9 ways to tell if the victim blog you read is run by a narcissist.

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The Internet is a great thing for a lot of reasons, but for victims of narcissistic abuse, it’s probably the first time in our lives we ever had a voice, and would be listened to and believed.   There are hundreds and probably even thousands of blogs and websites for people who have been victims of narcissistic abuse, either by their families, or at the hands of an abusive spouse, boss, lover, or friend.

The Internet has given us a voice, so now we can not only read and comment on the stories of others who have suffered similar experiences, we can also start our own blogs where we can talk about our own abuse.   Before the Internet, who would listen to us, much less believe us?  More than likely, we’d be told, “oh, of course your mother/father loves you,” or “Oh, I’m sure she means well and doesn’t know how to express it,” or worse, “it’s all in your head,” or “you are too sensitive” or “you are too paranoid.  Or even, “you are crazy to think that.”

Before the Internet, if you actually went No Contact with an abusive person, especially if it was your own family,  most people would tell you you’d “regret it” because “your family is all you have.”   Religious people might have said to you that disconnecting from a parent or other close family member was a grave sin and broke the commandment that says, “honor thy mother and father.”  Well, my answer to that is this:  you are not honoring an abusive, narcissistic parent by enabling them or allowing them to continue to abuse and use you.  The kindest thing you can do for them is to stop enabling them, by going No Contact.  By doing so, you are removing yourself from the equation and making it impossible for them to target you anymore.   More than likely they will find a new person to target, or continue to talk trash about you behind your back, but you are making things harder for them. Think of it as “tough love.”  You can still love a narcissistic parent but refuse to allow them to victimize you anymore.

There are many great narcissistic abuse and ACON blogs, forums,  and discussion groups that have helped many people and for the most part they are a Godsend.   Without them, we’d all still be in the dark, thinking WE were the problem, and that if only we could please our abusers, everything would be fine.  We’d feel misunderstood and all alone. We would never have met each other or been able to tell our stories.

This blog started as an ACON blog, but because I’ve expanded into other topics and really didn’t have a lot more to say about my own abuse (because I got tired of dwelling in the past and prefer to look toward the future), I can’t really say this is specifically an ACON blog anymore, although I still include articles about narcissistic abuse from time to time and my old posts on it remain popular.

Unfortunately, there are more than a few blogs, forums, websites and Facebook groups meant for survivors of narcissistic abuse that are actually run by narcissists who are not aware they are narcissists and identify only as victims.   Un-self-aware narcissists are far more dangerous than those who have become self aware, because they refuse to–or can’t–see their own narcissism.   Instead they project it onto others, even where it doesn’t exist.

Please keep in mind, that there is a higher percentage (as much as 70%, according to some sources)  of people with Cluster B disorders like NPD or BPD among those who were raised by narcissistic parents.   Because there’s not a clear line between people who have been abused and those who are abusers (and in fact both may be present in the same person) it shouldn’t be very surprising that some victims are suffering from disorders a lot worse than just C-PTSD.

This is a problem because a person who is in an abusive relationship and considering going No Contact (or is newly No Contact) may think they’ve found a safe haven with empathetic fellow-sufferers who can be of  help to them, but they may well find themselves re-traumatized later on by the group, should they disagree with them in any way or say or do the “wrong” thing — and there isn’t much, if any, forgiveness from groups like these.  Once they devalue you, you are dead to them.     I was the target of such a group myself, and was so traumatized I almost took my blog down.

I’ve been in the narcissistic abuse community long enough now that I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on how to tell the safe ACON/narc-abuse blogs from the ones that are not so safe and actually could be dangerous.   So here is a list I devised of the ways you can tell if a narcissistic abuse blog is dangerous and should be avoided.   If any of the blogs or websites you read show these “red flags,” proceed at your own caution.   If you must read them, avoid commenting.

1.The site preaches hate and revenge.

