Character Assassination—and How to Handle It

Those of us who have encountered people with narcissistic, predatory, or even sociopathic tendencies (for the sake of simplicity referred to as manipulator) have experienced a phenomenon where the manipulator tries to vilify you by using triangulation, gossiping, power play, mischaracterization, and other tactics. It usually goes like this.... 

The Mechanism Behind It

The manipulator is driven by shame, insecurity, and fear. As soon as they start feeling inferior, or as soon as you notice the manipulator's toxicity—or as soon as they notice you noticing their toxicity—they begin feeling deep insecurity. In their attempt to manage it, they may try to cover their tracks and save their image by giving you made up explanations and excuses, instead of recognizing their unhealthiness and working on themselves to overcome it. If you are able to see though their smoke and mirrors tactics, ideally you will either set a firm boundary and distance yourself from them or they will get terribly scared and ashamed and distance themselves from you, because they avoid people who can see through their facade like a plague. 

Now, since manipulators are terrified by others not liking them or having a negative perception of them, they will try to make themselves feel better by finding others to support their delusions. So they will use their social power, or go tell their circle their version of the story where you are a villain or where you are the perpetrator and they are the victim. In doing so, depending on the type of the relationship, they will say how you are a bad person, mischaracterize you, be overly-critical of you, while in reality they feel inferior—and in certain aspects factually they are inferior—and project that onto you, sometimes without even consciously realizing it. 

In other cases they can be what sometimes is called the devious type, where they see their remorseless destruction of you as a means to an end in realizing their own goals, and they will justify it with a soothing narrative where you are a villain, where they have no choice but to do what they are doing, and where they are a hero. They will use various manipulation tactics to gain people's trust—sometimes the very people they aim to destroy—and then utilize it in their attempt to assassinate their target.

Manipulators are cowards, as they need a group to get their narcissistic supply, enabling, and resources for their schemes. In many ways, they are just like bullies who intimidate or beat somebody up 4 on 1, send their goons after you, or try to sabotage you with lies and deception. Usually their group consists of admirers or yes-men or "like-minded people" or minions—dependents and enablers—who lack their own identity and fail to question the manipulator's or their own toxic tendencies.

In psychology, this whole mechanism is called character assassination. It involves triangulation, gossiping, power play, tribalism, reality distortion, and mischaracterization. This phenomenon is widely common and can be observed or experienced first hand in one's family, school, professional environment, or personal relationships. 

In families, it usually happens in a way where a child or adult-child is terrorized by one or both of their toxic parents in relation to other family members or even to other social contacts. The parent's conscious or unconscious goal is to make you, the child, look and feel bad, and to justify their unjust treatment of you. The same can also happen between siblings, peers, or schoolmates. This is painfully prevalent, and most people have experienced it as children in one way or another.

In a professional environment, manipulators often feel insecure around their colleagues or subordinates. A common story is that the boss terrorizes you, the employee. Between colleagues, if you are a better worker, instead of concentrating on themselves and learning how to do a better job, your colleagues will feel threatened and entitled and try to sabotage you: by turning other coworkers against you, grouping against you, or turning the management against you. Especially if you simply try to mind your own business and concentrate on doing a good job instead of actively "competing with them." 

It is also horribly common in one's adult, personal life: in unhealthy romantic relationships, marriages, and social circles. "Friends" will gossip behind a "friend's" back. Ex-lovers will release a revenge porn video or stalk their ex and spread rumors. A boyfriend or a girlfriend will complain to their circle how horrible their partner is. A wife or a husband will do the same regarding their spouse. In some cases, a partner who suffers from narcissistic tendencies may even go to a therapist (who also suffers from narcissistic tendencies or is incapable of identifying such tendencies) and tell them how their spouse is narcissistic and terrorizing while in fact the spouse is the healthiest member there. And then they create a unity against the actual victim, sometimes to the degree where they plan to actively harm them. Sometimes certain forms of character assassination happens in couples or group therapy, too.  

Granted, not all cases are extreme, this phenomenon is much more commonplace than people realize or want to recognize.

Personal Examples 

In my own life, I have experienced it quite a few times. Some of it was more severe, some of it quite mild. I have also observed it in many different contexts among many different people, especially in groups and certain social circles or communities. Plenty of people told me about their experiences with it, too.   

When I was growing up, I didn't experience much of this type of abuse from my family, but in school and among peers it was quite common. Too many to count. That's what forced socialization does to children. They turn against each other, attack each other, form hierarchies and cliques, isolate others, try to manipulate the teachers, and so on. It forms a prison mentality. Then children grow up and as adults create or participate in the same structures and dynamics. Hence, it is so prevalent.

As an adult, I have experienced it myself when I was in university and later in my personal and professional life. I also have helped my clients deal with their problems, hurts, and injustices related to it. I have heard and observed many stories, many of them from both sides. Below, I will give two examples from my life to illustrate it. Now, I want to make it clear that it is not to seek pity or vengeance—these are merely examples. At the same time, these things happened to me, so they are a part of my life's story.

