What would you do?
You actually have an enemy. How weird is that? Someone whose sole purpose in life is to destroy yours. Does this really happen? Actually, yes. I could be a co-worker who wants to make your life miserable at work. It might be a neighbor. It might be a relative who knows how to get your goat, or has really decided to actively mess you up. This is something I cannot understand. Why would someone devote their mental faculties, and their time into such destructive behavior? Nine times out of ten, the victim of this type of persecution has no clue why he’s the target. What does that mean? Well, you will never understand why you have an enemy, so don’t even ask the question.
There are two major paths you can take. You can dismiss the attacks and believe that cooler heads will reign and the facts will come out. Your enemy will get his comeuppance. Or you can fight it. If you fight it, you fight fairly or you fight dirty. Remember though, “Sometimes when you fight with a skunk, it’s difficult to tell who started it.” I’ve learned that hoping that cooler heads will reign only works about 30% of the time. When it comes to the end, the amount of time and effort it takes to recover your belongings, or your reputation, the trust of your compatriots, your job, your credit rating, or your security clearance might be quite prohibitive. Why? It seems that people are more likely to believe the worst. That’s a sad commentary on our culture isn’t it. I had a friend whose identity was stolen. He wasn’t a poor man, he had access to great lawyers and plenty of money to take care of the issues. But this thief dropped this man’s credit score by nearly 100 points. It took him nearly two years to recover. He spent the money to do this because it was important to him, and he Could afford it. Many people can’t.
Identity theft is an attack on credibility and credit-ability, but I wouldn’t characterize it as vicious. This thief was looking for a payday, not a ruined life. The kind of attack I’m talking about is intentional and single-mindedly focused on causing the most trouble to a specific individual. There are television shows based on humiliating and destroying people who take advantage of the little guys. It’s just the same as taking down good people. During the political campaigns, many scandalous things are brought up to shame the candidates from the “other” party. No one remembers them after the election. But in real life (not politics) it is possible to use these terroristic tactics on an innocent and completely ruin his life. Whisper campaigns, statements taken out of context, altered photos, rumors and lies are the tools of the trade. The best way to avoid these things is never say or do anything. Now I bet you were thinking I’d add a little more to the statement. Never say or do anything that could come back on you, or anything illegal or ill-advised. This is not true. If someone is truly out to get you, you can do no right. Say you’re on the soccer field showing your child how to kick a goal. That can be taken out of context: you’re mad because they didn’t do the dishes and you just kicked their soccer ball into the next field. Or they photo shop a kitten in for the soccer ball. All it takes is a little imagination and a vicious nature.
How do you fight it? Bring it up yourself and laugh about it. “Did you see me kick that kitten? Isn’t that funny! I wonder how they got it to bounce like that? The things they can do with image software! It was actually a soccer ball though folks.” The most difficult thing to do is to catch them in the lie. You have to be wise about this, because yelling and cursing and demanding an apology gives the opposite impression. Generally, liars are those who are more specific on the details, and the more details they give, the better chance that you can catch that one that doesn’t match up. Then instead of saying “AHA!” you just ask them a question that they have to answer either with another lie or with an admission of guilt.
- “Did you see this copy of the interview? It clearly says the opposite of what you posted.”
- “Did you notice that the kitten makes no noise throughout the whole video?”
- “Have you seen the statistics? When?”
- “Look at my credit report. Do you see anywhere that it’s been reported that I don’t pay my debts?”
- “How would I have cheated on this exam? You said that the questions for the test are generated by the computer at the last moment.”
- “If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know my character, and you know I would never even consider doing what I’ve been accused of.”
The most difficult approach is to talk to the originator, your actual enemy, and say, “What is it I can do to make you stop your attacks on me?” This is hard on the enemy because there are cases when if they don’t have a mortal enemy to fight, they have no purpose in life! Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to make them stop voluntarily. Then you fight dirty. The problem is how do you fight dirty without getting dirt on yourself. You can’t. You must be truthful and honest and above board in everything you do. That’s not what anyone expects, so sometimes that works. The best thing you can do is weather the storm and continue to be the person you are meant to be. Keep your good friends close and distance yourself from the people that do not support you. You may learn something from this that will insulate you from another attack.