Tag Archives: Self-Image

Things I Learned Dealing With a Troll

picThe key aspect of trolling is a lack of impulse control. The true troll cannot help responding to a post or comment he (or she but I suspect most likely he) interprets as insulting or morally incorrect according to his troll sensibilities. This lack of impulse control indicates that the troll is addicted to his behavior. That is, the reward neural pathways in his brain have developed through previous trolling behavior to the extent where it is very difficult for him to resist the urge. From this perspective, trolling is a legitimate mental disorder.

In addition to this lack of impulse control is an ignorance of his true motivations. He wants to believe that he is “opposing evil” but in reality he is truly motivated to get that endorphin rush his brain releases when he judges other people. It is this endorphin rush that creates the addictive behavior. Along with this chemical reinforcement, psychologically, by judging other people he makes himself feel better about himself by placing his self image hierarchically above the object of his judgment.

It seems self-evident that this need to improve his self image proceeds from the reality that his self image is unacceptably low. In other words he suffers from a lack of self esteem that he needs to rectify along with, most likely, a great deal of shame. Paradoxically this personality type is often associated with an over inflated ego to compensate.

Given this nexus of shame and ego it is not surprising that this personality type typically falls prey to ideologies he can use to inflate his ego and deflate his shame at the expense of others. The ego delights in comparing the self to others. As such, hierarchical ideologies can be particularly appealing to this mind type. Racial ideologies seem to be an obvious choice to make as an obvious and extremely basic point of comparison.

In the real world, the shame based egoist loves wearing a uniform displaying his rank. The Nazis and Ku Klux Klan come to mind as blatant examples.  Behind the safety of this shield he can feel free to judge others. By contrast, in the virtual world of the internet, the anonymity of message boards and comment sections of blogs serves a similar protective purpose. His rank in this instance, must be displayed through bullying and belligerence against those whom he judges.

I bring all this up for three reasons. The first reason is that I understand the mindset. I used to troll a message board because I felt I had been wronged by some of its members. At the time I felt very much like I was fighting the good fight but I now see that my true motivation was that I wanted to make those I felt wronged me feel the shame they made me feel. The second reason is that I have recently had the insightful experience of being trolled by a person who has been for the last year or so trolling my blog. His comments are legion. Feel free to look at other posts to see what I mean. The experience of being trolled has now given me the perspective of seeing this behavior from both sides. I truly feel like I have come to a more rounded understanding of what trolling is really about. At its heart it is a mental disorder and is not a pleasant place to exist. The troll mindset is obsessed. He is constantly thinking of new arguments to make and the next chance he can seize to shame his enemy (with the same shame he, himself is tortured with). It is an anxiety-ridden, dark and evil place to exist. I do not wish this on anyone, not even the troll in my comment section. This leads me to my third reason why I bring all this up. That reason being it is my intention to cease my communication with him on my blog going forward.

I wish to cease communication with him on my blog because it is an evil and negative business. It is evil because it is based in shame on both sides. Both of us are trying to shame the other both for the shame each of us has already inflicted upon the other and because of all the previous shame that has been inflicted upon us that the present shame calls forth. Accordingly, to continue with this behavior is to feed its energy and to make it grow. That is not what I want to do and so I will not do so anymore on this blog.

Accordingly, any comment he makes on this blog going forward will be deleted. There is a part of me that gets a charge out of trading barbs with him. But this charge is the endorphin rush of trolling that I described. Giving into this charge and acting on it repeatedly forges those neural pathways that give rise to addiction. I can pretend that I engage him because it amuses me but this only makes me like him and I do not want to be like him. The only difference is that I am aware of the dynamic at work and he apparently is not. That is why it is my moral responsibility to be the one to end this interaction on my blog.

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Dialog with a [W]hite Supremacist Part IV

It seems to me that it gratifies my white Supremacist’s ego to place himself in a position where he can look down upon, judge and shame other people. When I asked him if this was the case he became hostile.

That’s an interesting question for the mindset it seeks to project,” he said. “There is first the assumption that I CAN think in your terms… An assumption that all think in those terms. But, there is an implicit message in your question that says winstonScrooge does not ‘think’ like this…

I’m not sure what it is he is claiming not to be able to think in terms of. He surely cannot be claiming that he is not able to judge other people? He calls himself a “white Supremacist.” Does this label not outright claim a superiority (or at least the intent to have superiority) over other people? As for assuming all people thinking in terms of judging other people, I know many do but I certainly do not think all do. As for me claiming or implying that I do not judge other people, I do not make this claim and it is not my intention to imply this either.

I do try not to judge other people in most cases. I recognize that most judging of other people comes from a place of shame which is usually brought about by being judged and shamed by someone else. In other words, when a person judges or shames another person he usually does so because he suffers from a negative self-image and seeks to alleviate this feeling by making someone else have a negative self-image of themselves. This motivation is largely unconscious when acted upon. It is the ego at the helm in those instances. But of course Mr. white Supremacy will never admit to this (probably even if he believed it to be true).

Moving on. Then he made the following accusation: “This is your manner of radical autonomy. You impose a mindset on the masses that you are happily free from thus maximizing your autonomy in relation to the world.”

I asked him how he thinks I am imposing a mindset on anyone. After all, I write a blog that has gets 5 hits a day on average (not counting those coming from my white Supremacist reader). If this is my mouthpiece I fail to see how this influences, let alone imposes a mindset on the “masses.”

He responded, “By believing that your questions were comprehensible in the first place. Your question is in the form of ‘when’s the last that you beat your wife?’ My answer is feigned ignorance. I don’t understand your question. I know of [no] such ‘ego’ that you speak of? Can you articulate your question in a more concise and understandable way?

I am not sure what questions he is referring to. I think my questions are far more comprehensible than his inscrutable tirades. I don’t see how my asking him to tell me how he think I am imposing a mindset on anyone is like asking him about the last time he beat his wife when he directly accused me of “imposing a mindset on the masses.” I think he actually believes his writing is perfectly logical and straight forward and that I am merely feigning ignorance (as implied by his comment “My [meaning his] answer is feigned ignorance.”

Perhaps this is the impasse. He thinks I am being dishonest with him when I am actually trying to understand him. But he gets offended when I try to get him to clarify his argument. He reminds me a great deal of Admiralbill in this regard.

To be continued…

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