Character Assassination

September 20, 2016

Character assassination is a deliberate and sustained process that aims to destroy the credibility and reputation of a person, institution, social group, or nation. Agents of character assassinations employ a mix of open and covert methods to achieve their goals, such as raising false accusations, planting and fostering rumors, and manipulating information. Character assassination is an attempt to tarnish a person’s reputation. It may involve exaggeration, misleading half-truths, or manipulation of facts to present an untrue picture of the targeted person. It is a form of defamation and can be a form of ad hominem argument.

According to a research, most people use the following methods in order to attach powerful and dynamic individuals who outshine others otherwise such given assassinations could not happen to their reality. Since they do something more profound than other people, they become victim of character assassinations.

Attack the person, showing them to be bad and unworthy. Any of the ‘four Ds’ below may be used (as well as additional methods):

  • Discreditthem, showing their arguments and decisions are weak and they are incapable in their work.
  • Usedefamation, damaging the good reputation and name of others.
  • Demonizethem, turning them into bad people that everyone hates, such that anything they do will be considered bad.
  • Dehumanizethem, treating them as a ‘thing’ and framing them as non-human with negligible values.

According to Ryan Pannell, Chief Investment Officer, Synergis Capital Management, in his article entitled, How to Survive a Character Assassination

If you are a dynamic, successful individual, a born leader, highly charismatic, popular, attractive, or all of these things, then at some point you are guaranteed to be the target of character assassination. These people are:-

The Jealous

You used to be their friend/co-worker, and now it looks like you’re moving on socially or professionally. They don’t want to be left behind, and so rather than let you go, this idiot is going to try to wreck the place you’re going to before you get settled in.

The Angry

Help Desk Supervisors. Just kidding; no, these folks are pissed off at you because you remind them of where they are in the world. Or rather, where they aren’t. They’re frustrated actors/musicians/writers who are stuck paying the bills doing some job they hate which is unrelated to their passion (probably because they aren’t any good at what that is). Don’t pay much attention to these people, as 1) they’re pretty much angry at everyone equally, and 2) they won’t have much ammunition to throw at you because they’re too busy being angry all the time, at everyone.

The Devious

These are the most dangerous of the types of people who will try to wreck your character, most of all because they’re usually sociopaths. These people don’t hate you, these people see the destruction or damage of your character as a means to an end in realizing their own goals. They usually have no conscience or sense of remorse, nor do they care what happens to you after they’ve destroyed you.

The Envious

This one here’s usually at the root of nearly all character assassinations, and the one I’ll spend the most time on. What happens to the envious is that you (or whatever it is that you’ve done to piss them off) acts like a giant mirror, reflecting back their own perceived inadequacies and lame excuses for not getting on with their lives.

The Solution:

Don’t fight back. At least, don’t lower yourself to use the tools the would-be character assassin has in arguably lowered themselves by using. The best defence against any character assassination is to maintain your integrity and take pride in what you do, whatever that may be. Fighting back just feeds the fire, and clouds the issue.

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