What is New?


June 23: edited my post on Gaslighting to insert a link to a very good video by psychologist, Ross Rosenberg, explaining how gaslighting starts in childhood, and how to heal from parents who gaslight.

June 6: PBS's Frontline takes on the issue of human sex trafficking of abducted teenage girls in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Click HERE for that.

May 17: Turpin parents get 25 years to life for abusing their children. Final words from children and parents at sentencing. Click HERE for that.

Friday, May 27, 2016

cyber bullying, an example, with my comments

original drawing avatar: © Lise Winne
screenshot: © Facebook with alterations  

Note: I suggest you read my post about what is abuse and who is it perpetrated by, otherwise you may not understand many of the comments I make on the posts. Also this post is about adult to adult cyberbullying. I will be discussing cyberbullying as it pertains to children, preteens and teenagers in another post.

According to Wikipedia, cyberbullying is defined as:

Cyberbullying is the act of harming or harassing via information technology networks in a repeated and deliberate manner. According to U.S. Legal Definitions, "cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them."[1]

Examples of what constitutes cyberbullying include communications that seek to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down, falsely discredit, or humiliate the recipient. The actions are deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior intended to harm another. Cyberbullying has been defined by The National Crime Prevention Council: "When the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person."[6][7]

Since this post is primarily about adult to adult cyberbullying, I have included this definition from Wikipedia too:

The practice of cyberbullying is not limited to children and, while the behavior is identified by the same definition when practiced by adults, the distinction in age groups sometimes refers to the abuse as cyberstalking or cyberharassment when perpetrated by adults toward adults.[12]Common tactics used by cyberstalkers are performed in public forums, social media or online information sites and are intended to threaten a victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. Behaviors may include encouraging others to harass the victim and trying to affect a victim's online participation. Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. The differences between cyberbullying and cyberstalking have been expressed in a Trolling Magnitude (TM) Scale, showing cyberbullying is more strategic and cyberstalking is more about domination.[5]

In a great deal of unmoderated online forums, you will notice that bullies take over most of them. Note the word unmoderated.

Most forums are about shared values, perceptions, opinions or experiences. In unmoderated forums, the reason why the bullies end up controlling the information and discussions is because their lives are primarily focused on controlling other people and their perceptions. The issues that are raised in these forums rate a distant second. This kind of control in an on-line forum translates to controlling subjects, opinions and facts to match up as perfectly as possible with the bully's visions of the world, and interest in a subject. If the bully is not interested in the subject, or the opinions oppose his own, he will feel threatened and incensed, and begin to attack another poster on a personal level. Verbal abuse lingo becomes his box of tools: "You are irritating", "You are being a moron", "Move along. We don't want to hear your drivel", "You're really wacky, you know that?", "You're our daily troll", "Go back to your playpen" and other insults are hurled at an unsuspecting target to intimidate and demean. Some bullies try to out-maneuver opponents by twisting concepts and words, bombarding the forum with erroneous facts, and engaging in word salad arguments before graduating to personal attacks.

Bullies tend to be disordered: narcissists or antisocial personality disordered -- see my post on what abuse is and who it is perpetrated by.

The reason so many people become bullied by a gang in unmoderated forums is that bullies are on the lookout for their own kind. They see a  poster getting personally attacked. They watch, and then if they like what the "other" bully is doing (which usually they do), they join in to help that other bully. This sets up a buddy system where the main agenda is to scour the forum to find lone posters who appear not to have support, or are supported only by a few people. In this way, two bullies can easily turn into 30 bullies or more, many more. Many unmoderated forums turn into gang bullying sites by default. Gang bullying is typically referred to as mobbing or dog piling.

In the following typical example, the forum is from Facebook and it has over 7,000 members. It is a political forum that started out primarily as a place to show political cartoons and satire for the educated left-leaning.

But an interesting turn of events began to happen as "the Republican birther movement" started to take place. While there were still cartoons, there were less of them. It was obvious that it was turning more into a forum for political articles and discussions about Obama and the debunking of claims that he was born in another country besides the USA. There were other articles too about the health care bill, and Congress stonewalling legislation. The discussions were not too consequential in that they did not bring much discussion.

A more drastic turn of events happened, however, when the latest political race began. All of a sudden there were many posts about both Clinton and Sanders. The cartoons completely disappeared and it became obvious that there was a war going on between the Sanders voters and the Clinton voters. Then there were the people who were unsure of either candidate. Then there were voters who wanted Clinton, but were afraid she would be beaten by Trump, so were voting for Sanders instead, particularly in the later primaries (West Virginia, California, Oregon, New Mexico, Montana and so on).

This is where Tina, the focus of this story, and the target for bullying, entered into the forum, to discuss the concern that was raised that Clinton might not be able to beat Trump, especially because the latest polls showed that Hillary was in a dead heat with Trump.

At the end of this post I discuss ideas for reducing victimization in cyberbullying (i.e. how Tina could have made the situation better).

A little bit of back story first: Tina had posted only a handful of times (minimally). In facebook groups you can check how often someone posts in the search section of the group.

The forum was constantly changing and it was clear to many members that the Clinton voters were dominating, even in posts put up by Sanders supporters to discuss campaigning, the rallies, the articles on him, and so on. Slogans like "Bernie go home" were sometimes posted with frequency by the Clinton camp (like a chant) to disrupt the dialog between Sanders supporters. More and more Sanders voters were drowned out by these more vocal (and full time) Clinton supporters as time went on. Within a month, a group of Clinton supporters dominated the forum, even posting all day long, and attacking anyone with differing views than their own. If you did not pay attention to this very drastic change, you could be easily targeted for bullying. Some posters did not know that the forum had become more hostile, but quickly found out. The number of members decreased as well.

So, my first advice is to look over the group forums pretty thoroughly before posting. Do many of the posters seem hostile? Do they attack people on a personal level? Are they acting intimidating? Do they ask members to reveal personal or professional information? Gauging "the mood" of the forum is one way to prevent cyberbullying (or cyberharassment, as it is sometimes called when it is between adults).

