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Person’s Computer Addiction Is Preventing Them from Improving

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My girlfriend’s son has depression and anxiety. He is 21 and talks to a therapist and is doing TMS treatments. The issue is, he spends his entire day gaming on his computer. He wakes up in the morning or afternoon, uses the restroom, and goes onto his computer. He will remain on his computer until he goes back to bed. He has two monitors. On one monitor, he plays online games, on the other he watches other people game on Twitch. On rare occasions, he’ll join us for dinner. Rarer occasions he’ll go out. Some days it’s so bad he’ll ask his mom to get him water and to turn his ceiling fan down. His therapy sessions are online, and when they are done he goes back to gaming.

I’ve tried talking to his mother, telling her that as long as he spends all day disconnected from the world, he will not get any better. That he is using his gaming to disconnect and avoid his problems. That she doing such small mundane things such as getting him water, turning down his ceiling fan, etc, that she is encouraging his dependancy. Because he does therapy, then just games instead of listening to any of the advice. He goes to TMS sessions, then he goes online and does nothing to compliment his TMS. When he does go out, he spends 90% of it on his phone.

He is also out of shape, as you can imagine. He wants to get in shape, but he won’t leave his computer. Which makes him feel worse.

I mentioned this issue to her, and she says I don’t understand. That he has to use his computer because she is not there to make him better because she goes to work. My question is how can I approach her about limiting his time online and spending more time in the real world to attempt getting better and seeking real help.

I want him to get better, partly for himself and partly for his mom. She spends every moment worrying about him. She has to buy him food because he doesn’t like eating what she cooks. She has to revolve her life around him. Not to the normal amount that someone with depression and anxiety needs. To the point, she feels she has no freedom at all. So I would appreciate any help. Thank you.

Person’s Computer Addiction Is Preventing Them from Improving

Answered by on -

A.

You’ve tried speaking to her about the situation and she told you that you didn’t understand. She rejected your advice. You can try talking to her again, helping her to see the reality of the situation, but it’s unlikely to work. It is worth trying but don’t have high expectations.

As you noted, she is facilitating his dependency. She is supporting his behavior. He plays video games all day long because she allows him to. She likely bought his computer for him, his two monitors, the chair he sits in, and so forth. She pays his bills so he doesn’t have to work. That affords him the time to play video games. She has gotten him water and turned on the fan after he has refused to do it for himself. It’s evident that she is willing to do anything for him. As she has told you, she feels guilty for not being there for him. Her guilt is likely the reason she is behaving as she is towards her son. There is likely nothing you can say or do that will change her devotion to her son. Again, you can try but you will likely have little success.

Regarding your relationship, you have to decide whether or not you want to be in a relationship with someone who is refusing to believe in reality. The purpose of dating is to determine if the other person is a match. Is this the individual with whom you want to spend your life? If you choose to stay and marry then this would become your problem. In following her lead, you would then also be guilty of encouraging her son’s dependency. If that’s not something you’re willing to do, then this relationship might not be right for you.

Unfortunately, even when people are engaging in behavior that is wrong, it’s not something that is easily rectified. She may eventually come to see the error of her ways but maybe not. Currently, her entire life revolves around her son and your relationship is secondary. That’s not a battle you can likely win.

Hopefully, she will realize the error of her ways. Maybe she will in the future. You might consult a therapist to help you understand the dynamics of this problem and to help you decide whether or not to stay. Should you decide to remain in this relationship, you will give up the right to complain about her relationship with her son. By staying, you are, in effect, endorsing her behavior. If you think it’s wrong and she’s not willing to change, then maybe this relationship should end.

Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Person’s Computer Addiction Is Preventing Them from Improving

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Person’s Computer Addiction Is Preventing Them from Improving. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 27, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/02/14/persons-computer-addiction-is-preventing-them-from-improving/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 12 Feb 2020 (Originally: 14 Feb 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 12 Feb 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.