The first and only time that I had ever come across the word hysterical in connection with a person was and still is for my late mother by my late father. He called her that as an excuse for his philandering that created a dysfunctional home for his wife and children. I therefore am very cautious in using it to describe as someone’s behaviour because there is always the question of cause and effect, as in the case of my mother whether it was her alleged hysterical behaviour that caused my father to philander or whether it was his philandering that made her hysterical.  This is one of the unsolved mysteries of my life as I never had to ask her directly about it as, this whole matter came up in a discussion with my father after my mother had gone off to her various Gods. Perhaps it is a good thing that I never asked her as her answer might have just aggravated an already hostile relationship with my father.

Strangely enough, I have not come across any instances of men being hysterical and I am hoping that there will be some enlightenment from the other LBC writers on the subject.

Other than this little sharing of my life, I have nothing to offer my readers on this subject which was chosen by Maria the Gaelikaa for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us write on the same topic. The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Ashok gaelikaa, Maxi, Shackman. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

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30 Responses to Hysteria.

  1. kylie says:

    “hysteria” is the accusation men throw at women when they don’t want to recognise genuine anger. nobody would ever describe a man as hysterical (except possibly in grief) because men are allowed to get angry but women are generally not
    kylie recently posted..a poor reception

  2. Ursula says:

    A touching personal account, Ramana. Who knows. As you say, cause and effect. – but in which order? A bit like the hen and egg conundrum.

    Hysteria does, of course, relate to the uterus/womb. Hence ‘hysterectomy’. I once smashed a mirror – in a moment of acute and desperate emotional anguish. The difference – and I think that’s what Kylie is hinting at – that my behaviour, being a woman, might have been deemed as ‘hysteria’, emotions gushing out of control; whereas a man doing the same thing would be described as “angry” or, worst case scenario, “flying into a rage”. Rage in a man is frightening stuff. Give me a hysterical out of control of her emotions woman any time. Sure they screech and cry. But that’s so much easier to deal with than with a man once he has lost it – amply supported by a man’s sheer physical strength (and therefore threat) and testosterone surge.

    Hysteria/Rage? Let’s boil it down to semantics – strong emotions, however we label them.

    By way of light relief: A few times in my life I did the ‘manly’ thing: Banging my fist on the table. And please don’t laugh hysterically: Resulting in beautiful and rather painful bruises. Horses for courses, swings and roundabouts.

    May calm be with you (and me),
    Ursula recently posted..Done

  3. Grannymar says:

    I have come across both men and women, who have behaved with irrational hysteria, often because they could not have their own way. A common fault in those who try to exert their control over others.
    Grannymar recently posted..The End is never the End ~ Part 4

    • Ursula says:

      I am sure you are a good woman, Grannymar. But find your comments often devoid of emotional warmth and understanding.

      “Irrational” hysteria? Emotions running high are irrational by definition. NOT “a fault” as you call it. Neither should one deduce that the person in despair is trying “to exert control over others”. It’s a narrow, unforgiving view, Grannymar. Sorry.

      Ursula recently posted..Phobic

    • Having been associated with a twelve step recovery programme, I have seen such behaviours quite often but they rarely can be classified as hysteria. Using techniques like breaking into tears or not eating food or locking out the spouse etc are all behaviours that are resorted to to establish control over an uncontrollable situation.

      • Grannymar says:

        The situations I mentions were in the workplace. Different companies, years and countries. Absolutely no reason for it. In my young days we had no choicebut to put up with it. Not now there are ways & means to censure or stop this happening
        Grannymar recently posted..Trip to Paris

  4. Dysfunctional families. I know a thing or two about that – the term hysterical was originally applied only to women. Thanks to Ursula’s history lesson I now know why. Hysteria is dangerous on its own but when it spreads to a group it can be truly terrifying. Nice song choice – I used it too.

  5. Alan G says:

    I can’t say that I have ever witnessed hysteria. I did as a child witness what was considered a ‘nervous breakdown’ which in some cases can evolve from hysteria but in this particular case the underlying cause was depression.
    Alan G recently posted..A brief glance into my life as a fishmonger….

