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Dear Chump Lady, What can I do about her smear campaign?

smearDear Chump Lady:

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.”

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?

Florida Chump

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?


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.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • This is me. This is the remaining bites of the shit sandwich. I hate it. I read this part on the narcissists smear campaign, and I just have to eat it.
    This smear campaign accomplishes three things: 1) it depicts you as the abuser or unstable person and deflects your accusations of abuse, 2) it provokes you, thus proving your instability to others when trying to argue his or her depiction of you, and 3) serves as a hoovering technique in which the narcissist seeks to pull you back into the trauma of the relationship as you struggle to reconcile the rumors about you with who you actually are by speaking out against the accusations. The only way to not get pulled into this tactic is by going full No Contact with both the narcissist and his or her harem.
    God, it sucks and the shit sandwich tastes so bad.

    • While I generally agree with the principle of going NC when dealing with narcs, cheaters and the like, I think there are certain situations that call for an assertive response. It sounds like you’re worried that your academic reputation is being damaged, which could affect your future career. If I’ve misread that, please tell me where I’m wrong.

      I credit this resource with helping me find and assert my voice in a constructive way:

      This is written by Bill Eddy who is an attorney, mediator and therapist who specializes in communicating with people he terms “high-conflict”, aka the Personality Disordered. He’s written a few books, one of which helped me tremendously. In fact, he co-wrote Splitting, one of the books CL recommends. The book that helped me is called BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns. Learning how to formulate a BIFF response taught me how to defend myself from my ex’s attacks. Also, it helped me to set the record straight when he tried poisoning other people with his lies.

      Again, I think NC is a beautiful thing. So is assertiveness.

      • flyingsquirrel, I second that recommendation for Florida Chump.

        Mr. Eddy’s other book, “It’s All Your Fault!” is awesome, as well. You can find all his books and others at

        I feel his books and web-site should be required reading for all us chumps……Helped me immensely!

        Forge on, Nation……

    • Please know that eventually your X will reveal her true colors for all to see. I promise you. Disordered people can do nothing but be disordered. They carry their shit with them everywhere they go. When the “Jesus cheater” OW was caught redhanded with my elderly, terminally- ill X, she played the victim card so well…until she didn’t. I was the cold-hearted bitch, who cared more about my career than my family. She was the poorvictim who was”deathly afraid” of me (even though she systematically stalked my kids and I for YEARS).

      Do you know what I did? Absolutely fucking nothing, except make sure my kids were protected. Never responded to her slander, never discussed her with anyone except my closest friends, never took the bait. It drove her crazy. She actually contacted family members to engage, but they had been forewarned and she was met with crickets.

      Four years later, I am at the top of my profession, am well-respected and trusted by my peers and am proud that I did not descend to her circle of crazy. She can’t find a job, lives with her mother after losing her house and has ruined her personal and professional reputation. Ironically, she blames me for her situation, but she managed to fuck her life up all on her very own.

      My X is very ill and has paid dearly for his betrayal of me. Although he is not the type of monster that I read about, here, I cannot find it in my heart to forgive him. Lots of reasons for that, mostly having to do with the way he so casually threw away over thirty years of commitment. Had he exhibited true remorse, I could have forgiven him,but…

      The point I am trying to make is disordered people live disordered lives. Call it karma or consequences, people will eventually see your X for the manipulative cheater she is. The only thing you are called upon to do is live your life with honesty and intregity ; now that your cheater is gone, it will only improve from here!

  • Wow, I was thinking slander suit as he is in a graduate program, what if this affects getting this degree? Of course they would be no way to prove anything. Yes CL I feel is correct, be yourself, hold head high, say she cheated that is why the divorce, and leave it at that. That would cover it all, and who you are, your character, and dignity.

    I still am wondering if this could be grounds for slander though, she is going to great lengths. Like a street roller, there must be more to this than you even know.

    Hang in there, aren’t you glad you know, hold on to that.

    • And then what? You spend a year plus on a lawsuit with what money, as a graduate student? Suing another graduate student with no money? You subpoena all your friends and colleagues and that improves the grad school experience?

      My belief about disordered people is that eventually — and it doesn’t often take that long — the crazy shows. It cannot HELP but show. And if you back off, and give them enough rope, they hang themselves (proverbially).

      • Yes!!! They will, as the disorder tends to spiral – or at least my STBX’s did- & their ability to hold the mask up fails. At this point, everyone who meets him (complete strangers have commented on his “weirdness”) sees that he’s not quite right. However, he has convinced himself of the opposite & is trying to cast me in the light of an abusive alcoholic with anger issues who is probably bi-polar.
        NC is the only way to put out their “raging” fire. Yesterday was really tough, at least 15 texts of threats to take away my kids, he was going to ask for maintenance & child support from me, not give me any money until the divorce was final, & was pretty sure that my attorney & I have broken several laws. So hard to not respond. So hard to know he’s full of shit, & not let it effect me. Because it does, & he knows it. NC while in the short term fans the flames of his anger, counterintuitively also starves the fire of oxygen, it just sometimes takes a little more time. He’s meeting w/ his attorney today, hoping she will put a muzzle on him.

        • Whodathunk, it’s often difficult to not respond but it does get easier. Ex texted some sort of nutty shit the other day. I normally just scan his bs these days but this one was hitting it out of the park and I nearly answered the crazy. Then I stopped myself, went for a walk, came back and answered only the bit about the kids. The rest was ignored, despite it being seriously infuriating.

          As far as smear campaign, yep, I’ve been painted as the crazy ex-wife and he and final OW are victims. Fuck them and the horse they road in on. I was a bit crazy in the first few months and it was a normal reaction to an absolute mind fuck, which included complete and utter financial devastation, along with ex pushing every button he could get his finger on.

          Then I smartened up and dropped the rope. Best thing I ever did.

        • Agreed, a lawsuit is not the best way to go. But neither is passivity. I believe there’s a middle way, which I think DR.ICBIAC hints at. Stick up for yourself, but choose your battles wisely.

