How to deal with family/friends who've gone off the deep end into conspiracies?

posted 1 year ago in Emotional
Post # 17
Member
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

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@nattywed:  Thanks for clarifying. I think all you can do at this point is be supportive if she does decide. to speak to a health professional, you can’t force it. Can you filter those types of emails out so it’s easier to not engage?

Post # 18
Member
10306 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

Maybe my tolerance is just way down these days but I legitimately tell my friends and family that they are idiots and to stop getting their news from Tiffany on Facebook. 

But that’s also kind of my personality so I think they expect me to call them idiots. 

Post # 19
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406 posts
Helper bee

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@nattywed:  My husband’s brother is convinced we never went to the moon, his motorcycle riding group says God demands that he never be without his vest, either wearing it or having it near him (like within 6 ft) at all times or ?????? will happen, of course all the government is watching everything he does…..the list is long and I don’t ever engage.  My eyes are tired of rolling…. I don’t try to push what I think on him, ya know?

Post # 20
Member
14146 posts
Honey Beekeeper

Mental illness commonly comes out for the first time in the typical age group of posters on this forum and their friends or siblings so it is certainly one possibility, particularly if this type of behavior was previously out of character. 

As you say, if she’s not a danger to herself or anyone there is not much you can do. Possibly alert her health care provider to what you are observing just in case there is anything organic going on. 

Post # 21
Member
9635 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

my brother believes in conspiracy theories.  he also has a disability that effects him nerologically so on top of normal not understanding reason, add the conspiracy theory layer of not seeing reason.

i know he battles all the time with my mom on topics, she tries to avoid it, but during winter months he lives with her, so it is inevitable.

i recently engaged in a few day, what i consider a conversation (he might consider it attacking and trying to prove i am right), with him.

he asked me how i can believe the news and media when all they do is lie.  i asked him how he can believe conspiracy theories, when he knows and is aware these are conspiracy theroies.

i suggested he get his facts from reputable sources and not reading opinion pieces.  i showed him a chart that shows media bias and suggested he read articles from the middle.  but that it’s also good to inform yourself from both sides but stick to ones that only lean a little left or a little right, not those so far outside.

i don’t think he’ll stop believing the conspiracies, but if he would pause and think for a moment, that’s better than nothing.

Post # 22
Member
1390 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2021

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@nattywed:  she’s an adult, and honestly losing her job or becoming a Karen might be the only thing that will snap her out of this way of thinking (Google QAnon Karen). You can’t save her from herself. Here’s a blog written by a woman who’s dad is deep into the New World Order:  https://www.google.com/amp/s/narratively.com/my-father-the-qanon-conspiracy-theorist/amp/

Post # 23
Member
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I have a theory that global crises fuels conspiracy theories because fantasy is much easier to deal with than reality. It effects even the most logical people I know. I’ve been perfecting my smile, nod, and move 2 meters away.

Just examine sociological responses to the Black Plague. All manner of crazy superstitions were embraced. We blame that on lack of scientific information nowadays but maybe it’s not that. Maybe it’s that when faced with mortality of this scale, our defense mechanism is to own the story and take control of it even if that control is illusory. 

People can either believe the virus does what it does and it is what it is. Or they can believe it was created by Bill Gates or is 5G or whatever and it’s all part of a greater plan and framework and we can rant and rave at it. Accepting that this is just nature in all its randomness over which we have minimal control is staring into the void. 

Post # 24
Member
516 posts
Busy bee

My SIL isn’t THAT bad but definitely has some wild theories. I usually just try to redirect the conversation to a new topic. The last one I heard was about some electronic device that can track you possibly being incorporated into the COVID vaccine and somewhere in the patent number is 666. It always boggles my mind because you’d never guess it about her and 95% of the time I have a blast with her and love her so much, but that 5% I just have to shrug off.

Post # 25
Member
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2021

This is coming from someone who actually has experienced psychosis which I am not sure she has as it seems like these beliefs are believed by a lot of people. When I mean psychosis, I mean thinking I was pregnant with the next savior, thinking I was the reincarnation of Joseph Smith and believing the Heavenly Mother was talking to me. Thinking people were trying to poison me. Believing my coworkers were after me and spying on me and that COVID test from work was a way to get my DNA to clone me and replace me. Hearing food and harmful objects like the bleach bottle I use for cleaning talk to me and judge me and asking me to harm myself. Lots of crazy things.

