Good Day Class,

Today we have the honor of having TWO substitute teachers (guest writers). They are the ladies behind the popular ebook, “The Narcissist – A User Guide” and are also known as blog authors, Betsy of Passing Thru and Lori of Think Like A Black Belt.

For some time now, the three of us have been discussing how not only in real life, but in cyberspace, narcissists exist. Because Lori and Betsy are what I consider experts on this topic, I asked them to write more about what we need to watch for, as well as how we can protect ourselves from toxic relationships when blogging.

Take your seats, have a listen and at the end please feel free to raise your hand and share your experiences, or ask a question.

Without further ado,

Ladies….the floor is yours.

Hello Everyone –

Thanks to Barbara for the opportunity to post on BWAB!  Barbara has enthusiastically supported our e-book, The Narcissist: A User’s Guide, since we launched – more than 500 downloads ago!

Today’s Lesson

We three have each observed narcissists manipulating situations online, where it can be easier for people to mask who they really are.

But narcissistic tactics don’t really change, online or off.

People who exhibit narcissistic behaviors inevitably create problems:

  • stonewalling progress with unreasonable demands;
  • amplifying our insecurities with “feedback”;
  • promoting unfounded criticism;
  • attempting to marshal a group to curry consensus.

A narcissist is always a tactician. The narcissist’s telltale modus operandi is manipulation, using language, rank, status, appearances, intelligence, or emotions.  They’re after others to feed their ego and confirm their superiority.  The dark side of dealing with a narcissist is that they rationalize, shift blame, and belittle.

Interacting with a narcissist can be extremely detrimental, even for short periods of time.  If you seek any sort of relationship-based depth or fulfillment with a narcissist, you’ll be disappointed.

THREE RED FLAGS THAT SIGNAL NARCISSISM

1.  “I’M RIGHT AND YOU’RE WRONG”

The communication comes across like a lecture. The tone is parental, condescending, or reeks of “I’m the expert.” BUT, interwoven in the mix to keep you off your game will be:

  • Rationalizations that use emotional manipulation — “You know how your emotions can get out of control.”
  • Belittling remarks meant to minimize — “I’m sure you meant well, but …”
  • Doctoring the truth — “All my life, I’ve done nothing but try to help you …”
  • Personal attacks and blame-shifting — “I can’t believe you think that! You’re the one who wouldn’t help me.”
  • Fallacious reasoning— “Just last week, I talked you up and now you act like this?”

2.  CONTROL IS EVERYTHING

To a narcissist, winning an argument once is not enough.  They assess what causes you to back down.  They’re evaluating your suitability for grooming toward the position of sidekick. Such lackeys eventually push the narcissist’s agenda as well.  Sidekicks see themselves as helping others realize how wonderful and/or misunderstood the narcissist is.

Control can range from cunning subtlety to targeted and direct, as with narcissistic rage. Look for attempts to control:

  • Attitude that you need them to look out for you — “To help you out, I told the board members you’re a team player.”
  • Insistence that you apologize — “A real man has the guts to apologize. I shouldn’t even have to ask you for one.”
  • Put-downs that confer their superior expertise — “How many years have you put into this — all of two?”
  • Out of proportion response — “How dare you try to set boundaries with me?”
  • Withholding information as inducement — “When you get your promotion, I’ll clue you in.”

3.  YOUR INVESTMENT IS NEEDED

Narcissists can’t do what they do by themselves. They must convince others to buy in. Tactics to get you to invest:

  • Exploiting a weakness or “hot button” — “Remember when you felt bad about that blog comment? I can help you.”
  • Training you to hunger for approval — “I think you’d do a better job if you put in more effort.”
  • Wearing hurts and rejections you must honor — “I can’t believe they treated me this way, can you?”
  • Expecting you to go along without objection — “I’ll drive us to the airport and then…”
  • Continually reminding of their successes — “When I was new with this company, I won the award for …”

Narcissists use language as a tool to manipulate others for attention, whether negative or positive, which they will utilize to their advantage.

Online you might encounter a narcissist on their website, pontificating to their heart’s content. Other times, a narcissistic person will “troll” in comments sections and forums, stirring up controversy or hijacking threads.

Sensing narcissistic probes and tactics can be as simple as:

  • realizing there’s an agenda –“I’m not a doctor, but my medical training tells me you are wrong …”
  • recognizing manipulation – I want to know what you think about this because it could impact you …”
  • hearing your instinct that says something isn’t quite *right.* (“I am not used to your thinking process. Let me explain …”)

Not everyone who says things like the statements above is a full-blown narcissist.  Many people have sought to promote their self-interest more aggressively at times.  When you consistently feel at a disadvantage over an ever-lengthening time period, you have a right and a responsibility to yourself.  Put things on suspension, and redirect in favor of healthier interactions.

