1) No Contact. These people feed on emotional energy, attention, getting a rise out of people, and even just being acknowledged. Cut it off–simply, swiftly, cleanly, and completely.
2) Lie low. Let the storm pass by. A closed restaurant brings no hungry customers. Nobody will knock forever. Solicitors move on from an (apparently) empty house.
3) Accept being seen as the “bad guy”. You’ve already stepped in it. The smear campaign will occur, no matter what you do. You can’t control what is said or believed about you. Suck it up and roll on anyway. It will separate your friends from mere acquaintances. Let it. It will wear off of your shoe eventually.
4) Document everything. Delete nothing. Get receipts for everything. The law can be your friend. Use it, if necessary.
5) Beware the Hoover. Once crazy, always crazy. Anyone can hold their breath. Anyone can pretend to be nice. Soon, they have to breathe. Don’t believe them when they try to suck you back in. In my experience, it only gets WORSE after each and every Hoover.
6) Know your boundaries. Decide what you will and won’t accept in your life. (This experience should have defined some of these for you.) Dig in. Defend. Never surrender your Holy Ground…once you find it.
7) Oh, and breathe. Breathe in the new, breathe out the old. Breathe in strength, breathe out weakness. Breathe in the good, breathe out the bad. Feel yourself being lighter.
This, too, shall pass.