      • “My belief about disordered people is that eventually — and it doesn’t often take that long — the crazy shows. It cannot HELP but show. And if you back off, and give them enough rope, they hang themselves (proverbially).”

        Florida….that is SO true. You keep your head held high, don’t stoop to gossip or defending yourself – it just gives her accusations somewhere to go. Be your upstanding self, and continue to shine BY EXAMPLE. If anyone asks, answer their questions with as little emotion and animosity as possible. We have all regained our reputations using this very tactic.

        She IS her own worst enemy…..give her a wide berth and let her prove it.

  • I really doubt she has 2,000 close friends, there was a study done about this. Drop the shit sandwich, who wants it, not you. She is the shit in the sandwich actually not the pain of this, she is the person who caused the pain, she is the shit. You don’t want shit do you, it is not painful to walk away from a shit person, think of it as all brand new, without a liar in your life.

    • Its 2,000 “friends.” Im referring to her huge number of facebook “friends” and no real long term deep friendships. I mean it as loose and shallow acquaintances.

      I’m going to have to bite that shitty sandwich at some point on campus.

      • Florida,
        I work in a university and am in daily contact with several hundred postgraduate students, many of them from foreign countries. Believe me, it is a community where rumors fly, people are constantly in and out of relationships and I hear all kinds of crap about that. And you know what? It just goes in one ear and out the other. Remember you are dealing with fairly intelligent people who don’t usually judge without hearing both sides of an issue.

        If someone is small enough to actually mention the thing to you, first, it is none of their business, and you can simply say we split because she cheated. Period. Whether or not someone had an STD, what difference does it make to your performance on your research. Keep focussed on your studies and I’d be willing to bet one or two dorks might say something, but blow them off appropriately without getting mad. And consider whether you’re not blowing this up into a pissing contest with your ex. If she’s that much of a crazy drama queen, do you not think the profs know that already.

        As for it affecting your career, it is far more important to do 1. Good research and 2. Be known as a calm and reasonable character. So do not let her rumor spreading sway you one bit. Show some class and forget the ego bit of it. I know lots of academics who are cheaters and even they still have good careers as long as they don’t kick off around the workplace.

      • Florida….lets look at this FB thing for what it is. Here is some gal, with 2000 ‘friends’, airing some nasty laundry on Facebook. In classypeopleville, we call that “psycho”, “in poor taste”, “skank”, “low class”, “trailer park”, etc.

        I think in your frustration, you are placing some legitimacy on her influence that she doesn’t appear to actually have. My guess is that people already find her character somewhat suspect. Try to step back and get a 3rd party perspective on how she’s going about this. She’s a joke.

  • The good thing here is that she’s about to leave the area when you get back. You will not have to see her or deal with her. She will not be there to say bad things about you.

    I would be concerned about the issue of the professors you have to work with. I wonder if there is a discreet way to find out if she has told them things about you?

    I think it’s rather amazing that she put all that info about the STD test out there. She could have simply gotten a divorce and said you grew apart or got married too young or something.

    Honestly, the way our society doesn’t care about cheating may work in your favor. Even if people think you cheated and that’s why the marriage ended, they may not be that mad at you.

    The other thing I keep wondering about is whether or not she cheated with a professor.

    Anyhow, be glad she will be gone and you won’t have to talk to her.

    • I don’t think there is any need to defend himself, because I’m fairly certain that intelligent people have already noticed some flaws in her character.

    • I would be concerned about the issue of the professors you have to work with. I wonder if there is a discreet way to find out if she has told them things about you?

      I think if they had any kind of issues they would have come to you by now. Remember they know you. My x was spouting all kinds of stuff about me being an alcoholic bitch, he had “friends” in Rotary, my boss was in Rotary. My boss knew him before he knew me and so I know he asked other people about what they knew about x. I can presume that those people told my boss what dickwad had said…..but my boss knows me. He’s never mentioned that part.

  • “I think it’s rather amazing that she put all that info about the STD test out there. She could have simply gotten a divorce and said you grew apart or got married too young or something.”

    UGH! I gave her this option! I wanted it to be quiet and we would just quietly separate.

    When I saw the lies about the STD, I called her, saying, “what the fuck?” Clarifying it did no good

    Later, after the divorce, I wanted to bury the hatchet and be nice to each other. She was crying and “wounded.” I asked her to bring in any mediator she wanted. She picked her new pastor (she found religion after discovery.)

    Her pastor chatted with me and wanted me to own up to my “side” of what was wrong. Again, I was thinking “what the fuck?” Apparently, she had been telling him that same story of “she in no way could have given me an STD because of her IUD, so he asked me who I was having sex with.

    Thats right, Her pastor was accusing me of having an affair, instead.


    I tried to defend myself to her pastor, and he wasnt hearing any of it. I gave him proof, and he didn’t want to see it.

    • Since when does having an IUD have anything to do with not transmitting STD’s? A little piece of wire doesn’t protect her from anything. Complete bollocks story she’s telling.

      • It is. Her story is, because she has an IUD, if she would have had *any* infection, she would have been very, very sick. So, her argument is that she couldn’t have been asymptomatic.

        This doesnt work with science.

        The IUD user group …did not differ significantly from the nonuser group …STD signs and symptoms were not found to be significantly different among both groups.”
        Contraception. 2000 Jun;61(6):359-64.
        Intrauterine device use and some issues related to sexually transmitted disease screening and occurrence.

        There are also studies with asymptomatic IUD users with chlamydia, trichomonas vaginalis, and herpes, and more. In fact, I found one paper discussing a two liter sized asymptomatic infection with a IUD. The title? Huge asymptomatic pyometra with an intrauterine device. Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Sep;52(3):426-7

        Sigh. People should have more critical thinking skills.

        • My gosh. She has an IUD and can’t get an STD b/c of it? The only way to not get an STD, just like the only way to not get pregnant, is to NOT have sex. Wow. Every single birth control option out there (apart from abstinence) says “does not protect against STDs.” I think your ex and anyone who believes her needs to go back to high school health class. You don’t need to pull the research reports to prove your case Florida. If they’re really believing her story that’s their problem, not yours. Put PubMed and any other databases on hold.

