Beware of narcissists posing as victims in the narcissistic abuse community.

Originally posted on November 24, 2014

wolvesinsheeps

I came across this post today on PsychForums. It’s by a woman who’s the moderator of a site for victims of abuse (she does not specify which site). She talks about how she is triggered and angered by forum members who she perceive as “better” in some way–smarter, prettier, richer, what have you–and then proceeds to play head games with them, make it difficult for them to log in or even bans them, without ever giving a reason. This poster admits getting pleasure from making the forum members suffer and thinks it’s a fun game. She admits her own life is a shambles and she is deeply miserable. The fact she posted this on a psychological forum indicates she is are aware this is a problem and knows it’s wrong, but she says on the forum she feels like “God” and doesn’t seem to want to stop playing so cruelly with the forum members.

I’ve read a number of blog posts and articles that discuss this problem, which is much more prevalent than you might think. It’s disturbing and scary. It’s hard enough for victims of narcissistic abuse to trust other people, and they come to blogs and forums to find a haven of like minded people who have been through the same shit they have and find support. But not everyone they meet in these online havens are who they say they are. Some may be psychopaths out looking for prey, and what better prey is there than the members of a website for victims of abuse?

Psychopaths, malignant narcissists and other predatory people are attracted to blogs and forums focusing on narcissism and abuse, because these are places where the “prey” is abundant. They can have a field day playing with the minds of vulnerable, hurt victims, especially if they are the admin or owner and have created a website for the abused. I’m not talking about someone like Sam Vaknin here–at least he’s upfront and honest about his narcissism, and he’s actually helped many victims of abuse (I still can’t quite figure out what his true motives are–they must be primarily self-serving, but his writings have helped many). Rather, I’m referring to website and blog owners who focus on narcissism and psychopathy but are malignant narcissists themselves, yet they pose as victims or sympathetic “gurus” who only want to help but do anything but.

Bloggers and forum admins, by nature, are probably at least a little narcissistic, but as long as it’s not used to hurt or manipulate or be used against members of the community, then it’s not a problem. But there do exist those who run sites for the abused who pretend to be caring survivors but are anything but. In fact, they hate and envy those who post on their sites.

flyingmonkey

How can you tell if a forum or blog owner is really a malignant narcissist–a wolf in sheep’s clothing? How do you know that when they talk about “their psychopath” or “their MN” that THEY are really the MN or psychopath and the “abuser” is the real victim?

Unfortunately, there’s no sure way to tell. Narcissists have very tender feelings. They are easily hurt and love to whine about how they’ve been “victimized” by other people who have had the guts to call them out, retaliate, or complain about their evil behavior. They fail to take into account that they had it coming and deserved the “abuse.” When you can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet, it’s all too easy for a narcissist to leave out pertinent facts–such as what THEY might have done to deserve the “abuse” they had coming to them. Their lies and half-truths about their victimization may seem very believable. They can make their victim sound like a raging psychopath should they choose to do so. It’s a form of online gaslighting and they are very good at it.

While there’s no foolproof way to tell, especially online, who’s a malignant narcissist posing as a victim and who’s a real victim, there are some red flags to look for.

1. Does the forum or site owner ban people easily, delete posts, or not approve posts? (I’m not talking about trolls or abusive posts here)
2. Is there a lot of infighting and antagonism between the members? If so, suspect an admin or a person with power on that site playing a “divide and conquer” game with the members to turn them against each other.
3. Is there a member who constantly complains about their victimization but never seems to do anything about it, does nothing but trash their abuser’s character, or never seems to get any better? You could be dealing with a narc posing as a victim.
4. Is there anyone who seems envious or resentful of another person’s recovery or improvement, or even just fails to acknowledge that person’s good fortune, or changes the subject?
5. Is there a self centered person who only talks about their own case, but never offers support or encouragement to other members? That person could be a narc.
6. If there is someone who is openly critical or judgmental of another person’s case or behavior, that person is almost certainly a narc.
7. Is the site owner uninvolved with the members and never seem to interact with them? If so, you may be dealing with someone who is looking to achieve Internet “fame” and really isn’t interested in the subject or its members.
Narcissism and psychopathy are hot topics these days, and blogs and websites about these disorders are almost guaranteed to get a lot of hits and views. Someone who wants to achieve Internet “fame” may start a blog or site about narcissism or psychopathy just because it’s popular and trendy, even though they don’t have much interest in the topic. These blog owners probably own other blogs and sites, and those sites will focus on other “hot topics.” But if the owner is really that detached or disinterested, the site will eventually lose members and fizzle out. It’s hard for members to stay involved, when the owner isn’t even interested.

