Tag Archives: Victimizer

Internet Trolling is Addictive

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.

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My Experience with Gestalt Therapy

I have experienced Gestalt therapy as a patient and that is the perspective from which I write.  In other words I am not a licensed Gestalt therapist nor have I received any formal training other than what I have learned from my therapist and what I have read on the subject.  For many years I attended a men’s group therapy sessions facilitated by two therapists trained in Gestalt body centered therapy.  After the group broke up I continued on with one of the therapists.  For what it’s worth, this is what I have learned.

I have learned to trust my feelings.  If I feel an emotion in my body it is there for a reason and it is never morally wrong or bad.  I think the root of my anxiety, depression and shame was the belief that my feelings were wrong.  I can remember being a teenager and feeling anger that my parents would not give me more freedom.  They responded by telling me my anger and the fact that I could not control my anger displayed how undisciplined and irresponsible I was.  My anger was wrong and if my anger was wrong by implication I was wrong as a person.  When a “wrong” feeling (like anger) presented itself I had to either deny it or bury it somehow.  That was how I learned to mature.  This requirement that I bury my emotions was the genesis of my addictive personality because I buried bad emotion with whatever addiction I had at my disposal.  Further, this inner conflict initially produced shame and anxiety which eventually turned into depression, anger and grief.  My therapist would always ask me, “what would you have to feel if such and such happend?” as a means of getting me to acknowledge and accept my natural feelings before the urge to deny or bury them took over.

I have learned about “the vicitimizer.”  This is a concept similar to the Freudian “super-ego” in that it is my inner voice that makes me feel ashamed either by criticizing what I am doing in the present, causes me to remember embarrassing situations in the past or makes me anticipate and fear embarrassing situations in the future (all of which trigger the feeling of humiliation).  However, the victimizer is much more vindictive than the Freudian super-ego.  The victimizer is the embodiment of abusive energy from my parents that I bonded to as a child.  When my parents told me I was wrong for feeling the way I did I took that energy into the energy of my body and there it remained all my life.  When I feel the urge to shame my children for little things like having a messy room as I was shamed I recognize it as old bonding.  Through Gestalt therapy I purged this bonding a little at a time and took on new, non judgmental bonding.

I have learned that I am a shame-based person.  That is how I defined myself.  Every situation I encounter is a new possibility to be humiliated in some way.  For a long time I saw a  therapist who was more cognitive behavioral / client driven in practice.  We sat and talked for many years.  I have no doubt that he was an honest and compassionate person but this was not the therapy I needed to move out of being a shame-based person.  He commented that I experienced a “lack of entitlement”.  This is true but we never progressed past that.  Gestalt therapy is driven by the therapist.  There is a path to follow and the therapist has the answers.  Unlike client driven therapy which I assume was designed for me to stumble upon the answer myself in due time.  I want to emphasize that I have nothing against the man as a therapist.  It’s just that Gestalt therapy is much more effective in the treatment of shame in my experience.

I have learned about the “Death Layer” which is an emotional place that holds my greatest fear and a place that I would never have gone had it not been for Gestalt therapy.  For me the death layer is humiliation.  This is a place I tried to avoid at all costs.   Although I never successfully avoided it because I experience humiliation all the time.  But I always experienced humiliation with my guard up and holding myself against it.  Through Gestalt therapy I learned to trust other people and to release my guard and descend into the death layer willingly.  By doing this I experienced the energy or feeling humiliation in front of my therapist and the men’s group I attended.  I learned that it was okay and that feeling did not mean my death (as some part of me whole heartedly believed).  My approach to this inmost cave was accomplished in small doses and took some time.  When I cross that barrier a well of grief that normally exists way below the surface is tapped.  To experience that in a supportive environment (as opposed to a judgmental environment) is both liberating and purging.  This is the path of Gestalt therapy.

I have learned that I have an inner child.  Inside me there is a child that does not trust anyone and expects to be humiliated and shamed at every turn.  This inner child does not even trust me because I have abandoned him every time I have ever been humiliated in my life.  Through Gestalt therapy I have learned to love and support myself when I experience humiliation.  I can be the adult for my inner child that was never there for me growing up.

I have learned that I was fucked with (not in a sexual sense) as a child by the people who were supposed to love me.  When I protested I was made to feel ashamed (ungrateful, selfish, undisciplined, weak).  There was this inner sense of loyalty that I had that made me choose to take the abuse and to agree with it in order to survive in this environment.  I have learned that the people who fucked with me enjoyed it.  I can see that in myself when I feel the urge to fuck with other people.  Again, this was the energy I bonded to.

This may all seem to be a very harsh judgment of my parents.  But they were simply acting in accordance with the bonding they received from their parents and so on down the line.  This is not written to condemn them.  Rather it is written to acknowledge that through Gestalt therapy I have found an effective treatment to break the chain.

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