1. Accept that there is no way to erase what has happened. The situation is real, so get out of denial about it in order to deal with it.
2. Watch your catastrophic language. If you keep saying words like “horrible” and “devastated” and “my life is ruined” you add to the stress. Put things in perspective. An innocent child in a burn unit is facing a horrible, devastating tragedy. Perhaps your situation isn’t as bad. Change your internal dialogue, and you will feel better.
3. Rebuild your reputation, beginning with your inner circle. Start with family, close friends, working your way outward. Make sure they know the truth. When your inner circle knows the truth, they will go out into the world with the truth creating a ripple effect. You don’t need to talk about this for the rest of your life, but for those in your immediate circle and in this immediate time, you need to step up and tell them the truth.
4. Don’t try to address every accusation. If you decide to start defending yourself, that will become your full-time job. If you answer every story, every piece of gossip, every allegation against you, that’s all you’ll ever do. You will be completely consumed by this and it will take over your life.
5. Stop reacting to rumors. You give it legs by reacting to it. Don’t draw attention to yourself by defending against the rumor. Give yourself permission to just live your life. If there are people who talk poorly about you, then those won’t be your friends. There will be other people who will like and respect you for who you are, and they will be your friends.
6. Stand up for yourself by saying, “I’m taking my power back. I’m not going to give them the power of pick away at my feelings. They’re wrong and I can look in the mirror. I have nothing to hide.” You need to walk forth from the situation.
7. Don’t fall into the trap of taking out your frustration on those closest to you. The stress that comes with being falsely accused can lead to outbursts of anger towards a spouse or child. The enemy isn’t your loved one; it’s an outside force.
8. Remember that this event will not last forever. People will forget and move on. A new drama will eventually take the spotlight from you.