My partner is upset that I am still struggling to free myself from what he calls unhealthy online friendships that don’t really exist.
His complaint is that I’m more like a teenager than an adult online; that I don’t seem to learn from experience.
My partner complained that since I joined Second Life in 2008, I’ve lost money, my job, my mental health, I’ve been accused of stealing bad personal art, accused of stealing public art, and I am now being stalked by someone for reasons that are blatantly absurd.
I think these things would have happened regardless of Second Life.
My partner’s point is that my inability to protect myself affects him, because these “friends that don’t exist” trigger my symptoms and make it harder for him to live with me.
I sensed frustration from my therapist as well.
My partner wanted to know why I was making all of this public because to him it looks as if I’m goading a reaction.
I replied that I am making it public because I think it is the best way to counter an online smear campaign
I had an interesting email from a Word Press friend today.
She is a fine writer who was interested in using Second Life as a tool to illustrate her writing.
She logged into SL a couple of times and had such an overwhelming feeling of negativity from the ‘people’ she met that she decided not to pursue it.
She wrote that she found the atmosphere aggressive and decided to let it go for now.
To me that’s a shame but I knew what she meant.
What impressed me the most is that her filters were up and working. She sensed that she wasn’t safe and took action to protect herself.
I don’t have those filters and it pains and frustrates me.
It means that I waste time getting burned, waste time healing from the burns, and waste time trying to clean up the crap from the inevitable smear campaign.
For the record, an online smear campaign is a whisper campaign that is usually covert and takes place via email and texting.
You might ask why I continue to use a social network that is so obviously malignant that healthier people can sense the malignancy in the virtual ‘atmosphere’.
The answer is simple and complex: the alternates refuse to give up their ‘bodies’.
I am ok with deleting all six accounts but I can’t and when I say I can’t I mean that I physically can’t.
I do have things that I want to carry out online.
I want to take part in what I see as a grassroots effort to transform the U.S. mental health system into one that respects its patients and works to heal and rehabilitate them.
Eventually I want to use my blog to sell some of my art.
It is true that in many ways I am still emotionally an adolescent.
I do like meeting people and I do tend to trust people from the outset.
My therapist says that I have to learn how to give my trust to people who have earned it.
I still don’t understand how that works.
I see struggles with narcissists as a crucial problem for abuse survivors, especially survivors whose abusive parents were narcissists.
However, I have an unusual gift.
I am able to take intellectual distance from my symptoms to see how they affect my relationships.
Beyond that, my years of working in mental health help me to create the kind of clinical understandings of myself that I used to bring to my patients.
I suppose the way I dissociate allows me to experience my illness as separate from myself.
I experience abuse directed at me in the third person.
Morally, I find it repugnant that anyone would dare to abuse and steal from someone they know is disabled.
That it has happened to me means that it happens to other people.
How many people with mental health problems fear using social media to break their isolation because they have been conned and harassed by sociopaths and narcissists?
I make this public because I believe that if you don’t tell your own story someone will tell it for you.
I am preparing to update all of my profiles.
I have had some successes this year.
There are people to thank.
But there is another reason to update my profile.
My stalker has escalated her efforts.
The stalker has even gone so far as to trash “Rob” to “Bobby”.
Anyone who still believes that I’ve abused a whimsical flower of happiness after they read her comments is not worth my time.
My partner asked my therapist: What does she want?
What does any narcissist want?
They want to live in your head so that all you think about is them.
They want your talent and sensitivity.
They want your friends.
They want the respect that you have earned.
They want your property.
They want the love that you have worked to nurture.
They want your skill.
They want your admiration even as they treat you with contempt.
They want your heart.
In my therapy I am held accountable when the symptoms of my illness causes someone pain.
I’m not allowed to say, sorry I’m sick, put up with it or leave.
It is my job to manage my illness and to decrease the harm it does to the people I love.
I am accountable for my actions; I hold the people I meet accountable for theirs.
If you are a narcissist and you choose me for your games know that I will eventually drag your sadism into the light.
Everyone to whom you’ve lied will know it.
My background gives me the edge I need when it comes to managing the difficult symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
It also helps me to see my interactions with other people with a certain degree of clarity.
Now consider someone who is sick with a mental illness, who doesn’t have my background and is stuck in shame.
For other survivors who face this kind of harassment and who believe that it is their fault I am here to tell you that you don’t have to take this abuse in silence and it is not your fault; anyone who takes advantage of your illness doesn’t deserve your pity.