Also note: Hillary Clinton's campaign is hiring internet trolls to try to dissuade Sanders voters. This may have been possible in this group, particularly since it has close to 8,000 members. Here are some articles that verify this:

KING: Hillary Clinton camp now paying online trolls to attack anyone who disparages her online

Be nice to Hillary Clinton online — or risk a confrontation with her super PAC
Clinton SuperPac Admits to Paying Internet Trolls

A former paid “Internet troll” for Clinton speaks out: It was “nasty” and “left a very bad taste” (UPDATED)
Now, to the forum discussion:
(names and personal details have been changed to protect the guilty)

THIS WAS THE MAJOR POST, an article from Salon. The major headline was "Donald Trump is going to win: This is why Hillary Clinton can’t defeat what Trump represents ...
People are rising up against neoliberal globalization. Trump represents capital, but also understands this reality"

The person (Sara) who put up the post was a California resident. She had wanted to vote for Clinton but was concerned that Clinton was going to lose against Trump, so decided to vote for Sanders. She also attended the huge Sanders rally where over 30,000 people showed up. She interviewed many Sanders supporters who were saying that they would either vote for Trump or write Sanders name in for the general election. As she put it, this was deeply concerning for her.

Sara was getting reactions from the Clinton group like:
* Clinton has already won. If you want to vote for Clinton, vote for Clinton because Sanders isn't going to win anyway.
* Not this issue again. Sanders is finished. There is no way he will take California with the large margin he needs there.
* That article is from an extreme left wing publication. I wouldn't take stock in it.

From the ever-diminishing Sanders group Sara was getting opinions like:
* I have thought the same way. Sanders has one thing going for him: he doesn't take money from wall street and big business. He can't be bought. Right now that means more to the people in the nation than woman-power.
* Hillary is hobbled by so many scandals.
* So many Sanders supporters are not voting for Hillary no matter what. Once you count in the Independent vote in, he's our only chance at beating Trump.  

I don't want to elaborate too much on Sara's part of the forum, or the reactions from other posters, except to say that Tina posted after these initial posts.

Tina: I agree with Sara.
I have been trying to get people to see that the Independent vote is of importance if Trump is to be beaten. One thing that a lot of reporters have not thought about much is about the rural vote. If you look at maps where candidates win, Bernie wins the rural vote while Hillary wins the big cities. If Bernie is not the Democratic nominee, many in these rural areas will switch from Sanders to Trump.

Lindsey: If they are true liberals, they will vote for Hillary after they lick their wounds.

Pamela: Sanders has lost. Time to move onto other subjects. 

Tina: No, he hasn't lost (yet). He has a real uphill battle, but he hasn't lost.

Pamela: The super delegates will go to Hillary. He's lost. 

Peyton: Not another Republican troll! 

Tina: No personal insults or attacks please. Stick to the discussion topic.

Gordon: Total hogwash. Clinton has had more time to be attacked by the Republican machine. That is what Republicans do. And now with Trump, that is all they have: attacks, period, because Trump has no government experience or record. He just has wishful thinking. No one thought Sanders would be a contender, so they haven't bothered to dig up dirt. But they would, and a lot of it, if he was the contender. But he's not and never will be. Clinton won the race fair and square, one thing Bernie-bots fail to take into consideration. The old man and his "followers" are delusional to keep going with their race.

Tina: This is an NBC poll showing the rural and city divide:

Tina: This NBC post says that most Democrats want Bernie to stay in the race until the convention:

Tina: This Huffington Post blog shows Bernie far ahead of Trump in the general, while Hillary is neck-and-neck:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-a-goodman/hillary-clinton-now-loses_b_10102664.html 

Tina: I think the main issue for many people is the Super PAC contributions to Clinton's campaign. A lot of millennials are concerned with the environment too. Here is just one article from GreenPeace about her ties to big oil: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/campaign-updates/hillary-clintons-connection-oil-gas-industry/

Peyton: If Sanders doesn't win, you're going to vote for Trump. Like I said, just your every day average Republican troll. 

Tina: You're assuming personal things about me, while I am trying to stay on topic. Again, no personal attacks please. These posts have nothing to do with me. I'm putting up articles to discuss, period. BTW, I never said who I was voting for. Usually, that is a private matter, however I am a registered Democrat. And that is all I will share. I was showing polls where Sanders is ahead of Clinton when he faces off against Trump, period. That and the OPs beginning post is the real discussion without the personal attacks.

Michael: Supporting Bernie and then voting for Trump makes no sense what so ever.
Again, there is an assumption that Tina will vote for Trump.

Lindsey: That Huff Post was a "blog". It was not reporting.

Simon: Tina, you're just concern trolling.

Tina: You don't know me. Stop with the personal attacks.

Simon: I don't need to know you. All I need to know is the definition of a concern troll and to read your posts.
Note: This is where the vilification of Tina starts. He is painting her out to have ulterior motives. If these were hired Hillary Clinton campaign internet trolls, then they would project what they are doing onto Tina. Almost all bullies project; very rarely do they know who their targets really are.

Lindsey: There's a pop song by Cyndi Lauper. I'll see your true colors. That's this woman.

Scarlet: These fringe nutjobs are extremely misguided. It doesn't take a six year old to realize that if you like Bernie, you would naturally be anti-Trump. What is this cutting off the nose to spite your face sort of idiocy? Even my first grader can articulate that anyone is better than Trump! The very idea of a progressive ascribing to such absolute insanity is enough to make me sputter with rage. I'd take a true blue Trump supporter any day over this posse of charlatan assholes.
Again, a new poster is furthering the vilification that Tina will vote for Trump.

Lindsey: There is a lot of privilege and entitlement. They also aren't great at vetting "facts."

