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Twitter Is A Cesspool and I Am Tired Of Swimming In Excrement

No, this isn’t one of those “I’m leaving Twitter!” posts that are springing up everywhere lately.

I am not leaving Twitter (at least not at this point), but I am dramatically changing my own feelings about, behavior on, and relationship with Twitter.

A well-known (but infrequently followed) principle is that “You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself.” (After a brief search, I could not find the original source of this idea easily, but it’s darn good advice anyway).

Well, the same principle applies to myself and Twitter: I can’t change Twitter (nor the people on Twitter), but I can certainly change my relationship with Twitter (and the people on Twitter).

The main reason I am changing my interactions on Twitter is because I realized that I was letting all of the stress and drama suck up too much of my time, to the point of derailing me from my primary purpose, which is: to write to other Lesbians and about being a Lesbian.

I don’t need, nor even want, the approval of all of the Straightbians who are personally invested in the nonsensical and lesbophobic rhetoric that “any woman can become a Lesbian” nor the hetsplaining gender critical types who call us insulting terms like “gender non-conforming” while pretending to be supportive.

Also, as I have written about before, I truly think that Twitter somehow often brings out the very worst in people, myself included. The fast-paced, free-for-all Twitter environment, in combination with tons of strangers attempting to discuss complex, usually emotionally-charged, topics using limited characters and disjointed threads, frequently results in a frenzy of anger, insults, incoherence, rudeness, misunderstandings, etc.

That sad situation has always been the case, and has made me very wary of Twitter…but that’s not entirely what has precipitated my decision to change my relationship with Twitter.

Recently, I have become increasingly aware of a much more sinister trend on Twitter; one that Twitter is apparently quite fine with, by the way:

Someone (anyone!) can get angry at you, but instead of confronting you directly and dealing with that anger in a rational fashion, that person instead blocks you so you cannot see what they are saying (well, at least theoretically, anyway); then makes up and spreads utter defamatory lies about you, knowing you cannot reply to defend yourself; while encouraging/supporting others to do the same.

Of course, this behavior is certainly NOT limited to Twitter or even to social media in general. Stereotypical “mean girls”, in particular, have used lies, defamation, and exclusion as a tactic, probably since the dawn of humankind. But the advent of social media, particularly in a public situation such as Twitter, has magnified the damage that such sorry behavior can cause.

As you can probably guess, the reason I am writing this post is because this sordid scenario recently happened to myself and my wife, Dirt.

These lies include, but are not limited to:

  • One or both of us are purportedly actually males — and they reportedly have proof “on good authority”. (A+ for creativity, folks; but that’s a big fat F for basic research skills, truth, intelligence, reasoning, and logic).
  • We have allegedly stalked, harassed, and/or bullied these accusers on Twitter, “despite being blocked.” (Not only did this never happen, but anyone saying this clearly doesn’t know how Twitter works and sadly isn’t smart enough to find out before lying).
  • A “mob” of us (a couple is a “mob” now?) reportedly “attacked” one of these liars on “both Twitter and Facebook” “12 months ago”. (I’ve never even interacted with this particular lying accuser at all; furthermore, both of our Facebook accounts are private for family and friends only; and we very rarely even comment outside our own circle on FB. In other words…complete and utter bullshit).

Actually, such ridiculousness is probably still happening, but I am attempting to ignore it and to systematically block anyone who likes, retweets, comments, supports, follows, etc. the main perpetrator and her mean-girl posse.

The “old” me would have done a post about it, complete with screencaps of the actual lies with my (usually snarky) responses to refute the lies. I am keeping all of the screencaps, in case I need them in the future, but (at this point) I don’t plan on doing a post about it, nor do I plan to continue trying to defend myself here, on Twitter, or elsewhere.

Why?

The answer is simple: Because the lies being told about us are so ludicrous that anyone with an internet connection, rudimentary research skills, basic reading comprehension skills, a sufficient IQ, and even a modicum of logic/fairness could very quickly ascertain that what is being said about me and Dirt is completely untrue. Ergo, the liars and their sycophants are ALL revealing that their meanness and pettiness FAR outweigh their intelligence and common human decency.

Dirt’s and my true (Lesbian/female) identities have been revealed (long ago!), and both of our blogs plus our Twitter accounts are public, so everyone is welcome to do their own research to determine the veracity of the allegations.

In other words, anyone who is jumping on the BS bandwagon (either by simply blindly believing outright lies, or, even worse, contributing with additional lies) is not someone who I would want in my life anyway, even tangentially.

And everyone who continues to follow/support anyone who has said clearly mean-spirited, untrue, defamatory, insulting, hideous, and/or lesbophobic garbage about myself, Dirt, any of our friends, and/or Lesbians in general will be promptly blocked whenever I come across them.

Ditto for people who stand silently by and watch such debacles happen, while pretending to be supportive of us in private.

This is not a simple case of a “misunderstanding”; this is not even a case of an “argument” gone wrong.

No, this is a situation that involves outright lies of a defamatory nature; it’s a targeted attack designed to harass, insult, ostracize, discredit, defame, and harm myself and my wife.

And that is not okay by any stretch of the imagination. in any circumstance. Anyone with even the slightest iota of common decency would realize that, regardless of what you think about myself and/or Dirt…even if you HATE us:

It’s not okay to lie. It’s not okay to encourage others to attack; block; report; harass; defame; lie about (etc.) us (or anyone else, for that matter) based on such garbage.

And it’s also certainly not okay to insult our (or others’) physical appearances either. It’s not witty, it’s not decent, it’s not mature, it’s not smart, it’s not kind, and it’s most certainly NOT feminist. 

Do better. 

Even kindergarten students know that behavior is wrong.

