I followed Tik Tok for a couple of months. From October through November, I just gathered enough content creators who were in my field or were experts at theirs so I could learn what Tik Tok was all about. In December I thought I’d give it a go, though it felt super uncomfortable.
After two years of living in silence for a great deal of my time, it was a foreign concept to me. Zoom meetings drain me too. Not everyone is excited to be on the two dimensional screen, pushing extroversion to the front lines, so they don’t feel as dull or depressed.
I imagine for introverted and/or neurodivergent people who are mentally stimulated differently than extroverts or neurotypical folks, that the Zoom meetings became wildly uncomfortable.
There have been a plethora of studies about it. Google it.
I gave myself rules of engagement on Tik Tok to only “like” or offer positive proactive comments (in the way of heart or smiley face emoji’s). IF I commented at all.
I wanted to balance out the toxic, negative, and outright dangerous things that people were pushing onto the platform.
One thing I observed in that month ~ Two of the biggest content creators (both large males whose entire platform was taking down creeps and other assorted bleak spots on our collective well-being) had two and three million followers respectfully. After two months of getting to know these very well known fellas, each of them was cyber bullied avalanche style to the point where they were being given death threats!
For putting content on Tik Tok. !!!! (insert eye raised emoji here).
Another person who was a delightful laughing joy of light simple announced a playful ‘bones day’ or ‘no bones day’ by sharing the joy of owning an old chubby dog who was generally lazy. His infectious laugh made his millions of followers laugh.
He was constantly being attacked by hateful people who sapped his joy because he wasn’t “macho” enough. (insert frown face emoji here).
Another guy, … (this is ironic that it’s all male review pops into my head over females since I followed females more) started every entertaining post with telling his followers that he is a LMHC and certified trauma professional. Okay, this is my area of expertise. This is my world. I hit ‘like’ on almost all of his content to shift the algorithm so I’d see his work.
I liked 40 videos until one, where he was quoting a toxic, misogynistic academic who is wildly popular among domestic violence abusers and other assorted males. That guy is from another country, but still, hugely popular among the “anti feminist” crowd.
I made a comment (really one of my 1st in a month).
My comment: “Why did you pick JP to quote?”
This therapist purports to work with trauma survivors, and yet, the words of Dr. JP are dangerous to female trauma survivors. With 500,000 followers, how did he even SEE my comment? I’ll never fully understand algorithms. He never ever interacted with the forty positive emoji-likes.
The therapist responded, “You don’t get to tell me who to quote or not”
Me (perplexed): “I didn’t ‘tell’ you. I asked you. It’s just a question. Normally, I love your work.”
Therapist (quickly responded): “You are gaslighting and need to cut the shit”
I kid you not.
I was just slack jaw confused. Until it dawned on me. That SAME day … JP quit his tenured Professor job because of pressure for all the shitty, dangerous things he did. I didn’t know that until after the fact.
The therapist/content creator w/over 500,000 followers publicly shut my question down then called me a ‘gaslighter’ for asking a question. No negativity. No hate. No shade. Just a simple question. The speed of his response was fast too. As if he was sitting there reading all the comments.
WHO has time for that???? Not Elise Myers. Not Noodle. Not Doctor Mike. Nope. But this guy … he had time to run through his comment section, clapping back at anyone who didn’t love his content.
After that, 20 new male followers started following me.
That’s the part of the trauma helping industry that I hate.
Survivors and healers don’t have a fully safe space in the online world.
I asked a 20-something year old if that was normal.
Apparently it is.
The online platforms KNOW and are somehow OKAY with throwing hate and toxic behaviors at others as if it’s a sport!
Since trauma and narcissistic abuse was part of my many decades long career, it was abusers who came into my space. They wanted to take up space, and energy from my online content, just like they do in real life.
When people decide to hate on you, and they have a mental illness that includes a disordered personality and/or feel justified in abusing someone, they will forever HATE (cap-yelling here) you for ever.
I once worked with another mental health counselor who got death threats for working with the dude’s girlfriend. We all knew what her life was like. We hated it, but had to work within the law. But for a therapist to pull that crap? *red flag*
They feel entitled to your life. Even after they’ve moved on to new victims and targets, they will continue to do what they can to make your life miserable.