Tina: Okay, I'm going to ignore this. I refuse to respond to personal attacks. I think those who are new to this forum will see that these posts of mine are mainly articles. This next quote and link is from a Salon article. It is slightly dated, but I think it is still relevant to what the beginning post and all of these articles are talking about:
"Presidents never let appointees make endorsements, but three Obama cabinet secretaries — Agriculture’s Tom Vilsack, HUD’s Julian Castro and Labor’s Thomas Perez — backed Clinton early, thus shepherding whole economic sectors into her camp. At Obama’s DNC, ethically challenged Debbie Wasserman Schultz brazenly violates party rules by daily rigging the game for Clinton.
Sanders often says he took on “the most powerful political machine in America,” by which he means the Clintons. He’s really fighting the whole Democratic Party: White House, Congress, DNC, elite media and, sad to say, national progressive groups. That includes organized labor but also nearly every liberal lobby in town. He’s been a more constant friend than Hillary Clinton to almost all of them — but he must face and defeat them all. That he’s done so in 14 states — 15 counting Iowa-and fought four more to a draw is a miracle — and a sign their days are truly numbered."


Lyndsey: Salon is an ultra left wing publication. You need to vet your sources.

Penelope: Why are you feeding us these news stories? What is the motivation? I'm hearing that you're a troll, but I want to hear what your motivations are from your perspective. Just let her tell her side of it, people. By the way, I'm still undecided, so I want to hear from all perspectives and it doesn't help when people are attacking her. 

Tina: Thank you, Penelope.
Just to wake people up. I became concerned because I know a lot of people who live in small towns and farming communities who voted for Sanders in the primary, but who are switching to Trump if Hillary is the nominee. And having looked at articles, I know this is true across the country. Why is Sanders winning in rural areas and small towns?
* on farming: he wants to stop gov subsidies of big Ag (Monsanto etc) and big Farming (Tyson, etc) and subsidize small farmers instead

* on small business: we all know that many big businesses (Walmart, etc) is being subsidized, plus they don't pay taxes. Again, this enrages small business owners to no end. Big businesses take business away from the small business and then the government subsidizes these businesses on top of it. Any small business owner can see that is wrong. Bernie wants to stop it, and make them pay their fair share in taxes.
* on the second amendment: Guns are viewed very differently in rural areas than cities. In farming, it is very difficult not to use a gun. The rats get into the chicken coop and chicken feed, the woodchucks get into beans, broccoli, cabbage, squash (flowers), the voles eat potatoes, and so on. Second amendment rights are something that Bernie wants to protect.
-- These are just a few things, and one of the reasons why the rural vote will switch to Trump (and not go to Hillary). The news media in this area has been polling voters and a great many Bernie voters will automatically go to Trump (and it is largely based on the rural vote). I worked the elections for decades and half of voters do not know what party they belong to (seriously). They consider themselves Independents even when they sign up for one party or another. Farmers and small business owners are Independents, and Bernie started out as an Independent.

Blick: Sanders is not to be discounted. If you discount him, Hillary may not make it. You need us Sanders people to get the lady president.

Tina: Exactly.
PUTS UP VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/NowThisElection/videos/1166948986669923/
(This video is about Sanders announcement to run to a handful of people, only expected to win 1 or 2 percent of the vote in the primary with Clinton, and ending up with the huge rallies).

Donald: Tina shoots voles with a gun? LOL Unlikely. A good cat will do it.

Scarlet: Tina, what STATE do you live in?

Donald: I just looked Tina up. Sander's state of Vermont! Now I'm laughing!! The most progressive state in the union and she pretends to be worried! Vermont will go blue! Who are you trying to kid? Are you one of Bernie's bots?

Simon: Tina, you live in a rural, overwhelmingly white area. Neither of those adjectives describe what America is in 2016.

Tina: I am not naive about demographics. But America is made up primarily of rural areas, small towns, small cities, and suburbia  which is neither country or city, but something inbetween. Many suburban developments are out in the country these days, not the outskirts of a big city.

Scarlet: How anybody can assume that their little white hamlet is going to determine anything is beyond me.

Rhonda: Ha! That was my exact thought too, Scarlet . . . Tina's area is going to determine the entire election because she says so. Doesn't matter how the ENTIRE country votes if rural Tina's area votes differently. What a nutty argument.

Simon: again with the factual inaccuracies! No, most of the USA is NOT rural / suburban! Over 80% of the U.S. population lives in CITIES!

Tina: I mentioned small cities, so those are counted in this census, I believe. A small city can seem like a town: 25,000  people for instance is not very large. If it is one of those kinds of "cities" with barns out in the back and very few services except a post office, the census will still consider it an urban area. 

Scarlet: Why bother with the facts when you can create your own reality?

Note the beginning of the gaslighting phase of the bullying process.

Mobbing is also beginning in this phase. "Cyber mobbing" and "piling on" are also phrases sometimes used in place of the word "mobbing". Mobbing is defined (from Wikipedia) as: "Mobbing can be described as being 'ganged up on.' Mobbing is executed by a leader. The leader then rallies others into a systematic and frequent 'mob-like' behaviour toward the victim.[4]"

Donald: Elections are won by voters, not land.

Simon: You're STILL wrong! Jesus Frederick Christ-Horwitz!
"There are officially two types of urban areas: “urbanized areas” of 50,000 or more people and “urban clusters” of between 2,500 and 50,000 people. For the 2010 count, the Census Bureau has defined 486 urbanized areas, accounting for 71.2 percent of the U.S. population. The 3,087 urban clusters account for 9.5 percent of the U.S. population."

Lindsey: The argument that "rural America is the real America" was made frequently by Republicans and Tea Baggers led by the mother of all...Sarah.

Donald: This discussion is inane ... and insane. Tina is trolling here.

According to Wikipedia an internet troll is:

"... a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion,[3] often for their own amusement ...
Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment ...
... Two studies published in 2013 and 2014 have found that people who are identified as trolls tend to have dark personality traits and show signs of sadism, antisocial behavior, psychopathy, and machiavellianism.[41][42] The 2013 study suggested that there are a number of similarities between anti-social and flame trolling activities[41] and the 2014 study suggested that the noxious personality characteristics known as the "dark triad of personality" should be investigated in the analysis of trolling, and concluded that trolling appears "to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism."[42] Their relevance is suggested by research linking these traits to bullying in both adolescents and adults. The 2014 study found that trolls operate as agents of chaos on the Internet, exploiting hot-button issues to make users appear overly emotional or foolish in some manner. If an unfortunate person falls into their trap, trolling intensifies for further, merciless amusement. This is why novice Internet users are routinely admonished, 'Do not feed the trolls!' ..."

