Tag Archive | Bullying on Social Media

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 straight-forward, 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/trans — and that 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 the lying accuser on Twitter (and purportedly her wife too, who, ironically, we did not even know existed until she decided to back up her wife’s lies with lies of her own), “despite being blocked.” (Not only did this never happen, but anyone saying this clearly doesn’t know how Twitter works and sadly isn’t even smart enough to find out before outright lying).
  • A “mob” of us (a couple is a “mob” now?) reportedly “targeted” one of the copycat 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 male”? 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.

A Battle With A Narcissist Is A Losing Battle Indeed

As I have mentioned previously, 99.99 percent of what I write is from my own personal perspective as a Lesbian — NOT as a psychologist.

On the very rare occasion that I am writing from a professional perspective, I am careful to note that in the post.

Similarly, today’s post is also written from a personal — NOT a professional — perspective.

Narcissism is a topic that I know a lot about, both as a person and as a psychologist; however, again, 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 nor 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 experiences are with females who have narcissistic traits, but, of course, please note that these traits can be exhibited by either males or females.***

I won’t go into my personal experiences in this post…I am not ready for that and I may never be.

But I am sharing that I have personal experience 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, and have enough experience, 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 have gotten MUCH better at recognizing and avoiding them in person).

When I do respond, I unwittingly become an active participant in a toxic 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.

For me, the warning signs that I am engaged in this kind of toxic battle are as follows:

  • an uneasy, distinct feeling of familiarity, even when I am dealing with a complete stranger on the internet;
  • a distinct difference in my responses to that specific person which is 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 in the interaction 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 battle;
  • 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, intense 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 or other toxic individual; 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 I need to 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, for those of you who are likely wondering which Twitter battle I am referring to, LOL, I need to clarify that this is a general post which is not referring to any particular individual or situation. Sadly, there is no shortage of toxic people on social media, so consider this a general cautionary post.