I have previously explained some of the forms that the smear campaign takes and also why they are so effective. Now I turn to the six reasons why they affect somebody like you so much. Smear campaigns are a constant in the arsenal of the narcissist. Effective, utilised through word of mouth and with the capacity to envelop several people at once who in turn perpetuate the smear, the smear campaign is a favoured manipulation of our kind. Here are six reasons why they affect you so much.
- Denial of assistance
The smear campaign is usually utilised during devaluation and on the cusp of discard. Its timing is such that you will more likely than not find yourself in a position of desperation, fatigue and confusion. Battered and buffeted by our manipulations through the devaluation period,you are in a poor position to defend yourself never mind having to defend your reputation with others. Once the discard hits you and knocks you for six, you are in need of considerable assistance. You need somebody to help you make sense of what has just happened. You need somebody to listen to you as you pore over the relationship and try to piece together (usually unsuccessfully) the cause of your fall from grace and subsequent discard. You will need assistance on practical items such as money, paying bills, eating, child care, washing and cleaning in some of the more extreme cases where your ability to function has been hammered. When your need for external assistance is at its highest, you find that those who you thought you could rely on to help you have been poisoned. Friends become unobtainable or suddenly busy with other commitments. Family are sceptical about helping you since they think you have brought it on yourself and they are even ashamed of your supposed behaviour. Colleagues are not inclined to assist someone who has been painted the way you have. These people disappear, turn their backs or even worse ally with our kind and the help and assistance you so desperately need has been taken away from you. This furthers your isolation, your pain and your distress. It also reduces your capability to address the nature of the smear campaign and neutralise it.
- The Corruption of the Truth
You abide by the truth. You speak it and live by it. Yes, you may tell the odd white lie but you are a paragon of virtue compared to our mendacious and repeated untruths. You believe in the truth and you need others to know that you are an honest and truthful person. You base your life on having honest dealing with people, both towards them and from them. It has been an horrendous enough experience dealing with our lies that we told time and time again to you, but it becomes even worse when you are being lied about. You may have reached the conclusion that we are well-practised liars and that is the way we are but to have your own reputation impugned and your character stained as a liar is anathema to you. This causes distress and the fact you know that other people are believing a lie about you will have a damaging effect on you and we know this full well.
You feel a huge sense of frustration that your reputation is being smeared but added to that is the frustration that people are actually believing what is being said about you. You are surprised and dismayed that people are falling for what we are saying about you. You are disappointed in those people who you thought would know better than to be taken in by what we have said. You really ought to know by now that just as you were taken in by our charm and seduction, so have they. Did you really expect them to respond any differently when you did not? The difficulty is, is that you know the truth about the lies being spun about you and you desperately want others to see through this but they do not. You understand why, because we base the smear on a grain of truth, we magnify and manipulate and twist and warp the truth so that people are deceived in an expert fashion but nevertheless you really thought that people who you could rely on would see through this tissue of lies, this web of deceit. The frustration at this overhwhelms you and adds to the distress of the situation as a whole.
- The Lack of Control
We hate losing control. Most people do not like to lose control because this causes distress, anxiety and apprehension. If something bad happens and you are able to at least do something to address it, counter it or mitigate its effect you automatically feel better. However, if you are swept along on a tide by a force over which you can exert no control, the sense of helplessness is massive. You are made to feel like this because when the smear campaign commences your coping ability has been hugely reduced. We however are at the top of our game, calling the shots and orchestrating everything with considerable effectiveness. You do not truly understand why it is happening, why we are behaving like this and moreover why people believe what we are saying. You feel as if you have no control over the progression and outcome of the smear campaign and this increases its effectiveness in terms of how it affects you.
- Keeping Up Appearances
Related to the corruption of the truth. Whereas the corruption of the truth alarms you because of the way that a central quality which you adhere to and believe in is being damaged, the smear campaign is also damaging how people think about you. You are not a person who is immersed in pride. You are neither vain nor conceited but you still want people to think well of you because you are a good and decent person. You just want people to know what you are and to have them told that you are something contrary to your actual appearance becomes especially upsetting for you.
- The Hammer to Your Reputation
Not only is your character and outward appearance as a good and honest person shattered and dented by the smear campaign, the effects of a smear campaign often go further. Your professional integrity is called into question with ramifications for your job, career advancement and livelihood. Your standing in the community is adversely affected which could have repercussions where you hold positions of trust and authority. If you have to be licensed by the authorities in some way, a smear campaign can place that in jeopardy. You may lose friends, your family may distance themselves from you but the repercussions of a smear campaign can infect your professional life, your income, your integrity and your standing. You are made to feel like a pariah and you may lose clients and customers, the backing of your superiors, be regarded as an albatross to an organisation. People are obsessed with appearances and if you become a PR nightmare not only is your personal life hammered by the smear campaign your professional and business standing is also.