This is the third time I've written this post down. I've composed it in my head about seventeen times, but when you're writing blog posts in your noggin at 2 AM when you're wide awake, they tend not to get translated into actual writing. (I have come up with some excellent things in the middle of the night that no one will ever see -- it's like a tree falling in the forest. Ish.)
The thing I want to say is that there is sometimes a huge difference between your personal narrative -- your story, your truth -- and the stories other people tell about you. Those two things can be widely divergent.
The best thing you can do is use this as an opportunity to vow not to judge other people, because you know what it's like to be judged. You can use it as a lesson to let people show you who they are rather than taking what might be a mean spirited character sketch that someone else gives you as fact.
Whenever this happens -- and it does, and it will -- this is how I choose to respond. I'm not going to argue and tell someone how wrong he is. It does no good. Maybe, at some point in the future, she'll see. Maybe he'll realize. For right now, however, it doesn't matter. Arguing won't help. Protesting won't help. Some things are too broken to mend, so you try to dispose of the pieces gently enough that no one gets any more hurt.
Because ultimately, that level of conflict is born as a result of someone's hurt. To be honest, no one is ever innocent in these situations. Someone acted one way. Someone else reacted another way. Did anyone intend for the eventual rift? No, but there it is. Sometimes it can be repaired, and sometimes ...
So what do you do? Consider your words. Be deliberate and careful in your actions. And remember that the people who love you know who you are, and anyone else? Will hopefully take the time to learn who you are from you and not from what is said about you.