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Topic : 06/20 "You Ruined My Reputation"

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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.

Find out what happened on the show.


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October 20, 2005, 7:19 am CDT

being the mature one

Quote From: amurphy

I am interested in the part where you mentioned legal recourse. 

I started a job once and a co-worker was going around saying I was stupid and no one likes her and lets fire her. She never even met me. She felt threatened because the comapny was downsizing and  she thought they were trying to replace her with someone who would except less money to do the same job. She ended up being my coach ( like a supervisor but only responsible for your review.) She gave me a lousy review and tried to get me fired. I requested to speak to a manager about the situation. He refused to believe me because "several people" complained. Well, the "several people" that complained were all in her group of friends who also felt threatened. I did above and beyond what my job title was. I was blamed for mistakes I didn't even make! In fact, I found mistakes others were making! I ended up getting fired. I filed for unemployment. The unemployment office even said there was no proof of poor performance because there was no poor performance. They said stupid things in my review like - I didn't take notes. Sometimes I didn't but this had no bearing on my job performance. I have an excellent memory and don't have to write every little thing down.  

I was young at the time and didn't know how to handle this. I got fired because of a group of girls that were outto get me and spread rumors that I was stupid. 

What could I have done in this situation? Could I sue for slander? Can I still? Or should I let forget about it? 

ok what happened to you was a sad thing. somtimes people can be so cruel and do everything in theie\r power to make eveone elss lives msierable because theydont want anyone to behappy but them. as for maybe trying to do soething about it. honetly there realyl is nothing you can do. you have no proof that you were fired because people just didn't liek you. i have been there myself. but all yu can do is think karma. it will com back to them in the ned. it always does. and move on and do your very best in trying to succeed in life and become everything  that they will never be.
October 20, 2005, 7:26 am CDT

An old saying

For the young lady who was first up today----she said that, when younger, she used to speak badly of other people.  But now she wants to be treated kindly.  Sometimes, "what goes around comes around" comes to play.  She may be reaping the "rewards" of participating in mean behavior.  She mat have signed into a mean club and now people expect her to still be a full participating member of mean behavior.  She mey have a tough path ahead.
October 20, 2005, 7:26 am CDT


Quote From: amurphy

I would like to know why a 29 yr old guy would tell a girl he loves her, makes her believe they are to get married, treats her like gold, they move in together, then have sex and then tells his friends she is a slut after they have sex (even though it didn't happen until they knew each other for a while - it wasn't the first date or anything) and that he is trying to get rid of her and she thinks they are going to get married and that she is ugly even though he told her she's beautiful ????  

This happened to a friend of mine. We all thought he was a great guy - until she overheard him talking about her like that. He even told his family this and now the sister in law is calling her a slut and won't even let her husband be alone with her in the same room.  

My friend is not a slut. She was in a 4-1/2 yr relationship before this guy and that's it. She even told him she takes sex seriously. Why would he go around saying stuff like that about her? 

Anyhow, he did start treating her badly after they had sex. Why? 

i have come up with many different reasons why hw would come out and do this after a four and half year relationship": 1. he may have gotten sick of her and by the only way he may try getting rid of her is by being mean and spreading those rumors and being abusive. 

2. the sex was probaly not what he wanted and she was asking too much of him. 

3. he may have heard rumors and trully believes . them. 

 my thought is that she needs to sit down with him and talk to him, tryand figure things out. and if at the end of that coversation there is no possiblitly that he is going to change what he thinks of her now and he doesnt want to be with her. thank its " adios " to that relationship. and its tiem for her to move on.  

