A smear campaign is an unwarranted attack on the target’s reputation, character, and intent by making false accusations that others often believe. Narcissists are notorious for launching smear campaigns after ending a relationship, regardless of who ends the relationship. It’s their way of maintaining their public image, gathering the attention and sympathy from their enablers, and trying to destroy their target all at the same time. It’s also how their level of denial, fragile ego, and lack of self-awareness about their behavior shows itself, as a smear campaign lets others know the abuser isn't the problem.
Example of Smear Campaign
Kathy and Todd had been dating for about nine months. It was an emotional roller coaster the whole time, but Todd had never felt this way about a woman before. On his birthday, Kathy dumped him out of the blue for another man that she swore was just a friend. Todd was devastated. He wondered what on earth happened and what he did that could have been so bad to make her leave. He couldn’t wrap his mind around how things could go from being so great to nothing at all in the blink of an eye. He began texting and calling Kathy, begging her to talk to him, thinking that if he could speak to her, they could work through whatever happened.
Unbeknownst to Todd, Kathy showed other people all of his frantic texts as proof that he was obsessive and crazy. She twisted every text and email out of context and used them against him. Other people who had known Todd for years began to believe Kathy. Kathy also told people that she loved Todd, and she was worried about him because he was unstable and abusive, which Todd was not. He soon found that many of his friends, family, and co-workers were stand-offish or outright ignoring him. He had no idea why or what was happening. It never occurred to him that Kathy would break up with him, let alone launch a smear campaign against him and try to destroy his life. He couldn’t figure out what happened or why she was so cruel.