You know that behavior is wrong.

Karma knows that behavior is wrong.

Both Dirt and I are resilient adults, and we are secure enough with ourselves to withstand such insults/lies (although, admittedly, it is certainly not pleasant to have to do so).

But: What if we weren’t resilient? What if we were young Lesbians, peer-pressured into believing the lies that we, as Lesbians, are “really men”? What if we were insecure, isolated, depressed, lonely, confused, and/or rejected by our families/communities for being Lesbians (as many Lesbians are)? What then? How would such a young Lesbian respond to the kind of bitter, venomous meanness and vile lies that we have been subjected to on Twitter?

Think about it. Just think about it. Please.

Here’s the (very obvious, already proven) thing: If anyone has an actual problem with either of us, or a question/concern they would like to approach us about, it is really easy to find us to reach out. When either of us is approached in a respectful manner, we always respond in a respectful manner. There are numerous examples of this fact, both public and private.

While both of us can admittedly be snarky, sarcastic, and/or even rude when we are treated with rudeness or disrespect, we have also both demonstrated repeatedly that we are willing to have respectful conversations about any of the topics we write/tweet about when we are approached directly and politely.

If you don’t believe me, look back at our tweets and replies to comments on our blog, which are all public. Or: Simply try it yourself to see how we respond.

Bottom line: Nobody needs to stoop to spreading lies and hatred…ever, for any reason. To do so says much more about the lying person’s (lack of) character than it says about any of her targets. I don’t want toxic people in my life and I don’t want any of their followers in my life either. So this is it for me. I would say “It’s been nice”, but I’d be lying, so I will just say “Goodbye” instead: Goodbye to meanness, goodbye to liars, goodbye to Straightbians, goodbye to hetsplainers, goodbye to hypocrites, goodbye to cowards, and goodbye to anyone who supports any of these in any way.

Assorted Straightbian Subtypes: Part 2: So Many ASSes

As a follow up to our previous post entitled Assorted Straightbian Subtypes: AKA the Seven ASSes, we wanted to follow up with 2 other subtypes of Straightbian, both of whom may likely have significant overlap with some of the previously described 7 subtypes.

Additionally, although this should go without saying, obviously it needs to be said anyway, based on comments we have received:

Of course, some just-plain-straight females (not Straightbian posers claiming to be Lesbian, but straight-up heterosexual females) may share characteristics that fall into one or more of these archetypes. That makes sense, since both just-plain-straight females and Straightbians share a VERY important characteristic: THEY ARE STRAIGHT, but always remember: we are never going to be talking about straight women unless they are impacting upon Lesbians in some way

So, before you comment, “I know a straight female who likes Tarot”, please stop and remember that unless she is a STRAIGHTBIAN, we are not talking about her, nor denying her existence. She is simply irrelevant to this topic.

So, without further ado, here are 2 follow-up ASSes to add to our previous Assorted STRAIGHTBIAN Subtypes:

8). White Picket Fence and 2 Children In The Suburbs Straightbian: The White Picket Fence (WPF) Straightbian just wants to fit in, to be “normal” (in the eyes of society), yet still retaining her Straightbian status due to her own pathology.

This Straightbian will say that there is absolutely no difference between herself and her soccer-mom neighbor, except who she is in a relationship with (and, actually, she is right about that…because they are BOTH STRAIGHT!).

“We’re all the same”, White Picket Fence loves to say, “Why label people?” Because “Love is Love”, after all! “We’re all human, why create all of these unnecessary divisions?”, WPF often thinks, shaking her perky head.

The White Picket Fence Straightbian loves this cup and carries it everywhere because, gosh darn it, we are all just HUMAN, now aren’t we?:

The White Picket Fence Straightbian cares very much about appearances and fitting in with society’s expectations.

She is in a relationship with another female (either another White Picket Fence Straightbian or a Lesbian who can pass as Straight) but, by golly, she and her partner are going to FIT IN OR BUST:

House in the suburbs? Check!
Golden Retriever? Check!
Volvo? Check!
Casually rumpled, but subtly elegant, decor? Check!
White wedding? Check!
2 adorable children? Check!
Picture-perfect holidays? Check!
Roth IRA and 401K? Check and Check!

On social media, she will call herself something like “just2mommies2kidsand1goldenretriever”. She will follow only others exactly like herself, “eschewing” any real Lesbians who point out that Lesbians are actually different than straight women. So darn divisive, those Lezzies are!

LOVE IS LOVE, after all…

White Picket Fence may be married to a female…

BUT she is not a Lesbian.

8a). Sunshine and Roses:

Relatedly, a sub-sub (-sub…?) type of the White Picket Fence is the Sunshine and Roses Straightbian, who is an emotionally-fragile straight female who uses relentless, sugary-sweet positivity to completely escape/avoid dealing with her own issues that have led her to mistakenly believe she is a “Lesbian“.

Sunshine and Roses was perhaps physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abused as a child; or at least likely had a very chaotic, disturbing home life while growing up. She likely has had very bad previous experiences/relationships with past boyfriend(s)/husband(s).

Sunshine and Roses is desperate to escape not only those bad situations, but also all of the heavy emotional baggage that she carries from those situations.

In fact, she has stuffed that baggage down so far that she actually mistakenly thinks she has left it behind.

On social media and in real life, Sunshine and Roses “eschews” all negativity and strives to keep herself forever insulated from real-world unpleasantness. Her social media posts are likely predominantly inspirational memes and/or cutesy GIFs and/or dreamy “Peace, Love, and Harmony” sentiments, and/or heartbroken laments about “Why is there so much strife in the world?”.

