HSI Vanquish The Facebook Insensitivity Troll Method

The HSI Vanquish The Facebook Insensitivity Troll Method is a result of taking steps to be proactive.  We want our Facebook members to feel safe and learn tools that can be helpful.

The Method is a blueprint for what you could try in these situations–whether you witness insensitivity toward another member, experience insensitivity through papercut hurts, or bullying behaviors.

No one can take away the anxiety or the hurt these moments produce (I wish I could!).  But, the Method may offer you a few ways to respond to insensitivity trolls in constructive ways.

This process encourages slowing things down.  It encourages Responding instead of Reacting.

Reactivity is like a pin-ball machine game.  You’re the pin-ball getting shot by the other person, and then your own feelings knock you around until there’s no more “juice” to keep you in the game you never wanted to play (and you’re exhausted).

Check out Sensitivity And The Nervous System in The Ultimate HSP Starter Guide if you’re interested in what happens to your physiology under threat.  Reactivity occurs when we experience threat.

Being responsive is more like a hiker getting lost.  You got bad directions or somehow didn’t see the turnoff.  It means learning to depersonalize, reconnect with your body and emotions, and engage your mind in problem solving.

If you’re interested in some ideas about how one moves from pinball to hiker, check out Your Highly Sensitive Introvert First Aid Kit or How HSPs Can Cultivate Peace.

If you’re human (HSI or not), you will experience the feeling of getting shot into very uncomfortable feelings, so it’s hard (impossible?) to avoid feeling like a pinball your entire life.

The point is that there is a choice you can make once you realize you’re feeling like the pinball:  continue to be the pinball in a game you didn’t want to play, or become a lost hiker that makes his or her way back.

There are two Stages in the HSI Vanquish The Facebook Insensitivity Troll Method.  First, you want to collect information about the other person and yourself, and then you want to choose your action steps.

When you use this method, you create the opportunity for grace.  You create the opportunity to resolve problems and get the support you need.

If the other person was not thinking about how their words might impact you, it gives them a chance to acknowledge their impact on you and rethink how they want to engage with you.

If the person worded their comment in such a way that it communicated a judgment or criticism they didn’t intend, the miscommunication can get resolved quickly.

If the person intended to cut you down or make you feel bad, their intentions and character will become increasingly clear to you, so that you can disengage from that person with more ease.

Vanquish The Facebook Insensitivity Troll Method: Stage One

Stage One is only about collecting information so that you can act with more clarity.  It also helps you to look at the situation through other perspectives, so that you can respond, instead of react.

The willingness to acknowledge that this person may just be quite critical in general and her comment toward you may have nothing to do with you.

The ability to stop and “check-in” with yourself may help you to understand what in the comment was upsetting to you, so that you can state it more clearly and assertively.  It might also help you recover from the experience more quickly.

Returning to the message and coming up with exactly what you perceive the person to be saying sometimes enables you to head off a tense exchange.  It might turn out that the other person wasn’t aware of what their words communicated to you.  Or, it might turn out that you read more into the words than was actually there. It happens to the best of us.

Vanquish The Facebook Insensitivity Troll Method: Stage Two

The first Action step is a litmus test – it’s a way to clarify this person’s ability to engage with you in a meaningful way.  The first step invites the other person to recognize that they’ve hurt you.

You may want to use this step only when it is someone with whom you already have a relationship.  It can make you more vulnerable because you are sharing what you feel.

But, it can also be more powerful and have more impact on the other person if you know they care about you or are responsive.

There are three variations you could use in the Broken Record Technique – a technique that is easy to learn and use and can help you be more assertive.  There are links below to explain in more detail how to use the technique.

The second Action step can be used with people you do not know as well.  It is a respectful way to reflect your understanding back to the other person.  This serves three purposes:

  1. It gives the other person a chance to review their comment and clarify what they meant to say
  2. If the other person intended to be critical or judgmental, it lets them know (without saying it directly) that you do not invite disrespect and you will call them out on it. It gives them a face-saving opportunity to change what they wrote to behave within the bounds of what’s acceptable
  3. If the other person intended to be critical and it doesn’t matter to them what you feel or how you were impacted, it gives you very good information that this person is unable to respond to you and is not worth engaging any further

The third Action step can be used when you recognize that the other person cannot be engaged in any meaningful exchange or be responsive to you.  It is a way to set a boundary by framing their behavior as disrespectful.

It is a way to assert your right to be respected, and begin to disengage knowing that there is nothing anyone could do in the same situation because it is about the other person’s inability to engage in a meaningful and respectful way.

HSI Vanquish The Facebook Insensitivity Troll

Stage One: Collect Information

Step One: Depersonalize

  1. Does this person seem to write insensitive comments to other group members as well?
  2. Is it possible this person is having a bad day, stressed out, or misunderstanding you?

Step Two: Two: Re-Connect With Yourself

  1. What feeling(s) do you experience as you read the comment?
  2. What sensations do you experience in your body?

Step Three: Clarify The Message

  1. What is it exactly you perceive the other person to be saying to you?
  2. What is the judgment or criticism you feel, or what did they misunderstand?

Stage Two: Action Steps

Step One: Express How You Were Impacted By The Comment

“Hi [             ], I feel [           ] after reading your comment.”

Broken record variation 1:  “And, I still feel [           ] after reading your comment.”

Broken record variation 2:  “Your comment judged me (my choice, what I value, etc) in this way [                  ] when you wrote [                                    ].”

Broken record variation 3: “Your comment criticized me for [                           ] when you wrote [                   ].”

Step Two: Put The Message You Hear On The Table

  1. “Hi [                 ], it seems like you’re saying that “[                             ].  Is that what you meant to say, or am I misunderstanding something?”

Step Three: Frame The Comment as Disrespectful And Your Right To Respect

  1. “[            ], judging/criticizing me/my choices/my values is disrespectful.  No one has a right to disrespect me.
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Eva Rubin, MPH/LCSW

Hi! I'm Eva Rubin, LCSW. I study the psychology and the art of how to live well as an introvert and sensitive person so that I can learn and share it with you.
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