Story #1

In university there was this professor who, after my presentation, among other things referred to something I said as "impudent lies." One, I don't think I was incorrect (although, technically it is possible that some of the information used could have been factually incorrect), and the topic wasn't important at all, just a dumb, useless presentation. And two, I don't think it is very professional to say something like that to a student and use loaded descriptions like that. I can't imagine saying something like this to someone I teach, even if they are incorrect, especially in front of the whole class. So afterwards I sent her an email where I politely told her some things about the information I presented and about my experience that day. She responded quite rudely, with gaslighting tactics, minimization, and justifications. She was in denial about her behavior, avoided self-responsibility (even in her language, which was mainly passive and "academic"), and, in so many words, explained that she's a great professor and would never mistreat a student. Basically, that everything was fine. I saw no point of pressing her so I left it at that. 

However, the next day she made a public spectacle out of it, where she read my initial email in front of the whole class—her interpretation of the story, of course, where she presented herself as a sad, clueless victim. Not only that, she actually started crying crocodile tears, telling everyone how great of a professor she is to all of her students and how much I hurt her. At the time, I wasn't so clear about or unaffected by it as I would be today—and I knew I will have to deal with her later, and that she has power over me—so I just sat there smiling at her victim playing. I let her finish, I didn't interrupt her, I wasn't given a chance to speak, she never read the following emails, and it eventually ended. Again, even if you believe that somehow I was completely in the wrong, I don't think it is professional or ethical to deal with it by bringing it up in class and make a spectacle out of it. People are paying you a lot of money to teach them, not to use them to deal with your own struggles and personal drama.


I think everyone in the room felt uncomfortable. However, nobody asked me about my side of the story. Nobody cared about my perspective or my feelings. There may be many reasons for that but not one person came to me and asked me about what happened. I think they either simply believed the authority or just felt too uncomfortable to bring it up. I talked about it a little with a few of my classmates with whom I walked together later, briefly mentioning a few details the professor left out. One of them was quite confused and opened the conversation by saying that she feels so sad for the professor, yet at the same time she didn't shun me like some others. I didn't go out of my way to try to convince them of my side of the story, either. I definitely felt wronged but didn't feel the urge to desperately spread my perspective of it in order to not be rejected.

When I thought that I will have to deal with that professor later, I was right. While she was more or less professional in all the remaining classes that semester, she was also a part of the panel in my final thesis defence. She tried to make me feel uncomfortable and even asked me a question during my defence, but I dealt with it fairly well and since she wasn't familiar with the subject she didn't have much to add. 

I won't lie, at the time it did feel good knowing that this professor was listening when my thesis advisor—one of very few who noticed my strengths and talents and cared to be helpful and supportive but not overbearing, who was also the head of the whole defence ceremony—gave a short speech after I was done, publicly praising me as one of her sharpest and most independent students and saying she hopes I will continue studying there further. She didn't have to say any of that, especially publicly and in front of that professor, but she liked me and believed in me so she did, and for that I am thankful. 

After it was all over, the toxic professor came to us in the hall and complimented me on, as she phrased it, "a beautiful defence." I faked a smile and said thank you, thinking: "You are such a hypocrite. We both know what you did." 

My Message to You, Manipulator 

There is a technique used in therapy where a person is encouraged to write or say whatever they would like to say to a person who wronged them. In doing so, you get a chance to let it out, both on an intellectual and psychoemotional level, and make peace with it. It also teaches you self-validation. It doesn't have to be nice, either. Try to be fair and realistic, don't make things up, but if you have stronger emotions and observations that are valid, don't be afraid of letting them through. In situations like this, feeling anger is okay. Here's an example. 

In my time of thinking about this experience, the message I formulated in my head and somewhere in my journal probably was something like this: You are bad as teacher, you are a bad communicator, your lectures are a waste of time, money, and energy. You are an immature, narcissistic human being who wouldn't have a teaching job in a healthy, free market environment. If I ever meet you on the street and you will try to smile at me and say hello, I will tell you to go fuck yourself (in those or other words) because now we are on an even ground. You were a bitch to me, you never apologized or recognized what you did (neither personally nor publicly), and I don't have to pretend that I have more respect for you than I actually do—which is zero.  

Story #2 

The second, more recent experience is from my professional life. This example is an archetype based on many examples that form a type of person I have encountered and observed both in the fields of mental health and education, in my personal life observing several communities and social circles dedicated to healing or self-improvement, and in completely different spheres of life. A few others have told me about their experience with such a type, too. It is a more extreme example to illustrate the point, so some fit it more than others.

This type of person is in the category of the most insecure and actively malevolent people that I have interacted with on a more personal level. At first, I thought this person was also interested in the same things I am interested in. But after some time, it became quite clear to me that they felt insecure around me: constantly comparing themselves with me, trying to prove themselves to me, imitating me, using fake generosity, trying to do things I do, etc. At the same time showing hints that they despise me. I had my own insecurities and was trying to improve my professional life at the time. At some point, I got tired of our unhealthy and unproductive interactions and decided to discontinue our relationship. Later, they tried to apologize for it, openly recognizing that they compared themselves to me, that they copied me, that they felt bad about it, and that now they see their previous behavior more clearly. But it wasn’t genuine and I didn't see the person being fundamentally different. I didn't feel interested in continuing to invest in this interaction anymore so I refused their "apology," gave them my honest reasons, and moved on. Fine, it didn't work out, not a big deal; I'm going to do my thing and you go do yours.

