Friday, March 6, 2015

Looking at Smear Campaigns

Paranoia Unleashed - the making of the novel

So far it has been established that the antagonist (yet to be named) in this novel has, at the least, a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and as a significant part of the intended action centres on a smear campaign conducted by the antagonist against family members over a period of years, today’s post follows that theme and I will expand on this in the following days. This is part of building the character of the antagonist to get it right from the onset.

Smear campaigns are considered one of the classic behaviours of BPDs and the target is the person against whom the perpetrator conducts the vilification. Quite often this is against people who have stood up against some form of unfairness, abuse, or entitlement. These campaigns are often done behind the scenes against people who are or were related or emotionally close to the perpetrator and it may start months or even years before the target is aware it is happening.The intent is to destroy their reputation and relationships with family, friends and with community contacts and may extend to forcing the target to leave the community, putting them in prison, or even killing them. 

As with so many things involving BPs and their typical inability to understand or respect boundaries, there really are no limits. They will use basically any means available to them to cause damage to their target, including denigration, endless disparaging remarks, fabrication, false accusations, and even grooming others to lie on their behalf as part of their campaign.

A smear campaign involves lies, exaggerations, and cultivation of mistrust toward the victim by playing on the sensibilities of others, using people’s empathy and morals to turn them against the victims – most often for having done nothing more than disagree with the smearer. Many are passive participants who will listen and believe the lies they are told, while others become actively involved in spreading them further. The target may find that there are dozens of people, many of whom they have never met, who believe and repeat the lies they have been told. This is the insidious nature of the smear campaign.

Smear campaigners try to ostracize their victims and make them feel alone, unpopular, and unsupported by others while they play the victim, the hero, or both, manipulating others to think they are good people who are rightfully standing up against the victim’s supposed immorality or abuse.

Smear campaigners insinuate that the victim is mentally ill, unreasonable, incompetent, untrustworthy, or abusive and they enjoy the feeling of having gotten back at their victims, believing it is completely justifiable – even fun – to mistreat someone for having an opinion that is different from theirs.

Smear campaigners do not acknowledge the wrong they do, and cannot typically be expected to genuinely confess or apologize — even after they’ve been proven liars.

Having established this element of the antagonist's character, this is probably as good a time as any to touch briefly on what happens to the people who are victims of these campaigns. 

  • They are alienated from their family and friends.
  • They lose contact with their children for months or even years.
  • They may lose their jobs.
  • They may spend tens of thousands of dollars or more fighting false accusations of the BP attacking them.
  • They may have restraining orders placed upon them based upon false accusations.
  • They may end up in jail or prison due to false accusations.
  • They may develop severe mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and others.
  • Some commit suicide.

Adapted from an article written by Rob Print

In the next post I'll explore 'grooming' and some of the methods used in this.

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For some reason I'm yet to fathom I'm unable to reply to comments left by others so thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. Merlene