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Dealing with a Conspiracy theorist?

  • 11-10-2020 2:49pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 145 ✭✭


    My brother (28) has turned into a full-blown conspiracy theorist since Covid started and has become an absolute torture. He lives at home with both his parents and is the kind of fella that lives for the weekend and enjoys going to pubs and clubs. But everyday he now usually scrolls through Facebook on Covid conspiracy pages and even goes as far as sending silly fake YouTube videos to our inboxes. I totally understand it’s a tough time for him but, it is the same for everyone and this could be here for years so there is no point pointing fingers and blaming others. Our mother and father are elderly, and my father has had previous trouble with his heart so they are high risk category. Just as recently as last week my brother broke out and went on a pub crawl before things closed and one of the pubs, he was in had an outbreak. I have tried numerous times to explain the facts to him, but he just disregards them and says the mainstream media cant be trusted and that the factcheckers are funded by globalist Billionaires. So, at the moment I just ignore him but, my god it is getting hard to listen about 5G, Bill Gates and New World Order day In and day out. So, does anyone have some advice on what we could do or should we just keep trying to ignore him until he turns our brains to mush?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 443 ✭✭TP_CM


    Why don't you tell him outright, "I don't want to receive this kind of content". You could tell him you're staying away from media as much as possible these days.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,203 ✭✭✭Tork


    As soon as someone utters the words "mainstream media" I know what's coming next. As you have already figured out, trying to reason with people like this is pointless. I'd tell him straight out that I've no interest in receiving such videos and that I bin them on arrival. (I rarely watch videos anybody sends to me unless they're short silly ones with cats in them).

    He's not going to change his behaviour unfortunately. What do your parents think about him continuing to socialise? He's their son and is living under their roof. Have they had a word?


  • Registered Users Posts: 145 ✭✭Paddy223


    Tork wrote: »
    As soon as someone utters the words "mainstream media" I know what's coming next. As you have already figured out, trying to reason with people like this is pointless. I'd tell him straight out that I've no interest in receiving such videos and that I bin them on arrival. (I rarely watch videos anybody sends to me unless they're short silly ones with cats in them).

    He's not going to change his behaviour unfortunately. What do your parents think about him continuing to socialise? He's their son and is living under their roof. Have they had a word?


    In regards to him, they know he cant stay inside for the rest of his life and accept that he has to go out to work and socialise. But, they except him to be morally responsible when doing this. In fairness though none of us had a problem with him heading to the pub but, it was the fact that he took the piss by doing a bar crawl and going to about 6 or 7 pubs. If he had stayed within 1 or 2 pubs it would of been ok as you'd of been minimising your chances of being exposed but, the fact that he didnt do this just shows he doesnt care.

    In my eyes if he wants to live at home then he needs to buckle up and take the virus seriously or if he really wants to let loose then he be best living elsewhere so if he does get it he wont do harm to his parents.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,203 ✭✭✭Tork


    It's not your place to say this though. It's your parents under whose roof he is living. Is it time for them to have a word?

    You're assuming that there is something that can be said to your brother that will make him behave responsibly. I wouldn't hold my breath. I bet he uses words like "hysteria" and "fear" as well. He probably doesn't think Covid is serious and could potentially kill his parents. There are also a lot of people in his age group who aren't concerned about catching or spreading it either. These are all suiting him and his world view.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,138 ✭✭✭✭B.A._Baracus


    The only thing you can do:

    Wide berth.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 145 ✭✭Paddy223


    Cheers for the help folks. Had a rough evening there. He went to a mates to watch the Ireland game and so when he came back he obviously he had more than a few in him. We just wanted to sit and relax and forget about Covid for the evening and watch a film on telly. But, he had other ideas and was only 5 minutes in the door before he started playing some silly video and asked us to turn down the telly so that we could hear the YouTube video of this “Great doctor “. Finally he finished of with a small piece on Bill Gates and the rest of just headed of to bed because we could not listen to the brother anymore.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,203 ✭✭✭Tork


    Why couldn't you just say no, turn the volume down, you're not interested and that you're watching TV? It's rude to disrupt someone's TV watching and try to make them watch something else anyway. Would your parents have been OK with you marching into the living room and changing over the TV channel while they were watching someone something else?