  6. Cathy in NZ says:

    I thought hysteria related to a whole group of people who are ‘shocked’ at something occuring…but on reading some replies and your take it could mean one person who prolongs a situations.

    hysterial I see as different, more short lived…for the person and for others to say “she was hysterial when xyz happened, and it seemed an almost of over the top reaction”
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..Repairs done and then Bingo

  7. Delirious says:

    I had a conversation with a hysterical woman yesterday. A friend came home to find her cat had been attacked by dogs. She called me to see if my husband would drive her to the pet hospital. He wasn’t able to, so she took a taxi. But I kept getting hysterical calls from her when the driver got lost. Really, I think hysterical reactions are counterproductive. They don’t help anything.
    Delirious recently posted..Chinese are Masters at Cutting in Line

  8. Looney says:

    The only thing I wonder is how to respond to hysteria and calm it down.
    Looney recently posted..The New Ghetto Music

  9. There is no behavior on one person’s part that “causes” another person to cheat. Your father is solely responsible for that. Trying to pin you infidelity on someone else is lousy.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Women’s group.

    • SAW. You came late to the party. My old man was quite a character. Apart from anything else he epitomised narcissism.

      • I’m only commenting on theis one line, ” whether it was her alleged hysterical behaviour that caused my father to philander or whether it was his philandering that made her hysterical.” I was just saying that whatever her personality, your mother didn’t “cause” him to cheat.
        Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Hike to Whiteoak Sink

  10. nick says:

    I think hysteria is to do with control rather than anger. People get hysterical when they’re losing control of a situation, or think they are, which is much the same thing. And of course men can be just as hysterical as women, but it’s commonly described as something else like “losing it” or ” going over the top”.
    nick recently posted..Forgiveness

  11. wisewebwoman says:

    Ursula nailed the definition of the word for me, thanks Ursula. In all my born days I never heard a man referred to as “hysterical”. It is usually used to denigrate a woman’s emotions, such as in your father’s infidelity (blaming his wife). A man I worked with had a nervous breakdown in front of me and that was never labelled “hysteria”. Somehow it was more dignified in the descriptor of “breakdown”. I think many women suffer from undiagnosed PTSD. I know I did.
    wisewebwoman recently posted..Inspissated

  12. tammyj says:

    i’ve only been truly hysterical once in my life that i remember well.
    bob’s cancer had come back. after what was to have been a ‘successful’ surgery.
    after 22 days in the hospital and him nearly dying twice before he actually did… one night i left the hospital almost blindly.
    i who have absolutely NO sense of direction… got into our car and i just drove and drove. i took roads i’d never been on. the city lights grew more and more distant. i kept turning and turning as if i wanted to get lost. i finally stopped the car. i literally went into hysterics.
    i screamed and cried and beat steering wheel. i screamed and screamed. and cursed.
    and then. as if it hadn’t even happened. i simply stopped. i blew my nose and became unspeakably calm. almost an eerie calm.
    i started the car. i was on some dark back dirt road somewhere.
    someone else found my way back to the hospital. because it wasn’t me. i got back in record time.
    it was a surreal experience.
    tammyj recently posted..joie de vivre

    • Ursula says:

      Oh, Tammy. You moved me. As best as one can feel someone else’s pain (which is impossible) I feel for you.

      Yes, screaming at the universe in the face of being totally helpless. I can imagine one scenario where I wouldn’t wish to vouch for myself. And yes, as you say, the sudden calm that follows a storm is surreal. One might say: “The soul/the heart sneezed (violently)”. Or, possibly painting a slightly better comparison: A fever. One of those fourty eight hour wonders which bring you near death’s door, only to find yourself alive again.

      In absence of anything else, Tammy, please do accept my bear hug – no, it won’t crush you.
      Ursula recently posted..Running deep

    • Tammy, I am affected. I can revisit with you and share your feelings. I would rate this as the best you have ever written.

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