Tag Archives: Rush Limbaugh

People Who Enjoy Making Others Feel Crappy About Themselves

Have you ever argued with someone who makes you feel crappy about yourself for the views you espouse? I call these types of people “Admiralbills.” Admiralbill was my old nemesis from the now defunct message board called “Sistertrek.” He had a personality type I have observed in all corners of the internet, talk radio and conservative cable news.

Typical examples of the Admiralbill personality type include Ann Coulter, Michael Voris, Anchormom, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. This personality type is almost always conservative although there are some liberal examples. Bill Maher comes to mind. The liberals tend to be atheists interestingly enough. The conservative ones long for a return to a more virtuous era, blaming change and liberalism for the downfall of civilization.

The reason the Admiralbills of the world make you feel crappy is they make their points by shaming their opponents. They label their opponents weak, lazy, stupid dishonest with the implication that you are possessed by these same qualities if you agree with them. Admiralbills are bullies and try to intimidate their opponents into admitting they are correct or otherwise giving in to their point of view.

Admiralbills are unforgiving. They will use any olive branch their opponents offer against them as evidence of guilt.

Another interesting trait shared by many within this personality type (mostly the conservative ones) is that they talk in clichés. They typically have a snappy, prefabricated phrase always at the ready with which to label their opponents. Perhaps this technique makes it easier for them to remember their arguments. It seems a little intellectually lazy; almost a technique to avoid thinking in an Orwellian sense. Once an opponent is labeled they become that label and cease to be a person deserving respect in the eyes of an Admiralbill.

Admiralbills subscribe to a shame based morality structure. They believe shame is what keeps civilization intact. If someone is not pulling their weight or otherwise acting immoral they deserved to be shamed. What the Admiralbills of the world do not seem to realize is that their motivation to shame other people is not virtuous as they would like to believe but is really only a replaying of the shaming they received when their own morality structure was imposed upon them. They possess a loyalty to this system of shame and often become enraged when this system is challenged. Challenging this system touches the very core of their sense of self and has to be protected at all costs. They view the people who challenge this system as literally trying to destroy their world. This is why there can be no compromising with Admiralbills. Compromise destroys their world and the people who seek to compromise are traitors and terrorists.

This system of shame is passed on to others by shaming them. When a person is shamed they will instinctively want to shame other people because this lessens their own shameful feelings momentarily. It is a primitive, dominating instinct like dogs humping dogs and prisoners humping prisoners. But like an addiction the desire to shame other people can never be fully satiated. In this way shame repeats itself over and over and spreads like a virus from one host to another.

How do I know all this? Because I was once one of them. I was trapped in the shame dynamic. I was miserable but I did not want to see past it because shame had convinced me that to challenge shame is disloyal and treasonous. Breaking out of this dynamic was an eye-opening and liberating experience. It all starts with awareness of the cycle. With awareness the burning desire to pass along shame begins to diminish. There is more to it but that is the start.


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Trolling Methods

Admiralbill (my nemesis on the Sistertrek message board) had many, easy buttons I knew how to push that would easily bait him into an argument.  All of his buttons revolved around the fact that he was a rabid, George W. Bush defending, Fox News watching, Rush Limbaugh listening, conservative Republican.  The following is a list of those buttons:

1.         I would post a news article that tended to put the Republican / Conservatives in a bad light.  I would add no comments but simply sit back and watch the debate unfold.  This was obviously intended to push Admiralbill’s buttons but I could always argue that I thought the article was interesting and might stimulate a healthy political discussion.  It had the effect of putting him on the defense because he felt compelled to respond to it.

2.         I would then keep him tired and on the defensive.  I did this by responding quickly and concisely.  In general (not just with Admiralbill) when I did post commentary I would keep it short and only address one particular point.  I always found it funny when other posters got so worked up over something and took the time to write a long drawn out diatribe responding to every single point in a previous post.  I would just choose one point to refute or agree with.  This had the effect negating all the work the diatribe attempted to make.  I conserved my energy with small posts that took me ten minutes to craft they exhausted themselves with long ones that took an hour.  The longer they take to respond, the more rest I have and the more agitation they felt to get a response out.

3.         I usually asked questions in my responses.  This also put Admiralbill on the defensive because he felt compelled to respond to a direct question and the question framed his response.  Thus he never set the tone because he was always responding to the tone I set.  These questions also had the effect of pissing him off.  I naturally asked questions to begin with not thinking this was strategy but once I realized he did not like it I did it more.