October 20, 2005, 7:46 am CDT

Today's show is about Relational Aggression

I've felt the harshness of gossip.  Learn more about my story at  I'm currently writing a book about it (Relational Aggression).  Relational Aggression is a form of covert bullying.  It's common among females but also occurs among males too.  It occurs when an alliance of friends or a network of aquaintainces target an individual (someone who's posed a threat to the alliance or network) with gossip, exclusion, betrayal, the silent treatment, name-calling, cyberbullying, whispers, and sometimes physical assault, among other behaviors, to alienate the targeted individual with the intent to hurt or destroy his or her reputation.  This is an extremely destructive issue.  Because I feel strongly about it, I've also begun a non-profit called The Triumph Organization.  It's dedicated to the defeat of Relational Aggression.  I appreciate Dr. Phil's ability to empower victims, but what needs to be pointed out is that Relational Aggression is unacceptable.  We shouldn't tolerate it in any form and should start changing the perception that this is just a normal, routine part of life.  Whether you're a victim, perpetrator, or bystander it's time we united to defeat Relational Aggression! 

October 20, 2005, 7:51 am CDT

10/20 "You Ruined My Reputation"

Quote From: sillygoose86

i stronly dissagree with you becasue i think that she is doing the right thing by ignoring them and saying that nice. there for she is showing them thats she not afraid of them, she doesnt care what they think. as dr. phil says why give the satisfaction of letting them know they are getting to you. by ignoring the. you have shown them that you are stronger than them.
Silence tends to deepen conflict .  There is a way to be confrontational.  You don't have to go crazy on someone to show that you can't be hurt by them.  Please refer to Rachel Simmon's book Odd Girl Out and to
October 20, 2005, 7:58 am CDT

Never gave up

Quote From: apathetic1

When I was 14 years old (in the 9th grade), I developed my "first true love" & I started having sex.  He was the younger brother of a girl who had just moved to town that year & who, for some reason, I took to very well.  the first time I had ever gone to her house for a sleepover, she happened to be in her bedroom with her boyfriend at the time so her brother & I were out in the livingroom talking (& flirting) I guess.  Eventually we ended up in his bedroom & started having sex (which I had never even pretended to THINK about doing prior to that time) & would you believe his dad came home!!! 


To cut to the chase, every weekend was spent at their house.  Girl talk until in her room until she'd fall asleep & then as soon as the house fell silent I'd sneak into his bedroom for the night.  We'd just set an alarm so I'd be sure to sneak back into his sister's room before their dad got up in the morning.  Naturally, everyone in school eventually found out "heaven's forbid" that I was having sex so I was labeled a slut.  I didn't care at the time because I thought I loved this guy & it was only him so how was I a slut??? 


Later on we went our separate ways & I was devastated.  I was still best friends with his sister & still trying to cling to what we had by staying at his their house but it got to the point where he'd stay at his cousin's house whenever I was at his house.  It took a long time to get over it.  In fact, I didn't bother with anyone else for 2 years afterward.  Yet...  I was still somehow a slut. 


My junior year of high school was pure hell because I got mixed up with a guy who made me feel like he liked me & he flirted with me a lot at the restaurant we both worked at so eventually I ended up sleeping with him, thinking there was something more there.  Damn right there was!!!  He had a bet going with one of the other dishwashers AND he bragged about me to all his friends & the next thing ya know they're all passing me back & fourth!!!  They'd force me & play with my vulnerability.  They swore to secracy as long as I continued to "fulfill MY end of the bargain".  It made me sick & literally drove me over the edge.  I ended up nearly quitting school, I was depressed & was forced to seek professional help.  My mom thought it would be a good idea to send me away that summer to try to recover from it all (although she still had no idea what had really gone on).  I was never meant to do my senior year in my hometown but I decided I wanted to.  Bad idea.  The same guys gave me dirty looks & smirked at me all the time, taunting me in the hallways.  Whispering about me.  A couple of them even got their girlfriends to confront me.  By then everyone knew.  It was no secret.  I tried to keep my head up to a degree because, after all, I had made the choice to carry on that way.  I'm not sure if I did it to rebel against the first love or if it was to re-establish my selfworth with guys.  I'm still not sure what was going through my mind at the time.  All I know is I went numb, did my thing, let them do theirs... 


