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How Do You Defend Against Character Assassination?

We’ve all had that person who either takes a disliking to us, wants our current position, or simply desires to cause pain. They begin the process of Character Assassination, using insults, gossip, and more. How do we respond to the onslaught of negative information on our character, image, and reputation? What are the scientific steps for defending yourself? Today we will discuss how to prevent it, how to overcome it, and how to respond to it. Stick around until the end to hear one simple way to significantly weaken an ongoing character attack.

If you want to see examples of character assassination, check out this page.

How Can You Prevent Character Assassination from happening to you?

Studies on Character assassination point to a technique called inoculation. Inoculation in Character Assassination is just like being inoculated from diseases with a vaccine. Inoculation builds up a person’s defense against a way of thinking by arming them with counter arguments. This counter argument allows the person to fight back against the Character Assassination, just like a vaccine creates antibodies that fight back against a disease. Then, when people hear an attack like gossip, they have a counter argument ready to deploy.

One example of Inoculation takes place in politics. Talk and radio show hosts share strategies for debating the opposing side’s arguments. This makes listeners less likely to change their opinion when they hear a different way of thinking since they have been prepared with arguments against that perspective.

You can apply this in your own life by simply asking what the Character Assassin is accusing you of and what evidence they are using to support their claim. Then think of an argument that counters or minimizes that evidence. Share that argument with those who you hope to inoculate. Thus, when someone tries to attack your character, people are prepared to defend you. 

There is another way to inoculate someone against Character Attacks, that we will discuss at the end of this video. It also happens to be one of the most effective ways to fight back against an ongoing attack. Keep listening to find out.

The key to effective inoculation is to analyze yourself and spot your weaknesses. This is the second way to prevent Character Assassination. Effective Character Assassination works best against people who have massive blind spots. Therefore, If you are humble enough to look at yourself accurately, you will see potential vectors for attack long before your enemy. Once you know your weaknesses, you can either inoculate people against them, or you can take actions to specifically create an image antithetical to that weakness. Thus, the number one way to prevent Character Assassination is foresight.

How Do You Mentally Overcome Character Assassination?

But what happens if someone is already in the midst of Character Assassinating you? If you want to effectively deal with it, you need to first analyze the situation. Is the battle worth fighting? Sometimes, a fight isn’t worth it because you have nothing to gain from winning. If this is the case, the best way to deal with Character Assassination is to have the mental strength to walk away. Why invest your precious time into something with no return?

If the battle is worth fighting, you must first get your head straight. This means understanding your purpose in fighting. Victor Frankl said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” This means that the greatest mental strength comes from understanding why you are fighting this battle. See the battle as a type of game. Becoming better at fighting back means you are growing as a person and standing up for what you think. See the whole process from a Stoic perspective. You can’t control the thing around you but you can control how well you respond. But responding well means first being clear on why you aren’t just walking away. 

How Do You Respond To Character Assassination?

When you eventually run into the situation where you have something worth fighting for, How do you respond to Character Assassination? The first way to respond is found in the science of Image Repair Theory. Image repair theory helps someone who has been, or is currently being attacked, restore their rightful image. An image can be restored by either:

  1. Denial – Try denying the accusation and then shifting the blame onto the real culprit. Ask people for evidence of the accusation.
  2. Evading Responsibility – You evade responsibility for an accusation by either saying you were provoked and your actions were simply a response to an unjust event, by saying you didn’t have control over the way things happened, or by suggesting the action was based on good intentions.
  3. Reducing Offensiveness – can be accomplished by reminding people of good deeds you have done in the past, by minimizing the accusations, by offering to compensate victims, or by attacking the accuser. We will cover more about attacking the accuser’s credibility soon.
  4. Mortification – by admitting responsibility and asking forgiveness. In limited circumstances this can be extremely effective, taking the wind out of someone’s sails.
  5. Corrective Action – is taken by simply making changes to prevent an event’s re occurrence. We will cover this powerful technique next.
  6. Attack Back – use the Tu Quoque fallacy to throw mud back on your attacker. Simply find a way to accuse them of the same trait they are accusing you of. It is hard to take a person seriously if they are a hypocrite.

A Simple Effective Technique For Countering Character Attacks.

The best way to attack back is to destroy their credibility. If they aren’t believable, no one will listen to their accusations. To do this, simply act counter to the way your accusers are making you look. If you have been accused of being selfish, go out of your way to give gifts to people. If you’ve been accused of being grumpy, go out of your way to show how happy you are. This has an extremely powerful effect. First, it builds good will with other people. Second, it destroys the Character Assassin’s trustworthiness. If they continually accuse you of being mean, and you go out of your way to be incredibly nice, people will eventually stop believing them.

But if you’ve tried all the repair theory strategies above, there is still one more. The second method is to launch a full Character Attack on the person. So what are the specific character assassination techniques? Check out our in depth video on the topic.

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