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Topic : 06/20 "You Ruined My Reputation"

Number of Replies: 223
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Created on : Friday, October 14, 2005, 03:59:42 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

(Original Air Date: 10/20/05) What happens when you're the target of malicious gossip and your reputation is in question? Seventeen-year-old Hannah knows about this firsthand. She says that since junior high, she's been called a slut, a skank and a whore. See the surprise message for her from the school bully, Emily. Then, a woman tries to dispel the rumor that she was born a man. She even went to extreme measures by posting her birth certificate and baby pictures on a Web site! Plus, Kristi is a wife, mother, and owner of a daycare center, but an anonymous letter made her the main suspect in a child pornography case. What will it take for the rumors to stop? Share your thoughts.

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June 20, 2006, 6:04 pm CDT

I know the feeling!

Quote From: pippy

My sister and I are very close in age and have had a close relationship (more like a friendship then just a sister) for a very long time.  We have had our ups and downs but looking back on things I have seen the pattern in our relationship. She has always been a suspicious person - reading into things with people and judging their motives and has talked to me about them.  I always knew that I could be the next one cut off from her friendship but hoped it wouldn't  come to that.  Over the years I have supported her through many different things.  She had a very bad accident 8 years ago and I knew that she was mortally afraid of hospitals so I was with her almost every day for 5 weeks - holding her hand, watching out for her to see that her care was as good as it could be etc.  Her husband was always wary of me because I think that he saw me as a threat to their relationship because of a suspicious and possessive nature that he has.  After being in the hospital everyday for 5 weeks and having them stay for 3 weeks with my husband, children and I so that I could look after her I thought that they would finally realize that I was a good and loving, loyal person.    

Then a few years later I was diagnosed with a tumour that is still a big concern to my health  and still 5 years later I didn't get the support from my sister and brother in law.  I was hurt that they weren't there for me during this time and the subsequent deep depression that I was going through.  But, when I felt better and whenever I could, I would always be there for my sister.  I have stepped up to be that Hero for her so many times.  When our relationship would hit a snag it would always be me that would come to her and try to fix it.   

Well, our relationship is stalled again and for what reason I don't even know.  And now I find out that she and my brother in law listened to someone tell lie after lie about me and believe that person over me.  My reputation is further ruined and the betrayal is so hard to take.  I've sent a loving letter to my sister ( trying to be the hero again) telling her that there is nothing on my end that would prevent us from being friends but she has not responded at all.  

In a nutshell, when do I stop trying to be the hero and let the friendship go?  After all those years of caring for her and being the one to repair the relationship I am at the end.  It hurts so much to realize that the friendship  means so little to them that they would believe lies about me without even giving me a chance to tell my side.  

So, there is nothing left to do except pray and hope that she will come back to me and want to talk again - but the hero in me is gone.  

 Dear friend,
I have a very similar problem with my sibling - only he is my brother and we are almost 7 years apart in age. He is insecure and suspicious and i have finally been able to move away from that place and be happy and contented with my life. Just like you, i have made numerous attempts to be his friend - and i know how hard it is to keep trying when all you get is rejection and pain. Family is supposed to lift you up, to support you and to be loyal to you - not make you feel anxious and nervous and just plain uncomfortable. I am very sad to hear that your sister wasn't around when you were physically and mentally unwell. You said the hero in you is gone - don't let that happen - cause you are a hero in my eyes. I want to be a good sibling just like you. All the sacrifices you made and all the loving support you extended to your sister in her time of need - make you a hero. Don't give up on her. Its incredibly hard, i know - I am living it. But please don't stop being the person you are just because of someone else. If you know who you are, be who you are. It takes a great deal of integrity to be who you are - but in the end, its worth it, right?! Lets both make a pact online, right now - never ever give up on our siblings. No matter what, we will be ourselves - strong and hopeful!
Lots of love to you my friend. Hope to hear from you soon:)
June 20, 2006, 6:16 pm CDT

To Hannah

I hope Hannah checks these message boards and sees this message. Hannah, I know Dr. Phil asked you what you are and you said, "I don't know." He listed some things that he noticed that you were. You care about people, you are loyal to your family, you love your mom, and you want good things for good people.    


Hannah, I think you are a beautiful girl with a wonderful spirit. I hope you can patch things up with your friend. I've had friends spread rumors about me too. I felt the same way that you do, but I want to tell you two things. One: I would NEVER talk about you behind your back. Two: you are exactly the kind of person that I would love to be friends with. I've always wanted to be friends with a girl like you. You seem like such a sweet girl. I didn't have a lot of friends in jr. high and high school. But then again, high school was just too much drama, it really is. Don't let people run you down, I do not think you are a slut or a whore or anything else those people said. They really have bad attitudes. Just continue to keep your head up and smile, it looks great on you.   




