Who are the trolls? They are the people who leave negative comments on Twitter, Facebook, other social media, and at the end of magazine articles. If I believed that the outlook of the troll people represented the outlook of the whole human race, I’d be ready to quit now.
Happily, they do not.
However, Internet access has given the troll people a lot of room to spread a peculiar mayhem of words, their poison of choice, and it is obvious most of them do not see themselves as behaving badly. (They are not an overly introspective lot.)
Human nature has only appeared recently in evolutionary terms and we are not yet perfect. That is, our souls are perfect — but our human expression often leaves something to be desired. In the case of the troll people, they are unable to write their words except in hateful ways. That’s what makes them trolls to begin with. But in truth, most often whoever they are commenting on is not really the target. For the trolls, feeling free to express the emotion they are feeling is their true target — the venting of a negativity for which they previously had no outlet. It is a negativity that has been simmering. Now, thanks to the Internet, it can flourish.
The troll people also have the help of monikers, those names we give ourselves when we comment, as well as avatars that can often hide identity.
But what motivates them, apart from that suppressed anger or vitriol? On this, we can say one thing about them collectively — they are unconscious, unable to grasp the consequences of what they say, and I would add, desperately unhappy and scared people, which is why their comments come out as sarcastic, snide, belligerent, caustic, bullying, venomous, and often vulgar. No one who is comfortable in their own skin, content in their own heart, and aware in their own minds, needs to act upon such emotions with the language trolls use. What the behavior of troll people shows is a lack of something positive in the individual lives they lead, and they cannot help — or heal — themselves, so they feel they must share this feeling of lack with the rest of the world, perhaps as compensation for their own unhappiness.
Alas, many of those who receive the comments of the trolls are hurt by them, for they too often take them seriously, though for sure this is not wise. There have been serious consequences where bullying by trolls has driven the receivers to take their own life. People are taken by surprise and do not understand why the venom is directed at them, and have difficulty coping with this ugliness.
The troll people know these things. Troll people know how easily people are hurt. They thrive on the fact. Words have as much or more power to cause harm emotionally than physical attacks, though neither are welcome and neither build a contented and positive well-being for us here on Earth.
So the question becomes: How do we stop the trolls?
Answer: Easy. We don’t engage with them. They feed on opposition, on argument, on knowing they have caused harm or been disrespectful or offered hate and disruption. That fulfills their neediness, their lack of self-esteem, their fear of not being good enough — they project all those feelings out onto the world at large. They will not be stopped by our admonitions or complaints or anger in return. And we must take care in responding to them at all, for we do not want to turn into troll people ourselves!
The best action to take? Ignore them. Never answer them. Refuse to give them the attention their distorted outlook craves. Because then, like putting a pin in a helium balloon, you end the diatribes and hate by refusing to give it the legitimacy of your response. You take the air out of their huffing and puffing.
Nothing you say will persuade them to change. Only ignoring them will do that.
Most assuredly this does not mean we are to stop protesting bad things, bad practices that harm people and cause suffering at all levels of society. We are not meant to be silent, because then justice and equality and freedom are compromised and endangered. But in the 70+ years most of us spend on Earth, we are well able to use discernment, and using it, decide who deserves our attention, what issues deserve our help. For my money, the troll people don’t fit that criteria.
It really is an easy choice. For example, what matters most: Protesting what happens to toddlers separated from their mothers at the border, or spending even a minute of your time objecting to the un-thought-out spewing of a troll person? Working on animal welfare, or reading a troll’s poisonous message? Addressing the health and well-being of those you love, or checking out the latest bullying messages of the troll people? Seeking to help children receive a good education, or reading the violent messages of the trolls? Praising the creative work of people who share their talent with us, or slamming them?
Which way brings love and goodness into your life, and which way brings uneasiness and despair and loss of hope?
You can choose to ignore the troll people.
And when you do, you will be amazed how peaceful your day becomes.