22 Signs of Online Destructive Narcissists in Forums and Blogging Communities.

honore_daumier
Honore Daumier

If we’re blogging about pathology, at some point we’ll face a critic, an accuser. This can be a bewildering mess if we assume s/he will listen to reason. If we defend ourselves, the ante will be upped. If we over-explain ourselves, s/he declares victory, becoming increasingly strident with the reward of attention and sympathy. — CZBZ of The Narcissistic Continuum.

I just read a fabulous article about how narcissism works in online forums and blogs. I think it just may be the best article about this particular cyber-dynamic I’ve ever read. I liked it so much, I got permission from its author, CZBZ (owner and author of The Narcissistic Continuum), to reblog it here.

There are 22 “red flags” that the forum or blog you are on is run by a narcissist (or narcissists). I can attest from personal experience that every single one of these red flags is spot on. That goes for forums and blogs about ANY topic, all over the web universe–and blogs and forums about narcissistic abuse are not exceptions to this rule. You can’t get away from it.

Obviously some topics will attract more narcs than others–for example, a psychology or self-help blog or forum is probably going to attract (and be run by) fewer narcs than say, a cosmetic surgery (somatic narcissism) or political (cerebral narcissism) blog. A blog about improving relationships is going to have fewer narcs lurking about than, say, a celebrity-bashing one (like The Justin Bieber Hate Blog, as just one example) or even a blog that hates on the fans of a celebrity–yes, they do exist. But you never know where one will turn up. They could even be lurking on a charitable blog about helping the homeless.
Don’t forget that the serial killer and sexual sadist Ted Bundy spent time working in a rape crisis center!

Every forum manager or blogger necessarily has some narcissistic traits–otherwise they wouldn’t be running a forum or a blog! While not every blogger is a narcissist, there’s a narcissist in every blogger–if that makes sense. There is definitely a “me, me, look at me!” aspect to running a kind of online kingdom, even if it’s not the admin’s or manager’s primary motivation for writing the blog (or running the forum).

I’ll be the first to admit there’s some of that for me too. But I think for most of us, it’s healthy narcissism. Yes, there is a such thing. Without it, we’d all be walking around dragging our foreheads along the ground, leaving a trail of blood in the dirt, while wearing a sign that says, “KICK ME.” A little narcissism helps us survive. Without just a smidgen, we’d probably be dead. Almost anything, when there’s too much of it, turns bad. Narcissism stops being a vitamin and becomes a poison at very low doses. Think of those heavy metals in your blood–like iron or magnesium. In tiny doses they’re necessary for physical survival; but raise the levels of those metals infinitesimally, and you’re dead meat.

But I digress. I think CZBZ makes some very astute observations here about what to look for in blogs and forums to tell if you might be being taken for a ride by a narc in shining armor–or if the admin or forum manager’s intentions are honest.

I’ll also add one of my own here (although I think CZ mentions it too): Snark. The mean-spirited kind of snark. You know, the “I’m so cool/mighty/right and you’re a worthless idiot/lunatic/minion of Satan” condescending wittiness that makes you feel like the most lowly piece of pond scum in the lake–as you find yourself wondering whether the jokesters are really joking (and you’re just being too sensitive) or are just plain mean. Well, they’re actually both.

22 Signs of Online Destructive Narcissists in Forums & Blogging Communities

HonoreDaumier_MeetingOf35HeadsOfExpression_zps0853d8ba
Honore Daumier — “Meeting of 35 Heads of Expression”

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed finding new bloggers through the Slayer Award and reading their stories and personal insights. Ursula, the author of An Upturned Soul, posted an excellent article asking her readers an intriguing question: Online Narcissists–Does the blog you follow belong to a narcissist?

She asks:

“What if you are following the blog of a Narcissist? Does it matter? Does it affect you? Do you even notice? After all, bloggers are supposed to write about themselves, about their lives, and share their thoughts and feelings, and do so in a way which is creative and perhaps even exaggerated for effect and entertainment purposes…I think if you’ve never been in a relationship with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, then Following the blog of a Narcissist, won’t make any difference to you. It’ll inspire and entertain and that’s that. But what if you’re recovering from a relationship with a Narcissist and you follow a blog which is powered by Narcissistic Personality Disorder?” ~An Upturned Soul

There’s a distinction between trait narcissism as measured in social network studies and the “destructive narcissism” we discuss on blogs about pathology (clinical disorders). How normal narcissists affect readers and society is fascinating, too; but for today, my focus is on the impact destructive-to-pathological narcissists have on others and how we might inform ourselves before we’re harmed. So my answer to Ursula’s question is that yes, it can be dangerous if vulnerable people are “following” someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

My short answer is this: narcissist’s unstable self-esteem and grandiosity is hyper-sensitive to ego threats. Narcissists are more willing to use aggression than non-narcissists. (Bushman) Narcissists are particularly likely to displace their aggression on innocent bystanders. (Buffardi) Good people serve as scapegoats because they limit the degree of harm they’re willing to inflict on others. Their private emails may be posted publicly, private pictures may be circulated on the net, hate blogs may be written—all in the narcissist’s attempt to regulate self-esteem by destroying others. If you have befriended an online narcissist, you will eventually say something perceived to be an insult and you may be treated more cruelly than you were by the narcissist propelling you to the Internet.

And my long answer is the following. Pack a lunch. This is complicated.

Read the rest of the article here: http://n-continuum.blogspot.com/2014/01/21-signs-of-online-destructive.html

Also Read Part 2 of Online Narcissists: A Case Study Called Puppygate.
http://n-continuum.blogspot.com/2014/02/online-narcissists-case-study-called.html

About luckyotter

This blog is my journal. I just choose to share it with the world instead of keeping everything inside my head. I'm a recovering Borderline and have also struggled with Avoidant Personality Disorder. I also have Complex PTSD due to having been the victim of narcissistic abuse for most of my life. I write mostly about narcissism, because I was the child of a narcissistic mother, and then married to a sociopathic malignant narcissist for 20 years. But there's a silver lining too. In some ways they taught me about myself. This blog is about all that. Not all my articles will be about NPD, BPD or other personality disorders or mental conditions. I pretty much write about whatever's on my mind at the moment. So there's something for everyone here. Blogging about stuff is crack for my soul. It's self therapy, and hopefully my insights and observations may help others too.
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36 Responses to 22 Signs of Online Destructive Narcissists in Forums and Blogging Communities.

  1. Alaina says:

    I hope everyone who reads this will click the link to CZBZ’s post on the 22 Signs of Destructive Online Narcissism and take the time to read the entire article. It’s almost like taking a college course in narcissism. Seriously, that post explains everything.

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Lucky. It’s a life and sanity saver. Now I understand what happened to me, and to you, in the ACON blogging community. I also understand now why the only way to win is to walk away… and shake the dust off our feet. There’s no reasoning with a closed mind.

    Liked by 4 people

    • czbz says:

      Walking away doesn’t come naturally, does it? We have learned over a lifetime, to negotiate, to reconcile, to find common ground so of course we rely on our interpersonal skills. However, reconciliation is a two-way street and we’ll know we’re dealing with narcissistic people by their UNREASONABLENESS, Just knowing that has saved me from endless arguments both online and off. Thanks for recommending my article, Alaina.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Alaina says:

        This world seems to be run by unreasonable narcissists, doesn’t it? I don’t know, maybe I’m having a paranoid day. Yesterday I was happily driving along, enjoying the lovely spring weather, when I saw something that nearly made me run my car off the road. I did pull off the road and take pictures, 31 pictures, of a very long train that was loaded with armored tanks bristling with weapons, plus an assortment of military vehicles all painted desert tan.

        I am 62 years old and I have lived near military bases most of my life, and I’ve never seen anything like this! In the next few minutes I will be publishing a new blog post with about a dozen of the pictures I took yesterday. Just sorting through them today is freaking me out. Yikes what a crazy world we live in. I am all for a strong military defense against crazy terrorists… but my US Marine Corp hubby tells me that he and his veteran buddies are afraid that is NOT what this is all about…

        Liked by 1 person

        • czbz says:

          My ex was a fighter pilot so yea, I have the inside scoop on how much we DON’T want “unreasonable” narcissists making decisions about people’s lives. I’ll check your blog to see the pictures!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Alaina says:

            Yikes!!!

            I believe I read on your blog that you do not identify yourself as a Christian? I’ve read so many blogs on narcissism lately, please forgive me if I am remembering that wrong. The only reason I mention this is because my posts with the military train pictures contains some Bible verses. I spent many years of my life staunchly agnostic, thanks to extreme religious abuse in my childhood and young adulthood. Now, I do believe in Christ… however, I totally respect other belief systems, and I am not so narcissistic as to think that my spiritual beliefs could not be mistaken. I’m just going by the preponderance of the evidence in my own life, ya know?

            Okay, I just posted my post with the scary pictures:
            https://healingfromcrazy.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/its-beginning-to-look-a-lot-like-armageddon/

            Liked by 1 person

            • czbz says:

              YIkes! It bothers me, seeing tanks and weapons—especially when our country is cutting food stamps and reducing disability and then we see a plethora of military equipment. How is it that we always find money for weapons? Oh, don’t get me started.

