Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Online "Help" To Avoid

November 18, 2009

When Victims Prey on Victims

The internet is an excellent place to make lots of money.

Over the years on the internet, I've noticed that the narcissism "business" has flourished by leaps and bounds. There is no greater and easier mark than someone reeling in confusion from an encounter with a narcissist/psychopath. There are no more vulnerable people than children and the abused.

Why are we easy marks? Because victims find it hard for anyone in their lives to understand what it means to be on the receiving end of that barbaric craziness. In addition, most of the information tends to centre around the pathologies themselves and not about the impact on the abused. I am not aware of any comprehensive literature on the net regarding the effects on victims and their lives, and ways to healing.

Hence, we are sitting ducks.

I've written exhaustively about the effects of toxic groups and toxic personalities on myself and others in Sites to Avoid. If you're surfing online for answers to your experience, it means you are very desperate to find information that clarifies, explains, and validates what you are going through. Not only are you desperate, but also extremely vulnerable. You've been kept off balance and disoriented for a long time. No doubt you have been emotionally and mentally abused as well. There is almost no one to turn to. No one to explain it to you. You're pretty well open to anyone and anything that gives you some sense of understanding and relief.

You are a sitting duck.

In the case of toxic groups and personalities, victims suffer further abuse and are pathologised. It's a great place for psychological predators. On the net, anyone can be anything and tell any sort of story. They can play victim so they can victimise you further. People with any sort of background can set up a site and if they play their cards right, or better yet, if they are in marketing, advertising, can parlay their sob stories and "insight" by taking it to the next level- a playground swarming with the walking wounded.

Financial predators
The internet is now flooded with victims of narcissists preying on other victims for material gain. As if their experience and insight allow them to speak with authority and some professional veneer to the degree that they can advise people for big bucks.

They come with various self-described titles, Life Coach, Spiritual Counselor/Advisor, fake degrees/diplomas, degrees/diplomas with no relation to mental health, etc.

They create websites and forums on which they advertise one-on-one "counselling" over the net or phone, and/or write and sell books.

Ebooks
Invariably these books are self-published, often in creative ways. E-books, for example, are so convenient for making money. They can be nakedly self-published, or published through a vanity press (where you pay them money to publish your book), or set up their own press/publishing company, or are realised through some small, obscure company that happily solicits manuscripts hoping to make some money. If it's in a book, it should be legitimate and authoritative, right?

And then all one needs to do is spam various sites and emails and Amazon and other online booksellers with positive reviews. Amazon, for example, sells self-published books all the time, in effect giving the books a veneer of legitimacy.

Caveat Emptor
When you surf the net looking for "expert" help ask yourself these questions:

1. What is their background?

2. What are they selling?

3. Why are you entrusting your life to a perfect stranger?


A Sucker Born Every Minute
You have got to question the motives of anyone who parlays their victimhood into big bucks on the net. It's too easy for them. I personally don't want to place my life and sanity in the hands of a person who picked the net to sell their "help". And they answer to no professional or literary body, or code of ethics; they are not liable for anything.

Looking for the Quick Fix
People in extreme pain tend to look for the quick fix. If you're looking for the quick fix, then you will be disappointed. None of your troubles will be answered in one session. Anticipate a long and expensive relationship. At best, you have bought yourself a friend.

The fact is that there are lots of professional bodies on the net and in the world that you can contact. There is lots of legitimate information that will give you direction. You don't need these strangers.

Check Up On Facts
Check credentials, background, publishing sources, etc. You know the drill. If you don't mind being preyed upon, then go ahead. Because you are being preyed upon, just like the narcissist/psychopath preyed upon you. These victims of narcissism have decided to live off your pain. IMO.

10 comments:

Degree At Home said...

The college past performance is useful to identify legitimate online colleges. Online colleges that won yearly award or participating themselves to be reviewed for ranking position such as The Best College of Year 2009 should be cleared enough to identify as legitimate online colleges.

Anonymous said...

Yes. It is important to be wary of sites run by victims claiming to want to help victims.

Some of these sites are extremely toxic and run by people without a proper understanding of psychology.

Also, many are selling items or begging for donations.

Along with vaknin's site another site called out of the fog. http://outofthefog.net.

The owner of this site Gary Walters used to sell one of his books from the site and they are continually asking members to donate to the site. They do not simply have a donate button, they frequently post asking for donations.

At least Vaknin does not constantly harangue members for donations although Vaknin is big on self promotion just like gary walters.

