are to preserve the false image they’ve portrayed all along.

Shade 2 – Stealth-mode assassination

Undoubtedly, you’ve been thinking about leaving for a while; or perhaps you did leave a few times only to be lured back into the narcissist’s lair.  You fell for the empty promises and crying bouts.  Everything seemed peachy and you dared to dream of a renewed relationship with your partner. 


You discovered that while they were smiling in your face and pretending to be Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire, they were assassinating your character to everyone within a 50–mile radius.  It’s enough to cause a rash of spontaneous peptic ulcers. 

Shade 3 – The In-laws and cold shoulder galore

This phase is pretty much the dead zone.  Even their family members with whom you established close bonds now believe you are an alcoholic, drug-addicted prostitute who’s been sleeping in dark alleys and digging through dumpsters for your meals.

The narcissist’s lame comeback?  “I didn’t say anything to them while we were still together because I was trying to protect your image”…as if there were a speck of truth to their accusations.

Shade 4 – The dream of being at Target with no pants on

Have you ever dreamt of finding yourself half-naked while performing common tasks?  Perhaps dreamt of checking the mailbox and realizing you were nude from the waist down?  Even worse, the dream of being in a conference with your colleagues and suddenly realizing you are the only one in the board room with no clothes on?

That’s what the smear campaign feels like…only, this time it’s real.  The narcissist has collected all your intimate fears and disappointments over the years and is now using them to fuel your public downfall.  

Did you have to get a prescription for anxiety?  You’re addicted to drugs and obviously unfit as a parent.  (Never mind that THEY are the reason you’re on medication). 

Did you share that you felt your family didn’t love you enough?  By God, see how even your own family doesn’t want you?

The narcissist will leave no stone unturned…or perhaps “no ear” would be more appropriate.

Shade 5 – Your Are Legend…

Remember the 2007 movie starring Will Smith who finds himself the last man alive in a town of mutants?

Welcome to the Narcissistic Wasteland.  As you step out of your house or apartment, the loneliness is so overwhelming you wonder if an asteroid touched down overnight.  You cautiously make your way over to Whole Foods in search of sustenance…and the cashier who used to give you high-fives on the way out now looks at you as if wishing you would spontaneously explode.  You almost detect a high-pitched, ultrasonic screech as you scurry by with your meager bag of chow.

When it comes to the smear campaign, no one is off limits to the narcissist’s virtual megaphone.  They’ll remember people you once met at a restaurant two states over, and will “casually” show up in that locality just to make sure no one still thinks of you in a positive light.

I Am Legend

How to Cope

There’s really no telling what the narcissist is saying about you.  It’s better to not think about it.

If you reach out to someone and they try to chomp your hand off at the wrist, just write them off.  They have shown that the relationship is over.  No point in trying to defend yourself because it’s likely to make you look guilty, even though you’ve done nothing wrong.

It’s painful, it’s humiliating…but there really isn’t much more you can do than keep on being yourself.  And that’s all that you should focus on. People who really matter will begin to notice that the narcissist’s stories aren’t congruent with the calm, dignified person you show up as.

If someone you’ve been “friends” with sides with the narcissist, just know that they, too, will likely walk in your shoes one day (and will suffer a similar fate).  It never fails.  Narcissists may have one or two “friends” at arm’s length, but most of their relationships end in a nasty way.

As for you, the comrades you have remaining are your true friends. Nurture those connections, as well as yourself.  Live in spite of what the narcissist is doing.  People will eventually see their true colors…but don’t waste your life waiting around for the Karma bus to show up.

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carol says January 24, 2021

Let me state to you all no one is perfect stop beating yourselves up. What narcs do is push us to the limit. Why should we have to be thick skinned?. Ask yourselves the question would I do anything for love?. If indeed this is the question you are asking yourself right now then why are you asking this question should it be entering your head if that question equals abuse or constant let downs or lies. Every one makes mistakes thats life none of us are perfect but ask how many times do you lie cheat hurt people ? I asked myself all of this. I myself am not perfect but I I have guilt sorrow but do not deliberately go out to get revenge. Yes I can over react but never intentional . Please listen to your instinct it will come , get help counselling etc . Thank you kim for all that you are doing it truly helps . Love to you x

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Veronica says July 23, 2016

My problem is what do you do when he has made you out to be crazy and unfit as a mom when it is all lies. How do you manage in that situation? When you go to your child’s school–and they all think you are nuts and evil and horrible. When you are the one who has been the great parent–but he is trying to take they kids from you with lies? When all he wants is your total destruction and better yet–your death. When he pushes you to the point that you can take no more? What about when he goes for full custody despite the fact that his own kids do not want anything to do with him but the family court think he is the good guy? What do you do then?

    Dawn says July 14, 2017

    I relate, my ex has taken out kids after me leaving him 4 years ago. He’s been working on my demise and getting primary custody of our kids. He’s finally done it, I have no one. He has smeared me to my family, my friends, anyone in the small town and had destroyed me completely. I too am a great mom, me and the kids truly love and enjoyed each other, I miss them so much. I hate this, these people are monsters. He lies and gets away with all of his unsafe behaviors and lies to dcf that man is crazy!!