              I respect each person’s right to live by their spiritual principles and follow a religious faith of their choosing. I’m a little “iffy” about Scientology…hope that didn’t offend any of Lucky’s readers.If so, let me know. I’m well-practiced in apologizing. 😉

              Liked by 2 people

            • luckyotter says:

              I have always wondered about this myself, and it seems to be getting a lot worse. 😦
              I have a lot to say about this, but I won’t because political discussions make me angry and feel crazy.

              Liked by 1 person

        • luckyotter says:

          Um…I read something about martial law in the US yesterday, and I just found this video. It’s terrifying.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Alaina says:

            I watched about 15 minutes of that 41 minute video and I had to turn it off. It’s too upsetting. What a crazy world we live in.

            Liked by 1 person

            • luckyotter says:

              That’s why I don’t even watch the news anymore. People may think I’m ignorant of events going on in the world, but there’s just too much bad news all the time (or at least that’s all you hear about). I don’t have TV anyway. ANy news I get is from the radio or the internet.

              Liked by 2 people

            • Alaina says:

              I stopped reading and watching the news last November 1, when a woman in Oregon threw her 6 year old son off a bridge. That heartbreaking news story was super triggering to me, because of two similar horrific incidents in my childhood. I might blog about that sometime. With a big trigger warning.

              Since November 1, I haven’t even read any online news. I had msn as my home page until that horrible thing happened, now Firefox is my home page. So I am blissfully ignorant these days about all the horrors that are happening. I know about the earthquakes in Nepal, only because so many websites are soliciting donations for that.

              I don’t know if my abstinence from all news sources is good or bad. Because of my ignorance of current events, the military train completely took me by surprise. I didn’t know anything about the martial law training that is happening in our country!

              The thing is, I can barely handle my own life these days. I can’t take on the problems of the whole world.

              Liked by 1 person

            • luckyotter says:

              The worst stories to me are the ones about child abuse too. Especially mothers or parents who kil their own children. Every day you hear another case. It breaks my heart and I prefer not to hear about those stories.
              Yes, I feel like I have enough problems of my own, and hearing about all the world’s problems every day is overload. If people want to think I’m ignorant or uneducated because I’m not as up on current events as I “should” be, then so be it.

              Liked by 1 person

      • luckyotter says:

        Unreasonableness is a blaring neon red flag, CZ. Blogs and forums where no difference of opinion is allowed, or someone who dares go against the status quo is attacked (usually by several people on the blog or forum) and run off, suspect a narcissist running things.
        A safe blog or forum has an admin or manager that tolerates differences of opinion and encourages civil debate (not fighting) — that doesn’t necessarily mean they AGREE with the opposing opinion, but is still willing to listen and not hate or attack.

        Liked by 2 people

    • luckyotter says:

      I’m glad I came across it at a time we both needed it so much. Serendipity–or God’s grace. I was praying about this matter and feeling quite depressed, and then I happened on CZ’s article, and it told me EVERYTHING I needed to know. And my depression lifted.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. czbz says:

    I’m pleased that you found something useful in my article. Some call this behavior “bullying” but people on sites like yours, prefer specificity so let’s call it what it is: destructive narcissism.

    I was a bit startled at your comment about running an online kingdom! haha! If that’s true, I want a throne (rather than a round-table) and some servants (rather than cleaning the place myself and paying the rent). I think what better describes my work is “a community”, not a kingdom. My blog was secondary to creating a forum. Plus, I’ve always received guidance (even disagreement) from an advisory team limiting my “power”. So I’m not sure there’s a “me, me, look at me!” aspect to running a forum but perhaps it appears that way to other people? Now that would be a lively discussion!

    Another thought came to me after reading your message: there’s a distinction between narcissism and self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem is the underpinning of healthy communities while narcissism is destructive to communities. Dr. Lisa Firestone explains some of the differences and I think this would be another great topic to write about. Many people perceive someone with high self-esteem as being narcissistic. And it’s true, narcissists are reputed to have high self-esteem (thus promoting themselves as leaders); but as Firestone wrote:

    “Narcissism encourages envy and hostile rivalries, where self-esteem supports compassion and cooperation. Narcissism favors dominance, where self-esteem acknowledges equality. Narcissism involves arrogance, where self-esteem reflects humility. Narcissism is affronted by criticism, where self-esteem is enhanced by feedback. Narcissism makes it necessary to pull down others in order to stand above them. Self-esteem leads to perceiving every human being as a person of value in a world of meaning.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201206/self-esteem-versus-narcissism

    An important measure of narcissism is the value someone places on other people’s rights as well as their own. Healthy self-esteem balances agentic (egoistic) and communal (moral) traits. Narcissists don’t describe themselves as being “caring and conscientious”, but see themselves as tough, aggressive-if-necessary, rebels who are willing to do what the “sheeple” won’t (i.e.: better than others). Narcissists are unlikely to create a blog where differences of opinion are allowed and even encouraged. It’s “their way or the highway” and god save you if you offend them.