4.         If Admiralbill accused me of baiting or trolling I would always deny, deny, deny.  This is probably the most important tip for any would be troll out there.  Nothing angers other posters more than when someone refuses to recognize the obvious.  Instead, I would argue that I had no intent to bait but rather to stimulate interesting and civil debate which he was ruining by resorting to personal attacks rather than addressing the issues.  I also specifically stated at times that I did not want Admiralbill to respond in specific threads to avoid conflict.  Of course this had the intended opposite effect.

5.         I definitely had my share of enemies who sided with Admiralbill or saw me as a trouble-maker but I also cultivated allies on the board who could take some heat off me if I was boxed into a corner.  Then when Admiralbill focused on the other guy I could attack back and undermine him.  Even if a person has the moral high ground, it is difficult to get frustrated if two or more people are against that person on a message board.


Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

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Conservatives are Shame-Based

I voted for George W. Bush in 2000 because I was turned off by the Clinton administration after the Monica Lewinski Scandal.  I became politically conservative after graduating college in 1993.  At the time I felt very ashamed because I was unable to find the type of job I thought I should have as a college graduate.  I finally settled for a job driving a truck.  Because of my shame, I was easily indoctrinated by Rush Limbaugh who I listened to every day on the road.  What he said made sense to me.  This country is in decline and it is the fault of the over sensitive, politically correct, socialist liberals.  Now I can see how shame-based people are naturally attracted to this type of conservative philosophy.  Shame-based people feel ashamed about their situation.  Because shame feels bad it must be dealt with in some way.  Most shame-based people choose to deal with shame by shaming other people.

This is why the conservatives are so venomous in the way they criticize so-called liberals.  It has nothing to do with the love of freedom although they cloak it in that language.  This, by the way, is another marker of a shame-based person; the need to hide their real motives.  Shame-based people do this because they think if their real motives were viewed by the world they would be judged harshly for them.

On September 11th 2001 I remember waiting for the bus I took to work and hearing someone say that a plane had hit the world trade center.  I did not think it was anything serious.  When I got to work on the 54th floor of the Bell Atlantic Tower a lot of people were watching a TV set up in the conference room. I saw the smoke pouring out of one of the towers.  I remember sitting in my cubicle listening to the Howard Stern Show describe the events unfolding from Manhattan.  By midday people in my office started going home.

I remember the days after 9/11 I felt nervous for George W. Bush when he gave speeches.  It never seemed like he was fully in command of the language.  I felt nervous that he would make a mistake and say the wrong thing.  At the same time I rooted for him.  He was the president I voted for and I identified with him.  He had a successful father who’s name he share and in who’s shadow he stood all his life.  He did not seem as smart, capable or confident as his father but here he was finally put in the spotlight and given an opportunity to prove himself and I wanted him to succeed.  I wanted him to succeed because in him I saw myself.  I had not yet been put in the spotlight but someday I might find myself there.

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Flower Truck

Eventually I found a job doing “light industrial” work for a wholesale flower distributor in Southington, Connecticut called Nyren Brothers.  At the time I was willing to take any job just to get out of the house.  The duties involved driving a truck around the state of Connecticut delivering boxes of flowers to retail flower shops.

The first day I arrived wearing khakis and a button down shirt.  I felt overdressed and out-of-place as if the people working there were judging me thinking I was a rich kid who could not handle the work.  They assigned this Puerto Rican guy named Noel to train me.  He was a small guy in a football jersey with dark hair and a mustache.  Noel showed me a route delivering to about twenty shops. In the morning we got a list of shops that placed orders.  We would have to order the shops in the order they would fall along the route then load the truck putting the boxes for the shop we would deliver to last in first and continuing in reverse order.  That way the boxes we needed would be easy to get to. I sat next to him in the cab as he drove and took notes on how to get to each shop.  He was a nice guy and I liked him a lot.  I did not feel judged by him.

I remember getting up early in the morning before the sun rose (especially in the winter).  The headlights in my rear view mirror cast this hypnotizing glare that made me feel like I was falling asleep at the wheel.  It was only through sheer willpower that I stayed on the road.

After two weeks of riding with Noel I was put out on my own.  I loaded the truck myself and made the deliveries.  I enjoyed being out on the road by myself all day long listening to the radio. I listened to the Collin McEnroe show in the morning.  At noon I listened to Rush Limbaugh and in the afternoon I listened to All Things Considered on NPR.  I brought a lunch and ate while driving.  Noel encouraged me to stop somewhere and relax at lunchtime and that seemed like a good idea but I never did.  I took pride in my increased knowledge of the different routes in Connecticut.  I also took pride in my ability to handle a truck in the snow.