I look back now (10 years later) & I laugh at that term.  I never call anyone a slut because I know that eventually I had earned that name.  I know a lot of girls do earn it too.  However, sleeping with a guy one time doesn't make you into one.  These young people need to know the meaning of the word, if there ven is such a thing, before they go using it loosely.  My thinking was "Heck, I scored the name so I might as well play the game".  They ruined my rep, they beat down my self esteem so what did I have to lose???  Little did I know...  I had a lot to lose & I'm still recovering.  I can't blame anyone but myself for the choices I made but I can tell you people that name calling & spreading rumors can drive people over the edge in more ways than just the "sticks & stones may break my bones" way.  Keep that in mind. 





  Even though you suffered a lot of hurt and pain; you never gave up.  You did not hide or run, but stayed and fought for your feelings.  Our feelings are what mold and shape us into the individuals we are today.  They are the product of our experiences and how we deal with what has happened to us.  You never gave up and continued your education despite the rumors.  Rumors are not easy and they should not have to be edured by anyone.  I tell my daughter who recently started juinor high that those that pick on her have issues.  I tell her to consider the fact that just maybe they pick on her because they may be jealious of her.  Sometimes that is what starts it all.  We have what they are lacking.  Even though you say you earned the title, no one had the right to judge you when they are not perfect.  You did not deserve the ignorance of imtaturity.  Love is a strong emotion and a children do not quite understand the word let alone the action of the word.  You allowed your need for fullfillment to sway your desicions and that is an action that we all do.  We allow ourselves to be led by emotions.  You have acknowledged your mistake, you have paid a punishment for it and now it is time to release your past and move forward.  You never gave up and your story will one day be able to help other young impressionable girls.  You may save a reputation with the experience you had.  Use your history to change history. 
October 20, 2005, 8:08 am CDT

Ignoring is impossible

Quote From: sillygoose86

i stronly dissagree with you becasue i think that she is doing the right thing by ignoring them and saying that nice. there for she is showing them thats she not afraid of them, she doesnt care what they think. as dr. phil says why give the satisfaction of letting them know they are getting to you. by ignoring the. you have shown them that you are stronger than them.
Most of the time ignoring the person doesn't work.  These bullys feed off a persons weakness.  I was bullied as a child, and I tried ignoring them, but it only got worse.  Now my 13 year old daughter is going through the same things.  Kids can be so cruel.  My solution is the adults in charge of our children when they are at school should watch more closely and put a stop to it.  We need to know our kids are educated at school, but we also need them to feel protected and cared for. 
October 20, 2005, 8:12 am CDT

It can't rain all the time

I recently had a rumor started about myself.  My husband and I were recently married and it seemed that as soon as we came home, trouble started.  We were living with another couple for a temporary period.  After coming home, the female roommate repeatedly told my husband that I had said this or that to her.  We did nothing because my husband knew without a doubt they were untrue.  Then we started to get harassing text messages from a former acquaintance.  These messages accused me of cheating with my husband's best friend.  This person also admitted that it was the roommate who was spreading this lie and that it had been told to many of my husband's friends.  I became infuriated.  I filed a police report concerning the text messages.  My husband confronted our roommates, they in turn physically attacked him.  We had to move out immediately.  My advice to anyone is to keep faith.  Whatever your religion remember that when one door closes another opens.  Our paths sometimes veer off course, but keep an open mind and you can see that good will come after the bad.  This situation could have gone a lot worse, I understand that.  You can't control other people only yourself.  Of course I felt frustrated, angry, depressed, stressed and alone. It can't rain all the time.
October 20, 2005, 8:19 am CDT

Psychological Harassment

Quote From: starsong14

Dear Dr. Phil:  I can't think of anything worse one human being can do to another, than to "bear false witness," a direct violation of the 10th Commandment.  How dare anyone create or perpetuate a rumor (true or false) against another person.  And, then to add insult to injury sully the person's good name.  I could quote from the Commandments to Shakespeare ("he who steals my purse steals nothing, but he who sullies my good name takes all I have) paraphrasing,  to "The Crucible" and the Salem witch hunts.  The message is the same.  Take a pillow and let all the feathers blow into the wind.  Taking back a reputation-destroying falsehood is like attempting to get each and every feather back into the pillow.  False witness leads to corrupt ideology.   History has taught us where that leads.  We simply need to find the graves of six and a half million people whose murders were justified by others bearing false witness against them.  Then look at the genocides in Africa of ten years ago and now Al-queda.  Read "The Children's Hour" and see that those who are not killed by others, die by their own hand.  You get my drift.   