        • Florida Chump, just confirming, you did get tested for HSV1 and HSV2, yes? I’m asking because HSV tests are NOT included in a full STI work up. You have to request them separately, the fucked up CDC recommendations caused this, CDC thinks HSV should not be part of the standard tests due to the stigma associated with genital herpes.

          • I don’t have that information here, but I did get two herpes tests, along with everything else.

            Negative on all accounts.

            The negative results on the pus discharge was a horrible grey area, where I needed to pull additional proof to prove the infidelity. Eventually one of her “friends” (acquaintances) told once it became a medical issue. Afterwards, I got all the tests I could get.

            Chlamydia is an intracellular organism so it often gives a false negative during testing. There is also Gardnerella vaginalis, and lesser options like Mycoplasma hominis, ureaplasma parvum, or ureaplasma urealyticum. Azithromycin 1g is pretty much the standard treatment for Chlamydia. They usually give metronidazole for Gardenerella however it is gram negative so the azithromycin would presumably cure that infection depending on the strain. It is the most common STD in the country and you treat it empirically even if the test is negative

            Prostate infection is every unlikely since it is somewhat of a privileged site and requires long duration of antibiotics (usually fluorquiolones 4-6 weeks) to clear. My burning and frequent urination along with pus discharge cleared in a week.

            Ill check when I get home for the HSV-1 and HSV-2 tests.

    • As an ordained minister myself, it pisses me off that this pastor treated you, Florida, this way! Sadly, I had pastor “friends” who treated me similarly even after it was clear my ex was an adulteress. The rescuing/savior-complex is a strong one especially when fed with a “damsel in distress” pack of lies. That said, I apologize to you, Florida, as a pastor for this travesty and injustice. God gave us brains for a reason. Unfortunately, this pastor chose not to use his/hers.

    • I must remind you–all of you and myself, as chumps–just because someone asks or demands something of you, even if that person is a pastor, does NOT make them right, and does NOT mean you have to oblige.

      Remember that.

      Boundaries, everyone!

    • Is your wife suggesting that she had an affair but she couldn’t have had an STD, therefore you must have had an affair if you had an STD?

    • Florida, same thing happened to me. Pastor wanted me to accept 50% responsibilty for her having an affair! No way I told him! I will not accept responsibilty for something I knew nothing about!!! I now attend a different church after making a formal complaint to the Bishop for the Diocese. He was stunned when I told him what happened. Couple of months later, the pastor was put into “retirement” because I was not the only one (there were quite a few I hear) who came forward to complain about this kind of advice. Yeah, I believe in Karma.

      P.S.: The former pastor now blames me for his “retirement”.

  • There must be some psychological aid on campus that is free. I would try to get an appointment and tell the story so that they can help you denarcotize as well as get your story on record. That way if it should get more serious you have a professional on your side who may serve as a witness in the future. But at least they can help you go NC and get through the fog.

    • I have it on record from the medical visit, pants down, and getting that painful swab, because I demanded all the tests they could give me, to visits with a psychologist.

      Academics aren’t overt people when it comes to damage. It comes when your proposal comes across their desk, and they file it in the round file. It comes at a conference. It comes during networking.

      There isn’t much I can do about it, so I have to let it go. However, I’m not liking how it tastes.

      • That really sucks. I was dealing with a “smear campaign” of mutual friends in a small city, while I was pregnant. Thankfully I was able to get out of there. If at all possible, relocation can be amazing for moving on and NC.

      • “There isn’t much I can do about it, so I have to let it go. However, I’m not liking how it tastes.”

        Is there a way you could reframe that so it goes down better? Because you’re making it sound like you have no agency at all, which isn’t actually the case. You have the ability to rise above the slander.

        Would it feel better to say that you refuse to engage with a disordered person on her level? That you choose not to live your life that way — cheating, lying, slandering in order to be accepted? That you choose to be strong, decent, and truthful knowing that the benefits of holding these values dear far outweigh the short-term thrill of telling outright lies?

        I guess what I’m trying to say is that the reward for taking the high road comes in time. People of value will see through her, some sooner than later.

      • Unless you are in a terrible program in a terrible place, it is unlikely that your work will be filed in the round file because your XW has a big mouth. And in my own field, conference proposals are read “blind,” although knowledge people may recognize your research specialty. I know a lot of people who were truly not “liked” in grad school who have had fine careers.

  • It sucks and it’s unfair.

    Don’t engage with her or anyone else. Don’t defend yourself. If it comes up with someone you care about just say something like, “I don’t know what she is telling you and I really don’t want to know, but I just don’t want to rehash this over and over. We are divorced and I want to move on.” If someone asks about the STI issue specifically just say something like “I did not expose her to any STIs and I did not cheat on her.” Then drop it.

    Again, yes, it sucks and I’m sorry you are going through this. The more she rants and obsesses the crazier she looks.

    • A few times when people have tried to tell me things they’ve heard the ex is up to, I’ve told them to stop. I don’t want to hear about him because it just upsets me, and I’d rather put that energy into my own life. Nothing says “I’m moving on” more than not wanting to be involved in the drama any more.

  • Oh, how I know your pain, Florida. Oh, how I know your pain…

    My STBX began the smear campaign about a year before he ever even left–on a Sunday, while I took our two kids, ages 2 & 3, to the Zoo, and without even leaving me a note saying he had left. I didn’t even know we were separated for a week… But I digress…

    Our first child was a micro-preemie, born 14 weeks early. She was quite literally the size of a coke bottle–12.5 in and 1lb, 6oz. (She’s fine now). At my 6 week post-partum check up, I got a Mirena IUD. 6 months later, I found out I was 5 months pregnant.

    Before the other Mirena users freak out, this is rarer than winning the lottery. Only 266 babies have ever been born to a mother with an IUD since the 1990s. I am the proud mommy of one of only two live birth babies in my state.

