Category Archives: Internet

The nasti-gram – What they’re really saying

We’ve all done it. We’ve all sat down at our computer and started to type something akin to “you suckity suck head. You should know you really suck, and this is why.” I know, your nasti-gram was significantly more articulate than that, but when it boils down to it that’s what you’re saying. In fact I wrote one about a month ago. I was articulate, focused and directed in what I wanted to say. And looking back the letter said “Hey you stupid suckhead. This is how much you suck, why you suck, and how stupid you are.”

I had attending a meeting in which I felt I was not listened to. I was trying to advocate for a client and not only was the caseworker seemingly deaf to what I had to say, but her attorney was as well. I went home and stewed. I knew I was meditating on my anger, I knew I was on the crazy train, and I just couldn’t get off. So I wrote an email “advocating” for my client. I wrote several drafts until I had one that I felt was acceptable enough to run through my filter (my husband) to see if it was professional and acceptable. And I did what any professional should do; I called a colleague to triple check myself. And of course she told me what I needed to hear; knock it off. We’re here to teach clients to advocate for themselves, not fight their battles for them.

Looking back at the email that I did not send, it was professional and made the point I wanted to make. It also was meant to make the attorney feel small ignorant, and unprofessional. When the above meeting was over I felt small, inarticulate, and powerless. These are some of my major shame triggers. I don’t have the trigger of not feeling smart enough; I know I’m intelligent. Because of my childhood where sometimes no matter what I said someone was going to be pissed, I struggle to feel articulate. Because of that same childhood I frequently felt powerless and helpless. I felt powerless in that meeting and watched a client feel helpless, where even her attorney wasn’t helping her. I wanted to make him feel ignorant, and small, and stupid. It was a very professional nasti-gram.

When we sit down at our keyboard to write our nasti-gram we are trying to make the other person feel as small, as ignorant, as hurt, as powerless or hopeless as we feel. We are trying to take the shame we feel and throw it on to them, instead of calling what we feel what it really is. I even struggled to write this blog, to call my shame what it was and speak it out loud. It is especially difficult to speak it here as I know several of my clients read this. But speaking our shame out-loud lessens its power.

How you want to make other’s feel when writing the nasti-gram, or when trolling, is how you really feel in the moment. The hateful angry email may help you feel more powerful. It also helps you meditate on your anger, and what we meditate on affects us on a cellular level. Anger increases cortisol and adrenalin, and makes your body thing you’re in life-or-death situations. It doesn’t do nice things.

When I hear the shame stories of friends and colleagues I am usually shocked. What triggers their shame is usually something that I see they excel at, and have no idea why they would be ashamed. I’m pretty sure that some of those that know me and have read my shame story are shaking your heads as well. Our shame triggers come from our past, they are our “baggage”. The difficult thing with shame triggers is that usually other’s don’t know what they are. Unless you are in a very unhealthy relationship (or have children) no one is trying to intentionally trigger your shame gremlins. No one is trying to make us feel that way, and we all have triggers that will be hit. In general there are common triggers for women and common triggers for men, and at the same time our history is always going to give us unique triggers.

When we are hurting our first instinct is to lash out and make the people that hurt us feel the same way we do. It is not healthy, and leads to the “eye for an eye” concept. This was one of the most quoted parts of the bible I heard when I was a child, and then when I was older I learned that that was only part of the quote. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” is the whole quote. It is actually OK to write that email. In Word, or whatever word-processing program you use, not on your phone or your email. It keeps you from accidentally sending it! Then if you find that you need to or are required to for some reason respond, start running the response through your filters. Through your own filters, and through the filters of those you respect to help you write appropriate emails (not the friends that are going to help you skewer the other person!). Getting the nasty draft out does help. Sending it does not. Start your meditation on how to communicate, even if it is to yourself what trigger was hit, what your needs are, and what your wants are. Ultimately it reminds you that your trigger is your trigger. It is yours to feel and yours to manage, not the other persons.

We all have triggers, and we all have those moments when we want to send that nasti-gram. They don’t help. Let yourself see your nasti-gram without sending it, and identify what trigger was hit. Then take a moment to recognize that it is your trigger. Don’t send the first email and do double check, triple check, and maybe even quadruple check yourself. Nasti-grams may be fun, but they don’t make things better. Making someone else feel small and stupid never makes anything better.