Sunshine and Roses may not even attempt to embark upon a relationship, preferring to call herself a “Lesbian” (or possibly “queer” or “LGBTQQIAAP+“) without the pesky reality of dealing with another fallible and not-always-positive human being. She lives in a fantasy world, perhaps fantasizing incessantly about an idealized version of a particular singer, actor, book, movie, TV show, author, etc. She may read or even write happy-ending fan fiction to erase the unpleasant reality of how an actual storyline turned out.

Sunshine and Roses is likely to unfollow or block anyone on social media who she perceives to be “negative” or “crass” or “unpleasant” in any way. She surrounds herself with beautiful objects and frantically attempts to create harmony in a world sadly lacking it.

Sunshine and Roses is not a bad person. In fact, she is typically a good person who has been dealt a very bad hand in life.

BUT she is not a Lesbian.

8b). The Urban Version of the White Picket Fence (WPF) STRAIGHTBIAN:

Like her suburban counterpart, the Urban WPF Straightbian just wants to fit in, but with a very different crowd.

The Urban WPF doesn’t want the actual white picket fence of her suburban counterpart’s dream…no, of course not, because that would be just too common for Urban.

No, the Urban Straightbian “eschews” the suburban lifestyle, wanting something more “edgy”, more “in”:

Renovated loft in an old cigar factory? Check!
Assorted popular Artists/Actors/Authors/Directors/Designers/Etc. as friends? Check!
Being the cool moms at the most exclusive private school available? Check!
Invitations to the most exclusive events in town? Check!
Season tickets to the local alternative theater? Check!
An amusingly pretentious Chilean chardonnay for the farm-to-table dinner party? Check!
Offspring named Jayden, Ayden, Cayden, or Brayden? Check!
Transgender child? Check!
Roth IRA and 401K? Check and Check!

The Urban Straightbian is popular with the liberal crowd, fitting right in with her liberal friends’ collective desire for diversity…

BUT she is not a Lesbian.

9). Mean-Spirited Unbalanced Faux-Feminist Yahoo (Muffy):

Muffy often overlaps with many/all of our previous 7 Assorted Straightbian Subtypes. In fact, Muffy has likely at least been all of the subtypes at one point or another.

Muffy loves and uses social media with a vengeance. And “vengeance” is the key word here, because Muffy is one angry, hateful harpy. In fact, in her social media bios, she proudly claims to be a/an “angry, hairy Lesbian“, “man-hater”, “virago”, “shrew”, “Patriarchy-smasher”, “radical Lesbian“, “angry feminist“, “Lesbian separatist”, “woman-identified-woman” (or womyn or womon or wimmin or wimms…or any other ridiculous misspelling) and/or some similar descriptor.

On the surface, Muffy may seem to be the polar opposite of Sunshine and Roses, but these two subtypes share common denominators; the difference between them is exposed in how their underlying issues are expressed in opposite ways. Instead of internalizing/repressing her anger/angst (as Sunshine and Roses does), Muffy externalizes her rage, spewing her hatred outward in an incessant vomitous torrent, reminiscent of the pea-soup scene from The Exorcist.

Muffy doesn’t just wait for trouble to find her on social media; oh, no, not Muffy. She goes looking for trouble and when she doesn’t find it, she creates trouble.

Like a trigger-happy bounty hunter, Muffy is always on the hunt for people she finds offensive, and when she inevitably finds someone who dares to say something she disagrees with, she tries to blow that person away with her high-caliber nastiness.

In her quest to destroy her perceived enemy/enemies, Muffy completely “eschews” all logic, listening skills, and literacy, opting instead for sheer unadulterated, completely illogical, meanness.

No insult is too low nor off-limits for Muffy. Muffy hits below the belt and is proud of it.

Despite claiming to be a “feminist“, Muffy regularly insults other females’ looks, clothes, hair, makeup (or lack thereof), weight, age, marriage, choices, profession, ideas, words, work, etc., etc., etc. She calls Lesbians “men” without a single thought, nor care, in her venomous, vitriolic, vapid head about the potential effects of her words.

Muffy LOVES using inane memes/GIFs in the heat of battle, apparently not realizing that her memes/GIFs are as lame, illogical, nonsensical, and ineffectual as she herself is. She will then throw at least a few red herrings into the discussion, saying untrue things that make no sense whatsoever, and have nothing to do with the conversation at hand, but are intentionally designed to try to make the opponent(s) look bad and to distract from the fact that Muffy has no coherent argument. (Examples include falsely claiming that the perceived opponent(s) is/are: racist, sexist, misogynist, rape-apologist, perverted, pedophilic, etc.).

Finally, despite having deliberately sought out and started/continued the argument herself, and, despite having said absolutely false, defamatory, and despicable things to her opponent, Muffy then pretends to be the victim in the situation, falsely claiming that the other person is “bullying”, or even “stalking”, her. And Muffy is not above nor below using a fake suicide attempt to garner sympathy and support, thereby completely nullifying any further arguments.

She will then enlist other Muffys to attack, berate, harass, block, defame, exclude, and/or report her perceived opponent(s), while basking in the shallow, brittle “sisterhood” and feel-good-for-a-minute attention afforded from being The Perpetual Victim Of The Patriarchy.

Rinse and repeat, ad nauseum.

Muffy is one nasty, bitter piece of work.

BUT she is not a Lesbian.

In conclusion, while some Straightbians are clearly more dangerous to Lesbians in the individual sense, even Straightbians who partner with each other are dangerous to Lesbian as an idea. Straightbians are collectively responsible for taking the real flesh-and-blood Lesbian and turning us into nothing more than an idea which they, warped Het Women, flesh out through their own individual pathologies. Pathologies which the Psychiatric community has documented, diagnosed, and demonized for centuries. Pathologies ignorantly accepted by Het society as truth. Heterosexual Pathologies widely and readily, though incorrectly, attributed to actual Lesbians, haunting our relationships with family, friends, and even strangers, all with long held preconceived, wrong IDEAS forged by Straightbians!

