I’m obsessed with the social media blogs of people who annoy me

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a company employee in my 30s. I can’t stop browsing social media blogs posted by people who annoy me.

It all started when I saw comments posted on a blog about maternity topics that I joined while I was pregnant. There were negative comments like “Don’t brag about how happy you are,” posted by people who have had miscarriages or hard times in their lives. I didn’t mean to brag in my posts, but my eyes were opened that there are people who feel this way.

However, when I later browsed their social media sites, I found that these same people were “bragging” about how happy they have become once they got married or got pregnant. I was furious at their selfishness as they had told others not to brag.

Since then, checking their blogs has become my obsession, and I always get annoyed when they appear to be happy and relieved when they seem unhappy. I feel stupid for wasting my time and energy on this, as I’ll only end up being brought down to the same level as those silly people. But, I can’t stop wishing for their misfortune. Please scold me.

— T, Tokyo

Dear Ms. T:

You know that it’s stupid, but you can’t stop doing it. This is a common trait in addiction, and it may require professional treatment depending on the level of its severity.

In your case, you’re not causing any trouble to others, but you are trapped in self-loathing. So, if you can take control of your thinking, there’s still a good chance you can turn things around. But you must make up your mind to get rid of your inner demons at all costs.

First of all, if the problems come from the internet, why don’t you use technology to get rid of them. Delete website shortcuts so you’re not tempted to click on them again. Delete your browsing and search histories, too. This way when you search for posts, it will take you time to do so. Roadblocks like this will help you think twice before slipping back into your old ways.

If you still can’t resist the temptation, promise to donate a certain amount of your money to charity each time. You may feel it’s a self-serving donation, but if you repeat it, you will be able to do it more naturally.

Keep reminding yourself that it is behavior you yourself describe as stupid that brought you to this point. This will help you change. It may be a useless suggestion, but I quietly recommend sticking this article on your toilet wall, too.

— Hazuki Saisho, writer