Narcissism isn’t about a single sentence said — or written — but a pattern of behavior.

The Internet is a wonderful place to collaborate, access opportunities, or find community.  But we don’t have to deal with behavior online that we wouldn’t stand for a minute in real life.

Today’s Assignment

Have you suspected you might have encountered a narcissist online?

Does anyone have additional examples of narcissistic comments or tactics?

How can we ensure our online interactions are healthy, meaningful and beneficial?

Care to Share?


Betsy of PassingThru, and Lori, author of Think Like a Black Belt the blog and ebook by the same name, met via blogging and joined forces after realizing they had both encountered and dealt with narcissists in their lives. In the hope of helping others, they collaborated on “The Narsiccist: A Users Guide” ebook, a fabulous resource which is free to download. Just click on the book to receive your free copy and learn how to deal with or end the toxic relationships in your life.


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  1. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Thank you for the opportunity to guest post and being so supportive! It’s amazing how many readers, friends, and family are dealing with this. Fortunately recognition and knowledge of what is going on helps people see through the machinations.

    I look forward to your wonderful community’s input.
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Gaslighting, is someone using this trap on you? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Lori,

      Yes. Many do deal with toxic people on a daily basis. Unfortunately we also deal with them online. I like how you and Betsy have detailed what we can look for, thus reducing our exposure.

  2. Hi Barbara – Thanks again for opening up your forum of readers to this topic. Sharing information on this topic is a a great way to heighten awareness and provide an assist to those who may find themselves in a confusing or troubling situation, as well as help people establish good online boundaries as they work on their blogging careers.
    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Understanding and Moving On from Difficult People =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Betsy,

      That’s so true. It is via sharing we learn from each other. I’m so grateful you and Lori have volunteered to expand on this important topic and are reminding us to set boundaries.

  3. Hi Lori and Betsy. I have come across a couple in my life who mattered. Family, actually. One by blood — a cousin. One by marriage. Thankfully I haven’t had to live with either one. Both are very charming, and both are at the very core of their own universes. They invite us in as they see fit, and kick us out at will (theirs).

    Narcissism has such destructive powers on loved ones — even those who recognize it for what it is. In fact, the more recognized a narcissist becomes, the sharper the arrows she slings. Both (close ones I know personally) are sneaky, and without scruples, though they have sold themselves on their own righteousness.

    I have enough years behind me to ignore narcissists online. I only read them once, and will not engage through commenting. If one shows up at the OverCoffeeBlog persistently, or mounts a campaign, I’ll have to rethink how to handle it. For now, I do what my sister taught me: pretend they mean something else. Don’t ever answer what they actually said. And don’t ever take it home with you. Be angry if you need to be, and get over it. (If a commenter, don’t publish him.)

    I’m grateful you wrote the book — and not surprised you’ve had over 500 downloads. Thank you.
    .-= Check out Barb Hartsook´s awesome post: Do We Recognize Opportunities as They Soar Over Us? =-.

    • Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barb,

      I like this technique! “I…pretend they mean something else. Don’t ever answer what they actually said.”

      And I can relate to this: “the more recognized a narcissist becomes, the sharper the arrows she slings.” Fear of being seen for something other than their ideal self-image pushes them into more intensity.

      Thank you for the comments about the e-book. We’ve been grateful for the interest, feedback, and downloads.
      .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Gaslighting, is someone using this trap on you? =-.

    • Hi Barb – Your phrasing stopped me cold: “Sold themselves on their own righteousness.” Brilliant! It so encapsulates what narcissism is all about. They have to constantly be selling – everyone. But most important is they have to keep persuading themselves, too. And, as you say, they’re hoping most for engagement. Thank you.
      .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Understanding and Moving On from Difficult People =-.

  4. Hi Guys!

    Well, you know I love the E-book! Glad to hear its doing well. Thanks Barbara for having Lori and Betsy here to spread such an important message, as one who has lived through a situation like this that took a dangerous turn before it was resolved, I think the message can’t be shared often enough. As Lori pointed it out, it doesn’t mean that every person who says one of those sentences is automatically a narci, or that there is one hiding under every bush. But if you are in a relationship that has you looking in the mirror and saying “Am I going crazy or….” Then, I would say, pause and go over the list again. You might be on to something.
    .-= Check out Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations´s awesome post: The Writer’s Speed Bump =-.

