Debunking the Narcissist’s Smear Campaign

smear-campaignWhen we dump a narcissist or a narcissist dumps us, one of the first things that they do (to make themselves feel better) is embark on a smear campaign. Somehow, running a smear campaign provides the narcissist justification as to why we were never worthy of their presence to begin with. By talking smack around town about the discarded partner…by getting “the word out” about how horrible the ex is…the N feels pumped up and vindicated about however the relationship came to an end.

Most of us who’ve been involved with a narcissist have experienced being the target of a smear campaign at one time or another. It might even be that, with a break-up on the horizon, you’re worried in advance of what you already know will certainly be one. After all, breaking up with a narcissist isn’t exactly like any other break-up or divorce on the planet. If there are mutual friends, co-workers, or children involved, there will always be radioactive fallout but it’s not nearly as scary as it appears to be. In fact, by making one amazingly simple switch within our reaction to it, we can all but instantly change the dynamic of the smear itself. The key, my friends, is to say NOTHING at all…not a single world…and, believe me, there will be power in your silence.

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Naturally, when someone is talking shit about us to others, our first reaction is to want to defend ourselves. In many situations, of course, defending ourselves is the right thing to do but when the person talking smack about us is our narcissistic ex, I have found that silence on our part is the absolute – and only – way to beat him at his own game. In fact, I discovered that our silence during the smear campaign exposes him for the asshole that he really is. Our silence actually creates plausible denial in the smear, ultimately causing the truth to prevail.

The fact is that WE DON’T HAVE TO DEFEND OURSELVES AGAINST DOUCHEBAGS. We just don’t. The fact is that a narcissist will talk bad about us to everyone anyway– his family, our family, our kids, mutual friends, co-workers – and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. The smear campaign is one of the oldest narcissistic tricks in the book. Sure, we can run around behind him doing damage control or talking smack back but we’re dealing with a narcissist here and he will use our defensive reaction as proof that we are exactly as he describes. This is what he is counting on. This is, in fact, a narcissist’s end game throughout the entire relationship!

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I’m here to tell you that, throughout all of the N’s smearing during and after the relationship, all we ever have to do is be quiet and be normal and the N will quickly end up looking like the piece of shit that he is. Yes, it is hard to do but – OMG – the rewards are amazing and they come quickly. This strategy works, by the way, even with narcissists that are well liked and even loved in the community. It always works.

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Think about the scenario objectively. Imagine that you’re part of a group and one of the couples that you know is in a tumultuous relationship. Together or apart, they’re always causing  drama and within the group, everyone is annoyed.  So, the couple finally breaks up and now you start seeing them each separately. You notice that the guy does NOTHING but talk shit about his ex for hours on end but when you see her, she says nothing about him at all. She doesn’t even talk – or want to talk – about the break-up. She just mingles with the group like she always has. It’s awkward at first because her ex is like the elephant in the room, having said some horrible things about her…but everyone soon gets over that. As time passes, who is going to look more favorable in your eyes?  The person who talks all kind of smack about the ex or the the ex that is normal and nice and never even mentions the other one? The answer is obvious. I’m serious, even if the one half is spewing word garbage week after week that his ex is a murderer, the fact that she never utters his name and is as sweet as can be whenever you see her is going to cast doubt on everything he says. It creates plausible denial in her favor and, again, it always works! Eventually, he will have to stop talking.

Wayne – the ex of my book When Love Is a Lie – was a shit talker. It didn’t matter if we were together or broken up or where he was when he did it, if there were people within earshot that knew me or knew of me, he happily talked shit about me. Throughout it all, I said not a word. In fact, I was so silent about him, that most people who knew both of us weren’t sure if we were really even together. One couple pulled me aside and asked if I knew who he was!! Here’s Wayne talking crap about me to a group of people that we both know and they’re all thinking Holy Crap, does Zari even know this guy? She never even mentions him! Because of my silence, when the relationship was really over, these friends automatically gravitated towards me and they had been HIS friends to begin with. As a narcissist knows, silence can be very powerful. Ha-ha!

Was it hurtful to know that my ex never had a nice thing to say about me behind my back? Of course it was. It devastated me. Did I feel embarrassed sometimes to be around people KNOWING what he must be saying when I’m not there? Of course I did. But the truth is this: people really don’t want to hear about your drama and they will WELCOME your silence. We imagine that people hang on the narcissist’s every  word but this just isn’t true. No one loves the narcissist unconditionally like we foolishly did. No one! The narcissist, if you allow him to talk unfettered, will eventually alienate the world. Everything he says inevitably goes out the window.

