How do I deal with a bad mouthing ex-girlfriend?
August 11, 2006 8:38 AM   Subscribe

How do I deal with a bad mouthing ex-girlfriend?

Yesterday I found out that an ex-girlfriend is bad mouthing me to her friends and online associates, A friend discovered this while reading a few of her posts and told me right away, amazed at why she said it.

In her post it mentions that i've mentally scared her and i'm an manipulative b*stard who used her as a rag doll for my anger, from the wording of her post it seems like she also blames her schizophrenia on me, even though she was presenting symptoms years before I met her (according to her close friends), I'm honestly shocked and I do not belive I am like that, I feel incredibly hurt and now I fear for what she has been saying to her friends who I still have loose connections with.

I can honestly say that our relationship was rocky and it did end in possibly the worse manner (she cheated on me with some guy where she worked), but thinking back I can't think of anything that would provoke this kind of response.

How do I approach this situation? Do I take this to her and discuss it out like humans? Or do I just drop and ignore it?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total)
Just drop it. If your friends try to drag you into the middle of her badmouthing, ignore them; if they ask you a factual question that she brought up, give them the correct account and then drop it; do not bring it up yourself.

I'm going to assume, given the circumstances, that you dumped her? She's hurt, she's lashing out. You obviously didn't want to be around while she ruined her life or you wouldn't have broken up, so don't get sucked into it now that you've taken the step to get out of her life.

It's not easy, but it's the best for everyone involved.
posted by occhiblu at 8:46 AM on August 11, 2006

What does it matter what she says about you? You are exs for a reason. Also, you say she has schizophrenia. Could her statements be part of her disease?

Let it go.
posted by onhazier at 8:48 AM on August 11, 2006

If she has schizophrenia stay out of this and hope your mutual friends have the sense to know that her descriptions of you are inaccurate. If they dump you because of what she said then those really weren't your friends.

It sucks to have bad things said about you, but things will only escalate if you try to discuss it with her or try to shout her down. Don't treat this like an election where the person with the most friends in the end wins. Say nothing unless someone confronts you or she says something in front of you. Then defend yourself calmly, firmly and without saying anything overly negative about your ex.

Don't blame yourself for the dishonest things she says about you, and don't let yourself be dragged into the ugliness.
posted by Alison at 8:50 AM on August 11, 2006

If you run around saying "these rumours about me are COMPLETELY UNTRUE", you'll have to tell a bunch of people what the rumours are before you can properly deny them.

Just let it go. If someone brings it up, shrug, laugh, say "well, she would say that, wouldn't she?", and get on with the evening. Whatever you do, don't descend to her vindictive level.
posted by Leon at 8:54 AM on August 11, 2006

When people tell you that she has been speaking ill of you, speak well of her. You win--not just on some abstract level, but in the opinion of your mutual friends and acquaintances, who will see you as a class act.
posted by LarryC at 8:55 AM on August 11, 2006

A good friend of mine was married to a woman like this. At one point, she stopped taking her meds, flew to Seattle, and was convinced that Chris Cornell (lead singer: Soundgarden, Audioslave) loved her. When he finally got her back, and her parents helped her get the help she needed, they got an official divorce. He was 23 at the time.

So my advice is just to let her be. If you know her parents or siblings, and it looks like she may be a danger to herself (and you still care enough about her to do something) drop a courtesy note to the folks that are responsible for her.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:57 AM on August 11, 2006

If she's using your real name in her blog, ask her to please remove it (so future girlfriends and employers don't google it and find it). Other than that, drop it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:57 AM on August 11, 2006 [2 favorites]

Remember that nursery rhyme... Sticks and stones? Best advice ever. Ignore it. She's schizophrenic, throw her a by ball. If it escalates see a solicitor but don't go speaking to her - that could be a reason for this? Attention seeking.
posted by twistedonion at 9:03 AM on August 11, 2006

I agree with Larry C, take the high road. I know it's sort of cliched to say, but any friend who would buy into this kind of behaviour without evidence wasn't really your friend anyway.
posted by BorgLove at 9:06 AM on August 11, 2006

You cannot be friends with everyone all the time; especially if they're mentally ill. Acceptance of things beyond our control is the path to happiness.
posted by riotgrrl69 at 9:08 AM on August 11, 2006

The high road is the best road, of course. But since you had a friend point this stuff out to you, it should be okay to say to them that you don't want to run around denying stuff that didn't happen, but you also don't want to risk losing friendships because of your ex's venting. Hopefully they'll take up your banner and quietly refute your ex's claims.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:17 AM on August 11, 2006

I would go with a nice mix of occhiblu and Larry's advice, and throw in this lyric from the Mountain Goats about a relationship gone wrong:

"I hope I lie
And tell everyone you were a good wife"
posted by OmieWise at 9:29 AM on August 11, 2006

The best response? "Dude, she's schizo. Seriously." Everyone who's a mutual friend will understand.
posted by klangklangston at 9:48 AM on August 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

My latest ex has said some very nasty things about me to various people, including mutual friends of ours. Some of these folks believed her, but they were tending to her side of the breakup, anyway, so I wrote them off as being a lost cause. Who cares what they think?

