I cannot believe I am having to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard to defend myself against an abusive 19-year-old girl, but here we are. Not that I actually need to defend myself but I do see this little story as a very big learning possibility for those who think they are free from their abuse and shouldn’t take note of subtle instances. I want to share this to show my daughter that I have her back while her name is now being tarnished as a bully, alongside mine for simply not tolerating this kind of behaviour. We have a right to speak our truth and share it.
We will always come up against people who will test and push us and we need to remain strong and always retain those lessons and traits in the back of our mind when meeting new people. They hide in plain sight and often appearances can be deceiving. We are susceptible to these people given our pasts and our vulnerabilities so it is not uncommon for certain types of people to frequently attract them.
It’s the reminder we need – the downside to interacting in the big old world on social media and not being face to face to suss someone out before becoming embroiled in their drama, means we sometimes befriend people who are not worthy.
Those of you who follow my blog and know me on a personal level know that I spend my life writing about abuse – how to identify it and how to get through it. I share posts and memes, articles and such daily. And have done for years. I am actively involved in topics and educating in terms of abuse and recovery. I write books on the topic and actively advocate against toxic behaviours and how to get free from them. I don’t think we ever really talk about low-key victimisation and abuse and how the slightest things can have impact on our lives. That is what this post is about – covert behaviours that most people brush off.
To tell my story I need to reverse several weeks back to before this began. Give you a little insight and I apologise this may be long and tedious. To me it is all incredibly ridiculous but I think talking about this highlights a massive flaw in using the internet – people weaponising social media to cause others harm. Cancel culture at its finest and how people act on one side of a story, before incriminating people.
My daughter befriended a girl on Twitter with some health issues that mirror my own and my child’s and she came to me feeling sorry for her. She was telling me that this girl – we shall call her Rapunzel, because I had this visual of an isolated poor girl, trapped by her health and looking from her window as people passed her by in life – was a victim of online bullying and had no friends. I was immediately moved for this poor girl. I am a sucker for a sob story, and told my child that if she needed a friend, I would act as a mentor. Having the same difficulties concerning health and being an older person, she could talk to when she felt low. I was abhorred to hear how she was bullied by so many on Twitter and was in a constant battle with another adult. I felt protective and my daughter directed me to her profile on Twitter. I truly wanted to support this girl and as I could identify social issues in being autistic myself, I truly wanted to help her.
After a couple of days of interacting with Rapunzel on twitter we followed one another and I was very quickly added into a group chat with my child. I don’t like sitting in DM one on one with young people and prefer having group settings so everyone feels safe and it’s transparent. I also find it beneficial so things can never be twisted if things go sour (that is the advisor in me who has dealt with young people for a long time). After a few days of a trio, talking out the issues and trying to help her, our group became a four way when another friend was added.
This girl was having issues with another adult with similar difficulties to my own, so I reached out to him, thinking I could talk ‘adult to adult’ and finally put this to rest. Remove the situation and give the poor girl a break on her mental health.
This person, tarred with the bullying brush, much to my surprise was levelheaded, easy to talk to and soon highlighted this was not a one-sided thing. I have to admit I was very abrasive with him to begin with, so protective of a young girl I felt was being targeted and quickly realised this person was not hostile at all. It gave me doubts on the stories I had been told.
Research is part of my job, I am also very good at sussing people out and I took it upon myself to do some digging on both profiles. I am someone who always wants all sides of a story and look at the bigger picture before judging fully and spent a few hours stalking, so to speak, two profiles to paint a picture. I am thorough when I go deep into research and it dedicated an afternoon to fully paint a very clear picture.
It didn’t take long to find a tremendous amount of proof that our sweet Rapunzel was not how she first appeared. I ran into multiple comments, tweets, subtweets and worrying things all over twitter, going back a long period of time, that pointed out how she was a serial drama maker. She was nasty to people, left abusive comments, insults and even name calling. Claimed harassment by people who disagreed with her, even over the silliest things and liked to drag out scenarios for days on things which had long come to pass. Many innocent people being tarred as toxic by her and her friends when she erupted and cried bullying. It was a pattern , something I am good at spotting and have a bit of a talent at piecing together. My readers know this. It was my first red flag.
Our adult on the other hand, was none of these things, just a bit blunt and sometimes misunderstood in things he wrote. They came across badly and in some tweets I could see how a younger immature person could weaponise him into other meanings. This adult was at a loss with how to deal with the constant barrage of hate being aimed his way and yes, on occasion retaliated. Mostly though, he ignored and tried to just be left alone. This was someone with social issues and I felt quite quickly, they were being targeted.
I swallowed all of it, handling the interaction gently, trying not to be biased and tried to guide Rapunzel into better behaviour while acting as mediator. This was important because my child had chosen her as a friend and someone who could influence my child’s outlook. Someone who could alter my child’s behaviour if her peers were showing it as acceptable.
Putting a lot down to her social delay and young age, I let a lot of it slide. I talked with the adult, we shall call Jeff, and soon found him to be quite a blunt, but honest person, who just wanted her to leave him alone. I found him more willing to let things go, more willing to just move on and just much easier to communicate with. He agreed that from there on in he wouldn’t mention her again, even in anger, and I would try and keep a leash on Rapunzel over the whole scenario. I felt like I was nurturing a relationship with her and had that kind of positive influence and building some mutual trust. I realise now that was just a mask.
Rapunzel was unwilling at first, tried to justify her behaviours. I had to pull her up on more than one occasion privately for things she did or posted that were just very wrong and much to her credit, she did remove them. I tried to be diplomatic but firm. I always explained why I felt she was wrong. I wasn’t shy in highlighting it.
I felt like she just needed patience, time and guidance. If I saw her being abusive (which I did a couple of times on my feed), I highlighted it to her in our chat (I was acting as a mentor remember) and she would delete things (sometimes). I felt like she was listening and I could help her break this cycle of being attacked. I wanted better for her. I wanted her to grow and get some more friends (I found contrary to first belief she did have some) and just generally have a happier life. I tried to be patient.
It didn’t last.
All it took was one month of watching her tweets and interactions and I begun to talk to her less and less because my stress levels were sky rocketing and I could no longer find within me the will to see her side of her behaviours. I was finding reason to chastise her multiple times every single day and I didn’t have the energy to do it , so let them pass. I stopped calling her on her behaviour.
She wasn’t changing, growing as a person and she literally saw no wrong in how she was with people. She was always the victim, which is a massive red flag in terms of personality in any person. Just seeing her interactions made me upset, angry and often I would avoid Twitter for a few days. This was not my child or my responsibility and instead I turned to the kid who was and tried to get her to walk away too. It was an exhausting situation.
I found her behaviours worrying, overly dramatic and the torrent of tweets and abuse when someone disagreed with her draining. I spoke to my child several times asking her to please distance herself from this person, as toxicity can spread and nothing but negativity comes from people like this. One bad apple can ruin a whole batch.
My daughter is loyal to a fault and despite agreeing this person was a problem, she remained friends, so I remained on there too, watching and monitoring for my child’s sake. I wanted her to cut ties and walk away but she has this good in her and wants to try and fix people. I used to be the same, but life has taught me that there comes a point when one persons negativity can damage your own well-being and I was at that point. I was worried for my child. So I hovered and tried to no longer intervene with Rapunzel, instead only speaking directly to my child to keep her away from bad behaviours.
I am a watcher. Always have been in life, watching, learning about people, patterns in behaviours and it’s why psychology features heavily in my books. This particular day I was scrolling my feed and as you do, you see tweets by people and often follow them on the spur of the moment because something they said resonates. I saw someone tweet about raising awareness for autism; how it is better done when you stop and educate any questions, instead of attacking people. I sometimes share things about autism (being so myself and with 2 ASD kids) so obviously I agreed. I liked a couple of his tweets on my feed, saw he was interacting with Rapunzel but avoided reading hers for my own sanity and followed him. A few moments later more of his tweets came up and I could see he was in fact in a heated argument with Rapunzel. Her answers were hostile and the usual snarkiness, so I closed Twitter, not wanting to deal with any more of her and went on with my work.
Not long later, Rapunzel confronted me in a group chat asking me why I followed someone she was arguing with. She was angry that I decided to follow someone she deemed ‘toxic and a bully’. I get notifications on my phone so I was pulled into the group and told her bluntly that I had seen and agreed with things the person said and I had every right to follow them if I felt I wanted to see their posts. (this was a topic my daughter had raised before with her – trying to control who her friends followed) At this point I had only seen a partial conversation and the person came across as awkward, not good at typing what they meant but completely harmless. My Twitter is for networking and I follow accounts randomly.
It was a brief conversation and I stood my ground, not willing to be dictated to, ground down or chastised. I got the expected emotional ‘guilt’ and told how it hurt her. At this point I had only seen a few tweets and not the full argument but the person didn’t seem malicious, just bad at communication and I pointed out I was an adult and could follow who I wanted. She said the conversation was over and I left it at that.
Only a few moments later I discovered Rapunzel unfollowed me and did what she does – got dramatic on her twitter, accusing all sorts and had mutual followers start subtweeting about me. I was apparently the cause of another mental health episode in which she would leave Twittter. (These are frequent)
This is a normal pattern of behaviour I have found.
I got mad at this immature knee jerk reaction from someone whom I was trying to help for weeks. I returned to the group chat after finding the whole tweet conversion, reading it to the full and seeing how she had misinterpreted the person’s tweets and reacted angrily. He had valid points and had even apologised when she had gotten abusive towards him. Seeing how nasty she had been, seeing for myself that yet again she was attacking someone and told her so. I told her I found her to be a bully, that I’d had enough, left the chat and blocked her. It was a long time coming and considering how angry I was, I was restrained and to the point and took myself away from the situation to put an end to it escalating.
My daughter said her reaction was to say “Wtf” and continually for weeks after, refer to my ‘treatment of her’. She believed I had been unfair towards her. I was in fact ‘an abusive adult who should know better’. In my defence, I feel I was not harsh enough in the duration of knowing her. (I told her directly I felt she was a bully, so it shouldn’t have been news to her)
In other words, tarring me as a bully for calling her on her behaviour. I left her to get on with it, unblocking her after a couple of days because my child asked me to. She felt I could still help and guide her in passing without being as connected to her as before. I think my child missed the security of me being able to see and watch over her interactions with her. I stupidly listened and my soft heart had me unblocking all her accounts. I can’t stop still wanting to help people when someone I love cares what happens to them.
I had a whole month of observing and dealing with her, seeing all the behaviours that I write about and identify. I decided for my own state of mind, I was cutting her off but then went against my own gut for the love of my child. Silly, silly, silly.
My daughter persisted but also put her tweets on mute so she could avoid most of the things Rapunzel posted, which gave my child stress too. She could see the behaviours also. In a way I was glad she could verbalise and see it, it made me feel I was teaching her something that will help her in life. It made me realise the lessons I was teaching were getting through and my kid after years of being bullied was beginning to identify these things on her own. That’s a win for me. She could look at her own friend and yet still see awful behaviour and choose to push them away and not be involved. That’s a hard choice for kids at that age.
It all blew over after a few days, probably because my child was in the middle and Rapunzel didn’t want to upset her, and I forgot about her. Generally, I just got on , now I couldn’t see her tweets I felt lighter and free. People like that really put a black cloud on my stress levels and I realised how much happier I felt when out of sight. Unless she interacted with people I followed, then it was like she didn’t exist.
There was a brief interaction a couple of weeks later where she complained on a post in my feed, rather unfairly and I responded to her with some factual points about the article she was on. I knew it had the possibility of her getting hate and backlash for what she had tweeted and despite not wanting to interact with her, I wanted her to remove the tweet and save herself further harassment. I was trying to protect her, because that is what mothers do for their kids friends. If she got more hate it would have pulled my daughter into the drama.
She removed her tweet hours later, after responding to me in a snippy manner (implying I was trying to harrass her) and that too went away. It did result in her blocking me once again though. Sigh. So I decided once and for all to block all her accounts so I would not have the urge to ever try and help her again.I told my child, enough was enough.
I know this all seems so superficial and nothing, and you are completely right that it is. It’s absurd and ridiculous. Laughable and I cannot believe I am even having to explain this situation as back story but this only highlights how subtle some of this behaviour can be. While adults can often see it and walk off, children are manipulated and pulled in and soon begin to normalise this kind of behaviour. To us we may see it as immaturity, or nothing. To peers this behaviour can cause a lot of damage, social out casting and bullying. Using weapons like social media to have others gang up and go after single people. Twisting stories to suit their victim persona so others get involved. Vulnerable teens are pushed to suicide for this kind of behaviour.
These were all things I witnessed her doing over and over and she did aim at me when I initially cut her off. The difference between me and my child is she had zero effect on my well-being, my friendship circle or my general attitude. Bullies only have power when they can hold something over you or damage your life in some way. She had no power over me in any way so instead she tantrums and shouts loudly on Twitter. She tries to have others hate on me because once again that is what these personality types do. See – ‘Don’t be an abusers pawn’
I think it was also a reason my child was apprehensive about cutting ties. She was bullied her whole life and after seeing how quickly Rapunzel could turn, I think she was afraid she would become her next victim – this is what we call control. Putting someone in a position of being afraid to fall out with said person for fear of being victimised and called a bully. Fear of others coming in to attack her or feeze her out of the social group.
She saw how certain mutual friends jumped on the bandwagon, unfollowed and talked crap about me in the gap. People I had never had any issue with or even interaction. To a child coming out of a hard few years of bullying, that is a terrifying scenario. I tried my hardest to show her that people who do behave that way and join in – they are not people you should respect or care about. Their words have no value, they don’t know the side they do not see and they didn’t have the integrity to find out. They have proven their lack of loyalty and lack of ability to see through deception. They have shone a light that they are also problematic.
It’s easy for some to shrug them off, but not all, and I can see how it is an effective tool in an abusers arsenal in general terms. Many Narcissists literally use it as their main weapon .
We come to this present situation.
A few days ago, the adult we call Jeff (the one who has left her alone since I met him) shared a tweet about an event they are all going to. It was a nothing tweet about the event, sharing details which had caused upset due to changes. It was not insulting or hostile or aimed.
Yet guess who took it that way, because she had complained about these changes on her own Twitter and her paranoia tells her that every person she doesn’t like is always talking about her (another red flag). Rapunzel commented on his post – after being told by myself and my child countless times to just leave him alone. She claims she has him blocked yet somehow sees all his tweets and can respond on multiple accounts on a whim. Proof she stalks his account and spies on him. Something she denies, but yet screenshots his tweets frequently.
My daughter told her harassing him was not cool, feeling brave and finally having enough of this behaviour. So of course, I see it in my feed, but as I have her blocked I couldn’t see her, and she can’t see me. That means I could only see my child saying she was harassing him yet again. Not actually what she was saying and YES it majorly pissed me off. Jeff does nothing.
I was having a PMS day LOL.
In hindsight it was a bad move, I am known for sassiness and being blunt but I replied to my daughter (possibly a bit harshly due to how fed up I am of this girl )- I replied that this was expected of her, she is a bully and this is what she does. In a lot more words than that lol.
My impatience was probably not wise but this is a girl who caused us all so much stress with her accusations of being bullied the first time. I have become friendly with Jeff and truly see them as someone who gets harassed without reason. He does no harm to anyone and I now have that protectiveness over him. I also knew my daughter would get attacked for standing up to her, so wanted to show my solidarity and respect she was calling her friend out – finally. It takes a lot to break my child’s patience with someone and it has finally happened.
This conversation carried on with my child and Jeff, briefly, and Rapunzel who is blocked could only see if she switched profiles and jumped on to spy. (The thing she ‘doesn’t do’).
A conversation between Jeff and I carried on for around 15 minutes, maybe a tad longer, just discussing the general negative behaviour she has, how I was being tarred for saying anything, being blunt about how this is what she does, clearly both fed up with her ‘victim song’ and then we went on our merry way. It wasn’t particularly nasty, just blunt and two adults having a grievance over an ongoing clearly annoying situation, a moan. I have images of it (won’t post due to Jeff’s privacy) and it’s literally 2 images because it is such a short conversation between two tired people. My daughter only spoke once more and then also decided to walk away, knowing she would get attacked if she didn’t.
It didn’t take long for Rapunzel to message her, accuse, yell at and block my child. Not a shock really, as I literally predicted the exact scenario down to what she would say to my child. I am good with patterns, remember. She decided a friend calling out her toxic behaviour is bullying her.
Are you getting tired of this too? Yeah. Likewise.
Well as you can imagine – we have given her fuel to run her twitter ever since, accusing us of bullying her, harassment and causing her to have mental health relapses and stopping her from going to the event.
We have done nothing of the sort.
No one has mentioned her since, no one is interested in her, but she is posting screenshots from that one conversation claiming we are still going on. Claiming it is an ongoing flow of comments and tweets (it’s not) and claiming my profile shares of Narcissistic abuse articles (something I have been posting for a month) is all about her. (because I called her a narc in a comment to Jeff as I see all the traits clearly). Which is not bullying – it’s an observation. From someone who lives, breathes and writes about this stuff. Someone who is in active survivor groups every single day to raise awareness of this stuff.
The dates on the conversation show that they are from that one conversation. There was about 10 or so tweets in the full thread in total and no one has thought about her since. No one commented on it since, no one has shared it or gone back to it and no one has referred to it.
We have lives and hobbies.
I have been working on my book, tweeting about this month’s abuse topic – Narcissistic behaviours and awareness. I have the same posts on my Facebook and some on my Instagram from the last weeks. Meanwhile, it has been the topic of tweets from her, her friends and a smear campaign happening over there.
I am such a sad, immature bully who needs to get a hobby. Imagine that I have kids and behaving like that. Imagine picking on a child……… you get the picture.
Do I care? Not really, but my child is very stressed over it and she is worried that it could damage my name and what I try to achieve in helping people escape from abuse. It is therefore ironic that this person is literally just highlighting the kind of behaviour I have been sharing for a month. Maybe it’s fate and a reminder how these types exist among us and are very good at showing the world the victim face and turning people against others with just clever story telling. Maybe it’s to show me I am on the right path and raising awareness on these personality types should have more emphasis. To help our kids when choosing friends. That even low key stuff like this is incredibly invasive and poisonous to our mental health. Life shouldn’t be daily stress and fear of repercussion for being honest and to the point.
This is predictable and obvious narcissistic behaviour. I know it will blow over and she will move onto the next victim soon. It’s a pattern she repeats over and over and has done since I first met her. It’s not new, clever or unique. She isn’t the only one in the world who does this. Her words are just that and her fuel will run out as she has nothing new to keep feeding her fury.
She will have no real impact on my life and since my daughter tackled her, she has been blocked and now also being accused of bullying and harassing this same person. As odd as this may sound – it’s a positive. That means my child is not connected to her anymore and will have no future interaction which could harm her own personal growth and mental health. I just need to show her that staying strong, keeping your integrity and blocking these types does eventually work out. That it will pass, and this person will shed more friends along the way as she repeats these behaviours over and over. She is not our problem to fix, nor is she someone who will take up more of my mental space after this. I hope those are things my daughter has inherited, although she is young and maybe needs more time to really master it.
My child has come to a point in her personal growth where she is actively cutting off these types when she identifies them. This past few months has seen her cut off some of her closest friends after years of being silent about their behaviours and I can’t be more proud of her. Finally finding her strength and choosing to have no friends over toxic friends. Gladly, she is not friendless and removing the chaos has brought real good friends to her door who can also see the flaws in the ones she left behind. Bullying turned her into a shell of a person and she attracted the same types of people for years. That is a sad fact of being a victim, we start to accept behaviours and blame ourselves. I now see her blossoming and coming out of herself in recent months and long may it continue.
The Grey Rock Method is how we deal with this personality type – I will link an article below if you need more insight to what that is and how it works. Generally, it’s no reaction, no emotion, no response. Which after this blog is exactly what I will go back to doing. I had been uninterested after that initial eruption and now I have gotten this all out , I will let it go and hope my daughter has been taught the tools to do the same.
Writing down our entire situations can help us release something from weighing down on our soul and I encourage you to do the same. Sometimes seeing it all laid out in a timeline can help validate your experience and remind you that you are not the one with issues. Gaslighting is a very powerful tool in which abusers turn all acts onto you and convince you that you are the problem.Writing things down stops them from muddying what actually happened. In a journal, diary or a letter to yourself. I write books, letting go of all the hard stuff I have ever had to deal with in life and using my experiences to form realistic characters. It’s my therapy.
Will this blog post give her something to scream about for days more – probably but I have blocked her on every account so I won’t be seeing it anyway lol.
There is a huge amount of good to come from this – and that is my daughter finding her tolerance level and her voice. Standing up for herself; something she has not done for a long time, due to being bullied. Her twitter response at being tarnished a bully and seeing my name being trodden down.
“nobody is talking about it anymore, only you. my mum has been posting about narcissistic abuse for 5 years, she is an advocate against abuse. we are both survivors of narcissistic abuse. it has nothing to do with you, actually a symptom of narcissism is BELIEVING everything’s about you. (Jeff) hasn’t said anything at all – god sake, nobody’s bullying you, (Rapunzel). calling out a friend for being out of line is not bullying. you talk about how we should get a hobby but all you do everyday is sit and play victim on twitter …. it’s you who needs to grow up”
After being friends with this girl for two years and watching as she befriended two toxic people who made my child’s life hell for the last months after this. (another tool abusers use) This is what frustration looks like. Defending genuinely, an accusation and finding your confidence in your innocence. Never be afraid to speak your truth. I am proud of her.
Never feel that you are powerless in situations like this. These people exist and they do damage if you allow them to. Take your power back by completely walking away from them. They need a supply. Don’t be that supply. Already I have had new friends on my twitter showing up and I always have my army on Facebook who remind me that we can overcome anything as long as we learn who we should put our faith in.
Be strong, warriors. xxx
Edit – Since writing this post I have received numerous private messages thanking me for validating experiences with this person. Apparently this has been going on a long time with many people and this post helped them connect and feel less alone. Which is what I aim to do with every article I write. Thank you for reaching out and in turn validating our experience.
The Grey Rock Method – https://www.healthline.com/health/grey-rock
A worthwhile read if you think you are caught in a friendship/relationship with someone with NPD – Arm yourself with the knowledge to stay sane in the face of an abuser – https://blogs.psychcentral.com/psychology-self/2018/08/narcissist-arguing/
Gaslighting – https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-warning-signs-gaslighting
2 thoughts on “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Mask!”
Such an unfortunate, albeit common dynamic with social media. You’re a good mama. I am sorry for your daughter’s trouble.
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Aww thank you. It is and such a horrible thing to deal with as a teen. I am glad I can shrug it off although I think she will have a harder time dong so
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