My now ex-wife is engaging a positively infuriating smear campaign on me while I’m out of the country. We both are graduate students at the same university, and I’m returning just as she’s leaving for ten months. Sure, my friends and a couple of her friends know shes full of shit. However, being the type of narcissist with over 2,000 facebook “friends,” she makes friends easily and has been spreading lies about me to paint herself as the victim. I’m also annoyed that her professors are head of some departments that I have to work with. The tactic she employed is classic DARVO.
“DARVO refers to a reaction perpetrators of wrong doing…may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. DARVO stands for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.” The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim — or the whistle blower — into an alleged offender. This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility or even blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.” http://pages.uoregon.edu/dynamic/jjf/defineDARVO.html
When we were getting STD tests for my Chlamydia-like symptoms of pus discharge, and frequent, burning urination, she collapsed, telling me how sorry she was, how guilty she was, how selfish she was, and how she didn’t deserve me.
When the tests came back negative in my case and hers, she took the opportunity to mislead the doctors on test dates in order to paint me as possibly having my own affair. Her friends were aghast. When I asked for her facebook password and read obviously partially deleted chatlogs, I saw this lie, and confronted one of her friends. She was devastated. Then, she used DARVO again, to change the story a little and suggest because she had an IUD, it would be impossible for her to have given me anything. When I confronted her with scientific research that this was untrue, she closed off communication to me, suggesting I was being emotionally abusive. She then would send her friends partial truths and lies to reverse victim and abuser.
I know you suggest that there isn’t anything I can do. However, this is so infuriating that I have to go back to a toxic environment where she has lied to so many people. How do I handle this?
Dear Florida Chump,
Just as you did — with a divorce summons and a series of STD tests.
How do you handle her smear campaign? You don’t. Yeah, you anticipated me on that answer. You don’t control her crazy. And it sucks.
Focus on what you do control — do you want to continue your degree at this university? Could you change schools? Advisors? If you really feel she has poisoned the entire well and you can’t succeed in this place because of 2,000 Facebook friends who may know the intimate details of your Chlamydia test, consider your options. Stay — it’s UNFAIR. Go — It’s UNFAIR.
You’re just choking on the unfairness of it. You hate your choices. Every chump understands this, and you’re right. It’s unjust. You probably ask yourself every day — Who DOES this? Who adds insult to injury? Who cheats on someone and then makes themselves out to be the True Victim in all this?
Text book cheaters, Florida. That’s who.
How do you go back to a toxic environment where she’s lied about you? With your head held up. Your best defense against her lies is just being yourself — classy, dignified, and hardworking. You’re just a guy finishing a degree. You’re not a guy on a mission to Defend Himself Against the Slander. You’re not going to dignify any of her shit with a response, unless some one asks — and then you tell the truth — we divorced because she cheated on me.
Staying enmeshed with her trying to defend or control the narrative is giving centrality and kibbles to the cheater.
God, and it’s such tasty bait. They know this. They know we care what people think, because we’re people-pleasing chumps! They know that of all the things they did, we hate the lies the most. The theft of our reality. The trashing of our reputations. GAH! Who wouldn’t want to take the bait?
NO SHE IS NOT A VICTIM SHE GAVE ME CLAP AND LIED ABOUT IT AND FUCKED ME OVER!
Then everyone looks at your crazy “bitterness” and tut tuts. She must’ve been right about him. Did she cheat? Did he cheat? Well, she has to be the victim — look how untethered he is! Who could live with such a frothing, sputtering mess?
DARVO mindfuck indeed.
So don’t take the bait. Go be awesome Florida. Surround yourself with the people who have your back, who don’t feign “neutrality” and who love you right. Forget the rest. Best revenge is graduating with honors. Best revenge is an authentic life of integrity. Best revenge is a new girlfriend who isn’t a disordered wing nut.
DARVO only works if everybody shows up for the theater performance — “victim” and “oppressor”. Refuse to play. Go no contact. Close the curtain.