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Further reading (with my personal experience):

9 Ways to Tell if the Victim Blog You Read is Run by a Narcissist 

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Why do people read (and comment on) blogs they don’t like?

question-mark

This is going to be a pretty short post.   Someone who I won’t name had been commenting frequently on my political posts, and their views are almost the polar opposite of mine.   I can’t say this person is exactly a troll, because their comments weren’t offensive or abusive enough to qualify as troll comments, but their views were certainly at odds with mine and he/she wasn’t always very nice about it either.

I asked this person why they were reading my blog since what I have to say seemed to anger them so much, but got no reply.    He/she would be silent for a few days, and then make another negative comment.

Now I get that not everyone is going to agree with me, and I don’t expect them to.   I wouldn’t even want everyone to agree with me 100% of the time, because that’s boring.   Healthy debate is good.   Different points of view can make you think in different ways and consider other points of view.  But this person wasn’t open to civilized debate and seemed to disagree with me about just about everything I said.

Today this individual said they were unsubscribing.  It didn’t hurt my feelings; my only reaction was, what made you wait so long?  It wasn’t as if there was any doubt about where I stand on certain issues.

I really wonder why some people waste their time reading blogs they disagree with or don’t like.  If they just HAVE to read blogs that make them angry (like the pleasure you get picking at a scab), why do they bother commenting?    I really don’t get that.   If I don’t like a blog, I don’t bother reading it.  There are so many other things I can do with my time that are more productive and give me more pleasure than making myself angry or upset reading a blog I hate.    There are so many good blogs out there that give me great pleasure to read, so why would I read one I dislike?

On being controversial.

I wanted to give this article I wrote on May 1 last year a second chance, so I’ve bumped it. I hope it inspires you to write honestly about what you really feel, trolls and critics be darned.

Lucky Otters Haven

wrong-internet

I don’t write to people-please. I did enough people-pleasing as a scared, awkward child and a codependent wife to a sociopath. Those days, for me, are numbered. I blog to be honest about myself and the way I see the world. Being completely honest isn’t always easy, and there have been many times I haven’t posted something I really wanted to because I was afraid of how people might react. But my track record is pretty good, and usually my desire to post an opinion or viewpoint that may not be “popular” overrides my fear of angering or upsetting someone. Even if I hesitate before posting an unpopular or controversial opinion, more often than not, I’ll eventually post it anyway and worry about the fallout (if any) later.

Most of the time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve had people actually thank me for posting a controversial or unpopular opinion, because…

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That one annoying commenter you can’t get rid of.

tiny-yapper

“Tiny Yapper” — Artwork by Mike Reed

We bloggers probably all have at least one of them.   You know, that one annoying person who seems to disagree with all your opinions and just wants to argue but can’t seem to stay away from your blog no matter how often they are shot down or ignored.

I’m not talking about trolls.   Trolls are abusive and nasty and sadistic.   They seem to get their jollies from angering and upsetting site owners and their readers with abusive, ad-hominem attacks and name-calling.  They can never back up their arguments.  They seem to exist just to upset others.

No, I’m talking about people who have vastly different opinions and beliefs than the prevailing opinions and beliefs on the blogs they read.   They don’t actually abuse, though they can be very sanctimonious and self-righteous. They waste their breath arguing with you and your like-minded commenters, and act as if we’re all wrong and only their belief system is the right one.

I have a commenter like this right now.    This individual is extremely annoying to me.  It’s not even because we have vastly different opinions about most things; it’s that this individual is so self-righteous and smug about it.    I could just delete their comments, but this person does have a right to their opinion, so I approve them anyway, as much as dislike most of them.   I don’t like this person though, so after posting one useless counter-argument, I refuse to engage this person further.   Now I just let the comments stand as they are, without further comment or engagement.  I think that’s more effective than arguing with someone whose mind probably can’t be changed because they’re so sure you’re wrong and they’re just trying to “save” you from your wrong thinking.    I just don’t feel like wasting my time.  I have better things to do.

wrong-internet

I thought my freezing them out might have made this person disappear, but no such luck.  They are still posting comments that seem intended to make me ragey, although I don’t express my annoyance.   This person seems completely oblivious that I’m giving them the cold shoulder by not Liking or commenting on any of their comments.

I don’t understand people like that.   Fine, I can understand a troll’s motives.  Sort of.  They are usually sociopaths and like to stir up trouble.   Upsetting people is entertainment to them. They get off on it.   But “that one commenter” isn’t a troll.  They believe what they are saying.  They are right. You are wrong.  Period.   They don’t name call or use ad hominem attacks.   They are just insufferably smug and self righteous about your wrongness and their rightness.

