Lessons from a troll

My experiences in the last couple of days have highlighted a few things.

It is hard to tell the different between someone who is saying things just to provoke you (a troll) and someone who genuinely believes what they are saying and is trying to convince you. Sometimes they believe what they are saying but are still trying to provoke a reaction for their own amusement. Indigo Jo Blogs sets out a case that this kind of trolling is simply bullying in RIP trolling isn’t the worst kind. Some people are of the opinion that telling people with M.E. that their illness isn’t real and that they don’t deserve help is actually gaslighting – a form of abuse through making people doubt their own minds. This kind of approach seems common in politics as Lisa Ansell wrote in Trolling as political debate.

Many on the right of politics believe that welfare should not exist. Instead they believe that individuals should have savings and pay for their own insurance privately to cover them against unemployment and being unable to work through illness and disability, and for healthcare. The problems with this approach are many but it seems impossible to convince proponents of the idea that it will lead to suffering and homelessness, or perhaps they just don’t care about that.

There is still a big problem with people believing that ME and Fibromyalgia are somehow not real or are minor or trivial. This has been fuelled by articles and blog posts from tabloid papers. Both are defined as neurological physical diseases by the World Health Organisation but this is irrelevant in deciding if they are real anyway – even if they were caused by mental health problems at the core they would still be just as disabling. It is an absurd suggestion that anyone would want M.E. or would voluntarily stay in bed for most or all of the day, every day, in isolation, or voluntarily use a wheelchair or a walking stick all the time when going out. These would be stupid things to inflict on yourself for the benefits available, if you even manage to get them.

Some people seem to believe that if they can work through their illness or disability then anyone who does not work must simply not be trying hard enough. They seem to have no understanding that the amount a person is affected by a particular health problem can vary massively between different people and different problems. It seems inconceivable to them that an invisible illness could be more disabling in its effects than a cancer or surgery of some sort. They think that particular health problems, like cancer and chemotherapy treatment, are the ultimate in human suffering and that nothing else can be worse. I know a few people on chemotherapy and I know that it is a horrific experience, but it isn’t the only thing that can make someone so sick – especially if someone is on a low dose.

I captured some of what was said to me recently using Storify, embedded here. (Click here if it doesn’t show below after a few seconds.) Warning, it does contain strong swearing on my part where I got too frustrated to hold back.

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

4 thoughts on “Lessons from a troll”

  1. I don’t usually leave comments on total strangers blogs, but I was skimming through the #wrb to see if there was any mention of a particular legal issue that interests me, and I couldn’t help but notice the shocking abuse that this person directed at you. I really hope you manage not to be too upset by it and know that the vast majority of people reading will be shocked by his awful behaviour.

  2. Are any of these people who they say they are?
    Do their cancers come and go with their Tweets?

    Without any kind of real person behind the belching bile, it’s all mainly meaningless regurgitated Daily Mail articles.

    However, once they start trying it on in the real world, someone’s going to twat them with their walking sticks. One day soon, there is going to be a socking dawning of conciousness amongst the disability community and realise they their only option left, to avoid total oppression and degradation, is to fight on the streets with the Black Block.

    The cuts haven’t even got properly underway, yet! We’re still in LaLa land. This time next winter there are going to have been dozens and dozens of more ATOS related suicides.

    The year after it will be hundreds, and very few people will care. It is euthanasia, by stealth

  3. This is the first time I have commented although I have read your blog for ages. I did once actually but asked you to remove it because it published my email etc and it freaked me out. So this is the first time I have attempted to comment via my twitter account. This is the most highly specified blog I have ever come across so forgive my naivety on the way of things. The above is an awful example of the scary side of the internet I try to avoid.  It has taken me ages to get a twitter account and was upset to be honest when I had a spate of spammers, likewise on my very neglegted blog, I don’t use my own name. I think the problem here is maybe you are just too nice and there are some very troubled people out there. Perhaps learning that its ok to block people sooner rather than later and it doesn’t make you a bad person is a lesson learned. I don’t actually know if its possibly to unblock people if the hunch is proved wrong though!  I am just sorry you went through the experience at all. 

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