If the site, blog or group you are involved in constantly bashes people with Cluster B disorders, calling them demons, monsters, incurable, having no souls, all going to Hell, or encourages its readers to “get back at” them or “out-narc” them, proceed very carefully.  While righteous anger is perfectly normal when you have been abused and can give you the motivation and courage to go No Contact, and even anger at narcissists in general is to be expected, if that is ALL the site seems to focus on, that’s a red flag.   Websites and blogs like these CAN be helpful when a person is going No Contact or you’re trying to leave an abuser, but once you are safely away from your abuser(s) and all that righteous rage is out of your system (for most people, it WILL burn itself out eventually), you should move onto sites that focus less on how horrible narcissists (or borderlines, or whatever) are, and more on how to heal yourself from C-PTSD and narcissistic abuse.   Also, it’s ALWAYS a bad idea to try to “get back at” or “out-narc” a narc.  It won’t solve anything, and you may find yourself more of a target than ever.   You’re not going to be any match for any malignant narcissist who’s on their game, and they usually are.

2. The owner(s) and followers of the site, group or blog seem stuck in a victim mentality.

Things just never seem to get any better for them.   There is no emotional growth to be seen when people are stuck in a victim mentality.  If you try to suggest they move on and work on themselves to feel happier or less like victims, they are very likely to attack YOU as being a narcissist who thinks you’re better than them.   This is an example of projection.  Sure, I totally get that all the positive thinking nazi’s out there can be irritating (and I HATE those toothpaste-smile cheerleaders who discourage you from being able to express your real feelings and tell you to smile when you don’t feel like smiling), but that doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong with being more positive or forward-thinking, or doing something to change your outlook on life to a happier one.  As victims, we were trained to expect the worst from people and probably have very little trust in others.

But our narcissists aren’t going to just magically appear on bended knee and tell us they’re sorry and un-do all the damage they did to us.  So you really only have two choices.   You can continue to wallow in misery and victimization until the day you die, or you can try to change things about yourself without expecting your abusers to make things up to you, because they won’t.  Changing yourself doesn’t mean you were at fault, but fair or not, it’s the only way to escape from the trap of being a lifelong victim.

3. They are never in therapy or getting treatment.

I’ve noticed how some people in these groups are never in therapy or practicing mindfulness skills, or doing anything that can make their lives easier or better.   I think that’s because they are really narcissists or borderlines who think of themselves as perfect and use their victim status as a kind of false self to get sympathy or attention, and woe be to those who ever suggest they need to change anything about themselves, or that perhaps a therapist could help them.   Are they afraid if they go to a therapist, they might find out something they don’t want to know?  Few malignant narcissists ever think they are the ones with a problem; it’s always everyone else.

4. The group bans, blocks, or insults people who are self aware borderlines or narcissists — and those who challenge the status quo. 

It doesn’t matter if they are in treatment or say they want to change.  They are automatically just lying or trying to get attention, just because they say they have an NPD or BPD diagnosis (or even just a self-diagnosis).  Because of course, people with these disorders donothing but lie and misrepresent themselves.   They CAN’T be self-aware or want to heal!   But I know otherwise.   I spent time on a forum with self aware NPDs and borderlines who were in therapy and actively trying to make changes and practice mindfulness and treat others better.  Why on earth would they want to do that, if it weren’t true?  What would motivate them to lie about it?

Some groups also ban, block or insult other victims who show any empathy for people who have these disorders or who question the bashing mentality.    One of the things I’ve learned on my own healing journey is that narcissistic abuse and narcissism is not a black and white issue.   Most people with cluster B disorders were also victims of abuse–and most abuse victims have narcissistic traits or “fleas” to one degree or another.

I’ve been called a narc-sympathizer, but I no longer take that as an insult.   Some of the victim sites don’t seem to recognize that narcissism is on a spectrum, and some narcissists are a lot worse than others.   C-PTSD is usually comorbid with these disorders too.   While yes, it’s true that there are malignant narcissists who “like” their disorder and would rather undergo root canal than ever darken a therapist’s office door, there are others, lower on the spectrum, who dislike the way they behave and want to learn how to be more authentic and develop empathy and real connections with others.    Of course, the narc abuse sites probably aren’t the best places for a Cluster B person to land, but I’m appalled at the way some of them get treated.

