In simple words, a smear campaign is a malicious manipulation tactic that involves ruining someone’s reputation by spreading false, misleading information about them, and gossiping about them in a way that makes other people dislike them. While not all narcissists do smear campaigns, those who do it usually have a strong conscious or subconscious goal they want to achieve.
So, what makes narcissists so motivated to spread false information about you? What’s the logical reason behind the smear campaign and how does it benefit them? Below are the reasons why narcissists use smear campaigns against their victims.
Isolation to facilitate abuse
A few centuries ago it was almost impossible for a human being to survive on his own without blending in a social group. This means that those who couldn’t fit in a social group had very low chances of survival. In that era, isolating someone from their social circle was synonymous to killing them.
Even though in the modern era you don’t need to live in a tribe to survive, feeling emotionally disconnected from other people, especially those who are close to you can negatively affect your mental health to a great extent.
Most of the time, a narcissist’s smear campaign is meant to isolate an individual from others to make the person dependent on the narcissist for emotional survival. Narcissists who use this tactic for this reason usually have fear of abandonment. The narcissist is usually afraid that their victim will be influenced by others, grow stronger, and leave the narcissist.
I can’t defeat you in person; I will defeat you in your absence
Mark was treated badly by his colleague but he couldn’t defend himself. He went home feeling angry, defeated and eager for revenge. However, Mark was afraid of consequences that may follow if he directly confronted his college.
Over the next few days, Mark started gossiping about his colleague, and spreading negative information about him. Do you know why Mark was conducting a smear campaign against his colleague? As you might have already guessed, it’s because he didn’t have enough courage to face him directly, so he decided to face him indirectly.
This does not mean that narcissists conduct a smear campaign only when you have mistreated them. Narcissists usually try to control those who are close to them and if the narcissist feels that you are too resistant, that’s a direct attack to their ego. That is enough to make them conduct a smear campaign against you in order to get revenge.
Jealousy and smear campaign
Smear campaign can also be a sign that a narcissist is jealous of you. When a narcissist is jealous of you they may spread false information about to make other people hate you.
When a narcissist is jealous of you, the last thing they want to see is to see you happy. They will be constantly looking for your flaws, which they will of course find unless you are perfect.
Actually, even if you were perfect, a jealous narcissist will still find something bad about you simply because they will be looking at you from a distorted perception. A person’s feelings about you greatly affect how they see you. When you like someone, you tend to ignore their flaws and focus on their positive qualities. The opposite happens when you don’t like someone. See: how to deal with a gaslighting narcissist.
Cheap superiority and smear campaign
Some weight lifters lift the heaviest weights to prove their superiority, painters paint the best portraits to prove their superiority, and those who have nothing to showcase discredit others to prove their superiority. Sometimes, smear campaigns, gossiping, and discrediting someone are meant to achieve cheap superiority.
Talking about someone else’s flaws is a way of trying to prove that they are better than that person.
What does this mean?
Regardless of the cause of the smear campaign, the person who does it is usually in a weaker position. If they had enough courage, they would face you directly instead of conducting smear campaigns against you.
However, smear campaigns can still have a lot of negative impact on the victim’s side. This is because people tend to believe the narcissist simply because they have no information from the victim’s side.
Even if you don’t care about other people’s opinion that much, living in an environment where you feel like people think badly about you can have negative impacts on your self-esteem and mental health. This is if the narcissist manages to convince those who are close to you that you’re a bad person. That’s why it’s important to learn how to deal with an abusive narcissist. See: how to outsmart a narcissist.