(Find Part 2 here.)
Danu Morrigan/Tracy Culleton, operator of the website Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, after banning dozens—if not hundreds—of vulnerable women from her site’s forum without explanation, got wind of the fact that not all of these callously rejected women crawled off into dark little holes to lick their wounds. some of them decided to fight back by publishing their experiences with her on the web, a fact that apparently sent her scrambling to do damage control. Ultimately, she published a rebuttal to the accusations she found on the web, a rebuttal that was laced with subtle and not-so-subtle untruths, and which left no space for disagreement, correction, or comment.
Herewith, the truth about Tracy’s rebuttal to the truths published on the web about her:
(My remarks are in violet, Tracy's quotes from SoaringDove’s blog are in blue)
Danu was love-bombing the members that she felt would be helpful to her business aspirations, starting and maintaining off site friendships with these women, many of whom thought they were her new Best Friend, not realizing the others were receiving the same treatment. I was one of the major voices on that site, and was sought after by Danu as well. We emailed back and forth daily for almost a year. I am sorry to say that I ignored the red flags; I was just beginning the difficult healing process of separating from my family of origin and Danu stepped into the gap in my life left by those losses. [This is part of a long comment on SoaringDove's blog by Kate, a former admin at Tracy's DoNM website. -V]
All I can say to this is that I had no game-plan, and was not 'love-bombing' people. Yes, I was making friends - people do. But I was not grooming people or similar. I had no nefarious agenda.
Well, the evidence points in quite a different direction, Tracy. Kate struck me as a person of very high integrity when I knew her. I cannot imagine her claiming that Tracy was grooming multiple people as her “best friend,” none of them aware of the others, unless it was true. This is a “she said—she said” situation and I’m siding with Kate for a couple of reasons: 1) I’ve spoken with Kate numerous times after she left Tracy’s forum and she felt trustworthy to me; 2) Kate’s information backs up what I heard from numerous other sources over a period of months; 3) Kate was actually inside the organization and privy to information the rest of us could not know but could guess at. Kate 1 Tracy 0.
Again, you'll have to make up your own minds about this.
The result of the other member confronting Danu on her issues is that it effectively split the group. Danu started her own site/forum and a handful of us went with her. There were four original moderators, including Danu.
This is true, as far as it goes, except that there were five original moderators, not four. I set up the new forum as the old one was unsafe and unmoderated and I wanted to create a safe place.
Now isn’t that interesting: nit-picking about how many moderators but completely glossing over how Tracy and her issues divided and ultimately destroyed a forum that served the needs of numerous women dealing with narcissistic mother issues, a forum run by a trained and licensed therapist. In true N fashion, she sussed out the forum’s weakness (it was unmoderated) and not only used that to destroy the forum, but side-stepped taking blame by saying it was “unsafe and unmoderated,” completely ignoring the glaring fact that it was perfectly safe in its unmoderated state until she came along. All of the other ladies played nice without a moderator until Tracy came along and made it unsafe.
I won't go into my story of how I became aware that I was participating in a giant scam, what ended up happening is that I decided to quit, but Tracy needed the last word and so I was fired and banned from the forum.
What actually happened is that Kate took exception to something a member had said, and wrote a PM to, as she thought, the other moderators complaining about this. This wasn't a Code of Conduct issue, but rather Kate's upset that the member was handling her (i.e. the member's) situation in a way which Kate didn't agree with.
This was bad enough, as it's not the moderator's place to have any opinion on the members' actions once they don't contravene the Code of Conduct. But worse, she somehow sent it to every single member of the forum. I have no doubt that this was a mistake, as Kate said it was.
But still, the repercussions would have been enormous. How could any member have felt safe if she thought she was being commented on behind her back like that? And Kate didn't try to contact us to cancel the PM. It remained to Light to stay up till 3.00 a.m. her time, until she could contact me and get the PM deleted.
In her conversations with me, Kate acknowledged her accidental revelation and her remorse for it. But what Tracy fails to address here is that it was not a single post by Kate but a conversation between Kate and other mods. “How could any member have felt safe if she thought she was being commented on behind her back like that?” Indeed, Tracy—but the issue for you was secrecy, wasn’t it? Not preventing or eliminating such behind-the-back convos between the mods and the management team, but keeping those conversations—which undoubtedly continue to this day—secret from the membership.
You would think this kind of thing would no longer be happening, this inappropriate discussion of members by staff, right? That once Kate was kicked to the curb, it would happen no more. Think again: Sugar, from Words From the Daughter of a Narcissist blog reports this posting on 29 August, 2010—more than six months after I was banned (and Kate was banned before I even joined the forum!): “This post clearly belonged in a private staff forum, but somehow ended up in the public general discussion. I find it quite odd though, that THREE staff members participated in the topic and not one seemed to notice that it was in the wrong forum so that their gossiping was viewable to all. Take a look at what Light says about this member:
“Light: member's name is [name redacted]
This post scared the crap out of me. Would you guys have a look? I put it in the Q for a bit. I don't know what to think. All I know is, to be honest, I don't want her here after reading that. Maybe that's not really fair, but maybe it's something I should listen to carefully. Like I said, I'm not too sure just yet. I think I need time to think about it. Let's chat about this?