P.S.-Hannah, you are welcome to e-mail me anytime I would LOVE to talk with you...drop me a line sometime at   

June 20, 2006, 6:24 pm CDT

06/20 "You Ruined My Reputation"

Quote From: rclower

I grew up with two sisters and a brother that told everyone things about me all of the time. I was hurt and deeply so. My parents said some very hurtful things to me as I grew up. I moved away the first chance I got and worked for years to find myself. I am not sure I have but I am much happier now than I ever have been or ever would have been around them. Today, I teach communication and I am here to tell you that words DO HURT and trying to forget them is so very hard. Dr. Phil you act like it is so easy to just forget about it. It is not. When your "support" is the one doing the hurting. Even today where I work I have someone who is telling everyone that I am gay, which I am not. For the first year I ignored it, but now that I am volunteering in the community and this is a "redneck" community, I don't want that reputation. I have worked hard to be a part of this community and now this "rumor" is threating what I have worked hard to get past. I cannot help the fact that I have masculine features. I can't assume that anyone is anything, but I am here to say that getting past the hurt from a 'rumor' is the hardest thing to do.
 Dear friend,
I am completely with you - words to hurt. Especially when like you say,"your support", i.e. your family is the one doing the hurting. Family is supposed to lift you up, to protect you and to support you - not play games with you, not hurt you and definately not make you feel small and insignificant. Like you, i have moved away from my family and i am surprised to find myself happier and more cheerful than when i am around them. And now, when i am around them, i find myself regressing. I go back to being a child wanting their approval and appreciation. Is this the case with you?
You know what helps me - I know who i am. And its so very hard, but i have the integrity to be the person i want to be. T rust in God because He is the only judge who matters. And know in your heart that your family/co-workers are doing the best they know how to do. If they knew better, they'd do better. They don't mean to hurt you and me. We are not defined by the rumors/accusations thrown at us. We are who we choose to be - strong independent resilient hopeful women - just as God intended us to be:) So yes - words do hurt but life goes on. And if you love life, it will love you right back!
June 20, 2006, 6:29 pm CDT

just a statement

 Hi everybody,  I think like everybody at one point in time everyone has gone thou some of this.  At one point in my life the hate was eating me up, but for some reason i saved a magazine, that I should have thrown out 6 months earlier, but on the front of the magazine it had the dangers of "hate".  Finally I dug the magazine out and found the article, read it and realized that forgiving the people who started the rumor was not for them, it was for ME. It does not mean that is okay for what they said nor done. But after i learned to forgive them and realized it was okay, I felt a calmness inside me, a sense that no matter when i seen them I had something over them and nothing they said could hurt. So between forgiving  and God in my life I'm OK.
June 20, 2006, 7:05 pm CDT

I truly understand with an awesome ending

I was a victim of the same kind of harassment as Hannah.  My situation started in public school - grade 4 till grade 8.  I was called all the same names and worried that my reputation was doomed.  The great thing about my situation was I would always say to myself "What goes around comes around"  In my day, a slut was a girl that slept with multiple partners.  My morals were better than that and I had a father that wouldn't allow such a thing to happen.  The girls that called me these horrible names turned out to be exactly what they called me.  Two of the four that bothered me the most had babies by the time they were 16 and 17 years old.  The other two have children by different fathers whom all left them and they have to rely on social services to help them raise their children.  I was fortunate to overcome the awefulness of those years and make a better life for myself.  I was lucky enough to move away from the area for a time.  When I returned 4 years later I was informed of the girls that bothered me and their perdiciment they surcome to.  Like I said "what goes around comes around.  What you shall sew you shall reap. 
June 20, 2006, 8:59 pm CDT


Quote From: dieseljosh


  I'm not sure that Dr. Phil's advice on this show is applicable to all cases.  In instances where a person's character is publicly assassinated, to the degree that it effects the daily life or wellbeing of the person attacked, taking the legal route seems a logical thing to do.   


  Myself, 10 years ago in college, I broke up with my girlfriend of several months, partially because she wanted to have sex with me, and I didn't feel our relationship was working well enough to call for the gift of my virginity; things weren't working out.  After I broke up with her, she started rumors that I was harassing her; she even filed a police report about it!  She wrote notes on the walls of the school's bathroom.  She even claimed that I had raped her.   


  Now, 10 years later, I've been trying the entire time to address the character assassination by ignoring it, hoping it would go away.  But the fact of the matter is that in my line of work, your reputation is all that matters.  I've tried travelling to other parts of the world to escape the sphere of influence of this woman's lies, but even in Africa and Europe, the lies travel there and interfere with my ability to work and integrate into a community.   