The rest accept her slander as being the product of hurt. (Yes, I'm the one who broke it off, and our relationship had been going downhill for several years). They ignore it. They're friends worth having.

Really... who cares what people think? If she's slandering you by name in a public forum, you may want to consider taking some action to keep your good name clear, should uninvolved third parties come across her rantings. But if it's just, "my ex is such an asshole because..." to people who would know of whom she speaks... water off a duck's back.

It's annoying, and a bit hurtful, especially when you tried to cushion the blow of the breakup as much as you could and they still end up hating you and spreading vicious lies... but there's not much you can do about it, and in the long run, it's pretty meaningless. At least it will help you figure out which of your friends are really your friends.
posted by jammer at 9:57 AM on August 11, 2006

A simple "Well I hope you're smart enough to judge me for yourself. I don't believe I've ever treated her badly, and I'm sorry she thinks I did." should do the trick if it's ever brought up. Otherwise, just leave it be. Bringing it up will do more harm than good.
posted by Sufi at 9:58 AM on August 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Smile wistfully and say "she was great." Do this preemptively when someone mentions your ex but before they can bring up the rumors.

Since you are saying nice things about her and she's saying bad things about you, she looks terrible to those who know you both.
posted by kindall at 10:44 AM on August 11, 2006

Be glad she isn't Emily.
posted by KRS at 11:06 AM on August 11, 2006

When people tell you that she has been speaking ill of you, speak well of her. You win--not just on some abstract level, but in the opinion of your mutual friends and acquaintances, who will see you as a class act.

Excellent advice.
posted by languagehat at 11:21 AM on August 11, 2006

Excellent advice from LarryC
posted by teapot at 12:10 PM on August 11, 2006

Write it off as a loss, hold your head high, don't descend to her level. Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can't do a damn thing. Love your enemy as yourself; speak well of her not even, but especially when she attacks your good name.

A whole bunch of cliches, but that doesn't make them any less true. To paraphrase someone whose name I can't remember ATM, cliches and folk sayings represent the distilled wisdom of humanity. We all would do well to heed their advice more often.
posted by markcholden at 1:35 PM on August 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Another personal account of a similiar experience here: The girl I had been dating for almost 2 years and I broke up while I was still in my senior year of high school. After dating for that long we had tons of mutual friends. I was the one who broke up with her, because it became overwhelming apparent that she was too dependent/attached to me, and was sucking away the entirety of my social life.

Almost immediately after the break up, she started trash-talking me. Running the gammut from just the usual 'My ex is such a jerk' to saying I had almost every fault any guy in a relationship could possibly have. Controlling, cheated on her, porn addict, ignored her too often, boring, didn't care about her, etc., etc., etc.

In the end I just relied on my own strength of character to disprove it all. Our mutual friends had never before suspected me of any sort of the behavior she was accusing me of, I didn't seem to be the kind of guy to be any of those things, an ex-girlfriend is obviously not the best source for character judgements, and perhaps most importantly I wasn't trying too hard to disprove any of it. Because it simply didn't concern me.

The result was that eventually our mutual friends simply got tired of hearing her ranting all the time. She was the one who always brought it up, was always seeking confrontation, and always trying to make people choose sides.

High school being what it is, most of it doesn't even matter at this point. The majority of our once mutual friends I still count as friends, but we don't talk often. The few that I do keep in touch with are some of my best friends, while to my knowledge almost none of our once mutual friends know anything about what my ex is up to these days.

Post-relationship social situations isn't like politics if your friends are mature people. It's the calm, rational voice that gets listened to, not the angry raving one.
posted by ElfWord at 6:35 PM on August 13, 2006

KRS: In case you didn't know, "thatgirlemily" was all a huge fake. An attempt at viral marketing for some Court TV show.

Just sayin' ;)
posted by drstein at 1:07 PM on August 14, 2006

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