I had the most bizarre experience with Facebook groups recently.
I remember discovering groups on Facebook, and even making a few of my own. My groups were mostly about cooking or music and stuff I loved to do, but there were a few that were about chatting and politics. Those last two groups ended up being the reason I swore off all groups for the last 5 years. The political group ended up being a hive of narcissism that turned into an online orgy after hours with male and female members all hot-chatting one another. I guess politics does that to some people. I left that group once I started being targeted by a vicious malignant narc and the rest of the group proved to be more voyeuristic than helpful when it came to dealing with him.
The chatty group was created by another powerfully charming narcissist. Upon adding me, she knew there were people I wasn’t interested in being linked to, but she added one of them to her group anyway. Then in private messages she tried to force me to work out the problems I had with this woman in the group, in front of everyone. I was flummoxed. I was in the beginnings of finding my own voice while recovering from mental abuse, and her pressuring me to do something so uncomfortable was flooring to me. I told her to back off and left her group. I’m happy this was my decision because who knows what dark hole they would have dug for me if I had done her bidding? My pain is not fodder for anyone’s entertainment.
Which brings me to the most recent experiences with groups.
The holidays are upon us and I always have a blog post, or two, or three, about dealing with Cluster B’s during the holiday season. They seem to go into overdrive and dealing with them can be difficult, to say the least. This year I decided to find a few groups that were established already, dealing with people in recovery from this kind of abuse, and join them. I wanted to share some of my own experiences and blog posts about this subject and to be there to answer questions anyone might have.
I found one group with hundreds of members and noticed that one of my favorite people was also a member, so I sent her a message and asked if she could invite me to join. She added me to the group that day. This particular group was about recovering from the abuse of narcissism.
When I had my post exactly how I wanted it, I hit Send and was surprised that my post went into a Que to be approved. When did groups start doing that? So no one in this group was allowed to just freely share anything? Everything we said or felt or did in this group was scrutinized by these two admins? Who were they to be the ones to decide what was worthy of being posted and what was garbage?
I decided to check out the admins in the group. One was male and his public profile was enough to set my teeth on edge. Some of his posts, though political, could arguably be women-hating. The other admin wasn’t as controversial, but wasn’t posting anything I would consider particularly healing and positive. Both profiles were active in posting and both were public, which I found kind of odd. You could see everything, even where they lived.
Usually when you open a group for recovery from Cluster B abuse, you’re either in the field of mindful recovery and science, or you are a victim yourself in recovery. I am a victim in recovery and I’ll tell you straight up that my personal Facebook profile is locked down tighter than a drum. You can’t see where I’m from, where I work or who my friends are. Most folks these days have learned that you need to protect yourself on Facebook, so they don’t publicize every detail about their personal lives. If the two admins operating a group for Cluster B survivors are posting publicly, then that’s a fish that smells.
I also noticed that the two admins never contributed anything to the group. They didn’t answer questions or make comments. They never posted positive affirmations, helpful and informative articles from legitimate sources or soothing memes that members could share on their own profiles. There was zero participation, except to censor the content. Does that sound healing to you?
My post was finally approved and I was thrilled to be participating with the members. I shared one article about how to deal with the seasonal narcissist and another about flying monkeys. If you click the links here you can read both articles yourself. Folks were overjoyed to see that they weren’t alone and that there were solutions they could employ to protect themselves. That was my only goal.
My membership lasted for two days and then I was booted out of the group. There were no warnings or messages about why I was booted. I was just dumped. Do you think anyone in charge of this many people suffering from narcissistic abuse would just dump a member without an explanation of any kind? A responsible adult would never do that, but one that was committed to operating a healthy environment for people in recovery definitely wouldn’t do that. I started sending messages to the admins to ask what had happened and my messages went unanswered.
I finally went to the public profile of one of the admins and left a comment that said I felt the group was actually being run by two narcs that simply enjoyed reading about other people’s pain. That is what I believed when I left the comment and this is what the admin actually confirmed for me when she responded to me in private messages, after deleting my comment. Her message was straight out of the Narcissist’s Handbook. She called me names, then deflected by trying to make me feel guilty and ashamed that I called her out. She claimed she was offline and her moderators were managing her group, so she never saw what happened. She said she was offline because the narc in her life was trying to kill her and her family. She ended her juvenile rant by telling me to have a great day and then went on her own public profile and proceeded to post a classic Narcissist Smear Campaign about me and her version about what happened.
Did I believe her story? No, I did not. Her public profile proved she was online constantly posting, so I know she was seeing what was going on in the group. There were no moderators in her group, just another admin, so either she’s uneducated about how groups work, or she was just lying to save face. If the narc in your life is trying to kill you and your family, then why do you continue to have a public profile and post every detail of your life for the whole world to see?
My response to her was pretty simple.
“No one should start a group unless they are committed to making it a safe place for the survivors of this kind of abuse. While I sympathize with your issues, they have nothing to do with what I said about your involvement in the group and are simply your way of guilt shaming and deflecting from what I asked, which was…why was I booted from the group? You never even investigated the reason, did you? You should not be in charge of a group of people trying to recover from abuse and under your own personal circumstances, I find it irresponsible for you to continue. Get your life together and perhaps you will find time to help others.”
These are my beliefs and if anyone has empathy for survivors of Cluster B personality disorders, they will tell you this is what they believe too. When you start a group like this you are telling these folks that you are there for them. You are opening your heart and your home to them and making a safe and judgment-free zone where they can freely share, grieve and rant about the atrocities they have suffered. You are not there to censor them. You are not there to unceremoniously dump them without a reason. You are there to assist in their healing process.
Someone made the argument about the approval process that narcs gain access to groups and they could post mean-spirited articles that could trigger the other members and that’s why they started censoring posts. My response to that is the same as above. Don’t create this kind of group unless you are committed to managing the content in a less dictatorship way. If a narc posts something, allow your members to participate in taking the narc down, or poll the members to see what they want to do, but do not ever censor posts.
Censorship of this kind is tantamount to gagging your membership and creates fear, paranoia and submission in a group that desperately needs to find their voice and to shout from the rooftops that they won’t take it anymore!
I’m not going to name the group for you in this post. Would you like to know why? This experience for me is not a good one, however there are a lot of people actively participating in that group right now that truly believe the group is there to help them. Nothing I can say will change the minds of many of those men and women, but the ones that sit back and take a hard look at how that group is managed, might just decide for themselves to leave and seek a healthier environment to heal. I hope they will.
How do you feel about your Facebook groups? Have you had similar experiences? I’d love to read your comments and hope you’ll take time to let me know how you feel about this topic.
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