    It doesn't matter whether it's some doctor talking conspiracy nonsense on YouTube or a cat video. You're not going to change his views but you can deny him the audience he craves. Long term, this is going to cost him friendships because people like him are a pain in the neck. People might not agree with his beliefs but him going on about them will get on everyone's nerves. That's not going to bother him though because they're the sheep while he's the enlightened one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,377 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12


    Can you talk to him about it? Id ask him about the sources of these links he's sending you and to do his own research on where theyre coming from.
    Does he have a mental illness or aspergers? He just sounds so focused on this to the point of obsession, like coming in after a few drinks and getting everyon in the house to watch conspiracy videos...sounds like more is going on.

    I understand that this is hard on everyone, we're all feeling the isolation, boredom, loneliness, anxiety and fear and we all deal with those feelings in our own way.. Could your brothers way of handling this be to deny it even exists?
    Regardless of his reasons or what he believes the big issue is that he's putting your elderly parents at risk, we're in a second wave now only this time the numbers are higher and rising and we're only in a semi lockdown compared to the first wave.
    Maybe your brother needs an ultimatum?
    He's expecting you to respect him and his beliefs but will not respect you or your parents, maybe he should move out of home if he wants to continue with his social life.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,061 ✭✭✭leggo


    For dealing with people like this face-to-face to get them away from annoying me I just draw a hard line that every time they try force this stuff on me, they’ll get verbally kicked. “You’re not one of these anti-mask conspiracy theory weirdos now are you?” If they start trying to convince me? “Nobody cares. The entire country outside of your mates and the few other weirdos you watch on YouTube is judging you.” A little harsh, maybe, but I’m happy to let them have their beliefs as long as they don’t assault me with them. And it sounds like your brother has reached the point where a gentle word won’t do the trick and you’re not going to convince him with logic, though obviously if you think either of them will work then that’s by far more preferable.

    As for your parents: that’s tricky and I feel for you. At the end of the day it’s their house, their son and their health, so the main thing is you have to accept you’re extremely limited on both what you can do and actually what you have any right to say/do too. You can ask them how they feel about it and remind them that it’s their house and they’re well within their rights to force an ultimatum for their health’s sake, then offer support and solidarity if they do so. That’s about it though. If you remind them of all this and they go the other way, then they’ve made a choice to accept the risk and that’s something you just have to make a difficult peace with.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,639 ✭✭✭completedit


    He's your bro. Maybe have a convo with him. Not everyone has to sing off the same hymn sheet.I'd find it so funny and interesting at the same time if I had someone like this living with me. Would get boring but then just be like shut up and be done with it until the next time


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,964 ✭✭✭Hmm_Messiah


    Paddy223 wrote: »
    Cheers for the help folks. Had a rough evening there. Finally he finished of with a small piece on Bill Gates and the rest of just headed of to bed because we could not listen to the brother anymore.

    Why exactly can you not just tell him to shut up . or that if you wanted to hear those you would look at them yourself

    I am at a loss why you would not just cut him short on every occasion until he is fed up


  • Registered Users Posts: 125 ✭✭Godeatsboogers


    He thinks he's enlightening the people hes talking to. These people believe everything that supports their theory, and nothing that negates their theory. In my experience with family it's best to just nod and smile, without entertaining or belittling what they're saying. The few people I know like that go the whole way down the rabbit hole.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,094 ✭✭✭lucalux


    Have an acquaintance that has always been into conspiracy theories, but has gone full Plandemic. I couldn't tolerate it being shoved in my face, but we managed to assert our own views a couple of times, figure out we're at odds, and not bring up the subject again.

    I know he'd love to harp on at me because he thinks no one else has done *any* research of their own, and everyone's acting like sheeple.
    Won't give him the chance cos it's really stressful to get into that when both parties are at total opposite corners to each other to start with.