According to this website on how to counteract trolling:
"Trolls divert online discussions into non-productive, off-topic venues. They pose as part of a community only to disrupt it. Trolling is anti-social behavior.
Some of the techniques trolls use to accomplish their objectives are:
* Pithy put-downs
* Name-calling and insults
* Ad hominem attacks that try to negate an opinion by alleging negatives about the person supporting it
* Impugning other's motives
* Emotional rants
* Bullying and harassment
* Completely off-topic posts
* Posting inaccurate 'facts'"

In other words, trolling is a more accurate description of the gang than of Tina, especially in the posts that follow this one. 

Bullies tend to use projection about what they are doing onto their victims/targets, in this case projecting trolling. They do this instead of counter-arguing with facts, expert opinions, analysis and educated discourse. 

Tyler: Is that Tina posting? I blocked her, so I can't see.

Simon: Yes, Tyler. Tina is a textbook example of a "concern troll". She feigns concern that Hillary cannot win against Trump, but we really know she hopes that Hillary loses.
This is classic for bullies: to tell targets and other people who happen to look in on the forum what their target's real motivations are, even though it is just speculation, based on very little evidence. It is to blacken the target's reputation.

Tom: I don't see Tina's comments in this comment section, so apparently I blocked her for some other ridiculous post she made. Yay me!

Kondi: Concern trolls have been rampant in Democratic groups for the past few months. All they try to do is stir up trouble, and when you call them out on it, they start whining that they're being attacked. I'm sick of them.

Lindsey: Yes she is using Republican tactics, language, and rhetoric. It's actually rather creepy.

Scarlet: It would make sense. Republicans only take into account what they feel is relevant, accuracy be damned. But this is too rich...it's not like she's from N. Dakota!
Notice that they are trying to paint Tina as a Republican. They don't know her affiliation. But this is how bullying happens: through vilification and suspicion of the target.

Brandon: It doesn't surprise me that she is from the party of these extremist Republican Nazis. This is the way these Nazis do it. They infiltrate a forum like this, and expect us to be "nice" and "polite" and all that horseshit while they feed us false lies.    

Rhonda: Wait, did Tina delete all her comments??

Donald: Daily Troll disappeared.

Simon: Did we just get... another FLOUNCE?

Rhonda: I checked. She's still in the group.

Scarlet: I think when it came to light that she was from Vermont but was arguing that this state was in danger of falling into Trump's clutches she realized the jig was up.

Rhonda: I think she really has bought into the narrative that if we don't nominate Bernie, Trump will win. Or she is one of those "concerned" trolls. Hard to say.

Scarlet I am pretty sure she is just in la la land.

Notice that even though Tina left and erased all of her posts, they continued to talk about her, not about the subjects of the forum. When other people come into the threads with any concern over polls that Hillary might lose to Trump, they are also given the "rough trolling treatment" too, though most of these "concerned posters" only post once, and then leave.

One post is not enough to get the whole army going, after all.

Back to our story:

They continued to talk about Tina for awhile, even starting a new thread.

The next day, Tina started a new thread to explain to others who were looking in on the situation, why she erased her posts.

Tina: I deleted my comments because I was being personally attacked (cyber bullying). There is a real person here and I am hurt. I have been taking screen shots of all of your insults, rumors and personal attacks. For those who are seeing this thread for the first time, the articles I put up were from Greenpeace, NBC news, Salon and a video of Bernie Sanders being made a laughing stock by the media when he first began his campaign and ending with the huge rally in California, hardly Republican sites.
I ask you politely to stop talking to me, attacking my character and spreading rumors. Otherwise I will take further action. I wish to be left alone.

Most people would apologize to a person who said they were hurt and wanted to be left alone. They would also respect the decisions of a person who did not want to engage in any more discourse or have their reputations dragged through the mud. 

But bullies and people with NPD and APD always see it as an invitation to bully some more, to further hurt their targets, justify their own actions, and twist their target's words and intentions some more so that their targets seem either insane or uneducated. If you have been following along with my posts, it is a form of gaslighting to make a target appear not to have their full faculties in order, to be uneducated and unhinged, so that people who visit the forum will listen to the overwhelming number of the bullies' views first. The more people that they can get to agree with that perception, the more they feel validated. So they enlist as many co-bullies as they can in the effort to drive home their agendas. 

All narcissists deeply want a reaction (they are like sharks in that they get off on their targets feeling ever-more hurt, and if there are signs that their bullying is working, they circle around more, and ramp up the attacking). They try to entice their targets to engage in arguing with them and struggling against a bombardment of personal attacks. Unless their targets agree 100 percent with the bullies, the bullies will go all-out for more blood (or to phrase it differently, for narcissistic supply). These bullies love to denounce their targets. They do some research for personal information about their targets, plus goad for personal information. Any little morsel of information will do for the purpose of more bullying. Making the most devastating impact on the target is the primary objective.

This is what happened in response to Tina's post that she was being bullied: 

Kristin: I recently posted topics on another topic and was also attacked. I too erased my comments. I'm sorry this happened to you.

Scarlet: ATTACK?! That's WHACK!
Notice the gaslighting again. 
If you talk crap you will be called out on it. Insisting that Trump was endangering Vermont as a potential voting threat was a huge waste of time.
Notice how Tina's words and intentions are being twisted and tweaked a bit more by Scarlet to make Tina's words seem "crazy". 
The only thing anyone was asserting was that not enough Bernie followers will vote for Trump to make a substantial amount of difference and certainly not in Vermont. So, stop the whining.
Bullies love to say that their targets are whining. They reduce the target's pain down to being "petulant", the definition of whining. So, stop whining is also the way someone would talk to a child, another narcissistic trait not too endearing.

Tina: Thank you, Kristin. I'm sorry this happened to you too. *virtual hugs*

Tina: Scarlet, please leave me alone.

