Spying, Malediction, and Harassment: Meme Warfare’s Effects on My Life

“The Story of Nastadio Degli Onesti I” — Botticelli

I’m a human being. I have many flaws. I’ve trusted bad people. I’ve been indecisive. I’ve made bad relationship choices. I’ve been wrathful. I’ve been jealous. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve handled despair with unproductive decadence. I’ve tried distracting myself from my problems instead of dealing with them. I’ve been a coward when I should have fought back. Whatever my flaws are doesn’t give anyone the right to spy on me or to decimate personal information, like personal messages/texts, without my consent. It doesn’t make it okay for people I used to be friends with to create a trolling campaign devoted to insidious innuendo for the past three years. My ex-friends only started harassing me after I red pilled, which happened two years after a period of bad life decisions. Those bad life decisions may have annoyed my ex-friends, but no one was giving me too much of a hard time until I changed my political beliefs. Either way, whatever my human frailties are, it doesn’t mean that it is acceptable for my ex friends to spread distorted rumors behind my back, but because I wasn’t on “their team,” they felt their harassment was justified. I haven’t received threats to my safety, but I have lost a large amount of friends and acquaintances and have had problems at work and troubles making new friends because of their behavior. They have actually sought out new friends I was making and scared them off. The people who are bothering me, who were once my dear friends, won’t stop and always denied what was going on when I tried to get answers, but other people have noticed and mentioned their behavior, and I’ve had one friend even tell me what he knew. Over the years, without giving away any useful information, people have suggested that this whole thing was to teach me a lesson, that it was a prank, that it was supposed to be motivation for me to get a boyfriend (preferably a specific leftist they had in mind), or that it was a punishment. Regardless of the motivations my ex friends have, their behavior isn’t justified. I know I am not perfect, but I have been working on myself for a long time now. I want a fresh start in life without people spying on me and engaging in meme-warfare. Every time I try to start over my ex friends find some way to ruin my new beginning when it isn’t their place.

It all started with one of my closest friends, a best friend. In the beginning, I was hesitant to get close to her. She seemed so nice, so put together, but at certain times, her comments were red flags. She had a best friend, but suddenly, she wanted a new one. I asked her what happened, and she told me her past best friend became lesbian and was in love with her. When she told me this she didn’t seem stressed out or sad. She told me this with a smirk and a laugh. I detected derision and didn’t really like how she presented the matter, but I didn’t know her incredibly well. I didn’t want to read too much into it. We became best friends after a while, but I still had red flags. She had mentioned that at her old high school some of her friends pissed her off, and looking back the reasons weren’t that serious. However, she Destroyed (with a capital D) their reputations all the same. She didn’t really have any old friends because of that. She explained this again with derisive humor. I felt incredibly anxious. If she did that to her old friends, she could do it again. I considered that befriending her was a bad idea, but I believe that people should be able to have fresh starts. It turned out that I should have listened to my intuition.

I grew up with a core group of friends even though at times I hung out with other people more often. My ex best friend was a new comer to our group. Other than her, all of us had been friends for a very long time, and we had been witnesses to each other’s growing pains, all the nonsense that happens in high school and in early adult hood, including partying and bad choices in affection. We always managed to work through it though or so it seemed. We tolerated each other as long as we tried to do better. We also thought very differently, but for many years, we thought the great thing about our group is that we could all be friends despite our differences. Whatever mistakes I have made in life, whatever my flaws, I knew my friends had also made mistakes and flaws that were similar in situation or degree even if different in detail. We always worked through it for the most part. That is until my ex best friend decided to turn as many people as she could against me.

What made her mad? The truth is I could never get an answer that made sense to me. She was mad I missed her Christmas party to see the Dwarves play, but she had given me the wrong date for her party. I had already purchased tickets. She was mad about whom I attended the concert with: an old friend of mine, her husband’s ex-wife. She was also mad that I dared question her choice about another party. Her husband and she had planned a pre-marriage tent camping trip, which would involve heavy drinking, in the desert in the middle of summer. I was astounded to find out how angry she was. I tried to apologize and explain where I was coming from, that our other friends asked me to talk to her about the location of her event, but she didn’t want to be my friend anymore. To this day, I wonder if there was more too it, considering the great lengths she had gone to make my life difficult and unpleasant. One thing I knew for sure is that she has openly expressed her hatred toward people who aren’t left wing. She hated that I had red pilled. Some mutual friends suggested that it was an issue of me not being on the right “team.”