I don’t understand why someone like that would spend time writing comments on a blog whose prevailing views are so different than theirs.  Why not read blogs where most of the people there will agree with you?    It just seems like a huge waste of time to me.

If you blog, how do YOU handle these kinds of commenters?

Sh*t haters say.

love_my_haters

I have haters. I’m cool with that. As a person who was bullied a lot during my life I wasn’t always cool with it. I will never like being hated, but now I regard it as a hazard of the trade. If you blog, even if you blog about unicorns and rainbows, someone is going to hate you. I guess I’ve grown used to it. At one point I almost took my blog down because of the haters, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Continuing to write exactly what’s on my mind in spite of people sometimes disapproving of what I say or even hating me for it is good practice for worrying less about what people think of me overall. It just doesn’t matter.

Criticism isn’t the same as hate. I’ve had critical comments too, and some of them were perfectly justified (and where appropriate, I’ve apologized or admitted when I was wrong). Even where I had to defend my viewpoint and saw no need for apology or backpeddling, I realize people are going to disagree with you sometimes. They are entitled to their opinions and the right to express them. That doesn’t mean they’re bullies, trolls, or haters.

But some comments run into the trollish category. Comments become trollish when they become personal attacks or are based on lies. Here are some of gems I’ve run across during my two-year tenure as a blogger.   All are lies, or at least exaggerations. But now such comments are actually funny to me because of how clueless they are.

Enjoy!

“Yeah, she has a fuckton of followers, but none of them are friends. She doesn’t have friends, she has fans. She’s just collecting fans for the supply. They will drop her like a hot potato when they realize how phony everything she says is.”

I don’t care about having fans. I’m very close to my blogging friends and consider them to be as real as real-life friends. I care about them very much and feel like they care about me. Maybe you’re just jealous because my blog is more popular than yours.

“I think she is being paid off by people like Sam Vaknin because she quotes him so much. I bet she is giving him some favors on the side.”

Now this is funny. Sam stumbled on my blog and commented here about 5 times shortly after I started this blog and that lasted for about a month before he blocked me. As far as the second thing, are you serious and do you realize how stupid you sound?

“Lucky Otter is a sociopath.”

Smear campaign much?

“She was never abused. She was probably the abuser. She just tells that story to get more fans.”

Bullshit. And the “fans” again.

“There’s something seriously fucked up about someone whose son is a gay furry. She must have been a terrible mother.”

I’m proud of my son. In spite of having broken people as parents, he knows exactly who he is and is a lovely, intelligent person with a ton of empathy for others.  Do you even have children?   

“I’ve seen photos of stuff in her house, and she’s not poor like she says. She’s got a house full of antiques and is always going on vacation.”

Those “antiques” are things I picked up at Goodwill and yard sales for about three to six dollars each. I probably make less than you do, my income being at the official poverty level. I suppose driving on the Parkway (which is two miles from my house) a few times a year and taking pictures is a “vacation.” Alrighty, then.

“Her blog is monetized. She’s only in it for the money.”

I had the opportunity to make a little pocket change from the ads, which comes to about $40 a month. But I’d be doing this even if I had to pay to do it. If I can earn some money from it, I don’t see why I shouldn’t.

“She plagiarized my post!”

That is a lie. I LINKED to your post and quoted from it. And I promptly removed the offending post after you lost your shit over it. Most people would have LIKED the extra views that link would have brought them.

God, I love my haters.  They keep me entertained.

Replying to my haters.

I was browsing through some old posts, and found this one from almost a year and a half ago. I’m reblogging it because it makes me laugh. For that reason, I think it deserves to get another 15 minutes of Internet fame.

Lucky Otters Haven

love_my_haters

Not everyone likes this blog. I have a few haters. The following are not really troll comments (which I delete immediately or don’t approve) but criticisms of me and this blog. (A few do come close though).

It’s okay to have haters. All bloggers have them. All writers have them. I don’t expect everyone to agree with or understand my motives for having a blog like this. Having haters just means something you said pressed somebody’s buttons. It’s inevitable, especially when blogging about a controversial subject like narcissism instead of posting brownie recipes.

I decided rather than try to reply as these comments come along (which can disrupt the flow of a conversation), I would put them here in this one post. (I’ve been saving them to Wordpad). Obviously this blog isn’t for everyone. I am not identifying the handles of these commenters.

Fortunately, I have not received many of…

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Blogging is not for pussies.