Scarlet: Tina, you can block me if you want. I only challenged your argument because it was a lame excuse for an argument. When you have something factual to assert, I am sure it will be much different. 
Notice the imperiousness of this statement. Scarlet is still talking to Tina as though Tina is a child who needs to become more educated to be in their company. She is also trying to paint Tina as a "non-factual" person.

Tina: No, I am more likely to report. Please stop. 
Tina probably shouldn't have said anything here, but targets get caught up in justice and trying to keep the attacks at bay.

Scarlet: Tina, I stand by everything I said. I did nothing but respond to your argument and tell you that you were incorrect. That is not an attack -- it is saying you are incorrect. If that is reportable -- go ahead, report me. 
Notice how the personal attacks are being reduced by Scarlet as "just Tina being incorrect." This is typical in bullying situations so that the target is made to seem unreasonable, emotional, hysterical and over-reactive.

Simon: You are not being "attacked". Your factual claims were being challenged. And incidentally, were proven to be untrue. 
Note how this second bully tries to uphold the first bully's claims that Tina is being "non-factual", i.e. "incorrect". 
You're hurt by being exposed as factually incorrect. So step your fact game up and come with verifiable truths. 
Notice that Simon is telling Tina her feelings. He is "assuming" and not asking. In almost all bullying, perpetrators tell their targets what they feel (in other words, they are not open to what their targets say about their own feelings; their feelings are superimposed by the bully's opinion about his perception of those feelings instead). In empathetic situations, someone will ask why the target feels hurt and what can be done about it. In this situation, it negates what the target really feels by superseding it with what the perpetrator wants to believe about the target. So step up your fact game and come with verifiable truths is the way a teacher would talk to a child. Bullies feel superior to their victims. The real message is that if Tina comes with the same information that they espouse, she will be welcomed into the "bully" group, rather than be outside it. They are trying to gather people for their army. 
For example, 71% of the US population lives in urban centers, with an additional 9% in urban growth areas, and you claimed that the country was mostly rural. 
You're hurt because you're wrong, not because you are insulted. 
Again, look at how Simon twisted what Tina said.

Donald: Attacked? Oh good grief! 

Tina: Attacking being defined as "You're Sarah Palin", "She's a troll for the Republican Party", "daily troll" and all of the rest.
Factual claims and being challenged by them are fine. 
Claiming you know what other people think and feel, and what their perspectives are, i.e. "You're hurt because you're wrong, not because you were insulted" is part of cyber-bullying. I teach bullying workshops: bullying gets out of control when people start labeling other people's intentions, their character, and vilifying them. 
Now I'll ask you to stop talking to me, please.
Tina knows more about bullying than others, and she comes with some special knowledge about it to call them out on their actions.

Simon: You're free to block me. That's how this works. If you don't want to get read or read responses from an individual, block them.

Tina: Not yet. I am keeping this open so that I can screen-shoot as necessary.

Rhonda: You're threatening us! I'm telling! 
Note, the goading and taunting. Also note the childish behavior. Bullies usually act childish. 

Peyton: Lol!!

Donald :

Peyton: That's screen-shotable, Donald! You're in big trouble!


Peyton: If people get "hurt" by what others say to them on the internet, there's a simple solution. Stay off the internet.
Note: Many bullies like to say that the problem lies in the target being on the internet, not in what is being said to or about the target. This is called blame-shifting, and it is used by most abusers.

Donald: Politely pointing out someone's flaws is constructive feedback in friendly discussion, not attacking the person. It's not bullying. I stand by my previous remarks.



Most "normal empathetic people" would feel that all of these Snoopy dogs are an inappropriate response to someone who states that they are hurt and want to be left alone. Abusers do not want to leave targets alone (because it does not give them enough narcissistic supply to respect boundaries and leave them alone). Putting up smiling snoopy dogs is, in all likelihood, about showing the target that they disregard the fact that the target wants to be left alone. It is also a way of saying, "I don't care if you are hurt; I am going to continue to harass you", and seeing Tina's reaction as an invitation and opportunity to be provoking.

Donald: You said rural people need guns to shoot possums, ground hogs, rats, voles, etc. that threaten their garden vegetables. You special mentioned voles. 
Actually Tina didn't make special mention of voles if you look at her original post above.
That made me laugh out loud. Shoot a vole? That is funny. My daughter has had gardens out in rural areas for years. She and her husband have never owned guns. There are other (better) ways to keep out varmints. 
Most bullies will make sure that they appear to be more of an expert on subjects than their targets, even if they have to pretend, even if it is just to show off in front of their co-bullies.
I called you the "Daily Troll" because you kept repeating the same incorrect lines about the political power of rural areas and totally disregarding the facts that Simon put out before you. You invited teasing. I didn't attack you. I didn't bully you. I laughed.
Note the phrase: "You invited teasing." This is similar to the You Brought This Upon Yourself phrasing and attitudes that abusers are famous for.

Lindsey:  Tina. Respectfully. Nobody called you Sarah Palin. The rhetoric and examples that you were using were out of the Republican Playbook that was written by Sarah Palin. The sites you were posting were all conservative news sites with the exception of Greenpeace. While recognizing that you love Bernie, please be aware that all of your talking points were brought to you by the Republicans. Vet information more carefully. 
Notice the imperious lecturing tone. Inappropriate lecturing while twisting a target's real talking points is another mark of the bully. 
This is not a Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton fan page where memes and information are posted without vetting and arguing. It's one of the reasons why most of us like this page. It's not an echo chamber.

Tina: For someone who wishes to be left alone like I do, there is an awful lot of responses. Total lack of respect.

Samantha: Tina, you are in a place to "engage", not be left alone. If you need to be left alone, perhaps you are in the wrong place.

Tina: Samantha, I put up posts and at that time I wished to engage in discussion. I no longer wish to engage in these discussions. It should be obvious because I took my posts down.
You cannot convince me that you are not engaging in cyber-bullying. I am a Mandated Reporter and I report signs of abuse and bullying. I bring bullying awareness to schools. And these behaviors are definitely defined as cyber-bullying.

