Mental Health

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Mandy Kloppers

Nastiness on social media – what the true cause is

social media trolls

Nastiness on social media is a growing phenomenon. When I first went on Twitter (now “X”) 10 years ago it was easy to meet friends and make quality connections. Lately I have found that there is a lot more negativity and bullying on many social media platforms. A lot of people are projecting their inner misery and unhappiness onto others online where it is fairly easy to get away with it.

Social media outlets get blamed for not doing enough to limit or ban accounts that are hateful or nasty. The problem is that hatred and nastiness on social media goes a lot deeper and what you see online is merely a symptom of an increasingly unhappy and miserable society.

Deeper social issues exist

If we really want to tackle nastiness and the projection of hatred onto others we need to look deeper into the social issues we’re all facing. Life is hard and there are a lot of people who are struggling. That negative energy has to go somewhere and for many online social media platforms, it’s an easy way to cause misery for others as a way to alleviate their own inner unhappiness.

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called “Can I tell you a secret?” It’s about a man named Matthew Hardy who stalked numerous women online and made their lives a living hell. The documentary explained that Matthew had autism and that he was excluded from social situations at school. Apparently he was a misfit and he was lonely and ended up living alone with no friends as an adult. It’s safe to say that his life sounds quite sad with not much activity or interesting experiences occurring.

I believe that his stalking behaviour originates from unprocessed emotional issues of being excluded and bullied as a child. It’s possible that he perceived popular people on social media as having what he didn’t have, and for him in some way, this was a dysfunctional way of addressing this imbalance.

Mental health support is lacking

When you look at it that way it seems obvious that if we had more mental health support for people, perhaps we would be able to set them on the right path at a younger age. The set of allowing bad feelings to fester, if Matthew had been shown by even just one person that he was valued and that somebody was interested in what he had to say the situation could have ended up very different. Sadly, as traditional communities have broken down, more mental health support has been needed.

Creation of mental health A&E departments

If I had my way I would create mental health accident and emergency department’s and I am 100% sure that they would be full within a few weeks. When you aren’t coping in life there’s nowhere to go. There really is no help for someone who isn’t coping in life other than trying to find therapy which can take a few days to a few months to arrange. It just isn’t good enough. Ignoring mental health can often lead to increased physical health issues. Mental health accident and emergency departments would absolutely take some of the load of the NHS’ current A & E services but because mental health isn’t as obvious as physical health it does not get the same prioritisation.

Unhappiness is growing

I am increasingly concerned by the amount of misery and unhappiness I witness in the world today. There were so many lonely people, people who feel they have been left behind and many who are struggling to find a way forward without the support they need. Long gone are the communities that we used to live in where people helped each other. That sense of community has pretty much disappeared and life has become a fend-for-yourself battle.

We all want the same things in life – to be loved and accepted. Some of us know how to obtain these vital elements in life and others don’t. The individuals that struggle and get left behind need help to integrate. We can all be at points in our lives where we feel completely at a loss and dejected.

Be kind and integrate those who are struggling

My advice would be to be kind, to make time for those who you feel might be feeling left out and to bring back more of a community feel to the world where we all help each other to feel that we belong. That would be a good start to creating a happier world. As the saying goes, “If you can’t say something nice or constructive, don’t say anything at all”.

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