A Few Thoughts On The “Online Harassment Can’t Cause PTSD” Crowd

Other people have talked about the recent Internet explosion around online harassment and PTSD better than I can, so I’m going to try not to rehash.

Here are some links for the curious:

Your Uninformed and Incorrect Opinions About Psychology

Can one get PTSD via Twitter?

Online Bullying and Trauma: What’s At Stake?

PTSD and Me(lody)

I’m just going to add this:

If you think that saying “both war and online bullying can cause PTSD” is the same thing as saying “war and online bullying are basically the same thing”, or “war and online bullying are necessarily the same amount of bad/traumatic”, then you really need to get it into your head that it is in fact possible for different types and levels of trauma to lead to similar results. It’s not a hard concept.

Reading people’s comments around the Internet lately, one could be forgiven for thinking that some of you would respond to the idea that two plus two equals four and one plus three also equals four by screaming “BUT HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT ONE, TWO, AND THREE ARE ALL THE EXACT SAME NUMBER?!”.

Also, for all of the people who do think that it is impossible to get PTSD from online harassment, in spite of the fact that the weight of the evidence is uniformly against you, and that a professional psychiatric diagnosis based on far more information than you could possibly have access to is also against you, you should take this time to ask yourselves why your first instinct is to attack the person who you think has been misdiagnosed by a professional.

If I had a friend whose doctor diagnosed them with, say, an imbalance of chakras, I would be incredibly skeptical of the diagnosis. Under no circumstances, however, would my reaction be to say “How dare you be misdiagnosed like that?!”. You know why? Because that is an absurd, utterly useless, and incredibly cruel reaction. This should be obvious.

In short: first, all of the available evidence suggests that you’re wrong, and second, even if you were right, your reaction would betray an astonishing lack of thoughtfulness and compassion. Given the reality of the situation, you appear at best to be engaging in motivated reasoning and thoughtlessness, and at worst to be willfully ignorant and deliberately cruel.

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3 comments on “A Few Thoughts On The “Online Harassment Can’t Cause PTSD” Crowd

  1. Pingback: Internet harassment is a massive problem, and we need to fix it now | Gravity's Wings

  2. Further, if you knew someone whose diagnosis included imbalanced chakras would you bully and call her nasty names, threaten her, send her direct emails, dox her and do whatever you can to get her to leave the internet because she dares to keyboard while female?

    Thanks for this.

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