The same goes for those who show empathy for people with these disorders.   If you don’t drink the “all narcs are incurable and evil” Koolaid and dare to question the narc-hating status quo, prepare to be mobbed, banned, smeared, or called a narcissist or worse yourself.   The irony here is that your show of empathy probably means you are lower on the narcissism spectrum than they are.    Also, just because you hate narcissists doesn’t mean you can’t be one.

5. The site or group has a tight clique of hangers on and there is never any disagreement or healthy debate among them.

All they do is pat each other on the back and agree about how terrible it all was and how evil the narcs all were.   They never challenge each other to THINK  or to be open to out of the box viewpoints.   There also never seem to be any helpful suggestions intended to help each other heal.  Years later, they are still bemoaning how badly they got treated even years after going No Contact, but are doing absolutely nothing to improve things for themselves.  They are not very welcoming of newcomers, or of anyone who challenges them that they may be the cause of their own problems now that all the narcissists have been booted out of their lives.

6. They seem to see narcissism where it doesn’t exist.

Someone offers a helpful suggestion or minor criticism, and they call that person a troll or a narc.    They talk about isolating themselves from everyone, because “everyone is a narc” or “the world is full of narcs.”  I understand the lack of trust, but you can’t heal when you isolate yourself from the world and continue to insist it’s an evil, dangerous place full of people who will only abuse you.   You have to learn self empathy and from there, you can slowly learn to trust others and realize there really are good people in the world.   It’s sad they will probably never reach that point.

7. They are combative and aggressive toward those who disagree with them.

They may even go on a full-on smear campaign: gaslighting, telling vicious lies about you,  projecting things onto you, triangulating against you (complete with flying monkeys), sending nasty “anonymous” emails,and even threatening lawsuits (narcissists are notorious for being litigious), all while continuing to insist that they are just harmless “empaths” who actually show little to no empathy, even among themselves.  This happened to me, and it’s happened to others, so this is no exaggeration.

8. If the owner of the group is religious, they are dogmatic and intolerant of other religious points of view or those who disagree with their religious beliefs.

Understandably, many victims of narcissistic abuse turn to God or Christianity since the people in their lives have proven so untrustworthy and unloving.  This is not only understandable, it’s also desirable.   Having faith can keep us healthy and sane, and give us hope when all hope seems lost.   But beware of site owners who use their religion in abusive or narcissistic ways — to shame, belittle, or make themselves feel superior to others.  Use great caution around anyone who tells you your religion (or lack of religion) is wrong or evil, or that you are going to Hell for your beliefs.  This is religious abuse, and narcissists are notorious for it.

9.  You just feel uncomfortable or ill at ease.   

Listen to your intuition.  Even if you haven’t been attacked or targeted, if you just feel ill at ease of uncomfortable on that blog, forum or group, or hesitate to share your honest feelings and opinions there, chances are there’s a good reason you feel that way.  Don’t ignore your feelings — you spent too much time already dismissing your feelings as “crazy” or “wrong” due to the abuse you suffered, but your feelings are probably trying to tell you something important and you should listen.

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The thing that makes me so sad is that failing to move on from the righteous anger we all feel at first, can turn a person into a narcissist, even if they weren’t one to begin with.    With nowhere left for all that rage to go, a person can become bitter and paranoid.  They begin to see narcissism in normal human behavior.   This is why moving on from the anger stage is so important (and for most people, it does burn itself out once the danger has passed).

Moving on doesn’t mean you have to tolerate narcissistic abuse or resume contact with toxic  people you have gone No Contact with. It doesn’t even necessarily mean you have to forgive your narcissists for what they did to you (and you surely don’t want to forget!)   But it does mean that at some point, you should be able to let go of the hatred and even begin to see abusive types as broken people who got that way because they were themselves abused (I don’t believe anyone consciously chooses to be a narcissist, in spite of what some people say).   Once you can recognize them as broken people instead of demons from the bowels of hell,  you can then begin to look inside yourself and see what you can do to change and make yourself less attractive to narcissists.   (Thinking this way also makes them seem a lot less dangerous, which in turn will make you feel like less of a victim).   Maybe you are codependent and unconsciously do things to attract that sort of person into your life.  That’s not victim-blaming — it’s just being willing to take responsibility for yourself and having enough insight to see the role you might have played.  None of us are perfect.   It wasn’t until I was able to stop thinking in an “us versus them” way and stop seeing myself as a “poor helpless victim” that I was able to see how my own narcissism and codependency negatively affected my life and my relationships.   Without this knowledge, I would never be able to heal.