    So with two babies, born 10 months and 1 day apart, I was a little….stressed after the second baby was born. I went to the doc, he ran some tests, and turns out I have ADHD. Just ADHD. So, technically, yes, I have a ‘mental illness.’

    Well, pretty much since then, he started the ‘Kelli is Crazy’ campaign. Especially with his family. Of course, the reason he left, sans note, in January, according to him, was that I went ‘crazy’ on him one day and lost it and he Had To Get Away.

    In reality, he’s an alcoholic who was spending $700 a month on beer at the gas station, and crazy me told him pretty much verbatim that I was tired of being the only grown up in our family, and he needed to grow the fuck up and get in AA and I was going to deactivate his credit/debit cards and give him an allowance. That was a Friday, and that was also the last night he stayed at home overnight.

    So, once he left, the smear campaign began in earnest. His mother, Queen Narcissist and Arm Chair Psychiatrist, diagnosed me as bi-polar. Apparently, you’re not supposed to get pissed off at someone who would do things like text me 3 hours before our child’s birthday party, saying that he had a “meeting” out of town or tell me that he was on his way home to pick me up for our anniversary, then not even fucking show up. When he relayed everything to his mother, she told him he needs to call my doctor because I was in a manic state.

    So, after 4 months of him doing that shit to me, and his mother intentionally playing the part of the Concerned Mother Who Hated The Situation, his mother starts manipulating me, trying to get me to confess my thoughts and feelings and would offer some advice and sympathy. Meanwhile, she’s forwarding all the texts and emails to her son for “evidence.”

    At it’s worst, when I had finally had enough, about a week before D-Day, I sent a text saying something to the effect of “I can’t deal with this shit anymore,” she used that one text out of context, and his mother and grandmother gave him the money to file for a hearing to try to have me involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluations because I threatened suicide.


    But the one solace that I can give you is this: Lady Karma is always a bit fashionably late to a party, but she brings a whole lot of friends with her when she shows up.

    My STBX was asked to resign from his job because he is an alcoholic and came to work with beer on his breath, and by 3:00, he was shaking from alcohol withdrawal.

    Apparently, he didn’t realize that once you leave a job, it’s not quite legal to have your employee/girlfriend (who still works for the company) make copies of all of the financial records, SOPs, vendor contracts, etc., and use that information to start up your own, identical business not a mile down the street from your former employer. His karma is just beginning. He was served yesterday with a Cease & Desist and civil lawsuit. Once he is shut down, the company will press criminal charges. They want to wait, because Employee/Girlfriend now works for him, and they don’t want her operating the business while he is in jail.

    So, Florida, she’ll get hers. Just you wait and see!

    • Wow, Kelli, Lady Karma is running over him, for sure. And all of the people he smeared you to now are busy recalibrating what he said. But you are too mighty to care. 🙂

      • He’s in this pickle because of his actions. He thought he was so smart and so slick that no one would ever catch him at anything–lying, cheating, destroying companies, drinking day and night.

        And if by chance someone WAS smart enough to catch him–i.e. Yours Truly–he figured he had maligned my character so much that no one would believe someone like me who is so obviously cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs…. Or maybe that he had torn me down so much emotionally, physically, and financially that I would be too weak or scared to defend myself. He? Was wrong.

        Don’t know, don’t care, not my shame to bear! On to happier days 🙂

        • Kelli, if you hadn’t gone all mental on him about being an alcoholic he’d probably be running a really successful business right now, says his mother.

          • Oh no, no, no, Sunshine! Her Perfect Angel does absolutely no wrong. She’s been cleaning up his messes, big and small, for 30 years.

            I tried 2 or 3 times to recruit his family for an intervention. The only thing that got me was one pissed off drunk when he got home.

            To ask her, sure, he drinks. But doesn’t everyone? He’s such a people-person that he naturally ends up at gatherings where there is alcohol, simply because everyone loves him and vies for his attention. And, you know, he’s always been so shy, so he needs a little ‘liquid courage’ to help him feel comfortable in social settings.

            The STBX had a great teacher in the Art of Mind-Fuckery.

            • sounds like you may have some alcoholic in-laws.

              Anyhow, with an alcoholic, nobody but family is going to believe him over you.

              • Kelli,
                I’m also dealing with MIL from hell. I love that term Queen Narcissist!I’m stealing that one.
                I always thought my STBX was the black sheep in his family but he was just faking normality.
                Genetic fuckupedness at it’s finest.

  • It’s a tough decision – go back and finish your degree where you run into people who might treat your poorly based on what you ex says, or start over some place else and make new friends. I guess it depends on how thick your skin is, how easily you can dismiss what other people say.

    For myself, I find it easier living in one community with my ex in another. It wasn’t my choice, he moved away to be closer to OW’s family (she’s still married btw), and I’m glad I don’t have to worry about running into him anywhere. He left a life time of friends here, and I’d say my closest friends don’t think much of him anymore. However, the majority of people are so busy living their own lives they don’t have time to worry about yours one way or the other.

  • Florida,
    I am so sorry. It is so tough when the spouse/ex spouse is a colleague.
    Is there a trusted senior professor you can speak with about the possible professional implications of her comments? In my grad program the Vice Chair was responsible for student related matters.

    In general, the less you say makes you look better. But it is a very tough row to hoe.
    In my profession it is not unheard of for professors (usually male) to leave their spouses for graduate students. The left spouse still works in the profession, and usually there is no backlash against them (I know it is different in your case, as ex is spreading rumors that you are the cheater).

    In my case, my canned response was that I did the best I could with the information I was provided.

    Stand tall. Truly, karma will come.

  • Holy crap Mr. Florida, you are biting on a Carnegie Deli-sized triple decker shit sandwich that needs toothpicks to keep it together. You simply cannot control the story that she spouts, but I guarantee more people smell a narcissistic rat then you might think.

