Real Love - Malicious and Dangerous Online Support Group

Butler, Pennsylvania 2 comments
Not resolved

This is a review of the Yahoo Group, Real Advice For Real Love, which is an online support group. The group works like a message board where someone will start a discussion topic about an issue in their life and others will respond. While this group is not necessarily a legitimate business and while no monetary transaction occurred, it is an entity through which I actively sought a service, which was support, over the course of two years. Given what transpired in that group I feel it pertinent to make others aware of what happened.

I originally joined that group because I was dealing with past and present issues in my life relating to family, relationships with females, and abuse. An older woman initially responded to my posts and, since she seemed pretty knowledgeable, I developed a level of trust with her. However, as time passed and I continued to post, I noticed she was not at all empathizing with me but was rather trivializing my experiences and in fact subtly defending my attackers most notably the ones that were female. She would also make a lot of smart and off color remarks that seemed to take away from the seriousness of my situation. Regardless, I remained with the group hoping that if I remained active, responsive, and respectful, I would eventually get the understanding and consolation that I was looking for. Sometime after however, a few female members wrote harsh and attacking responses. Upon expressing my disapproval, the older woman just said they give tough advice. Then several other attacks came and they were increasingly harsh, dismissive, and blaming. In addition, the moderator in response to my post about a very abusive girlfriend said I just have an attitude problem with women. Again the older woman came to his and the group's defense saying they were just trying to help me and I "˜didn't want to hear the explanation'. At this point my anger was through the roof. I finally came to my senses and left the group. Given the two years I spent there sharing intimate details of my life, I was beside myself and returned a few months later to vent my anger and dissatisfaction over how I was treated. The older woman, however, had left and sometime later, I discovered she started her own group, which I believe is called Advice for Living and Loving. After reading my post, she wrote a rebuttal in her group where she basically smeared me saying they tried to help me, tried to tell me it was my attitude that caused others to hurt me, that I just liked to blame everyone else for my problems, and that I need psychiatric help. She also copied and pasted posts I made in the original group that she felt were most incriminating all to make me look as bad as possible. That was my last encounter with her and with either of those groups.

I have to say this was one of the worst experiences I have ever had. I have never encountered human behavior so crass and so blatantly cruel. This group severely diminished my already broken spirit as well as my trust in people. In fact, I had to see a therapist just to deal with the confusion and anger that this group caused me. This was by no means a case where they flat out disagreed with me and let me know up front or, as she claimed in her rebuttal, could not in good-faith help me because I was too far gone, nor was it run-of-the-mill trolling you tend to see on other message boards. As far as I can see this was a calculated attempt to cause harm over time so they could watch me crumble until I snapped. In fact, I strongly suspect that the older woman disguised herself under different usernames to attack me. I also recall that the attacks seemed to come when I was at my worst. As a result, it is absolutely imperative that I warn people about this malicious and sadistic group.

I should also point out that upon my returning to the group, I noticed others getting harsh and ignorant responses by the supposed new clan of regulars in the group. Therefore I do not feel that my experience was necessarily an isolated incident. While again I certainly understand that this is not exactly your typical review of a business and no monies were invested, I still invested a lot of time commitment and emotion in sharing intimate experiences in my life that very strongly impacted me. I would thus call this the psychological version of getting badly scammed. This was one of the, if not the, most painful and horrible experiences I have ever had and, although I have come a long way in dealing with my issues, posting an official review will help me gain closure not to mention warn others who may consider seeking support online about the apparent dangers of the internet to which I was then oblivious.

Review about: Online Advice And Support.

Comments

Anonymous
#733698

Sorry you encountered that treatment, but I can't say it's limited to the single group you've referred to in your post. Those same dynamics are prevalent in a few other purported "support groups" run by non-professionals, most notably Out of the Fog, and BPD Family.

They rely upon volunteers having hidden agendas to help run their sites, and to disagree with their "senior" members is to run afoul of the entire community, eventually.

Both of the aforementioned support groups' purported mission is to support family members/spouses/partners of people having personality disorders. In reality, they're only willing to support a select group of people who conform to their narrow-minded and pop-psych fueled theories about doing so.

One site is a thinly veiled collective effort to encourage people to remain in failed relationships with the mentally ill, and the other has no discernible purpose other than being a playground for it's emotionally unbalanced staff.

They both rank near the top of search engine results so they're successfully bringing-in new victims on a daily basis, around the clock. Fortunately, some new members figure them out rather quickly and leave without being harmed. Others, however, being in vulnerable and fragile emotional states get sucked-in and don't realize their mistake until it's too late. Often, they're harmed greatly by when the "community" turns on them.

I think most people should avoid on-line 'support...

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Anonymous
to Adroit #805930

Androit, thank you for your reply. I could not agree more that these so-called 'support groups' should be avoided. In addition, I'd encourage others to speak out so that enough awareness can be created and people will know to avoid them.

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