A New Way To Spot A Narcissist’s Smear Campaign (Using Data)
By Ike Kalson
There are many ways narcissists acquire accomplices, but one of the biggest is through smear campaigns. And whether it’s in a family environment or at work, it’s important to know the signs. Because without knowing the key signs of a narcissist smear campaign, you could very well be the target of one.
Today, we’re separating fact from fiction and showing you a new way to spot a smear campaign, using actual data from a real alienation scenario. You’ll understand what a smear campaign is so the next time you encounter one, you’ll know the signs.
And stick to the end, because we’re giving away a free checklist that shows how to demonstrate a smear campaign in your own scenario (you may even be able to stop a narcissist from carrying out a smear campaign in the future)!
Let’s dive in!
But First, What Is A Smear Campaign?
Great question. A smear campaign is a tool narcissists use to villainize their victim. Through lies and deception, narcissists gain the support of potential accomplices.
This can happen in a toxic work environment, between family friends, or even within a family.
Once the campaign is over, the narcissist is left with an army of accomplices, many of whom originally were the victim’s closest friends.
Even worse, the victim cannot get any help. When they try to explain to others what’s happened, people often brush it off as a typical relationship conflict or “perspective.”
The victim has lost their support system while the narcissist has acquired accomplices to traumatize them.
All of this can result in a severe disadvantage for the victim in family court systems, child custody evaluations, or with other authorities (like with their boss).
Why Do Narcissists Need Them To Survive?
Narcissists by themselves are very incapable individuals. They always need to leech off of other people.
What makes a narcissist very dangerous is the fact that they bring people onto their side, even though it’s all a lie.
With people on their side (some who don’t even know they are part of an intricate system of alienation), the narcissist can exploit and terrorize the victim.
And when the narcissist needs help with anything (that could mean money, housing, or emotional support), they have a group of people that they can leach off of. In fact, I know a narcissist that is constantly getting free favors from those around them (and laughing their way to the bank).
So in short, narcissists need smear campaigns, or else they would lose their power very quickly (and we know narcissists are desperate for control).
Why Do They Work?
Simply put, smear campaigns work because the narcissist is extremely convincing, and people aren’t aware enough of narcissism to realize this (that’s why our motto is: Awareness is contagious; pass it onTM).
We tend to trust people when they confide in us. Narcissists exploit this humanity. They’ll manipulate your empathy to get you against the victim, and they’ll come from the perspective of “helping” the victim.
When a smear campaign is in full swing, many people will fail to fact-check, giving narcissists a golden opportunity to gain accomplices.
A campaign at this level can have long-lasting impacts. Invalidation is one of the biggest difficulties when it comes to breaking the cycle of abuse.
Traditionally, support groups work because they provide validation; however, outside of these groups, the victim could be invalidated by everyone they know for years. We’ve seen this first hand in our own support group, the Narcissist Free Lounge.
Without more awareness of smear campaigns, victims will continue to be invalidated, oftentimes by their own friends and family in addition to society as a whole. I hope this article can validate what many are feeling.
Demystifying The 3 Key Components
There are three key components of a smear campaign:
- The Great Savior
- Playing Victim
According to Narcissist Abuse Support, narcissists have an uncanny ability to pathologically lie. In the case of a smear campaign, they use this to project their own dysfunctionalities onto the victim.
This means the narcissist is projecting the exact opposite of reality. Here’s a personal example:
“I was married with two children. I extensively traveled for work while managing most of the household, doing the groceries, and paying bills (medical, school cafeteria, house maintenance).
The narcissist was cunning and manipulative enough to use my traveling against me, creating an illusion that I was having fun traveling while not doing anything for the home.
They played into cultural stereotypes and the fact that I didn’t boast about my work so that no-one would even question or fact-check.”
Unfortunately, this kind of twisted deception is often received well because the narcissist tries to resonate the story with others. If a family friend has an abusive spouse, the narcissist will pretend to be in the same boat.
The narcissist seems to have unlimited energy for their toxic behaviors though they make no investment towards productive aspects of life.
By exploiting human connections and lying to no end, narcissists are effectively able to project their problems onto the victim, leaving outsiders with the exact opposite image of the truth.
2) The Great Savior
Once the narcissist has convinced others that the victim is the source of all the problems in the relationship, they take it one step further.