But Lesbian isn’t an idea, we are flesh, blood, and bone.

Dirt and Mrs. Dirt

Unstraightening Lesbian from Social Media’s Plethora of Straightbians

I have written before about the ongoing harassment, denial, hate, insults, opposition, and sheer mean-spirited hatred that Dirt and I have faced, particularly on Twitter, due to our ongoing efforts to unSTRAIGHTen Lesbian from the twisted claws of the myriad of Straightbians who have stolen our Lesbian name and our Lesbian history, steamrolling over Lesbian lives with hetsplaining lies and arrogant straight privilege.

Unfortunately, this ongoing saga continues, because radfem straight “feminists” in general, as well as Straightbians specifically, GREATLY outnumber actual Lesbians.

Such altercations all-too-often explode into a full-blown Straightbian hissy-fit of paranoia, delusions, outright lies, mind-boggling nastiness, bizarre accusations, manipulation, gaslighting, smear campaigns, and nonsensical gibberish.

For the latest installment of the Straightbian Train To Crazy-Town, read this sorry saga at the link here.

ATTENTION: All Lesbians: If anyone tells you it is a “choice” to be a Lesbian, calls you a male for speaking up, and/or in any other way denies/denigrates Lesbian essential existence: rest assured that that person is not a Lesbian, not an ally, and not your friend. And if anyone uses insults based on appearance, age, etc. against a Lesbian/female, she is also not a true feminist. Beware.

The Covert Lesbophobe Checklist (CLC)

We all know what an overt lesbophobe is: He/she will just say what they feel very directly: “I hate Lesbians!”; “You’re evil”; “You’re going to HELL!”; “You’re an abomination to the Good Lord Jesus!”; “You need a man!”; “Marriage is for a man and a woman!”; “You need to be TAUGHT A LESSON!”; “No, I won’t rent to/hire you!”; “Your kind isn’t welcome here!” etc. They are obvious. They are obnoxious. They are our visible enemies.

But what about the covert lesbophobes? They are our friends, our acquaintances, our coworkers, our family members, our neighbors. They are subtle. They smile to our faces. They shake our hands. They bake us cookies. They say that they love us, like us, support us, and would fight for us ~ and they probably even truly believe that they mean it.

They say that they would NEVER, EVER tolerate lesbophobia/homophobia.

And we believe them, and will continue to believe them…until one day we find the proverbial knife between the shoulder blades and realize who put it there.

“If only there were a way to know“, you may be thinking.

Well, there is a way to know, but only if we are completely willing to keep our eyes and ears wide open, and only if we are willing to put aside our own wishful thinking long enough to accept the cold hard truth.

So, without further ado, here is a handy-dandy little lesbo checklist to see whether your Aunt Susie, or your neighbor Gladys, or, I don’t know, let’s say, um, the president of an international creative organization is a covert lesbophobe:

Does he/she do any of the following (or anything similar)?:

  • Refer to being a Lesbian as “a lifestyle”;
  • Refer to being a Lesbian as “a sexual preference”;
  • Refer to being a Lesbian as a “choice”;
  • Refer to being a Lesbian as a “behavior”;
  • Refer to your partner as “your friend” or “your roommate“;
  • Say anything like “sexuality is fluid”;
  • Say anything like “sexuality is on a spectrum”;
  • Say anything like “anybody can become/be a Lesbian”;
  • Say anything like “I am all for you people having rights, but why do you have to call it marriage?”;
  • Say anything like “I am fine with you being a Lesbian, but why do you have to TELL everybody?”;
  • Say anything like “Why do you have to put Lesbian on your social media profile?”;
  • Say anything like “I don’t care who you have sex with, I just don’t want to know about it!”;
  • Say anything like  “Who’s the man one?”;
  • Say anything like “Maybe you just haven’t met the right man yet!”;
  • Say anything like “But how do you know you wouldn’t like it if you haven’t tried having sex with a man?”
  • Say anything like “You and your friend can’t share a bedroom in my house!”;
  • Blame you in any way for the lesbophobia you encounter;
  • Punish, shame, or penalize you in any way for the lesbophobia you encounter;
  • Defend, befriend, or take the side of lesbophobes in any way;
  • Support you in private ~ but not in public;
  • Refuse to let you (or in any way support/defend the premise that you shouldn’t be allowed to): get married, adopt an animal, get hired for a job, buy a wedding cake, rent an apartment, patronize a business, buy a house, have benefits, inherit from your partner, file taxes together, travel together, visit your partner in the hospital, etc. etc. etc. etc. (This list would consist of anything and everything that straight people can do without question);
  • Encourage you in any way  to be nice, be quiet, remain silent, be invisible, and/or get along with lesbophobes (or in order to avoid being attacked by lesbophobes);
  • Treat you and your partner differently that they would routinely be treated with their spouse (Examples: when traveling together, walking into your hotel room without knocking; or putting you and your partner in twin beds when you visit their house, while straight couples are given the double, queen, or king beds);
  • Ask that you not tell someone/anyone/everyone you are a Lesbian. (“Granny doesn’t need to know, it will kill her!”);
  • Support and/or vote for a candidate/politician that is known to be against Gay/Lesbian rights;
  • Does not even recognize blatant lesbophobia in others (does not even understand what was wrong with what was said!).
  • (Added because of suggestions from 2 readers — thanks): Minimizes, belittles, and/or denies the existence of lesbophobia itself (and minimizes, belittles, and/or denies the consequences of lesbophobia on Lesbian lives). 