Each shop had its own personality.  Some owners were nice and some were snobbish.  There was the beautiful Swedish woman with a small shop in Suffield.  There was the run down shop in Hartford owned by an African-American guy named Jesse who we would only accept cash from.  There was a shop in West Hartford where this girl took an interest in me.  She would slip me notes when I made deliveries.  One time she stopped by Nyren Brothers before I left on my route and put a small art project under my windshield wiper with her phone number on it.  I called her but told her I had a girlfriend who at the time I thought I should be loyal to.  Looking back on it, I wish I took advantage of that opportunity.

Some of the shops were in urban areas.  I remember breaking off the side mirrors of cars because I drove the truck too close.  That happened a couple of times but I never stopped.  I feel bad about it but the job was complicated enough. One time I made a delivery to a shop in downtown Greenwich, a town famous for its wealthy residents.  This one particular shop was on a street that went downhill with diagonal parking spaces on the sides.  It was difficult to find a parking space near the shop most days but sometimes I got lucky.  On this particular day there was a spot right in front the shop.  As I pulled in, an older woman tried to pull in on my right side and my truck scraped her car.  As soon as I felt contact I stopped the truck and got out to take a look.  She was an aggressive type and immediately blamed me for the accident.  A police officer came and looked.  I remember her car was and old BMW and her bumper was held on with duct tape.  The cop seemed to take her side.  The woman was dressed to suggest that she was a rich person living in Greenwich even though her car was beat up.

The funny thing was that in this situation I felt like they all looked at me as the rough around the edges, ignorant, working class kid driving a truck.  Back at Nyren Brothers I felt like they all looked at me like an over privileged rich kid.  There was no place that I felt at home.  I always felt in the wrong place with everyone judging me negatively.  My intentions were always to avoid looking like the bad guy but I always felt like everyone looked at me that way.  My therapist would tell me later this was the energy from my parents that I bonded to as a young child.  I was wrong no matter what I did.

After a few more weeks I started working with this guy named Pokey chopping flowers in the large, refrigerated area before driving my delivery route.  Flowers arrived in boxes from Holland or Venezuela or Columbia packed in ice.  We would take them out, chop off the ends and put them in buckets of cold water with a powder called “Floral Life” to preserve them.  In the mornings the flower shops placed their orders with the sales people who then packed boxes with the flowers Pokey and I prepared.  Pokey was a talkative guy with a skin condition called Lupus that made his face red in patches.  There were these flowers that emitted a strong, sweet fragrance when chopped called tuberoses.  Pokey would always joke that you could fart all you wanted when you cut tuberoses.  I learned the names of all the different types flowers we worked with.  My cousin thought that was cool, but I thought that I really did not know anything about the flowers other than their names so it was not all that great.

Having steady work and a place to be during the day allowed my humiliation to ebb a little.  I still felt humiliation anytime someone asked me what I did for a living and avoided that subject during conversations.  My father would frequently ask me if I was going to look for a different job and that always made me feel anxious.  Underneath I felt humiliated because I was doing manual labor as a college graduate.  Further, the work did not pay me enough to move out of my parents’ house.  When I was younger I always felt like there was more time to turn things around.  I would not always be the last kid picked for the kickball team and things would work out for me eventually.  But at this point in my life I began to panic that maybe they never would.

In the truck, listening to the radio all day I was introduced to Rush Limbaugh.  I identified with what he was saying.  Conservative outrage seemed to make sense to me.  Liberals were to blame because the economy was not good enough for a college graduate to find decent work.  It was high taxes, the entitlement state and over-regulation that did not allow businesses to thrive.  This was the reason there were no good jobs for me like there were when my parents graduated from college.  Liberals and political correctness were to blame.

Almost every weekend I drove up to Boston to be with my girlfriend who was still attending college.  I got the idea in my head that I wanted to go to law school because she said that she wanted to do that.  Also, it made sense.  My father was a lawyer and I could follow in his footsteps and then he would be proud of me.  I studied for the LSATs and did well on the practice exams.  On the day of the test I had such a bad stomach ache that I winced in pain as I took the test.  When I received my scores I did not get into any of the schools that I applied to except Loyola in New Orleans where I was wait listed. I was depressed and felt hopeless but maybe the stomach-ache were my body telling me something that my mind did not want to hear.

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