In hindsight, I believe Kevin was smearing me even during the relationship. He did this to make himself look like the selfless victim, and make me look like the selfish bitch.
I was not that close to anyone at work because he had tried to make me keep my distance from others and he did so successfully. However, there were still people from work whom I could still talk to on a professional level and we got on fine. But when the relationship ended, absolutely everyone turned their backs on me. No one wanted to hear what I had to say. And I believe that for them to turn their backs so easily on me, he must have smeared me throughout the relationship. And when I look back, I did notice that some of the interactions I had with some people were a bit strange. Their interactions with me had changed – they became cold and it felt as if they had something on their minds about me whenever I talked to them. Sometimes it was clear that they didn’t like me. I thought at first that maybe it was because I came across as rude because that was what Kevin used to always tell me. It is such a sick feeling to come to that realisation that someone you believed was your “boyfriend” was capable of doing something as malicious as smearing you all this time.
When I was in Spain, Kevin always told me how unhappy he was without me and that my absence was the reason for his misery. When I came back to Belgium, after the incident when I had slapped him (Chapter 29), I went to Anna and Michelle’s room to apologise for the drama that I had brought into their room. One of the comments Michelle had made was that Kevin was a lot happier when I was gone. This caught me off guard as it was not what he had told me when I was in Spain. It was so confusing. This is another reason why I believe he was smearing me.
Kevin also told me that before I started working at the school in Belgium, he used to hang out with the other teachers in the canteen in the evenings. However, during the time that I was with him, he never hung out in the canteen. I’m wondering whether he may have also used this as part of the smearing. Perhaps he could have used that to support his claim that I was controlling and I did not allow him to hang out in the canteen, when in fact, he was “teaching” on Skype every evening. He was absolutely capable of this. I would not put it past him.
Another time that got me questioning was after I had left Belgium for Singapore, but before we finally broke up. Kevin had a dental infection so he went to see the dentist. The dentist he went to see was a former student of mine, Paavo. The next day, Paavo sent me an email saying that he got to meet Kevin as he was his patient. I told Kevin about the email. Everything seemed normal until Kevin asked,
“Was there anything else he mentioned?”
I found this a bit odd. It gave me a feeling that he had told Paavo something unpleasant about me. Now that I understand narcissists and their smear campaigns, I am quite convinced that Kevin had also smeared me to Paavo, even after only meeting him for the first time. I struggle to find a logical motive, however.
He knew how to set me up to make me look like the crazy one and him the poor victim. He once told me that William overheard an argument we were having. I was being quite firm with Kevin about not wanting to rely on him and move to Spain with him as he was financially very unstable and I told him that I did not want to be dragged down into the same shit as him. He didn’t say much. Then Kevin went to open the bathroom window to have a cigarette and it sounded like he was talking to someone. After he came back from his smoke, I asked him who he was talking to and he said that William was standing outside listening to our argument and that William had asked whether everything was okay. I don’t know whether this was true or whether Kevin just said that as a way of silencing me. I was being very firm with Kevin but I can imagine that from the perspective of somebody listening in, I did sound very aggressive. Naturally, this got me worried. I mentioned my concern to him and he said, “Stop worrying about what other people think about you and focus on us”. I believe he said this for a few reasons. Firstly, it was a way of silencing me. Secondly, I believe he had already begun his smear campaign on me and he didn’t want me interfering.
What upset me the most was that even though Kevin treated me the way he did, I still tried not to make him look bad to others. Yet, he deliberately made me look bad for his own selfish reasons using completely frivolous lies. It is so hard to imagine how someone who claims to love you can smear you in the most horrible, insidious way possible. He did it all for sympathy and attention: to make him look like the poor victim. He was a completely emotionless, sick, little selfish boy.