Psychology of Internet Bullies

Because of my former assistant, Darlene’s mistake on July 1, 2019, I was personally victimized by internet bullies, and malicious haters and trolls across all of my social media account but especially Twitter and Goodreads. Ironically, Darlene had not even mentioned this main cyberbullying, troll, hater by name (CM), so I’m not even sure why CM immediately took ownership of Darlene’s anonymous post.

But, because I usually choose to walk the high-road, once I saw the Twitter exchange, I privately emailed CM and apologized for Darlene’s post (which I haven’t even seen), and informed CM that I terminated Darlene (which I did).

Literally, CM and her equally-malicious followers spent hours of their day with nothing better to do than to berate me for something I literally had no knowledge of. It may have been different if we shared an office. But we both work from home and she lives across the United States from me.

It is my fault however, that I didn’t micromanage Darlene. Proof of my error is that I had absolutely no knowledge of what Darlene was doing on social media (which may be why she mentioned me in her seemingly-offensive post but did not tag me (so I wasn’t flagged). Had she tagged me, I would have demanded she take it down. I only found out about it after a couple of my collaborating authors in the GBF series alerted me.

However, I’m sure I’m not the only employer who had a very trusted employee in which we felt micromanaging was not necessary. Afterall, she had been with me for 9 years and I never had a problem other than a couple reports about her being a bit sarcastic. But a couple reports in 9 years is hardly enough to warrant police patrol. However, at the time of those reports, I did handle the complaints immediately and, to my knowledge, she had gotten better because I did not receive any more complaints. 

Anyway, what all this cyberbullying did was cause my volunteer-writers-only Girl Behind the Fence (GBF) series to be cancelled (and authors are very sad), my social media accounts to be shut down, and I physically and emotionally withdrew. I shut off the phone, emails, put on my pajamas, and spent 13 hours nursing symptoms such as a horrendous migraine. Yet during that time, I was able to repeatedly reassess everything that had gone on. When I turned my phone back on, I received a notice that Darlene had called and left an apology message.

((I once wrote a blog post about how “professional badmouthing says more about the talker” than it does about the talker’s target but I can’t locate the post anymore. If I can find a copy of it, I’ll republish it. However, it’s true)).

Anyway, in the process of reassessing things, I decided to do some research on the mentality behind online bullies, malicious trolls, and professional haters such as CM and her sidekicks.

This is what I found… 

A research team from the School of Health and Life Sciences at Federation University in Australia carried out a study to analyze the personality traits of these kinds of people. They discovered they actually scored much higher than others in two important personality traits: psychopathy and cognitive empathy. 

What does that mean?

Psychologist Dr. Robert Hare has been researching psychopathy for more than 30 years and he stated: psychopaths are easily bored, need constant stimulation, and are unable to set long-term goals. They’re manipulative and need to feel like they have power and control over others. Psychopaths also have narcissistic traitsSure seems to sum-up CM and her sidekicks the 1st week of July. Who else would spend nearly a full 24-hours wasting time trying to sabotage little ole’ me for trying to help our readers heal from destructive attitudes, beliefs, emotions, thoughts, etc?

According to Dr. Hare and the study, these people have serious impulse control problems and react with anger. Individuals with this disorder have problems with social and moral norms (abnormal). However, they’re often superficially charming (fake) and seem well-adjusted (keyword: seem).

Psychopaths think highly of themselves. Inflicting pain on others gives them pleasure. It’s often said that psychopaths lack empathy”, but that’s not exactly true and here’s why… 

The study also reveals the “dark side of empathy”…

Emotional empathy and cognitive empathy are both cognitive processes. However, there are significant differences between them involving the activation of different parts of the brain. 

You can read the complete study / article HERE but let me first share this about the “dark side of empathy” per the article.

There’s a kind of “cold” empathy that is not as well known but online evil-doers have high levels of it. In other words, these online bullies, trolls, and haters can identify someone else’s suffering, but they don’t feel it. In fact, they are able to predict and recognize their victim’s emotional suffering. They then deliberately use their knowledge to cause the most damage possible. 

They often don’t even read people’s posts or they just skim them and reinterpret them to fit their motives. (This is exactly what CM and her sidekicks did). 

Again, it sure seems to sum-up CM and her sidekicks, and what they attempted and somewhat succeeded in doing to me last week. However, if you pay attention to her page, that’s all she seems to do & enjoy. Here is an example. She likes to “name and shame” without knowing the full story so I decided to “name” her in this post.