This strategy is foolproof…and why? Because in the end, the truth really does prevail and our silence allows it to happen. People aren’t stupid and not everyone buys into the narcissist’s shit. We only think they do because we’re the target. I don’t care WHAT he is saying about you or how awful it is…just stay silent! This means when daddy is talking smack about mommy to the kids, mommy, although she wants to, does not reciprocate. The kids will figure it out and so will everyone else – and all without you ever saying a word in your defense. In this case, silence is a foolproof solution to a very big problem and you will have finally beaten the narcissist at one of his own fucking games.

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  • Jeremy

    December 3, 2017 at 1:14 pm Reply

    My ex left me two years ago and started some very nasty smear campaigns that spread throughout our small town. I tried to be the same friendly person I’ve always been, and didn’t talk about her, but eventually everyone turned their backs on me. I now live in a world of isolation and loneliness. We were both fairly popular within the community while together, but this has just made me feel like no one ever liked me in the first place. There have been times when I went out for a drink and said “hi” to someone and they literally turned around and wouldn’t speak to me. Or there was another time when some older gentlemen I’ve always known were at the bar and started making fun of me from across the bar. I’m a grown man, but I literally left and went home and cried. The pain has been indescribable. I wish others understood what it feels like to be abused by a narcissist. It really hurts to know others think I’m a monster while I spent all my time (19years) trying to love someone who never loved me. I think this is better advice than confronting the lies, but in my case it didn’t seem to ever sort itself out. Maybe one day someone will notice things for how they really are/were.

    • Zari Ballard

      December 3, 2017 at 4:59 pm Reply

      Hi Jeremy,

      Now, THAT is just awful. It’s hard for me to believe that this woman could be so convincing even to friends that you were both close to. How does that happen? Have you confronted any of these people to find out what they were told? You don’t necessarily have to go all out and defend yourself but you should face them if it was this bad. What you describe is not the norm and it may have something to do with the demographic in that town or the overall personality of those who live there but something is up. Have you ever thought of getting the hell out and starting a new life somewhere else? I just can’t see where people would literally turn their back on someone they have known forever based on some ex-wife nonsense. I know narcs can be bad – mine was ferocious – behind our backs but, if what you say is true, that is awful.

      This is just a suggestion but maybe you should consider booking some coaching time with me. I can help you through it, I’m sure, but I would need to know some details. I speak with men all the time and, believe me, they have shared some horror stories. Together, we have gotten through it. Maybe I can help you as well, brother….


  • Denzil

    November 12, 2017 at 10:36 am Reply

    Wow Zari this is so true! I was in a 6 year relationship with a narc, married and divorced her. I was the one who discarded her. I believe the smear campaign therefore were even more venomous. I also found silence is the best answer. At the end my friends and some of hers saw through all the bull and I am still good friends with them. For those suffering in similar circumstances, Hang in there! The truth does surface and you will be victorious!

  • Joan Antonelli

    October 31, 2017 at 11:28 am Reply

    So happy to read this article! I know I’m being smeared but this is so true, stay silent and the truth will show the way! ❤️

    • Zari Ballard

      November 3, 2017 at 4:22 pm Reply

      That’s it, Joan! No one ever wants to believe me but it’s true. Thank you for the confirmation:)….xo

  • vaudwan handley

    October 30, 2017 at 7:13 am Reply

    SO, first of all, you are absolutely right about the silent treatment. I myself have been a victim of Narcs since 5th grade and an adopted psychopath brother (Charlie Manson baby) from the Spahn Ranch….that’s a story for another day and book coming out. For me, I didn’t learn the importance of the Silence Treatment until this campaign smear by a neighbor and JUST for HER going the wrong way on our one way street for a long time. She could only get the newer neighbors to go along with her…YES, THE FLYING MONKEYS, and as a therapist myself, that is because these monkeys have their own shortcomings mentally and personally. Think about it, what normal person would listen to that shit!!!!!!!! I cant stand when someone wants to tell me all about someone else especially when they are the ONLY ones talking. It is 5 months and the N is quiet, for the moment, but monkeys still whining. Right in front of witnesses no less. And yes, don’t give ANY info to anyone and just let them run their mouth or pie hole as I say. Asshole, same thing. In a nutshell, when I left a note to the neighbor, the bf came down at 5:40 AM and almost broke my door down. I called the police and you will love this….THEY WENT DOWN AND TRIED TO GET A RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST ME!!!! Of course, no orders, even though she dragged me through 2 hearings AFTER being denied the first one…do you know what it is like to sit through 2 hours of PSYCHO BABBLE SHIT????? and lies, nothing but delusional lie after lie after lie. I had a woman judge who lectured them as to their wrongdoings and what a great asset I am to the community. I could go on but I am too freakin tired to tell more. You get the idea. I take her to court for my money in November and look forward to it. She dragged her FMs to the last hearings and the judge THREW them out of the court room. That is who harasses me still. I am asking for my attorney fess in small claims and have found SO MUCH SHIT on them for their scams, I am ahead. Not cocky as with THEM, you never ever know what lies ahead. I have them on false allegations, lying under oath and full blown internet scams. My problem now is, other people and who to trust. I have one neighbor who I have known for a lot of years but now an questioning if she is still a friend or foe?? How can you tell the difference once your head has been twisted?? If I didn’t have my degrees, I would have been screwed…

    • Zari Ballard

      December 3, 2017 at 4:21 pm Reply

      Hi Vaudwan,

      A second note to say that, unless something major has transpired in that neighborhood to your favor since your post, TRUST NO ONE.

