“I’m told that in 2019, I was the most-trolled person in the entire world — male or female,” Meghan Markle told the Teenager Therapy podcast. “Eight months of that, I wasn’t even visible. I was on maternity leave with a baby, but what was able to be manufactured and churned out — it’s almost unsurvivable.”
Let’s zoom out from the Meghan show, shall we?
Let’s say that you had access to a platform that scores of teenagers would willingly listen to. Which of the following messages about online abuse do you, as a fully grown adult, think would be more responsible to share?
- Online abuse can be “almost unsurvivable.”
- You can ignore or rise above what nasty loser trolls think and say about you and needn’t be defined by online insults.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the second answer is probably more constructive. Yet instead of modeling resilience and strength, the likes of Meghan Markle are parading around the opposite as if it’s a virtue. This notion of online trolling being “unsurvivable” is one among many self-defeating thought traps warned against in basic cognitive behavioral therapy, as documented by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff in their Atlantic article “The Coddling of the American Mind” and book of the same name.