Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

Covid denying friend had a meltdown over me getting vaccinated

  • 06-07-2021 11:29am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭


    Hi all,
    I was hoping to get some advice about how to manage with my friend (who also happens to be my employee, but we're friends first) who is a covid denier and is anti-vaccination.

    She has been increasingly worried about the civil rights repercussions of all of the restrictions, which I get, however this has all been in parallel with their views that the virus is just a flu, and that the vaccines are dangerous and unnecessary.

    Soon after the first lockdown, she went down the rabbit hole of what I would view to be dodgy websites, youtube videos, finding a video of a doctor who is 'speaking out' and concluding that all the rest are corrupt, etc. She's anti-mask, has attended protests, flaunts and ridicules any safety or caution, etc. I tried to debate all of this with her many times, but through both of our faults the conversations descended into standoff arguments. We decided to just ban the topic to avoid confrontation.

    Things came to a head when vaccine passports were announced - her reaction was to immediately book and pay for flights to emigrate to another continent where restrictions were less, before vaccine passports were rolled out, to escape what she saw as further oppression and coercion into taking a poisonous vaccine.

    Thankfully she calmed down and recognised her reaction was a bit extreme, and sought counselling. I was delighted with this and thought that this was her taking a more balanced view on all of these matters, however it was just a pause.

    Fast forward to last week and we went out for some food and drinks after work. She was a bit off, and I suspected that this was from the news of the rollout of vaccine certs for entry into hospitality. Sure enough after a few drinks the conversation went there and it was back to the same topics. Through a fairly heated chat she had loosely agreed that she would talk to a GP to ask them questions about Covid and the vaccines, after I argued that she had never spoken to someone who knows more about all of this than her. Since she doesn't trust her own GP (for unrelated & genuine reasons) she put it to me that I should arrange for her to see my GP, and that if he can't answer her questions then she'll know she is right and everyone else is wrong.

    I wasn't entirely comfortable with this, I've had the same GP for decades and didn't like the idea of bringing her in for what could essentially have been a confrontational argument out of the blue. In any case I agreed but was still (with a few drinks on me) challenging her on what type of questions she'd be asking etc. By this stage it was getting late and I was getting more pissed off and told her I've to be up in the morning, and stupidly let it out that I have my first vaccine appointment first thing - admittedly I wanted to show her that this was how much I disagreed with her on all of this. Very unhealthy dynamic, I know.

    She lost it, she cried and begged me not to go to the appointment. She shouted and threatened me, told me she was quitting, was clinging on to me and begging me to cancel the appointment. She lambasted me for trying to convince her to talk to a GP when I'm not even willing to do so myself before taking it, etc.

    She was sitting on steps screaming and crying, we were in a dodgy area of town and it was late, people were passing by staring over and I was very conscious of how it might have looked that I was being abusive towards her and someone getting the wrong idea, I was calmly asking her to walk with me but she was screaming at me to leave her alone. I wasn't going to leave her there by herself and she was refusing to get a taxi. Eventually she came along and I walked her home.

    I went to get the vaccine in the morning. She texted me asking if everything was okay and if there was anything I needed. I thanked her and said all was fine. She texted me later on saying if she said anything that hurt me the night before she was sorry, that she didn't handle it well but that it was all out of worry.

    She then texted me saying she wanted to work from home for the next week, because of 'shedding' (a belief that someone vaccinated can infect someone unvaccinated), because she's concerned about her asthma.

    At this point I don't know how to handle all of this and I guess I'm posting here to get it off my chest and see if anyone had any advice. I was able to tolerate it all before, I guess because it didn't affect me that much, but after everything last week and her now avoiding me because of 'shedding' it really feels things have gone too far.

    Thanks


«13

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,097 ✭✭✭Buddy Bubs


    She will probably think she's operating on a higher intellectual level than everyone else and won't respect your opinion. Calling you a sheep etc and not having your own opinion.
    I have a family member exactly as you described. I have ignored them for last 4 months, no contact after initially trying to talk them around but realized it was a waste of time.
    Same craic, YouTube videos from people claiming to be doctors etc. You should hear the mad ideas that they believe, absolute madness.
    Her being an employee complicates things a lot.