It’s important to note that before jumping to conclusions, it’s always best to verify our perceptions. I believe that some people can be covertly lesbophobic and aren’t even aware of it themselves. So, I always try to explain why _______ was lesbophobic, and then watch to see how the person responds. Does he/she listen and attempt to change the issue? Or does he/she barrel right along and then do something similar immediately afterword?

Well, I think these are the basics; please let me know if I have missed anything in the comments below…

checklist-2277704_640

Image: Pixabay: evondue:  CC0 Creative Commons

I Used To Be So Nice (Or: Why I Cannot Walk Away From A Battle With Lesbophobes)

As anybody who has read even a couple of my recent posts will likely already know, I have been angry lately at all of the faux allies and hetsplainers ~ very angry, in fact, but I must admit that underlying that anger is disappointment, frustration, puzzlement, and sadness.

I won’t rehash all of the drama….if anyone is interested, feel free go back through my tweets and replies to get a just a small taste of the brouhahas. I have also done several recent posts which mentioned the drama.

Anyway, someone on Twitter who also knows me in real life (and has known me for over 20 years), recently said something to the effect of being shocked that so many people were being so rude to me.

I actually laughed out loud when I saw that, because I immediately knew exactly what she meant:

In real life, I am, in fact, what most people would consider “nice”.  Meaning: I am typically polite, kind, considerate, giving, etc.; in other words, I get along well with others. (I am always direct and assertive in real life…but I am not aggressive/rude unless it becomes absolutely necessary).

But on Twitter (and to a lesser extent, on this blog), I am quite outspoken…sometimes even outright rude (which occurs, lately with shocking regularity, when I finally reach my maximum frustration tolerance level).

The problem is not just that Twitter is online interaction (meaning: versus in-person), either. I participate regularly on Facebook and LinkedIn and on other various websites/forums/etc., and I get along just fine with people on those, just like I do in real life.

No, I really think it’s specific to Twitter. Somehow, Twitter seems to bring out the worst in me. Actually, perhaps Twitter brings out the worst in everybody, based on my recent observations of various assorted brouhahas that I have NOT been involved in.

I think it’s the combination of the limited characters available to make important points, the fast paced environment, and the discontinuity in threads when multiple people are responding at the same time (which makes it difficult to follow the order of the conversation) that makes Twitter the perfect storm for misunderstandings, anger, hostility, drama, and trouble.

Combine that perfect storm of Twitter with my temperament (I am unwilling to back down — when dealing with a topic which matters to me greatly) and BOOM, it’s Armageddon.

Recently, I have been wondering whether I should just let an ongoing fight with a specific group of mean-girl lesbophobic feminists go…whether I should just walk away and let them stew in their own putrid, poisonous juices.

After all, I do actually believe in karma. People who are mean-spirited and vicious are obviously not happy people.

Also, I truly believe on-going anger and conflict is unhealthy…mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And these individuals are certainly not worth my health or my time.

So, I have been wondering:

Why am I having such a hard time letting this particular fight go? 

It’s not just my ego from being personally and viciously insulted by the ringleader, although I am sure that is indeed a part of it.

And it’s not just their shocking lesbophobia and appalling ignorance about Lesbians, although I am sure that is a HUGE part of it also. After all, utter obtuseness appears in many guises, including some very unexpected sources.

After much consideration, I think that (in addition to the above-noted factors) I am reluctant to stand down for 2 reasons:

First, I am truly horrified at the support that these individuals are getting from other straight feminists, so a big part of me wants EVERYBODY to see who these people really are. So, by calling them out and posting screencaps of their copious bigoted nonsense, I have been hoping that the proverbial aha! lightbulb would suddenly and magically appear above somebody’s head…anybody’s head! (I am afraid, though, that this wish is just a pipe dream).

Secondly, and much more importantly, I, Dirt, and the other Lesbians on Twitter who have been standing up to these individuals are all assertive, secure adults with a strong sense of self and a healthy acceptance of ourselves as Lesbians. So we can take their nastiness with a grain of salt. But: what if we were different? What if we were young dykes, just coming out, currently being rejected by family, friends, and society? What if we were vulnerable, scared, alone, confused, maybe even suicidal? What if we were struggling with self-hatred, dysphoria, and/or internalized homophobia? Would the horrid lesbophobic venom directed at us as Lesbians potentially be the last straw for someone like that? I honestly don’t know, and I sincerely hope not, but I cannot in good conscience allow these people to say such horrible, lesbophobic things without calling them out on it.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and if these individuals would say such repulsive, vile, hurtful, homophobic things to us, it is a fact that they have the capacity to do it to others.

My crusade may not do any good. I may, at some point, decide to lay down my metaphorical sword and walk away from this riDICKulous battle…

But not today.

Sword

Image: Pixabay: azboomer: Creative Commons CC0

Social Media & Covert Narcissism: How NOT To Let A Few Bad Apples Spoil The Whole Pie

I have previously written from a personal perspective about my own experiences/observations regarding covert narcissism and gaslighting, because I have (unfortunately) dealt with many situations involving various people who display covert narcissistic-type traits/features/behaviors, both in real life (starting with my mother) and on social media.

Yesterday, a commenter on my most recent post asked whether I would develop a “cheat sheet” to help identify covertly narcissistic-type traits/features/behaviors when on social media.

Before we go any further, please note that ALL of the following disclaimers apply:

I am speaking as a person with personal experience/observations regarding narcissism (rather than as a psychologist). Furthermore, NOTHING written on this blog is ever intended to be professional advice, nor does anything I write ever substitute for professional advice. If you have any mental health concerns regarding yourself or a loved one, you need to seek professional advice from a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or other qualified professional.

