Life isn’t about what you do or who you are.
Life is about those moments that just make you say “Wow. I did that.”
Anyone who blogs about a sensitive topic, especially one that focuses on mental health issues (religion and politics would be up there too), is bound to run into haters and detractors at some point. If you blog about a controversial topic, such as narcissism and narcissistic abuse (which is my #1 topic), religion, politics, or the ethical ramifications of breeding pit bulls, by default you make yourself vulnerable to online narcissists, trolls, bullies, and psychopaths. You are going to attract people who do not wish you well. It’s a built-in hazard of the trade.
Even if your blog isn’t particularly controversial or doesn’t focus on a sensitive issue, you are going to have haters and maybe even bullies. OM (Opinionated Man) is a perfect example of this (he insists he has a LOT of haters), and his blog is one of the most popular on WordPress. He doesn’t let the haters get him down, and neither should I and neither should you.
I’ve wasted a lot of time beating myself up for things beyond my control. Over people who do not wish me or my blog well. Way too often I allow other people’s negative opinions of me, my blog, or my articles to get me down and even make me want to change my blog’s focus or remove posts that I thought might have offended them.
You cannot please everyone. It’s not possible. If by some fluke you somehow do please everyone, then you probably have the most boring blog in the universe, one that’s all sweetness and light 24/7, and never approaches anything the slightest bit triggering or controversial.
Someone is going to be offended.
Even if you blog about something as benign as cake decorating or flower arranging, you are probably going to offend someone. Maybe someone doesn’t like the fact you write recipes using cream cheese icing instead of buttercream, or vice versa. Maybe they are diabetics who take offense to the fact you don’t include sugarless cake decorations in your recipes. They might even assume you are prejudiced against people with diabetes. Maybe someone doesn’t like the color yellow in your floral arrangements because they have bad associations with that color. Maybe they are angry at you because the flowers are dead and they are are morally opposed to killing plant life for ornamental purposes. They could be offended by your fonts or your layout. Maybe they hate your avatar because your picture reminds them of their rude neighbor who lets their dog bark all night and revs their engine every morning at 5 AM. You have no control over these things. My point is that no matter what you blog about, someone is going to take offense.
If you can’t stand having bullies and haters, you probably shouldn’t be blogging at all. If you blog about a sensitive or controversial issue, as I do, you are going to attract even more of them than you would if you only blogged about cake decorating or flower arranging or baby koalas.
The Green-Eyed Monster.
Some people are also going to be jealous of you. If your blog becomes successful, expect to have haters. That’s probably why OM has so many haters. His blog is one of the most popular and well-known on the Internet. I’m not tooting my own horn here, but I’ve noticed as my blog has grown, I also have acquired more haters and critics. As a self-identified HSP (highly sensitive person), this realization has been hard for me to accept. I need to grow a thicker skin and just write about what I want and not worry about what the haters think.
On Political Correctness.
I don’t like political correctness. I don’t like feeling like I have to censor my own thoughts and feelings, because openness and honesty has made my blog what it is. If my words offend someone, they just need to deal with it. If they hate me or my blog, sucks for them. There are other blogs they can read instead. No one is holding a gun to their head telling them they have to read this blog. I even have an Escape button that will take them to the Huffington Post (it’s not lost on me that some may be offended by THAT). It’s not like I’m the only voice on the Internet that addresses the issues I write the most about. There are hundreds of others.
I’m a natural pessimist. If I enter a room and everyone is friendly and welcoming except for one person who scowls at me, I’m the type who will fret and ruminate about that one grumpy person rather than feel blessed and grateful that everyone else is happy to see me. Focusing on that one negative person keeps me from enjoying the party.
It’s the same thing with blogging. I have a lot of supporters and friends in the blogging community. There are lots of people who enjoy my blog posts and visit every day. I shouldn’t worry about the few people who are critical of me or my blog, because they don’t matter. They are probably not the sort of people I would want to have as friends anyway.
So, if you blog, don’t be a wuss. Grow a tougher skin and accept the fact you are going to have haters. You don’t have to approve their comments. You don’t have to search Google to see what your detractors may be saying about you. You don’t have to let their vitriol ruin your day. They don’t matter.
Don’t censor yourself. Most people will be able to tell if you are trying to hard to be “politically correct,” and your blog will become boring and insincere and no one will want to read it. People aren’t stupid and can tell if you’re not being honest or are censoring yourself because of your fear of criticism or offending someone.
Blog from your heart and soul. Be courageous. Write about what you want, no matter how controversial. Don’t be afraid to stir the pot and stand by your heartfelt opinions, even if they are unpopular ones.
Tell the haters to take a hike. You are going to have them. They don’t matter.
I had an “Aha” moment today.
The reason highly sensitive people get bullied so often isn’t because of our sensitivity. It’s because of the dismally low self esteem that tends to go along with being that sensitive, especially if we were victimized by malignant narcissists and bullies when young.
Narcissists envy and fear high sensitivity.
Narcissists hate high sensitivity in others for two reasons: 1. They envy it because it’s something they can’t have or may have lost as children and it’s a sign of an authentic person, which is something they aren’t but wish they were; and 2. they fear it, because they know this quality makes it possible for to zero in on the emptiness hiding under the narcissist’s guise.
Their hatred and fear is expressed through love bombing followed by bullying and other forms of abuse meant to weaken the HSP. An HSP’s fragile ego can be destroyed or greatly diminished after years of bullying and abuse.
Sharon: an HSP who carried a can of Narc Repellent.
I was thinking about a woman I used to know named Sharon. She was an empathic young woman who felt everything so deeply–but mostly joy and love. She’s exquisitely sensitive but is also self confident (she was raised by very loving parents). She is comfortable enough with herself to show her vulnerability openly, allowing herself the liberty to feel all her emotions as well as share the emotions of her friends.