    Decide if you want to allow him to continue as he is, allowing him to preach to you, or else shut him down hard each time it's brought up. I wouldn't try arguing any points, just say you're not interested in discussing it, and you are both entitled to your own views. Repeat as needed.

    Someone coming in and switching off a movie to show a video no one else is interested in? Just plain rude imo, regardless of the topic, so point that out, rather than attack the substance of his views/the video I think.

    Good luck!


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    In my youngest years, I was pretty prone to believing conspiracies. Mainly because I was a bit vulnerable and I'm on the spectrum. Your brothers sounds a bit like that and I'd suspect he has a lot more spare time. Does he like to read? Reading some factual books might distract him and focus him on something else, can also help to make him more discerning. The pub thing unfortunately seems to be a more general issue with a lot of public unfortunately.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,639 ✭✭✭completedit


    In my youngest years, I was pretty prone to believing conspiracies. Mainly because I was a bit vulnerable and I'm on the spectrum. Your brothers sounds a bit like that and I'd suspect he has a lot more spare time. Does he like to read? Reading some factual books might distract him and focus him on something else, can also help to make him more discerning. The pub thing unfortunately seems to be a more general issue with a lot of public unfortunately.

    I'm currently reading a factual book- The book is about the next financial crisis, written in 2014. The book is basically about how in the next banking crisis; global institutions will shut down, people won't be able to access their money. This happened in Cyprus and Greece. Investment funds and asset management firms will be frozen. Insolvent banks will be saved with depositor money. It sounds like the stuff of a quack but this already happened. Just the two countries were relatively poor and irrelevant so it passed by without much fuss.

    Point is everything can sound outlandish and the world is crazier than we think. I'm not a conspiracy theorist but if someone wants to analyse a situation and make their own inferences, more power to them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,203 ✭✭✭Tork


    He thinks he's enlightening the people he's talking to. These people believe everything that supports their theory and nothing that negates their theory. In my experience with family, it's best to just nod and smile, without entertaining or belittling what they're saying. The few people I know like that go the whole way down the rabbit hole.

    I agree with all of this apart from the bit about nodding and smiling. To someone who's being evangelical, like the brother, nodding and smiling means he's getting a hearing. Being listened to is a green light to continue bombarding people with videos, interrupting their TV viewing and generally "enlightening" the sheep. In my opinion, the only way to put an end to this is to shut him down straight away and to make it clear that you have no interest whatsoever in hearing him out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,094 ✭✭✭lucalux


    Tork wrote: »
    I agree with all of this apart from the bit about nodding and smiling. To someone who's being evangelical, like the brother, nodding and smiling means he's getting a hearing. Being listened to is a green light to continue bombarding people with videos, interrupting their TV viewing and generally "enlightening" the sheep. In my opinion, the only way to put an end to this is to shut him down straight away and to make it clear that you have no interest whatsoever in hearing him out.

    Totally agree with this^^

    I remember reading about interrogation techniques somewhere, and they say allowing someone to explain themselves builds confidence in the person, and their message. Shutting down the conversation quickly, denying them a hearing, means they don't get the confidence boost that comes from having a receptive audience - this weakens their conviction.

    Not exactly the situation here I know! Just worth considering it, whether you want to allow him to believe you are receptive in any way whatsoever, as it seems is a sure-fire way of getting him to continue as he is


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,941 ✭✭✭Jequ0n


    You’re obviously decent enough folks because I’d be way too tempted to fuel this further and have a laugh.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,203 ✭✭✭Tork


    There's also no point in trying to pull him out of the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. People who've bought into them to this extent have no shortage of sources which will back up their claims. There are always doctors and professors they can quote, along with lengthy videos, "news" websites and online articles. They're operating in a parallel universe and will continue to do so.

    All you and your parents can do is try to keep safe if he's not taking the necessary Covid precautions. Maybe it's time for him to move out of home but that's not your call to make.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,293 ✭✭✭pinkyeye


    Sorry OP but I thought from the original post that you weren't living at home and just your parents had to defend against this lunacy.

    Now it appears you're still living there as well and just tolerating this??

