There Will Always Be A Troll in Your Life

“I remember a time where Trolls were a fictitious monster from fairy tales, not arseholes on the internet looking for attention.” – Robert O’Sullivan

It doesn’t matter who you were, are, or who you are about to become. Nor does what you’ve done, are doing, or about to do matter. There will always be Trolls in your life. No, not the cutesy kind they invented for children. These real-life ogres can be strangers, friends, and yes, even your family. They will pounce to add nasty comments on social media, creep around the water cooler at work, or sit at the dining room table making snide remarks. They are quick to criticize, highlight a flaw, and well, are just mean-spirited and nasty.

They dredge up the past, curse the present, and damn the future. They lie, exaggerate, name call, or use other tactics to get a response.

They are sad voyeurs, peering in from the outside – envious – that maybe, just maybe you’ve done better than them, recovered, moved on, were promoted, are happy (or fill in the blank).  And in their miserable existence under the bridge of life – they believe their stature increases if they diminish yours. They must feed their hollowness, their invisibility in the world.

When humans let loose their worst behavior – spewing nastiness to feel better about themselves at the expense of others, there’s something wrong. Very wrong, with them. Social media emboldens Trolls to say what they want because they can lurk under the cloak of anonymity.  We give them strength when we engage them – because attention is their drug of choice – what they crave. If the Troll is a friend, coworker, or family member, we surrender our power when we emotionally absorb their toxins. When they get under our skin – like a parasite they thrive.


So, who are these people anyway and why do they feel the need to do this? In a word, they are broken. They live in a fantasy world of impossible perfection that they will never achieve. They judge others against this distorted belief system. If they desire to hurt – it is called sadism. If they bring others down to climb up – it is narcissism. When people are disinhibited, lacking empathy or remorse – we see psychopathic behaviors. In psychology, these poor, tortured souls possess the “Dark Tetrad” of personality traits.

When we are targeted by the Trolls – especially those we know, we are holding up a mirror for them to see their inadequacies. An image that enrages them. They lash out.

Banishing the Trolls

How do we stop Trolls? Cut their power supply – our energy.

As humans we all hunger to be relevant and acknowledged. There is little worse than being ignored and feeling irrelevant. Being banished. Think about your feelings when you’re given the cold shoulder or tuned out.

When we place no merit or value on the Troll’s activities and ignore them (no matter how hard it might be), we render them irrelevant. That is their Kryptonite. We banish them back under that bridge.

It is difficult to “ignore” people who are supposed to love, respect, and appreciate us when they act like Trolls. But self-care requires that we flip their switch off and take a moment to reaffirm ourselves, lest we accept their words as truth. We must give ourselves that space of grace – knowing it is right to avoid those who hurt us. And if they stay in our lives – we must continue to use their mute button. Remember, when Trolls fight Trolls – it is an endless battle that escalates.

There’s this thing called life that we are allowed to participate in. There will always be Trolls, the broken people who rage because we’re living. Maybe not to perfection – but at least we’re trying.


  1. Tonia Milner says:

    I have encountered numerous trolls. It’s unfortunate that sometimes, if we aren’t careful, we ourselves can become a troll. I’m mastering to live my life unbothered and troll free.

    • 100% correct, my friend. The Trolls are out in force. When they hurt us – human nature says lash out. And that is like becoming a troll yourself. Thank you for your insight.

  2. Dave Winegar says:

    Yes yes yes. Good advise… and I’ve made use of the “Unfriend Button” a few times on Facebook.

  3. Dave Winegar says:

    Good advise… and I’ve made use of the “Unfriend Button” a few times on Facebook.

  4. Darlene Smith says:

    I agree, they are definitely out there and we have got to stop giving them the power to hurt us, and it is sad but true that alot of them are our family and friends

    • You so so right. Recognizing and acknowledging that they exist is the first step to stopping them. They are energy parasites that thrive eating off your emotions. It’s difficult enough when strangers do it. It’s twice as hard when it’s family and friend. Thank you for your contribution to the dialog.

      • Dick Reynolds says:

        During this year of near isolation I have at times encountered a troll. Then I look in the mirror and discover……oh, it’s me!!

        • You are too funny and also the latest person I would think of as a troll. 🙂 We are living in some very interesting times that have brought out a darker shade of our human nature. I pray you, Jean and yours are well. <3

  5. Linda Bogart says:

    I find that before I react to the Troll, I try to remember not to internalize and immediately own what is thrown at me. Rather, I try to remember that what is coming at me is something from inside the Troll. That moment gives me space, long enough, to stop any hurt from entering my heart.

    • Your response is so accurate it is worth writing it down and having it handy for when the Trolls enter. Your advice to take that “space, long enough…” is sage. It creates that buffer we all need from allowing nasty word or taunts from affecting us emotionally. Awesome! Thank you for reading and giving us your thoughts.

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