Throwaway anonymous accounts have made it easier to abuse with impunity. It is common that narcissistic abusers continue their abuse online, whether it's continuing abuse of individuals they know in real life or preying on new victims. Stalking happens online and offline, so does grooming and harassment.
According to the Media Literacy Council, cyber abuse is the use of electronic communication with the intent to intimidate and hurt a person or a group, intentionally or otherwise.
This includes revenge porn, doxxing, smearing, accusations, threats of violence and degrading slurs with a history of discrimination attached to it. It upholds systemic oppression, carries a hidden derogatory meaning, such as Ch**k, N***er, Ling Ling, Consuela, etc.
Having a shield can embolden them even further, there is no way they will experience the consequences of their actions beyond a block or a mute. Since abusers are generally desensitised as a dysfunctional psychological shield anyway, no retort will be able to affect them.
Still, a block and a mute is letting them know it is not OK.
Abusers have a string of dysfunctions, all that allow them to see themselves in a positive light, while devaluing others at the same time. They're the people that prove there is something behind empty platitudes such as "if you have nothing good to say, don't say it all", they often view themselves as devil's advocates when they're The Persecutor in the Karpman Drama Triangle.
The best thing you can do is ignore them, block them immediately. Unless they walk into therapy, they won't get better. Since they don't think it's their fault, chances are low to none that they will walk in. You will find that if you don't do something immediately, they will distress you infinitely, closing that dysfunctional psychological loop is more important than your wellbeing.
They can be intelligent, they also fail to understand no matter how intelligent, one opinion is just one opinion. It's normal for people to see issues from different angles, the fun of diversity is being open minded, having curiosity instead of hanging onto your own ideas, insisting and even worse, demanding someone think the same way as you.
For functional people who aren't desensitised, we can feel helpless, especially when they double down on punishing us after we assert our independence. It's important to remember that no functional person think it's wrong to speak their minds, even if we disagree.
Punishment might not be direct confrontations either, bullies are known to be cowards, they can be conflict avoidant people who plot behind the scenes. Penalisation can be exclusion, immediate unfollowing, not following, dismissal of your opinions, calling in reinforcements to fight their battles because they're too weak to do it themselves, it doesn't require name calling.
This is the double edged sword of empathy, when we have empathy for others, we also tend to get injured ourselves. This is not because they're stronger, this is because they're disconnected from their empathy, narcissists are willing to go further than most will, including wear online false masks for image purposes.
Now that mask can be an aspirational online version of themselves, instead of who they pretend to be in front of different people in real life. Something that use to take much more effort has become effortless online, making it even more tempting for them. By living a fantasy inauthentic online life, they can feel better about their real lives, it serves as escapism. An escape that can become addictive, an image that they desperately cling onto, escalating into paranoia when they see a difference of opinion as betrayal of an ideology or a group of people with that ideology.
This inflates public perception of how much support a group has, how vocal people are, narcissists will not hesitate to lie about numbers either. This fosters shocking disillusionment when the votes show otherwise like the 2016 presidential election, for all the white feminism preached, it was less effective than it looks.
This is a marketing ploy by profiteers, individual grandstanding by independents, it's all about false promises that they have no intention of living up to, selling a movement as a product. When someone show up stronger than most of them and encounter backlash, they will still fail to find the courage to show up the same way, to divide the load of the movement equally.
This then disillusions those who have been doing better, experienced activists feel pressured to pull themselves back to bring the rest along. I felt this pressure too, I decided my growth was what motivated me, putting myself on hold was damaging my mental health. The truth is that white TERFs don't want to come along, there is no point for me to keep wasting so much energy on them, they can very well listen to white TERFs and call it a day. I also see self proclaimed black women inside the movement get sidelined, center white ones but hey you settle and that's exactly what you get.
I still have to deal with watching them pick up psychologically unsound practices, pass it on, this by itself can be stressful already. By not bothering with them at all, I don't have to incur their wrath, deal with their narrow mindedness, watch them still be enslaved in 2002 and witness them tear each other apart.
Secondary trauma is a real thing.