The narcissist portrays themselves as a hero doing everything they can to save the relationship and help the victim through therapy, medicine, or some other means of control (of course, the victim is not the one who needs help).
When the victim (understandably so) rejects these “calls for help,” the narcissist will use this as evidence to convince others the victim is uncooperative and unwilling to change.
Through an unbelievable degree of ruthless lying, the narcissist will present themselves as a solution to the victim’s (nonexistent) problem. They pretend to be a savior to gain accomplices and isolate the victim.
3) Playing Victim
To add a final layer of deception, the narcissist will pretend to be victim. This leaves the true victim crushed.
The narcissist, already having credibility from the first two components of the smear campaign, can lie (almost without restriction) and paint any picture of the victim they want.
When the victim gets angry (understandably so), they will fit the bill of the typical abusive partner that the narcissist portrayed. The victim is stuck.
By playing victim, the narcissist can paint whatever picture they want of the true victim, and people will believe it. This component of the smear campaign leaves the victim utterly devastated.
Putting It All Together
The combination of projections, playing savior, and playing victim lead to an unfathomable level of alienation against the victim. The narcissist uses their accomplices to push the victim in the corner.
Once the victim is isolated, the narcissist can become more blatant and overt as nobody is there to stand up for the victim or stop the narcissist.
By playing all three parts, the narcissist leaves the victim with no outlet. The victim:
- Can’t say the narcissist is the source of problems in the relationship, as the narcissist already projected those problems onto the victim.
- Can’t say they are the ones trying to keep the relationship intact, as the narcissist already convinced others they are doing everything they can to save it.
- Can’t even say they are the victim, as the narcissist has convinced everyone (friends, family, and even aspects of the family court system) that the victim is abusive.
A New Way Of Spotting A Smear Campaign
Smear campaigns are real and can have devastating consequences for the victim and children involved.
And unfortunately, these campaigns can influence the decision making of authorities. Through accomplices’ glorified references and witness testimony, narcissists can divert attention from their behavior and project it onto the victim.
So what can be done?
You Can't Argue With Data
The level of manipulation behind a smear campaign is extraordinary. To prove one, there needs to be an irrefutable, impartial, and evidence-based approach clearly demonstrating the campaign.
Without looking at hard data, it’s near impossible to break through the lies of a narcissist and truly validate the victims.
A Smear Campaign In Action (A Real Example)
Note: This is just one piece of data shown to highlight an example of how a smear campaign can manifest. The data provided in this image is obtained from my personal records and was morally and legally sourced.
This chart shows just one accomplice. For a smear campaign, you will observe a consistent trend and pattern across multiple accomplices.
Looking into this accomplice’s text messages, I started the relationship.
Once I handed over the narcissist’s phone number, the narcissist prepared for a smear campaign.
This campaign included the spouse and the narcissist’s own child. Within weeks, the child started to systematically lose their closest friends. Through a veil of lies and deception, the kid was socially suffocated and undermined within the family court system.
Here’s how they felt:
“It was like the whole world was pulling away from me. The narcissist was doing everything they could to manifest the lies they were spreading by totally isolating me. The accomplices were acting just like the narcissist.”
Remember, multiple pieces of evidence must point towards the same conclusion.
In my case, the data from other phone conversations, credit card records, medical records, and other data all pointed to an intentional, systematic, and deliberate smear campaign against the victim.
The Importance Of Forensic Evidence
The narcissist will go to any length to mislead the authorities and sabotage any genuine effort to get to the truth.
This necessitates irrefutable proof to prevent a narcissist from having full control over the situation. Why does this kind of “forensic evidence work”?
In addition to having evidence that’ll damper accomplices, narcissists are deeply afraid of exposure. By revealing the truth through data, the narcissist will begin to understand that the house of cards of lies that they’ve built is about to come crashing down.
Forensic evidence is true validation for the victim. It means that despite all the lies, alienation, and isolation, there is definite, irrefutable proof of the truth. With data, there is hope.
What Can I Do?
As I mentioned earlier in the article, one of the most difficult aspects of moving on from narcissistic abuse is receiving validation of your experiences.
If you’re a victim of narcissistic abuse and think you’ve been the target of a smear campaign, fill out the form below to receive a free checklist that shows how to demonstrate a smear campaign for yourself.
Get Your Checklist
Or, if you have not experienced narcissistic abuse but want to support our efforts, contact me here.