With any luck – and a good following wind! – at least one Troll will read this and get a jolt!
Most of us who write in the public arena get visitations from Trolls (and, one assumes, Trollerinas). I tend to rant and rave and get all aggressive – verbally! – in return, or indulge in humorous scathe.
Sue Vincent, friend and fellow blogger, shows a far better response to Incursion by Irritating and Insulting Under the Bridge Dweller in her morning post. Do read it! It is brilliant! https://scvincent.com/2017/04/17/reaction/
Sadly, as we all know, Trolls are not just anonymous nuisances who prey upon our internet sites with their darting moves and grammatically incorrect persiflage and sheer unpleasantness. People we know can also hurt us with the Just-Hidden-Troll set of moves. They tend to have far higher IQs than the on-line variety and are very hard to catch because they claim that their poisonous asides and slighting comments are either a joke or a necessary tool to reduce our rampant egotism.
I was Trolled in real life a couple of years ago. It was horrible, really distressing, because the person concerned was, on paper at least, a friend of some years’ standing. Caustic comments flew my way, along with blatant attempts to exclude me. I was talked over. Anything I said became a battle of One-up-man-ship. Any opinion I gave was challenged and, most commonly, deemed wrong-headed and stupid. I was laughed at and made to feel like a complete coward. It was vile.
At the time, I was so busy fending off tears and blaming myself that it didn’t occur to me to ask the obvious questions: ‘Why me?’ and ‘Why now?’
Now, my contention may annoy some people reading this – but, hell, I am going there anyway! Trolls, in my opinion anyway, attack because they are envious. They seek to destroy that which they – secretly or overtly – wish they possessed. They are rarely able to access their own sense of low self-worth, often claiming that they know everything and have been everywhere. They are intensely competitive and can top anything you happen to mention with a far superior example.
Competitiveness often spikes the wheels even of the closest friendship. It is, however, usually managed and softened by self-awareness and genuine love of the other. We all feel lesser at times, and envy our friends their relative good luck, or money, or significant other (or whatever it is) – but the bond of friendship allows us to leap such feelings and prise out the genuine delight in another’s good fortune.
So, going back to my visible Troll, what had shifted things so that amity turned into a form of bullying? What had changed the status quo that year, that time? I say this because all connections exist in a state of balance – and fallings-out often occur when one member of the group appears to have risen far higher on the scales than the others.
Very simple answer to this one: I had published five novels. For some reason, this was seen as borderline unforgivable and certainly, I suspect, evidence of unacceptable big-headed-ness. I needed, of course, to be brought back down to earth and shown that I was less than nothing; that my achievements were small indeed and that this other was capable of far better.
It was a sustained and concentrated ‘attack’ upon my sense of self – and, for a while, it succeeded. I felt incredibly scared and got at and lower than the lowest creature. I began to see my five novels as examples of showing off and dubious talent.
But, once the clouds cleared and logic reasserted itself, I could see the Green-eyed Monster lurking all too prominently in the other’s soul. I could see that – comparatively speaking! – I, who had always played second fiddle in this connection, had been made the leader of the orchestra, albeit a very small local affair!
I do wonder this, however: What do people who indulge in constant nastiness to others tell themselves as justification? How do they square their consciences with such behaviour? Whether they are sneaking in at dead of night, and depositing a verbal turd upon the bed of a sleeping blogger or firing a snide-bomb at a known target, the same rules and motivation apply: They are unsheathing their claws because they feel, at some very deep level, inadequate; they feel that they are only safe if they come out on top – and, if that means destroying others along the way (or attempting such a course of action), so be it.
Trolls are cowards. All of them. You may be surprised by my use of this word because, surely, those who go on the attack are not afraid. Think again. Trolls go on the offensive because they are too cowardly to face their own envy and insecurity and lack of self-esteem. They attack because something in our relative success stirs the broth of jealousy and fear to such an extent that they cannot bear it any longer. They attack because, to them, our small joys and innocent pleasures are construed as a deliberate slight, and a battle for supremacy, to them – and they cannot stand it.