The Paranoia of Character Assassination



The character assassination. Close cousin of the smear campaign. Built on a foundation of lies also, hurtful and effective. The smear campaign is outward facing namely it is aimed at third parties in order to affect their way of thinking. A character assassination is directed to and at you. There are three ways of assassinating your character. The first is to say things to you which are unpleasant, demeaning and hateful which accordingly dent and wound your sense of well-being. The second is to do things to you which are denigrating, disrespectful and nasty which cause your sense of self-worth to be eroded, for instance failing to make you something to eat (so as to treat you as non-existent) or to make you engage in some sexual practice you find distasteful (thus causing you to cheapen yourself). Those two methods are obvious and directed. The third method is a particularly insidious and troubling way of affecting your character. We tell you that other people think badly of you, do not like and are saying things about you. They are not of course. We avoid or reduce any risk of you finding this out by saying to you.

“There’s no point asking them of course, they are bound to deny it, but trust me, I have heard them. They didn’t think I could hear.”

Furthermore, whilst increasing your paranoia and making you feel bad, we also seize the opportunity to heighten our own virtue with you by stating,

“Of course I don’t think that of you, but I thought it was only right to let you know what is being said about you.”

Naturally we do think this of you because this falsehood is being generated by us. Accordingly, we are able to avoid any blame ourselves (a key aim of ours) whilst landing several blows against you caused by fictitious remarks from other people and drawing fuel from your confused and upset reaction. There are five methods by which we create a perceived pressure generated by other people against you, as part of this character assassination by proxy.


  1. Everybody says….

Everybody is talking about you. They are all saying it. That must feel terrible to be the talk of the neighbourhood, the subject of village gossip and the focus of wagging tongues. Just think when you are walking to the corner shop those two neighbours stood on the lawn will smile and wave a cheery hello to you but as soon as you are past they will be talking about you. Yes, everybody says it about you. They will be talking on the telephone about you, gossiping in living rooms and exchanging views in that corner shop so they fall silent as you arrive and resume their conversation once you have left. Oh I know that they will appear pleasant and engaging as ever but believe me this is how two-faced they are about you. I have picked up on this. I have overheard the comments and some have even been mentioned to me. No, I won’t say by who, there is no need. Of course I defended you against what they said. It wasn’t pleasant at all but then being thought of as the local bike, the slut, the whore and harridan isn’t nice is it, but that is what everyone is saying about you.

  1. They all think…

It is a collective perception of you that has gained traction out there. A body of opinion that is being expressed and shared by many people. They think it at your gym, the think it at choir practice, they think it at the school and the supermarket and the garage. How do I know? Well, let’s just say that fortunately for you I have people who keep an eye out and a listen in for your benefit. No, there’s no need to thank me, I do it to look after you, naturally, but my small network of guardians, if you will, report things back to me from time to time and they have been telling me that they all think you have a problem with your temper. Yes, you have a reputation for being a bit of a volcano, one wrong comment and boom! Off you go. To be honest, I had my suspicions about them thinking this of you even before my network of guardians told me. It is the way they look at you. You probably haven’t picked up on it but there is an apprehension in their eyes, a nervousness in their speech and I saw it as it told me what they were really thinking, that they were afraid you were going to explode and lash out at them. I have seen it many times and I know what they are all thinking about you.

  1. You do know what opinion they have of you don’t you?

It is not a high opinion I am afraid. I don’t know where it comes from to be honest, I mean, after all, it is not as if they are really in a position to judge is it, but I guess some people forget about that when they are jealous. Yes, that is what is behind their nasty opinions. They take the view that you are a gold-digger, a mercenary who is only after one thing, my money. It is inevitable that they will form this view of course. I am successful, earning well and we have this beautiful house, two cars, frequent holidays and no concerns about our bills. I suppose they must look on enviously at the fact that you don’t work and you spend a lot of time shopping. Every time you pull up on the drive and exit the car with those bags from the boutiques it is no doubt upsetting them. You cannot help the fact you were lucky enough to get with me. I guess it really sticks in their craw the fact that you came from a, well how might I put this, a less well-off background and now here you are living a gilded lifestyle. I suppose they have this opinion of you because they think that you should not belong here. It is just jealousy and I have seen it before with people like this so I know what to look out for. You may just want to keep that in mind when you next deal with them, if you decide to do so at all anymore.

  1. They won’t be impressed with that.

I mean I put up with it because well we are together aren’t we and that is the nature of a relationship isn’t it, but I know from the way our families think and our friends that they will not be impressed with your behaviour. You didn’t think there was anything wrong with it? Well, no, but I suppose they will say that you are bound to say that aren’t you? They expect high standards I suppose. You have made a rod for your own back in that regard but doing something like that will not have impressed all these people. Oh I am sure they will soon get over it but I thought it only fair to tell you how they will view your behaviour. I can see it troubles you and that’s right because you are reflective in that regard but perhaps you need to think first before you do such things in the future. In fact, it would probably be for the best if you don’t go to those events any more yes? Indeed, I would suggest you keep a low-profile for a while in respect of people as whole and you would be better served by staying at home and keeping out of their line of sight. That way they might just forget about your unimpressive behaviour and you can move on. Don’t worry, you have always got me of course.

