How to handle false rumors about you.

Nellsane asks: Recently there has been a rumor formulating about me being abused by my uncle, which is false. And also that he got imprisoned – also false. Now I’m going to be honest with you and tell you I’ve been abused as a child, but not by my uncle; it was a neighbor. But my question is – why do this to me out of all people? This is a pretty dumb rumor if you ask me, and people would be stupid to believe it. I still do not have any idea as to who spread it. And if I do, how should I react? I think this rumor has only been spread among some boys. How do you think I should react to this rumor without just drawing more attention to myself?

Hi Nelsane –


I’m a dog, and love pretty much everything.  I even love the cats and squirrels I complain about all the time, really.


But two things I detest are false accusations and vicious rumors!  I wish I had a perfect solution for you, and I even more strongly wish I knew who was doing this, so I could go implant my fangs into their stinky old butts!  But I don’t, and I can’t.  So all I can do is to offer some “maybe pretty good” suggestions.  I’m so sorry – I wish so badly I could do more!


My first suggestion is my simplest.  The rumor is stupid and untrue, so treat it that way.  Don’t give it any more power than it deserves.  If someone asked me if I was the dog they saw walking with a blind woman in Montreal last night, I’d casually tell them no, that that must be some other dog, that I’d never been to Canada.  I wouldn’t get upset, or feel they were getting close to any true secrets of mine.  So can you pretend, and act that way?  “Hey, Nelsane, were you abused by your uncle?”  “Nope.  That must have been someone else.”  Relaxed, cool, no drama.  And my guess is that that will work about 90% of the time.


But if it doesn’t?  I’d still say to keep the emotions low, but you could make some sort of public statement.  Much as you don’t like such things.  Facebook maybe?  Something where you say “People keep asking me about something involving my uncle.  It’s completely untrue.  I have no idea how this got started, but please don’t keep it going.”


And if that’s not enough?  Then I would suggest you do the toughest job, which is to ask people where they heard it from, and try to find the person who started it, and then find out WHY in the world they did this, and do everything in your power to get them to start telling the TRUTH about it to everyone!  But again, this is the hardest one to achieve.


My best advice, though, is to go with my first suggestion.  For three reasons – because it’s easiest, because you can keep a low profile with it, and because most likely everyone’s going to forget about it in a week or two, when some other rumor (“Hey, did you hear?  Fido McPooch got caught robbing a bank to pay for her dad’s sex change!”) gets going.


But overall, I’m just so sorry you’ve had to go through this.  And I’m not even referring to the REALLY awful part of it, which is what happened with your neighbor!  I’m hoping that person isn’t around children anymore, and that you’ve been able to get some help in dealing with this horribly wrong thing having been done to you.  If you ever want to talk about that, please don’t hesitate to write me back.


Love and Strength,


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