This is how my ex-bestfriend expressed her new found displeasure with me: she got a male friend of hers with few if any obligations (as far as I know no job, no kids, no volunteer work etc…) to post insulting memes about me around the clock. That way she could mess with me without getting her hands dirty. She would be able to keep her professional image and deny involvement (since he would be doing the dirty work, having absolutely nothing to lose). Her male friend would pick a meme with someone who looked vaguely like me. The meme would mention or relate to something I had recently posted, messaged, or done, and then its final element would be something insulting. The insults would be exaggerations or distortions of whatever personal element was featured in the meme. At first, I tried to ignore it, but then other “friends” jumped on the bandwagon. After a few months, acquaintances started acting weird and seemed to be doing the same thing. I had friends I hadn’t spoken to in years start engaging in the behavior. People suddenly knew information about me that was private. I tried to post online about how there were malicious rumors being spread about me, that I was being harassed, and not to give anyone any personal information. I deleted anyone I thought was participating. It didn’t matter. Somehow the main troll was still getting information about me. It turns out that there were more people than I realized who were taking screenshots of every post and every text and sending it to him. I didn’t know what to do. When I talked to my other best friend (I know “best” is a superlative and means “the peak or utmost” of which there is only one, but we were a best friend trio for many years), she told me it was all in my head. She also has stopped talking to me for the most part. The whole situation was alarming. I thought deeply about my life and felt like maybe I needed to do more to make peace. I tried calling people I may have upset in the past to apologize. They acted surprised to hear from me. The behavior didn’t stop. I hoped that after some time, it would end. It didn’t. The problem has been going on for at least three years.

The thing is that I didn’t want to jump to conclusions without some more solid proof. I kept asking people I suspected of being involved for information, and no one would tell me what was going on. Then full-time faculty I worked with who knew her, and her friend who was trolling me, started asking me what was going on. I never mentioned what was happening to me, wanting to keep my personal and work lives separate, but one of the professors saw the trolling and recognized that the posts were targeted at me. She tried asking me what was going on, but I was scared to talk to her. I was frightened my ex best friend would try to defame me at work because of my political beliefs or past flaws and that I could lose my job. The chair of the department talked to me a week later, asking me if I was having a problem with my best friend, if we should have a meeting in his office to sort out what was going on. He said I wasn’t in trouble; he just wanted to help. I didn’t want to have a meeting in his office. Again, I was afraid my ex best friend would try to destroy my character in front of the chair and that I would lose my job. Later, two other professors who knew her and her friend who was trolling me asked me what was going on. I explained that we weren’t friends anymore, that I hoped we could work it out, and that I wasn’t sure what was going on. Both of those professors, who had formerly been on good terms with me, gave me dirty looks. At the time, I was on a one year full-time contract. The position was supposed to lead to a tenure track position if I received good evaluations, observations, and had a strong portfolio. I did have all those things. The contract ended, and due to some political issues/class cuts, I was told I couldn’t continue on to the tenure track but to apply later. I was told that the good news is that I wasn’t laid off completely. I could return to being an adjunct. Later, when a new tenure track position was available, I wasn’t even given an interview even though I was the most qualified person for the position. I can’t help but wonder if the situation scared the department off. A tenure track position is a lifelong thing, and no one wants drama in their department. I felt like I was being harassed, but since I was too much of a coward to have the meeting and to try to defend myself, I probably missed out on my opportunity to move forward in my career. If full-time professors separately recognized the trolling problem purely based from casual online scrolling, then no, this situation cannot possibly be in my head.

Finally, someone told me the truth or at least what he knew. A friend from high school who I hadn’t seen for years was in town visiting. He contacted me on Instagram, and we set up a hike and then a hangout with other friends after. On our hike, I told him about my problem. He said, “Actually, you’re not wrong. I was visiting my ex, and she told me what people were saying.” I was shocked. He told me about at least one rumor being circulated that was completely false. It wasn’t an exaggeration or distortion; it was straight malediction. I leave it out of this narrative because I don’t feel like this garbage deceitful lie should have screen time. I questioned why all of these people that were once my friends were saying bad things about me behind my back. Why wasn’t anyone questioning the rumors? Why wasn’t anyone defending me? He said that he actually asked his ex much the same. He found out that many of the girls in the group just didn’t like me. They thought I was a snob because of my job, because of my word choices, and because of how I dress. He thought that maybe saying bad things about me made them feel better about themselves. He also mentioned that because so many people were saying things about me that it became like a game of telephone where at the end of the day you end up with some crazy conclusion that was very different from the original situation. He mentioned that he had heard that my ex best friend had told everyone tons of personal information about me and that she disliked my politics. He also found out that some of the people I was friends with didn’t do anything to stop the situation because they were scared of being next.