  • Posts: 6,192 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]


    id say she's just a bit embarassed with her carry on and at least she apoligised


    The fear of "shedding" is scientifically with merit aparently,but difficult to credit in light of attending anti-lockdown protests etc





    If it was me,id just let it be one of those embarassing things that never gets spoken about again....theres no value for anyone raking over this again


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    People are under crazy pressure these days. Things that would have not have even been noticed 2 years ago could break someone now. I'd say try and get past it like Blaaz said and just leave it or you can try find where the source of your friends anxiety is coming from. Guaranteed it's nothing to do with the vaccine.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 930 ✭✭✭TheadoreT


    There's tonnes of irrational thought processes on her behalf there. She sounds like hard work, whatever about having misguided beliefs but to let it affect her life to the extent it is I wouldn't have anything to do with her. Also as an employee it's concerning that she choses to listen to the opinons of speculative youtubers over actual experts, this is just a terrible trait to have that will spill over to lots of other areas. She sounds like a complete melt to be honest.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭Curious_Case


    Buddy Bubs wrote: »
    She will probably think she's operating on a higher intellectual level than everyone else and won't respect your opinion. Calling you a sheep etc and not having your own opinion.
    I have a family member exactly as you described. I have ignored them for last 4 months, no contact after initially trying to talk them around but realized it was a waste of time.
    Same craic, YouTube videos from people claiming to be doctors etc. You should hear the mad ideas that they believe, absolute madness.
    Her being an employee complicates things a lot.

    You've hit the nail on the head, they think they're an "informed, hyper aware, enlightened, chakra glowing, group of ascended beings" !!!

    Now I'm the first to admit that governments and corporations conspire to sell us the air we breathe (metaphorically) but that doesn't mean that everything on the 9 'o clock news is "elite propaganda".


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    OP here, thanks very much for the responses, it'd be great though if we could keep conversation away from general views on conspiracy theorists. She has her views but she's also my friend, her views are a given I'm just trying to figure out the best thing to do, eg if there were any supports or resources she could get more informed guidance from to address her concerns or if anyone had experience in resolving such a situation.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 468 ✭✭Janedoe10


    That is tough going.
    It’s always more diff when you share information ie vaccine information and its then used against you for wrk purposes.

    I’m trying to separate this to wrk as u said
    Does wrk have any wrk related information on Covid that you can share ? Perhaps ..

    For GP referral . It may be good for her to talk to a GP

    There is slot of stress out there .info coming at us from so many sources and we have this since mar 2020 .

    This person I think was coming from a good place worrying about you however there is a place and a way to do this . Her reaction very irrational


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,190 ✭✭✭Tork


    listermint wrote: »
    I'd be looking for an exit strategy from the employment and also the friendship to be ultimately frank

    This person will drag you down on all aspects of life. Be in doubt they've most likely messed or destroyed other relationships they have and are clinging to conspiracy as a life buoy to be part of some tribe any tribe.

    I'm afraid these were my first thoughts too. I happen to know a couple of people who've gone down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. They've turned into the equivalent of people I'd cross the street to avoid because they're now painful to be around. Ironically, one of the side effects of Covid is that I haven't had to spend time with either since last year! From what I've read about people who've gone down that route, it's very hard to get them back. It's likely that your friend will continue to buy into all of these beliefs for all sorts of complicated reasons. There are no shortage of places where she can continue to "research" these facts and indeed, she may get worse over time.

    There may well come a time when you just get fed up with her and realise you don't want to hang around with her anymore. Already she's testing the boundaries of your friendship and I can see other problems arising in the future. Which brings me onto your comment about her being your employee. Does her job entail dealing with other people or the public? That could bring up a load of problems if she continues to refuse to wear a mask, berates others etc. etc. You can also be sure that once this current crisis goes away, she'll seize onto the next big conspiracy and run with that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,233 ✭✭✭YellowLead


    OP I’m not sure why you are friends with this person at all. Is it an act of kindness because you feel sorry for them? You feel obliged because they have been in your life for a period of time and work for you?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,788 ✭✭✭ztoical


    OP here, thanks very much for the responses, it'd be great though if we could keep conversation away from general views on conspiracy theorists. She has her views but she's also my friend, her views are a given I'm just trying to figure out the best thing to do, eg if there were any supports or resources she could get more informed guidance from to address her concerns or if anyone had experience in resolving such a situation.

    I'm sorry OP but your friend doesn't want to learn or educate herself or change her beliefs, giving her any information will just make her dig into her views even more. The best thing is to ignore it. Go about your day, if she brings the topic up just say thats nice and change the topic. Your only other option is to ditch her as a friend and treat her like an employee and remove all familiarity to the relationship.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,138 ✭✭✭secman


    Your friend/employee sounds unhinged to say the least, hundreds of millions have been vaccinated and doing their part to eliminate the virus.


