You can’t defend yourself against what people wrongly believe about you. Accusations & charges can be refuted with facts. Beliefs, not so much.
Wrong beliefs are very resistant to be disproven because they are part of the believer’s map of the world; they fit into the pattern of their view of things. And, perhaps more importantly, beliefs are based on feelings & emotions, at least partly.
When people believe things about you that aren’t true, just saying they are wrong is a waste of time. Even demonstrating their error through actions & deeds does not work in many cases.
Sometimes, the only solution is to walk away & leave them in ignorance, as any other course just prolongs the pain.
It can be very hard to exercise this level of silence & let them have the last word, but it has to be done.
In short, as a younger friend put it, haters gonna hate.
— Life Lesson, Sat 5-18-2013