How in the world does she have time to write books if she’s always cyberbullying someone or starting shit online? And the genre she writes is romance. That’s very surprising because her personality sure seems far from warm and fuzzy. Perhaps she’d be a more successful author if she wrote murder mysteries, lol.

Now, check this post out!

Oh, and she tried to claim (via Darlen’e post) that I expect professionals to work for free. That’s not true. However, I did ask women who were friends and family members of mine if they would like to write a story to contribute to the GBF series, which was a passion project for me.

In my opinion, there is a big difference between the intention of all people who do things to help others and those who do things to make money. The GBF series was about helping people fulfill goals. For example, the series allowed many women to realize their dream of becoming a published author and, on the flipside, it allowed readers to realize their dream of shifting their mindset so they can break free from things that may be holding them back (ie: anger, anxiety, codependency, loneliness, etc.)

Update as of 7/18/19:

At first, I was emotional and had become so tired of fighting against jerks, bullies, and downright a-holes all of my life, that it’s just easier now that I’m older to just quit. But I have never been a “quitter”. I mean, Jesus was tortured and he kept going, so my “pain” seemed a whole lot more bearable.

So, after my much-needed break to think everything through, I realized that CM et al (those who caused all of the above) are just mere, tiny specks in a world of billions of specks. I never heard of them before this “situation”, so why should I let them put a stop to my passion project that could help millions of women across the world? They judgement upon me should not reflect my judgement upon myself so…

I have decided to be like a Phoenix once again and rise-up from the ashes. Therefore, the GBF series is once again “on” and it will continue until all of the series books are published as originally scheduled. I will see this project through to the end because it’s what I want to do. Ladies, if you’d like to participate in the GBF series, check this out.

Now my only question is… since Darlene wants her position back, do I rehire her ? Did I terminate her due to my emotional upheaval? I do know that, had this “online harrassment” with CM and her groupies not occurred, Darlene would’ve never been terminated.

What are your thoughts?

still-i-rise-you-may-shoot-me-with-your-words-22858715

In closing, while there aren’t any studies on how to stop trolls, ignoring their attacks seems to be the best way to avoid giving them more power.

So from this point forward, that’s what I’m going to do. 

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Top 3 Reasons for Bad Online Reviews

Had a conversation today that reminded me of something… 

WHEN LOOKING AT REVIEWS ONLINE (ie: Rip0ff Report, Ye1p, etc.)… here are my professional words of advice.

I have been a licensed investigator in several states since the mid-1990s. As a result, many of my past clients were exceptional professionals who had been listed on Rip0ff Report, yet who have been wrongly accused and / or sabotaged.

AFTER HUNDREDS OF INVESTIGATIONS by my team, these were (and likely still are) the top 3 reasons people end up on Rip0ff Report & sites like it:

  • unethical attempts by jealous competitors to indirectly steal their target’s clients or customers.
  • disgruntled employees who were pissed off despite being fired because of their own incompetence.
  • former patients who did NOT follow through on their own self-care yet chose to blame the doctor or therapist, saying their “program” or “advice” didn’t work.
  • online trolls, haters, or cyberbullies

I’m sure we can both agree that we don’t have to look too far to see adults who do NOT take responsibility for their own actions. In fact, many choose to blame everyone else – from their parents and bullies in elementary school, to their EX, their Pastor, and even President Trump. After all, the jails and prisons are full of innocent people.

In addition, we can also both agree that many in our society try to complain to get “free” products or services. Many citizens in today’s society could be considered “vicious litigants” by court professionals. Just another manipulative tactic to get something for nothing.

Before we move on to how to voice your dissatisfaction with a business or individual professional, let’s do a quick RECAP. Most reports were completely unfounded or were a sick twist of what really occured in which – as expected – the sabateur was automatically the “victim” in their own story. In a nut shell, most were serious sabotage attempts by uncouth individuals who had an *agenda*.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS: 

(1)If you have a problem with a company, organization, or professional, first try to deal with them directly and privately. I personally feel leaving a bad review is unfair when used to vent because it’s human nature to pretty much never share what YOU did to mess things up… screw-ups take 2.

I’m sorry to break this to you but if you have a problem with someone in your personal or professional life, it is highly unlikely that you are 100% innocent in the matter so have some integrity.

