– Selling Victimhood and Anti-Identities –
Psychiatry on the Internet


In many internet forums, Facebook, social media etc., one can find anonymous (or not so anonymous) stories of ‘crazy parents’ touted as being the cause of their adult children’s so-called mental disorders and their misfortunes in life.

These are, unfortunately, quite often the work of professional trolls who are essentially working to spread division within families as well as promotion of wrong ideas for both the cause and effect of a stereotypical situation.

Trolls usually present their case on some internet forum in such a way as to attempt to garner sympathy and seek others opinions on their situation.

They often use ‘cult recovery’ forums.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with someone trying to find someone they can talk to about any actual situation they may have, but there is everything wrong with someone doing it as part of some controlled PR campaign or even an intelligence operation.

Both of which are very real and do exist.

Witness the not-too-long-ago leaks about actual contracts with the Defense Department to do just that, as well as the leaked documents of British MI5/MI6 internet trolling operations against perceived ‘enemies’.

While I make no judgements as to which one this example is that I’m about to show you, the particular forum it was done on is rather well-known for having many such less-than-real examples.

But for the sake of clarity, let’s pretend that it is real and take a look at what’s being said.

Descriptions of parents given:

  • (thoroughly brainwashed) […] father
  • passive and complicit […] mother
  • they are selfish people (narcissistic…)
  • My dad […] dumb, bland and programmed responses
  • they’ve […] idled around the house in their free time wasting away
  • they’ve […] doing practically nothing
  • they’ve […] having basically no social life.
  • they’ve […] a sort of “half-suicide”
  • I’ve […] felt […]  that I have no parents
  • often depressed […] due to my crazy parents.
  • […] limit my interaction with them to once a month or less
  • Neither […] got the appropriate mental health treatment for […] Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder


Contradictions in narrative:

  • learn […] self-care, social skills, professional skills […] on my own
  • My life is […] really great (good job, good health, and solid finances[…] because my parents gave me what they were able to

Clearly they can’t both be true.

  • […] limit my interaction with them to once a month or less
  • if I said something critical […] disconnect from me?

The person has done their own ‘turn away from’ their parents, so clearly they can’t truly be concerned about that happening in reverse.

Here’s what I see as the actual problem, within the narrative here.

Actual problem:

  • not having a healthy relationship with my parents […]
  • What’s going on in their heads[…]?

Many people seem to think that their attitudes, thoughts, and emotions are somehow only known to them. In reality, that is not usually the case.

It is quite easy to see that this person has rather horrifically critical (and downright hateful towards their parents) thoughts, emotions and attitudes.

My question would be, did it never occur to them THAT is the problem with their relationship to their parents?

No one wants to have an intimate relationship with someone who has such hatred and disgust towards them as this person appears to be carrying, nor should they be made to be.

I would say that a possible solution is that this person examine the true source of their feelings and that they may simply be using their parents as a convenient scapegoat to cover up what is wrong inside them. I would also hazard to guess that sometimes, that ‘depression’ may actually be a kind of inner voice letting the person know what they are doing, thinking, etc., towards those that gave them life, is wrong.

If that is the case…

Miracles could happen if they did some soul-searching – if they are wrong about their parents, recognize that, change it and began actually treating them like someone they truly love, respect, and admire. They might be astounded at the difference this would make in their lives.

There are just as real examples of people having parents who are truly abusive, and being depressed about that would also not be wrong as it’s certainly not a happy thing to experience.

But it might be just as true that there are perhaps more examples of ‘depression’ being actually sourced from un-examined guilt.

Guilt for ones own actions to ‘disconnect’, criticize, marginalize, and use their parents as a scapegoat for their own bad decisions in life, and in a very real sense being the cause of their own unhealthy relationships.

I am not an ‘expert’, nor do I claim to be, but I do have life experience on this very topic. I was once very wrong about my mother. I had literally defined myself as anti-anything my mother did, and it was quite the shock when I later found out that not only had I not successfully made over myself as ‘different’ from her, I had literally copied so many attributes of hers, even though there was years and distance between us, that it caused me to have to re-examine just who I really was. To make a long story short, it was only when I truly recognized the actual source of this that I began to heal. I got my mother back and in a very real sense, got myself back.

Which, after all, is probably all that this adult child really wants in the first place.

The way to go about it, is not to build an anti or ‘not like them’ NEW identity. One needs to face their own actual identity, and role in one’s own life events, before any true moving forward can ever occur.

For the parents out there who may be on the wrong end of this kind of thing from their adult children, this quote image we found offers a refreshing perspective.

The McClaughry’s.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. I just spent the weekend with a clinical psychiatrist who told me about her 20-year hospital team practice. She mentioned how a major focus of current therapy involves enabling patients with personality disorders to blame their parents for all their problems and failures. Since this is something patients and therapists are happy to discuss, it often takes up most of their sessions – patients become more and more skilled and sophisticated at detailing their parents’ mistakes and faults but thus process rarely leads to any real changes or healing.


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