Later, it came to my attention that this person started participating in what could be categorized as character assassination against me. Now, it's worth noting that, just like with the professor, except for one or two very close people who are not involved with that person in any way, I have never mentioned what happened between us to anybody. I haven't mentioned this person or referred to them anywhere. I didn't compulsively talk badly about them with others trying to turn them against the person to get validation or encourage them to pick a side. Yet from what I gathered, it seemed that they have been doing exactly that against me. (For all I know, it could still be happening.) It appeared that the person followed me—possibly in an unhealthy, obsessive manner—and still felt insecure about and competitive with me. This seems to be a type of people who would stalk you to keep up with you and to openly mis-criticize you among their circle, all while telling to themselves that they have to keep an eye on you just in case you are stalking them or talking about them, and to go out of their way to "warn others" about everything they see problematic about you (narcissistic projection). If you're a writer, they will buy your book just so that they could criticize you and leave a negative review; if you're a chief, they will steal and use your recipes while publicly talking about how the food in your restaurant was too dry and salty.

They mischaracterized me and others; attributed strawman arguments and traits; continued to copy me and others, without giving any credit to those who they resent, and overly-associating with and praising those who are valued in their group to gain more credibility; incorrectly used strong, morally negative terms to vilify me and others and strong, morally positive terms to heroify themselves. There was a lot of black and white, and more importantly, this person had vilified others and heroified themselves in absence of reality or self-awareness, without even realizing they were projecting their own, negative traits onto their targets. This is quite common with manipulators: insecurity, strong projection, black and white thinking, transparent ego, a lack of identity, toxic copying and psychopathic/sociopathic tendencies, being a chameleon, virtue signallingsycophantism, obsessiveness, and delusion.


Now, just like with that professor, I had no interest in spreading my side of the story, like contacting people and trying to explain myself or warning others about them. What others think is not my personal business. Even though I had noticed this was happening, I realized that getting into it would only entangle me further into a drama, and I don't care about drama. I felt that I gave my thoughts and grievances to the person directly while setting a boundary at the end of our initial interaction and moved on. So here my default approach was to deal with the situation internally, to avoid drama and unhealthiness, and to continue with my regular life.

The factual consequences were that I may have lost some potential clients, contacts, and acquaintances. And unfortunately, some people were manipulated into believing and feeling hostility towards me without fully understanding what happened and why they feel as they feel. But this I accept because I have thought about my options and previous experiences in situations like this and more often than not the best way is to ignore it and continue with your life.

All of this is unfortunate but it it happens, so fundamentally it is fine with me. I had problems dealing with rejection and injustice in the past, but these days I understand that rejection and injustice as outlined above won't kill me, that those who are prone to manipulation will be manipulated, that those who are insecure manipulators will act out their insecurity in a variety of unhealthy ways, that there will be people who will try to rally others against you and that they don't have to be a part of your life. In the grander scheme of things, none of this is really that important. A person can either learn and grow, set boundaries and face consequences, educate themselves and continue evolving, or keep wasting resources on drama, act out, get distracted, and move through the world without conscious intention or awareness.

My Message to You, Manipulator 

The message for you, manipulator, could have been something like this: personally, you are a fake, false, and miserable human being—and you know it. You have to live with yourself every day, after all. Yet you try to convince yourself that you are glorious, partially because you are delusional and partially because some people around you are telling you that. Yet deep down you know the truth—that is where all this fear and insecurity comes from. You hate when people can see your fakeness, your emptiness, and your brokenness. You bring a lot of confusion and disconnect around you. "But how can all these people who think I'm great be wrong? Some of them even hate you now!" You mean people who lack the ability to accurately evaluate a person's character and enable your unhealthy behavior? Yes, they can be wrong. And I'm okay with people disliking me. I am not in a competition with you, but for whatever reason you feel you have to compete with me. Life is not a competition. Move on—it's okay. "But I'm protecting people from your and others' unhealthiness!" You're are not a savior or a protector, you're just lost and delusional. It's a projection. You use people to feel better about yourself and sometimes these people are vulnerable and lack their own identity too, and you hurt and confuse them because of your behavior and your own inner chaos. This stems from a need to feel better about who you are and to feel better than me, from your own anxieties, and from your own inferiority.

Congratulations, this is your life. You can continue with that, and I will continue with mine.

How to Handle It

There are two main ways how to handle a manipulator's attempt to hurt you.

Avoiding Drama 

One way, already mentioned in the examples, is to set a clear boundary (usually No Contact works the best), to avoid social drama and, if possible, to remove yourself from such relationships and interactions as soon as possible. "But then the manipulator will win!" Maybe. It depends on how you see winning and losing. I see life as you doing your stuff, others doing their stuff, events happening—and you adjusting to the changing circumstances in a way that is the most acceptable to you. Sometimes it may mean being treated unjustly or losing certain resources in exchange for inner peace and healthier living. 

"But then my friends will abandon me!" Maybe, depends on your definition of a 'friend.' Are they really your friends if they can't even bother to ask you about your perspective on things and your side of the story? If not, then why does it matter?

