Don’t Be A Catfish
Dear Ladies of the World…
On my last blog a lady left a comment ‘we are down to the eleventh hour’. Such a true statement. This is where we all need to be more vigilant in how we view the world or people we don’t know. It is a greedy, tough time and sadly we all have a monetary bull’s eye on our backs.
I do not know if any of you have watched Catfish. It was a movie in 2010 and now there are a series of shows about people who hide behind a false façade. If you think it cannot happen to you, think again. Even in our world there could be one or more predators or sympathizers who think they are harmless because they need attention. They are not! They can be highly damaging to the psyche of a lonely sick and injured woman.
You may wonder why anyone would pretend they are someone else, or stretch who they are by lying about what they are going through. If you are an honest person it is hard to get your head around it but we need to. I am giving you a link in a moment but first I will give you some of what is written there as it may make sense to you. You may think it only applies to dating, but it does not.
What is Catfishing?
Catfishing refers to the act of establishing an online- or phone-only relationship with someone under false pretenses.
Why would someone pretend about something they are going through when they are not?
Hooked on Lying Very little is known about the psychology behind this modern phenomenon; however, some experts liken catfishing to a form of pathological or compulsive lying. Often referred to in the psychiatric world as mythomania or pseudologia fantastica, pathological lying is differentiated from other forms of lying by its apparent lack of motive. While most people lie to preserve reputation, avoid confrontation or ensure a desired goal, pathological liars have nothing obvious to gain by lying. Pathological liars display behaviors characteristic of addiction, and while they are fully aware of their lies, they are powerless to stop lying.
However, according to a 2006 case reported in The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, pathological lying isn’t completely without motive. The report cites a number of possible “internal” or psychological motives for this type of lying, including autonomy, the need for regulation of self-esteem, repression or denial of a reality that is perceived as painful or uninteresting, and a desire for power. The latter motive—asserting power by controlling another person’s emotions through manipulation—could be a viable explanation for catfishing.
Why would they choose me?
You may think this is ridiculous to watch out for this in the situation we are in, but it is not. When you are sick or injured, you are at a very low point of your life. You find out who your friends are and sadly you may wind up with none. So your loneliness makes you more vulnerable. People pretend to have cancer all the time because they have an inner need for attention to themselves. So they will sympathize with you but all the time it is to feed that need within their brains. It has nothing to do with you. While sympathizing, they will learn all about the things you are dealing with and others you are now in contact with, are going through because more people means more to feed their need.
This may start out as just a need for their own sympathy or to feed their loneliness, but as we all know there are dollar signs written on our backs. So this is when that need also turns into a money maker for them. I know many generous, wonderful women who donate the small amount of change they have left over every month, even though they could use every penny. This is because they are compassionate and caring women. They will send gifts to someone they ‘think’ is going through a terrible time, because they know what this feels like. Empathy is a wonderful trait but sadly others may use it.
I do not want women to become jaded and mean spirited, but I do want you all to be aware that you can get caught up in someone’s sick need for attention that could turn into a game of profit. All at your and other women’s expense. I do know that women are living a life where they are barely hanging in each day because of so much pain. So to find out they have been duped will push them over the edge, which is why I want you to become more observant and not easily led by others.
Catfish and Victim: The Perfect Match
These studies may explain the psychology of catfish, but what about their victims? Why would someone make and maintain such a strong emotional attachment to another person for a long period of time without ever meeting in person? It may seem irrational, but it actually stems from a normal human desire for emotional fulfillment. In the case of catfishing, victims are able to gratify their need for emotional connection without the work of a face-to-face relationship.
In an online- or phone-only relationship, you don’t have to establish rapport with your partner’s family members and friends. You don’t have to disrupt your day to perform favors, such as driving your partner to the airport or picking up something for him or her on your way home from work. Maintaining a relationship solely by Internet or phone requires little to no change in lifestyle or daily routine, making the emotional payoff highly disproportionate to the time and effort invested in it.
So what should you look for?
Now that’s a tough one, but here are some things I have thought about.
Many of us have met each other when we meet up for surgeries. You get to know the person as an individual. Then you are more comfortable and listen as they tell their mesh injury story. But although someone says they are going to see the surgeon you went to, they may talk about it for some time, but it never happens that could be a possible warning. They may possibly have excuses such as money issues, health issues where they cannot have it removed or other excuses. Of course this could all be true as well, but you should always stay on your toes just in case it isn’t.
We become like family when we are living with something the rest of the world does not understand including your immediately family. If you do not have any support within your family, you will lean on others. This is normal and very comforting to get you through each day. I want you to continue with that premise but just learn to think and look beyond what you read or hear.
There are not really any true signs of who someone is who would prey on you. EVEN if the person says they are ‘good Christians’ quote bible verses every day, or write wonderful things that are interesting to read, they could still be someone who is doing this for a need. Believe me Christians get caught out just as much as any other religion. Just be careful.
I don’t want you to stop making friends in the world of mesh victims. However if someone is leading you to a scheme that could fill their own pockets then that is a huge warning sign. My last blog was about sharks and snake oil and this is why this blog has been born. We must all be wary of everyone even if they seem to be your best buddy. If you have not met up with them, just keep one eye open. Don’t let someone feed off of your injury or sorrow.
You can read more about the psychology of catfishing here.
These are excerpts I took from a write up about a woman who was trying to catfish a man and also said she had cancer and I have given the link at the end so that you can read more.
“Mike met Caroline on the dating site Plenty of Fish a year and a half ago, and despite both residing in Pensacola, Florida, they’ve never met. Oh, but they’ve tried. One tale involved a potential meet-up at Walmart; Caroline had a panic attack and sped off, as she had so many times before. As the episode goes on, the stories grow more worrisome; less sweet and shy, more stalker-ish. There are the notes Caroline’s friend left at Mike’s door, which referred to him as “boo-bear.” She texted him photos of the exterior of his workplace. “You have a stalker, and you probably know her,” one of the guys point out.
So yeah, the cancer thing. About seven months into their relationship, Caroline disappeared, later claiming that she had been diagnosed with colon cancer. Nev calls this the “worst kind of deceiving,” and it’s hard not to agree when screenshots of sad emoticon texts about chemo flash on the screen. Apparently Mike’s mom had colon cancer before he was born.
The digital proof doesn’t exactly work in her favor, either. There’s a second Caroline profile, with more pictures and information. Mike’s Caroline claims that they’re both her — one for each of her divorced parents’ last names — yet she won’t correspond with Mike on the other profile. Nev and Max message the other Caroline, as well as her friend, and video-chat with them both. When they show Mike the face he’s come to dream about, saying they’ve never spoken, they pan in close. His eyes water slightly. This is the exact moment his heart broke. As empathetic as they can be, I have to imagine Nev and Max feel like geniuses for figuring out how to engineer a moment so emotional.”
We are all human and need the care and comfort of others. Some of us give of ourselves far too easily but that is the wonderful part of being a caring individual. Anyone can get caught up by someone who does this and it does not make you stupid. You aren’t. They are just very good at what they do. Just pay more attention to the things you never noticed before. Hopefully you won’t become a Catfish. As always, this is said with care and love.
Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow to all the ladies who live in this country. I hope your pain will be less and someone will show you how much they care.