When slander hurts, many of us find ourselves asking why.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about a Paradise Valley Realtor who lied to take business away from me (you can find a link to that article below). He claimed I had lawsuits against me and was a disbarred attorney. Stupid move!
Anyone can check online to see that I have no lawsuits and am a 5-Star Avvo rated attorney with a perfect professional record, never a complaint. I even received the #1 score when I took the AZ bar exam.
What can we learn when slander hurts?
Everyone is vulnerable.
Judging from the flood of emails I received, many of my readers have had people lie about them too; often more than once.
When you’re successful, people get jealous. People are too lazy to outwork you, and too dumb to outsmart you, so they try to make themselves look good by making you look bad. Pretty sad.
Slander hurts bad
You can feign that it doesn’t, but it really does hurt when people lie about you. I don’t know how politicians take it. Even though you know it’s a lie, you also know that others may not. They could believe it and spread it.
Jealousy, ego, money
The interesting thing about the emails I received (possibly the most ever from an article) is the similarity of your stories about how competitors, co-workers and acquaintances lied about you. Most every situation was motivated by jealousy, ego and/or money.
- Jealous competitors trying to steal business (money motivated).
- Jealous co-workers trying to maneuver for promotion (money motivated).
- Jealous acquaintances trying to make themselves look better (ego motivated).
When slander is an omission of truth
One heartbreaking story came from a well-known Phoenix attorney. He called me to share how a Dirt Slinger (what I call someone who slanders another) had manipulated the truth, embarrassed his family (including his two children), and ruined his law practice throughout an entire city.
He was forced to move from the city where he grew up and start over in Phoenix. He said I could share his story, but not his name (or the city he moved from) because he didn’t want the Dirt Slinger to find out where he was and try to ruin him again. I’ll refer to him as “Bill.”
The lying client
While practicing law in his previous city, Bill was retained by someone who claimed he was bilked by his business partner. It ended up in a lawsuit and trial. The case looked good, like a winner, until Bill’s client got caught lying on the stand. Turns out the client had lied to Bill, too.
Not only did they lose the case, the judge ordered Bill’s client to pay the other side’s attorney fees. The client got mad (unfairly) at Bill and started running a barrage of print and social media ads with Bill’s name saying, “Don’t hire this guy. He lost my case. He’ll lose yours too!”
Kids derided in school
Bill was mortified. His law practice dwindled. His kids were derided in school. His wife was embarrassed among friends.
The lying client pushed and pushed the smear campaign. Unfortunately, what he said was factually true (the case was lost) so Bill couldn’t make him stop. Bill’s client told the truth, just not the whole truth. This led to a false and damaging public impression.
Dirt Slingers aren’t only liars, they can be devious too.
Forced to relocate
After enduring months of disparagement, Bill and his family decided to relocate.
They had vacationed in Arizona and loved it, so they moved to Phoenix to start over. Bill had to take the Arizona bar exam and go through the stringent admission process before he could practice law. This took almost a year with no income.
Bill’s Dirt Slinger client cost him and his family their home, their friends, and a ton of money.
What we can do about slander
One of the emails I received was from Harry, a landscape consultant. In essence, here’s what he had to say:
“There are people in this great big beautiful world who tear others down to build themselves up. I know quite a few of these people. They use others as victims to gain their own prestige.”
Don’t dump dirt
After reading so many of your stories about Dirt Slingers, I more deeply appreciate the harm they do.
So from now on, when someone spreads dirt about others to me, I’m going to presume they are jealous and have a nefarious motive. I will suggest they do something positive with their life instead of dumping dirt about others on mine.
Make sure to read my post “When You Get Slandered by a Competitor” about my experience with a Dirt Slinger.
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