  5. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, Lori and Betsy .. this subject is so good for us all to hear about and have the ebook as a reference tool. I think it’s important information for us all – so that we have that knowledge available, so we can make sensible comments if we come across the problem with friends or relations etc and/or understand the situation we’re being told about.

    Thank you – good to have these succinct posts giving us an overview … perhaps on a really troublesome subject for many people … Hilary
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Spring Cleaning and Passion …. =-.

  6. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I have come across these types online and off. It amazes me how they think, play, etc. Very good information on this subject as every bit of it is true!

    How to deal with it? Move on. No reason to let them have a parking space in your world.
    .-= Check out Linda´s awesome post: The Green We Need To Know =-.

  7. Oh, yeah. I’ve seen the online narcissist. On my blog and elsewhere. Some blogger friends of mine talk about this issue privately and we discuss ways to respond to these people carefully in our comments. Even though they are the ones everyone can see through, we’re the ones who struggle with how to respond so we don’t look like we’re on the attack. It’s frustrating.

  8. ElizaNo Gravatar says:

    I think @Barb Hartsook’s advice is brilliant: pretend they mean something else. Don’t ever answer what they actually said. I do this with narcissists I only need to deal with infrequently. Those I had to deal with day in day out, I removed from my life. As for blogging, again Barb’s advice would work quite well for the odd incident. If it was persistent commenting, I would start deleting the comments. I always go by the principle that my blog is the equivalent of my home. If you are not respectful, please leave.
    .-= Check out Eliza´s awesome post: From Financial Loss to Sex Toy Success: Adventure =-.

    • Hi Eliza – I feel much the same way about the blog being our online living room. As such, we get to set the rules of engagement. One of my family members characterized another as “saying all the wrong things for the right reasons,” and that thinking does create a different perspective. My personal challenge is keeping that perspective firmly in mind. Thanks.
      .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Understanding and Moving On from Difficult People =-.

    • Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Eliza,
      Social media thrives on The Conversation. So do narcissists. I’m all for boundary setting on blogs, too, because of the “respect my house” attitude, but also because I don’t respect a person who badgers me to engage them. Civility matters.
      .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Gaslighting, is someone using this trap on you? =-.

  9. Hi Barbara, Betsy and Lori,

    It is wonderful how you applied narcissism into blogging. Your points about how to notice such behavior were just perfect.

    In my experience, I have had the occasional commenter who always without fail tries to start an argument about something that I have written. There is nothing wrong with genuine debate and I welcome it. However, this particular person always has done this with the intention to make themselves look like they were an authority.

    It did bother me at first but then I realized that their behavior was a sign of insecurity so I just found a way to deal with that person. Funny enough, they never came back after that.
    .-= Check out Nadia – Happy Lotus´s awesome post: Passion…It’s A Way of Life =-.

    • Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Nadia – Happy Lotus,
      I’d like to know what way you found that worked so well! (You can email any of us three if you prefer.) Yes, good debate can be fun and spirited, but when ego, derision, badgering, or trying to start an argument enters the picture, you have to take note and set boundaries or the person can run all over you, your blog, and your comment section. I’m glad it worked out for you.
      .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Gaslighting, is someone using this trap on you? =-.

    • Hi Nadia – Happy Lotus – Great point about understanding what’s driving the person, and then moving on. It’s not easy to do all the time, and the specifics need to be chosen with care. I’m interested in what worked for you, too. Thanks.
      .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Understanding and Moving On from Difficult People =-.

  10. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    Hey guys, thanks for guesting here on Barbara’s wonderful blog. And such a timely subject too. :)

    Even with this clearly laid out list of warning signs, I still couldn’t tell you if I’ve truly met a narcissist online or not. I definitely have in my offline life (is that a proper term?) and that was NOT a pleasant experience in any sense. Had to work under the guy for a year. It nearly destroyed me as I’m a guy who normally has a low self esteem anyway. Bleh. :(

    There is one guy on a forum that I used to frequent. He always insisted on being right about everything, and was known for chasing various folks around from thread to thread to pull them apart with his superior intellect. More than that, whenever he was raked over the coals for his behaviour (or even temporarily banned a couple of times), he remained stubbornly unrepentant! Bleh.

    Still, with all that, he could simply be just an arrogant so and so with an overinflated ego. I will probably never know. Don’t really wanna to be honest with you. I have since moved on from that forum. Life kinda isn’t long enough to be wasting on things like that. 😛
    .-= Check out Tony Single´s awesome post: An Atheist in Sheep’s Clothing =-.

