I have an addictive personality. I think this is common among people who have shame-based personalities because to a shame-based person there is generally no escape from shame. In the shame-based mind there exists a constant criticizing voice. This criticizer (the super ego) criticizes both the self and the outside world. To the shame-based person these two aspects of the criticizer seem separate. In fact, they are one and the same. The self is constantly at fault and the world is constantly acting against the self. With shame, the self criticizes the self as an attempt to align the self with the outside world in order to be accepted. Ironically, this self-criticism only perpetuates the self’s isolation and alienation from the outside world. This dynamic also demonstrates the fractured and conflicted nature of the shame-based mind. The shame-based mind hates itself for being flawed. It also hates the outside world for shaming it. At the same time it wishes to be accepted and loved by the outside world even though it feels unjustly persecuted by the outside world.
This isolation and self-criticism feels bad both mentally and physically. It can manifest itself in anxiety, depression, irritation, a lack of energy and a general dissatisfaction with life. In the moment this feeling can only be tolerated for so long before the self (the ego and the limbic system) seeks to shelter itself. This is where addictions fit in. Drugs, alcohol, skin picking, pornography, masturbation and internet trolling all act to distract the self from the psychological pain caused by shame and self-criticism. This distraction is a short-term fix but while the fix is working it works well. Soon after, however, the criticizer reemerges and now has something new with which to criticize the self. This time the criticism is shame for giving into addiction. And so the cycle continues. The shame builds up until it is intolerable and the mind seeks its addictions to quell the shame and so on.
Because the internet troll is shame-based, he takes particular delight in shaming other people. This is his revenge against the world that has unjustly persecuted him. He criticizes other people for their religion, their politics or personal habits. At least in part, the troll sees himself as being in the right because to a shame-based person civilization is upheld through shame because in his way of thinking, shame is the only thing that will cause a bad person to act lawfully and appropriately. When a troll lobs an effective zing that shames another person there is a moment of exhilaration. This is the payoff but this is typically followed by shame for being a troll and not being able to control his behavior (giving in to addiction). Often other people on the message board or comment section gang up on the troll. This exacerbates the troll’s feeling of shame. At this point the troll will swear off trolling in his mind but eventually the urge to troll will reemerge and the addictive cycle repeats itself. It is important to note that the troll will often talk as if his point of view is very well thought out and he is crusading for the truth or some such. In fact, the motivation to troll is only the addictive, short-term rush he gets from shaming another person. The troll’s personal beliefs are ultimately secondary.
Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.