Scroll down or click to read: 1️⃣.1️⃣ Definition 1️⃣.2️⃣ Why use character assassination?2️⃣ The smear campaign of Character assassination 3️⃣ Why would anyone believe this about you? 3️⃣.1️⃣ Character Assassination Info-graph 4️⃣ The psychological impact of character assassination on your self esteem. 5️⃣ How to limit character assassination attempts: 6️⃣ NHS Complaint Legislation 7️⃣ Audio version of this page
Character assassination is a smear campaign to make you out as the stereotypical difficult ‘punter’ who is ‘hard to please’. Which damages your reputation and credibility. So no one takes anything you say seriously.
*️⃣ It consists of a variety of behaviours
▶️the tribalism of the mental filter of organisational bias.
▶️ abuse of power
▶️ gossiping by flying monkeys
▶️ all of the reality reconstruction behaviours
To make you feel as helplessness as possible, their MO is to make you feel you have no power and no means of support.
It is an understatement to say that it is hurtful to be unfairly portrayed. The hurt can cause you to feel anger and influence your ability to make good short term decisions.
1️⃣.2️⃣ Why use character assassination?
It’s often used to deflect from the evolutionary shame of their bad behaviour and make amends and prove their loyalty to the Tribe, so they will not face eviction from the Tribe for their actions.
2️⃣ The smear campaign of Character assassination
is carried out via the use of :
▶️ vague ‘lies’
2️⃣.1️⃣ Examples of character assassination.
quoting either your facts or the ‘expert’ opinions out of context so you appear
▶️ uneducated or
▶️ Trying to shame and blame you into submission.
▶️ discrediting you with the use of allusions to the state of your ‘mental health.’ You may wish to read about the 4 D’s of discrediting?
3️⃣ Why would anyone believe this about you?
For character assignation to be successful, they have to market this to the right audience. It’s hardly likely to go down a storm at a service user conference, But it will be well received by an audience that already has a well developed attitude of what they will and will not accept as ‘credible’ information. An audience such as the Organisations workforce and complaint handling team. The term for willingness to believe the worst about you, rather than the establishment they work for is organisational bias.
3️⃣.1️⃣ Character Assassination Info-graph
3️⃣.2️⃣ the ‘fight of the stress’ response portrays you in a bad light.
So to right the wrong of being painted in a negative light, you can either ‘fight’ to correct the wrong portrayal about you. Unfortunately responding in fight mode only serves to reinforces their belief about you.
3️⃣.3️⃣ The ‘Flight of the stress response’ leads to out of sight out of mind,
Or take ‘flight’ and leave them to think that the things they said or read or thought, were true. As you made no attempt to limit the damage to your reputation. The old ‘there is no smoke without fire‘ adage. Once you have reached a place of safety and taken stock of the situation, your ‘run away’ behaviour will invariably leave you feeling that you have let yourself down. And dealing with the uncomfortable feeling of shame that you didn’t stand up for yourself.
3️⃣.4️⃣ Either action is a loose-loose for you.
You are caught in a no win cycle. As either decision makes their assassination of your character more believable. Which often results in them
▶️ withholding of treatment and/or
▶️ a failure for the wrongs to be righted.
4️⃣ The psychological impact of character assassination on your self esteem.
If you are exposed to enough character assassination attempts. Your thoughts may trick you into believing the things negative and critical they said about you.
4️⃣.1️⃣ The pain of feeling:
▶️ unworthy, or
▶️ never good enough.
You may feel you do not have enough power and skills to challenge these people. In the process, glossing over your achievements in favour of the compare and despair of ‘it must be me.’ Otherwise why would the caring and sharing profession treat me this way?
4️⃣.2️⃣ Believing that you are a horrible and worthless person, you may:
▶️ begin to avoid social situations and
▶️ withdraw from friends, family and relationships and avoid tackling life’s challenges.
So you don’t burden others with your ‘insufferable’ self.
5️⃣ How to limit character assassination attempts:
The best defence against any character assassination attempts is to put on your bullet proof psychological armour and remind yourself how awesome you are.
▶️ Validate your needs and reinforce your personal boundaries at the beginning of every meeting by starting with ‘May I ask you to respect my need for…’ and state your needs e.g respect, time limited, unable to make decisions today, one person in the
room. Add and subtract to the list to suit your needs.
▶️ Try to educate the clinician or complaint handler on why you made these requests and the impact of being subjected to Red Flag Professional Behaviours. Try but if you meet patronising remarks or resistance, drop the topic. As you need to preserve your energy for other tasks.
▶️ If the feelings of self doubt, self blame and shame start to feel overwhelming, you may wish to use the ‘journalling’ technique. Where you write or record all the things you want to say to that person but would never say to them in person. This can be very liberating and may allow you to find closure.
▶️ Trawl through all your medical records and make sure they contain facts and not personal opinions or character statements.
▶️ That is why it is so important, to check the accuracy of your healthcare records. Via a Subject Access Request.
▶️ Then, if necessary, Amend any mention of ‘negative character traits‘ from your Medical Records.
▶️ Another suggestion is to only communicate in writing so you will have a record of the content and date/s of all communications.
▶️ If this is not practical and you do not require permission to to record your side of the conversation. I would recommend you record your responses.
▶️ However if you do not have the technology to record these meetings, then you may wish to download this meeting minutes template and email or post the meeting minutes to the case handler, chair of the meeting etc as soon as practical after the end of the meeting/conversation.
6️⃣ Read more about the legislation to prevent this behaviour.