Simon: You are still talking to us, so you still want to talk to us. It works both ways.
You are the one bullying and threatening us by telling us that you are going to report us. 
Note: It is common for bullies to escalate a "definition of bullying" to "you're going to report us" to "you're bullying us". This way they also get to "play the victim", another extremely common tactic for bullies. He also, in most likelihood, does not understand what Tina's sentence means: she never said that she would report anyone, only that she knew the definition of cyber-bullying from training to be a Mandated Reporter.

Tina: Most of the people who have tried to engage with me in this thread have now been blocked.   

Alvin: Tina, you put up provocative posts in a political forum and complain about responses? Come on now! Really?

Tina: Alvin, no I didn't put up provocative posts; I put up "articles".

Samantha: Tina, most of us are "mandated reporters". But this forum has nothing to do with the areas of abuse you are mandated to report. This is an open discussion, largely unmonitored for adults. It is fast paced and can be brutal. I don't know who you think you are going to report this to and frankly I find your threat to do so provocative, amusing and hollow. If it is bothering you, take care of yourself. Step away. Leave the group. Seek counsel from someone you trust. But stop the poor me and silly threats.
You'll notice that Tina never made a threat, but it is still being painted that way by as many people as the bullies can possibly appeal to. 
"But stop the poor me and silly threats" is another phrase that bullies use to make their targets appear to be like an unruly child, rather than an intelligent adult, another trait of abusers not too endearing.

Simon: Well, I'm not yet blocked (even though I told you that you should if you actually felt some way about viewing my posts) and I have been engaging with you on this thread from the beginning. And I still say your cries of "bullying" are total sloppy wet bullshit. You are being called out on your incorrect FACTS, which you cannot legitimately backup so now you cry wolf.

Lindsey: Mandated reporting is only for children, mentally challenged folks, and elders. Not able bodied adults. I teach students to be mandated reporters. A dialogue in a discussion board does not constitute abuse.
Lindsey is using the "expertise card". I tell at the end of the story what I found on her professional life (hint: it is like one of those birds who makes themselves look twice as big, but it is all feathers).
She said: "A dialogue in a discussion board does not constitute abuse."
In fact, it does constitute abuse if the attacks are personal, meant to hurt, vilify, falsely discredit, expose personal information or humiliate (almost all cyber-bullying websites state this). Generally all personal attacks on a forum constitute abuse. All five kinds of attacks are in evidence against Tina. However, if Tina stated her knowledge of cyber-bullying using facts and links, bully groups are known to reword things to suit their needs. It would have kept the arguing going.
This is how it typically happens:  "We weren't out to hurt, just to discuss", "We didn't vilify you, we just saw that you were misinformed. We made references to Sarah Palin and Nazis to wake you up about the fact that you were going in the wrong direction with your thinking and your discussion", "We didn't falsely discredit you, you falsely discredited us by saying we were trying to bully you and vilify you" and "We weren't out to humiliate you. You don't understand what the word means." -- i.e. throwing more word salad arguments at the problem instead of self reflecting and being accountable. Note also, this gang of bullies did not apologize, they lectured and justified instead.

Samantha: Tina, the thing here is that you are in a conversation with lawyers, writers, professors and medical professionals. These highly educated people know the law better than you do. This hollow crap may work in your little rural world. But here, your threats make you look silly.
Note, Samantha continues with the "threat" twist, even though Tina never "threatened". Plus, she does not know Tina enough to know her education, or background, but assumes Tina is less educated than the pack of bullies that have taken over the forum. That is because bullies generally feel superior (in being educated). The truth is that Tina is more educated than the bullies. It is a ruse to intimidate.

Tina: Mandated reporters report on all forms of abuse, even adults.

Lindsey: Then you obviously do not know the law. That is concerning to someone like me. Here is a link that explains what mandated reporters do:

Tina: Adults have children, and children can be at risk. I have to report adult to adult abuse regardless if the abuse is known to have been leveraged or not leveraged at a child in the household. I didn't read your links. I am not interested in debate about this, nor do I have time. I need to get to work. Stop the comments already and have some respect.

Lindsey: Report it to whom? The social worker in your place of employment? That's fine. Then that person makes the decision on what is reported to the state. They are "the mandated reporter" to the state. You can always report suspected abuse to the state, but those are the guidelines for intervention. Bullying and abuse are two different issues under the law.
Notice that Lindsey is fishing for more personal and professional information from Tina while trying to lecture Tina about the law (without respecting Tina's wishes to no longer discuss the subject). The point is to make the bully pack unaccountable by putting up these links.  

Kristin: Tina, I have tried to stop getting notifications on this thread with no luck. It just goes on and on and on. Maybe you can delete it so that it all goes away. Sometimes you just can't reach people.

Tina: Thank you Kristin. I will be deleting shortly because they will not leave me alone even after I requested that they do so. They think these links will prove they are not cyber-bullying. 

Lindsey: Plus, the bullying laws are for children: http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/key-components/

Samantha: Tina, you need to look at those links and pay some attention to what Lindsey is telling you. You obviously do not know the law. Since you are so unsure of yourself when it comes to the law, I think we need to report you to your place of employment in Vermont, because you are an obvious idiot, a detriment to both children and adults, because you don't know the laws for which you are supposed to follow for your work. Your wild accusations and threats are not based on any facts. Thank you, Lindsey, for absolving us from being labeled as bullies. Bullying refers to children, not adults. Get your facts straight!
Yes, this was really said. I tell below how an adult can report another adult on a facebook forum. 

Lindsey: I know this will get deleted, but if you are truly a Mandated Reporter, you do need to know what you need to report. The only guidelines are for children, disabled adults, and elders.

Tina: Yes, I know what the laws are, so you can stop now. I need to end this conversation.

Lindsey: There is no mandatory reporting of adult bullying or adult domestic violence between adults in Vermont. You need to read these links to understand what your duties are as a mandated reporter. However you must report if a child is present and witnesses the abuse. This is a form of psychological abuse of a child. 

Lindsey: I teach this stuff. You need to listen.

Tina: This is splitting hairs, sidetracking with smoke and mirrors under the guise of expert knowledge. I do report on adult to adult abuse for the reasons I mentioned earlier, and to the police, so this discussion must stop. You are not my teacher and this is inappropriate.
If you teach this stuff then you will undoubtedly know what is, and what is not, cyber-bullying. 