You might think Sharon is a magnet for bullies, but she’s not. She makes friends easily because she has such a loving and positive presence and and people feel like she cares about them, and she likes herself too (without being at all narcissistic). They are right.
Narcissists avoid Sharon like the plague. Why? They would probably love to get their hooks into her if they could, but Sharon’s confidence in herself and easygoing comfort around all kinds of people scares them right off. While still being emotionally vulnerable, Sharon is invulnerable to narcissists because they sense her strength. She’s indestructible and they know it. As a result Sharon is never victimized and tends to attract other loving people as her friends, people who just want to be around her because she’s a lot of fun but can also cry with you if that’s what you need.
If you’re a highly sensitive adult whose self esteem has been destroyed by narcissistic abuse or a sensitive kid who has become insecure and fearful because of bullying, your high sensitivity will be expressed very differently than someone like Sharon.
Sensitive children do get tested by school bullies, and it’s harder to not let that damage your self image when you’re so young, especially if your parents are also bullies and have already done a number on your self esteem. But for an adult, most people will admire emotional openness and vulnerability or at least respect it–as long as they also know you respect and love yourself. People can sense when you’re comfortable in your own skin and narcs will stay far away, because they’re only attracted to codependent types who are unsure of themselves or their place in the world.
Being highly sensitive: a curse or a blessing?
A sensitive person who hates herself will tend to act in ways that attract mean people and bullies to them. They are unsure of themselves, fearful, easily depressed or discouraged, easily hurt, easily frustrated, paranoid, hypervigilant, and insecure. They are afraid of everything, and like ravenous wolves, narcissists can smell their fear. They see this–not the underlying sensitivity–as weakness, and they will horn in on such a person for narcissistic supply or bullying because they’re an easy mark who will be too afraid to call them out on their abuse.
Things are very different for a sensitive person with high self esteem. Such a person will be appreciative, insightful, observant, compassionate, forgiving (but not stupidly forgiving), affectionate, creative, a good listener, empathetic, and with a well developed (but never mean or sarcastic) sense of humor. They are not fearful and they know their place in the world. They have a clear sense of their own boundaries (and those of others) and know how to enforce them if they think they’re being violated. They attract people like themselves as friends and lovers and these relationships tend to be self-reinforcing for both parties.
Narcissists know a strong HSP is powerful and dangerous to them.
Malignant narcissists stay away from self-confident HSPs, because they know they’re much stronger than they are. They know they’re dealing with an authentic person who is happy with themselves and with life, while they are anything but. They know a confident HSP (not the same thing as narcissism) has a laser-like ability to see through their mask without fear and won’t hesitate to call them out when it’s necessary. To a malignant narcissist, a self-confident HSP is a very dangerous and powerful person. That’s why they work so hard to destroy our self confidence and make us hate and doubt ourselves. If we’re crippled by abuse, they can still get what they need from us (supply), without running the risk of having any damage done to them.
As my confidence has grown over these past two years, I’m noticing a transformation of my lifelong high sensitivity from something that made me feel weak and helpless for most of my life into something that makes me feel strong and authentic. I know now that this “curse” and “weakness” I was born with is really a blessing and a strength. I just needed to develop enough confidence to be able to use it effectively.
Learning to love your high sensitivity.
Here’ a few things I have learned.
1. If you have a talent or skill in one of the arts, use it to express what you’re really feeling. Painting, singing, dancing, writing, poetry–can all be ways we can release our deepest emotions in a “safe” way that’s socially acceptable. Don’t hold anything back when creating art, performing or writing. Allow yourself to be vulnerable even if it feels weird and awkward at first.
2. If you don’t have an artistic talent, take up a hobby that speaks to you or get involved in a sport such as running or take a martial arts class, which can build confidence. Activities that center you and build both inner and outer strength, such as yoga, can be helpful too.
3. Always be 100% honest about your emotions. If you’re very shy or fearful, write down your thoughts and feelings in a private journal. Don’t worry about the quality of writing–that’s all just gravy. The main point is to get your feelings down on paper. Seeing your thoughts on paper (or a computer screen) will give you clarity. If you choose to blog publicly instead, you will gain confidence from expressing your most private feelings to the whole world and from the feedback from others you will get. It can be very scary to publicly post something you wouldn’t tell your next door neighbor (as I have now twice this week!), but believe me, it’s worth it. You’ll be amazed at how much doing such a thing will increase your confidence and sense of inner strength. At first you’ll feel like you’re running around naked in public, but you’ll be amazed by the sense of freedom and liberation running around naked can give you! 🙂
4. Every day, try to do one nice thing for someone other than yourself. If you’re really ambitious, you can try volunteer work to help the poor, homeless, children, animals, or anyone more vulnerable or less fortunate than yourself. In doing so, you will feel like you have a purpose, and that you can help others. Knowing you have made someone happier will raise your self esteem.
5. Listen to music whenever you can. It’s second only to writing and blogging in my healing journey.
6. Surround yourself with positive people (not the same thing as positive-thinking nazis, who are often narcissists themselves) but authentic, happy people who accept you for who you are and don’t judge you.
7. Get narcissists away from you. No Contact is best, but is not always possible. If you can’t separate from your narcissist, read as much about their disorder as you can, and read about PTSD and complex PTSD and the devastating effects these character disordered people can have on the rest of us. Read books about highly sensitive people. Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person is probably the best known (and an excellent book) but there are other books about HSPs too. Write down your feelings in a journal your narcissist cannot access.
8. Try prayer. It does work.