Whoa! I have another guest post on HarsH ReaLiTy? I’m dreaming, right?

Comments here are disabled; please comment on the original post.

Beware who you befriend on the Internet.

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Not all ACON blogs or bloggers are “safe.” On another blog, which I will not name, my character is being ripped apart and an article I posted which was one of my most honest and vulnerable ones is being used as fodder for the attack. In this abusive post, my character is being cruelly compared with golem (a type of demon). There was no instigation for this attack, since I have made no references at all to this other blogger, their blog, or their friends’ blogs in in over a year. The attack just came out of the blue. Interesting that a post was chosen where I was at my most vulnerable. Isn’t this what narcissists do? The hypocrisy is staggering.

Someone also tried to send me a virus in my email yesterday. I wonder if there is any connection? Hmmmm.

Here’s a little background. About a year ago, I was mobbed and my character ripped to shreds on a few blogs (not WordPress blogs, fortunately) because of a disagreement with a blogger who I had thought was a friend. Boy, was I wrong. This person is part of a tight clique of bloggers who may well have suffered horrendous childhood abuse (no one could make up the stories they tell), but if you have the slightest disagreement with any of them, you will be added to their shit list. You will be called names, vicious lies will be told about you, and you will be accused of doing things they themselves are doing (projection). They are so angry and bitter they can only see in black and white, never any shades of grey. Their rage has turned them into the very thing they hate the most and they are incapable of seeing their own narcissism and abusive behavior. Or they just don’t care. They are wolves in sheeps’ clothing, but claim to be anything but.

I was thinking about just ignoring the post and saying nothing, but why should I? Why should I let this dangerous person intimidate me? Why should I not warn others? I only wish I had paid attention to the red flags early on (or seen them). I know better now. I won’t name these blogs or this particular blogger here, but here are some things to watch out for. If you see a blog that does any of the following, do not comment or get involved with that blog. If you must read that blog, read it as a lurker.

I am setting my other blog to private for now because that’s the source of the article that fueled this sneak attack.

Does the blog you read belong to a narcissist or abuser?

1.  Black and white thinking: they preach hatred and demonize a certain group of people (in this case narcissists) as being ALL bad or ALL evil ALL the time. Sure, some narcs may be *close* to 100% bad, but the seething black hatred that never seems to end is not merely a red flag, it’s a flashing neon sign.

2.  Cultishness: no tolerance for disagreement; they launch ad hominem and personal attacks on commenters who have the audacity to disagree with them;  dismiss the writers of critical (not abusive) comments as “trolls”

3.  Religion is used to shame, intimidate, and threaten (if you don’t believe *whatever* you are going to burn in Hell, etc.)

4.  If applicable, dwell on how they were abused and how they continue to suffer, without seeming to ever grow or change or learn anything about themselves from the experience.

5.  Paranoid and hypervigilant, suspecting everyone who disagrees with them or displeases them in some way as being narcissists or even sociopaths. (Yes, I have been called a sociopath by this group).

6.  Quick to project their own abusiveness onto others

7.  Never seem to take responsibility or admit when they’ve been wrong.

8.   Continue their vicious attacks even after the “danger” has passed (I haven’t had any dealings or made any mention of this blogger or their minions in over a year). This is just plain bullying.

9.   They use information you have given them (or that they have found out) against you or twist it around into a lie. If you have posted something where you admit vulnerability, expect that to be used against you later on.

10.  Usually have allies (flying monkeys) who appear out of nowhere to assist in the abuse when you have offended one member of the group and they have decided you’re an Enemy. May be part of a tight clique of other bloggers or hangers on.

11.   You just feel uncomfortable commenting or being honest on that blog or you feel somehow intimidated or judged — listen to your intuition: it’s telling you something.

Here’s a very good article about these types of online bullies:
22 Signs of Online Destructive Narcissists in Forums and Online Communities

How to deal with haters and critics.

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I want to reblog this excellent article about how to deal with haters and critics.  Every blogger has them, especially if they write anything besides recipes or decorating ideas (and those bloggers probably have haters too).

I’m a people pleaser.  I hate being hated.   When I’m criticized, I clam up and shrink into the walls.  As a person who writes about sensitive topics,  I’ve occasionally had run ins with people who did not like what I had to say.   At one point I nearly stopped blogging because of my hurt feelings.  But why should I do that?  Why should I let one or two judgmental people intimidate me and silence me?  I’ve been silenced and intimidated all my life.  Writing about my feelings and making them public has been one of the most healing things I’ve ever done for myself.   How insane would I have to be to allow a few malcontents I’ve never met and know nothing about to silence me?  Pretty insane.  The only person who can silence me is me.