All that being said, I truly don’t think these group and forum owners and bloggers are aware that their behavior is very Cluster B, that they may be on the N spectrum themselves, or even–God forbid!–have NPD.   I also don’t think they are being dishonest about the abuse they suffered.  They honestly believe they are only victims with PTSD or C-PTSD.  But their thinking about the issue of narcissism and narcissistic abuse is too black and white for them to be able to see their own narcissism, for to do so in their current state, would mean they would have to admit they were one of “those bad people” and the cognitive dissonance arising from that would be far too great for them to handle.   So they must continue to split: projecting onto and smearing those who refuse to drink their poison Kool-aid.

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A question that probably has no answer.

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Beast transforming; Belle watches in astonishment/credit Disney Pictures 1991

I’m following a blog where the writer, who is a diagnosed NPD in therapy (I am not going to link the blog here), has been showing signs recently of his hard shell beginning to crack and unfamiliar emotions starting to break through his formerly impenetrable emotional wall.

It’s been happening over time, and in fits and starts. His last post expresses quite a lot of vulnerability and sadness for his lost self and the hurt he felt as a child. It made me feel like weeping, but in the good kind of way. If this blogger is being candid and honest, then his unfolding is a beautiful, painful, magnificent thing to behold.

But earlier posts by this writer have described the way he feeds off the emotional reactions of other people (the way all narcissists do). Whether the reactions are positive or negative don’t really matter; it’s the fact they are emotional reactions to him that feed him. The blogger also happens to be an extremely skilled writer. I could easily believe he may be merely manipulating his readers (many who are empaths) into falling for the epic drama of the Big Bad Narc transforming into a man with the ability to love and feel like a normal person. It’s the stuff of Hollywood. It would make a great 10-Kleenex movie.  He no doubt knows the effect such a thing would have; he could use his skill with the English language to write breathtaking, transformative passages and become the star of his own tear-jerker movie.

I must have watched the ending of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at least 20 times, and it still has the ability to make me sob like a little child.   It’s basically the story of a narcissist being healed by the love of another person, all dressed up in period costume and fairy dust and magic, and rendered suitable for children.   I can’t get enough of that damn sappy ending.  But I think that, for me, it’s symbolic of something much deeper going on.

Maybe I’m being (in Sam Vaknin’s words) a malignant optimist, or maybe I’m just a gullible fool, but I really, really want to believe the blogger isn’t manipulating his readers for narcissistic supply. I want to believe what he says he’s feeling is actually real. Nothing would move my soul more than witnessing a narcissist actually healing from his disorder. I’m a starry-eyed romantic INFJ and love this kind of stuff. I need to see that movie and believe it’s true. Maybe my obsession with narcissists being able to open their hearts again has to do with having narcissistic parents and having wanted so much to see it happen for them, but alas, my dreams were dashed.

Is there a way to know if this writer is telling the truth or just putting on an elaborate show for his readers in order to garner supply for himself? I suppose this is a rhetorical question since obviously no one can answer that. Only the narcissist himself can answer that, but there’s no way to know if his answer would be the truth or not.

****

Further Reading:

Beauty and the Beast: A Metaphor for NPD

P.O’d.

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I guess I’m feeling like a victim today.  Both this and my last post are all about me wallowing in self-pity.   Eh, I’ll get over it but I need to vent.   This will be short though.

After that out of the blue attack on my character on another blog a few days ago, I told myself I wouldn’t let it get me down.  I told myself I’ve grown a lot and have a lot more courage than I did a year ago, the last time this happened.   I told myself that as a blogger, I need to grow some balls and accept the fact that I will have haters.

I lied I guess, because for the past couple of days, I just haven’t felt like posting, at least not anything too personal.    My loss of motivation has everything to do with this vicious and unwarranted attack on me.  I set my other blog (Down the Rabbit Hole, which is more personal in nature than this one and was the source of the post that was used against me) to private and will probably keep it that way for awhile; I have no idea for how long.   Because it’s so personal I don’t have the courage yet to make it public again right away.

This pisses me off–a lot.  How dare this hypocritical person take away the one thing that keeps me going?  How dare this horrible individual make me set my writings to private and make me feel the toxic shame all over again? And anyway, shame for WHAT?  For writing a post that made me seem TOO VULNERABLE?  Why should that be shameful?  It isn’t, of course, but my programming tells me it is, and I got triggered.

I know it’s my own choice to inhibit myself and set blogs to private, and really, this narcissistic person can’t do much other than continue to post negative stuff about me on their blog.   If I don’t look, I won’t be hurt or angered–and I haven’t looked.   A year ago, I would have *had* to look, so one way I’ve changed is I’m able to resist the temptation to see what the haters are saying.  I never used to be able to do that.

I know this will be the topic in therapy the next time I go.  I still let narcs get to me way too much.   I still have such a long way to go.

The picture of the wolf head at the beginning of this post, I find inexplicably hilarious.   Laughter is always great medicine!   Thank God for my sense of humor.

Knowing the Narcissist: a triggering blog for ACONs but could be useful.

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I stumbled across a WordPress blog yesterday written by a self-professed Malignant Narcissist. The name of his blog is, simply enough, Knowing the Narcissist.

Indeed, to read Malignarc’s entries is to know the mind of a high spectrum, unrepentant, sociopathic malignant narcissist. I can’t tell too much about the man from the posts I have read, other than that he claims some sort of renown (his fame may be exaggerated for all I know, after all he’s a narcissist and they’re known to exaggerate their achievements*), he lives in Great Britain, and he’s unceremoniously devalued and discarded (and possibly done worse) many hapless women. He’s in treatment and talks about his sessions quite a bit. He likes to challenge, gaslight, and play mind games with his therapist. From what I can gather, he’s not in treatment by choice but by obligation, which makes me wonder if he committed some sort of crime.

Knowing the Narcissist is creepy and unsettling, and could be triggering to many victims of narcissistic abuse. The first thing that hits you on the blog is a huge banner with a fiery background on which huge black letters spell out the word “EVIL” (it turns out this is the name of one of his novels but it’s still fitting).   It’s not exactly a subtle warning. You can leave now, or keep reading at your own risk. Being endlessly curious, of course I kept reading. His posts are addictive. They grab you and hold you in a vise grip, and even when you don’t think you can stand another second of the bleak and frightening view from inside the man’s deeply disordered mind, you simply can’t tear yourself away.

As with another narcissistic writer who writes about his NPD, Sam Vaknin, you feel pulled against your will into Malignarc’s dark vortex, but unlike Vaknin, he’s completely self-satisfied and happy (as much as it’s possible for a narcissist to be happy) with his own narcissism. Also unlike Vaknin, he hasn’t had the good manners to exile himself to a remote Eastern European country and marry a woman from there. Malignarc is still very much at large. Ladies beware!

I boldly commented under one of his posts, asking him why he writes a blog like this, thinking he must have some small semblance of a conscience that drives him to do so. He replied back almost right away, explaining that he started it because he “likes an audience” and that it’s also a requisite of his treatment. Well, at least he answered my question, and promptly at that.

Whoever has required him to get psychological treatment is wasting their time (and money, if it’s being paid for). I’m one of those who thinks that certain lower-spectrum narcissists (usually covert) who become self-aware can be healed if they’re willing to do the emotional work, but a narcissist like Malignarc can’t ever be cured or successfully treated, since he expresses no regrets over how he has treated the people in his life and appears to have no conscience or empathy whatsoever. He also appears to have almost no emotions other than seething rage. He gloats about the way he devalued and discarded one of his victims, writing glowingly about his new source of supply (who no doubt will become his next victim):

