The trolls made me afraid of how they’d misuse my abuse stories
It’s not just me: This group has been harassing various people for MONTHS. And now they’ve been screwing with me for no reason at all.
This is a site about abuse. It contains details of abuse and manipulation, in order to help others recognize abuse and manipulation in their own lives. I consider the details of my story to be necessary to the public record, which is why I keep them up despite their nature. I also include details of things I know were my own missteps, because I believe my readers need to be able to trust I’m telling the truth. I’m shining a light on abuse instead of keeping it locked up tight.
But it works best if everything is read together, in context, not bits and pieces picked out and turned into something to criticize or jeer at. These trolls have got me frightened of what they’re up to next, wondering why they’re so eager to dig up stuff about me (my abuse stories etc.), and what they’re doing with it.
Maybe–based on their searches and a comment one made on my blog–they want to say, “Hey, look what else the catfish did.” Or, “Look at this gullible person who became another catfish victim.” Except…That’s not what happened. I’ve never been a victim of a catfish, and certainly not their favorite alleged catfish. I had no interest in getting lured in. I just wanted to give the guy a chance to tell his side of the story.
This is the kind of thing that shuts up abuse victims. And yet the trolls claim to somehow be defending the alleged victims of the alleged catfish. I think some also claim to be victims, though I’m not sure.
Who am I to these trolls? Why are they doing this to me?
It is, by the way, the biggest reason why I tend to believe the alleged catfish’s story that he is really a man and not a catfish. True victims don’t behave like this cyber lynch mob. Many of you are victims of abusers and sociopaths and know how such people can get when they band together. Rather, this group behaves exactly like the group the alleged catfish’s alleged victim originally claimed was going after her and harassing her. I think they are the same people.
I wanted to spend this weekend watching Wagner operas, reading, and working on my novel, since I came up with some more ideas. I want to play with my new Twitter. This has derailed my creativity because I can’t concentrate when I’m spending every hour scanning for trolls to block. And I have responsibilities.
I deleted one of the trolls from my blog’s e-mail subscriptions, after discovering I can do that. I had to turn off the setting that automatically publishes my posts to Twitter, because it just brings them back in. Hopefully I can soon turn it back on. For now, the trolls are mostly blocked, and doing most of their peeking with the Wayback Machine and Google caches. But I’ve seen some of the things they’re looking at in the Wayback Machine [I believe these were sensitive parts of my stories of narcissistic abuse], and wonder why they’re so interested in those particular pages.
Some stuff I found:
Kashmir Hill’s How To Keep Internet Trolls And Harassers From Winning:
The common refrain is that this is the price we pay for being online, that the cost of free speech is ugly speech. Citron says that argument ignores the speech rights of those harassed. “I think we forget the expressive rights of the person who is being victimized, the speech rights of the person being silenced,” she says. “After the harassment, I stopped blogging about harassment for a while. I felt silenced and I backed off.”
Joel Stein’s How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet:
The people who relish this online freedom are called trolls, a term that originally came from a fishing method online thieves use to find victims. It quickly morphed to refer to the monsters who hide in darkness and threaten people. Internet trolls have a manifesto of sorts, which states they are doing it for the “lulz,” or laughs. What trolls do for the lulz ranges from clever pranks to harassment to violent threats. There’s also doxxing–publishing personal data, such as Social Security numbers and bank accounts–and swatting, calling in an emergency to a victim’s house so the SWAT team busts in. When victims do not experience lulz, trolls tell them they have no sense of humor. Trolls are turning social media and comment boards into a giant locker room in a teen movie, with towel-snapping racial epithets and misogyny.
…A 2014 study published in the psychology journal Personality and Individual Differences found that the approximately 5% of Internet users who self-identified as trolls scored extremely high in the dark tetrad of personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and, especially, sadism.
Though everyone knows not to feed the trolls, that can be challenging to the type of people used to expressing their opinions. Writer Lindy West has written about her abortion, hatred of rape jokes and her body image–all of which generated a flood of angry messages. When her father Paul died, a troll quickly started a fake Twitter account called PawWestDonezo, (“donezo” is slang for “done”) with a photo of her dad and the bio “embarrassed father of an idiot.” West reacted by writing about it. Then she heard from her troll, who apologized, explaining that he wasn’t happy with his life and was angry at her for being so pleased with hers.
West says that even though she’s been toughened by all the abuse, she is thinking of writing for TV, where she’s more insulated from online feedback. “I feel genuine fear a lot. Someone threw a rock through my car window the other day, and my immediate thought was it’s someone from the Internet,” she says. “Finally we have a platform that’s democratizing and we can make ourselves heard, and then you’re harassed for advocating for yourself, and that shuts you down again.”
This is why I don’t use my real name or picture on the Net. (I don’t even use a real name for my books.) This is why security on my site is locked up tight. This is why I often shut off comments on my site.
UPDATE 2020: I have proof that Sam is who he says he is, so the trolls can pound rocks. He’s opened up more online publicly and to me. I will NOT post private proofs here because it’s his business only to post these things and I will not violate his trust. But publicly he now has a podcast with his girlfriend (who I’ve verified is a real person–and that she has visited him).