The word “narcissist” in this post, as with my previous post, is meant as a descriptor, not as a diagnosis. Please also note that people may exhibit such traits/features/behaviors but may or may not meet the clinical criteria for diagnosis.

Additionally, it would be inappropriate to diagnose anyone over the internet anyway; thus, these posts are simply to describe the possible warning signs of such traits/features/behaviors; NOTHING said on this blog is ever meant as a diagnosis of anybody.

Also, please note that, as necessary with any broad topic, I am speaking in generalities in this post. It is literally impossible to cover every single example, and there will always be “exceptions to the rule”; so the items listed here may not apply to every example.

Additionally, everybody occasionally exhibiting a couple the behaviors listed below is clearly not a narcissist; so please always remember that everyone can have a bad day and do/say something out of character. So: rather than jumping to conclusions based on limited data, it is very important to always look at the whole picture and to consider a person’s behaviors over time and with different people.

The main question always is: Can the person ever admit when she is wrong and/or take responsibility for her part in a situation? If not, that is a BIG warning sign.

Finally, please note that I will be using “she” in this post for convenience, and since my own personal demons are with females who display covert narcissistic traits; but, of course, please keep in mind that both males and females can/do display these traits/features/behavior.

Moving on from my long list of disclaimers, it is important to note that covert narcissism is much trickier to recognize than the more obvious overt variety. When people typically think of narcissism, most people conjure up the overt narcissist: someone who is obviously “full of herself ” ~ the proverbial “show off”; typically very-well-dressed…often even “flashy”.

But: covert narcissists are much less obvious and therefore, they usually fly under the radar. On the surface, the covert narcissist will likely seem to be friendly, modest, perhaps even “plain”/unadorned in appearance/dress, self-effacing, warm, approachable, etc.  However, these impressions are simply a part of an effective facade that serves its purpose well: to prop up their weak egos, by fooling people and garnering attention/support.

Therefore, the covert narcissist can be more insidiously harmful than her overt counterpart: both because it is easier to be ensnared in her web of lies, and because others are very unlikely to ever see her for what she really is.

Now, let’s look at some of the potential warning signs of a covert narcissist on social media ~ keeping in mind, of course, that any of these factors in and of themselves do not necessarily mean the person is a narcissist; that all of these items will not apply to everyone who exhibits narcissistic traits; that the term “narcissist” is used here a descriptor only (not as a diagnosis); and that this list is not meant to be comprehensive:

  • She may be quite popular on social media. She may have a relatively large number of followers who she doesn’t know in real life (but, nonetheless, she often interacts with them as if she does know them);
  • She may have some special status in real life that inflates her sense of importance on social media (for instance, she may be an actor, singer, author, professor, popular blogger or YouTube star, model, athlete, expert in her field, etc. etc. etc.);
  • She may interact with her followers and others regularly on social media in such a way that she seems to be friendly and approachable. However, these interactions are likely to be superficial and/or sometimes even overly-sugary-sweet. (“Good morning, my delicious treat!”; “Good night, my sweet lambikins”…when talking to people she has never met in real life and who she is not romantically involved with);
  • She maintains her friendly, affable facade very well…that is, until she suffers a narcissistic injury and retaliates. The trigger could be anything from someone simply questioning something she said, to someone disagreeing with her, to someone saying something she perceived to be insulting, etc.;
  • When the covert narcissist feels insulted (and it does not matter whether the “insult” was actually intended, or whether it was completely unintentional), she will react by attacking the person who she feels insulted her (who has now become her target);
  • Instead of continuing the discussion in the original thread, she will often quote what was said on her own account, in order to distract from the fact that she is misrepresenting what was said and in order to get support from her followers;
  • She will often take whatever was said out of context and then twist it to make it seem like her target was the aggressor and that she was inexplicably “attacked” out-of-the-blue by the target;
  • By doing the above, she enlists her numerous followers to defend and support her, thereby propping up her weak ego, while simultaneously tearing down the person she perceives as her opponent;
  • Instead of sticking to the original topic, she will often intentionally throw a number of unrelated “red herrings” into the discussion to confuse the issue and derail the discussion; (Or she will allow her supporters to do so on her behalf);
  • When the drama appears to be finally dying down, she intentionally restarts it, both because she needs the attention and she desires continued revenge against her target;
  • She will often stand back quietly and “innocently” as the drama against her opponent unfolds…but her true feelings/motivations are revealed to anyone who pays close enough attention, because she will “like” statements that are personally insulting and/or untrue about her target;
  • She will never back down, nor will she ever admit she is wrong in any way;
  • She will not take any responsibility whatsoever for her part in the disagreement;
  • She will never “meet someone halfway”, so any olive branches offered by the target will be ignored or thrown back in the target’s face;
  • If the target blocks her after many hours of harassment by her supporters, she will likely intentionally mention that fact to her followers, while stating “innocently” that she has absolutely no idea why she got blocked by the target; which then triggers a new round of attacks on her target;
  • She will “hit below the belt”; which means: instead of sticking neutrally to the original topic, she will engage in personal attacks/insults and/or encourage/condone others to do so on her behalf;
  • She may “sweetly” talk down to her target and/or minimize the target’s education or accomplishments or knowledge (or condone her supporters in doing so);
  • She will demonize her opponent(s) and/or encourage others to do so;
  • She may go back and delete all of her own tweets which might make herself look bad (which further makes her target look bad because the history of the conversation is erased, leaving everything out of context);
  • If confronted, she will say that the target is being silly, sensitive, wrong, mistaken, confused, dramatic, etc.;
  • She is dismissive and/or derisive of others’ genuine concerns, no matter how politely those concerns are stated;
  • She will twist/misrepresent whatever is said by her target; in other words, “intentionally misunderstanding” what happened in order to make the target look bad and/or to garner sympathy for herself;
  • If caught in a lie, she will either outright deny that she said it, or will say that she didn’t mean that by it;
  • She may contact her followers/supporters/friends privately to elicit sympathy and to directly or indirectly encourage them to attack on her behalf;
  • She may have multiple “sock puppet” accounts to use as needed for her own behalf;
  • She enjoys shitstorms on social media, even if she says otherwise, because she becomes repeatedly embroiled in them;
  • If she is famous, she may have spoken out publicly about how she has endured/overcome repeated “bullying” on social media;
  • She makes herself seem like a victim in order to emerge victoriously as a hero who has “conquered bullying”;
  • She may intentionally seek out and start disagreements with strangers, in order to to get attention and keep drama going;
  • Her timeline is a testament to her techniques (often “quote tweeting” someone else out of context with a criticism of what was said; and/or the implication that she is a victim; and/or as an invitation for her followers to pile on);
  • She capitalizes on the attention of the arguments on social media by garnering interviews, giving lectures, doing videos, writing papers/posts, and/or utilizing other means to talk about the horrid “bullying” she has endured;
  • When someone points out to her that she is encouraging her multiple supporters to personally insult the target, she denies it totally, even “modestly” denying that she even has multiple supporters, despite clear evidence to the contrary;
  • She says intentionally provocative and/or offensive things to stir up trouble, then pretends to be shocked and dismayed when a brouhaha ensues;
  • She engages in gaslighting techniques (and similar examples), as described in this post;
  • She may falsely imply the target is a racist, a misogynist, sexist, or any other “ist” (or is somehow otherwise wrong/bad) in order to discredit and distract;
  • She may make false accusations/allegations against her target…again, in order to discredit and distract from the real topic, which is her narcissistic injury. (For example, someone once made the false claim that Dirt had “sexually abused” her on Facebook…which is beyond ridiculous and actually not even possible, but, apparently, both logic and truth are completely lost in these bizarre battles).
  • She may call her target such things as “dangerous”, “crazy”, “biased”, “bigoted” (etc.) in order to demean her target’s credibility and to try to stop anybody from listening to anything the target has to say.

