Dealing with the Narcissist’s Smear Campaign By Peg Streep

How not to get sucked in and wiped out (and eventually recover).

Among the things most experts agree on is that narcissists never go quietly into the night; they do not simply disappear from view but instead practice the scorched-earth policy, leaving nothing but the burned wreckage of relationships and, sometimes, reputations.

Abigail Keenan/Unsplash
Source: Abigail Keenan/Unsplash

One of the more interesting observations offered up by Joseph Burgo in his book The Narcissist You Know is that the narcissist is so committed to his “truth” that his lies may not be conscious. Yes, re-read that sentence and let it sink in. Winning is all for the narcissist, as is never taking responsibility when things go south; while they are always the heroic protagonists when things go right, they loudly declare their victimhood—no matter how unlikely—when things go wrong or have the potential to embarrass them.

The smear campaign is born out of a combination of factors, including the need to be right and have his or her “truth” become the prevailing script, retaining status and standing (making sure that his or her inner hidden shame doesn’t become public), and maintaining control of his or her image. The woman or man high in narcissistic traits curates her or his public persona very carefully; appearing successful, accomplished, and together is all-important.

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Peg Streep


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