Friday, September 07, 2007

Blind-sided by a Smear Campaign

Since it happened yesterday I have struggled with whether or not to bring it up here on my blog. I wasn't sure I wanted to involve people who would never be aware of these events without me mentioning it here. I've decided to do it. I'll explain why as we go along.

I have been the object of a smear campaign. I was unsuspecting therefore it was quite a shock. This seems like a good time to bring up the concept of the "smear campaign" that is often used by narcissists. Since this blog is about narcissists and their tactics, this is a good time to bring up this particular one.

I was recently invited to join a Yahoo Group by the owner of that group. I was invited and joined on Aug. 28, 2007. The shit hit the fan yesterday, nine days after joining. This is a support group for people who are "divorcing" their parents or in the process of it. The owner asked me to join her group so I could post there. I walked into a trap, apparently.

She was well aware of my blog. Looking in the archives minutes before I unsubbed last night I saw that she had at least three times, in the previous month to my joining, quoted entire blog posts from Narcissists Suck with attribution. Which is fine. My point is, the purpose for her doing so was obviously to be helpful and instructive to her group members. She was recommending my site by quoting it and including the link. No indication until yesterday that she was thinking I was an evil "spy" that she must warn her members against.

Yes, in an email that obviously had been sent to one of her group members privately she titled it "Beware of Anna V" and proceeded to libelously accuse me of stealing ideas from her members in the group claiming I had gotten into her group in disguise so I could steal content. The accusations were made without one shred of proof. Her accusations are rather fuzzy. The more specific accusation claims I had stolen the idea from one of her members to analyze my sister's letter. This is so ludicrous as to be almost laughable. I guess I could never have come up with that idea all by my little self. Not to mention that my analysis of my sister's letter was composed over TWO years ago! (A fact I can prove.) That it only ended up in my blog some weeks back doesn't mean I just came up with it. It was an exercise I did immediately after my cutting off with my sister. Which is a fact I shared when I posted it on my blog. Of all the things to accuse me of stealing she goes right for the thing I can prove absolutely to have come up with on my own.

This group owner's private email ended up in the group messages because the person she was trying to poison responded to it with the group's email address. So the owner decides to switch me from receiving the "digest" version of the group's posts to "web only". That tells me she wasn't eager for me to see her libelous comments.

This group owner has greatly flattered herself to believe that her group was so compellingly interesting to me that I had to join incognito to "steal" ideas from her group. She wasn't even on my radar. I only joined because she specifically asked me to, and I was willing to give it a try to see if I could add anything pertinent or of interest for her group as she was specifically asking me to do. I was poorly rewarded for my decision.

After I found the libelous message yesterday late morning, I fired off a response to the group. It never was allowed into the group by the owner. She obviously put me on moderation after switching me to "web only". I had no recourse to try to clear my name to the very people who were being influenced by her smear campaign against me. I reserve the right to try to defend myself where I can. Here, on my blog. Some of her members were still visiting my blog after her email landed into the group messages. Maybe someone there is interested in my side of the story.

Because she was falsely accusing me of stealing intellectual property she has in reality laid claim to stealing my intellectual property. She is staking her "right" to decide what I've stolen and claim it as her own or belonging to her group. All without a speck of proof. Meanwhile, I have proof of my ownership of what she claims I took. Absolute proof that would stand up in court. The attempted thief in this picture is group owner herself.

Since this happened to me yesterday, I have now found out from other ACONs she has abused others in similar ways. The common theme that has developed by people who are now speaking up is that she is somewhat paranoid and very authoritarian. Beware of:

"Adultchildren_divorcing_their_parents" at Yahoo Groups.

Had I known what she had already done to other ACONS in the other group I was already a member of I would never have been lured to join up with this owner's newer group. Knowing that if her identity had been revealed to me I would have been saved this unpleasant experience, I am sharing the identity of this owner's group with you here. Just be aware of what you've read here should you decide this is a place you want to hang out or are already a member of it. Think of this like a restaurant review. I went. I now have my own experience and impression which I am free to describe. The atmosphere and food sucks. Two thumbs down.

Back to what Kathy Krajo has so well described about the smear campaign:

Note that in doing this, the narcissist isn't attacking your faults and shortcomings: she is attacking your virtues and accomplishments. Consequently, when she is conducting a campaign of character assassination against someone, the arrows she shoots never hit one of that person's real flaws.

I maintain this applies to my situation. I think there is some ample evidence that I can think for myself and can write what I'm thinking with at least some decent clarity and quality. This group owner has tried assassinate my virtues and not my flaws. I believe she has revealed something about herself. I am tempted to believe she has done what she accuses me of having done. I am pointing the finger straight back at the originator of the smear. I will assume there is a certain amount of projection motivating the smear campaign.

Because this group owner gave me no recourse to clear my name in her group, I am doing it here where many more people will learn of her treachery than just the few members of her closed little world where she controls all the knobs, bells and whistles.