  • Posts: 6,192 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]


    OP here, thanks very much for the responses, it'd be great though if we could keep conversation away from general views on conspiracy theorists. She has her views but she's also my friend, her views are a given I'm just trying to figure out the best thing to do, eg if there were any supports or resources she could get more informed guidance from to address her concerns or if anyone had experience in resolving such a situation.

    I dont think you will change someones deeply held views....life would be boring,if we all taught the same.....theres one lad in work same go as her,hes still an inherently good and sound person,just taken in by foolishness



    Her GP would be best for advice/guidence id say.....ultimately the want to return to normal life is whats driving nearly all skeptics/wary people i known to take it


  • Registered Users Posts: 389 ✭✭the14thwarrior


    i thik this is an unbalanced relationship, and the challenges she sets you (see your GP, if they can't answer her questions she must be right); if you get the vaccination you will infect her, if you make your decisions she acts wildly irrational etc.

    you seem caring to the point of over caring
    You seem to want her opinion / confidence / almost her permission to do what you believe in.

    it really is not good for you to be so overly concerned and involved with her opinions
    it is detremental to your and your employees health to have someone hold an opinion that is known to be against all best advice.
    you know yourself Covid 19 exists, and can harm and kill people.
    you have chosen to do what you feel right

    i would be very careful going forward
    she needs more help than you know or can give her at this point


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,190 ✭✭✭Tork


    There are loads of articles online about dealing with conspiracy theorists.Here's one from Marianna Spring who's the BBC's Specialist disinformation reporter How should you talk to friends and relatives who believe conspiracy theories?
    "For those who have fallen deep down the conspiracy rabbit hole, getting out again can be a very long process.

    "Be realistic about what you can achieve," psychologist Jovan Byford warns. "Conspiracy theories instil in believers a sense of superiority. It's an important generator of self-esteem - which will make them resistant to change."

    The point here is that there is only so much you can do to help your friend. You can't save her, nor is it your job to do so. Reading between the lines, I get the impression she had issues before Covid ever came along. That hysterical over-reaction to you getting the vaccine is seriously unhinged. Was she always as clingy as this? She sounds like she needs more counselling at the minimum, but probably somebody else might need to take a look at her.

    My guess is that you'll tiptoe around her and ignore the elephant in the room for as long as possible. But don't think for one minute that this is going to go away. It isn't. There will be another blow-up at some point and it will then leave you at a crossroads. Will you continue to indulge her to try and save your friendship? Or will you make a stand? How replaceable is she in your business? She has already threatened to quit. It sounds like she is running rings around you and you're the one appeasing her.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,708 ✭✭✭sporina


    OP I don't know what you can do - or what you wanna do... I think your friend sounds v unwell.. it would be great if she could talk to a professional... might get her on some sort of track.... covid is just a symptom of some other big problem for her me thinks.. is she lonely? feel a lack of control in her life?
    If you wanna be a friend, encourage her to talk to someone - mayb your GP - I am sure they will see her stress and anxiety for what it is.. and might offer her help..

    Does all of this affect work?

    Your relationship doesn't sound healthy tbh - from either side.. I dunno.. take care of you first and foremost.
    You won't be able to fix her.. and you should not have to humour her etc - friendship is a 2 way street.. boundaries need to be respected..


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 24,445 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    Don’t engage with her anymore on the subject.


    ” We’ve already discussed this at length, we are not going to agree. I’d be grateful if you’d respect my wishes that I no longer want to spend time speaking with you or anybody on the topic, thanks.”

    if they mentioned it again.. “ sorry but you are now actively jeprodisring our friendship, as I clearly requested this is not a subject which I want to have further discussion with you, please respect this, it’s a private health matter, I’ll only be spending time speaking with my doctor on this subject, thanks.”



  • Registered Users Posts: 389 ✭✭Vaccinated30


    See , this whole attitude of

    "I don't want to work with you because your vaccinated but don't force me to dine outside because I'm not vaccinated"

    It really annoys me! And I don't agree with stopping unvaxxed people dining indoors but then unvaxxed people want to segregate vaccinated people. Where is the logic.

    Anyway OP, I have a friend who dosnt agree with vaccines, she's actually one of my best friends, we often have vaccine discussions (long before covid) but we both know how fat to go and respecting each others views. You need to draw a line with your friend and refuse to discuss these things, the only alternative is to ignore her and end the friendship.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,507 ✭✭✭atilladehun


    Ask your GP to recommend a good GP who can deal with such issues.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,088 ✭✭✭stevek93


    Wait, so she is a covid denier and believes the virus is just a flu but at the same time is so scared of the virus, because as you said she is worried you will shed the virus after your vaccinated and may infect her? This makes no sense.