"But then people will be wrong about me and it will ruin my public image!" Sometimes it can be more beneficial to just let people sort themselves out instead of trying to manage everyone's perception of you. You can't be liked by everybody. You can't control everything. You don't have to always show everyone that you are right (even if you are) or that they see things incorrectly (even if they do). Everything has a cost. Those who care about you will understand, those who are wiser will figure things out, and others... well, they will have to live with their false perception of reality and be around manipulators, oftentimes without even realizing it. The most important thing to remember is that how others see you doesn't change who you actually are (more on that in my video series on self-esteem). 

"But I will lose my job!" Maybe. Often the employer cares more about the results than drama. As long as you keep doing a good job it should be fine. And if the conflict is with the management, do you really want to work in an environment like this in the first place? If you are mistreated, then perhaps leaving such an environment is not the worst thing?

"But I want justice!" Well, life is not fair. Sometimes people attack you, sometimes you get cancer, sometimes decent people get mistreated or ganged-up on or unjustly ostracized. Seeking justice has its price—do the math and figure out how much are you willing to pay for the result you think you will get. All things considered, not giving into the drama and continuing with your life generally can be more beneficial than the alternatives.


To me, if it is not a terribly serious issue, it is usually not worth it, but depending on the situation you can consider presenting your side of the story, confronting the manipulator directly, filing for a restraining order, calling the police, and so on. Sometimes these things are more fruitful than other times, but sometimes the end result can be even worse. Nonetheless, sometimes people spend huge sums of money, plenty of time, and lots of energy dealing with the manipulator just to feel better, just to feel that they have won, just to feel right and righteous. But even if you go to court and the judge rules it in your favor, did you really win? If it's a really serious conflict, especially like those that involve children or physical harm, then one might say yes. Otherwise, it may cost you more to win, which in many ways makes it a loss. At the end of the day, it depends on the situation. If you decide to fight it, document everything and keep records in case you need evidence for a legal dispute.

In the end, pick your battles wisely as they can be costly.

Moreover, by trying to hurt you the narcissist/manipulator will reveal themselves for who they are, and eventually it will be obvious for more and more people that that's who they are. 

Dealing with It Internally

Oftentimes when people say they want justice they mean they want validation that there has been injustice and that they are in the right. Looking for social validation, even to the degree where you go to court, may simply be an attempt to seek external acknowledgment of your internal experiences. The psychological mechanism is this: you have been wronged, a surrogate parent (e.g., the judge) or a tribe (other people), recognize it, and you feel better—external validation.

However, that is the exact thing that the manipulator is looking for too, because in their eyes you wronged them. And sometimes it can be a combination of both. However, to them, truth doesn't matter—what matters is to feel better, i.e., being validated as morally good and intellectually right, at any cost. There is the truth and there is "the truth" as they perceive it or as they want others to see it. They may even see your good qualities or goals or achievements or behaviors as their own and bad ones as yours, and therefore may think that you did or are doing to them what they are actually doing themselves, and feel right even though you are the one who is actually in the right. They will go out of their way to present their narrative—and if that story is believable enough, people might believe it just like that. The manipulator can be more dangerous if they have gained perceived credibility, i.e., if people trust them. So sometimes they "win" even if you are right.

"But justice..." Well, the greatest justice served is that, even if the manipulator succeeds in their scheme, at the end of the day they still are who they are. They have to live their unhappy life—and that's the biggest price they pay for their toxic behavior, without even realizing the consequences of it. And as I like to say, you can do whatever you want except choose the consequences of your actions. 

If you process the situation internally and resolve your emotions related to it, you will be free from it. Usually it requires an ability to estimate yourself accurately and provide self-validation. So not everyone can do it by themselves at every point of their life. For this reason, it may take a person a long amount of time to overcome it, or they may ask for professional help to deal with it. However, if you resolve the situation internally and the situation is not life threatening, you make peace with it and move on with your life, and the urge to seek justice and validation diminishes. Learn from the experience, learn to spot manipulation quickly to avoid it in the future, and move forward with your life.

Closing Thoughts

Character assassination, its variations, and manipulation related to it is a complex sociopsychological phenomenon that involves triangulation, mischaracterization, power play, defamation, projection, and social drama. If successful, character assassination results in social rejection or social attack for the victim. For many, being socially unaccepted or attacked is a powerful stimulus, as it triggers strong emotional responses. It is exceptionally stressful to experience character assassination and its results in an environment where there is a huge power disparity, for example, if you are a child, or a patient in a hospital, or a subordinate.

It is easier to endure if you are more individual and self-sufficient—physically, emotionally, intellectually, financially—and don't depend on others for many things. It is much more difficult if you lack identity, are still highly unresolved, or have nobody to interact with, because being turned against and possibly isolated may create feelings of self-doubt, self-blame, shame, and fear. And if a person already suffers from low self-esteem, social anxiety and isolation, then they need someone to validate the injustice or at least for someone to be there for them, to like them on a basic human level so that they didn't get too overwhelmed by their emotional responses. Otherwise, in the long run it may mutate into self-hatred, chronic self-doubt, severe isolation, depression, and destructive or self-destructive behavior.

There are two main behavioral responses to social attack or rejection due to character assassination or other forms of social manipulation. One is non-engaging: processing the situation as accurately as possible, removing yourself from it or adjusting to it accordingly, and moving forward. And two, fighting back directly, which in many cases may not be worth it, or simply may be quite hard, especially if in lack of resources (money, time, energy, power, social influence). In some cases, some forms of both of those approaches are successfully used in parallel. 