    As you observed, 2000 Facebook friends do not amount to much depth in relationships. It takes effort to lie like that, so, just like in physics, inertia wins. This part where you have to wait and show your basic classiness is difficult. I sense that you happen to kick ass as a person.

    My ex-wife is a much milder narcissist than the monster you are dealing with now, but I got the DARVO treatment. It has been more than two years now since I uncovered the whole thing and I have been so satisfied how ultimately the truth has gotten out. This will happen to you too my friend.

  • Florida Chump:

    Let go. The great thing about grad school is that it will at some point be over. You must concentrate on your work and rebuilding your life. You are just feeding the beast by reading what she writes and caring about what she says. If you need to vent about this, see the counseling center on campus and look for a counselor competent to steer you through this. The bad thing about grad school is that it creates a little insular world where you care too much about what people think of you. Part of becoming a professional is growing that tough skin that allows you to hold your head up and do good work even when you are feeling vulnerable, exposed and in pain.

    You’ve identified your XW as a narcissist (although numbers of FB friends isn’t a diagnostic check point, for sure). But you know she is a liar and manipulative. If you don’t stop worrying about what she is doing and start working on yourself, you will stay stuck in her web of lies. Cut yourself loose. As a college professor, I assure you that what is being said about you will be forgotten very quickly. In the end, the work speaks for itself. Work hard, get help when you need it on your research, and finish. Move on. This is a stage of life, not your destination. And focus on you. Read this week’s post on how we are mighty. Get inspired. Get healthy in an out. Build a wonderful life. You can do it. And put down the shit sandwich and go to Five Guys for a burger.

    • And close your Facebook account. Stop reading there. Nothing good will come of it. You can get back on FB when you are MEH, if it seems worthwhile to you. Or not. People lived for millions of years without social media.

    • Oh and while I am commenting on my own comments: This is a great time to learn how to keep your private and professional life separate. I can remember one prof who was divorcing his wife (and dating a grad student, whom he later married) who suffered terribly because of rumors about him. Little people will talk. Healthy adults will meet you on the professional level. That’s where you need to work–on drawing the line between the personal and the professional. It is no one’s business in that grad school who cheated on whom or who gave whom an STD. Period. If anyone comments, say, “Thanks for your concern but I like to keep my private life separate from my work. Are you going to the lecture at….?”

      • I hear you on all points.
        For unrelated purposes, I have to keep the FB page open, unfortunately.

        This is something I’ve borrowed from the Chump Lady, George Simon talk that I’ve restructured for myself.

        You want a recipe for unhappiness and depression? Focus on things you can’t control. You can’t control the cheater’s life. You can’t control the cheater’s smear campaign on you. Its salt in the wounds, but its what they do.

        You want happiness? Take all the energy they’re so good at getting you to focus externally, and redirect it back into yourself. Its a simple thing, but it can be hard to execute at first. It gets easier, and your life improves.

        • There you go. And if FB is important to you, block her and change your FB name. Your friends will still be there but she won’t.

          • And set strict privacy settings if you must stay on FB. I am guessing you might be one of those who like her to know about your life. I was like that in the beginning until I got smart and set my privacy settings to friends only. Cut her loose. Block her. De-friend pr block anyone who is friends (real friends) to her. Close your circle to exclude your X and her inner circle. Otherwise, she’s still pulling your strings.

      • Is it me!?!?!? Or does this not make any fucking sense?!?! “I can remember one prof who was divorcing his wife (and dating a grad student, whom he later married) who suffered terribly because of rumors about him.” Hmmmmmm. I’d hazard a guess that says this “professional” couldn’t keep his personal life separate from his profession.

        • It doesn’t make sense.

          Grad students who sleep with professors often have problems with their careers. Professors who sleep with grad students generally just keep their jobs and go forward.

          It’s too bad.

    • LovedaJackass speaks with wisdom. I bet namedforvera will also chime in.

      I, too, work in higher education. Grad school is a very weird state of being because it makes you feel as if you are in a goldfish bowl, with everyone looking in. The truth is that all you need to do is worry about your thesis director (or PI, if you’re in the sciences), your committee, and your work. Forget about pretty much anything else.

      Don’t eat the shit sandwich. Just drop it. Your XW is making you a shit sandwich and prodding you to react to her smears. Remember this isn’t about you; it’s about her. The more you give in to the provocation, the more you feed her sick ego. Go No Contact. Block her on Facebook. Better yet, go dark on Facebook for a while. You will initially miss this like a junkie misses their drugs, but you’ll detox after a week or so.

      If, after a few weeks, you still feel that your XW’s lies have created a hostile atmosphere for your graduate work, you do have recourse. Talk to your Affirmative Action office on campus, as what you describe may be covered under recent federal legislative initiatives. If so, you can opt to have the university pursue the matter as a civil investigation, which means that the burden of evidence is significantly less than if it were a criminal investigation.

      However, before you go that route, seek counseling. Besides the campus counseling service, reach out to the local women’s shelter to see if they have any good therapists.

      Now go out there and do some MIGHTY research!

      • Great advice, on all points. But using Affirmative Action will work best if Florida Chump has done his due diligence by keeping his nose to the academic grindstone and behaving with professionalism by saying NOTHING about her to ANYONE. It all starts with that commitment. No contact, no comment.

        • And if you do find yourself later on in the same place/building with her, your faculty’s facilities manager could consider your request for an office/desk far removed from her. I work in that capacity and often get requests from students to be placed away from others who annoy them. I consider my response to that as part of the pastoral care of those trying to complete their studies.

  • Ah, the DARVO. I know it very well…

    X cheated on me then told everyone I made it up. I guess the emails proclaiming their love and all the receipts from the bars they visited were because they were just “buddies.”

    When he treated me like an appliance for the last year of marriage and threw the “divorce” word around, I finally had had enough and filed to start the ball rolling. He used that with our kids to say he never wanted a divorce, but that I had made him get one.

