Husband’s internet addiction has caused him to hold extreme views

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 50s who works part-time. My husband, who is about the same age, seems to have become addicted to the internet and has started spouting a lot of extreme views. It’s very troubling.

My husband started working remotely after the state of emergency was declared last year as a result of the pandemic. Since his company transferred him to a post away from our family, I think he has started spending more time online.

Unbeknownst to the family, he started unquestioningly believing a few of these extreme views surrounding international issues and politics.

Even when he comes home and spends time with us, he constantly goes on tirades about certain countries. He also complains about foreign products.

I know it is important to think about global issues and politics, but my husband’s opinions are highly biased. I feel nothing but disgust, and now our children avoid him.

Is there a way to get my kind husband back? Should we have him see a psychosomatic medicine specialist?

—D, Tochigi Prefecture

Dear Ms. D:

It’s unpleasant to be around someone who holds extreme views or discriminates against others.

From your letter, I’m guessing that your husband’s views aren’t something that can be set aside as a mere difference in values. Also, as I’m sure you’re aware, it is incredibly difficult to have a rational conversation and change someone’s mind if they hold such views.

The underlying reason people tend to think this way is that they feel like they are not accepted in society. Nowadays, it is easy to find friends online, and many people build up their ego by telling others who have dissimilar views they’re wrong.

It’s exhausting living with someone who has such low self-esteem. It would be nice if you could distance yourself and cut ties with him, but since you are family, it’s not so easy.

If he’s not causing any harm to your family and isn’t posting anything that could be considered criminal, it’s best to leave him alone for a while.

Don’t argue with him. Just let it go. If he can regain his self-esteem through work or by some other means, I think he will get better.

If you want to support your husband, it may be effective to praise him for something other than his views. At the very least, I think it would be counterproductive to suggest that he see a psychosomatic medicine specialist at this stage, so it would be best not to do so.

—Masahiro Yamada, university professor