Sometime in the middle of all this I tried deleting my social media accounts. I was offline for about a year, working on myself. After a while, I decided that I needed to interact with people online. I didn’t have a lot of friends and no boyfriend. Having a social media account could help me find opportunities to make new friends or possibly meet someone to date. When I came back online, I logged on to an inactive Facebook account to see if the troll was still doing his thing. To my dismay, it appeared like he was. I had suspicions about some of the last of my friends giving him information, but I wasn’t sure. Again, I should have listened to my intuition. I kept hanging out with these people and interacting with them as if everything was okay. I complained about the situation going on, how it caused problems at work, and how I believed that it was affecting my love life and friendships. After awhile, I began questioning these “friends” about if they were involved. They all said they weren’t and said I should just ignore the problem. The thing is that it had already caused so much damage that I felt that ignoring it was not a safe and logical option. They acted like I had some kind of obsessive delusion. I kept bringing up the situation because I was hoping one of them would confess if it was clear how damaging the situation was, but instead, I was gas lighted. I thought deeply about how I could find out for sure if they were involved. What I did is thread in a unique false detail into conversations with each one of them and then watched the troll to see if those details would come up. They did. I did this multiple times to account for coincidence, and the troll kept getting personal information and using it as ammo. I recently made the choice to break off my friendships with the last of these people. It is clear that after the suffering I’ve gone through these past three years was nothing but a joke to them and that our friendship actually meant nothing to them.

Looking back on all this, during the entire process of meme warfare, I realize I have made a lot of mistakes. I should have saved every meme, text message, instant message, and email in a folder. I should have made a corresponding file where I logged who I talked to or hung out with that day and the corresponding meme. If I would have done this overtime, I would have plenty of evidence to establish that I have been spied on and that these people have been intent on destroying my reputation whether out of malice or because they wanted to control or influence my behavior in some way. I would have saved more than one malicious meme correspondence per day. I never made the files though because I thought that this problem would stop if I worked on myself and kept to myself, but I was wrong. I wanted to avoid time in civil court. Even if I would have been able to prove the situation, for a long time, I felt like the law couldn’t do much to solve these issues. Because there were no threats of physical violence, I wouldn’t be able to get a restraining order. I wasn’t so sure what the court could have done to stop the behavior. Here I am now: unable to go back in time and start keeping records. I realize now I should have done the work of saving records and going to the courts if for no other reason than to protect other people who may face harassment from my ex group of friends, who clearly think that their bizarre behavior is okay.

I am writing this not to play the victim but in the hopes that this story might help someone else. If you are the star of a meme based hate campaign and are being gas lighted or ignored when trying to get answers, please keep records. Your problem might not end any time soon, but if you take action, you may be able to take the situation to court and hopefully achieve justice. I think my story really speaks to people who have red pilled and now find that they have lost their friends or worse. You shouldn’t be insulted and treated poorly because you are on the more conservative side of the political spectrum. People are entitled to form their own opinions in this country. On the other hand, if you made mistakes in your past, please work on yourself. Try to grow and improve so that you can have a new start. If you did anything serious, it’s a matter for courts of law not self-appointed judges. If you just annoyed people and are getting harassed, that’s unfortunate. Those people have flaws too that are equal to or perhaps even worse than your own. The energy they put into their self-righteous persecution of you would be better spent if they focused on improving their own lives. I’ve heard of high school students killing themselves over having their reputations destroyed via the Internet. Regardless of what your age is, if you are having a problem similar to mine, please get help. Don’t hurt yourself because you feel like there is no hope. Whatever your flaws are, that doesn’t make other people’s bad behavior okay. Focus on improving yourself if anything. The real tragedy is if the people who are bothering you succeed in crushing your spirits and you do something that could have permanent negative consequences for yourself and others. Your life has value and things can change even if your enemies have been causing problems for you and want you to think badly about yourself. There is help out there, and you can also take steps to help yourself. The most important thing is to help yourself by keeping track of the problem. That is what I would do if I could go back.

Godspeed to you. May your afflictions be alleviated. May you find consolation in wisdom. May your luck change for the better.

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