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Underminers and Facebook — Have You Been Targeted?

Updated on April 24, 2017
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green is an intuitive counselor who combines psychological and self-empowerment approaches.

Lurking and Ready to Unleash Their Brand of Toxic

Underminers use Facebook as a virtual way to sabotage their victims.
Underminers use Facebook as a virtual way to sabotage their victims.

The New Face of Undermining

Underminers leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding new targets to hone in on. Social networks have provided a new platform where toxic people can operate from the comfort of their living rooms. If someone gets off on playing mind games and wants to take a stab at someone, they don't even have to do it face-to-face. The virtual world offers a lazy man's way of sticking it to others electronically.

This article isn't discussing trolling or random cyber-bullying of strangers in forums or at other places, rather, it is discussing those who pose as Facebook friends, acquaintances you've added to your list of contacts, and those who've contacted you out of the blue seemingly seeking information but whose objective is to use Facebook to unleash their brand of toxic on you.

It goes without saying that underminers may have unresolved anger or hostility issues, but this article isn't discussing the whys and wherefores of what makes underminers tick or what motivates them to do what they do, rather, the focus is on whether or not you have been targeted.

If you aren't prepared, undermining can come as a bit of a surprise, but at some point, there's a good likelihood it will happen to you.

This article describes three common scenarios, and as you read, try to determine if something similar has happened to you, because once you know what to look for, undermining is easier to spot.

Scenario #1

The Facebook friend.

I'm Analyzing Everything You Post...

An underminer seems to spend an inordinate amount of time watching your Facebook activity.
An underminer seems to spend an inordinate amount of time watching your Facebook activity.

The Pick-Apart-Your-Post Underminer

Have you ever had this happen to you? You post something and someone you consider a friend subtly picks it it apart. They ask if you aren't worried about the reactions of others who might read your post. You know that your post was harmless and nothing that anyone else would even notice, so you are confused as to why your friend has even brought this up.

You tell your friend you aren't worried, but your friend goes to great pains to impress on you that others will read your post and will be wondering about your character. You're left scratching your head, wondering what all the fuss was about.

You'll know you are dealing with an underminer if they continue this pattern, watching your posts, then dropping their "comment bombs" intimating that you weren't being discreet. Your friend will never come right out and say that, of course, but it's implied.

I posted a photo of a beautiful dress and a friend kept remarking on how "flirty" I was. I laughed out loud (I'm a knitting grandmother, so this remark was completely ludicrous). Interestingly enough, this person kept mentioning this post in what could have only been an attempt to undermine my self-confidence. I shook my head at someone having that much time available to actually scrutinize my posts and then give me a blow-by-blow of same.

If something similar has happened to you, you might find yourself wondering why anyone would waste their time worrying about what is posted on your wall. But an underminer will use this as an opportunity to try to get you questioning your own judgement.

Scenario #2

The Facebook acquaintance.

Why Didn't You Message Me?

Nuisance messages can pop up and invade your peace.
Nuisance messages can pop up and invade your peace.

The Expecting-Immediate-Attention Underminer

An acquaintance asked why I didn't respond to her message. I explained that while my Facebook might be open, I was often busy with work or talking with someone else or was away from my computer--but I assured her that, when I was in a position to do so, I would respond to any message she sent.

The Are You Mad at Me? Card

I figured I'd set her mind at rest and that from that point onward, it would be smooth sailing. Wrong. A few days later, a message popped up, a few seconds passed, then she asked if I was mad at her. I stopped what I was doing and once again explained that if I didn't respond right away, it wasn't because I was mad but because I was busy. At this point, I suspected this person wanted instant responses and felt put out when she didn't get them.

The You're Too Busy Card

The next card she played was the busy card. She texted, I didn't respond, and another message popped up: "Well, I guess you're just too busy to talk to me even for just a few seconds." I messaged back and stated that I was busy. I was working, in fact, and right in the middle of something. She responded sarcastically, "Yes, some people work ALL the time."

A couple of days later, she tried a variation on this theme. "It's obvious some people just aren't that important to you and you figure you can just ignore them."

I found this behavior extremely odd because when I wasn't busy, I had sent her a couple of messages.

The Self-Pity Card

The last message I received from her went something like this: "I won't bother you anymore. I know when I'm not wanted."

After reading her last message, I replied that I had already explained matters to her and wasn't wasting anymore time on this. And I blocked her. Not my circus, not my monkeys, not my problem.

If something similar has happened to you, you may have found yourself shaking your head at grownups who act like petulant, demanding children.

Scenario #3

The Facebook stranger.

I'll Contact You Out of Blue and Try to Rain on Your Parade

This person seems to have nothing better to do than expend energy trying to pick apart any statement you make.
This person seems to have nothing better to do than expend energy trying to pick apart any statement you make.

The Dismiss-What-You-Say Underminer

I was recently contacted by a fellow who appeared quite benign and who asked me lots of questions about my intuitive abilities.

My spidey senses went up. He seemed too conversational somehow and was obviously trying to draw me out. I wondered what he was up to, so I decided to watch and wait, suspecting he would reveal himself.

As we messaged, I noticed he downplayed anything I said and dismissed it as being unscientific and as having no relevance. I found myself thinking, uh-huh one of those... I could see he was trying to maneuver me into defending my statements.

Instead, I told him I had no need to defend myself or how I did things, that I was quite comfortable with myself. And to each his own. I suggested that since he questioned what I had told him, perhaps he might like to explain how I did what I did. He seemed at a loss and I suspect he was surprised that I had turned the tables on him.

Of course, he wouldn't let it drop, so he asked me to send him an article.

I did and his mask completely slipped. He immediately dismissed my information as "no kind of proof," (I hadn't sent it as proof) that he knew all about people like me. He went so far as to call me a charlatan and even threatened to come to my area and discredit me.

Wow! I marveled at his need to demolish others' statements and the lengths he was prepared to go to play his twisted game. I immediately blocked him.

Not Your Circus, Not Your Monkeys

Don't allow an underminer to vent their anger on you.
Don't allow an underminer to vent their anger on you.

Saying Good-Bye to Underminers

You don't have to put up with undermining or allow it to continue. It is not your job to tolerate insults from an underminer, it is your job to protect yourself from toxic people.

An Underminer May Use Facebook to Their Advantage but You Can Use It to Your Advantage by Unfriending or Blocking These Virtual Saboteurs

No matter what form it takes, Facebook undermining usually plays out in a pattern of repeated attempts to make you question yourself, feel bad about your choices, or diminish you in some fashion. Of course, it's a given that you'll want to make sure that this is what is actually occurring. Any person can have an off day or make a remark without thinking and we don't want to be overly sensitive or too easily offended; however, if you find that someone persists in trying to make you feel bad, it's up to you to put a stop to it. You don't have to allow this twisted game to continue.

Have you experienced undermining at Facebook?

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© 2017 Athlyn Green

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