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January 22, 2007

Advice: What to Do After a Vicious Internet Ass-Kicking

Guest editorial by Dr. Lorraine Worley, psychologist and counselor

You were just trying to prove your point, commenting on a political bulletin board or someone's MySpace site, when it happened.

You got your ass viciously beaten by some trolling thug on the Internet.

The most important thing to remember is this: it's not your fault. No one deserves to get an Internet ass-beating, no matter how stupid their argument was.

Here are some suggestions on how to rebuild your life after a serious Internet bitch-slapping:

Embrace your pain: Initially, most Internet smackdown victims react with shock and disbelief. You may feel dazed, numbed, withdrawn and/or distant from other people. You may even want to cancel your Internet service. You may want to forget about what happened and avoid people or situations that remind you of the beatdown, but it is important to come to terms with your pain.

Handling flashbacks: There may also be times when you are preoccupied with thoughts and feelings about the virtual throttling. You may have unwanted memories, flashbacks, or nightmares about being handed your ass by some anonymous poster. This is completely normal.

Physical responses: Some Web curb-stomping victims have physical symptoms, such as sleep disturbance, headaches, and stomachaches. You may find that it is very difficult to concentrate on routine activities. You may also notice changes in your sexuality, such as a loss of interest in sex, avoidance of sexual situations, or a complete change in sexual orientation. It is important to remember that you are not alone.

Immediately after the ass-kicking: Go home, bathe, rest and recover with the love, support and acceptance of people who care. The worst thing you can do is keep this to yourself!

Aftercare: Seek counseling and support for dealing with the feelings of anger, rage, or inferiority that may arise weeks, months, or years later. Victims of Internet shellackings need professional therapy in order to re-emerge on the Web as healthy, well-adjusted contributors to virtual discourse.

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Aww, what a caring lady!
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