Walters also continually posts links to his wedding photography site and is forever posting his photos, which he claims are superb, and shamelessly solicits compliments from site members.

If anyone disses his mediocre, average, and far less than spectacular photographs, all the moderators mob the person by chastising them for expressing their honest opinion. If the member defends themselves, they are provoked without cause by the mobbing moderators until they get angry as any normal person would, when being treated unjustly and then the moderators gleefully ban him.

Kinda' sick, particularly because they are trying to attract victims of narcissists and claiming to want to help them.

The cherry of insanity that sits atop this failed cake of a website, is that One of the moderators has asperger's syndrome.

I think it goes without saying that, given the social difficulties and inability to properly read cues that plague people with aspergers, it is comical to allow a person with aspergers to rule the roost as a moderator at a website for victims of narcissists and other personality disorders.

Yet the moderators will defend this moderator with aspergers when she is all too frequently triggered by an innocent general comment made by a site member and begins to attack the member for a generalized comment about aspergers syndrome.

I realize that these moderators likely all feel insecure and inadequate and being a moderator is their only power trip in life. But that is why it is all the more important to avoid sites like vaknin's and outofthefog.net.

Anonymous said...

As a reader of internet self-help pages, I can give you the strongest advice of all time - most of the advice out there is completely wrong. It isn't just about some guy making bucks off victims but the simple fact that many abused turn into their abusers, and if your loved ones and parents are narcissists, chances are that so are you. Vankin is a particularly malicious narcissist and deserves no attention whatsoever. But there is no help or healing to be found on the internet at all, especially self help groups and forums. These people are the most victimized, abused and damaged people on the planet and there can be no help rubbing shoulders with these guys who are addicted to spilling the beans about themselves. Loneliness is a different issue, but most people abused by narcissists tend to shut themselves off and become very lonely.

There are websites out there that pretend to offer online counselling or that they can 'heal your npd'. The only way you can 'heal' your own narcissism is by having some kind of miracle or life experience that changes you and forces you to stop self-soothing. Likewise most victims of narcissistic abuse will turn narcissistic themselves and build up massive walls around their ego. Having a place to vent your own life gives you more and more chance to prize your self-absorbed ego and ensure that it can be all about you.

Surviving from a situation where your close ones are narcissistic and childish is a personal survival not a 'joint' survival. So joining these online self-help communities or reading these resources about 'finding yourself' is pretty pointless. Plus there is the problem of religion, not all victims want to worship Jesus Christ, some come from different religious backgrounds and will not find some strategies helpful. Particularly if they come from other 'survivors' they will learn that the abuse victims have become narcissistic carbon copies of their abusers and while their stories may be true and quite heartbreaking, that doesn't stop the fact that they are publishing resources that are self-absorbed and passive-aggressive attacks on the whole world because of the slights on their damaged ego. These 'sick' people who are looking for attention may have been narcissisticly abused but as I've said overcoming narcissistic abuse is a personal journey and 'relating' to other 'abuse victims' and becoming a 'survivor' (or a thriver?) and running around calling people Ns', NHs, XNHs, etc. is just so so silly.

Anonymous said...

One site that has a lot of press has many moderators. The site leader is not a professional therapist and charges for one on one help. In certain posts she has become visibly enraged at new people coming in who are not versed in how to handle being a victim of a narc. If anyone at all dares to challenge one of the classless and extremely rude moderator's inflammatory replies, the site owner attacks them. This person has many interviews on TV and has written a book. People who do not PAY for her e book or pay for her ONE ON ONE cyber sessions are virtually ignored. Every post that has a new member that is struggling is pushed and ridiculed to read read read her books and if they do not, they get the pain they deserve.One of the MOST abrasive, classless moderators is permitted to ridicule and call it TOUGH LOVE in responding to members that do not drink the koolaid. It is disgusting how she uses her own eff ups to justify her rough around the edges crap attitude when people do not BUY the site owners books and help. It is easy to see how those who drink the koolaid and pay up are treated with loving words and encouragement from this moderator. Others who may respond similarly as the ones who pay are treated like garbage and literally verbally bullied. The forum is open to read. The last time I read was about a lady who was pregnant by her ex narc. They literally ambushed and abused her to the point she was shamed and left. I will NEVER endorse this dangerously misleading and hurtful site.

Anonymous said...