    X is a huge fan of alcohol. He built his basement bar the week our first child was born (instead of visiting us). He ended up sleeping on the pull out sofa next to it for the next 18 years because our babies woke up in the middle of the night. He’s a big fan of shots and beer. But whenever he is at a loss for words in response to my requests to um, not have his bimbo’s ex-husband sex offender around my kids, he always replies, “Sober up.” I’m a social drinker.

    When X and his bimbo were looking for houses together (we were still married), they thought the house across the street was perfect, because then our kids could live “in-between” houses and he wouldn’t be on the hook for child support. When his financing fell through, he told our kids I made him move out of town.

    I have a hundred more, but agree that the best response is no contact. Drives them crazy knowing you are not taking the crazy bait. Hold your head high, Florida. Get your degree and move on with dignity. Sounds like your ex will crash and burn eventually, and then all those “friends” will only keep her in their “Friends” list for a good chuckle.

    • One way to deflect the “you made me do it” comments, is to claim Superpowers. If he tells his kids that You “made” him move out of town, of course. You just activated your Superpowers, and he moves! Superpowers can “make” people break up, lose their job, financial ruin, make others hate them….

      keep that wand handy, it’s another way of being mighty!

  • Florida Chump, I think you are worrying about possibilities at this point and that is spinning you up and wasting your energy. You can’t control what your ex does, you can control your reaction to it. So start now, first step, don’t obsess over it, don’t create in your own mind repercussions that may not ever come to pass. At least wait to see how things actually happen when you return to school.

    Sure she may have told a bunch of ppl bullshit, including intensely personal things most ppl think should be private. I mean, you don’t tell 2000 acquaintances your ex has an STI and you didn’t give it to him cos you have an IUD, so ergo he cheated. That makes you look like a nutcase right there, trust me, most ppl know that’s a crock. I don’t care how good she is with manipulation and martyr tactics, the core of her story is cringeworthy in its stupidity.

    You say that your friends and a couple of hers know the truth and believe you. That’s all you need, you have a “team you” who knows the truth. Try not to care so much what people you don’t know, and don’t give a shit about, think of you.

    As for your professors, if a student was telling me a bunch of drama I’d get sick if it pretty quick, I’d side eye it too, TMI bothers ppl. Like you said, your ex doesn’t really have many friends, just ppl she knows, people who are not invested in her. I much doubt her BS is going to cause you any issues with the profs.

    As everyone said, if you post shit (even if it’s true) or start volunteering a bunch of info unsolicited, you will look as crazed as she does so that’s out. You can decide how to respond to ppl who ask what’s up with you or are even rude enough to ask about the BS your ex is spouting. You can ask your friends to only say what you are willing to reveal about it to non friends so the BS is always met the same way.

    So how do you see it? What is your truth and how much of it are you willing to share? From what you’ve told us, my stock response would be along the lines of; “my ex cheated on me and that was a deal breaker for me. Despite how she hurt me, I made every effort to split up with her amicably. Unfortunately she hasn’t extended the same courtesy to me, and I’m not interested in defending myself against her false accusations (bullshit)” If they go on to tell you what she’s said, do not defend yourself, don’t explain. “I know the truth, if you know me at all you know I’m honest and that I couldn’t have done those things”

    Jedi hugs dude!

  • Florida Chump, I am so sorry you are having to wade through this…Grad school is bad enough as a stressor without the added gee-whiz sprinkles of crazy narc. And such a blender of egos, rumors, anxiety, and self-promotion…yikes.

    Other people here have posted much wisdom, as they always do (!) It’s such a terrific blog that way. I have to agree that her self-outing by trying to out *you* as an STD carrier is so weird and TMI that most folks will back right off of her and her crazy-ass stories. So, not to worry on that score (sorry about the pastor, though. That truly sucks.)

    I tried to fight the nasty rumor windmill that my Ex got going–foolish me, I didn’t even know it was in operation! or even that it existed, by writing back and essentially saying, “no, no really I’m *not* a crazy bitch, and here’s why…[insert numerous quotes and citations about why adultery is traumatic & abusive, etc etc.]

    All I did was convince my erstwhile “friends” that I must be, in fact, toxic. So I ended up friendless, partner-less, totally trust-less…I do trust my dog however! you get the picture.

    In short, I’d follow the advice of the wisdom here, and don’t make the mistakes I made (even inadvertently). You’re a leg up, since you seem able to think and ask about it. Good work!

  • This may be a crazy question, but with her wanting to change the dates of things, there isn’t a possibility she is pregnant is there and you may be paying child support? I know, off the wall idea.

  • Wow! She gave you her password? She did it willingly too? That is some seriously groveling. My soon to be sex won’t budge on that. I asked her to show me her phone, email, facebook, She wouldn’t let me see anything willingly. That tells me everything I need to know.

    I believe the smear campaign is partially for her to save face but is also to get a reaction out of you. She want to feel that she still has some kind of hook on you, even if its in a negative way. Don’t give her that satisfaction. Just totally disengage from her and her comments.

    If any mutual acquaintances confront you, ask about something she said or just seem to be cold towards you, then you can just simply tell them they can decide for themselves how they feel about you. Don’t waste your time time and energy worrying about what other people think. If they are going to think negatively about you just from her word then they must not know you that well so forget them.

    Surround yourself with good HEALTHY minded people who are capable of thinking for themselves and don’t get sucked into drama and gossip. I am sure more people than you think are aware of what she is really like and are on your side.

    Finally forget about trying to reason with her by using logic. She is obviously is disordered and has the emotional capacity of a 3 year old. You wouldn’t waste your time trying to reason with a toddler would you? So don’t waste it with her.

    You sound like an educated, hard working person with a plan in life. Keep your head up. I am confident you are going to land a real wonderful and healthy minded woman who can conduct herself as an adult and appreciate everything you have to offer. It sounds like you have a lot to offer. Don’t forget that. No amount of smearing can damage that.

  • I already know that my husband has told his friends and family that the reason we are divorcing is that I am crazy. I’m sure he’s made himself out to be the long-suffering and devoted husband and that he tells them he took it as long as he could. That is not the reality but there’s nothing I can do about it.