  Luckily, I still have a piece of paper with evidence from years ago, and I have decided that the only hope I have in life is to confront this woman in a courtoom and sue sue sue for every penny that I can.   


  Does anyone have any good information or links about how best to find a lawyer specializing in slander/libel suits??   


  For other victims of viscious rumors, my advice is that, if someone has printed something falsely about you, or if you can prove that they've spread falsehood widely about you, and it has effected your ability to either earn money or participate in the activities that you are passionate about, seek legal advice.  Don't make the mistake that I have, and try to "let it blow over", because it may not.  And "turning the other cheek" in this case means only not attempting to respond back by spreading counter-rumors or slander.  It does not apply to seeking legal help to protect yourself.  Seeing a lawyer and protecting yourself is something that I think is entirely Christ-like, because it is motivated not by vengeance or malice, but from a desire to have the truth be known.   


  Thanks for reading my post!   



The legal claim an individual may have when someone else tells a serious falsehood about them, is called defamation. There are two kinds of defamation.  Slander, is a falsehood that has been spoken.  Libel, is a falsehood that has been written. 


In most states, the statute of limitations for making a defamation claim, is one year from the date the victim learns of the defamation.  It may be as long as two years in some states but as far as I know, two years is the longest statute of limitations in the U.S. 

June 20, 2006, 9:14 pm CDT

06/20 "You Ruined My Reputation"

Quote From: bthere

Saw the show, and read the message board over the weekend. 


To Sam from previous posting: 

Since you were so specific and signed your name - 90% certainty I know who you are and who you're referring to.  And if I can figure it out - others might too. You've called attention to the victim rather than calling attention to some of the sadistic-? perpetrators of the harassment at the university where your husband worked (or works). Unfortunately, you may have just started the viscious gossip cycle all over again for the victim.  


Rather than joining in, hopefully you or your husband did something to confront the weak, insecure and pathetic people who harassed and tortured, and even assaulted, this poor girl.  


To Dr. Phil: 

As a person who worked closely with lawyers, I'm surprised and wonder why you didn't even mention the legal aspect in this show. Some correct terms to describe the actions toward others: libel, slander, hatred, harassment, assault, discrimination, degradation, abuse, mental torture. 


Regarding the woman who was said to be a man. THere weren't any consequences mentioned. If she suffered detrimentally, actions and words against this woman were because of her appearance. Isn't that equivalent to sexism or racism, discrimination of some sort?  


The advice given is basically to sit there and take it. Or try to ignore it. Would you advise an African-American woman to sit there and take it when a person pushed her around, or made her sit in the back seat of a bus just because of her dark appearance. (Situation may not be exactly the same, but is similar enough. And just today Rosa Parks passed away.)  That doesn't seem too empowering. Yet you say this season is about empowering women. 


Oftentimes the advice given on the show is helpful, and I realize that you include a disclaimer, however I must say I disagree with your frequently mentioned statement that "you teach people how to treat you." In personal situations, I've downright asked people to treat me with respect (of course after I've already treated them respectfully). It doesn't work - you can't force people. To exaggerate a point, I'd LIKE to be treated like a princess - isn't gonna happen.  



I totally agree with your comments. The show seemed to ignore the possibility of seeking legal recourse.   


I wish the show had discussed legal recourse a bit, so that more people would be aware of the possible consequences they may face if they choose to defame someone. 

June 20, 2006, 11:19 pm CDT


I'm so glad these girls decided to be friends.  They are both very beautiful so it would be good to act beautiful, too.  Good luck and God bless you both.
June 20, 2006, 11:39 pm CDT

FOR KRISTI, You may be a victim of jealousy

Kristi, You are very pretty and I think someone must be very jealous.  When people are very pretty, there are often problems.  I think you should go to the neighborhood events, but take your husband, dress modestly, and don't flirt with anyone's husband.  Mostly, talk to the ladies and try to make a friendship with them and gain their trust.  If you show up to all the events, it will be hard for them to gossip about you and in the process, you might make some wonderful lifelong friendships. Try not to focus on your problem (maybe, just explain it briefly once), but on the ladies interests, families, needs, etc.  Invite them over or out for lunch or tea, too.  Whoever is doing this, needs to see that you are not a threat.  I would bake them bread, a cake, cookies, or a pie.  Take them homemade soup when they are sick, etc.  Your reputation will improve, you will gain supporters, and you will be too busy to worry about your problem.  It's sort of like running for political office.  I hope you can forgive this sick person who did this to you.
June 21, 2006, 6:05 am CDT

06/20 "You Ruined My Reputation"

What is the status of Hannah and Emily? I hope they put this behind them and enjoyed their Senior year which they should.
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