Beware of … A Warning About The Friendship Blog – Toxic – Unfriendly Bullied Bullies Trolls

I feel the need to warn people about getting involved with Dr. Irene’s “The Friendship Blog” (that link is to the blog itself, here is the site’s home page link).

If you choose to visit that site, which consists of a blog and a forum, please only read it; just lurk. I cannot recommend people actually participate and leave messages.

I was mobbed at that site by several bullies, some of whom post as “Anonymous” instead of using unique screen names.

Members of ‘The Friendship Blog’ are not required to log in or use verified e-mail addresses to leave posts. That is something which is exploited by the bullies at that site.

The site’s owner, Dr. Irene, apparently refuses to curtail the bullying and harassment at her blog, or she seems unwilling to take stronger, more drastic steps to halt it (I write about that farther below, with examples and explanations).
She comes across as downright apathetic about the bullying that takes place on her site (again, more about that below).

This is a major reason I want to warn people to stay away, or at least do not post at ‘The Friendship Blog.’ Keep reading for more details…

I joined “The Friendship Blog” around fall of 2011.

For various reasons (one of which is that I was harassed at that site regularly), I stopped participating as much.

I did not visit or post to “The Friendship Blog” or its forum, for all of November or December 2011.

I did visit one day in early January 2012 and made a few posts there at that time.

I did not return to that site until today, January 31, 2012, because I received an e-mail from another member there, whom I will call “Harriet” (not her real name), who informed me a big fight broke out at the forum around January 26 or 27, 2012.

“Harriet” told me she had been bullied and harassed at Dr. Irene’s site as I had been before, and she was upset and angry about being bullied, and I did not blame her.

“Harriet” also told me she noticed that the site’s owner, Dr. Irene, seems afraid of conflict and will not stop the abusive people at the site, nor will she allow victims of abuse and bullying to defend themselves.

If you try to defend yourself from attacks, Dr. Irene will delete your ‘defensive’ posts but often (not always, but usually) permit the original offensive post by the bully who instigated the fight to remain – which is unfair to the target of the abuse, and it’s distasteful.

Both “Harriet” and I experienced this, and I saw it happen to a few other members.

Harriet said she does not believe she will return to “The Friendship Blog” ever again because it looks like it has been taken over by trolls, and she is still upset by the abuse she received there.

I e-mailed “Harriet” back and told her I was not aware of the fight, so I stopped by that site today to see what was going on.

I also told Harriet I’m sorry she was harassed.

When I returned to “The Friendship Blog” today, I was completely dumbfounded and surprised to see that other people there, including members “Wonder Why” and others who posted under the name “Anonymous,” continued to make rude, snide, bitchy comments about me at the site, even though I had not left a post there since early January 2012, and prior to that, I had not been to that site in two entire months.

One member, (“Wonder Why”), even made an entire forum thread basically devoted to bashing me, where in the comment section, she and several others piled on further, by insulting me even more.

(I wrote more about that in this post: “Member Wonder Why at The Friendship Blog“).

I was repelled and amazed by the fact that “Wonder Why’s” thread, which I think was dated late December 2011, has been allowed to remain in that forum this entire time, for about a month.

I thought, “Surely, Dr. Irene is not aware of this thread. Surely she would have removed a thread created for the primary purpose of harassing another site member, as is the case with this thread?,” so I e-mailed Dr. Irene about it, and sent her a link to that thread.

In the meantime, I scrolled down the page to see that Dr. Irene left a post to “Wonder Why” in a very genteel, understated way, essentially giving “Wonder Why” nothing but a “slap on the wrist,” for the incredibly obnoxious, totally-uncalled for post, saying, “Now, now, you don’t really want to post these things do you, and open a can of worms,” or something to that effect.

So Dr. Irene was aware that the thread was there – but did not remove it. There is no excuse for that.

When I checked my e-mail about an hour or two later, there was a reply from Dr. Irene where she basically told me she has no plans to stop the harassment and bullying.

Dr. Irene also told me she was “tired of the whole thing” (well, I’m tired of being abused at The Friendship Blog, hey!).

Dr. Irene informed me that “Wonder Why’s” post does not violate her site’s Terms of Service, which made my mouth fall open in astonishment.

I e-mailed Dr. Irene back and asked, among other things,

“So you are perfectly fine with people at your site leaving entire threads up devoted to harassing and bullying other members, even members who have not been to your site in months, who are not stirring up trouble?”

Dr. Irene advised me that since the people at her site seem to not get along with me, and I’m upset by some of their replies, that I should stop visiting her site.

I wrote Dr. Irene back and told her I was shocked by her attitude.

I was being victimized, but instead of protecting me and the other bullied people at her site (as she should be doing), she was enabling the bullies at her site by not doing anything to halt their behavior.

She’s a therapist, you’d think she’d realize the harm in enabling bad behavior and looking the other way, but apparently not.

Dr. Irene owns the site but in some ways refuses to take responsibility for what goes on there. She refuses to hold people accountable for their harassment and bullying of other people.

This harassment has driven away a few people already (some have e-mailed me to tell me so).

