Last night I wrote about Internet Trolls in this post: Trolls from the Sagas to the internet, and in the comments I got the idea for this post by my dear Blogfriend Singledust (Go on, click her name and visit with her, you’ll have a good time I’m sure! I always enjoy my visits on her blog)
Being trolled, bullied, harassed and generally badly treated can do great damage to your psyche, in some extreme cases the target ends his/her life. Every blog and article out there will tell you that the best way to handle trolls is by not feeding them, and I disagree. Because – the most extreme trolls will not stop even when not fed! And even if you quietly ignore them, they can still have a tremendous effect on your self-worth, your self-esteem, your psyche. BUT YOU CAN CHANGE THAT! (You might be so run down that you need professional help, and this post must under no circumstance be seen as a cure or as professional treatment at all. And if you are living in an abusive relationship; get out now! Get help! Get protection!)
As we all know, changing another person is impossible. But we can certainly change how we perceive that person. We can change what effect this person have on us! We can effectively stop the negative effect they have on us! And it’s not even hard. It’s quick. It’s free. And you can do it right now! This whole process will not take more than five minutes of your time, but you need to be somewhere where you can play sound, or put on a headset.
And no, this is not a holistic, homeopathic, supernatural, voodoo mumbo-jumbo thing, it is an effective psychological technique, and it cannot harm you in any way. In fact this is a Paul McKenna technique. OK, here goes:
Close your eyes, and envision your bully/troll/harasser, see them before your inner eye. If you have no image of this person, then just make up one in your mind, and make sure you associate it with the bully.
Take a quick stock on how this bully makes you feel.
Close your eyes again, and envision your bully once more while you listen to the following soundtrack (concentrate!):
Take a new stock on how this person makes you feel. I bet your perception of this person changed already.
This technique can also be used against annoying people, but I strongly advise against using this on your boss. Breaking out in full belly laugh every time you see your boss might turn out to be counterproductive in salary negotiations…
Depending on how deeply this person has affected you, you might have to repeat this technique. Just as it takes time to get run down, it also takes time to build yourself up again. What you are doing with this technique is to change the association you have in your mind of this person. It won’t stop them – but it will stop them from having any effect on YOU. When they no longer have an effect on you, you will finally be able to see just how ridiculous they are – and thus you enter a positive spiral. The more they troll, the more ridiculous you will perceive them. And the more ridiculous they are to you, the less of an impact they have on you. See what I mean?
Now to STOP a troll from trolling – that is harder. If you expose and ridicule, you might be perceived as a troll yourself, so if that is your chosen method, be very wary of your audience. Also dishing it back can be a double edged sword. One would think that a bully would be prepared to get a few stingers back, but the thing is – they are usually not! A boy that bullied me when I was a teen had the hurt written all over his face after I pointed out his slight speech impediment and told him to learn how to speak properly before ever speaking to me again. Was that mean of me? Undoubtedly. But it was effective. Years of bullying stopped by that one little sentence. All the teachers’ tactics about ignoring the bullies and turning the other cheek – that didn’t work. I say you hit them smart, you hit them good, and you hit them ONCE. Know your bully, learn their weak spot, and use it.
Another method I have good experience with is flooding. In a facebook group we rounded up all the active, positive users and we had a good go at our regular Troll. Everything the Troll wrote was picked apart by 20 users, and everything the Troll said was ridiculed by 20 people all at once. The Troll was not able to keep up at all. We never attacked the troll PERSONALLY, but we did attack his utterings. It was quite entertaining to see that the Troll’s inputs became more and more desperate by every entry. After a communal effort of 30 minutes, the Troll lurked away with its tail tucked in between its legs. We never saw him again.
Yes, my methods might be mean, but in a world where people are bullied into suicide, I say it’s them or us. Make sure you seek help if you feel the troll is posing a real threat to you and/or your loved ones. There are some sick f***s out there, for sure!
I will also take the opportunity to point out that someone disagreeing with you does not make them a troll. It is when they go off topic and attack you personally, and dish out random crap they have dreamed up in their sad, lonely minds, they qualify to the Troll title.
I think the most important thing to say to everyone that are the target of bullies and trolls, is that it is not your fault! You do not deserve to be treated badly! The bully/troll will try to make you think that you brought this on yourself, but that is a lie! There is only one to blame here – and that is the bully/troll! Not you! You are awesome!