There is this saying that goes something like this: "Don't sacrifice your peace trying to point out someone's true colors. Lack of character always reveals itself in the end." In my experience and observation, it can be true sometimes, but usually it's not that simple. Yes, toxic people reveal themselves all the time. The problem is, most people either are unable or unwilling to evaluate that information accurately. As a result, we have a culture where narcissism and sociopathy—because of cultural programming and their subtle similarity to healthiness and individuality—are perceived as success and an aim. At the end of the day, my humble advice would be to look for a healthy social environment, to be more individual versus tribal, to avoid drama, to avoid being distracted from your goals, to analyze your internal world, to stand up for yourself in your private life, to fight the manipulators if necessary, and to pick your battles wisely.

Character assassination is a cheap tactic used by insecure, fake, manipulative, or simply psychopathic people, and usually the best way is to not to get lured into the drama of it, simply ignore it, and continue doing with what you are doing. Yes, there will be people who will never double-check and simply believe the manipulator, there will be those who will want to find out the truth, there will be those who can see through it immediately, and there will be those who are simply not interested in it. But either way, you can endure it, stay on track, and continue with your life.

And always remember, these people's lives are their punishment.


What are your stories? You can leave them in the comments below or simply write about them in your journal.

What would you like to say to the toxic people who mistreated you? You don't have to actually say it to them, but sometimes just getting it out can alleviate your emotional tension significantly and provide some clarity. 

Support my work by becoming a Patreon subscriber for $5/mo or more and get access to bonus articles. And check out my book Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults. Thanks!


  1. Thank you Darius for this wonderful post. There are very few resources for dealing with character assassination, especially within the family. Big families with a history enmeshment can produce character assassins and the assassinated. I experienced character assassination within the family, seven times. It's easier to disengage from social character assassination like in your Story 2, which I also experienced once. You can stop caring. But in a family environment, the relationships continue long after the character assassination took place, the superficial rift seems mended, but the dynamics are there in the background. As the family scape goat, although all seven of the character assassinations had a very negative impact on me, the last one, which was staged in the disguise of an intervention but was in fact was just and emotional beating up of me and defamation of me carried by my elder sister, was lethal. I didn't feel depressed at first, because I was burning with indignation, I felt invigorated at first. My main question in the immediate aftermath was to ask "how will i live now?" So we can say that the final attempt was successful. I realised I should disengage from my family internally at least, but then I read a book and because there was my own mistakes that led me to start acting like the character assassination didn't happen. However, I am still disengaged from my family members to the best of my ability and once I stopped burning with indignation, I lost the feeling of invigoration as well. I try to keep depression at bay, but I lately I succumbed into depression after injuring my achilles tendon as I'm confined to home due to restricted mobility. I think writing a letter and spotting the manipulation and finding a way to deal with it can be a start. I also want to watch your self esteem videos. I don't know how to resolve my emotions and achieve self-validation at this point. But your blog seems like a great place to start.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I'm glad this article was helpful to you. I have received many private messages and emails about this article. It seems that many people have experienced something similar to one degree or another.

      I hope you'll be able to improve your situation soon. Being injured can complicate things because in situations like that our control over our life is limited. It also reminds us of our mortality and weaknesses, which is also why a lot of people get depressed or angry when sick or injured.

      Self-work takes time. But if you are going in the right direction with persistence and consistency you should be able to see some progress at some point.

      Get well soon!

    2. Thank you as well. I am trying to figure out how to fix this situation with my future husband... I am completely confuded. For the last three or four weeks i have been told repeatedly by my "husband" that I have been going down the road to clean someone's house for drugs and he has said some of these some people told him I give " fire * as head" I don't know these people or why these things keep happening to me. He says they come up to him and tell him this stuff and that their is no other way to deal with it. I don't know if he is "sick" or what. I love him with all my heart and I don't want to lose him. But if I engage in this arguing and I tell him I'm not mad or raising my voice and point out he is raising his and he tells it is Passion. Now today he challenged before walking the door telling me I was at some guys house and that he seen me leaving the house and yet I had never even taken a foot out of my door today with my kids home and all. I called early to ask him if he had a bank card I was missing which I was Not accessing him if taking just asking if he knew where it was. And all an email to express how much I love. But he comes home accusing me of cheating and doing drugs and on other occasions tried to poison him. But I never and would never. Then I ignore him and all his talking and he tells me I'm just trying to push him away and turn it all around for my own stake... He was once the most wonderful caring man I have ever known. He even stopped so low as to tell my other children about how and who sexually molested him as a child and that he believes his son that I bore for him. Is Not truly his. I asked him to leave and to leave me alone and go away. But all he has done is turn it around on me.I don't even know what is true about him any more. I try to do everything and anything to make him happy, but even then I'm told I should said it different or presented it differently. I don't know how to "Open up" to him as he says i dont . I try but I don't know how I don't know what to do. If I or he needs counseling please tell how or who or an idea of what it all is and a suggestion as what to do. ? ?? I am Lost and need Help.... Please write me back at

  2. Amazing work man, Thanks a lot..I am currently going through this process, due to my intense focus on self improvement..which is actually giving me some results. You writing was very enlightening and provided me with not only clarity but also insight as to what actions I can take forward. Thanks a lot, keep up the good work!

