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Computer phobia

(4 Posts)
palinurus Sun 19-Jul-15 13:13:56

My wife and I have just had a massive row - we don't row that much or this emphatically, but it's about something that is a long-term tension and I would like to know if we are alone in this.

It all centres on the computer, an Apple Mini, in the kitchen. It's understood to be my wife's as I have an Air in my office. I like computers, learnt programming in the distant past, and am prepared to take time to overcome their idiosyncrasies. My wife, who is not particularly tech-minded, by her own admission, is highly impatient, and continually at odds with her computer. I hear her shouting at it when I am in another room. I come in to help. Almost always the scenario is depressingly the same; she says she did exactly what she is supposed to, she has done nothing wrong, and it's not working, and it's the computer that has gone wrong. Often she challenges me to do whatever she is doing, in order to show me that it's not her who is in the wrong. Nine times out of ten I immediately get it to do what it's supposed to do, and the tenth spend a bit of time finding out what is wrong (for example iPlayer needs an upgrade for Flash). Here I will absolutely admit that I have certainly misplayed this, by insisting that she must have done something wrong, given that I can get it right each time. This is clearly patronising and mansplaining. Nevertheless I do have a problem with people not taking time and care to understand something properly, and have the patience to work out what is wrong carefully (this is all a bit Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance).

Clearly however this is something more complex and symptomatic. My misguided attempts to help by showing my wife she has done something wrong are not useful, and indeed have hit a massive nerve, as a broken bowl and a traumatised dog, and daughter, show. For my wife the computer is utterly opaque, and she can only follow what she remembers about how to interact with it. A single mistake or misstep in any procedure is fatal, and she cannot see why and how she is doing something. It is at the limits of her knowledge and competency and a real challenge to her sense that she is able to deal with the everyday demands of modern life. It may be relevant that she is dyslexic, though super competent at many complex activities.

Two questions then:

Does anyone have a similar experience?

What have you done about it?

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 19-Jul-15 13:21:05

Some people don't like and don't get computers. Does she actually want to use it or have you set something up that she has to use?

Lweji Sun 19-Jul-15 13:26:45

I don't think it's wrong to assume that someone has done something wrong if the machine is working properly and it works for someone else.

Your wife is clearly wrong in not asking what she did wrong, but what is wrong with the computer. I suspect if she started looking at what she did instead of deciding the machine is wrong everything would work better.

However, if she is dyslexic (and in any case) could there be a way of simplifying things for her, or make notes of the steps required?

Is she doing complex things, or just your run of the mill, posting on MN/FB/whatever and watching YouTube clips?

zanuda Thu 20-Aug-15 04:22:27

^Two questions then:
1. Does anyone have a similar experience?
2. What have you done about it?^

1. Yes. Whenever I ask my husband to do something, I even give simple step-by-step instruction, no more then 5 steps - he miss some, mix up another, then something fall down, burn, break - then he look at me and says "I'm doing exactly how you told". With such a facial expression like he really believes it's true!

2. Nothing. Comes with experience. If I do anything - been there - it will be tantrum for a couple of hours that it was me who made him do this and that and "you see how bad your method is" (like if he had any other ideas) and after that he'll make a drama for ages like "i'm not going to do it because you are not going to like it anyway". And when I do nothing, even if I had to rewash 8 out of 10 dishes, at least 2 will be clean. And even if I still have to re-do shopping, at least he'll bring milk and bread. Nails and a hummer - don't care how many fingers he miss, the problem is, he'll miss the wall - so I don't even bother to ask...

In your situation. Well imagine, you work as computer repair shop and she's a client who's always right smile and you really don't want to get fired because you don't have any other source of income and the job market is extremely bad. And if you be really-really nice, you might even get a bonus... So, any time you've got a problem, close you eyes, take a deep breath and... "I'm in computer shop..." And good luck!. And all the complains tell somewhere else, but choose a place wisely, so it will never-ever get back to your wife.

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