Ashley: She does not know what cyber-bullying is. This has nothing to do with us. I agree with Samantha. Report her to Vermont.  

Lindsey: That was my concern, Ashley. Although, over-reporting when there is domestic violence between adults is not a bad thing when it comes to those who are at risk. It's just not able-bodied adults like us. None of this applies. We are safe. Her accusations are very concerning.

Tina: The harassment never ends! You have no right to harass me.

Samantha: No one is harassing you. Facebook exists to comment.

Lindsey: No one is questioning your intelligence. I was only questioning your knowledge base as some of your comments greatly concern me. You described Mandated Reporting that was not congruent with Vermont State law.
Notice that Lindsey is trying to bait Tina for more personal and professional information via "knowledge base of Mandated Reporting." Bullies love arguing. But they argue for one purpose: to feel superior to a target in "knowledge and education", and to "win" an argument. They cannot win without more bait (tidbits of personal or professional knowledge of their subjects) and without constantly trying to engage their targets in more arguments, discussions, sidetracks to arguments, circular conversations, and justifications to keep intimidating, and indulging in more arguing.
Trying to bait Tina by saying Tina was trying to discuss Mandated Reporting as it related to Vermont state law was being used to keep the argument going. Obviously Tina was not trying to discuss Vermont state law. She wanted to stop the debating.


Kristin: Tina, just enjoy the day.


But the discussion on Tina continued in a sub-thread entitled: "Where did Tina go? Did she erase all of her posts?" Bullies cannot leave their targets alone, not quite. And it gives them a chance to twist the facts some more, especially since they know they have been blocked by Tina, and that Tina will not be able to see what they say about her, and cannot refute the smear campaign being run against her ("Facebook blocking" means that they cannot see her posts, and she she cannot see their posts).

Lindsey: Looks like it. At first it was only in one sub thread. Not it looks like she deleted everything. The sites she was posting were conservative republican websites and her rhetoric was straight out of the Sarah Palin playbook about rural America being the "real America."

Rhonda: I think she is deleting or blocking again.

Rhonda: I must be blocked ...lol! I keep getting a notice people are posting to her comment about reporting us but when I click, nothing. Well she is safe from me now. BOO!

Scarlet: Some "revolutionary"--humph! 

Lindsey: Scarlet, great point!  

Peyton: I keep getting notices that people "liked" several of my comments but I can no longer see them so she must have blocked me.

Scarlet: Me too - I guess I have been blocked

Lindsey: Lucky you.

Scarlet: We've all seen some silliness here, but when disagreeing with an anti-Hillary Bernie zealot becomes "bullying" simply on the grounds that you are not passing out "virtual hugs" it is PATHETIC!

Peyton: I just warned Donald that she was taking screenshots, which she said she was.

Simon: She finally put the block on me when I told her to three times!

Ashley: Tina is reporting us. She's a mandated reporter, you know. So, my question is this. Who is going to share a cell with me in facebook jail?

Lindsey: Ridiculous. This truly was nuts. And a bit concerning as she stated she was a "mandated reporter" in her job and then had no clue as to the laws regarding reporting.

Ashley: Poor thing. I'm not sure if she is playing with a full bag of marbles. She seemed to really not get it.
Note that the gaslighting is a continual campaign. If Tina ever posts in the group again, these kinds of statements might prejudice others to Tina's views. Of course, this is the desired effect that bullies want. They want to be the authorities on all forum subjects.

Samantha: She said mandated reporter for State of VT. So for the sake of argument lets says that is true. How the hell does that effect Ohio?

Ashley: She's a mandated reporter for everything. For the world. Mars, too.

Lindsey: LOL!
Note: Lindsey is supposed to be an educated woman. The fact that she is LOL-ing over Ashley's statement is childish behavior, not indicative of someone trained to detect signs of bullying and abuse. This made me suspect something was up. I write about what I discovered later on in the post.

          © Memgenerator.com

Samantha: What is a mandated reporter for the state of Vermont?
Notice in the thread above she said: "Tina, most of us are 'mandated reporters'. But this forum has nothing to do with the areas of abuse you are mandated to report." -- in other words, Samantha was bluffing knowledge to Tina.

Peyton: Ask her lol

Samantha: I can't, she blocked me!

Lindsey: Reports abuse. She said of everyone but it is only children, disabled adults, and elders. She was all over the place.

Peyton: To who?

Samantha: This is everyone's question Peyton

Lindsey: Mandated reporters include social workers, health care providers, teachers, etc. They are mandated to report suspected or actual abuse to the States in which they work.

Peyton: Ah, yes, I was not making the connection with that and her complaints about this thread. I missed that part of the conversation.

Bernard: They've already been dispatched to your house
            © Facebook

Lindsey: It was quite bizarre and a bit concerning.

Callie: i am just so disinterested in little white girls with victim complexes. i don't indulge them in any way whatsoever.

Rhonda: Wow. Yeah, she needs to get off of FB it sounds. If the mild disagreements with her posts are bullying to her she can not handle social media.
And the bullying was "mild" when it came to Tina compared to what they do to other posters on the forum in other threads.

Scarlet:  It is also a sense of entitlement that is phenomenal. God forbid you call anything they say into question, even if it is easily proven to be false. "and this little Bern-bot cried whaa whaa whaa all the way home."

End of forum discussion 
(comments on how to better protect yourself below)

This part of the post will be more about how to deal with trolling and how to minimize becoming a victim of invasive bullying on facebook group discussions and forums.

One of the things that Tina did not do (in all likelihood) was to check the mood and the primary focus of the posting in the forum. Most of the posts and threads had quite a bit of bullying in them. Sanders posters and supporters had become "thinned out" and many were leaving. In other words, if she had checked the forum fully, she would have known there were going to be too many Clinton-sharks to take on. She was going to be more prey for the Clinton supporters' if she posted about Sanders at all, including posts about Hillary's e-mails, or posts about polls when she runs against Trump. All posters who raised these concerns got the "bully treatment". Remember: "Do not feed the trolls!" 