Smear campaigns are a form of stealing. When someone does this to you they steal a part of you. Your good name, virtues and strengths. Do not sit still for it. It is never deserved. Kathy Krajco points out that the smear campaign is never provoked. That certainly applies in this case. There is no bad history between this person and me. I have never contradicted her, talked negatively about her, nothing. I get kicked in the teeth. The perversity of her attack is huge and therefore a giant red flag.

By the way, I have submitted a formal complaint to Yahoo!Groups and have requested that the libelous messages be deleted. If she deletes them now she can pretend this whole thing never happened. She is being invited to remove only the proof of her own treachery. Not a bad deal for her.

Please read the full article at Kathy's site on Projection (and smear campaigns). It is is all her content.
9/21/07: Another innocent person has been blind-sided by the owner of "Adultchildren_divorcing_their_parents" Yahoo! Group. The casualties mount. Please beware. This group owner writes very poorly in English. She has an American moderator who is her well-spoken pit-bull who threatens legal action to anyone who dares to describe this owner's mistreatment of them. You must subscribe to this group with extreme caution. It can only be a support group to you if you are willing to agree to all the paranoid delusions of its owner. This is not an exaggeration. You've been warned.


Anonymous said...

OOPS there it is!

Good for you Anna. Never take a smear lying down.

Anonymous said...

Keep doing what you're doing. If you have offended a narcissist, you are on the right path.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the warning, I will not be joining that group.


Anonymous said...

So this is what you get for trying to help other people? It smells like Narcissistic intrusion to me. Don't worry about it Anna, your website is the best!

Anonymous said...

Be careful of seeing everyone as an N people. We all need a certain amount of healthy narcissism - but when you exploit and abuse others - then it becomes destructive.

Ns are equal opportunity abusers. Probably Anna's smearer sufferers from some degree of mental impairment. Many cause by her own N-parent.

What a world!

Anonymous said...

It sounds as if you are posting your own smear campaign. Unlike Adult Children Divorcing Their Parents, which is a private site seen only by registered users, your smear campaign is public and open to all.

You claim to have not stolen ideas and yet days after they appeared on ACDP they show up on your blog.

I have no doubt this comment will not be seen by others as you will delete it, but you are hardly innocent and if you were honest you would discuss this with the owner of ACDP like an adult instead of spreading your venom in such a childish manner.

Anna Valerious said...

I knew it was only a matter of time before one of you showed up.

I've explained my reasons for posting it here. I was given no outlet to clear my name. I HAVE contacted the owner. She will not respond to me.

I have posted your snarky comment so everyone can see that the smear campaign is continuing.

Anna Valerious said...

By the way, there is no "freedom of speech" here on my blog. Or anyone else's personal blog. It is not up to the public to determine the content of my blog. It is up to me. So even if I had decided to not post the snarky comment it would have been no poor reflection on me.

On the other hand, when a person joins a forum there is an expectation that the person will be allowed to post his or her comments. I was quietly put on moderation; not to actually moderate me, but to prevent me from any opportunity to communicate in the forum. This was so cowardly on the owner's part as to point the finger of childishness right in her direction. Once again, her qualities are being projected onto me. She has not communicated one word with me. Even after I unsubbed from her group. Even though I've emailed her. Even though she stopped my posts from going into the group. Now I am being labeled as childish because I have dared to try to clear my name in the only venue I have for doing so. The fire-breathing rage of the tyrant is leveled in my direction.

I noticed, Anonymous, that you show no appreciation for the fact that this is the first time you've heard my side of the story. It is apparent you didn't come here to actually hear me out. You came here to continue the owner of ACDP's smear campaign. You are just as nasty as ADCP's owner by your asserting that I can not defend myself even here on my own blog. I'm sure you've done nothing to recommend your precious forum to the reader's of my blog.

I have posted this comment as a shining example of how the smear campaign continues. Still, no PROOF is offered. Only accusation.
It was obvious the owner of ACDP has her mind-controlled minions. Nice of you to stop by. This is likely to be the last such comment I will allow. People get the point. My blog will not be the venue for an ongoing smear campaign against myself.

Anonymous said...

Rage on dear narcissist.

Anna Valerious said...

This most recent comment was just too precious for me to delete.

I did not call the owner of the group a narcissist. I only described her objectionable behavior and presented it as a good time to bring up the method of "smear campaigns". You don't have to be a narcissist to use this method. You can simply be a Class A asshole. That some of the comments on this blog post indicate that people see what I described as sounding like N behavior is just the way the cookie crumbles. If the shoe fits...

If someone can actually read my blog and then label me a narcissist...well, what can I possibly say? This is obviously not a person connected to reality.

I posted this most recent comment because it further illustrates that I ain't the problem. We have glorious examples in these last two bravely anonymous comments of the painful contortions it takes to put your head way up your ass and still speak clearly.

Anna Valerious said...

To the person who posted a comment to anonymous(Sept. 10, 9:17am) I would have dearly loved to have posted your comment but you included the actual first name of the venomous viper that owns the ACDP group. I am trying to minimize problems by keeping her name out of this. A courtesy she certainly hasn't granted me.

Please post again minus the name, if you will.

Anonymous said...