Abusive people will always abuse those who don’t set up boundaries.
That therapist is not my circus and not my flying monkey so I immediately blocked him and walked away. No banter. No back and forth. No real estate in my head.
Other than to learn a lesson from how even people in the helping industries will be human first.
That one? Dangerous to clients who also happen to be female and/or LGBTQIA.
How do I know that?
It’s the business I’m in.
I’ve seen it before and I’ll sadly see it again.
Once upon a time, I would have given things not meant for me entirely TOO much time or attention.
I hung on to a verbally, mentally, financially, psychologically, socially abusive relationship that made my life miserable for a decade. Just so others wouldn’t judge me for failing a relationship. All the while, he openly laughed at me or called me names, or belittled and devalued me on a daily basis.
He openly cheated on me for that entire union, then called me ‘crazy’ when I found hints, but never concrete evidence of the cheating. I didn’t label it domestic violence until I started working with that very specific population and the online work of Dr. Ramani just a few years after.
Because our field didn’t identify domestic violence with enough emphasis and because I was an ostrich with in her head in the proverbial ‘positive-psychology’ sand, who refused to own up to where I was and what I was putting up with.
Even in the psychology industry, we are people first, and not always liked by abusive people in our personal lives.
We’re told to “forgive and forget” or “forgive and move on” all while being traumatized by living in the same house with someone who only wants to harm us.
Therapists and helping professionals MUST choose calm over chaos.
- We must practice self love.
- We have to have boundaries and we have to check in with each other. But we have to know the background of the helpers first.
That dude who is popular on Tik Tok offers some great advice, but he’s also one of the scores of misongynistic males who will clap back at a female who dares to question him. Should I report him?
I’ll follow the wisdom and words of the Four Agreements.
- Be impeccable with your word. I know what I meant.
- Don’t take anything personally. This time, I’m not.
- Don’t make assumptions. Clearly, the dude had something going on, that was also not my business.
- Always do your best. I did. And won’t feel bad about it.
In our professional or personal lives, putting peace and calm over chaos or
If you are a sensitive person ~ a healer or helper ~ a therapist or counselor ~ I HOPE you put your own well being first. I’ll add this to the conversation … a few more agreements to keep for yourself:
- Don’t follow people who verbally abuse you
- Give yourself grace if you make a mistake in judgement
- Allow yourself to heal as you embark on helping others
- Be wary of how someone responds to the simplest of questions
- If they are being abusive to their students or peers they deem not worthy, they are most likely not someone you want to align with.
- Put your own peace and happiness at the top of your list. Every list. All the lists. Include “I will live in peace and joy today” at the top of your grocery list so you remind yourself to find your own center.
We have 18 divisions in the ACA and 54 divisions in the APA. That doesn’t even include the machine (powerful union) of the social workers in our helping professions, or the outliers who are Reiki masters or clergy, or others. That man was a licensed Family Therapist. They follow a family systems modality that others just don’t agree with. I am pretty sure being confrontational isn’t part of that theory of practice, but that doesn’t account for the arrogance or personality of the ego of the man himself.
We don’t have to stay anywhere we feel uncomfortable.
We do deserve peace.
We do deserve worthiness and respect.
We are entitled to create the boundaries against anyone who tries to disrupt our lives.
I was subjected to verbal, emotional, financial, social, and psychological abuse for a very long time. It interfered with my life, including my career. I’ll be damned if some ego-driven hot shot therapist on Tik Tok is going to rattle my chain. I broke the chain a long time ago.
To everyone out there Tokking and Tikking away ~ kindness is free. Empathy and compassion are the lead story. Freedom to unfollow rather than smash the toxic hate button … is also the preferred way to conduct yourself in 2022.
There is no room for hate in this decision to only accept good things, joy and whole, empathic, compassionate people. None at all. Boundary up baby!
Sometimes, the healers need healing. It’s not our place to get involved or offer help. IF I had said, “If you need some therapy, I can help” ~ well, that would have been gaslighting on my part. I thought about it, but also knew it was obnoxious.
No games. No repeating what I hated what was done to me. No contact.