My mother is an internet troll – I don’t know what to do about it

Internet troll posts mean comment on image on imaginary social media site

My mum follows my friends and colleagues (Picture: Getty)

We’ve all experienced keyboard warriors at some point.

Those cowardly people hiding behind an anonymous account desperately insult, belittle and general ruin your day

Now imagine if you knew who the troll was. And not only did you know her, it was actually your mother.

If that isn’t humiliating enough, imagine she wasn’t anonymous and followed you and your friends, colleagues and acquaintances around the internet, provoking, irritating and angering as much as she could.

This is my mother.

In the early days of Facebook, when she first joined, her profile picture was a swastika — although she’d never mentioned the Nazis before. It turned out to be a foretaste of what was to come.

Mom has always been a narcissist, and the birth of the internet catapulted her attention-grabbing urges to be superior and consciously (and publicly) controversial to ridiculous levels.

I guess the red flags were there early. When I was five she wrote to all the neighbors and asked them to come to a funeral to bury our cat in the garden. When no one showed up, she never spoke to most of them again and we were forbidden to play with her children.

As me and my siblings grew older so did gaslighting and ego. When my sister got pregnant, Mum told her she would never forgive her for having an illegitimate child.

When she did get married, Mum told her on the morning of her wedding that she was making the biggest mistake of her life.

In fact, our relationships present a unique and frankly odd opportunity for Mum to constantly pretend to forget the names of our partners’ parents at get-togethers, despite having known them for years, which I can only imagine is an attempt to remind them that they are nobody.

But all of that is nothing compared to their online efforts.

Most of us will relate to embarrassing online posts from family members, which are often awkward in nature or perhaps designed to poke fun and get likes.

But for me it goes far beyond that.

Absolute horror and embarrassment set in when she immediately started adding some of my friends, including some she – and sometimes I – hadn’t seen since school, as well as various work colleagues and ex-girlfriends.

Then came the posts and spamming. Anything to get a reaction – often racist in nature, usually offensive and always controversial.

Like the time she posted a picture of Roadkill on her friend’s page and warned her not to leave her dog inside.

Or when she tried to convince an entire BLM Facebook community that they needed to look at themselves in the mirror and stop discriminating against white people.

Inevitably, she’s been banned from many forums over the years. Among those I know of are such far-right views that she was even pre-moderated from a UKIP forum and eventually kicked out, and a row that erupted in another group when she tried to lecture on the selfishness of suicide.

Anything related to Brexit puts her in overdrive. They stole all our jobs!

I currently don’t have any social media presence at all, so as not to necessarily have to decline their friend requests

My siblings have her on social media but have blocked her several times for trolling, usually for arguing with them online, sometimes for vulgar insults.

My brother is a relatively well-known social media person with around 100,000 followers and posted a photo of him and the dog. Mum answered and asked if he had shot him yet.

I hoped that her own friends breaking up their friendship would have sent some sort of clue, but instead she just went on to her gardener and her neighbors—both hers and mine.

I currently have no social media presence at all to avoid having to decline their friend requests and then having to see their nonsense online.

Mama’s trolling seems to be a fixture. When I get together with my family, there is always a new incredible story that they have told.

I’m told she posted a few weeks ago that she was accidentally called and put through to the Prime Minister of Ukraine (she didn’t). What must people think when they see these tripes?

Mum is clearly mentally ill in some way and it’s playing out for all to see. As a narcissist, she will never accept that. We tried to get her help as cautiously as possible by contacting her GP but we never knew the result because when we went after it we were told that due to patient confidentiality nothing could be divulged.

Since she didn’t explode with anger at us, we’re not sure if she ever got the memo.

Occasional attempts to denounce their unreasonable online comments, blocking them outright, or deleting comments like my siblings did, only leads to guilt pitting us all kids against each other and reminding us how indifferent we all are.

Of course she also posts on Facebook how terrible we are.

And that despite the fact that the family is in contact every day.

She even once created a fake profile to contact my sister, pretending to be a concerned friend of Mum’s and asking why we are ignoring her.

I have now accepted that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it and as an online troll she has me exactly where she wants.

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Justin Scacco

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