If there is hope at the end of the tunnel, it is to say to those whose reputations have been ruined:  walk with dignity and rise above these small minds.  It always amazes me that those who are so ready to cast the first stone always seem to be living in houses made of glass.  Jesus died in order to prove to those who would sully him that love is the way .  Pray for those who would ruin you for the doors of Heaven are closed to them.   Starsong14 



I'm glad you made the point about the Jews in Europe being vilified through having malicious rumors spread about them (and eventually murdered while people looked the other way) because it's one that's often overlooked. It is one of the most sad and compelling examples of how damaging slander can be. 


Bullies are usually deeply insecure people who feel driven to put others down to elevate themselves. The intent of people who gossip and slander is to marginalize, isolate,  and undermine their target. It is a form of bullying and psychological harassment and if it continues for even 6 months, it is well known among health professionals that it can have serious effects (unable to work/study, PTSD, insomnia, depression, loss of confidence, social withdrawal, suicide).  


It should be noted that bullies tend to target not only people they consider a threat, but those they believe will not retaliate in any way (take legal action, tell on them, fight back etc.).  While it may be more dignified to not respond, it could send an unintended message that one is weak and passive and result in more bullying by that individual and even others.  


My personal and business reputation has been trashed in my community (first by a bitter ex, then by others who appear to feel threatened) so I know first hand what it feels like. I do intend to send the person who sullied my business reputation a cease and desist letter from a lawyer possibly demanding a retraction and apology. It will be money well spent. I worked too long and too hard to build up a great reputation and if I just roll over, it will be like putting up a billboard for every insecure, roughneck to take potshots. I don't intend to do that. 

October 20, 2005, 8:27 am CDT

You are only what "You Believe You Are" nothing else.

My Mom would always ask me what I believed about myself, and said that I knew the truth, so that is what I should believe and nothing else.  I know first hand what it is like being inflicted by ugly rumours.  I have terrible memories of High School, and my home town because of this.  It started when I was in ninth grade, a virgin, and attended church regularly.  I came home on many occassions feeling confused and hurt by rumours that were said about me at school.  A boy I liked tried to have sex with me, and I refused so he deliberately said things about me that weren't true.  I guess because he thought I was going to tell everyone what didn't happen.  Well I didn't tell anyone, I thought nothing happened so I didn't have anything to really talk about.  It apparently affected him differently.  That was the first thing.  After that this one particular girl in high school made my life miserable from then on.  Her and her friends harrassed me almost on a daily basis.  From writing mean things about me on my locker to following me around town.  They also attacked, and beat me one evening when I was returning home from taking dinner to my Aunt.  I had called the police on several occassions but, they could never prove it was them, until the night they beat me, then charges were finally filed.  I also experienced them flattening the tires on my car at school, and throwing eggs, and syrup all over my car.   This went on even after switching to another school.  I ended Graduating early, and then moved to another city, a bigger city, where if I went to the store, or anywhere else I would never run into anyone I knew.   It was peaceful but, lonely.  But, anytime I would have to return to my home town, I could usually count on running into these girls, at that time they had matured a little and wouldn't do anything, they were just around.  I always had that fear that they would do something to me again.  After some time had passed by, I had gone to my home town a few times for family arrangements, and I hadn't seen or heard about these girls.  It was peaceful!  After a few years had passed I did some research to find out what had happened to the main girl that tormented me, and it turned out that she had been murdered by her ex-boyfriend.  At first I thought "WOW" I will never have to worry about her anymore but, then I felt really sad for her and her family, and how scared she must have been the night she was murdered.  I still feel really sad for her and her family.  I don't know how to get in touch with her family, or even if I did, I don't know if I should.  But, I do regret that we never had peace with each other, and I wished that her and I could have talked and worked things out.  So, I think it's great that you girls get a chance to workout your issues with each other.  And know that there is more to someone on the inside then their is on the outside.  Everyone deserves a second chance.   
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