Yes I am with Lauren now. She is wonderful. She is everything I have ever wanted and I am her soul mate. I know that we are going to be very happy together now. She is the one. I know I thought that of you, but you misled me. Lauren is not like that. I am moving in with her next week. It makes perfect sense. I want to be with her all of the time. She is beautiful, just look at her, perfectly put together. She is so shiny and new. I am head over heels in love with her, I cannot be apart from her. Take a look. If you had been more like her then I would not have had to punish you the way I did. That is not going to happen with Lauren. No way. I can only see a bright and beautiful future for us. I hope she falls pregnant soon as our child will be such a wonder to behold. Thank God I did not have a child with you. Imagine that? Good God that would have been terrible having to share a child with a monster like you. Lauren will be a first class mother, we have already talked about it and I can tell that she is keen. She adores me and always will. Not like you. You had your chance but you messed it up. You only have yourself to blame.

This diatribe goes on and on. The discarded woman the post is directed to shouldn’t hate or be jealous of Lauren; she should warn her.

Knowing the Narcissist could be useful to victims, if you’re able to stomach it. You do get a close-up look inside the mind of a person with severe NPD and he does a good job of explaining the motivations, machine-like manipulations, and soulless Machiavellianism driving his toxic actions. His words could serve as a warning to the rest of us, by serving as a graphic example of what really makes a narcissist tick so you don’t get duped into falling for one of these characters ever again. I can’t say he’s performing a public service, since that’s clearly not this man’s intention, but it could be a side-benefit.

*He’s an author who writes under the name of HG Tudor

When Narcissists Claim to be Victims of Narcissists – Who is the Narcissist?

One more great article from a fantastic blogger about narcissists who claim to be victims of narcissists…and then write about them. How to protect yourself in the blogosphere and identify who’s really a narcissist…and who is not.

If you blog about narcissists you will, sooner or later, probably be accused of being a narcissist. Don’t take it too personally. Just learn how to be wary and protect yourself.

Blogging about narcissism can be very crazymaking indeed.

An Upturned Soul

NPD - ELizabeth Bowen

If you’re searching online for information about Narcissists, Narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Narcissistic parents, being a Child of Narcissists, an ACoN – Adult Child of Narcissists, being in a relationship with a Narcissist, being a Victim of a Narcissist, How to Play the Narcissist’s Game and maybe win, How to Piss a Narcissist Off (which is one of the most popular search terms in my stats), or any other variation on the theme, you will be inundated with results.

The subject of Narcissism is trending, a Hot Topic.

The internet is bursting with information about it, from professionals, experts in the field, and from people like me who are sharing their experiences and working their way through them publicly.

Why share your private story publicly?

If your particular Narcissist has managed to isolate you and surround you with people who are on their side, then the chances are that…

View original post 4,423 more words

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

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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

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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

Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

wolvesinsheeps

I wrote an article about this issue a while back, but I decided it was time to write about it again because I have seen this sort of thing happen so many times online, including within the ACON community. It’s a real problem for those of us recovering from narcissistic abuse. We are fragile and it’s so hard for us to trust anyone anymore, but we want so much to trust people who have been through similar experiences and connect with them.

The sad news is that you just can’t trust everybody you meet online.

If you’re a member of the narcissistic abuse community and participate in social media groups, blogs or forums intended to help or inform victims of narcissistic abuse, remember you are engaging with a lot of hurting and damaged people. There are people in this community who may themselves have been so damaged by their abusers they developed narcissistic ways of relating to others.

Narcissism is contagious, just like a disease. If a person was raised by narcissists or were in a close relationship with one for any length of time, they can pick up what’s known in the ACON community as “fleas”–narcissistic behaviors that stick to them the way fleas stick to a dog. If the fleas stay around long enough or become severe enough, it’s possible to actually become a narcissist!

Most narcissists aren’t aware they are narcissists. In the narcissistic abuse/ACON communities, there are narcissists who you would think are anything but. Don’t be duped into thinking just because someone’s a victim of abuse and hates their narcs (and narcs in general) with the white hot heat of a thousand suns, that automatically means they aren’t one. They probably don’t even know they are.

Some people who seem holier than thou may have developed full blown narcissism. They appear to be sheep, even though they are actually wolves. Unfortunately it’s hard to tell until you cross them or disagree with them.