The objective of such a movement isn't education to increase critical thinking, its absorbing information to feed any preconceived notions. Information is readily used to weaponise back at critical thinkers, co-opted for financial benefits and to encourage clueless activists to martyr themselves as they hide behind them. They use them as shields and swords, while focusing on their own wellbeing first and foremost, while seeing your wellbeing as secondary, often hanging onto egos so desperate for attention.
Online abuse escalates when that person gains social currency, whether it's a matter of having more followers they can funnel to target you or organising to have their minions attack you all at once, their methods of activism can seem even more justifiable when there's celebrity endorsement.
For example JK Rowling for TERFs. Even though JK Rowling doesn't dictate their activism, they feel assured they're on the right track because JK Rowling agrees. This hero worship blinds them even further, they feel more secure about their preconceived narcissistic notions. This also deters more insightful activists from participating, knowing they're liabilities that will turn the tables on them once they fail to buy into the dominate narrative.
I encountered so much cyber bullying from TERFs, they would re-tweet an opinion to get their followers to pile on and harass me. As they complain about getting harassed by trans activists on other days themselves. It's clear to me that what they depict in public and who they're in reality are two separate kinds of people.
They disagree ideologically but behaviourally are just as toxic. You know what they say, talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words.
I witnessed several anonymous TERF accounts selectively using the same tweet to spread rumours behind out lesbian activist Amy Dyess's back, this happened on the same day, even out lesbian activists in the UK and NZ were doing it. I have known too many people who let their egos get ahead of them and witnessed their eventual downfall to believe any long term good will come out of it.
It seems that having a few followers is more important than being truly being empowered themselves, so how can they even empower others when they have failed to even live honestly online.
They didn't consider power dynamics, how they were punching down instead of up, their lack of consideration was a sign that lesbians were once again sidelined, they were once again complicit in their own demise and they have decided the allure of power was more important than justice.
They have joined forces to create a smear campaign with heterosexual TERFs (a popular manipulation technique of narcissists) to attack her credibility, isolate her from possible supporters because she's exposing the truth behind the facade of their movement. Cyber abusers can organise together, it is no coincidence they did it all at once, just like people in real life, they can gang up to overwhelm you.
They already did that to my group way before Amy so I already knew their true colours, I wasn't surprised when her story broke. While my interpretation of what happened to her differs, since I'm trained in mental health and she's not. I can definitely see some threads of verifiable truth inside her conversations with them, behaviours that I also encountered myself.
Abusers can only continue abusing when they have flying monkeys (abuse enablers) around, this is the same whether you're off or online. Usually you will see them opting out of social justice for work opportunities, financial gain is stronger than ethics has unfortunately always been one of the main reasons why people find it hard to get out of abusive relationships.
We do have a relationship with our online followers, that relationship can become abusive if you're not careful.
Victims are often left to fend off abusers alone, people side with abusers due the influence they weld or they're conditioned sheep who unconsciously center men, the majority race, etc. People side with the dominant group not always out of fear but to continue having access to group membership, it is a fallacy that abusers are always afraid, although they won't hesitate to play the victim, another role they shift to in the Karpman Drama Triangle.
When there's no way to hold them accountable, like you would in real life, even activism has been distorted. Real activists who use their faces, tag their jobs to their profiles, risk their livelihoods to speak out are often buried under the large amount of anonymous accounts. The same accounts that support them are also the same people who will not acknowledge their heroism when they're encouraged to show up for real.
You will also see the difference between anonymous and real accounts from the same counties. There is a huge gap between their activism, creating an unstable house of cards filled with grand declarations and no follow through, less marketable authentic ambitions with follow through struggle to stay on top of them. The real work will be on the latter's end but the social currency will end up on the former's end, cannibalising the movement as genuine value added activists are drained, leaving sooner or later.
This is how movements fail.
They #Istandforsashawhite after she was fired, while they themselves continue to grandstand and virtue signal behind anonymous accounts. Watching her thank them for supporting her in the aftermath was like watching an innocent sacrificial lamb walk into the slaughter house. They have already thrown her under the bus by not showing up as strong, taking as many risks, they have no intention of ever showing up the same way, especially not after what happened to her.
I will believe it when I see it, I doubt it will happen anytime soon.
