A smear campaign is a form of covert abuse commonly employed by a toxic ex. It usually takes the form of a litany of nasty rhetoric containing distortions, half-truths or lies about you spewed to anyone who will listen. Let’s just call it negative propaganda designed to damage your reputation. It is a very common tactic for an abusive ex, especially one with a personality disorder, to launch a vicious smear campaign once the relationship has finally been terminated.
The smear campaign can be very hurtful and anxiety-provoking to the victim. This is exactly what it is designed to do. It will especially throw you off if the lies are being spewed to your children. How can your ex tell your kids that mom has been unfaithful? This behaviour is as demented as it gets, so buckle up and prepare for the ensuing insanity.
The smear campaign will usually be both verbal and written. This is perfect because it actually allows us to collect what has been written and add it to our documentation folder to keep for future use. Try to put your disgust aside and see it for what it is – great evidence of really bad behaviour!
How should we respond to the smear campaign? Well, there are different schools of thought on this, but I highly recommend that you stay silent. This may feel counter-intuitive because most of us are pretty honest and prefer to set the record straight. I recommend that you resist the urge to defend yourself, do damage control, or smear back. Your toxic ex will stealthily manipulate things and use it all against you.
I always tell my clients to just stay the course, be your normal self, be the great parent you are and let the haters hate. Your silence will cast doubt on the Smearer in the loudest possible way. If your kids question the lies that they have been told, you can certainly let them know that it is not true but do not disparage their other parent in doing so. Over time, the truth will prevail, and friends and family (even children) will see the Smearer for the harmful noxious person they are.