A few people, including me, told Dr. Irene on her site and in private messages that things will not get better at her site until she forces everyone to log in before posting and use a verified e-mail address. That is one small step that might improve things a little bit.

Dr. Irene is concerned if she does not permit people to post as “Anonymous” it will scare people from posting at all. I tried telling her that people do not have to use their real name to post there or their primary e-mail address.

Also, her concern about that is silly, considering it is the unchecked bullying and harassment which is scaring people away from her site, not the ability or inability to post as “Anonymous.”

Dr. Irene also needs to tell people they can no longer post rude comments about people who are not even posting there any more (or rarely), that if they have something to say to someone who has upset them, they need to reply to that person’s post directly.

I made many sincere attempts to resolve differences with other people at Dr. Irene’s “The Friendship Blog,” but the bullies there made no attempt to meet me half way.

I am an opinionated person, so I will defend my views when they are challenged. I have just as much right to post to “The Friendship Blog” as anyone else there.

At this stage in my life, I no longer permit myself to be treated like trash by rude people, so I will stand up to them, including on blogs and forums – but I do not intentionally try to create problems on forums and blogs that I post on.

Dr. Irene told me privately that she appreciated the positive contributions I made at her site, but if that were true, would she not want to encourage me to return to keep making those contributions, instead of encouraging me to stay away, and let the bullies and trolls stay in charge of her site?

As it remains now, with her ‘hands off’ policy towards mobbing and bullying, she is fostering a very toxic atmosphere.

By permitting the abuse to take place on the blog and forum (by refusing to ban or reprimand bullies), she is encouraging the abuse to continue or intensify.

Dr. Irene’s “The Friendship Blog” is a toxic, toxic place to participate on. It’s a very toxic environment. It is, ironically, a very Unfriendly Friendship Blog.

February 1, 2012 update

“Harriet” e-mailed me again to let me know she visited Dr. Irene’s “The Friendship Blog” earlier this morning, where she saw a couple of posts by other people that ‘expressed concern about the direction the forum was taking.’

Harriet said when she visited later, both posts had been deleted (no doubt by Dr. Irene).

I have not been to Dr. Irene’s “The Friendship Blog” since yesterday (very late January 31 or the very, very early hours of February 1), so I did not see those posts myself, but I do take Harriet’s word for it.

If You Have Been Abused or Harassed at The Friendship Blog

If you were bullied or treated badly at The Friendship Blog, and you’d like to share your story on this blog, please e – mail me with your story (my address is wingseagle27 AT yahoo DOT com), and I can make a guest post on your behalf here. You are also welcome to log in and leave posts discussing what happened to you.
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The Friendship Blog – link is to this blog

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4 Comments

  1. I totally agree. I have left there after being attacked multiple times by ‘anonymous’ or multiple ‘anonymous’s’, whoever they are. I was there because of dealing with a BFF break-up and I really liked the blog (& it WAS helpful) until the forum started and then people just started attacking others. I mean, it was supposed to be a place to find support and understanding. Instead, it’s turned into a vile group constantly looking at others post and telling them they are wrong for posting it and blah, blah, blah. – I looked at it one last time today and saw the meanest comment titled OMG!! basically telling someone they were ignorant and to never comment there again. The original comment posted, that was replied to did not deserve the OMG!! reply on it. ‘Anonymous’ was just picking a fight. I’ll never go there again! – The final straw for me, though, was about a month ago when someone started a thread belittling others for their religious practices. I thought it was a blog about friendship issues not for attacking others religious preferences. That just seems way out of line and Dr. Irene should have deleted the whole thing. However, before that happened I made a post on a forum and kept getting grilled by ‘anonymous’ about my comment about my own situation. I would respond courteously but then I would just get grilled some more. This person was obviously picking a fight with me but I wouldn’t bite. I would respond cordially and professionally (as one can on a blog forum) but the hostility from ‘anonymous’ was permeating through their comments. That forum is full of trolls just itching to make someone mad or invalidate someone else’s experience. It’s a sad state. I actually found your blog because I just knew someone else had to have had the same problems with the blog and talked about it. I’m glad you have this here. Thank you for writing about this issue.

    Reply
    • Hi, luckyspurs (aka xZoEx). I left you a second post below.

      I was wondering how long it would be before I got any posts at all by former members of Irene’s blog / forums here.

      One or two other members from Irene’s site have e-mailed me about problems they had with being abused at her site.

      There is A LOT of abuse at Irene’s site, and she won’t do much of anything to stop it – and yet she claims to be a friendship expert!

      If you cannot or will not control your own forums/ blogs when disputes break out, and you advise victims to shy away, and not confront, their harassers, you’re not much of a relationship expert.

      If you’ve read through my posts at this blog, you can also see Irene has the nasty, twisted tendency to “blame the victim” for the abuse they receive.

      She advises the victims (as she did with me, and I saw her do this to other people) to “just let it go” or she might say, “maybe you should stop visiting the site,” when the CORRECT approach is for the victim to confront the abuser and for her to enforce consequences on the abuser (temporarily or permanently ban them, for instance), but for some wacko reason I don’t get, she refuses to do that.