The owner tried to suck me into a smear campaign against a beloved friend. Thank you Anna for being brave enough to expose what goes on at some forums.

Anonymous said...

I applaud anybody who grew up in a narcissists household, who then is able to a)stand up to further abuse and b)do so with integrity and sound reasoning.

I find it terribly difficult to deal with stupidity or bullying. I find myself shaking with anger, but I know if I don't continue to use my voice against those who want to drown it, I will have let my mother win all over again.

Anna Valerious said...


It is apparent from your comment that you really "get" the difficulty this kind of situation creates for an ACON. I react the same as you do to both stupidity and bullying AND lying. It requires real effort to stay calm and rational especially when the attack is so irrational and provocative. To see someone so blatantly lying about me and attacking my credibility for reasons which I can not establish or even fathom is very hard to deal with calmly. Thanks for recognizing the struggle. There has been a small chorus of voices willing to stick their necks out and declare that they too have been ill-treated by this same person. That kind of validation in the heat of the battle is very comforting to the person in a bully's cross-hairs. I recognize that is hard for people to do. Bullies make examples of people to keep everyone in line.

Your kind of insight, Jordie, has the same comfort. I appreciate your willingness to share it.

Anonymous said...

Glad I found this. I've recently been bullied off a web site this person belonged to before forming the group you were bullied in.

Small world! Similar experience to yours. VERY similar experience.

I am also an ACON, blog about it, & have little patience with BS, lying, or phoniness. In my case there were several bullies at once. The smear campaign was obvious and patently dishonest. They recruited the board moderator, who should have known better, but sided with them without a moment's thought.

No surprise that another, earlier bully splintered off that same site and set up shop independently.

Beware of any abuse survivor group whose members frantically assure each other that all the problems are Out There In Other People.

Predators love these places. Rampant denial provides perfect cover. [They're members, so they must be wonderful. They say they are.]

You're performing a valuable public service... and thanks for the validation.

Anna Valerious said...

I'm very sorry to hear that you've gone through this. You also make me very glad I decided to make the smear campaign against myself by this woman and her group public. Thanks for adding your voice to the chorus of people who've been hurt by this woman and her group. The more exposure the less power she has to hurt others.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anna. To be entirely honest, and take responsibility for the part I own, I overstayed my welcome there.

I was asking questions people didn't want to hear, seeing things people didn't want to see, thinking about things people didn't want to think about: the kinds of things you blog about here, and Kathy blogs about on narc-attack, and I blog about as well. Things you have to ask, see, and consider in order to get past the abuse in any real way.

Bottom line, I was trying to do recovery work in a support group. It can't be done.

I called several bullies out on their behavior there at various times. None of them ever accepted the slightest degree of responsibility, all of them engaged in various forms of lying and spinning when confronted, some of which was absolutely amazing. So I knew what I was dealing with.

It was only a matter of time before the bullies realized they outnumbered me. When they cornered me, I was explicit about what I thought of this and of them, and that gave the moderator an opening to brand me as the problem.

The moderator was something of an 'absentee landlord' - away for as much as three months at a time, and committed to many other things, so it was no surprise that they'd take the easy way out of the dilemma and side with the 'gang'.

They should have known better, but doing the right thing would have required standing up to several abusive people rather than putting down one cornered, angry one, and there was never any open discussion of processes or dynamics there.

There's an excellent caveat about forum dynamics at this link: cosmicwalk warning info.

I suspect the author had similar experiences.

Live and learn.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Anna, ha ha, I read this column in September and didn't think more about it, until I was just denied from the same group(s) - there seem to be 2, which I tried to join last week. Although I responded to the questionnaire, they said I was denied because I had "not responded" to the questionnaire. I have been on Yahoo long enough to recognize the hallmark signs of an active group owner that is just happy to huff off existing members, who probably kiss their ass entirely.

OMG, could the group owner be a narcissistic?

It was too funny also how each group also said "although we do not find you acceptable, please try to apply to the other group" ... LOL ..

Talk about sheep in disguise. Anna, no worries on this one. These people are not out for general good, they are out for themselves - at least the owner of the group. And shame on them.

Anonymous said...

I only found your blog yesterday, but have been reading and enjoying it. I am also an Acon with an N-sister and a "betraying bystander" sister. A few months ago I tried to join a Yahoo Acon group. I don't recall which one it was, at this point. But the moderator sent me an email saying she wanted me to be more detailed in my explanation of myself and my travails with N's and she would then consider me for joining the group. I never heard back from her after sending her the information she requested. This could be the same woman you speak of, I'm not sure. Now after reading what you said, I see it as a good thing that she never considered me "good enough" to join her ACON group. sheesh!

At any rate, just keep up the good work, you are helping people.

Anonymous said...

Narcissistic behavior at its finest!! And I'm referring to the smear campaign, of course. No one in their right mind could read your posts and think of you as anyone but a very intelligent and sensitive and wise person. Your blog means a lot to me, as sibling to a narcissist who uses (abuses) religion.


My grandparents hid my father from me and stole the money that great grandpa invested for me as well.