  3. Perfect timing to read this article. My character suffered an assault this week. I am going to follow your recommendations, let it go, and focus energy on my work and let the other person waste time and energy defending herself to others. I think this is why people don't get their work done!

  4. I have been the victim of character assassination for the last 5 years by my in-laws. While I have tried to disengage, it is very complicated given the family ties, especially in a close-knit society like ours. Your article has helped me understand the motivation behind the behaviour and has also helped me think about what to do next. Thank you very much for this brilliant piece of writing.

  5. Thank your for this article. I'm living in a nightmare because of 2 character assassinations in a row from people I severely looked. Like you, no one has asked me about it, but social media was their nuclear power.

    I have been suffering for 4 years now, and was about recovered until just under a year ago, I was attacked again. I appreciate your article because just as you wrote, I didn't talk to anyone but very close friends and family, maybe 6 including my parents. I still live in fear because this last person is an insane stalker that has messaged me in literally every form you can imagine, pushing lies, and having conversations with themselves in their messages to me acting like they're caring while destroying... I live in severe pain because as much as I'd like to lightly comment or relate and care about peoples stories, & vaguely say, "I've been through something like that", I still fear if anyone finds out or runs into who these professional narcissist assassins are & relays the slightest thing innocently if asked about me,where I wasn't even specific about anyone or anything, they'll attack me more. I literally threw away both my professional businesses and can barely get out of a dark room...

    I was about to embark on a highly public eye profession I've worked my entire life on, and I get too depressed thinking they'll attack all my public profiles, videos, interviews, etc. I shut down my whole social life a year ago because they wouldn't leave me alone. They were both physical & verbal abusers, which I never fought back, yet one night I was being chased around and hit and yelled at with their insecurities as usual, and now the defense photos have been framed against me, and I'm male. I still didn't want to hurt her feeling by getting a restraining order, but more importantly, not pissing off a master manipulator and enjoy an atomic bomb my entire life... It's a coin toss for that, and/or, "when you file a restraining order immediately, they respect that and honor it a lot of times"...

    I've never had the word victim enter my mind, for me, to any situation in the world, for any reason, until now. So welcome to my nightmare - moved across the world to try a new life away from friends and family, and I still can't heal or stop think about it everyday, everywhere I go.

    So I just wanted to say, even though I can't heal, and have quit everything, and losing all my money... You are not alone. Make lists of things you enjoy, get out as much as possible, love as much as possible, have windows and plants if possible, workout, find a community place to sit on a laptop, go for walks, drives, eat healthy food... Anything you can do to stay alive and move forward. Listen to meditation music, nature sounds,positive YouTube messages and people... I ^^ take my own advice, but am alone and rotting in my new world and both my professions I love are gone... My grandmother, across the world, who I miss and hold dearly to me that I can never see because of this, says she prays for me a lot. Makes me even more sad.

    Best of luck against these evil people.
    Not trying to bring anyone down, I'm just trying to be healthy and voice a sliver of my world to strangers...I would love to think that their true colors have shown, but that still doesn't help the damage that's happened and continues as my happy, nice, positive, lively spirit I once had has drifted away and now I naturally fear to smile to a nice cashier selling me water...

    Know you're loved people. Hold onto it as much as possible.

    1. I too 'fear to smile' from decades of abuse from my own blood. Understanding that statement of yours hurt. I say that because learning to be an introvert through pain is a tragedy in itself... however, having many pictures flash through my mind with that statement of yours was tragic in it's own way by the impact my heart felt in reading those words. You are not alone, you are simply human. That pain you feel is not from a lack of love, it's from having love trapped inside and unable to escape into another that makes it hurt. This author (stellar job Darius) just gave me a chance to accept that smile you have trapped inside of you..and it was worth the wait to see it... Stay on your feet. Only love and a solemn respect for your explanation of 'who' you are...thank you.

  6. Bravo . Superlative Master insight! Please put on press release to psych media. Call Hollywood . You are 5000 times better than dr. Phil. You are loved. There is above average intelligence in the world. Thank you for your style and expertise.

  7. So glad to have come across this, I always knew about Triangulation and the 1st time to read of Character Assassination and your so right it is. I am now going through a 4th bout of Character Assassination and I swear it's text book to me now, I can see all of the tactics, the first 2 times I experienced it were hard simply because I had no idea what was happening. The 3rd time I had learnt because I were suffering with c-PTSD and going through counseling and the manipulator was trying to stop me from doing counseling treating me poorly as if counseling was an attack on her, the more I refused her controlling tactics to do what I needed most for my own wellness the worse she got and the negative accusations lies spread like wild fire. I were affected severely and lay low for several months just coping and maintaining my own needs. Now I'm facing a 4th round with a couple that keep dragging me into their problems the more I try not to be involved the more I become targeted, lies, rumours, and treating me like a enemy. I have always been an individual, played a beat to my own drum, it's been difficult trying to keep my own sense of self and my own perception in life without having outside influence trying to mend mould bend me into their perception of life. I'm glad to have come across your article it helped to give me strength to carry on doing what I know I need to do.

