Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health


Mandy Kloppers

How to deal with trolls on social media

How to manage negative attention on social media

The cruel comments and nastiness are rife on social media. The more successful you become, the worse it gets. On the one hand, I find it shocking at the level of meanness that exists but on the other hand it doesn’t surprise me. If you know how to deal with trolls on social media, it can reduce the stress they try to inflict.

Earlier today, I read an article about a woman who had received a mean comment from a troll on Facebook. The comment read “Your face is f*@cking disgusting. You look like you’ve been beaten with a lead pipe”. This level of ugliness is extreme. It made me think about the psychology behind this behaviour. Why do we do this to each other?

The reasons behind online trolling

It’s a common human behaviour but not a healthy one. We’re all guilty of the odd ‘negative emotional projection’ onto others. When things aren’t going our way, we may be snappy or short with loved ones. We do this because we know we can get away with it. Online trolls lack the ability to regulate their emotions and when frustration or anger boils over, they push that negativity onto others. Trolling is convenient because you aren’t face to face and it’s a quick fix. Ruin someone else’s day and then they know they aren’t the only ones feeling fed up with life. It’s selfish behaviour.

Emotionally mature individuals are more self-aware and don’t regularly spew negativity onto others.

How to deal with online trolls

The best advice is to ignore online trolls. They want a response from you – this is their fuel. Don’t ignite the flame. They will soon get bored and target someone else. They are angry people and they want to project some of that inner anger and frustration onto others.

It’s sad that we live in a world where negativity gets passed around like a football. When one person can’t take the heat and feels emotionally overwhelmed, they may deal with this tension by taking it out on someone else and the internet is the easiest place for it.

What the trolls don’t realise is that the relief they may feel is only temporary and the underlying cause of their dissatisfaction or unhappiness remains. It is wasted energy projecting onto others as it doesn’t solve anything in the long run.

Trolls often suppress their negative emotions because acknowledging these emotions means they have to tackle the underlying issues. Many people struggle to do this and find quick-fixes to feel better, hence why trolling is rife.

Console yourself with this

An online troll is an unhappy person. You wouldn’t find a happy relaxed person wanting to upset or hurt others. I know it’s small consolation but remind yourself that online trolls are miserable. Their online trolling is a technique to ease their inner anger but it doesn’t last.

Never take to heart what a troll says because it is coming from an unbalanced place. It may seem a bit of a stretch to pity them but this is what they need. Feeling pity will upset you less than feeling angry and attacked.

Mandy X

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash