Dear Trolls: It’s Not Us, It’s You … Here’s the Proof

You can tell when an internet troll has been smashing away at the keyboard – the page has an unmistakable  hiss..

Some remarkable research has turned the spotlight to the trolls to see what lies under their skin.

As in any group, the sickest or most unhealthy person holds a lot of power. Internet trolls are no different. They polarise discussion and solidify opinions one way or another.

Their words are steeped in stingy intent and designed to stoke trouble in innocent and potentially informative conversations.

[bctt tweet=”Remarkable research has turned the spotlight to internet trolls to see what lies under their skin.”]

So what sort of person is a troll?

Research has found what we all suspected – they’re awful people. Awful. The type we would run far away from if we could, well out of their reach, but with enough of a view to see what it looks like when karma finally does it’s job.

Researchers looked at the personality profiles and internet commenting styles of 1215 people.

What they found was that trolls rated highly on the following four measures:

  • sadism (finding pleasure in others’ pain);
  • narcissism (selfish, self-centred, lacking in empathy, craving attention);
  • psychopathy (antisocial, lacking in empathy and remorse)
  • Machiavellianism (deceptive and manipulative)

Of all the personality measures, sadism had the strongest association with trolling. As explained by the researchers, ‘cyber-trolling appears to be an internet manifestation of everyday sadism.’ 

The behavior of trolls speaks eloquently of their dysfunction and their end goal of making those within reach of them miserable. The very nature of their personality means that the more attention they are given, the more they will exploit the opportunity to impart misery in full public view.

 They cannot be ‘talked into’ being better people.

Although this research specifically examined cyber bullies, I can’t see how the findings would be any different for bullies in the real world.

 The only way to deal with an internet troll is to hit the delete button. They believe that attention is their birthright so don’t give it. Walk away and hold on tightly to that delicious bundle of power that could have been theirs.

 If you are quiet enough when walk, you’ll hear them groaning in pain at the loss.

[irp posts=”793″ name=”Toxic People: 12 Things They Do and How to Deal with Them”]

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Anxiety will always tilt our focus to the risks, often at the expense of the very real rewards. It does this to keep us safe. We’re more likely to run into trouble if we miss the potential risks than if we miss the potential gains. 

This means that anxiety will swell just as much in reaction to a real life-threat, as it will to the things that might cause heartache (feels awful, but not life-threatening), but which will more likely come with great rewards. Wholehearted living means actively shifting our awareness to what we have to gain by taking a safe risk. 

Sometimes staying safe will be the exactly right thing to do, but sometimes we need to fight for that important or meaningful thing by hushing the noise of anxiety and moving bravely forward. 

When children or teens are on the edge of brave, but anxiety is pushing them back, ask, ‘But what would it be like if you could?’ ♥️

#parenting #parent #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #positiveparenting #heywarrior #heyawesome
Except I don’t do hungry me or tired me or intolerant me, as, you know … intolerably. Most of the time. Sometimes.
Growth doesn’t always announce itself in ways that feel safe or invited. Often, it can leave us exhausted and confused and with dirt in our pores from the fury of the battle. It is this way for all of us, our children too. 

The truth of it all is that we are all born with a profound and immense capacity to rise through challenges, changes and heartache. There is something else we are born with too, and it is the capacity to add softness, strength, and safety for each other when the movement towards growth feels too big. Not always by finding the answer, but by being it - just by being - safe, warm, vulnerable, real. As it turns out, sometimes, this is the richest source of growth for all of us.
When the world feel sunsettled, the ripple can reach the hearts, minds and spirits of kids and teens whether or not they are directly affected. As the important adult in the life of any child or teen, you have a profound capacity to give them what they need to steady their world again.

When their fears are really big, such as the death of a parent, being alone in the world, being separated from people they love, children might put this into something else. 

This can also happen because they can’t always articulate the fear. Emotional ‘experiences’ don’t lay in the brain as words, they lay down as images and sensory experiences. This is why smells and sounds can trigger anxiety, even if they aren’t connected to a scary experience. The ‘experiences’ also don’t need to be theirs. Hearing ‘about’ is enough.

The content of the fear might seem irrational but the feeling will be valid. Think of it as the feeling being the part that needs you. Their anxiety, sadness, anger (which happens to hold down other more vulnerable emotions) needs to be seen, held, contained and soothed, so they can feel safe again - and you have so much power to make that happen. 

‘I can see how worried you are. There are some big things happening in the world at the moment, but my darling, you are safe. I promise. You are so safe.’ 

If they have been through something big, the truth is that they have been through something frightening AND they are safe, ‘We’re going through some big things and it can be confusing and scary. We’ll get through this. It’s okay to feel scared or sad or angry. Whatever you feel is okay, and I’m here and I love you and we are safe. We can get through anything together.’
I love being a parent. I love it with every part of my being and more than I ever thought I could love anything. Honestly though, nothing has brought out my insecurities or vulnerabilities as much. This is so normal. Confusing, and normal. 

However many children we have, and whatever age they are, each child and each new stage will bring something new for us to learn. It will always be this way. Our children will each do life differently, and along the way we will need to adapt and bend ourselves around their path to light their way as best we can. But we won't do this perfectly, because we can't always know what mountains they'll need to climb, or what dragons they'll need to slay. We won't always know what they’ll need, and we won't always be able to give it. We don't need to. But we'll want to. Sometimes we’ll ache because of this and we’ll blame ourselves for not being ‘enough’. Sometimes we won't. This is the vulnerability that comes with parenting. 

We love them so much, and that never changes, but the way we feel about parenting might change a thousand times before breakfast. Parenting is tough. It's worth every second - every second - but it's tough. Great parents can feel everything, and sometimes it can turn from moment to moment - loving, furious, resentful, compassionate, gentle, tough, joyful, selfish, confused and wise - all of it. Great parents can feel all of it.

Because parenting is pure joy, but not always. We are strong, nurturing, selfless, loving, but not always. Parents aren't perfect. Love isn't perfect. And it was meant to be. We’re raising humans - real ones, with feelings, who don't need to be perfect, and wont  need others to be perfect. Humans who can be kind to others, and to themselves first. But they will learn this from us. Parenting is the role which needs us to be our most human, beautifully imperfect, flawed, vulnerable selves. Let's not judge ourselves for our shortcomings and the imperfections, and the necessary human-ness of us.❤️

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