      I don’t know if she is still permitting Anonymous posts at her blog or not, but that was a huge problem contributing to her troll problem.

      Irene has said she thinks people will feel safer posting as “Anonymous,” but what she does not seem to understand is that Trolling annoys or scares most normal people away.

      If you’re trying to build traffic to your blog/ forum, therefore, it makes more sense to put precautions in place that will limit trolling and abusive behavior.

      You’re very welcome to have an outlet to express your frustration and anger. That’s part of the reason I made this blog, to give other people who have been abused, there at the FB, a platform to express their side of the story.

      That’s another thing – at Irene’s site, when you’re being abused, and if you speak back to your abuser (even politely), 90% of the time, she will side with the abuser and tell YOU to be quiet.

      She will delete YOUR posts, where you defended yourself, but she usually allows all the abuser’s rude posts to remain on her site – which is very warped. Here at this blog, you can tell your side, and it won’t get altered or deleted.

      I do think there is (or was) tons of trolls at Irene’s site (and they do intentionally try to pick fights, as you were saying), but one other problem I saw is that I think that some of her “problem posters” are NOT trolls but are genuine participants who are women who are angry and bitter at the world, either because they have been hurt by a friend, or that is just their natural personality. They don’t know how to disagree with someone in a civil manner.

      At least one of the Anonymous posters was legitimate, but she was a whiny, immature idiot who hounded me on thread after thread, even when I was only there for a week (I mean, this person was harassing me within my first week or so of being on that blog, when I was new there).

      She was a baby who refused to comment to me directly but would tattle on me to Irene as though she is a thumb sucking five year old.

      She kept bossing me around acting like she owned the blog but would complain to Irene that I was acting bossy, when all I was doing was asking a couple of women there more questions about their situation so I could understand it better. So you get these infantile or maladjusted wack jobs like that who post at Irene’s site too.

      I’m sorry you were harassed at her blog. Not only does trolling take place, but the trolls and abusive types “gang up.” You will not only get harassed by one person, but maybe by several at one time.

      There is also a group think mentality at that blog – if your opinion does not match that of 95% of the other people’s there, you’ll get beat up for that.

      For example, they all pitched a fit over social media at Irene’s site, saying how EVIL Facebook is, which made me roll my eyes.

      I made a few posts saying Facebook is not that bad, but I continued to get jumped on by one or two people for that view.

      One of the Anonymous posters in particular in that thread was hacked off that I would not just keep my Facebook opinions to myself. I was supposed to just shut up and go with what the rest of them thought.

      Reply
  2. Deleted forum. Ok, the good news is that I followed one of your links back to the blog and could not find the thread about the religious preferences, so that’s good, at least. Talk about destructive!!!

    Btw, I am ‘xZoEx’ on there. Just so you know 🙂

    Reply
    • Hey xZoEx, thanks for dropping by. I remember seeing your screen name on Irene’s site. I think you and I exchanged a few posts about friendships in the workplace or something (my screen name there was Eagle Wings). I don’t think you and I ever got nasty or rude with one another.

      I don’t visit this blog that often, otherwise I would have approved your messages to appear much sooner.

      I have this blog set up where comments have to be approved first before they can appear. I do this to cut down on any possible trolling or flaming that may happen, since I anticipated that some of the trolls from Irene’s Friendship Blog may try to post here and start trouble.

      I did stop by Irene’s FB (Friendship Blog) today, and that’s the first time in several weeks or a few months, or whatever it has been, that I’ve been there.

      She has updated the look of her site. It has new graphics – but what it really needs is new moderation in that she should not permit bullying there anymore. I skimmed over her new forum. It’s hard to tell if she is still allowing Anonymous comments there or not.

      When you first join her site, it becomes an addictive place to post, it seems very fun and so forth, but they longer you’re there, the nasty trolls and rude people who post there make it unbearable.

      At some point, I learned that someone posted a link to this blog (Unfriendly Friendship blog) somewhere at Irene’s site, maybe in the forum, and the people over there were talking about it. I only know because when I lurked there a few months ago, member “Wonder Why” and a few others were talking about this blog.

      If I find interesting articles about friendship, I may post them to this blog from time to time. Refugees from Irene’s site can use this one to post to, if they like- if there becomes more of a demand, I can post things here more often, or start a friendship forum. If I did, I would moderate it so it wouldn’t get over run by trolls, but I would permit people to disagree with me on it.

      About the religion thread you talked about, I didn’t see it, but on previous visits to Irene’s blog in late 2011 or early 2012, I do remember seeing agnostic or Jewish people ranting and raving and insulting Christians and Christianity. I am a Christian myself, so naturally I was put off by a lot of the insults directed at Christians or Christianity.

      I did see a couple of posts where I know the Christian person meant well, but their reply was kind of inappropriate none-the-less (as their advice was insensitive because it was so simplistic), but the agnostic / Jewish people went way over board in the hostility and rudeness to those Christians who had posted, and kind of insulted Christianity itself, which was out of line.

      Regardless, it is supposed to be a blog about Friendship, not religion, so people shouldn’t be using it to debate religion. They should just agree to disagree if the topic comes up, and let it go, or find another forum to debate religion on.

      Reply

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