Narcissists project onto others traits they hate in themselves. Just because a person was abused and professes to hate narcissists does not mean they are free of their own narcissism, which they deny in themselves but project onto those they disagree with.

In particular, be very careful around anyone who uses religion to intimidate or abuse you or attacks your beliefs. There are many religious people in the ACON community who have turned to Christ after their abuse, and of course there’s nothing wrong with that. But if someone is intolerant of your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) or calls yours a “false religion,” that’s a huge red flag, in my opinion.

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There are unfortunately people even in this community who either pretend to be victims to exploit people they see as “weak” (I think there aren’t too many of those though, and the ones that are are usually on social media such as Facebook) or actually are victims, but have become narcissistic due to the abuse they endured. (because I am not qualified to diagnose anyone, I cannot say they actually have NPD).

But there are red flags you can be on the lookout for:

— They act “holier than thou” and use religion as an excuse to treat others badly or judge those they disagree with.
— They never seem to get any better.
— They think there is something wrong with you because you are growing and no longer wish to hang onto your rage.
— If they see someone is changing or letting go of anger, they accuse them of betrayal or worse (if they’re religious) say they are being influenced by Satan. Pathological envy? I don’t know. Maybe.
— They use personal information they were given privately against the person they are targeting. They may even state this private information in public against your wishes. Be careful what you tell people unless you know them very well.
— They attack and smear those they disagree with.
— They overreact to slights or criticism.
— They overreact to opinions they don’t agree with. You are not allowed to have a differing opinion.
— They are self righteous and never apologize.
— They talk a lot about empathy but don’t seem to really have any.
— They show no remorse for their hurtful actions.
— They ban or attack people who defend those they disagree with.
— They misquote you, twist your words, and accuse you of saying things you never said. That is gaslighting.
— They are quick to call people they disagree with narcissists or at least make obvious hints to that effect.
— They will introduce a hurtful criticism or a projection of their own narcissism onto you with a phrase such as, “I don’t mean to hurt you, but…” Bullshit they don’t mean to hurt you.
— If you object to this online abuse, they might tell you in a condescending or smarmy way that they are “only trying to help” or are “praying for you.”

level-headed

A non-narcissistic person will not do these things. Yes, they may disagree with you. Disagreement is normal and is to be expected. I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I write. I’m well aware some of my opinions are controversial and even unpopular. That knowledge won’t stop me from posting them though. But I welcome dissenting opinions, because that can make a discussion more interesting than if everyone agrees with me all the time. There is nothing wrong with a good, healthy debate. I could even learn something from you, and I’ve admitted when I’ve been wrong. Hey, I’m not perfect and never will be.

If there are disagreements, as there will be, a non-narcissist will just say they disagree with you, state their case, and possibly give their reasons why they disagree with you. If they feel especially strongly about an issue, they could stop following you or decide your blog is not one they wish to read or participate in anymore. All of that is fine. It happens. You shouldn’t take it personally if someone is so offended by something you wrote they stop following you or stop commenting. But it should stop there. A normal person will simply move on and not bother with you anymore. A non-narcissist is not going to start a smear campaign against you, talk down to you as if you’re beneath them, call your religion a “false religion,” tell you you’re influenced by the devil, call YOU a narcissist, twist what you said into something you did not say, misrepresent you, or publicly bring up a personal issue you talked to them about in private just to embarrass you.

All of us can behave narcissistically when triggered. I understand that. I do it myself. If you tell someone who has attacked you in a narcissistic way because they were angry, hurt or triggered that their actions upset you, a non-narcissist will be chastened and will apologize or try to make amends in some way. If the person fails to do that, even after they are told how much their actions have hurt you, suspect a narcissist. They don’t have empathy for how you feel. You are not a person to them. They don’t care. You are wrong, they are right, and that’s that.

judgement

The insidious thing about narcissism is it’s those you would least suspect of being narcissists who in fact may be. Sometimes the Internet can feel like a minefield, and you have to be so careful where you step to avoid detonation.

Something happened to me several months ago that was a real wake up call and made me realize how careful we have to be when engaging with people online. There as a woman on Facebook who talked about her relationship with her husband, a man she said was a malignant narcissist. She said she had found a way to make her relationship with him work. Intrigued but skeptical, I sent her a private message asking what she had found out. I also sent her a friend request.