    The following article is an excellent read for anyone who blogs but is concerned they might be narcissists: “Narcissism, Self-Esteem, and the Positivity of Self-views: Two Portraits of Self-Love” by W. Keith Campbell

    I’ve read a great deal of research over the years and tend to be long-winded so I appreciate it when anyone makes it through one of my articles (or one of my comments). ha!

    Thanks, Lucky!
    CZ

    Liked by 2 people

    • luckyotter says:

      CZ, the “kingdom” comment was sort of facetious lol. I was trying to be a little humorous. Yes, it is more like a community–or it should be–and that’s so much better than a kingdom with a ruler. But if it is a kingdom, then I try to be a beneficient “ruler” who lets everyone have their say.

      Self esteem versus narcissism–yes,I agree this would be an excellent topic for a new blog post. Most lay people (those who are not active on narcissism blogs or don’t know much) think they are the same thing. In fact, they are nearly opposites, for the reasons you said. Also, unlike a person with high self esteem (who are usually a joy to be around) , narcissists really hate themselves. They only love their mask and will attack and destroy to make sure it doesn’t fall off, exposing their true and hated self.
      I think I will write about this. Thanks for all the info.

      Liked by 2 people

      • czbz says:

        Yes, I knew you were being facetious but seized the opportunity to write about Kingdoms and Communities. That’s because I participated in a Forum Kingdoms where the ruler “take off” people’s heads over minor agreements. There was no recourse either. Once she said “Be Gone, Ye Lousy Servant!”, that was it. Even years later, she still carried a grudge. Even after being “erased”, I offered an olive branch to all “offended parties” and ended up being banned from several groups. so yea…I know how rough it can be out there.

        One forum where I worked as an assistant manager, deleted each of my posts one at a time. Because I had invested years of my life in responding to people and wanted a personal history of my “journey”, it was like being erased completely—as if I’d never existed. Because of my experience in that awful place, I tried creating a more democratic community.

        Sometimes we learn the hard way, what we need to know to do things the right way. ;-P

        Liked by 2 people

        • czbz says:

          haha!! Well, looks like bad memories are still triggering for me. I shoulda proof read that last comment. This reads better:

          “That’s because I participated in a Forum Kingdom where the ruler would GLEEFULLY “take off” people’s heads over minor disagreements.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • luckyotter says:

          Narcissists seem to be everywhere in these blogging/forum communities. It’s hard ot know who to trust.
          But from my experience, intuition is the greatest red flag of all, even if a person has not shown their true colors yet. I’ve found that if you feel uncomfortable aroujnd a person, if you feel like you have to edit your thoughts, or fear being honest with them or disagreeing with them–or if you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around them–WATCH OUT. That person is probably dangerous and most likely is a narcissist. Your 6th sense is trying to tell you something. We should never ignore or dismiss intuition as “irrational”. Here, I even wrote about it:
          https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/05/05/the-red-flag-you-should-never-ignore/

          Liked by 2 people

          • safirefalcon says:

            THAT would be my sister you’re describing. In fact the pic for this post reminds me of the time I had been at my sister’s house after my dad passed. I was in one room for probably less than a minute and walked back into the kitchen to see my sister standing at her open fridge and leaning back to whisper into my brother’s ear.

            I hate to be paranoid, but it’s tough to think that it wasn’t something about me since she’d shown a lot of nasty bullying behavior toward me up to that point already.

            My mother became her flying monkey basically so I won’t talk to her either because I feel like I’d have to watch what I say around her too, lest it become fodder for convo with my sister and in turn she finds something in it to hold against me.

            Liked by 1 person

            • luckyotter says:

              Wow, SF, that sucks when you can’t even trust your own family. My mother also uses my older half sister as a flying monkey. She always hated me anyway (the half sister) because she perceives me as what made my mother leave her at age 7 to marry my father. (you can check “my story” in the header for the background on this). I’m sorry you had to put up with that shit too. It can make you very paranoid, especially when YOUR OWN FAMILY seems to be against you, because they are the ones who are supposed to love you UNCONDITIONALLY.

              Like

            • safirefalcon says:

              Thanks. Yeah it sucks.
              Sorry about your situation too.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, very informative.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Now I’m scared to look if I am experiencing healthy narcissism or the bad one.
    I’m actually researching because I plan to write something about Narcissists. 🙂
    Have a great day! Take care 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is great information. It is rare to read something on the topic that I couldn’t write in my sleep.

    I’m glad you led me to the other, of course. You knew that your ability to find and own accountibility is what leaves me in awe.

    I’m proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marianne says:

    Look at the Jac o’ the North blog for a casebook example of this and also at Jac’s meltdown on the Tim o’ the South post when someone politely disagrees with him.

    Like

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