My own personal lessons in having dealt with multiple such situations/individuals now on social media are as follows:

I now truly feel the only way for me to deal with covert narcissistic behaviors on social media is to identify and avoid these individuals whenever possible. (Note to self: Do some basic research on the person’s timeline BEFORE jumping into the fray).

If I do find myself embroiled in an argument with someone who I feel is gaslighting me or otherwise not fighting fair (as described above) in the future, I plan to try to remain cordial and extricate myself as soon as possible. (“Try” is the key word in the previous sentence: I do better with this some times more so than others. It is a learning process that I unfortunately keep having to re-learn).

I always hate to do so, but I will block the individual if necessary, as well as any others who are creating drama on her behalf.

I try to always remember: NOBODY CAN WIN AN ARGUMENT WITH A NARCISSIST and everything I say can and will be twisted and used against me.

Here’s my own personal to-do list for future reference when dealing with such individuals in the future, taken from my most recent post entitled A Battle With A Narcissist Is A Losing Battle Indeed:

MyNarcissistRecommendations

Please also read my previous posts on  covert narcissism and gaslighting for further information, background, examples, and recommendations.

Social media has a lot of positives: to stay in touch with family/friends, to reconnect with old friends, to make new friends, to discuss issues, and to exchange ideas with a variety of people.

However, social media also has many negatives: it can become a free-for-all brawl where normal rules of basic decency often don’t seem to apply. People say dreadful things to each other on social media that they would never dream of saying in person. People often show their worst selves on social media; instead of lifting us up, social media often has a tendency to drag us down.

My vow  for the future is to try to not let these relatively few bad apples spoil the whole social media pie. In the future, I vow to try to not let myself be sucked into a vortex of negativity so that I also end up saying things that are not nice. I vow to take a break when social media feels overwhelmingly negative. As a very wise person said to a friend on Twitter recently, “Go rest. They will still be here when you get back.”

A Battle With A Narcissist Is A Losing Battle Indeed

Before I start discussing my topic today, I wanted to clarify something:

Most of my regular readers know that I have a Ph.D. in school psychology and that I work as a school psychologist as my day job (because, alas, nobody wants to pay me to blog).

I originally noted my Ph.D. and profession in my WordPress and Twitter bios, having added that information to my bios more out of habit than anything else ~ an automatic response to the ubiquitous “Who are you?” question.

I have now removed that information from my bios. I didn’t remove that information because I am ashamed of it in any way, nor am I trying to hide it.

Instead, the reason I removed that information from my bios was two-fold:

1). 99.9999 percent of the time, I am writing as a person/Lesbian, not as a psychologist. In the rare instance when I am writing as a psychologist, I am careful to specify that fact.

2). I’ve found that many people are unduly impressed with a Ph.D. People have a tendency to mistakenly think that because someone has an advanced degree, he/she is somehow better than others who don’t. That’s not true. I most certainly do not feel that way myself, and I decided that by saying I had a Ph.D. in my bios, I might be unintentionally perpetuating that elitist nonsense.

All of the above is to explain my decision to remove that information from my bios at this point (because I have received a few questions about it), and to reiterate to everyone to always assume I am speaking as a person/Lesbian, rather than a psychologist, unless I specify otherwise.

Today’s post is also (very) personal, not professional. Narcissism is a topic that I know a lot about, both as a person and as a psychologist; however, my focus today is solely on the personal, rather than the professional.

