Today we are going to talk about our feelings… as a Scorpio, INTJ and Generation X, this is NOT my speciality. But I did want to put this out there in case you have been attacked and need help in ways to manage the anger and sadness you might be feeling.
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5 Ways To Deal Emotionally With An Online Attack
So first off, let me say I am NOT a therapist, although I do have a BA in Psychology from Kent State University.
If you are feeling truly overwhelmed, please get help! Here is the number for the suicide hotline 988 (yes it is tiny, but they made it easy to remember). You can call or text that number to talk with someone who is trained AND qualified to help.
You may not know me, but I am BIG on mental health, have depression and take medication for it. Getting help is not weakness, it is just what we need to do sometimes.
That said, if you want my take on this, I will let you know ways I coped, from least to most petty.
Remind Yourself That “Tomorrow Is A New Day”
When you are deep in a troll attack it can feel like THIS WILL NEVER END! And I get you… it is super depressing and exhausting.
But you need to remember that this will end sometime. Someday you will get it figured out, or you won't, and everything will still be fine.
I think our brains are wired to feel an online attack the same way we feel when attacked in person (more yelled at than assaulted).
I know my first response to my troll was to freeze… to just sit there, staring at what she wrote and seize up. That is also my response to people shouting at me, which is what brought this to mind.
While you are going through this, tell yourself every night, tomorrow is new day.
I spent way too much time dealing with this crap! But I wasn't willing to let her lies and defamation stand without launching a counter-offensive.
Some of the things I did were:
- Contact her directly with facts about why she was lying
- Send abuse emails to her hosting provider and domain registrar
- Emailed the Pinterest legal department to get her pins removed
- Wrote a public post disputing her claims with screen captures and my side of the story
I have a whole blog post about how I did this, reputation management tips to fight back!
Cope In Your Own Way
Ohhhhh I was SO ANGRY! My poor children heard words come out of my mouth that they had never heard anyone say before.
One way that I process trauma in my life is to write about my troll's attack (there is a quote somewhere about how a writer doesn't know what she is feeling until she writes about it).
So I wrote two blog posts, helping other people deal with this problem. Helping other people makes me happier.
AND I made art (this is where the pettiness starts!) You can get this fun tshirt on Redbubble!
I am a business woman, and while I can't call her out by name (my lawyer said it is a hard no on that), I can for sure make money off of her with a fun design!
Set It Up So They Hurt Themselves
I think this is my favorite tactic because it turned it back on her and if she left her pins up she would be outing herself.
It is a little complex, but hear me out…. first off, her pins and description contain my name and the defamation so I have every right to screen capture them and share them in my defense.
So in MY pins I put a picture of her pins… so if she didn't take them down, people could look her up and find out who she is!
Neat huh? I can't use her name, but if she leaves her libel up, she is giving other people a chance to search for HER and then follow all the links back.
Give Them A Fun Nickname
One of my favorite podcasts is “A Little Bit Culty” which is put on by Sarah and Nippy who were former members of Nexium and who got their leader sent to prison for 120 YEARS! #goals
One little, petty way they continue to harass him is by refusing to call him by his middle name (which he uses), rather they call him Allen which is his middle name… that he doesn't like!
I have felt a little bit better by giving my troll a fun nickname too, although it is MUCH less tasteful than their version.
Because I have to keep screen captures and notes about her attack on my desktop, I named her folder something I think is appropriate (but not nice to say in polite company).
How To Cope Emotionally When An Internet Troll Attacks You Wrapup
I am super lucky that I got everything taken down (this might or might not happen for you), but I still have A LOT of feelings about what happened to me.
In the grand scheme of things this was just a blip, but it mattered to me.
I think that I am going to be able to put this down now and start to get past it. I am going to stop stalking my stalker and not look at her things anymore.
It was truly surreal to be attacked with no provocation and to have to defend myself and my business partner.
I don't have some “kumbaya” feeling. I don't have pity for her spending Christmas Eve writing lies about me. And I especially don't wish her well.
But I am not willing to let her win so I am going to go back to being a somewhat happy-ish person who hopes the world gets to be a better place.