She did not accept my friend request (saying she did not know me well enough) but sent me back a strange private message that said, “I have been wanting to talk to you.” Instead of being alarmed, I was intrigued.

We talked about her “malignant narcissist” husband and the way she “handled” him. The woman’s Facebook posts were always so heartwarming, effusively proclaiming the deep love she had for her husband. She constantly posted pictures of herself with him, along with comments about how much she loved him. I looked at the photos of this guy on her timeline, looking for anything in his face or eyes that would indicate malignant narcissism (they usually have a hard or cold look, or dead, flat eyes). I didn’t see it. If anything, I thought the guy looked weak and even a little scared. In fact, his face and body language screamed codependent. The woman always wore a huge smile, but something in those photos suggested a predator “possessing” their prey. Yes, she was larger than he, but there seemed to be a look on her face that said, “he’s mine. I can do what I want with him.”

victim_abuser

I should have smelled a rat. Instead, I thought, “what a wonderful woman, who loves her husband that much in spite of his disorder.” We had several more conversations. Eventually I told her too much about myself. I told her about my psychopathic ex-husband, and how much I envied her for being able to “make things work” with her husband, but that what she did would have never worked for me because my ex was a psychopath and didn’t have enough self awareness to be able to “work with me” on controlling his narcissistic and abusive behaviors.

Shortly after divulging my own situation, I received a puzzling and upsetting private message from her. I won’t quote it here, because it was too long and I no longer have it anyway. It was a very nasty message. In a condescending, insulting way, she had the gall to let me know that my ex couldn’t have been a psychopath (really? did she know him personally?) She said, “I don’t mean to hurt you or anything, but frankly, there is something about you that is a little “off.” That hurt a lot, but was also a huge red flag. She continued, saying that she suspected I was actually the narcissist in our relationship. Oh, really? Was she a fly on the wall during our marriage? Did she have some God-like omnicience to be able to “know” all this about a person she barely knew? Then she ended her long diatribe saying that “prayer is not going to help you” and “I am trying to help you see the truth about yourself.” It was one of the nastiest messages I’ve ever received, and it was sent under the guise of “being helpful.” I could have received more “help” from a serpent.

monsters-nietzsche

The next day I got two private messages from two of my Facebook friends informing me this woman had PM’d them and told them that I was crazy and to stay away from me. The bitch was gaslighting me and triangulating against me, attempting to turn my friends into flying monkeys! I promptly blocked this woman and later found out she had done this to several other women who she envied for one reason or another. It dawned on me that she had been projecting her own malignant narcissism onto her husband, who I am sure was the real victim in their relationship. It explained the possessive, predatory way she had posed with him in their photos. It explained everything.

I want way too much to trust people in this community because so many people have experienced the same type of abuse that I have, some less so and some more. It’s natural to feel like you’ve found a haven of like-minded people who are your friends by default because of their similar stories. You simply don’t want to believe there may be wolves in sheep’s clothing lurking within the community who may have suffered devastating abuse but have actually turned to narcissism as a way to cope with what happened to them. When you realize this, it can come as a shock and you feel so horribly betrayed. You begin to wonder if anyone can be trusted.

Yes, there are people you can trust but online, as in any other community, you have to be careful. Don’t assume someone isn’t a narcissist just because they are anti-narcissist, have a blog for survivors of abuse, or have a sad abuse story of their own. That doesn’t really mean anything. Use the person’s actions and behavior–and your own intuition–as your guide. If someone makes you feel like you always have to be careful what you say around them, if they intimidate you or make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells, proceed with extreme caution. Even if they’ve shown no narcissistic behaviors (yet), be watchful and vigilant. Don’t ever give personal information to anyone you don’t know extremely well.

The Internet is a wonderful resource for abuse survivors, but remember there are wolves in sheep’s clothing online too. Please be careful.

Social Media – I am not impressed

Opinionated Man’s thoughts about bloggers getting too full of themselves and failing to keep things real. This is great advice for all of us who blog.