  8. This is a very interesting article. I am 38 years old and dealing with my 43 year old brother’s manipulations into my life. The damage is already done and it is grevious. I wake up to it every day and I look around st how my circumstances have so drastically changed, at how isolated and alone I feel, at how stuck I seem to be. For me it would appear the battle is lost. I can’t get away from him as I now no longer have the means. Every day I must suffer his phoney, heavily stilted attitude toward me, how he has manipulated my family over and over again. My mind is plagued with impotent anger at what he has done, while I am haunted with memories of my ex fiancé. What advice do you give to the utterly defeated and demoralized?

  9. I am out of an extreme narcissistic domestic abuse situation with my daughter. He found out about her emergency exit plan and everything blew up. We are now suffering trauma and extreme situations because of having left him. . I feel completely raped financially physically and psychologically. I have nothing left no money, he took my house {(in my name only) and everything in it , every belonging we’ve ever owned In my 57 years for my and my daughters 18 years. He changed the locks on our home and he took full possession regardless of it being agains the law. He took my car. He has managed to charge me with nine criminal serious charges and I am trying to fight through court but I am not getting any help whatsoever since he was not charged. He feels powerful and unstoppable and confident. Any advice on how this may end? I have all documents and proofs to bring him to court and blow his lies out of the water and expose him. and if I do Should we be worried for our lives??( He is a very)violent man. Thank you

  10. Thank you for this article. To expose this is real and the facts of how it works is so helpful. It's difficult without the support needed, but to know others are in this helps. Be very aware when people ask: What do you think of so and so or personal questions. They will ask about your family, kids school, your hopes and dreams, what bothers you, etc. to gather information, put it out and hurt you. Beware of the Poser. I experienced: Posers then betrayal. This person will compliment you, give gifts/do nice things for years to gain your trust while they put out any thing you said or twist what you said (trust your gut), ask for a written recommendation from you (while you're still thinking they are a nice person)to cover themselves for what they are about to put out on social media or lie about YOU. Be aware if you're feeling highly stressed and don't know why. You may have experienced manipulation without realizing it. This is so real people, so sad, and so ugly. I was not aware for many years because I trusted people up front and did not know what they planned, were doing or what it was. I do now. When people needed help and asked, I was there. I didn't realize they were painting me as something I'm not. I do not know how they sleep at night. Live your life each day. Find what gives you joy. Find courage knowing God loves you, you are not alone and you ARE a good person. Celebrate who YOU know you ARE, not what others think or say.

  11. I am dying I was told by one doctor, afraid to go for all the referrals and tests and it's been months. I'm told by my primary doctor that it's stress and DO NOT get stressed. It's my own best friend, my hero, my life's blood and love in my life that's doing it to me and she is my twin sister. I am 61 years old, was in a narcissist relationship badly for 20 years and finally left 3 years ago. Shortly after that as our mom lay dying after our hero , our Dad died, and I was waiting for my twin sister to show up to take us to the hospital I got a call she was not picking me up and to find another way there. I got a ride with a friend of hers. For 2 days I watched our mom dying alone. At the end her friend showed me a text from my sister blaming me and my psychotic self for not being there. I was floored. I was calm for mom on the outside but inside was a mess. What in the world was she talking about? Her friend told her I was fine and she never spoke to that friend again. She had committed the timate sin. She defended me. Fast forward 3 years. I have not a single friend in the world but her. She has bad-mouthed me to our entire social circle for 20 years and nobody thought to tell me and still don't but a couple people that know. Most don't care to know me or the truth. I'm so good to her, I'm always there for her, begging, pleadi g, crying, and asking why she hates me so much why she keeps doing it why she stole money from my bank acct why why why. She denies every single thing she's ever said and done even tho it's in black and white and I've seen many texts and the bank confirmed it. It's gotten so bad my own doctor, banker , the hospital, nursing home, funeral home ,friends and family all believed her. My own younger sister who lives away in another state who I cherished won't speak to me, my banker said to me he had never seen 2 sisters fight so much especially twins. I was so utterly shocked as I hadn't been in the bank except to open my account. I asked him what he was talking about and he clammed up. My own doctor said I've never seen you like this when I tried to explain she had screamed at me the whole 45 min trip and she had waited in the car only for us to walk out with her in the office chatting nicely with the receptionist. All nice and charming and I felt extreme danger and my gut reaction was screaming danger and I didn't realize I said it aloud until they all looked at me and said danger? When my doctor of 7 years looked at me strangely I knew he didn't believe me but she had gotten to him. I'm alone and she is my only ride to the store for groceries or to the doctor or anywhere. She terrified me sometimes with her rage and has accused me of wanting to shoot her in the back. I know from reading a bit that it's what she wants to do and I am sorry to say I am so desperate to have somebody anybody to help me that a few days ago when here I quickly looked at her phone. Sure enough a text to my ex about an argument we had and she told him I threatened to stab her in the heart. I've never in my life thought of hurting my sister I defend her with every breath in me. But he believes her as does everybody else. I'm now having trouble with the water company and the neighbor had a leak for days and used over 17,000 gal. They put it on my bill and the meter reader knew better he was here. Now they say I used 19,000 gal and 14,000 gal and say a meter reader was never here. It's a lie, he got up on my ladder and brought my neighbor over. Said to write it out what happened and they would credit my acct and now say it never happened and nobody ever came to read my meter ever. So it's impacted me severely health wise, socially, financially and now I can't afford the water bill.I have no leaks a plumber said and I live alone. I'm so tramatized it's hard to get out of b

  12. What you give power to has power over you....

  13. Thank you Darius. The insight which you so kindly provide and your personal experiences in dealing with narcissists, have for sure alleviated much human suffering caused by these psychopaths - narcissists demons. May your extreme kindness be repaid to you infinity times infinity. Narcissists thrive on keeping others on their hamster wheels preferably until they cause their victims/narcissistic supply's' total destruction. One's first impulse and instinct is to fight back, to defend your honor and reputation. Unfortunately, any response on the victims behalf will place the victim right on the narcissists hamster wheel. The saying, discretion is the better part of valor never applied more than it does to dealing with a narcissist.

