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.

11 thoughts on “The Paranoia of Character Assassination

  1. Truthseeker6157 says:

    “We tell you that other people think badly of you, do not like and are saying things about you.”

    This is an interesting one and I can understand why it works. Overall, as a group, empaths are people pleasers. Everyone would rather be liked than disliked but for empaths, due to the traits of compassion, excellent listener and a genuine desire to heal and fix, to then be told that we are actively disliked or disapproved of is likely to be more hurtful.

    Many of us will have been disliked by someone at some point, but the question that’s worth considering is, ‘So what?’

    What is actually important about someone else’s opinion? I’m struggling to come up with a reason unless it’s an intelligence or beauty contest out there. If so, I want my prizes please! Whenever you’re ready, no rush. (I’m joking by the way)

    I think we really need to ask ourselves, whose opinion has value? Who even knows us well enough for their opinion to be valid? Let’s face it, your boyfriend’s group of friends know you on a surface level and for a comparatively short period of time. Their opinion, good or bad is absolutely irrelevant. They have no context to go on, the timeline isn’t long enough to make any form of judgement worth its salt. Friends at work, people at the gym, these friendships are surface level, these friends are not in a position to pass any worthwhile opinion.

    If I think about whose opinion I truly value, who knows me well enough to make comment on my behaviour and whose opinion I hold any store by, honestly, I come up with a definite one person and a possible two, at a push, with a following wind.

    So my point is, the opinions of others are irrelevant. If you are content within yourself, are generally happy with your standard of behaviour, then, that’s good enough. It has to be. Someone who truly knows you, truly understands you, has known you for years and has no skin in the game, this person is worth listening to, they have a valid opinion, outside of that? No.

    If we organise our thinking this way and we’re truly honest about it, then we are less vulnerable to tricks like this from the narcissist. If we are secure in ourselves, accepting of ourselves and the fact we aren’t perfect, then what the narcissist does in terms of smearing or character assassination ends up being little more than a cheap parlour trick.

    1. Alexissmith2016 says:

      That’s so true TS, I never ask myself whether someone likes me anymore. And if they don’t, their behaviour is explainable. I only ask myself whether I like them.

      1. Truthseeker6157 says:


        Bit by bit, through reading HG’s articles and really thinking about them, then reading the comments of those that have been here longer, I think we get to where we need to be.


    2. Joa says:

      Off topic, but I have to write it. Today I enter the office of one of the women in our company, and on the wall hangs… the eye of Horus. I smiled at the sight of it 😊
      It’s just that you have a right eye, and she had a left eye, I don’t remember which one is “responsible” for the past and which for the future.

      It was a nice feeling, of course I had to talk to the woman about it, although I entered other matters 😊

      1. Truthseeker6157 says:

        Aww Joa, this really made me smile. I’m sitting on your shoulder 😉


  2. Alison says:

    In person, I’m very shy and soft spoken. I usually prefer to observe and not say much. My husband knew this very well, and he (as well as others around us) would comment on how well we balanced each other out, with him being outspoken, loud, and extremely talkative. When we entered the “stranger zone” and I would beg to know why he would barely speak to me anymore, it was always because I was so “quiet and boring”, if I was more interesting, he’d have more to say.

    1. Alexissmith2016 says:

      Alison, I hope you realise it’s not at All boring if you’re shy and soft spoken. Boring is loud and outspoken! It truly is.

    2. Truthseeker6157 says:


      What a horrible thing for your husband to say to you. “Empty vessels make most noise.” That would have been a funny response! If you are anything like me, the pithy put downs don’t roll of the tongue quite as fast as I would like sometimes, even if they are well deserved.

      It sounds like you were already in devaluation at this point. His comment was likely a provocation designed to assert control and draw fuel from your hurt reaction. Whatever the reason, it’s a horrible thing to say.

      You might be shy and soft spoken and there’s nothing wrong with that. It just means you prefer to speak when you have something worthwhile to say.


      1. Alison says:

        At the time, it just made me angry because I didn’t understand. I’ve always been the way I am, and he even used to compliment me about my personality, about how I’m so calm and collected compared to him, how I never initiated drama like all his “horrible exes”. He was the one who suddenly changed, not me. If I was so quiet and boring, why did he pursue me in the first place? Now I know all he said was just a bid for negative fuel.

        Just like with my first husband, (no need to bother with a narc detector as we’ve been no contact for nearly a decade, but he’s pretty much a text book somatic narc… Empty headed gym rat and rock musician, who loved taking selfies, etc and would cheat at every given opportunity) when we entered devaluation, suddenly he would pick apart everything wrong with my physical appearance, and I mean everything and blame his behavior on my lack of fixing myself for him. Meanwhile he had no issues at all during the golden period when I was in even worse physical shape. I had no idea what a narcissist even was at that point, but I was just so relieved when he finally discarded me for one of the women he was cheating with that I blocked him and shut down all of his attempts to remain friends. He used to try to get to me periodically though my friends or family members but eventually gave up.

        1. Truthseeker6157 says:


          I agree, no need for the Narc Detector on your first husband is there? He sounds like a classic Somatic Narc. I wonder if the apparent contrast between your first and second husbands was part of the original attraction on your side? That contrast between someone who treated you so poorly with a person who arrived and portrayed himself as loving you just the way you are. The calm to his storm.

          Narcissists have a real knack of spotting our weak spot, the hangover and insecurities left from previous relationships are used to their advantage as the way in. I’m really glad you found out for sure by taking the NDC. That’s the first step. We are so prone to seeing the good, attributing poor behaviour to other factors, our suspicion of narcissism as a factor can go back and forth in line with devaluation and respite or the general push and pull of the narcissist. Im sure your heart dropped at the outcome of the NDC. It feels like bad news, but, it’s news that provides certainty, certainty gives you options, you can make decisions without doubt nagging at you and dragging you down. I see the NDC as the first step to moving forward.

          It sounds to me that you are already learning a lot from the articles and discussions here on the blog and the videos on YouTube. There’s a lot to take in and understand, but you are most certainly on your way. One step at a time.


    3. Duchessbea says:

      Alison, I’m sorry your husband said that to you, that is a horrible thing to say. I have a friend, that like you is shy and an observer. She likes to listen rather than talk, but when she does talk, she always has the most interesting stories and she also gives great advice. I agree with TS, that ‘Empty vessels make the most noise’. Continue being who you are and being fabulous, and ignore rubbish and don’t change for anyone. Best, DB

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