Narcissists always have an excuse to not support someone, how they think of themselves is incongruent with their actions, causing their activism to roller coaster along with their uncertainty. One day epic first world victim, the next is can-do-no-wrong saint, the following day is taking it out on someone by having disproportionately aggressive confrontations.
While this risk for showing faces is very real for people from countries with low press freedom index, high big brother surveillance such as Singapore, Iran or China, I see a large amounts of anonymous TERF accounts self proclaiming they're from the US, UK, CA and AUS.
The irony of their inability to come out online, critiquing LGBT+ behind anonymity isn't lost on me. Their lack of empathy means they can't place themselves in our shoes, even that little bit, when we have to come out in real life, face struggles they do not, they can't even appreciate that little luxury we do not have.
They haven't taken a single step and want to talk about the finish line.
They're very white and they're very het. You can tell from how they have no clue about LGBT+ issues and no clue about their white privilege either, yet they managed to climb on top of the pile. This is proves a movement is catering to people with low standards, low education and just a lot of self righteousness, which is really what's wrong with all movements, too much ego and too little empathy.
This is not a good sign, this means they're repeating the same cycle of institutionalised discrimination, there is no dismantling happening. The only thing moving around is money, it's a better bet to buy a lottery ticket than count on them.
In Singapore where you can be imprisoned for taking a Skye call, Iran where women can be jailed for up to 10 years for setting their hair free, China where Chinese feminists carrying a placard to protest on the streets can get you up to 10 years as well.
The lack of bravery from these people is astounding, especially when they do have such a large amount of activists from those countries who do have real profiles, perform their activism authentically, why aren't they elevating themselves to their levels?
I feel much more at home and at peace with those people who live authentically, sometimes the distress is wanting to bring them along but they imagine they're bringing me along instead. I lose nothing by not engaging them, I think they think they lose nothing either, so basically it doesn't matter, there is no sisterhood, just plain old boring commercialisation.
This is the Human Rights Watch's statement about Singaporean activist Jolovan Wham's 10 day imprisonment for taking a Skype call with a Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong.
"Singapore's intolerance for freedom of association and expression is really shocking. Actually there is very little respect for civil and political rights in this city state."
In a CNA survey from 2018, three in four youths said they have been cyber bullied, and only three per cent of them told their parents.
In his 2018 book, psychology professor at California State University, Dr Mark Carrier, highlights how the shift to personal digital technologies has eroded empathy among children and young adults.
In the absence of face-to-face interactions and the physical cues that accompany them, such as eye gaze, important social skills such as conversations and empathy are on the decline.
The inaugural 2020 Child Online Safety Index report found that almost 60 per cent of children in the age group of 8 to 12years old in 30 countries were exposed to one or more forms of cyber risks, of which 45 per cent were affected by cyberbullying, either as bullies themselves or as victims.
The risk of going viral is the backlash can be sudden as well, this is not something even adults can handle. I have close to 500 people blocked on 8 of my social media accounts, people who come unhinged, abuse, stalk me, people who enjoy provocation, some have large egos without common sense.
I don't want to have to deal with them at all, it doesn't matter if they agree or disagree with me, it's that no one deserves this bullshit just for participating.
All the talk of free speech, cancel culture, freedom of information is moot when abuse is present. These ideas are often also distorted to normalise abuse anyway, abusers have a chronic refusal to take partial responsibility for any interaction, they shift blame to the other party as they disempower themselves by refusing to take any ownership for anything. The other party can be a group or an individual, it's just a one way street of educating them and them being resistant to learning.
If your mental health is suffering because of them, I suggest you take a closer look at any legal avenues you can take. Pay more attention to how you can safeguard yourself online and also how mental distress from a large amount of abusers can result in suicides, don't take cyber abuse lightly.
Narcissists often love bomb by offering huge initial rewards to lure you in, but expect your compliance as a repayment for their benevolence. Once you refuse to become a pawn, they will all turn their backs on you immediately. It's a matter of time so no need to be envious of the people who get included, they have simply sold out a part of them, decide to settle for being beneath someone else.
Abuse is about control and avoidance, they're trying to avoid self examination, it's much easier to control you to buy into what they think than to ever consider the problem is them.
I answered close to 500 questions on Quora about narcissism an abuse, take a look see.
Eshet chayil, God is a She.
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