There is a website out there where I have received a lot of help, and could actually credit them with saving my life. However, a few months into recovery the bullying of a particular moderator is drawing my ire. People who have hit bottom, may be currently mentally unbalanced and/or suicidal, and desperately trying to climb from the bottom of a black hole, do NOT need to be lectured or told to "read the site".

There is a big difference between reading and talking to a real person. There is NO reason to bully someone who is coming for help because they have been bullied and abused for months or years.

And the No Contact mantra is over the top. Instead of listening to the poster's anguished thoughts, the only responses are criticism for contacting the ex.

Anonymous said...

Sandra Brown, MA has no license to counsel. She was never a therapist or a "psychopathologist." She has no business license. Her books use her own research for validation, no real credible source. Please check with the licensing board of North Carolina.

Her critics will find them selves smeared - by her! - on the cult board Cassiopea.

Beware - not professional. A scam.

Anonymous said...

I want to reinforce the negative comments about Outofthefog.net.

The site has a slick look and feel because it's well built from a technical standpoint. That's about the only positive aspect of the entire site, however.

In a bloodless coup, the previous site owner, Mr. Gary Walters, was unceremoniously removed from his position by certain angry and pathologically vindictive administrators. He was replaced by the sociopath who built the site, and it's essentially been transformed into a playground for the disordered moderators and administratiors in the recent aftermath.

The site's static references haven't been updated significantly since the site's inception, and collectively they seem clueless to the recent changes in the DSM that defines the disorders they're supposedly helping their members learn to cope with. Instead, it appears they've devoted most of their efforts toward updating their worthless ebook in order to generate more profit.

Two of their administrators are themselves afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome, yet they're allowed to run roughshod over the unsuspecting, vulnerable members. Although they list several moderators, most don't even bother to participate. Those who do, would be better off by remaining silent because they can't conceal their own twisted thinking and warped personal biases.

One will find thread after thread of members gnashing their teeth and wailing loudly about the "PD's who done them wrong." There is absolutely no leadership from the site staff and members seem content to wallow in their pain and suffering. It is a very depressing community overall, and a great example of people clinging-tightly to their victim based mindsets.

The one board dedicated to moving past difficult relationships doesn't receive much participation because Out of The Fog doesn't encourage its members to heal and move forward. Instead it relies upon a stready stream of fresh "victims" in order to maintan some semblance of relativity in people's lives.

It's advertised as a site to help "non-disordered" people learn to cope in relationships with other people who have personality disorders, but it is actually anything but that. One will find nearly as many people with personality disorders - as one finds people without them - participating there.

As the OP states, effective help isn't to be found on the internet - period. Should one desire effective help, then consulting a licensed, trained therapist (face to face) is about the only method to achieve that goal. Out of the Fog, and other similar sites are nothing but dangerous pitfalls along the path to healing and recovery.

Do yourself a real favor by avoiding Out of the FOG at all costs. One day, you'll be glad you did.

twowaymirror said...

I need to agree with the postings about the harm caused by outofthefog.net.

When I had reviewed the site, Gary was the administrator.

He was very boastful. A highly narcissistic trait.

If you google Gary from outofthefog.net, you will see a lot of bragging and self promotion in most of his older forum postings to be found on the net.

He always manages to slip in references to famous people he met while working as a cop and references to his talents. Or, links to his photography site, or yadda about his musical skills, and self published book.

He seems to have a huge ego, or maybe he just found a great way to make money, just like Sam Vankin

I am not sure how his bragging is meant to help people dealing with narcissistic people.

escapedtheinsanity said...

I am so glad I found this post. I agree with others who complained about Sam Vaknin and Gary Walters. When I visit outofthefog.net years ago, Gary walters was a photographer and an author on a book about personality disorders. He also administered the Outofthefog.net website. Neither Gary Walters nor Sam Vaknin have an qualification to write with any authority on the subject. There book is based on personal experience. These people should be banned from the internet. These people are too damaged by their PD associations to be helping other victims of PD. The website when I was there years ago was also co-adminstered by a bunch of damaged people. Gary walters should beill himself as only a photographer and an author writing a memoir and Sam Vaknin only as an author writing a memoir. Instead they bill themselves as experts in pds, even though they at the time of their writings, as far as I knew, they had no accreditation to do so.

Anonymous said...

I don't go to out of the fog website anymore for many of the same reasons mentioned above and for the fact they now permit people with personality disorders to freely post about their victims. It's become a site for abusers and victims caught in codependent thinking. I'd avoid it at all costs. It will bring you down in a cesspool of obsession, depression, and hypocracy.