This quote in particular really stood out to me and from now on I’m going to think about this whenever I hesitate to post something I really want to post, just because someone out there might not like it:

Criticism and negativity from other people is like a wall. And if you focus on it, then you’ll run right into it. You’ll get blocked by negative emotions, anger, and self-doubt. Your mind will go where your attention is focused. Criticism and negativity don’t prevent you from reaching the finish line, but they can certainly distract you from it.

However, if you focus on the road in front of you and on moving forward, then you can safely speed past the walls and barriers that are nearby.

Haters and Critics: How to Deal with People Judging You and Your Work

By James Clear

It doesn’t matter how you choose to live your life — whether you build a business or work a corporate job; have children or choose not to have children; travel the world or live in the same town all of your life; go to the gym 5 times a week or sit on the couch every night — whatever you do, someone will judge you for it.

For one reason or another, someone will find a reason to project their insecurities, their negativity, and their fears onto you and your life, and you’ll have to deal with it.

With that in mind, let’s talk about being judged and criticized. And just for fun, I’ll share some of the most hateful comments I’ve received on my articles. And more importantly, the strategies I use to deal with them.

Here’s what I’ve learned about dealing with the people who judge you, your work, and your goals.

The Biggest Critic in Your Life

It’s easier to complain about the outside critics, but the biggest critic in your life usually lives between your own two ears. Working up the courage to move past your own vulnerability and uncertainty is often the greatest challenge you’ll face on the way to achieving your goals.

When I started my first business, it wasn’t the criticism from outsiders that held me back. It was my own mind worrying that people would think I was a loser because I skipped getting a “real job” to “start some website.” I didn’t tell most of my friends about what I was doing for almost a year because I was so worried about what they would think about it.

When I started writing, it wasn’t the hurtful comments from readers that prevented me from getting started. It was my own fears about what they would think if I wrote about the things I cared about. I wrote my ideas in a private document for a year before I worked up the courage to start sharing them publicly.

Those are just two examples of the types of internal fears and criticism that so often prevent us from getting started on our goals. It can take a lifetime to learn that just because people criticize you doesn’t mean they really care about your choice to do something different. Usually, the haters simply criticize and move on. And that means that you can safely ignore them and continue doing your thing.

But that is easier said than done because we all like to be validated. Some people like it more than others, but everyone wants to be respected and appreciated to some degree. I certainly do. I know that whenever I choose to take a risk and share my work with the world, I wonder about what my friends will think, what my family will think, and how the people around me will see me because of that choice. Will this help my reputation? Will this hurt my reputation? Should I even be worrying about my reputation?

Especially with writing, these questions created an internal struggle for me.

On one hand, I believed in myself and I knew that I wanted to contribute something to the world around me. But on the other hand, I was scared that people wouldn’t approve of my work and would criticize me when I started sharing the things I cared about or believed.

I’ve written previously about the challenge of putting yourself out there by saying, “You can either be judged because you created something or ignored because you left your greatness inside of you.”

Eventually, I decided that it was more important to contribute something to the world than it was to protect myself from criticism.

Read the rest of this article here.

Being firm with spammers.

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Yesterday I had a new commenter who I must have hit a nerve with one of my posts. Some of you probably know what I’m talking about. He or she comments IN ALL CAPS, says their keyboard is stuck but I don’t believe it. This person proceeded to comment all day, saying pretty much the same thing over and over. The comments were poorly written and made little sense. He or she implied that I was stupid because I didn’t understand what they were saying. I doubt anyone else did, though.

Now I’m a pretty tolerant person, and usually allow comments that don’t agree with my posts, even to the point where the comments become trollish. I find it hard to say “NO” and not approve or delete comments that constitute as troll posts or spam. Setting good boundaries has always been a problem for me. But at this point, I feel like this site is being violated, and these continuous unreadable comments are flooding my inbox and this blog.

For awhile I stopped replying or “Liking” these nonstop comments but continued to approve them (“don’t feed the trolls”), but that didn’t stop them from coming. Whoever this is seems to be on some sort of crusade–for what, I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter. I had about eight more of these comments waiting for me this morning. Finally I replied saying that if they continued I was going to have to delete them, because they are distracting to the main content of this board and could run off my regular readers.

I apologize to the rest of my visitors who may have been put off by this spammer or afraid to comment themselves. I need to work on setting firmer boundaries, and I’m starting right here, right now. NO MORE OF THESE ALL CAPS SPAM COMMENTS will be approved. To you, SPAMMER, go spew your badly written vitriol somewhere else.