    • Hi Tony – You’re right, it’s not about whether the person is whatever label so much as the behaviors they’re choosing and the energy we find ourselves expending in dealing with them. Thanks for your comment.
      .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Understanding and Moving On from Difficult People =-.

    • Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tony,
      It can be hard to read the parental, arrogant, and “I’m right; you’re wrong” undercurrent in an online writing when it is hidden (with years of experience) under manipulative wording. I don’t know if others notice this, but the first warning sign for me is gut-level feeling the writing is slimy, like the old movie snake oil potion. Then I notice the tell-tale wording, the usual side-stepping tricks, and the belittling.
      .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Gaslighting, is someone using this trap on you? =-.

  11. Anyone who frequents Blogs With Wings will know that a few months back I had some content stolen off my blog. When I and a friend of mine attempted to confront the offender, they were unable to admit any wrong doing. Rationalizing their actions and belittling me and my blog in the process. “After all it’s only a blog, it’s not like you wrote a book or something.” was his response.

    I managed to pull my friends and myself out of a really bad situation where the whole exchange was taking place publicly online in comments. I realized we were feeding into this guys narcissistic behaviors. I decided to walk away and leave him and his posse of “sidekicks” to themselves.

    He, however was unable to let it go. He found an error on my blog and instead of quietly contacting me directly he published it on his blog in an attack style post. He was trying to bully me into responding, but I grew up with this kind of behavior. I lived with daily criticism for too many years and know better now, than to respond to it. My lack of attention seems to have taken the wind out of his sails.

    These people are so hurtful and unthinking. They can’t seem to see past their own need for self-affirmation and seek it constantly in the belittlement of others. They are indeed controlling and impossible to truly please. You generally can’t change them, but you can choose to remove yourself from their poison spewing range. It’s better for your own mental health and self-esteem to not get pulled into their malicious games.
    .-= Check out Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella´s awesome post: Keywords For Blogs – Increase Your Reach To The Masses =-.

    • Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella,
      “He was trying to bully me into responding…” — typical behavior! Although we generally like to forgive, give someone another chance, or will open ourselves up more than once in hopes things change — because that is what makes good relationships — we won’t find narcissists interested in any of that. So yes, the option to get out of “poison spewing range” for your own well-being is often the best choice.

      Thanks for sharing this story for others to read and learn from as well.
      .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Gaslighting, is someone using this trap on you? =-.

  12. Hi Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella – What an unfortunate experience. And it seems as though you found out the hard way that a person using these behaviors isn’t really interested in dialogue, but rather engagement. Then when you disengaged, you got a classic probe in the form of the critical re-post. So predictable! The cure you selected – more disengagement – was the best remedy. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Understanding and Moving On from Difficult People =-.

  13. janiceNo Gravatar says:

    500 downloads is an amazing achievement, you guys – well done! Great comments in the boxes here, too. A lot of useful advice.
    .-= Check out janice´s awesome post: Why Haiku? =-.

  14. The more I blog, the more I thing that at least when it comes to my own blog, I need to delete any comment that I don’t like for any reason whatsoever, and without providing explanations or being apologetic about it. Assuming I start adopting this approach, I think it will be great when it comes to narcissists.

  15. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah!!! Barbara, Betsy and Lori all in one place:~)

    Barbara — Thanks for having Lori and Betsy. I love their book:~)

    Betsy and Lori — I don’t think I’ve met a one of these “monsters” online yet. I have visited other sites in which I believe a narcissist have visited and done their damage. It seems worse if the blogger being attacked tries to clarify or correct the negativity of this type of person. I think what you’ve said about NOT ENGAGING is probably the best advice.

    Another online area that attracts the narcissist is online dating sites. They can do some damage to people they meet online, especially since people at a dating site are wanting to engage and develop a relationship. Therefore, they aren’t expecting this kind of person. I think people on these dating sites probably need to read your book so they avoid these nasty individuals!

    Thanks and I think your book is FANTASTIC!!!!
    .-= Check out Sara´s awesome post: A Lesson In Fairness =-.

  16. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi All,

    As I was reading through all of these wonderful comments it reminded me of of a few things.

    One technique I’ve used is to respond by saying, “Thank you for sharing your opinion”. (That’s it. Nothing else.)

