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TherapistMarryAnn
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5805
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi Kate, I had a former boyfriend who I suspected was a sociopath

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Hi Kate,
I had a former boyfriend who I suspected was a sociopath because of his mind games during the relationship, but also because of his stalking and harassment (for which I had to take him to court) after we broke up. As part of his post-breakup harassment, he spearheaded a pretty rigorous smear campaign against me within our shared social circles.

My question is this: what are some suggestions that you may be able to offer on how I can deal with the aftermath of this smear campaign?
Hello, it's good to hear from you.

The best way to address your ex's smear campaign can be broken down into two actions- how you behave with others and what you say to them about the topic.

First, it may be difficult for you in your shared social circles for a while until your friends and acquaintances figure out your reaction to what your ex said about you. What you need to do is decide your reaction ahead of time so when you are confronted with what your ex said or you just need to interact with your shared friends and acquaintances, you already have thought through and practiced if need be what you want your reaction to be. Smiling, being gracious and bringing up how others are doing helps a lot. Although it is ok to be upset by what he did, you don't want to show them everything. Don't mention the topic and do your best to act as if it didn't happen. Let your friends and acquaintances bring it up if they feel the need to.

The second thing is what you say in response to what your ex said, especially if it is brought up to you. Along with your behavior, you want to be able to answer anyone who comes to you and confronts you or even just mentions your ex's comments about you. It helps to adopt an attitude that you are hurt by it rather than start defending yourself (although that is a natural response for anyone). For example, you can decide that you may want to respond by saying "I'm really sorry he said those things and I feel bad you were exposed to such lies." By saying something like this, you can acknowledge you understand the situation and how hurtful it was to everyone but that you want to move on. You also minimize it and even reduce it's impact by calling what he did lying. That helps this to be easily dismissed by others as not important.

If you are very close with some of these people and can trust them, ask for their help in telling others that what your ex did was just to hurt you and that none of it was the truth. By having others do this for you, it helps show that you are right and your ex was wrong.

Kate
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Kate,


 


Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX really useful advice. In your (or your clients') experience, do these sort of smear campaigns eventually die out? I really feel as if he took my social experience and dirtied it. I have stayed away from former hangouts for awhile now, but don't want to give the impression that any of his lies are true or that I am ashamed of anything.

Yes, they do eventually die out. Once everyone sees that you are ok with it, then they will take your lead and let it go. Most likely, they are waiting to see how they need to respond after they see how you want to handle it. And if you handle it in a way that tells them you consider it hurtful but also petty and unimportant, they will follow suit.

Kate
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for the positive rating and bonus! I'm sure the situation your ex created will pass quickly and soon this will be behind you. If you need any more assistance with it, let me know.

Take care,
Kate