    I have decided that if and when I run into any of them, my appearance and demeanor will hopefully show them that I am not what he has made me out to be. But if not, there’s not a thing I can do about it. I won’t address it with them because that would only bring me down.

    In the end, living my life well, with meaning and dignity, will be my “revenge.”

    • I have a little thing I like to say “People who talk too much are full of shit” You have to talk a lot to smear someone. Hopefully everyone else realizes that too.

    • Living well is always the best revenge! Let’s face it, they’ve made a total mess of their lives and they know that deep down in them. That’s why they do the preemptive rewrite of history! Trying to “clean up” thier messes!

      • So is that “guilt” you reckon? I don’t really get it. They made their choice, in my case he took off (alleluia) you would suppose he’d gone off to live a better life. He was pretty damn adamant about doing what he did, so do it with conviction,,,,but then why does it have to be someones “fault”? You did it. You happy? Why blame me?

  • I was so worried that my STBE would tarnish my reputation (yes I suffer from depression and took an overdose last year after a year of trying to deal with his infidelity) in this small city that we live in, only to find out afterwards how many people just don’t take him or his entire family seriously! He once told me that everyone likes me because I am such a nice person. So I guess whatever he tells his friends or anyone who will listen, about why he had to leave me, other than the fact that he cheated on me and I was totally devastated because I trusted him completely, will be taken with a cup of salt!

    So don’t worry….. We fear the worst when really, we should be spending that time being more productive and kinder with ourselves. Because we are worth more than that!

  • I was a lot paranoid going forward after dday. Best thing I ever did was disengage and go No Contact. My ex planned his exit carefully and was so vindictive that I spent two years during our divorce proceedings experiencing those fight or flight symptoms. I was too afraid of my ex to have the court hold him responsible for paying the mortgage because I understood the implied threat (I feared he would harm our children). I kept every email sent during our divorce negotiations so that if anything ever happened to me there will be a trail. Very few people saw through his facade. He was a small town cop and not the only Cheater in town but his reasonable facade was something he was very good at presenting. He is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “Crazy,” yes, I got that too. Funny thing was I just did not pay attention to all those warning signs. I would advise you, Florida Chump, to copy pages, then go see a counselor on campus and get their best advice. As soon as possible. Crazy controls the narrative and sometimes you need to take things seriously. I made sure to contact the cops when my ex vandalized our home (he was five years into his new relationship at this point and two years living somewhere else), I also let him know that I had no intention of losing my life because he wanted to rid himself of a wife and emailed him that. So safety first. Then avoid ex and her “whacked friends” like the plague.

    • This is actually pretty good advice for anyone. When you report to a counselor, you are leaving a paper trail. Drew, so sorry you had to deal with a corrupt cop in a small town; there are few people with more absolute power. But in FC’s case, establishing that paper trail might be useful in the unlikely event that he gets some academic blowback over this. When I was a grad student organization leader, one of the grad students in my department had a professor go after her teaching reputation. I sent her to the grad student director, who was a wise, thoroughly decent person. He took care of the problem and then took that grad student under his wing and stayed in contact with her long after she graduated. Even in a thoroughly toxic department, there are usually people willing to protect those who get victimized (see Marci, above). I’ve put firewalls around all kinds of problems, along with dispensing strong advice for people to shape up and get control of their lives. Grad school is kindergarten compared to dealing with corrupt cops. You are indeed mighty, and may God watch over you every day.

  • This letter and post speaks so closely to me.

    My pathologically lying ex and his mean “nice” cabbage patch ex-president of Bloomington Are Birth Services —(If you are pregnant in Blooomington keep far far away from this group of sick bullies)—depicted me and our marriage to entire group of mother fuckers intimately involved with me and my son for years before I even got a whiff of what was going on. When I told trusted friends and community members of their affair and my PTSD Cabbage messaged one of these friends on fb telling her to stop spreading “lies” that “she would be surprised by what she would hear” if she met cabbage for lunch and that “it was only emotional.” What?!! After she told troll messenger that she professed “love” to my ex, wanted to leave her husband and had makeout sessions after a year of romance in my face.

    Shithead. The moron really was serious about making herself a victim. Ex did the same in the most pathetic way: “I contacted her on your facebook page because you were commenting on the gala” It’s always the chumps fault for these losers.

    My friend had no interest in hearing from her and told her she was not spreading lies. I had to laugh. These cheaters never stop lying. They lie to cover their lies and then lie to trick people into believing their lies and covers. Many are extremely self-righteous.

    If your cheater is going on a smear campaign on her fb page that is just plain pathetic—who, pray tell, is she warning about you?

    The only way to get a life is to disentangle from lying sociopathic fuckers. There really is nothing you or I can do as a direct response without making them important and giving them kibbles. Tell your truth to people you trust and to heal….tell and tell how you experienced the cheating as YOU need to. Her lies does not change your truth.

    I think you should write an article…you have all the research down and can speak from a personal experience. The more information about these cheating narcs there is out there and the fallout and benefits of getting away from them the better.

    • Hi Florida Chump,

      I felt embarrassed by my post and think actually that you should take it as an example of what not to do. Your story triggered my own because there are so many similar elements and I reverted back to my horrified angry stage.

      Many of us go into academia precisely because we care about accuracy and justice. We care about nuance and detail and genuine connection. I majored in Anthropology because I am interested in understanding how people are culturally bound and what kinds of agency individuals can exercise.

      I think stories are vital to life and when your story is warped for 2000 strangers it feels so unjust you just want to rip your hair out.

      The discussion has been so rich here and you seem to have a good handle on it. I have gotten off facebook because I had such a bad association that OW and ex were communicating through my fb account. (ex is so above fb he would rather use mine!)
      But really facebook is for people who need to present a certain picture to the world to feel valuable and alive. It sucks. People are taking pictures of things as they happen so they can post and make everyone see their eye-candy-bag-children they dangle and bad mouth exs they want to vilify.

