By Margaret Anna Alice
We are at a fragile moment in the life of the Resistance, and it seems people’s nerves and judgment are fraying the longer the war wears on. Pissants scatter dispiriting remarks about like litter. Fanatical contingents accuse anyone who holds a different view of being controlled opposition. Self-righteous inquisitors feel they have the right to tell you what you should and shouldn’t write about, how you should and shouldn’t spend your time. Purported allies ambush individuals of supreme integrity, a hazardous practice Mickey Z. described to me as “doing the enemy’s work for them.”
Below are two poems that emerged from not only my own experience of being targeted by a narcissist but also from witnessing reckless allegations being leveled at friends who, like me, have no time for this foolishness because they are too busy combating genuine scoundrels with book-length rap sheets of documentable crimes.
There are people who shine like the sun, and there are people who try to steal that sunshine because they have no light of their own. If they would simply adopt the Golden Rule of do-unto-others and focus on kindling their own embers, there would be a lot less friendly fire and a lot more healing hugs and rejuvenating laughter.
This is a summons to do better, to be better, to transcend our academic differences and unite over the bedrocks we can agree on: saving lives and overthrowing tyranny.
Rites of the Tear-Downers
I understand why the narrative-believers
dismiss, discount, and despise
the truth-speakers: menticide.
I understand why the injected
duck, dodge, and deny
the evidence-collectors: fear.
I understand why the trolls
mosquito-bite, spitball, and hair-pull
the freedom-defenders: hate.
I understand why the propagandists
slur, scorch, and snipe
the corruption-exposers: bribery.
I understand why the politicians
kafkatrap, quarantine, and terrorize
the tyranny-resisters: blackmail.
I understand why the agencies
bully, degrade, and shame
the policy victims: corruption.
I understand why the governments
surveil, silence, and strong-arm
the critical thinkers: power.
I understand why the corporations
fact-choke, blitz, and bot-attack
the dangerously credible: profit.
I understand why the philanthropaths’
string-pullers, puppets, tyrants, and figureheads
concentrate the noncompliant: depopulation.
I don’t understand why those who claim to value truth, freedom, and love
purity-test, subvert, and side-stab those fighting totalitarianism with them.
I don’t understand why they castigate, insinuate, and berate
those accomplishing substantive strides toward our mutual goals.
I don’t understand why they squander life pummeling down instead of lifting up,
dividing instead of uniting, demoralizing instead of inspiring.
I’m not talking about those sharing verifiable proof of bad actors
or calling out a supposed ally for demonstrable harm.
I’m talking about the ones who presume
the power to see into others’ hearts;
the ones who proclaim the words, actions, and life’s work
of others mere masks for maleficent motives;
the ones who purport the ability to identify
the fakes, the frauds, and the phonies;
the ones drenched in paranoia, bitterness, and envy.
You know the ones.
Don’t they have any beauty to scatter,
like nasturtium seeds in a fallow meadow?
Don’t they have any wisdom to spread,
like worm castings over hungry soil?
Don’t they have any truth to drizzle,
like summer rain caressing the earth?
Don’t they have any hope to shine,
like sunlight coaxing seedlings skyward?
If they were infused with the joy of creation,
the pride of work well-done,
the satisfaction of collaboration with kindreds,
there would be no room left
Their spirits would be brimming with gratitude,
their minds spinning with ideas,
their feet pattering to the next project.
They would awaken to each day
with the zeal of an otter eager to swim,
a runner lacing up her shoes,
a visionary sketching an invention.
They would be too busy
forging their own path
toward their singular mission
to notice the foibles of
They would be too wonderstruck
So what if we don’t agree on everything?
We’re explorers, not followers.
So what if we don’t think the same?
We’re water, not stone.
So what if we don’t trod the same trail?
We’re mapping, not paving.
The tear-downers fill
their moody minds
their vacant souls
their hollow hearts
They are bulimics
who can never
can only find
They whip their chainsaws
like a toddler
stomping on snails.
They deem themselves gods,
They are the righteous heroes
of their narcissistic fantasies,
stepping-stone their way up
on the carcasses of their slain.
They sell scalps
there will be no
one left to
no one left
left to swindle,
And that is how
clearcut a forest,
that is how they
smother a fire,
that is how they
in a wasteland
of their own
For those unfamiliar with the term “FUD,” it stands for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.” The Scholarly Community Encyclopedia entry reads:
“Fear, uncertainty and doubt (often shortened to FUD) is a disinformation strategy used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics, cults, and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategy to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information and a manifestation of the appeal to fear.”
Whisper campaigns are FUD in action. Covert aggressors don’t need documentation for any of their claims; all they need do is plant the seeds of FUD in a person’s mind and let them slowly take root, fertilizing them with additional lies over time.
Here are some practices I follow to help defend against FUD:
- Follow the Golden Rule. Let’s say Person A accuses Person B of being a “bad actor.” How would you feel if someone said that about you? How would you want the recipient to respond?
- Ask for proof. If they have nothing to support their claims and it is simply a “feeling” they have, case closed. If they do provide something substantive, the next step would be to vet that evidence carefully, understanding that a human being’s reputation hangs in the balance.
- Get the other side of the story. If possible, ask the accused for their side of the story. Narcissistic abusers want you to believe their version of reality, so the last thing they want is for you to talk to their active target. They may even try to dissuade you from doing so as a way of protecting themselves and their lies.
- Trust your gut. You may have had a positive view of Person B before Person A came along and started FUDding you. Don’t automatically abandon the opinion you have developed of a person over time just because you’ve heard a rumor. If someone badmouths someone I respect, that will make me reevaluate the gossiper rather than the victim.
- Don’t get sucked into the drama. If you don’t have time to investigate the claims, remain neutral. Don’t let the FUDder emotionally manipulate you into participating in the drama.
- Be an upstander. If you feel someone has been falsely accused, stand up for that person and let them know, as Mickey Z. and Alicen Grey did when a high-conflict personality began covertly attacking me. I, in turn, was grateful for the opportunity to be an upstander when a dear friend and one of the most effective forces battling authoritarianism and democide was smeared.