It would have been one thing if she'd said she got into trouble as a kid or something, but this felt like a lot more than that, and I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable with her...
I don't know about [name redacted]. There's something that isn't sitting right with me about that post. I just get an intuitive fearful feeling.
“Wow. Just..wow. I remember reading [name redacted]’s posts and nothing gave me an ‘intuitive fearful feeling’. She just wrote about her experiences with having a NM in the ‘My Story’ section of the forum, which is meant just for that - SHARING YOUR STORY.”
So Kate gets banned but when Michelle does the exact same thing, from “having an opinion on the member” (which Tracy has just said, above, is not permitted) to making that opinion and the discussion of it public, the forum member gets banned! And all without a violation of the ToU in sight!
Even then we did not turn on Kate. Turn on Kate?? What are you, a pack of wild dogs?? We were asking her what happened, alright, but it was in, ‘Gosh we've got to sort this out’ way - to make sure it never happened again.
But Kate got very defensive and felt that since she had apologised that should be an end to it, and that we were shaming her to continue going on about it. She and I e-mailed briefly about it, and as far as I was concerned I was still trying to sort it out, but Kate quickly asked me not to contact her again, and to delete her account. So I did not contact her again and we closed her account at that point.
Well, I’m gonna have to side with Kate on this. Going on and on about something that is over, has been acknowledged and apologized for is shaming! And it is one of the ways that our narcissistic mothers got N-feed and controlled us, too, so naturally Kate would be sensitive to it. Why, if she was also a DoNM rather than an N herself, would Tracy continue harping on something that Kate had acknowledged and apologized for and could not change? I don’t buy the “we needed to know X in order to prevent it from happening again”…why? “I pushed the wrong button” isn’t enough?” How many ways, how many times, can a person say that?
I suppose any of us would get defensive if we felt we were being shamed and we felt we had made adequate amends. Kate acknowledges that she asked Tracy to close her account but when she checked later to see if it had been done she found that, instead of simply closing the account, she had been permanently banned. Sounds like a spiteful retaliation, the kind of thing an NM would do to a daughter who walked away from the bullshit and refused to play the game any more.
There are many articles in the self help part of the forum that I either wrote, or copy/pasted from other sites. Within a week after I left, my name disappeared from those articles and they were attributed to others.
I genuinely don't recall doing this, but I cannot swear we didn't with regard to the copied articles. I do not think we attributed her writings to others. If we did, we should not have done so and I would still correct that once I knew which ones she's referring to.
Tracy, Tracy, Tracy…after banning her from the site so she can’t tell you which ones she wrote and you gave attribution to someone else, she’s supposed to call you and beg you to pretty please, acknowledge her? Besides, even if she could and did contact you today, it doesn’t alter the fact that you did change the attribution of those articles…more spiteful retaliation on your part like banning her instead of just closing her account?
There is currently a group of women on FB who have an under the radar type of group...all of them victimized in one way or another by Danu. Your story is a familiar one. I believe there is a revolving door or women being banned from that forum for bogus and/or arbitrary reasons.
I am one of those women. We have no moderation and we all get along. People leave as they move along on their healing journey and feel they no longer need the support. Kate, in fact, joined us early on and eventually left for exactly that reason. Only once has our lack of moderation been a problem and that was when a member hijacked the group, naming herself group administrator and then kicking people out who wouldn’t lick her boots. One of the other women started a new group, we all migrated to the new group where we now have three administrators (I am one of them), none of whom do anything except hold the position so that nobody can come along and hijack us again. Almost every woman in the group spent time in Tracy’s group, some of them were banned, others just walked away in disgust. And we are only the tip of the iceberg.
Big N-flags? This from a person who states unequivocally, above, that she has no training as a psychologist nor is she an expert on narcissism. Notice, too, the change from her earlier claim that you are only banned if you contravene the ToU—now she has given herself permission to call you an N for any reason she deems fit (since she is no expert and has no training, what does she have other than her own definitions of “N-flags” to determine who is personality disordered and who is not?). And remember, in the narcissist’s world, everything exists to serve the narcissist and her goals. Tracy doesn’t consider banning vulnerable, hurting women from their support forum with no warning and no explanation to be abusive—even though it sure felt abusive to those of us who were banned in such a way. How do you trust that her definition of an “N-flag” is any more objective or less self-serving than her definition of “abusive”?
It is very interesting to me that Danu's hatred of Christians has become so pronounced. Since she's from Ireland, her only experience with organized religion is with the Roman Catholic church, but she uses a very broad brush to color all people of faith.
In my very first phone conversation with her she jumped all over my beliefs. I had identified myself on the blog as a Christian, not in an obnoxious or pushy way, it just came up in my posts when I shared. Danu attempted to tear into my beliefs on the phone, which I politely sidestepped. That conversation was full of red flags, looking at it in hindsight.
I have no hatred of Christians. I certainly did not intend to tear into Kate's beliefs, but it is very possible that I was clumsy and it felt like that to her and I apologise unreservedly for that.
You know, this sounds good, but the facts simply do not bear it out. Tracy’s own words come back to haunt her: “I run a website and forum for daughters of narcissistic mothers, and have long believed that the Christian Churches fall into the category of narcissism…” You can read the rest of her very unflattering commentary about Christianity and Christians here. The original citation is here.
Next: Part 4