Once you determine that you have been in a one-sided, crazy-making relationship with a narcissist, then chances are you will also learn that you been the victim of a smear campaign. After narcs are secure in knowing that you are emotionally involved with them, you get transferred to the devalue stage and the emotional abuse starts. Their sadistic nature rises to the surface and they cannot help themselves any longer. They have hid this side of themselves for too long and its oozing from their mouth, body language and by their sudden lack of communication with you. Noticeably, they start to withdraw affection and concern. You start to feel distant from the narc, but you don’t know why.
Part of the devaluation stage is where narcissists ruin your reputation by stabbing you in the back and telling lies to mutual friends and relatives, anyone that knows you. The narc knows that they are going to discard you soon because they are either bored with you, you have called them out on some weird behavior or hurtful thing they have done, or a new supply (target) is ready to move up from the perimeter supply. Calling the narc out has somehow bruised their ego and ruined their image of themselves and you made them feel shame or less than perfect. But, since they cannot dump you instantly because the have no socially legitimate reason to do so, they start smearing you to your mutual friends so that when you are finally discarded, the narc will appear to be the victim whilst referring to you as “crazy”. They will tell others that they cannot be your friend any longer because you are so “jealous”. They will overtly dramatize these conversations so that they can have sympathy and pity from the listener. Always second guess any “pity party”.
How do I know this to be true? Because it happened to me, that’s why! After almost one year of socially isolating myself after leaving the narcissist, I ran into a mutual friend and I asked what the narc said as to why we are no longer hanging out. “What did she tell people regarding the whereabouts of me and my family over the last year?” I asked this because our families were intertwined for almost nine years. Surely someone had to wonder what happened to me, us….. “Oh, she said that you went crazy”, was the response of the mutual friend. I was not surprised at this answer because most, if not all internet articles on narcissist’s smear campaigns inform us victims that we will be called “crazy” and “jealous” by our abusive partner or friend. Somehow the narcs omit the part about what they manufactured to create the jealousy or the craziness. People just don’t wake up crazy. Why would anyone believe this to be true?
Keep in mind that a relationship with a narcissistic mother is drastically different than what is described above. Daughters of narcissistic mothers don’t experience the idealization, devalue and discard stages like someone would in the typical relationship with a narcissist. Sadly, narcissist’s daughters never experience unconditional love let alone any short term idealization. Remember, idealization is a “mental defense mechanism in which the narc attributes exaggeratedly positive qualities to self or others” (Wikipedia). Idealization is also defined as “a mental mechanism, operating consciously or unconsciously, in which one person overestimates an admired attribute of another” (dictionary.com). Instead of idealization, narcissistic mothers use their daughters as mirrors. The role given to us is to only reflect perfection at all times. Our hair and clothes are of upmost importance. Anything less than perfection will undoubtedly tarnish the mother’s flawless image and we will be punished. As children, we were to be “seen and not heard” when around other adults. Why? Because we might tell someone about the lives we lead behind closed doors; behind the spotless image of the family. This is impression management at its finest, all controlled by the narc. Controlled by them through fear, obligation and guilt.
As a daughter of a narcissistic mother, I felt my whole life was in the devalue stage. Dictionary.com defines devalue as “to deprive of value; reduce the value of”. I was put down, rejected and smeared most of my life. I was taken out of the will depending on who I was dating. My picture was removed from the stairway wall. Years of intermittent silent treatments could be considered to be my never-ending discard phase. But, like clockwork, a holiday, funeral or out-of-town visitor would cause us to get back together again. There was never any conversation or apology from her for any wrong doing or for the smearing of my name to other family members. She lovingly just asked me to “agree to disagree” on any abusive interactions on her part, or she would say, “now, I don’t want to re-hash what happened, let’s just move forward”. This was in no way her acknowledgement of any type of abuse, nor was it a sign of her remorsefulness. What it was though, was her way of avoiding being held accountable for her unacceptable behaviors, lies and smear campaigns, and it assured her that the family would still appear intact and totally functional for all to envy.
Before going no contact with my mother I wrote her a letter. I hadn’t spoken to her for eight months prior to the letter. In the letter, I asked her why she was still smearing and belittling me to our family and her friends after not talking to her for so long. What did she actually have to complain about? I explained to her that it was not my fault that she couldn’t see any value in me or my worth as a person, let alone her adopted daughter. I asked her why she abandoned me by moving twice with no forwarding address or phone number. I explained to her that this letter is my last attempt to salvage our relationship. Deep down, I was hoping for an apology, or at the very least, a heartfelt conversation. I didn’t get either of them.
Months later after no contact, I received a call from a family friend. She told me that my mother did get my letter and that she described it as extremely rude and that I “told her off”. In true narcissistic fashion, my mother continued her legacy by referring to me as “ungrateful” and said that I “didn’t appreciate anything she had ever done for me”. Let’s not forget her most famous quote, “doesn’t she know what she put me through as a child”. I’ve had the lifelong debt of repaying her for changing my diaper, feeding me, and keeping me out of harm’s way, my entire life. I owe her for driving me to school, buying me clothes, and having to sit in a lawn chair to watch me play softball. I owe her for adopting me. I owe her for not being like her. I was always told that, “I was special”. Well, if I was so special then why was I beaten so badly that I had belt buckle welts on my legs and hand prints on my face from being slapped? God, it didn’t feel good to be special….
It has been over two years since I have seen my mother. Mutuals are informing me that she is telling everyone that my brother and I have abandoned her. She literally has nobody, but this is by her own doing. She said she is afraid of dying alone because if left for dead too long before being found, she will not look good. That’s her biggest fear, how she looks when she is found dead? Her relationships, her accomplishments, her legacy, are not a concern to her at all. Sadly, she has spent a lifetime of smearing me and I have spent a lifetime of making excuses for her and defending myself.