Diane Wilson
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Flame Retardant


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About Trolls and Flamers

Diane Wilson speaks from her soapbox:

As someone in another newsgroup said, it's troll season.

For what it's worth......

We have two people here (at the moment, anyway) who have certain basic troll characteristics:

They are unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their words or behavior.

They are unable or unwilling to consider the possibility that they have brought a great deal of dislike upon themselves.

I don't know for certain, but my feeling is that each of them is filled with self-hate, and is unable to face that issue.


I've dealt with self-haters before, and this is what you can expect:

The only thing they can do with their venom is to flush it out on other people. As a result, everything they say about you is a reflection of their feelings about themselves.

Because of their self-hate, there is nothing that you can say that is as bad as what they see in themselves. You can't hurt them, no matter how hard you try.

The only thing that relieves their self-hate is to see other people in pain. If you let them get to you, that only encourages them. That's why they're here in the first place.

The point is that flaming them hurts you more than it hurts them.

What makes it worse--been here, seen this before, too--is that these trolls are insiders. Yes, they hurt, they're depressed, they are at least as far down as any of us. What that means is that they know all the right buttons to push to make us angry. They have no conscience that prevents them from pushing those buttons.

That is the difference between them and us. They have turned abusive. Yes, that does make a difference. I've encountered some recovering abusers on the net, and I learned a few things from that experience. The one thing that sustains an abuser is denial; an abuser cannot allow hirself to be open to the slightest possibility that sie is harming another human being. They blame anyone and anything else in sight, but virtually all of that blame is directed at the victim, in one way or another. Abusers REFUSE to take responsibility for their behavior.

In dealing with an abuser, particularly from a treatment perspective, the first and most important step is to break that denial. It is not only breaking the denial about hurting other people. It is essential to break the denial that they are not responsible for their behavior. They must learn that they have to take responsibility for everything that they do, and it is a hard lesson to teach.

Until an abuser's denial is broken, it is dangerous to give them any sympathy. Sympathy gives them a way out, a way to avoid taking responsibility. Someone else made them the way they are; they're not responsible. This is utter garbage, and to give them this opening is truly a disservice.


They are here to feed on our pain. We don't have to give them that satisfaction.

They stay only as long as we feed them well. If we want them to go, all we have to do is to stop feeding them.

The solution for trolls is in two parts. First, recognize and understand that they are here to hurt us. They way that they hurt us is to beat on us with their own rage. Recognize that everything they say about us is a reflection of their own self-hate. Even when they hit our triggers, it is their rage, their self-hatred that they are giving us. We don't have to let ourselves be hurt by the fact that they hate themselves. We don't have to accept that. We can let them drown in their self-hate, simply by ignoring them.

And that is the second part. If you want a troll to go away, ignore hir. When no one responds to them, they are left with their own venom. That is the last thing that a troll wants to have to deal with.

Let us build an ASD zoo. Let us build cages, and put the appropriate names on those cages. Then let us put a sign in front of those cages:


Then, most importantly, let us not feed the animals. Killfile or ignore them, but do not respond to them, and do not accept their pain as your own.

In a more practical manner, John Timothy brings it all down to five simple rules:

(1) Don't read posts from or about abusers;

(2) Don't read email from or about abusers;

(3) If you can't resist reading, don't respond;

(4) If you can't resist responding, do so by email--not by posting here;

(5) If you are compelled to post a response, if you just can't stop yourself, at least do the rest of us the favor of adding the abuser's name to the subject line, so we can avoid reading that post. Thanks.

Copyright © 1996, 2001 by Diane Wilson. All rights reserved.