Tina preferred to screenshot instead of block. While it is always a good idea (in case you should ever need evidence in a court of law), my advice is this: if you put up the words "No personal attacks. Keep to the subject of the forum" and if it is not respected, then block right away (and I mean right away). If there are a gang of bullies, block often and as soon as you can. They will no longer see your posts and you can have more intelligent discourse with the people left on the thread, the people who are more reasonable, and want to see more reasonable discourse. 

If you walk away from the forum, only to find the bullies have attacked you and talked about you mercilessly, report the thread to the group administrators. The report drop down is at the top of the thread/post on the right hand side. Alternatively, you can also report each user. You can also report the whole group site to facebook (that it has become a vehicle for hate, oppression, personal attacks, trolling, threats, personal user smear campaigns, name-calling and insults).

Do not argue with the bullies. They get a charge out of arguing and will use it as an excuse to escalate abuse. They will use any word you utter and any personal and professional information they can gather about you to argue their points. Remember this quote from George Bernard Shaw if you find yourself in this predicament: "I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."    

Research who the bullies are. The only thing is, if you find information on them, do not challenge them directly because they can escalate very, very quickly. It is better to expose them to "authorities" and other people they are attacking than face to face. As I have said before, bullies and abusers tend to be personality disordered and can be dangerous (especially when they are in the process of escalating ... as you saw here, they can escalate fast).

Most bullies "don't have a life", as the saying goes. They are usually unhappy in some aspect of their life. If you think about it, anyone who puts a lot of time carousing forums to find people to bully, and enjoys bullying, cannot be happy. They are also not careful about who they bully; they are generally not discretionary, and they even "mess with" people who have a great deal of clout and power in some field of expertise (because they don't check their victims' identities). They can even "mess with" psychopaths who are much more dangerous than they are and could kill over being gang cyber-attacked. In other words, they are remarkably careless about bullying and insulting. It could effect their reputations as well as their professional and personal lives. 

Engaging in bullying does not make the bullies happy. It is more like a drug with a "high" and then a "come down." Torturing victims is fun for them, but when their victims walk away, there is a sense of emptiness and ennui.

Laws are constantly changing when it comes to cyberbullying and cyberharassment. Find out what they are in your state.   

If you are rattled and unnerved by a cyberbullying experience, remember this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."

What I found out through research of some of the bullies in the group forum:

Lindsey: No record found on google that she is a mandated reporter. There was not much information about her at all (from Google). I checked her posting activity in the group, and she is posting mornings, afternoons and evenings, all day long. She primarily debates Sanders supporters in most of her posts or she applauds posters who agree with her. This tells me that she may be a paid Hillary Clinton campaign troll. Her "job" on the forum seems to be "correcting Clinton's record", and justifying bullying (she uses the excuse that bullying is only bullying when it relates to children).

Samantha: Personal Facebook friends with most of the "other bullies" from the forum. Seems likely she is disabled and at home most of the time. Comments on almost all of the posts in the group. She comments in the morning, afternoon and evenings, therefore may be a paid Hillary Clinton campaign troll too. Most of her posts are direct personal insults directed at anyone who disagrees with her. Tells most Sanders supporters things like: Maybe you should go away for the good of everyone.

Peyton: It seems likely that she does not have a life outside of trolling this forum. Posts almost all of the time on every subject in the forum.

Scarlet: Has a college degree, small children, lives in one of the largest cities in the USA, career seems to be in cleaning apartments or houses for other people, used to be a Sanders supporter, multi-racial, more transparent than others, spends a lot of time on the forum, but not as much as others. Three quarters of all of her posts are direct insults, and a quarter of them are on-topic.  

Ashley: Personal facebook friends with most of the "other bullies" from the forum, posts throughout the day and all day long, does not seem to have much of a life outside the group, possibly a paid Clinton troll since she is so prevalent in the group. Heavily made up, lots of "selfies". She makes it clear she wants all of the Bernie supporters to leave the forum with these kinds of rants: Lori's one of the last holdouts of bitter berners who hasn't flounced. Fugees are urging all of their members to leave here, and just hang in their hornet's nest ... (There are) No HRC trolls here. In case you haven't noticed, this page is a page of HRC supporters. Most of the Angry bots and bros have left this page....which really makes YOU the troll on OUR page. Worshiping childish posts like this (said to a Sanders supporter on another thread): ... if I "bit you", all I'd taste is bitter and salty tears. Sorry. I like sweet. Like the sweet, sweet Hillary winning air that I get to breathe, now that HRC won the nomination. It's much nicer than that stale, musty, losing air that Sanders supporters have to breathe. Winning is fun, Lori. You should try it. Crying salty tears is just no fun at all!
*eyeroll* (mine)

Simon: Intellectual property contacts negotiation specialist. Works in the music industry. Lives in Atlanta. Posts in 2 - 3 forums a day with about 8 posts per forum and throughout the day. Most of his posts are about race oriented politics. Most of his posts are about insulting others. He also plays a "facts game". He appears to have an interesting career, which for most people would be all-consuming, and a doctorate degree. So why is he spending so much time in forums bullying is anyone's guess. This is just one instance of how he behaves (insulting a Sanders supporter): Bye, Don LittleBitch! We don't need you whiney white male sexist privileged "BernieBros" in the fall because... guess what? You were never going to support HRC, anyway! You're not fooling anyone ... The people of color and women who helped to elect Obama are also putting Clinton over the top this time, and leaving Sanders in the dustbin of history. Your whiny white male "revolution" and "civil war" is over. Go back to playing war games on XBox Live.  
*eyeroll* (mine)

Donald: History professor (transitioning into retirement). Lives in Virginia. Tends to post short one sentence "reactions". He does not post as frequently as the "other bullies". Probably not a paid troll, but seems to enjoy trolling on many forum posts anyway. Seems to have very little social awareness, or ability to have polite discourse. Seems to want to provoke others with short pithy put-downs.

In other words, these people do not have much going on in their lives.


© Facebook screen shot
with names and avatars altered (erased) to protect the guilty 

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