Much has been written about narcissism: the symptoms, definition, treatment, and so forth. For those curious about the basics, a simple Google search will garner oodles of results; to get the most reliable information, start with information from a known reputable organization such as the American Psychological Association, the Mayo Clinic, etc.

This post isn’t intended to be a lesson on narcissism or a description of narcissism, but rather a discussion of my own personal observations/reactions.

I do want to clarify that some people may display narcissistic-type features/traits/behaviors but may or may not meet the clinical criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Bottom line: We cannot, and should not, diagnose others on the internet anyway, so I will focus on features/traits/behaviors rather than actual or intended diagnoses.

***Therefore, for the purposes of this post, the word “narcissism” will be used as a descriptor rather than a diagnosis. Also, I am using “she” in this post because my own personal demons are with females who have narcissistic traits, but, of course, these traits can be exhibited by either males or females.***

Why do I know so much personally about narcissism?  Simple: Because I am the daughter of a narcissist. I have sort of danced around this fact in my previous posts about my mother, because I was hesitant to say the bald truth publicly. I was raised to never say anything negative about my mother, and old habits die hard. In fact, so hard that I never did speak a word about it until after she was dead.

I won’t go deeply into my personal experience with my mother and the effects on me as her daughter, at least not in this post…I am not quite ready for that yet.

But I am sharing this information to illustrate why I not only recognize narcissistic features/traits/behaviors in others, but, more importantly, to explain why I also still occasionally fall into the traps set by female covert narcissists…even now. Yes, even now. Even after getting a Ph.D. in psychology. Even though I am certainly old enough to know better. Even after years and years and years of working to understand the dynamics between narcissists and their targets. Even though I know all about narcissism…well, at least intellectually, that is. Even though I do (or should…?) actually know better than to engage.

As I said, old habits die hard, especially when you are conditioned to respond in a certain way. Sometimes, without realizing it until it is too late, I still unconsciously respond like Pavlov’s dog to the siren call of a female covert narcissist (which only happens online at this point, because I am MUCH better at recognizing and avoiding them in person).

When I do respond, I unwittingly become an active participant in a toxic pas de deux. It is a dance that I recognize all too well. It is a dance that will never end well for me, because there is no winning with a narcissist

But: A narcissist cannot perform her twisted dance without a partner, someone who is primed to dance the specified steps. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes, and I now find myself finally ready to hang up my dancing shoes permanently.

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Image: Pixabay: Jabore: Creative Commons CC0

For me, the warning signs that I have been sucked into the vortex of a narcissist are as follows:

  • an uneasy feeling of familiarity, even when I am dealing with a complete stranger on the internet;
  • a distinct difference in my response to that specific person which very far from my normally calm self;
  • queasiness, shakiness, fatigue, headache, malaise;
  • a very strong feeling of needing to defend myself and/or my point of view;
  • knowing I should pull away from the situation/argument, but feeling strangely unable to do so;
  • anger and defensiveness, usually way out of proportion to the situation;
  • a seeming inability to disengage without a LOT of conscious effort;
  • losing sleep and a general feeling of unease and restlessness;
  • unable to truly focus on anything else for the duration of the dance;
  • an obsessive, oppressive feeling that I need to fight as if my life is at stake;
  • fight or flight response (rapid heartbeat; tense muscles; etc.);
  • repeated fantasies that everyone else will somehow magically see the narcissist for who she really is;
  • feeling unreasonably threatened (while knowing that the person poses no literal physical threat);
  • strong emotions trumping my knowledge/logic…I can even consciously be aware that the individual is likely a narcissist (or that she at least exhibits some narcissistic features/traits/behaviors), but yet still feel compelled to engage anyway, despite knowing it is a fool’s game to do so.

Of course, everybody will have different ways of recognizing that they are dealing with a narcissist; the above is my own personal list only, based on my own experience.

So, you may be wondering: How can anyone win a battle with a narcissist?

Sadly, you can’t. I can’t. Nobody can.

Let me say that again, because it bears repeating:

NOBODY CAN WIN A BATTLE WITH A NARCISSIST. 

So: If I ever find myself locking horns with a covert female narcissist (my personal Achilles’ Heel) again, I vow to remember the following:

  • Recognize the above signs, preferably sooner rather than later;
  • Remember that any response whatsoever gives the narcissist fuel which she will use to burn me at the stake;
  • Walk away. No matter how hard it is, walk the hell away and keep walking (or, even better, RUN LIKE THE WIND);
  • If the situation occurs on social media, block the narcissist immediately, and block everyone who attacks on her behalf (because she will enlist others to do so);
  • Remember that narcissists are usually incredibly cunning/manipulative and extremely good at fooling people, so most others are not going to be able to see the truth about her (so give up the hope that they will);
  • Refuse to engage with the narcissist, her minions, or even random strangers offering “help”;
  • As much as I may want to defend myself, I need to remember that I don’t need to do so (and, in fact, it will even be counterproductive if I try);
  • Listen to my wife Dirt and to friends I trust ~ they will always be much more objective about the situation/person than I can possibly be at the height of the drama;
  • Remember that I could fight all the female covert narcissists in the whole world, but not only would I not win my battles with them, but, more importantly, fighting with them would certainly never heal any wounds from being the daughter of a narcissist.

Finally, to quote Vizzini from my favorite movie, The Princess Bride:

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is ‘Never get involved in a land war in Asia.’ But only slightly less well known is this: ‘Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!’ Ahahahaha, ahahahaha, ahahaha—-thud”

Another classic blunder to add to Vizzini’s list is: “Never engage in battle with a narcissist”…because I have a better chance of single-handedly winning a land war in Asia than anyone does of winning a battle with a narcissist.