    Narcs thrive on drama, evil, being the center of attention at others expense. If one can separate from the instinctual desire to strike back, to defend, then you have won a huge part of reclaiming your life from the narcissist. They are in fact after YOUR LIFE! The other factor to this equation requires the targeted victim to go FULL NO CONTACT. FULL NO CONTACT means FULL NO CONTACT. The narcs target, victim or supply will never be able to stop the narc from defaming, slandering and character assassinating their victims, unless of course you have gobs of money with which to hire the best libel and defamation attorney. Even if you do, is it really worth spending one single cent to get on the narcs treadmill?

    As for friends, your true friends will immediately identify bullshit when they hear it. Those who swallow the narcs evil and putrid sewage deserve what they get, a terminal case of sewer poisoning for if they continue in the narcs company, they TOO will most assuredly be their next victims and wind up in the narcs stinking sewer. A narcs character assassination will identify who truly loves you and who should never have been in your life. No doubt, character assassination is the epitome of evil. It has the very real potential of destroying many lives. But so does getting on the narcs hamster wheel. I agree with Darius, the narc ends up eventually unmasking their stinking lifeless empty carcasses to everyone around them in public view. It is in the end their unremarkable fate and total destruction. Thank you. Let's all stay Narc free!

  14. Great read, very sound reasoning & explanations. I am going through one right now. Never ever experienced in my lifetime. And unlike most who know their narcissist, mine is a coward who hides behind anonymous identity and hides as a rat behind vpn. He ran a smear campaign with vicious defamatory lies. It’s an online attack and he has assassinated my character and reputation that I took years to build only because I exposed that fraud psychopath in front of the public and his like minded yes-men. Even if I go to court, I can’t find who it is because of vpn and I don’t have enough funds to hire expert law firm. I have suffered both reputation wise and financially because of this sociopath. I everyday pray that I get to know his identity or he gets killed in an accident. But it won’t happen soon unfortunately.

  15. Thank you for this spot-on article, and your many other articles that are so clear and true. Reading this now is hard and helpful because my mother -a brutal narcissist-just died, and cut me out of her Will for protecting myself from her. Which is tough, because I live on disability ($800 a month) and would have received some hundreds of thousands. I had simply reached a breaking point and felt poisoned by her, and cut off ties. I am told she cried out for me all the time in her nursing home. I think I was her Cinderella, who served her and remained unappreciated, in the corner. But I also think on some unconscious level I was the only one in her life she knew was loving and real, and wanted me near her as death came. I did go to see her a few months before she died, when she had no memory left and wasn't the mean, manipulating person I'd always known. But she was surrounded by people to who she'd fed a distorted image of me too, and it ended up badly, and I was kept from seeing her. Since I was a light in her life, it is so, as you say: her life was her own punishment.

  16. Considering the date when this was first posted and recognizing the current relevancy of this painful issue, it’s apparent that this is a serious matter which continues to spread like a disease, undermining the fabric and overall social health of our society, on a global level, negatively impacting people from all over the world and different cultures and beliefs. Knowing this and how much unnecessary suffering this causes can lead one to feel hopeless at times, so I was especially appreciative to find such timeless and excellent advice in dealing with this matter and how to mentally reframe this information in a way that isn’t completely doomsday whilst simultaneously recognizing the potential for vast devastation it causes.
    The idea I keep returning to is that saying that evil thrives where good men do nothing, which speaks to the power in doing nothing, the high cost of indifference. The media and politicians who play fast and loose with truth, as if it’s something of little value, when it’s everything and without truth, the world devolves into chaos without meaning. I’m still stuck in the shock and rejection that this is even a thing, when it’s probably best to just accept that it is, like it or not, and focus instead on how to effectively deal with the issue and still continue to find happiness, relevancy, and beauty in the world around us. It makes me sad that more people aren’t outraged and moved to action to reject this unwelcome influence in our lives. We could have paradise if everyone treated one another as we hope to be treated. It would be lovely if everyone was on board with generosity and kindness. It bothers me that there are some who care nothing for the lives of others and who feel entitled to do harm in their pursuit of their own agendas. I agree that we can teach one another how to spot them and how effectively manage them in a way which doesn’t impact us in a negative manner, and by avoidance, we may find our own slice of peace in a turbulent world.

  17. How scary it is to read your article and realise this resonates with me and my current situation. Thank-you for sharing your inner most thoughts, your honesty. The ultimate validation of what I think is being thrown at me by someone who supposedly loved me..... and then flipped...."


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