What I have found helpful was people not telling me directly I was delusional, but rather just validating my emotions like when I was afraid of my coworkers. When I had grandiose delusions like I was Joseph Smith in a female form, they were like “Okay” and just simply listened to me. That’s what one of my nurses who was in charge of watching me did in the hospital my most recent stint there and it made me trust him and not isolate myself further from him.

I think that what you should do is validate her emotions. She probably has a lot of COVID anxiety I would imagine which is why she is latching onto these things, be like “You must have a lot of anxiety about his pandemic why don’t we talk about something else to get your mind off of it” for example. At least that is what I would do if I was in your shoes.

Post # 26
Member
989 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2020

I had to come back to find this thread because in the last few days, a dear relative of mine has gone off the deep-end and I remembered your post. Whatever conspiracy podcast or cult your sister is getting her information from, I swear it must be the same as my relative. She has even started posting 9/11 conspiracy hoax stuff which is so completely out of character for her (her dad is a firefighter, for crying out loud) that we are actually growing concerned. I love her, but I know she won’t be receptive to feedback so I am only hoping she grows out of this “phase” or whatever with time. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone!

Post # 27
Member
10306 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

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@CloverBells:  I clicked this thread because I’m actually in the same boat. Two close friends who have never been interested in politics and the like all of a sudden are saying some really disturbing things that are out of character. 

The wife is pregnant and sent some concerning messages to our third best friend who screnshotted them and sent them to me (out of concern for her wellbeing and because I work in a hospital setting and she wanted to know if there was any truth to her fears before she advised her) she belives that when a pregnant woman goes to the hospital the hospital is infecting them with COVID on purpose when they do the test. Then after they deliver they take the baby away for weeks and give it to a third party. She truly believes that they will steal her baby as soon as she gives birth and “do things” to it. Because of this they are now considering having a home birth and delivering the baby themselves. 

Now I’m all for home births, more power to you. But I’m worried about the reasoning behind it because I don’t feel like it will stop at a home birth. The baby will obviously have to see a doctor in the weeks after birth – are they going to decide that the doctors are going to hurt the baby? Will they shun all medical care? Are they going to trust the midwife or doula (I hope to god they plan to have someone with experience there)

 The husband has been posting some weird stuff that’s out of character for himself. Last night he was talking about how he thinks everything happening in the world is being done on purpose by “those in power” and that he could have posted this message yesterday or tomorrow but time traveled and changed it to show up today and we wouldn’t know. 

I know I said I call people stupid and I do but it doesn’t feel right in this situation because I’m genuinely concerned for their physical safety – I don’t want to alienate them or push them away or turn them against anyone who thinks these ideas are illogical. I just haven’t figured out what to do and how to help them. Idk, I’m just really concerned because it’s so very out of character.

Post # 28
Member
989 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2020

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@slomotion:  I am so sorry you (and your friends falling into these thoughts) are going through this. It is heartbreaking and scary to watch, especially in your case as it sounds like there are going to be real repercussions for these paranoid thoughts. Honestly at this point, you almost have to think of it like they are trapped in a cult, as that’s how it feels. And I’ve heard how incredibly hard it is to get someone out of that mindset, as trying to prove they are wrong only seems to backfire.

It’s also hard too because most of us can’t see these people in person. I feel it’s one thing to try and message someone over text, but it would have a different feel to try and talk with them in person (which in my case, and probably yours, we can’t do).

I too am, just at the heart, deeply concerned. It sounds like these things spiral. No real advice, just hugs. <3

Post # 29
Member
10306 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

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@CloverBells:  Appreciate the solidarity. I haven’t broached the subject yet because I can’t figure out how to not put them on the defense so I’m going to try to tread carefully with them. 

Post # 30
Member
795 posts
Busy bee

People who buy into crazy conspiracy theories are often lower intelligence. The world confuses them so they seek answers. They find these goofy ideas and feel special/smart for having “figured it out”. The best thing you can do is mute/avoid the convo. If you can encourage her to spend less time online/on social media that could help, but thats probably a fruitless effort.

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