Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Toxic People after a Brain Burst

My car accident was akin to a sudden bursting of my brain and subsequent rearrangement of my life into something that was very different from what I had been used to.  My recovery has been described as being "remarkable albeit slow...from a serious brain injury" by one neurodoc.  I prefer the words of the Grateful Dead.  Because it certainly has been a long strange trip.

One of the things that I struggled with after my brain injury was a renewed sense of vulnerability and indeed outright gullability.  I was fortunate that I had people around me who helped me sort through these things.  And also fortunate that I had found recovery from addiction some years before the crash.

A few months after a young woman was (allegedly) murdered during her vacation to Aruba, a radio announcer said there was a contest on a nearby ski mountain.  He said that weekend there would be cardboard box races down mountain.  The winner would get a free trip to Aruba.  I didn't realize that his words were intended to be humorous.  The chiropractor intervened in my brain-injured enthusiam and informed me that my back was in no shape to go sliding in the snow period.

It is not my intention to pick on internet trolls.  Trolls can be toxic, annoying, humorous, fun, on a mission to fulfill  a specific consciousness enlightening reason, or have no reason except perhaps for the LULZ.

There is another kind of troll that I will talk about here-- the dreaded toxic troll of real face to face life.  More polite terms range from "toxic person" to "installed our buttons" to "family members who don't get it/us" to "personality-disordered co-workers."  Toxic trolls, much like their internet counterpart, spread mischief and mayhem wherever they roam.  Toxic trolls may or may not realize that they are infested.  Those who do may not care, or they may be in a sort of talking therapy in order to study the reasons why they are toxic trolls.

Maybe you who are still working or remember working can recall a co-worker or a boss who stood out.  Said person might have gotten along with everyone in a superficial manner but was quick with the tongue to provoke those he said she said fights.  Or perhaps they destroyed records because they wanted to create work for you the unfortunate one who got promoted into their last position which they either got promoted from or were fired from.  In short, you are left to clean up their messes or deal with the fallout of their misdeeds or their words.

Or maybe you have a family troll who doesn't really lie but is wreckless with the truth.  Said family member pretends innocence.  The family troll is deceitful as a way of life, demanding that you join in the game or cutting you off from their affection and mercy.  When you try to alert other family members to the existence of the family troll, you may be met with total resistance.  Because the family troll is an established infection.  People agree to be trolled on some level.  After all, it is painful to admit that good ol' Aunt Jane is a drunken hoarder who beat on your cousins or good ol' Uncle John is a member of a drug cartel who has a meth lab in the basement.  The family troll may not be flamboyant at all.  They may also blend in the woodwork, looking to the world like an average Joe while you suffer from the toxins of their fangs.

But why do they do this?  Why do they pretend that they are perfect parents with perfect kids [who may have felt the rage of their perfect fists behind closed doors] and that the perfect kids are crazy when they mention what happened a few years later?  It is too easy to ascribe the trolliness of others to personality disorders or to hatefulness.  The truth is often complex but quite frankly, while in the clutches of trolls one only cares about getting out.  Even if we educate ourselves about the past history of the troll, it really doesn't help us avoid becoming a victim.

There is no simple solution.  From my own experience, I recommend an old book which can often be picked up for cheap at garage sales or borrowed from a local library.  That book is called, "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty" by Manual J. Smith.  Although the information on bargaining was quite good, what I found to be supremely helpful was the techniques for preventing arguments.  I read this book again after my accident and I highly recommend it.
Trolls can be brought up short using things like the-broken-record that the book talks about.  What troll can continue an argument with someone who says things like, "I understand that you want me in your clutches, however I am not taking responsibility for your life..."?

sapphoq healing tbi says: There are three kinds of people in the world-- the troll, the troll baited, and those who have been on both sides of the troll bridge.  A brain injury is not an excuse for becoming a victim nor for being the victimizer.  Read, educate yourselves, ask for help. 

sapphoq also healing tbi says: did you count the "bad words" in this post that appear in the Analyst Desktop Binder on pages 21-23 ?