    It appears why she got so upset is because with the new of you getting vaccinated that she will get sick from it.

    So then she knows the risks of the virus and how sick it can make her and she know she is vulnerable with her asthma.

    I am in the same situation with my friend, he is believing spoons are sticking to people.

    He believes that everything but real information, I am done with speaking to him about covid related topic and he if doesn’t shutup I will be done speaking altogether.

    Don’t bring her to your GP, don’t speak anymore about covid or the vaccine or any medical related topics, she has her views and that’s that.

    I am not sure why there is so many people like this all of a sudden it is very scary, they have to grow up get jabbed and get on with it.



  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx


    OP, I have no idea if you are still around, or still reading. Boards being offline has dragged things out. For what it's worth, this has gone a long way beyond what you can be expected to handle. An adult behaving as you have described, needs professional help.

    It's very difficult, but imo, all you can suggest is that she seeks out the help she needs. The notion of a doctor explaining something to her, well, where I attend, it's quite difficult still to get past the receptionist (that isn't right either but hopefully you can see the point I am making).

    Not to mention who she thought was going to pay the fee for the time the doctor would spend with her.

    All that aside, you need to look after yourself, and your own health. Someone like that is incredibly draining to deal with, whether as a friend, or colleague.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3 OPJuly


    Hi everyone OP here, thanks again for all the replies, I checked back in on the thread during the outage to re-read the thread once or twice. 


    Well, to give you an update, after working from home for the week my friend asked to meet up to have a chat on the weekend. We met and she was deeply apologetic about her behaviour, she said she was very embarrassed and felt terrible about it all week. She said it wasn't an excuse but she lost the run of herself and her emotions got the better of her. 


    I said that it was okay and not to worry, I told her that the main thing for me wasn't one drunken incident but the fact that this whole thing is going way too far. I had hoped that it would be a wake up call for her but unfortunately that doesn't appear to be the case. Whatever regrets she has about her reaction on the night do not extend to any of her views that may have driven that reaction. 


    I asked her if she wanted to talk to a GP, but she said GPs don't know about this stuff and while they know about general medicine, if they can't answer her questions about the vaccine it'll make her feel worse. She said she doesn't think the government / HSE are corrupt per se, but very misguided.


    She said she DID talk to a doctor (an MD rather than GP, so I knew it'd be suspect) who advised her on the vaccine 'shedding' period, she made reference to him being a proponent of 'terrain theory' which I looked up and sure enough it has crossover with anti-vaccination views. So, she found one of the only doctors who is anti-vaccination and sought advice from them about this and in the week since, she even paid to sign up to their seminar where they'll go into more information about covid19 vaccines. 


    From this I tried explaining that with the internet being the internet, she is determining her own outcome here and driving herself further down the rabbit hole and the path she is on will result in her being more afraid and more isolated. She said if it was a choice of living by herself on a mountain and taking the vaccine, she'd choose the mountain.


    I told her that I feel she's acting out of fear, and reminded her that at the start of the pandemic we were both terrified and that I feel she went looking for reassurance that the virus wasn't real and she found the answers she was looking for, because internet. She feels that everyone else is allowing themselves to be blindly lead and not questioning anything. 


    She said that she didn't tell her counsellor about the meltdown because it's too embarrassing. 


    She said she’s trying to take the view to ‘live with it’, that all of this stuff is beyond her control and she is just going to have to take it as it comes and try not to let it affect her, to live and let live. 


    Personally I’m trying to hold the same view but when it does flare up I find it hard. I see it as pure wilful ignorance and complete arrogance, acting through pure bias. The nature of our friendship is that we are quite close and with work as well there is the element of depending on each other too, but this makes me really question her capacity in some professional aspects and whether you can maintain a meaningful friendship with someone with such an elephant in the room. I’m torn between going all out and sitting down with her to let her express and debate her views in a more academic/structured way, or making an appointment for her with a GP, or just trying to ignore it all for now and as some of you have suggested just completely ban the topic entirely. If the latter I know it’ll reemerge at some point though and it’ll be back to 2 weeks ago. 



  • Registered Users Posts: 20,663 ✭✭✭✭Ash.J.Williams


    It’s actually a common mental issue at the minute, a friend of mine has lost the plot over it



  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 15 Twofeet


    TG, she's not my friend or in my 'orbit'. A "friend" is one who respects your choices even if she disagrees with them. You need to set some boundaries. Good luck



Advertisement