    Correct me if I'm wrong. If I'm not wrong then you need to tell him that you and your parents will watch whatever you want to on the telly and if he wants to spout ****e then he can go to his own room and talk to himself or move out! Simple!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,352 ✭✭✭pah


    Unfortunately once you start to go down the rabbit hole with these conspiracy theories the all seeing algorithm will continue to feed you this content. If he's into it I'm not sure how you can get him out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 145 ✭✭Paddy223


    Well lads thanks for the advice. A lot of the information posted has been a great help. As expected he has increased with his nonsense and the number of Facebook videos and YouTube videos is ever increasing but, just ignoring him has seemed to work wonders so far. I think one poster made a fair point that he won’t stop because there’ll be a doctor or a new story to grasp onto which I have found to be very true. Some of these new stories he’s grasps onto is usually bull**** but some can be reliable like the false positive in the Ireland squad. But what he does with this information (Reliable or not) is he uses it to fit his insane narrative which includes Bill Gates, event 201, new world order and George Soros.

    I accept there is things that may have not been done well by government officials and certain rules that were implicated that were not necessary and maybe the possibility the virus may not have killed as many people we thought it would. I feel it’s ok to evaluate this information for yourself but at the end of the day you have to remember the facts that it has killed a lot of people, it’s lethality and ability to spread is very dangerous and it’s of lots of importance to remain aware of that. As much I would like things to be back to normal I just have to accept it won’t be for a while and must remain vigilant for my families sake.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,003 ✭✭✭Ann22


    Paddy223 wrote: »
    Well lads thanks for the advice. A lot of the information posted has been a great help. As expected he has increased with his nonsense and the number of Facebook videos and YouTube videos is ever increasing but, just ignoring him has seemed to work wonders so far. I think one poster made a fair point that he won’t stop because there’ll be a doctor or a new story to grasp onto which I have found to be very true. Some of these new stories he’s grasps onto is usually bull**** but some can be reliable like the false positive in the Ireland squad. But what he does with this information (Reliable or not) is he uses it to fit his insane narrative which includes Bill Gates, event 201, new world order and George Soros.

    I accept there is things that may have not been done well by government officials and certain rules that were implicated that were not necessary and maybe the possibility the virus may not have killed as many people we thought it would. I feel it’s ok to evaluate this information for yourself but at the end of the day you have to remember the facts that it has killed a lot of people, it’s lethality and ability to spread is very dangerous and it’s of lots of importance to remain aware of that. As much I would like things to be back to normal I just have to accept it won’t be for a while and must remain vigilant for my families sake.

    I have two friends who are exactly the same..they inundate me with the same bull****...Bill Gates and his plans...5G...Covid denying which has now changed to Covid was planned in order to create an economic crash leading to totalitarian state. Ffs..bollocks...and the boring videos of old "doctors" yammering away or mouthy taxi men...
    With my mother fell seriously ill with Covid...all politeness went out the window and I warned both of them I didn't want to hear anymore of their bull****.


  • Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭Salthillprom


    I think Covid has pushed some people over the edge. I've one friend, who I have known fir decades, who is highly educated and usually very reasonable, who is gone the same way as your bother. Spamming me with covid vids on WhatsApp, banging on about election fraud and being pro Trump. I can't hack it either. Have told said friend to stop but I'm not being listened to. Think I might pop a tinfoil hat in the post to her one of the days.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,377 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12


    Friend of a friend said she's not getting the vaccine when it comes out as she doesnt trust it and is anti vax.
    This same woman regularly has unprotected sex with men she doesnt know, she had a 3 some recently with someone she met online and his friend. Slept with her married heroin addicted neighbor recently too. She smoked heroin with him and regularly takes coke.
    So has no problem with potentially catching covid by meeting random people for sex.
    Has no concerns about catching an STD by having unprotected sex with multiple men who she doesnt know.
    Doesnt care about her physical safety and goes to random mens houses for sex, gets in cars with strange men she met online etc.
    Will happily take heroin and cocaine off random drug dealers on the street.
    But a scientifically tested and approved vaccine is 'too dangerous' cause ' you don't know what's in it' ..

    How do people like this manage to tie their own shoe laces?