Life online

Today so much of our world is online. The internet has changed the face of dating, communication, work, shopping, travel… In 20 years the internet has changed the world as we knew it. As part of changing the world, making it smaller, it has also made it more impersonal, created a new place for us to bare ourselves, and created a new world for us to re-invent ourselves. John Suler, PhD

Did you know that at any given time you are part of at least 10 experiments that you don’t even know about?  And that is just on Facebook.  We are learning more and more about the new normal, who we are online.  We are finding what gets us to feel happy, included, angry, and sad.  We are finding what people are comfortable saying and not saying to each other with a computer as an intermediary.  We are finding that our online presence brings us closer together as we can share our life with people far away.  And it moves us further apart as we disconnect from the true emotion of interaction.  We respond with YELLING or lol’s or even lmao’s.  But we say lol, when we grin.  We yell at people we haven’t met, and will probably never meet.  We create pages that post hope or hatred for people we know, and that we don’t.

Individually, each of us has to decide what we want our online presence to be.  What we “like” and what we “share” does define us.  It speaks to what we believe and how we process, it speaks to how we see the world.  We have to decide each time we log on who we are.  Because we will see the infuriating, the inspiring, the haunting, and the cute at any given moment we have to decide how we want to respond.  We even have to decide who we are.  In games where we create avatars we can be whomever we want.  You can act as though it isn’t you that is doing what ever it is you’re doing, so if you’re hurting someone, it isn’t you.

It is easy to get lost in anger when you see someone’s opinion or belief that is the opposite of yours.  The key is to walk away from the keyboard instead of getting in to a discussion with someone online.  First, there is no finesse and no body language to see nuances, and second it is  unlikely that someone is going to change their mind based on a comment from a random person online.

Karma isn’t just for our offline actions.  What we do reverberates and because we can’t control where it goes we aren’t able to see how big our splash is.  It is easy to forget, sitting behind our computer screens, that there are thinking, feeling people on the other end of what we say.  We wouldn’t call a person fat to their face, but online, fat is one of the nicer things people say as an insult.  We have to remember that no matter where we go there we are, even online.  When you jump in to the ocean to surf the web, remember to swim nice.


Online I am invincible! But is my karma?

The online world has created an entirely new universe.  In this world short people can be tall, fat people can be skinny, and nice people…well…

In some ways the online world has become the world of fantasy.  You can become anyone you want to be.  If you are shy, online you can be the outgoing confident person you want to be.  You also have the chance to say all the cruel things that you would never say to anyone in real life.  You are hidden behind the anonymity of the computer screen, and you forget that there is a human being on the other side of the web that is reading what you have to say.

I’m not sure how many times I have seen the words; “I’m not being mean, I’m keeping it real”.  Or some variation of those words.  People have started to believe that the anonymity of the internet gives them carte blanche to say whatever they are thinking, in any way they are thinking it.

There is some debate that the internet allows us to become our true selves, the people we would be if we didn’t have other people judging and correcting our behaviors.  For the most part this implies (believing that we are all good people deep down) that we become our true beautiful selves.  Being able to show our fierceness when in real life that is punished, or even being able to show our tenderness when in real life that is punished.

So if the internet allows us to become our true selves, what does it imply when some spew vileness and poison?  The  people that are the first one’s to offer help and love on a friends FaceBook page are the same one’s to state mean and hateful sentiments to that same friend, supposedly in an attempt to “help” them.  And they are sometimes the same one to bully, debase and demean others that aren’t their friends.      Because the law hasn’t caught up to technology there really are few consequences for threats, bullying, vile spewing behaviors online.  Is it true that we are our “true selves” online?  Is this who we want to become?  This isn’t to say that I haven’t seen some amazingly beautiful things online, from people who I don’t think in the off-line world would have the sense of self to show others.  I have seen a trend though, from adults and teens, to be mean and nasty.

I have found myself wanting to tear some random stranger to shreds because of some (in my opinion) outrageous belief or statement or another. Especially after a bad day.  The question is, would I ever do so to their face?  And if I wouldn’t do it to their face, what makes it OK to do so online?  Personally my karma tends to catch up to me quickly.  I work hard to keep on karma’s good side, as when I have been on her bad side it hasn’t been pleasant ( and I have two concussions to prove it!).  And while I know the law and sometimes even society hasn’t caught up to technology, I’m unwilling to test to see if karma hasn’t.

The internet has become a place for communication and discourse.  It has also become the place to just say anything and it is OK because it is “keepin’ it real!”    Can we find a way though, especially as we have the ability to edit our words before they go out, to say what we want to say in a humanistic way?  The more I think about it, this trend isn’t necessarily just online, but it may be one place we can clean up our karma just a little, and think before we post.