    If a narcissist travels from blog to blog trying to stir the pot, if everyone marks their comments as spam (not trash), soon the spam filters (or at least I know Akismet) will “assume” they are a spammer and will automatically just throw their comments into spam. Then it will be up to the narci to deal with all of the spam filtering platforms to prove they’re not a spammer to get that reversed.

    I also like how several of you reminded us, our blogs are like our homes. If we wouldn’t invite these types of people into our living rooms, why should we allow them on our blogs?

    I’ve seen this happen on blogs of different sizes and what ends up happening is one bad egg can quickly change the whole dynamic of the comment section. Instead of discussing the topic of the post, the conversation becomes centered around what the narcissist said. If this happens early in the comments, the entire message of the post can be lost.

    Keep in mind, some bloggers will purposely write controversial posts and promote this type of behavior. It’s a technique used to drive more traffic to a blog in hopes word will spread to others. Granted, this can work, however, the blog author also has to be ready to deal with it. As those who have had this happen (often unintentionally) know, some who comment will attack the blog author instead of just disagreeing with the topic. It’s not pretty.

    • Hi Barbara – Well, that’s exactly the point of the behavior, isn’t it, to make it about them instead of the topic? It reminds me of the old joke, “Well, enough about me, what do you think of me?” LOL Yeah, you’re right, bait is bait. Let’s make sure we’re not chum for such a shark.
      .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Understanding and Moving On from Difficult People =-.

  17. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    You write, “Instead of discussing the topic of the post, the conversation becomes centered around what the narcissist said.” It’s always a great way for the pot-stirrer to get more attention.

    Sometimes the attack on the blog author is more subtle than direct. The toxic person may stab and thrust while hiding behind comments like “I’m just trying to be reasonable here…” or “I’m really concerned this might be a problem…” or “I’m only writing to clear up the misconception about…”

    As Yoda might say, “Sneaky these are.”
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Gaslighting, is someone using this trap on you? =-.

  18. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I think so far in the blogging world, I have deleted the several comments that were heading in this direction. Certainly by the second comment. Then again I just have a fairly regular set of commenters.
    I think my big problems came up when I was doing sub-contracting counseling services for the State. I was seeing so many children abused and victimized by this behavior it was quite scary.
    I think bullying has gotten so out of control…and think lots of fundamentalist churches and talk radio folks are right in this form of controlling others.

    I was on the jury of a trial of a man who murdered a female Dr. who he was told performed ab***tions – he shot the wrong DR. but in truth he was doing the bidding of his Pastor who was definitely troubled by this malady. He was all “worked up” after his evening prayer group with his Pastor. So he spent the rest of his days in jail for doing the wrongful act and the Preacher has moved up the ranks …although can not work in this State anymore.

    When working on Medical Ethics Review Committees, I witnessed a number of Nurses who displayed these traits and could make a whole wing of a medical facility a living hell for the patients and the other employees.
    Thank you for sharing your good efforts. I think it is important information.
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: A Nice Tall Drink of Water =-.

  19. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Patricia,
    There are many professions that attract narcissists because they can hide under the guise of authority or “experts.” I go to one medical professional who is a narcissist, but who is awesome at diagnosis. Our meetings are short and far apart, so it is bearable.
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Gaslighting, is someone using this trap on you? =-.

  20. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Girls – great post. I used to have a narcissist drop by my blog from time to time. He used to piss me off but I tolerated him. And a long time later, I discovered that “he” was actually a woman who blogged about the same stuff as me elsewhere. He hasn’t been back – I’m guessing that the risk I would expose his real identity has put him off.

  21. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb – my avatar doesn’t work anymore. I thought I changed my email address at Gravatar.com – is there something else I need to do?

  22. I often see some comment in my spam box which meet the symptom of a narcissistic. There are some people who constantly try to depress me by arguing with my writing skill and grammar. I know my English is not as good as you but I think what I write is pretty understandable for my readers and that’s what I want and that why I love to see those comment in spam and go away even without viewing. :)
    .-= Check out Arafat Hossain Piyada´s awesome post: Some Best Free Video Editing Software =-.

    • Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Arafat,
      It can be irritating to write helpful information only to have someone shoot down your grammar skills. Any time a friend’s blog has a glaring typo or something, I won’t make a big deal of it in the comments, but I might shoot a quick DM or email saying, “Is this how you want it to read?” It’s about kindness, not about who’s right.
      .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Gaslighting, is someone using this trap on you? =-.

  23. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, Betsy and Lori.
    As you know I’ve read and reviewed this book and think it is a valuable resource. It has opened my eyes.

    Where I’m caught in all of this is how people so quickly make the “diagnosis” that someone is a narcissist when in fact they might just be someone who feels passionately about something and is maybe a little overzealous in their commenting. How can we avoid just turning the other cheek and ignoring someone’s point of view by casting them off as a narcissist? I guess it’s important to note that as you say, this is a pattern you would watch for over time rather than making a judgment after one or two incidents.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: On the First Day of Spring =-.

    • Hi Davina – Thank you so much. We really are grateful for all your support of this project.

      And yes, you raise a good point. Labeling someone might help us feel better in the short term, but the issue is really about the behavior. We can’t get to the point where we won’t be ourselves with each other for fear of being labeled if we have a solitary outburst. Good friends and intuitive acquaintances shouldn’t be afraid to take that up with us, either, asking what’s wrong, pointing out this isn’t our regular way of being, etc.

      The answers when we do this are so revealing and often lead to better understanding. I think early labeling is something people do for a variety of reasons primarily having to do with being unable to spend the effort digging a little deeper. Make sense?
      .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Understanding and Moving On from Difficult People =-.

      • DavinaNo Gravatar says:

        Makes sense Betsy, thanks. And I agree that good friends shouldn’t be afraid to take it up with us; I would encourage it. When someone is commenting for the first time the decision is then whether or not to inquire/engage further or delete; is our time and energy worth dealing with it, and do our readers need to witness it… And as Barbara has mentioned, it detracts from the post itself.
        .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: On the First Day of Spring =-.

    • Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,
      The pattern development is important. So is awareness. Armed with those, you can start making decisions based on your own experiences and preferences.

      Passion and over-zealousness are OK, but I don’t see them as an excuse to be rude, belittling, or manipulative in hurtful or subtly degrading ways. Most decent people will cool off and take a gentle hint or clarify their point, but a toxic person will escalate, perhaps even triangulate, to get attention. It’s also helpful to know their online footprint. Have they attacked you or your point maliciously elsewhere? Are they known for pushing buttons? Do they seem to — as my grandparents might have said — make a ruckus for the heck of it?
      .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Gaslighting, is someone using this trap on you? =-.

      • DavinaNo Gravatar says:

        Rude, belittling or hurtful; absolutely no excuse, I agree. I’ve seen this behaviour in other comment sections. Commenters literally attacking each other and name-calling. It’s like an episode of Jerry Springer. If the blogger chooses to encourage these types of commenters I imagine it will only attract more, while losing the other readers. It can influence the whole atmosphere of the blog.
        .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: On the First Day of Spring =-.

  24. Hi Arafat – You’ve described a “shoot the messenger” tactic that’s quite common. Wouldn’t it be fun if there was an add-on to the spam plug-in that would sort them by type? :) Thanks for your comment.
    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Understanding and Moving On from Difficult People =-.

  25. When the AOL message boards became popular way back in the days before blogging, I used to be on a few boards with a handful of close friends. From time to time someone would pop up out of the blue who would go from board to board with the intent to do nothing but stir up trouble and write vicious attacks on someone that they seemingly decided to “hate.”

    These people were labeled as Trolls, though they fit exactly the pattern you have described here. Over and over AND over, in the early days of AOL, the community would jump on these trolls with vicious responses, countering their attacks, giving them food for more flame and these message chains would be pages and pages and pages long, everyone upset, people crying, friendships destroyed and sometimes entire boards shut down. AOL finally put up policies for how to handle Trolls. Number one rule: DO NOT ENGAGE. IGNORE THEM. Period. It worked. Without any attention and no conversation or response, they got bored and went away. I really believe it to be the best way to handle on line narcissists too. Delete or ignore.
    .-= Check out Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations´s awesome post: Little Great Things =-.

  26. Hi Wendi – You’re right about those days. You most definitely do not want to throw anything over the bridge rail that they would pick up on! And I agree, ignoring is the best, but sometimes it’s not possible or practical in certain situations. Thanks for the memories! :)
    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Understanding and Moving On from Difficult People =-.

  27. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Betsi and Lori
    “I’M RIGHT AND YOU’RE WRONG” attitude has to be a dead giveaway.
    I must say that most posts and comments that I’ve read tend to leave plenty of room for lots of opinions.

    One thing that I’ve learned by visiting other blogs it to treat your commenters with respect… whatever their point of view.

    If I don’t feel comfortable, I don’t comment and I don’t go back.
    .-= Check out Keith Davis´s awesome post: A helping hand… =-.

  28. […] Warning! Online Bullies Hide Behind Their Words (bloggingwithoutablog.com) […]