    There is no talking to them, they dont have the brain cells to see your point of view! Its best to just let them at it I think, ignore/change the conversation when they bring up conspiracies. Not worth the headache.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,323 ✭✭✭happyday


    Ann22 wrote: »
    I have two friends who are exactly the same..they inundate me with the same bull****...Bill Gates and his plans...5G...Covid denying which has now changed to Covid was planned in order to create an economic crash leading to totalitarian state. Ffs..bollocks...and the boring videos of old "doctors" yammering away or mouthy taxi men...
    With my mother fell seriously ill with Covid...all politeness went out the window and I warned both of them I didn't want to hear anymore of their bull****.

    Sorry to hear about your mother Ann. I hope she is doing a bit better now and that your friends have backed off.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,323 ✭✭✭happyday


    I think Covid has pushed some people over the edge. I've one friend, who I have known fir decades, who is highly educated and usually very reasonable, who is gone the same way as your bother. Spamming me with covid vids on WhatsApp, banging on about election fraud and being pro Trump. I can't hack it either. Have told said friend to stop but I'm not being listened to. Think I might pop a tinfoil hat in the post to her one of the days.

    If you have told her to stop and she hasn't, I would tell her that I am blocking her number for now. You don't have to put up with that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,003 ✭✭✭Ann22


    happyday wrote: »
    Sorry to hear about your mother Ann. I hope she is doing a bit better now and that your friends have backed off.
    It's not looking like she'll ever be able to go home to her own house again..
    She's recovered from the first bout of Covid with Remdesivir and antibiotics but a few days after finishing treatment, she developed hosp acquired pneumonia. I told my two conspiracy theorist pals, about mam having been diagnosed with an illness they had been trying to convince me didn't exist. One of them inundated me with suggestions of keeping tabs on her doctors etc implying it was all completely fake but the other one was lovely.. genuinely sympathetic and concerned...
    and since then, they've left me in peace.
    After meeting with mam's med and physio team it's clear that they've seen a lot of serious illness, death and long term health, life changing issues from Covid. The stuff we read on the web is absolute bull****. It's real.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,323 ✭✭✭happyday


    Ann22 wrote: »
    It's not looking like she'll ever be able to go home to her own house again..
    She's recovered from the first bout of Covid with Remdesivir and antibiotics but a few days after finishing treatment, she developed hosp acquired pneumonia. I told my two conspiracy theorist pals, about mam having been diagnosed with an illness they had been trying to convince me didn't exist. One of them inundated me with suggestions of keeping tabs on her doctors etc implying it was all completely fake but the other one was lovely.. genuinely sympathetic and concerned...
    and since then, they've left me in peace.
    After meeting with mam's med and physio team it's clear that they've seen a lot of serious illness, death and long term health, life changing issues from Covid. The stuff we read on the web is absolute bull****. It's real.

    That's very tough about not being able to return home. At least your friends have stopped annoying you.

    Take care of yourself and your Mam.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 93 ✭✭tobeme2020


    Paddy223 wrote: »
    My brother (28) has turned into a full-blown conspiracy theorist since Covid started and has become an absolute torture. He lives at home with both his parents and is the kind of fella that lives for the weekend and enjoys going to pubs and clubs. But everyday he now usually scrolls through Facebook on Covid conspiracy pages and even goes as far as sending silly fake YouTube videos to our inboxes. I totally understand it’s a tough time for him but, it is the same for everyone and this could be here for years so there is no point pointing fingers and blaming others. Our mother and father are elderly, and my father has had previous trouble with his heart so they are high risk category. Just as recently as last week my brother broke out and went on a pub crawl before things closed and one of the pubs, he was in had an outbreak. I have tried numerous times to explain the facts to him, but he just disregards them and says the mainstream media cant be trusted and that the factcheckers are funded by globalist Billionaires. So, at the moment I just ignore him but, my god it is getting hard to listen about 5G, Bill Gates and New World Order day In and day out. So, does anyone have some advice on what we could do or should we just keep trying to ignore him until he turns our brains to mush?



    Has it ever occurred to you that he might be right


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