We all know what character assassination is and how unfair it can feel when a former spouse or romantic partner begins to talk about us or try to create a narrative that simply isn’t true. When we were in that relationship, we were the best thing to ever happen to them (according to their own account), and when we mutually decide we have reached the end of our path together and we can go no further, we then become the biggest mistake of their lives. It can be a swift transition that can leave one with whiplash if you’re not prepared for the brisk pendulum swing.
Men and women both are susceptible to this type of behavior after a relationship ends. Whether its something you have to contend with later on depends on the former partner or spouse, how they view themselves, how they begin to view the former relationship, and the character of the former partner. But, unfortunately, character assassination also requires an active audience that is willing to listen, intake what was said, react to the narrative and then the cycle begins all over again as the stories get passed around.
If you have been a victim of attempted character assassination, then you know the feeling of just wanting to hide and not interact with anyone. A mob mentality starts to form and then, soon, people you don’t even know have an opinion of you and the type of person you are. Instead of caring about the truth, personal opinion reigns supreme and, if left unchecked, chaos ensues in your life. Leaving you feeling as though you are alone, you are hurt at the betrayal and angry because of the lies. You begin to cut yourself off from everyone because you would rather deal with being alone than deal with questioning looks, a daily update on the new story being told, and the complete negativity surrounding the whole situation.
One of the many reasons I decided to write this article is because of the current court case between Mr. Johnny Depp and his former spouse, Amber Heard. This case really struck a personal chord with me on a deeper level. I have listened to a vast majority of the recordings, seen the same videos the rest of the public has, and even watched some of the video from the courtroom proceedings. And, honestly, it is heartbreaking. A picture can be worth a thousand words if it is an honest picture. And these days, isn’t it hard to find an honest picture that is unaltered, with no behind the scenes flare and makeup added to the photo to impart the emotion you want to portray to the intended audience. An unbiased photo.
The one photo that I have seen from the court proceedings that really affected me, personally, was a photo of Mr. Depp sitting next to his lawyer, listening to his sister testify. And, in the still frame photo, he looks so tired. Exhaustion may not even be a strong enough word. Not a physical exhaustion, but a mental and emotional exhaustion. The photo struck me because it is exactly how I felt in the past leaving an unhealthy marriage. I felt tired, drained both mentally and emotionally. I felt almost as if I was in a daze. And, after I was out of the eye of the storm, so to speak, it took me some time to realize that I was safe, I no longer had to defend myself against constant barbs thrown at me, I no longer had to be on guard at all hours of the day and night. It was a relief, but being in that constant state of heightened awareness has a damaging affect on you. It is a form of hyper-vigilance burn-out from being in an environment where there is a constant threat to your safety. It is the type of hyper-vigilance burn-out that military personnel, law enforcement personnel, corrections personnel and domestic violence survivors all face while living in these hostile environments.
For the first bit of time after leaving an unhealthy relationship, you may not even be concerned about what the former partner or spouse is saying. You are simply flooded with relief that you are out of that situation and trying to find a new normal in your day that is healthier and better for you. And then, as you begin to feel more balanced in your new life, you may take issue with the stories that are being told about you and spread around. Speaking for myself, I was relieved to be out of my former marriage, but I also had a fear that lasted for a short while after my marriage ended. I felt I still had to protect myself because, despite being out of the relationship, my property was being destroyed while I was hiding behind the locked door of my new apartment.
When you have been brainwashed into believing that you are such a horrible individual that you deserve all of the negativity that your former partner or spouse can dish out to you, you don’t put up a fight. They have broken you down mentally, emotionally, and physically and have convinced you that you have no worth and you begin to hate yourself as much as they appear to. Throughout this process of repeated abuse and conditioning, you have lost your identity. You are no longer the person you were before. You now have become what your spouse or partner says you are and nothing more. It is a scary place to be in. And, when you leave this situation, it takes time to heal and begin to learn who you are all over again. In so doing, you become a new person. You have the ability to put yourself back together with more strength and determination than you have ever thought possible.
In reality, character assassination is the last act of an angry individual who can no longer reach you to deliver violence and abuse upon your person, your mind or your emotions anymore. So, they will attempt to destroy the parts of you they can reach from their outside vantage point. Your reputation and your character. They know this will have a damaging affect on you. Both mentally and emotionally. And, unfortunately for Mr. Depp, this has affected him financially as well.
Attempting to destroy someone completely is not healthy. Attempting to strip someone of everything they have because of spite, jealousy, hatred and anger is not healthy. Attempting to implode other attached relationships to that person because “If I can’t have you, no one can”, or “You deserve to be alone because I wasn’t good enough”, is not healthy nor is it normal.
Regardless of the false narrative you have been made to believe about yourself, regardless of the people pushed out of your life by a jealous ex that can’t stand seeing you with anyone else, regardless of the abuse you have suffered, the lies you have endured and the hope you have lost time and time again, you are worthy of love! You are worthy of a healthy life and a healthy relationship! You are worthy of beauty, hope and stability in your life. You are worthy of your hopes and dreams coming to fruition. You are worth so much more than you have been brainwashed into believing.
Give yourself the following daily reminders, and never give up on yourself.
- I am not worthless
- I am worthy of love and affection
- I am worthy of a healthy relationship
- I give my all in everything I do
- I have faith in myself. I refuse to lose hope to the crushing darkness of someone else’s anger and uncontrolled, unhealthy actions
- I will show myself love, kindness, mercy, compassion
- I will diligently care for myself because I am worthy of a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle
- I will care for my mental and emotional health. It may feel shattered at the moment, but my mental and emotional health will be whole again, because I am worth the time and effort to fix the broken parts of me
- I will love and respect myself enough to keep a healthy distance from anything that threatens my physical, mental, emotional or spiritual health and well-being
- I will never give up on myself
Leaving an unhealthy relationship is hard. But, there comes a point when you do realize that you are in a dangerous place. You are in an unhealthy span in your life that has to come to an end.
Loving yourself enough to walk away from something unhealthy and dangerous is the biggest gift you can give yourself.
Thank you to all of my beautiful readers and subscribers!! I appreciate each and every one of you daily!!
Remember, you are all worthy of love and affection. And, don’t ever let anyone make you believe otherwise!
God bless, everyone!!