      If your ex wants to make a spectacle of herself on facebook for 2000 strangers let her…she’s just making a fool of herself in my book.

      In terms of your professional colleagues in common, your work and character will speak for itself. You don’t have to mute your feelings you should go through them but decide who you want to be. The problem with cheaters is that the moment we entangle we are in dialogue. That’s why forums like CL are so important because we have a chance to build another kind of dialogue so we can unhook from cheater spin. I don’t think there is a way to unhook from your history, but you get to tell your story where, when and how feels most genuine to you.

      All the best for a great career and future.

  • Ignore it. What is now “news” will be lining the canary’s cage tomorrow. While it seems scandalous right now, people tire and move on to the next morsel of misery far sooner than you think.

    My ex did the same thing to me. Only he changed it so that I was the evil one. According to him, because he moved away to take a new job and we were having a long distance marriage, I divorced him. He told people the pressure was too much and I had a meltdown. LOL. What he forgets to say is that during our long distance marriage he was boinking anything that would open its legs.

    The nice thing about my ex is that he moved far away to be with his twu wuv. They now have their wuv nest where they are wery happy wiving wit each other. He can tell whomever he wants whatever story he wants to spin. People where he lives now think he is the paragon of virtue. If only they knew that he and his twu wuv are lying, cheating skanks.

    As hard as it is, don’t get sucked into the power struggle. Think of it as a game of tug-o-war. You’re pulling on the side of truth and she’s pulling against you. Let go of the rope. Just let go. You’ll save your energy, your hands will no longer be bloodied and battered – and by letting go she will fall flat on her ass.

  • I guarantee your ex is getting major kibbles out of sucking you in with her antics. You should go NC until you truly don’t care. Ironically, not caring and having an improved life really IS the best revenge. My NPD dad aggressively smears anyone who disagrees with him and years ago I went NC and don’t think about him much, other to say once in awhile that I feel sorry for him and how his life turned out, which is true. Ironically, NC drives him crazy and every once in awhile he will launch a smear campaign against me to this day, but who cares? His behavior has cost him all of his friends, family, job, and his license to practice law and no one longer believes any of his craziness. I have a wonderful husband, am doing well in my profession at a top-notch firm, have a home and family that I love, and a daughter who is the light of my life. I live 1 hour away from my father and am wistful sometimes that he can’t be in my life because he is elderly and I think what a shame he can’t enjoy this with me. I wish it could be different but it can’t. So I just enjoy the blessings I do have.

  • Not sure where to post this, but CL, have you seen the news story about the elderly cheater with a PhD who married the OW and then shot the ex-wife because he didn’t want to pay alimony? (There may also have been something going on about not wanting to share property either.) It’s a story of amazing selfishness, although it’s described as though it’s about the divorce or something.

    Also, the coverage is going nuts about the guy’s PhD. He recently lost his job. He sold Amway. His ex claimed he physically abused her (when they were married). Maybe the PhD part doesn’t mean anything.

  • “When I asked for her facebook password and read …”

    Just wondering who is smearing whom here. Since when did logging into somebody else’s account become acceptable?

    • When the person you love is lying to you and you ask them to show you something that is real, they will give you the password to various accounts prove themselves. In my experience, and the LWs, first they delete or modify their shit so it looks innocent, in this case his ex did a bad job. Either way, he logged in with her permission.

  • Hi Florida,
    I am assuming based on your responses and citations of the literature in regards to the STD/IUD (non)connection that your graduate work is in the sciences/medicine. Anyone in your dept or related fields will draw the same conclusion since her statements are patently ridiculous and illogical. If you want to keep a few copies of the references handy for naysayers that is up to you. Although painful and embarrassing I’d put this one behind you.
    Although NC is probably best, were there any Honor Code violations? (yes, I am evil) They are reported anonymously and taken very seriously (at least when I was in school).

  • late with my response but I had to contribute to this one. I’ve noticed cheaters like to bring out the “crazy” labels when they cannot absolutely accuse of anything else. I’m a great mom, intelligent woman, I’m educated, traveled the world, come from an intact family, well liked, dare I say attractive… generally, I feel good about myself. Up until I discovered ex’s smear campaign included various psychiatric labels based on the fact that I’ve struggled with anxiety (coincidently enough, the worst peaks of my anxiety happened while he was fucking around and I haven’t discovered it yet- the power of subconscious?)
    Apparently, he told multiple fuck buddies that I was short of being committed (all this while I’m working 2 part time jobs, taking care of a toddler, and crying myself to sleep because I got no emotional support. My take? Asshole couldn’t pin anything on me so he went with the crazy label. Oh, and fat (gained 30 pounds while pregnant and it took a while to shed.) Interestingly, when I now hear someone refer to their ex as “crazy” I become suspicious that they’re the ones who are disordered. At least, there’s a fair chance.

  • Cheating NPD women, almost invariably, play the “abusive, neglectful, controlling husband ” card with minor variations and permutations.
    Unfortunately, media and a lot of other propaganda has programmed much of society to buy into this. We hear that men are more abusive(studies disprove this), that they are less communicative ( guess someone forgot to tell all the great orators, poets and authors who happen to be male), and loutish.
    So , a guy has to really watch his step in combatting the smear campaign, as one is , justifiably, agitated. Read up on “fundamental attribution error” if you want to be forewarned about what you face if you go about this wrong.
    I would say the best thing you can do is remain unemotional. Stick to terse, short, declarative sentences, like ” she cheated” ” that is untrue’, ” Yeah, I figured she would go that route” etc.
    And, the really best thing to do is to either get out of there or simply ignore this stuff.

  • I’m going through this right now. Ex is determined to portray me in the worst light possible. Can any of you offer any advice in terms of HOW not to care what my neighbors/coworker/friends/relatives think about the lies? I know if I go around defending myself it will look like i protest too much. So sad. I’m so anxious over the lies he’s spreading because I don’t even know how many lies he’s told. Is there any way to make him stop?

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