3 People to Know if You’re a Victim of a Narcissistic Smear Campaign

The sooner you meet these people, the better protected you’ll be

Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.
8 min readApr 5, 2021
narcissistic abuse victim with a visual representation of a smear campaign
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Out of the corner of your eye, you see acquaintances point at you and whisper. This is perhaps your first inkling that something is wrong.

People you’re supposedly friends with give you funny looks. They shy away from you. They “just happen to have to get up and leave” the minute you take a seat next to them.

Finally, a friend — a true friend — gives you a heads-up. Someone has been gossiping about you all throughout your friend group or community. They’ve been taking minor, meaningless things that happened, exaggerating them, blowing them up into massive transgressions you made. Where exaggeration fails, they outright lie about you.

The person spreading the rumors seems to be playing the victim, trying to turn people against you, trying to take your own support network and leave you with nothing. Worst of all, the person engaging in all this gossip is someone you believed thought a lot of you. Previously, they seemed to idealize you, to have you on a pedestal.

If any of this rings true, you may be the victim of a narcissistic smear campaign. The effects of such a campaign can be far-reaching and can be devastating to a…

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Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.

I write about writing, ideas, creativity, homelessness, intuition, spirituality, life lessons. Ex-college teacher Twitter: @paulryburn