    Anonymous says December 26, 2019

    Spot on. Recognize that one. He is making me defend myself even in front of the children: ‘Now I want you to tell the children what you have done.’ No way of winning that one. My life walking on egg shells…..

disenchanteddiva says June 27, 2015

Reblogged this on Diary of a Disenchanted Diva.

    Kim Saeed says June 27, 2015

    Thank you for sharing <3

      disenchanteddiva says June 27, 2015

      You’re welcome! Thanks for posting; I follow your Facebook page too. Unfortunately, I relate to your topics too well x

Heather Wright says May 9, 2015

Dear Kim, I can really relate to your article (well all of your articles!) When I got discarded I was then told that I am too melodramatic, too emotional, too demanding. When I went no contact – only thanks to finding your website! – he became extremely nasty towards me, I think because he no longer had the power in his hands to ignore me or contact me when he felt like it. I don’t know exactly what stories he spread about me but I know that he made me out to be the stalker in the relationship and that I am a bit crazy. As you write in your article it is very difficult not to retaliate and defend myself, I have enough ‘proof’ about him too but I wouldn’t stoop that low. My only concern is that he shows photos of myself and writings to his colleagues or friends to prove that I was chasing him. I don’t want my name ruined but then as you say if I react it makes me look as if I care and am guilty.

    Kim Saeed says May 9, 2015

    Heather, thank you for reading my blog and for commenting! One way to help counteract your fear is to remind yourself that of course you sent pictures and wrote to him…you thought you were in a relationship. What he does with those is up to him (though if it gets out of hand, you might have a legal case), but if his friends and colleagues blindly accept what he says, you can’t really have any control over that. But remember, what people think of you doesn’t really matter – it’s what you think of yourself that matters. Just focus on the things you can control and hope for an out-of-control Karma bus to come for him one day 🙂 (Just Kidding – I got that from one of my followers…LOL!)

      Anonymous says May 9, 2015

      Thank you so much for your reply. It helps so much to diminish the self-doubt that you start to believe when someone constantly points out to you what a bad person you are xx thank you for giving me the gift of your time x

        Kim Saeed says May 9, 2015

        🙂 It was my pleasure!

    Lizzie says March 19, 2017

    Exactly what happened to me. Kept only a few of my messages not his,and made me a stalker to anyone who would listen. It bothers me so much… erasing five years of all the love I gave … and now he denies everything and on top of that I’m a desperate stalker? Even says he is filing charges against ME???

    I can’t explain the hurt anxiety and loss of power over myself I feel.

What Does The Bible Say About Narcissistic Behavior? Part One | Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says April 14, 2015

[…] envy you are in serious trouble.  In order to improve their own self-image they are likely to do a character assassination on you.  This is not innocent gossip, rather it is an intentional and premeditated smear campaign […]

I Filed a Restraining Order Against the Narcissist…Now What? | Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says November 20, 2014

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thediscontentedgrandma says May 27, 2014

I want to thank you for your tips about attending my daughter’s wedding. I’ve been using them regularly, and they help in so many ways. I no longer have to be anxious. Predictably, when I bruised his ego by referring to him as “nothing special, replacing his total lack of empathy with an over abundance of rage, and acting like an angry six-year-old bully,” it triggered his rage and I’ve been banned from attending. He also hopes I “die a very slow, painful death very soon.” I’m sure you can imagine how I feel about him becoming a member of the family in just a few weeks. Sadly, my daughter drank too much of his Kool Aid so she’s not picking up on the red flags. I had to give it a try because my three grandchildren (he’s not their father) are living with a man who reacts first, and “justifies” his actions later by blaming his victims. The only good thing about him is that he’s easy to figure out thanks to your blog — he follows the Narcissist’s Handbook to the letter.

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[…] can you expect during the smear campaign?  See my article, Several Shades of Smeared, and then mentally prepare yourself.  This is a time where guided meditations on self-esteem will […]

thediscontentedgrandma says April 18, 2014

I want to thank you for your blog — it helps me cope each time I read it. This post describes exactly what I’m feeling today. The N in my life will become my daughter’s second husband in just a few weeks. He has expertly fractured my family by using my son and me as his scapegoats. My mother and daughter have turned against us because of his manipulation, my grandchildren are kept away. Our attempts at reconciliation are considered “harassment,” while low contact is “abandonment.” You’ve been through the minute-by-minute struggle to try to not let this overtake the rest of your life, make the conscious effort it takes to look for joy every day, seek knowledge to understand what’s happening and why, and remember (and convince yourself) that you’re not the crazy one. You’re helping many others. Please keep writing…

    Kim Saeed says April 19, 2014

    I am sorry to read of your plight. I think what bothers me the most is their complete lack of remorse. Sadly, your daughter will eventually discover him for what he is, but even more sad is that your family bonds have been damaged. I sincerely hope things will improve for you…soon.

