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Trying to help WhyWhy


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I’m a key member of an advice message board which is brilliant but for one thing…

Three years ago, a new member registered and the other key members and I are at a complete loss of how to help her. For the sake of this message I’m going to call her WhyWhy.

It seems WhyWhy creates much of her own problems and if she doesn’t start the problems she certainly exacerbates them.

WhyWhy will come to us with a situation: Someone will have done/said something or even nothing at all and she’ll be upset about it. Then she’ll write several consecutive posts in the thread of ‘she said’ ‘I said’ stuff along with huge chunks of copied emails to and fro with the person she’s having a problem with or will copy chunks of her blogs on the thread.

Finally, she’ll ask a question, “So, should I do this?” or “Should I say that?” Even if she hasn’t created the situation, how she intends on dealing with it, we can see that she will certainly make it far worse, so we set about advising her why it wouldn’t be a good idea. We give her plenty of perspectives to consider so she can re-evaluate her decision. Now, if she then decided she was going ahead anyway, fine, that’s her choice but instead she argues, “Yeah but blah blah blah. So do you think I should do it?” We’d already said no and explained why so we keep going round in circles.

She’s not stupid by any means. We suspect she knows exactly what she’s doing. She seems to like to rile people and argue with them. We think she’s trying to rally troops to support her decision to give her friends/co-workers/family verbal hell and because we’re not onside, she’ll argue with us as well. So, she ends up having all these mini-wars going on. That’s got to be very stressful!

One time, she copied an entire email to a new thread telling us that she sent it to her friend saying, “… and now she’s upset with me. Can it be saved?” And we’re stunned :eek: because we’re thinking, No wonder your friend is upset with you! You’ve basically sledge hammered your relationship with her!

At some perceived problem, she metaphorically grabs her friends by the scruff of the neck, as in ‘Oi you, you’ve got a problem with me and I want to know what it is!’ Although she’s picked up on there being a possible problem and wants to resolve it, she’s quite aggressive in how she approaches it. So, we’ve been trying to help her with developing an assertive communication style. This will take time and she swings from being verbally aggressive to passive aggressive. Not wanting to explode as she has admitted to doing in the past, she’ll hold onto this anger for months then comes back to us regarding this issue, with the same question, “Should I do/say this?” to which we’re still saying it’s not a good idea, suggest alternative ways of dealing with it, etc, but to no avail.

She continually puts her friends through ‘tests’ and when they fail as they invariably do, she uses this as evidence they have a problem with her. We’re thinking that if they didn’t have a problem with her before, they certainly do now!

She’s written blogs and bulletins on her Myspace to no-one in particular but there is one or maybe a few intended targets. Her intended target had clearly picked up on it, got pretty fed up at all the passive-aggressiveness in these blogs/bulletins and wrote one herself in exactly the same style. WhyWhy posts the whole blog on our board saying, “I think this is about me but I’m not sure,” and we’re thinking, Yes it is about you because you’ve been doing it to her!

The list goes on and it’s just totally mad the whole going round in circles trying to explain things to her when all she clearly wants to do is argue with anyone she can. To perpetuate the argument she claims not to understand what we’re saying in our replies to her and continually asks for explanations on what we’ve written and explanations to explain the explanations.

Thanks for listening.

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  1. Some people can't be helped. For me, it was a therapist. She told me flat out she could not help me. That was shocking! But after her I was helped and continue to be helped by another therapist today. Perhaps she cannot be helped within the scope of your message board.
  2. If it were me, I'd set some rules and boundaries for the forum, for her.
  3. Posting private emails and private messages is inexcusable.
  4. Only the individual can really know what is in their best interest, you can draw it out of her.
  5. Is she a troll? She's been there 3 years.

Edited by WinterSky
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Hello Kaudio, Please allow me to elaborate. What I meant to say was perhaps she can't be helped within the scope of that message board. I mean, she has been on this board for 3 years. She is either legit or is a troll.

I have been on budgie boards and always recommend avian vets for the birds. You can only help someone so much. It would be irresponsible not to recommend an avian vet. Sometimes folks need to help themselves within the resources available to them.

Just my viewpoint. :P

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Thank you all for taking the time to reply to my post. I do appreciate it.

You know, it never occurred to me that she could be a troll. Following that suggestion, I’ve been researching troll behavior. I swing from one thought to another. In some instances she could be a troll; she matches some of the criteria, but if she is, I sense she’s doing the trolling out of ignorance.

We do sense that the external conflicts she posts about are genuine and she’s realized that exploding doesn’t help. It’s like there’s internal conflict as well, as in, she has a really strong desire to verbally rip someone’s head off (whoever has upset her) but realizes it’s perhaps not a good idea but then comes to us seeking validation and permission to proceed with her desired course of action.

Of course, we won’t condone actions/behaviors that will potentially cause emotional pain (or other) to anyone else and we certainly won’t condone it if it’s going to cause her further emotional pain than she seems to be in already.

We’ve tried to guide her to make aware that if she follows her intended course of action, particularly in the manner she wants to do it, it may result in a number of undesired scenarios (and hurt feelings for both parties) rather than result in the outcome she wants.

We have stressed to her that she’s got 3 options:-

1) Do what she intended in the first place,

2) Follow someone’s advice (not necessarily anyone from the board, perhaps friends, family, co-workers, priest, etc).

3) Do nothing.

But to return and argue a point then ask if she should do what she intended in the first place despite all advice given on the board which clearly contests her intentions, well, it’s frustrating to say the least, and others on the board have also expressed this frustration. It just seems we’re opposing her rather a lot and that can’t feel very good.

So, yes, I agree that perhaps the help she needs is beyond the capacity of the board and have suspected that for a while now. Another member said as much and suggested therapy/counseling. Supporting that, I said that that while we are individuals with good intentions who have experienced a bit of life and can offer some words of wisdom, we’re not trained therapists and we don’t feel we are actually helping her at the moment. Her response to these was that she’s not nutso.

Perhaps I should resume what I started before which is when I spot the cycle beginning again, to reply, “I’m sorry, I don’t feel there’s any more I can add.”

Once again, thank you for your insight. It has been invaluable.

Kind regards


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Guest ASchwartz

Hi SunshineRayz,

Welcome to our site. I want to refocus your attention on Paula's response to your first post: "What has this to do with our site?"

In my opinion, and please correct me if I am wrong, Paula, Paula is asking about you SunshineRayz. In other words, who are you, in the sense of, what is your life like, how can we help you, what problems do you struggle with, etc. All of us, not just at this site, but in the world, struggle with problems of an emotional and personal nature. That includes everyone who is in the so called "best of emotional health," if there is such a thing. I believe that Paula and others, including me, are asking you to tell us a little about yourself.

Can you do that and is it OK for us to ask??


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