  1. It’s not just me that thinks….

I am only telling you this for your own good because I care about you but you do need to do something about your drinking. Look, I am reasonably relaxed about it, I know how hard you work and you like to unwind with a few glasses of wine. I get it but I am just worried about your health. You are often rather grumpy the next morning as well, you know short-tempered and you’ve been snapping at people, short with them. I know you don’t think you are but trust me, it is not just me that thinks it is causing a problem. A few people have remarked to me about it as well. Nothing major but we don’t want it to get out of hand do we? That’s how you get a reputation after all and you don’t want that do you. It is beyond just a concern though. I think it as well, but as I say I am looking at it more from a health point of view, I know others are concerned about how you are behaving with other people, including a couple of your colleagues so you need to think on because you know what can happen when people start to think things about you, it somehow becomes hard fact and that becomes very difficult to change.

The character assassination by proxy also serves a further purpose. It causes you to cling tighter to us. It is a horrible and uncertain world out there. People you thought liked you are showing that they do not. We are your only friend so you had better do what we want in order to keep us.

7 thoughts on “The Paranoia of Character Assassination

  1. Findinglife11 says:

    True mon. I never really knew how much I needed other people’s validation for my own self-worth. But I have learned in all of this that this is the case for me. It was a bit of revolutionary information as I never really realized that about myself. So all of these ways that are described in this blog were quite effective against me. But now I know. Though ironically I am always perceived by people to be strong independent and so to equate me with a low self-esteem was a bit shocking. And in needing people’s validation. But alas I have learned it is true. (Though i am replacing that with a higher self worth that was always present anyway but a little diminished and shadowed by the “others validation. “) And that is exactly the chord that my now ex narcissist found in me to exploit. They do have a way. But I am here to tell you that God’s way is always higher and more right and redeeming. And remember good always wins in the end.

    1. Sniglet says:

      Findinglife11 – you are correct.

      I too noticed that a lot of people need validation. One of the many things my father told me very early on – I remember it like it was yesterday. I was about 8 years old and I was holding his hand. We were walking up a hill on a crispy autumn afternoon and I told him that I was upset children at school gossiped about me. He stopped and looked at me with a serious face and said “Who said what? Tell me their names? Remember the following: as long as you live under my roof, I clothe and feed you, you have nothing to worry about. I am your father and I will protect you. Never ever listen to loose lips. Tell me what bothers you and I will take care of it.” He was not all talk, he walked the walk.

      Of course after that day, I never told him who said what. I had my validation then and there from one of the most important people in my life. He. Mentally I was armed and that is all I needed. The validation seed was planted in my brain and I took care of matters alone.

      I believe that children need a strong masculine father and a strong loving mother to carve their early path in life toward a strong adult mind.

  2. K says:

    I really enjoyed this euphemism: a less well-off background

  3. W says:

    I’ve been suddenly wondering if my kids dad is a narc.
    HG, it is possible for an emotionally immature person to use d&d, the last example in the article, and other things as talking over me, etc….but NOT actually be a narc isn’t it?
    Surely certain behaviours can be shown as a symptom of emotional immaturity? Or due to substance abuse?

    (I never felt he wanted to hurt me , and I’ve known him 22 years. But he displays traits of the lesser — minus any violence, but really only if we are in conflict and I challenge his superiority. He shows genuine empathy to me and the kids, and there’s no abuse, just some narcy traits. I’ve never felt any malign intent, and we remain relatively good friends/family/coparents. But some of the traits are there.)

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes it is possible. You need to look at the aggregate of behaviours over a period of time to reach a determination. Isolated instances or behaviours are purely indicative.

      1. W says:

        Yes I’m reviewing now. Even just this morning, he perceived a criticism and immediately took a threatening tone, eyes bulged, and began to re-tell a convo we’d had the day before, tailored to present as if I’m inferior for not understanding something HE wasn’t clear about. He has always used intimidation , verbal violence, name calling, present silent treatment, and others. Once, right before I left him many yeas ago, he as being abusive and he said he was going out to smoke a joint and not to call the cops “because I’ll calm down before they get here.”- in essence telling me he could control it so not to bother. If his views are criticized by me or the kids (our adult daughter hates Trump, he likes him of course) -she is the golden child , he had her in tears bcuz he wouldn’t STOP berating her perceptions. He talks non stop, over talks, will make fun of any source I have that supports a contrary view to his. Any perceived criticism is met with ignited fury, You once described the lesser as a cartoon character, eyes bulging, veins popping, that’s him when he’s both happy excited and angry. He has what u always called “the crazy eyes” it’s like a fire behind his eyes. He never looks calm or settled unless really stoned.
        LOTS of indicators,that would make it ALLLL make sense

        EXCEPT THIS: he always did seem genuinely concerned about his children’s welfare, and animals too.
        Even tho I always though he was like – manufacturing tears- at times—- other times, he genuinely seems to be sad, or happy, or momentd of joy.
        NOW however, that the kids are older, as much as he seems to love them , he does nothing with them. My daughter refers to him as a “distant father”

        I’m wondering , we had our kids in our twenties. His behaviours seemed to get worse and worse as the years go by.

        Can a person like — BECOME more of the narc they are as they come into maturity?

        Can a narc feel love? Joy? Ever? Even as a young child, teen, or twenties?

  4. Carolyn says:

    Mine narc used to do it many times and it was the most abusive part of our relationship, it was all false, so stupid but I thought I had to defend myself.

    Examples: “I think you would hit someone if you lost your temper. Tell me Carolyn, am I right?”

    “You are s sociopath, Carolyn. Really, I mean, you should see someone, I could go with you, cause I care for you. We should talk about it.”

    After the discard, seeing me happy: “You have changed, Carolyn. You are an attention seeker now. I care for you and I can’t believe what I see. Others see it too. You should do something, because you can get in trouble. Trust me, I tell you this as your friend”.

    I don’t know if my observations are right but narcs do it to: 1. make drama, gain fuel 2. control you, they hate when you are in control.

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