What I've Learnt from being Trolled by a Paranoid Schizophrenic
My dad taught me a lot, but from this week I've found one of his maxims has resonated loudly within me recently 'Pity your enemies, they only want what you've got.'
So I have a troll! I just heard he made some disparaging remarks about me, my wife and was also encouraging people to burn down a venue that shows my paintings. He'll love the negative attention he gets from this so I'll outline him but won't go into too much detail.
My particular troll is quite a pathetic and pitiful individual who I knew well. The first time I'd met him was in McDonalds when I first moved to China some 13 years ago, he'd been beaten up pretty badly by his girlfriend and hearing a familiar accent was great for someone who'd just moved to a country of strangers. But we became mates and he even came to our wedding. He was a good DJ and I'd often defend him to people who thought he was a weirdo. The individual is of no concern really, but the fact that I know him may be illuminating (most people don't know their trolls). He was arrested earlier this year and deported, so he's hurting..... and that's the thing you need to know about him.
The purpose of this post is to help other people who go through this...
Don't React Straight Away
I always feel that the first reaction to something is usually the worst so the initial anger you feel soon subsides when you look into the background of the troll. Give yourself a cooling off period of say 24 hours before you respond to any malicious comments.
Research Your Troll
I don't feel compelled to name and shame this individual, he's doing a good job of that already, suffice to say he's a broken person. He's unloved, he's been rejected from everything he's tried to be accepted by, his adopted country, his girlfriend, his family and his social circle so he needs no more ridicule. He seems to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia but if someone is suffering from a mental illness but upsets people you love what do you do? I choose self preservation, I'm quite brutal like that! A quick look at their profiles should tell you all you need to know about them.
Trolls Tend to Lack Empathy but Crave Sympathy
I've heard that my troll has been posting recently how unfairly he thinks expats are treating him as he 'created a music scene in this city'. Playing the victim and getting angry at people who don't oblige you with sympathy is a rather childish attitude and not the way to build up self-esteem.
Don't Try to Reason with Them
By their very nature trolls tend to be angry and inarticulate so in my experience trying to calm them down with reason tends to be a waste of time. They aren't looking for a debate, advice or to challenge their own opinions so it's pretty fruitless to think you can change their minds. Intellect isn't one of their strengths and the amount of typos they write is a reflection on their intelligence.
Try Not To Read Their Posts- Cock-block!
About 4 weeks ago I received a comment from my troll on my Facebook timeline and I scanned it first, it was pretty incoherent, full of insults directed at me with a liberal use of the c-word . Fortunately I deleted it and blocked him before I had chance to read it properly. He's recently taken to posting references and threats to me on his timeline so I hear the odd thing from friends who see them. I've no interest in reading them but fortunately have good friends who keep me in the loop if the rhetoric gets ramped up.
Haters Gonna Hate!
Argggghhh what a tired cliche! But handy to know so you don't waste any time trying to understand them. In the past my troll regularly posted quite disgusting comments directed at women, Chinese people, Americans, British, football supporters. Sometimes it takes more effort to praise, encourage and inspire than to mock, hate and criticise but it's important that you put the extra effort in. Misogynists and racists aren't going to change, it's in their DNA. If you hate them back they've infected you with their vile poison.
They're Conspiracy Nuts
Most trolls feel that the world owes them a living or a legacy, they have a grandiose expectation of entitlement. They get angry when they're not shown the respect they feel they deserve, they often forget that certain levels of respect are earned and not given away for free. Often their narcissism gets in the way of the truth and they feel that they've been singled out and oppressed, this is obviously not true in most cases but their craving for wanting to feel special tends to consume them.
They're Loners who Love Animals (over people)
A strong identifier of the troll (and many sociopaths) is the love of animals, this is fortunately the only trait I share with them. They often say that their pets are their 'best mates'. They don't tend to realise that their social behavior has isolated them from many of their friends. A troll's social media feeds is usually full of them with their 4 legged 'best mates' and distinctly lacking any photos of them with any 2 legged versions.
Expect an Escalation Before They Move On
Whether you challenge them or not, trolls tend to vie for your attention by ramping up their hate speech. They'll often pick on people close to you or increase the level of their insults about you. They may even make stuff up to try and shame you, anticipate this and try not to react to it.
You're a moving target and eventually they will find another subject or person that they feel is part of the conspiracy against them.
What I've learnt? As much as I enjoy the sport of 'being trolled' if the troll is an unloved, unaccepted and hateful person, take pity on them. Value yourself and appreciate what you have, I don't have enough time to love the ones I love nevermind hate the ones I hate!
I'll leave you with this meme...