    Thank you for the encouragement. I’m glad my blog has helped you in some way. I will definitely keep writing. It’s what I’ve been called to do.

      thediscontentedgrandma says April 19, 2014

      Just one more thing…
      Because I agree that my daughter will one day see his true self, I’ve decided to accept her invitation to attend the wedding. Despite their hostility and my discomfort, when the inevitable devaluation/discard stages occur, maybe she will remember I was there for her. In any case, the event provides an opportunity to see my grandchildren. What I can’t find the answer to anywhere, is how do I handle being around the groom — the narcissist whose verbal/emotional abuse caused me to go No Contact months ago? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

        Kim Saeed says April 19, 2014

        A few days before the wedding, start doing some guided meditations at bedtime. You can find them on YouTube. Just type in “guided meditation peace” or “guided meditation confidence” and the like.

        Try to do a lot of relaxation techniques before the big day. I also us aromatherapy because smell stimulates a part of our brain that reading and hearing do not. But use essential oils and not the commercial stuff that’s made with synthetic substances.

        When you are at the wedding, just pretend he is any normal person (though you may be nervous on the inside). Keep telling yourself in your mind, “This is only temporary” over and over.

        You may be able to avoid him for the most part. If you are forced, just extend any common courtesy that you would to a stranger. Hopefully you can make it out of there without incident.

        Wishing you the best…

          thediscontentedgrandma says April 19, 2014

          Sound advice that I will definitely follow. A simple thank you just doesn’t cover how you’ve helped

I’m a Stalker, You’re a Stalker, They’re a Stalker Too | The Eclectic Poet says March 18, 2014

[…] NPD thrive on secrecy, they maintain it by covering the tracks of their behaviour. They do it by smearing the reputation of people from their previous version of themselves, isolating former friends, lovers, spouses, […]

No Really, It’s You | The Eclectic Poet says March 11, 2014

[…] of the most educational and empowering posts that I read on Let Me Reach are: Several Shades Of Smeared and How You Became The Other Woman. They both enlightened me to a recognizable behavioural pattern […]

    Kim Saeed says March 2, 2014

    Wow! Thank you Madeline! This is such an honor! I love this 🙂

    I have a couple of other awards to catch up on and then I will proudly post about this! Thanks again <3

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[…] Several Shades of Smeared […]

Torn 2 Peaces says February 20, 2014

This smear campaign hurts our children and our families as well. It prevents our children from getting the help they need because the therapists believe the practiced liar who methodically sets you up. When you defend yourself with the TRUTH you’ve protected your child and others from, you then are accused of doing what they’ve been doing all along even while you were married just so they could get sympathy and attention while preparing to leave.

KarinKateriKei says February 17, 2014

I’m glad I found your blog. I’m glad I’m not alone. I had no idea, perhaps had heard the term in passing; that this type of aberration existed, let alone could insinuate itself into and take over my life.

    Kim Saeed says February 18, 2014

    I can relate, Karin. I didn’t know about Narcissists, either, until after the fact. I think that’s common. We read in the news every day about sociopaths and psychopaths, but we don’t realize we’re living among their cousin until it’s too late.

Teela Hart says February 17, 2014

This is a crying shame. I am shaking my head right now. I was so ignorant that I did not find out he was smearing me until after my first attempt to leave him. He even turned my own children against me!
I was devastated.
I have since won them back, after he hit my daughter with his truck!
I was in complete shock!
I felt as if I had as you said, stepped right into another dimension.
Completely oblivious! He had been my confidant, my best friend, how tragic that one human could treat another with such intimate cruelty!

    Julie says May 20, 2014

    I’m still astonished at how many of the same traits narcissists possess! It’s almost as if they’ve been cloned. Teela, I completely understand what you’re saying about him being your best friend and what a betrayal when he turns on you. Mine would show his soft side and sit and listen to me but then throw everything I shared in my face or twist it in a tale told to other people. I hope you’re not still with him. I am moving away from mine in 10 days. I am looking forward to peace and quiet.

      Teela Hart says May 20, 2014

      Thank you Julie,
      I have been out for 21 months. I’m the happiest I’ve been since before I met him. 19 years is a long time in hell. I still have flashbacks, but I’m moving forward. My ex did the same thing. Listened and twisted it all to suit whatever he was looking for from them. Complete betrayal.
      Thank you for replying and my thoughts are with you in your move. Be careful.

      bshade says July 2, 2015

      They are all the same, by design.

      Nancy says September 30, 2015

      Yes, their traits are the same, but executed in only similar many. Some N’s are very smart…evil and we’ll practiced. Even if you’re not sure, RUN! You can sort it out later.

silkred says February 17, 2014

Reblogged this on stuff that goes on cycling to work and commented:
I have just written today about this same thing in my context, it beggars belief at just how consistent these losers are almost as if there is a Narcissist Instruction Book handed out to those most likely.

What you say is absolutely correct the loser narcissist has written directly to my unaffected friends, he even cc’d me thinking I would be watching another friend flush down his drain what an idiot.

What is most gratifying is if you search for his name on Google that letter and my notes come up on the first page, he has even threatened me with the Defamation Act insisting I remove it which is utterly hilarious the irony that he would be affronted by something he wrote himself makes me laugh.

They are losers, profoundly so.

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