Besides, posting or ranting “uglies” anonymously online is a cop-out… just another way to “hide behind the internet”. Interacting with someone face-to-face is perhaps considered primitive to some, but still powerful nevertheless. If the tables were turned, would YOU want the chance to work it out privately with your customer / client OR would you rather they ran like a spoiled toddler and tattled online in an emotional hissy fit? (more on this in a bit)

(2) It is always best to make your own decisions when interacting with professionals you are considering doing business with, and not depend on someone else’s opinions. Since many postings online are actually submitted by fake names or completely anonymous, why would you depend on the opinions of complete strangers? If they are too ashamed to reveal themselves, what does that say about them?

(3) And, as for Rip0ff Report specifically, let’s not forget that the man who put this website up has been sued repeatedly, and he’s using a tiny loophole in the federal law that allows him to never have to verify if any of its true, and he also never has to take any of it down. So what you put on there about someone, or what someone puts on there about you… will be there forever. However, what this site owner did was to create a service in which the sabotaged person or company could pay LOTS of $$$ in which he “MAY” remove the unfavorable comments. In other words, that website is a huge moneymaker for him so he doesn’t care what anybody says about anybody else. As for character… that speaks volumes about the site owner’s ethics and self-serving agenda. I could tell you something similar about Ye1p.

(4)When deciding whether or not to work with another professional in any capacity and you see a unfavorable review, TELL THEM UP-FRONT. Society is becoming so weak that they are afraid to speak! I personally recommend letting these professionals know on the first phone call or email that you saw the bad review online BUT add that you want to give them the opportunity to be heard. Most ethical professionals would appreciate the opportunity to talk about it. If it was YOU who was talked about badly online and possibly losing business, wouldn’t you want the opportunity to that as well? In addition, it shows the other professional that YOU ARE NOT one to just fall into the status quo and that YOU ARE CAPABLE of forming your own educated and objective opinions.

** What I personally do is set up a time to interview THEM in person or on video ** because when I tell them face-to-face about the review I saw about them, I am able to tell more through their non-verbal reaction than what their words could actually reveal. IF I still wish to work with them, as a formality, I will then ask for references. Realizing that about 50% may be friends or family, I contact them anyway. 

However, absolutely NOTHING is a stronger indicator of truth than your own instincts. So much of society has become lazy and in a hurry that they no longer use their own instincts… instead they choose to believe what’s online… and yes, even posts by complete strangers!

Somewhere along the so-called advancement of our supposed *enlightened* society, we have opted-out of doing our part of the work. Yes, doing the above takes a little bit longer. However, doing the work also helps build YOUR own character and shows that you are a fair, objective, and credible professional too, not one who “goes with the flow” because it’s the easy way. PLEASE don’t be one of the lazy members of society, there are far too many already.

As promised earlier from (1) above…

QUESTION: is it ever OKAY to post a BAD REVIEW?

ANSWER: YES, and this is how I do it…

  • If I do choose to leave a review online, I only do so after THREE attempts to privately work it out with the person / organization. I leave a few days between each attempt to allow them time to respond. This takes about 10 – 14 days total.
  • If I do not have about 10 – 14 days to wait for resolution, I always wait until EXACTLY 11 hours after the incident occurred before writing the review. There is a very powerful forensically-scientific reason behind the 11th hour that I posted about before on my Facebook page.

Whichever option I choose, if they refuse to work it out, discuss it, or are total jerks, then I will leave my review but I only do so with objective FACTS and do not include any subjective emotions or opinions. Think in terms of the “who, what, why, where, and how” of journalism.

THEN… before I hit “post” or “submit” I always ask myself:

“If I had to go to court and prove what I just wrote, could I?” 

If any part (no matter how miniscule it may seem) of my review says, “No”, I immediately reword it. It’s only ethical to do so. 

PARTING WORDS TO THE WISE: remember, just as you are trying to be “stealthy” online, so are others. Take 5 minutes to look at the social media timeline or a news website and you will see that people are probably more psychologically unstable than ever before, or perhaps just as much as before but with more easy access to you, your loved ones, and they can easily show up where you work or live. In other words, you never know who you are truly messing with on the other side of the WWW.

Choosing to belittle, post rants and harrass people with “uglies” is exactly that – a choice. If you choose to always remain in integrity while being objectively and respectfully honest, you will likely sleep better at night, and remain safe from “society’s psychos”.

Honesty and truth helps people. Sabotage attempts and lies never do..png