      So sorry for the delay in responding. I have read your post and whats happening to you smacks of neighborhood gangstalking to me. Please google the term if you haven’t heard of it. The targeting can go on long after the case – or dispute – is over and even after you move out or they move out. Please be careful. I have heard it time and time again and I have done special research on it. It doesn’t really matter WHY the neighbors go along but the truth is that they DO in more cases than not. Thank God a judge sees through it but these narcissistic gangstalkers do not care about that. If you would like to email me, please go to my contact page on this website and I’ll share what I know and try to help. Just based on what you’ve told me, I believe it is something more than just a narcissistic neighbor and her awful friends.


  • Sonia

    October 11, 2017 at 4:43 am Reply

    Hi Zari my situation is a bit different it is my mother who is a narc and doing the whole smear campaign. I started a new life in a different city after a hurtful divorce and I’ve built a good life here. There is just one ex-friend that my mother has approached, she was a neighbour when I moved here, but she just wasn’t my type, way too complicated for me, so I stopped seeing her. My mum knew this and when I went NC with my mum, she started contacting this person and spreading lies and also divulging personal things pertaining to my divorce. Which for me is so hurtful, the ultimate betrayal by a woman who was never a mother.

    I contacted the ex-friend via FB and told her to back off with my mother and mind her business. Don’t know if she did, or if they’re still dissing me, but wow it plays so heavy on my mind….
    I’ve remarried and my hubby just says screw them, let them talk, so what. But for me I’m having difficultly forgetting about it. I do think what you said is absolutely correct there is dignity in silence. II’m a gotta get off my chest type and I really don’t know how I would react if I bumped into this ex-friend…..

    • Zari Ballard

      October 16, 2017 at 6:11 pm Reply

      Hi Sonia,

      Seriously, the only person that I would be concerned about would be my new husband and if he doesn’t care, then neither should you:) He’s right, let them talk and simply say nothing. And it’s not about dignity because if I thought it would have made a difference, I would have blasted my ex back. But I knew it wouldn’t and I put myself in the shoes of whoever might be listening and I knew right then that I’d think more of whatever half of the couple was being quiet. See, this is the trick of it that the narc doesn’t even know because he’s so full of himself. Even if I was GUILTY of whatever he was accusing me of to others, the simply act of staying quiet makes me look like the better person. Of course, I am the better person and so are you and at least by being quiet, it will appear as it should. The narc will never GET this and this is why you should pay it no mind. Let your mom talk all she wants. If you bump into your ex-friend, just say hi and act as if it never even happened. If she brings it up, just wave it off and go on to another topic. It’s likely she’s not paying it much attention either and that your mom, if she kept it up, became annoying. Either way, this is an “ex” friend so, as your hubby says, “Screw them!”. Your mom WANTS it to bother you so for that reason alone you need to start letting this behavior (and the people involved) go. Who cares what people think as long as you feel secure within the realm of your new relationship? Life is too short to care what idiots in this world think of us. They are idiots for a reason and we deserve to be happy!

      Zari: xo

  • Jennifer

    October 7, 2017 at 11:03 pm Reply

    I went no contact when I left him 4 years ago. I never talk about him and the smear campaign and stalking is still going on. I lost all of my my friends except one. He even tried to get my mother to stop speaking to me. My children lost all of their friends because they played with our friends’ children. He told them that our children were liars and to keep their kids doubt so that the children wouldn’t tell their friends about the abuse and have it get back to their parents. People still haven’t seen through the lies. Some of his stories get back to me and they are all different! Why do people still not see? His latest is that I left him because I am too jealous and insecure, how does that make sense? I understand that this is projection on his part but the same people who talked about how terrible I was for leaving him and refusing to talk to him are now the same people talking about how I am so jealous of him. From my experience jealous people don’t walk away and never look back. Does it ever end!?

    • Zari Ballard

      November 13, 2017 at 12:22 am Reply

      Hi Jennifer,

      I apologize for the delay in responding…please forgive me:( I am concerned for you and your children…four years of harassment and stalking? Really? Yes, it does end and even with the usual post-break-up bullshit from a narc, it should have been over a long, long time ago for you. As you describe, this is really not normal. If you’d like to contact me at the link and give a more detailed background, I will try to help.


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