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Old 04-04-2012, 10:51 PM
 
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I was watching the movie 'My Sister's Keeper' the other day with my mother. In the movie, one of the daughters is dying and the mother reacts by basically becoming hysterical...yelling, trying to control every detail of the family's life, completely losing it when the daughter makes various decisions about her own life, etc.

My mother made the comment that this behavior was okay 'because she's not in her right mind'. This is the same excuse she uses to justify her own hysterical behavior when emergencies happen.

I actually get angry when people display this kind of behavior and then brush it off without even apologizing. I feel like it makes the situation all about them, even if they aren't the primary person affected, and makes it harder for everyone to cope. I used to see it all the time when I worked as a vet tech. For example, a family came in to have their dog euthanized. The wife started screaming and literally rolling around on the floor...while her two young children huddled against the wall terrified of their own mother's behavior. I saw a woman literally throw her dead dog at the receptionist and start rolling on the floor in the waiting room (for some reason rolling is a popular thing to do when your pet dies).

Is this kind of behavior justified? Would you consider anyone who reacted this way mentally ill, and would that change your opinion of the behavior? I feel guilty for being so angry about this type of thing, but I honestly want to just grab the person and shake them until they stop. But maybe they really can't control it...in which case, can my anger be justified?
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:29 PM
 
Location: earth?
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I'm fascinated by the rolling. Also, was the dead dog caught, or did it land on the desk or what happened?
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
I'm fascinated by the rolling. Also, was the dead dog caught, or did it land on the desk or what happened?

Does it seriously matter what happened to the dog, cripes.

Humans have different emotional reactions to the situations in their lives. My Mother fainted at the gravesite when my Great Uncle passed away, it is the only time she has ever fainted. In that situation he was the first to pass away in my Grandmother's group of siblings. It was a very traumatic time for my Mother as well as everyone else, he was a dear sweet deeply loved man. I don't think it is a cause for "mental health" concerns and I personally could not justify any anger toward someone who shows that level of grief and emotional distress. That is their way of dealing with the current situation.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CSD610 View Post
Does it seriously matter what happened to the dog, cripes.

Humans have different emotional reactions to the situations in their lives. My Mother fainted at the gravesite when my Great Uncle passed away, it is the only time she has ever fainted. In that situation he was the first to pass away in my Grandmother's group of siblings. It was a very traumatic time for my Mother as well as everyone else, he was a dear sweet deeply loved man. I don't think it is a cause for "mental health" concerns and I personally could not justify any anger toward someone who shows that level of grief and emotional distress. That is their way of dealing with the current situation.
Fainting would not make me angry, as it strikes me as more of a physical response (albeit a physical response to emotional trauma)

I recognize that different people have different responses. But when I've witnessed a ten year old boy calmly tell his parents that it was time to let Ginger rest and be out of pain....

My issue is that a person's response doesn't just affect them. When you throw yourself to the floor and scream in front of your children, you're teaching them that this is the appropriate response to grief. You're also giving them no space to have their own grief and emotion, because all attention goes to you. Now instead of just already dealing with their dog dying, which is difficult enough as it is, they have to deal with fear, confusion, and quite possibly anger of their own.

Again coming back to the movie, the mother's response made her daughter's process of dying much more difficult than it already was. Her daughter had to both comfort her mother and fight against her to die the way she wanted.

My mother gets hysterical in emergency situations, or what she perceives to be an emergency. So she was painting something and spilled the paint. Instead of calmly responding, she panicked and carrying towels dripping with paint through the house, getting the paint all over the new carpet. I tried to look up how to get latex paint out of carpet, but she proceeded to scream hysterically in a rage for me to stop wasting time and help. She then started scrubbing the paint into the carpet with a brush, which was the absolute worst thing she could have done.

What could have been a minor mess took me hours to clean up and required a steam cleaner. But she was 'upset' and 'not in her right mind'...so none of that counts, I guess? Screaming at me doesn't count? Making a small disaster into a huge one doesn't count?

To me, hysterical behavior while grieving is the same thing. It take what is already a painful situation and keeps escalating it...and again, everyone around that person now had to devote their energy to them and none to their own emotions.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:07 AM
 
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I have other relatives that get hysterical at funerals so maybe I'm just used to the behavior and it doesn't bother me in the least. My Mother is also hysterical when it comes to emergencies and the ant hill turns into a mountain every time but again I'm used to it so I just deal with whatever the fall out from her reactions are and move on. I still don't think it is a sign of mental illness and some truly cannot control their emotions or emotional reactions to things. Perhaps it is what they grew up with hence part of the reason the reaction is the way it is. It is all tied to levels of emotions not a question of mental stability. I've seen big, strong, burly beyond macho type guys turn into a blubbering mess when they see a baby, they coo and goo all over the place and to me that is the same situation. It is an emotional response to the child and not the state of their mental stability.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:16 AM
 
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I stopped reading your first post after the smart bits about people's reactions to losing a pet. I've taken in strays for many years and seen some real pieces of work at the vets offices. I'm talking about the employees now. Do I roll around on the floor? NO, am I very upset yes. I'm not gonna judge that person that lost a beloved pet by saying rude things about their way of grieving over the shock of the loss of a dear friend. This person might have grown up with this dog, had this dog longer than their child, it may also have significance to a time spent with a loved one that has passed on. You have no idea at all what else might be going on in this person's life so stop being so bloody judgemental of people for how they happen to react to the death of a 4 legged friend. I particularly found the rolling around on the floor part of your post mocking of all that have been through losing a pet. It's insensitive, insulting, and uncalled. And by the way, I have a dog dying of cancer now.

People react differently to the shock of death, some are very calm at first and when the reality sets in they cry, scream and carry on. There is quite a bit written about the various stages of grieving, but everything I've ever read states that everyone is different and you can expect many emotions. A person might not ever think they will react the way they do in such a situation. When my mom told me my dad had died, I went nuts, I cried and screamed, I yelled at the neighbor and wanted to fight him. I was in shock. My mom on the other hand was very, very calm at first. Far different than I thought she would be. People do sometimes feel numb then later have an outburst of tears, emotion and anger. You may react entirely different than you think you will when a person close to you passes on. Are people that reacts to shock by getting extremely upset mentally unstable, of course not.

As far as your concerns with your mom, chances are you are not gonna change how she reacts to things. If you have problems with this aspect of her personality, talk to her about it or talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist about your reactions to it.
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:04 AM
 
Location: Southern California
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Originally Posted by ParallelJJCat View Post
she was painting something and spilled the paint. Instead of calmly responding, she panicked
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParallelJJCat View Post
To me, hysterical behavior while grieving is the same thing.
You have a mother who overreacts over minor issues, and takes it out on you - and of course that's wrong. No question.

But to paint someone who is grieving with the same brush, and call it wrong when they get emotional? I don't think that's fair.

Of course everyone would agree that it's "better" if you can keep it together in an emergency or stressful time, and not crumble into an emotional mess. No mother would intentionally choose to fall apart in front of her children. But it does happen - and those children will bounce back and be fine. Grief is a part of life, and you can't shield children from it forever.

Personally I'm fine during emergencies and tough times, but I know plenty of people who fall apart - and I feel nothing but empathy. It's certainly not something they would ever choose.
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:04 AM
 
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I guess it's just me then. Maybe because I've dealt with this kind of behavior all of my life. I do see it panicking during an emergency and screaming/rolling/hysterics during grief as coming basically from the same wellspring. I've never realized why it made me angry until I tried explaining my thoughts on it in this thread. On some level I see it as selfish, because again it leaves the other people grieving, especially children, no room to experience their own grief. I don't think children will necessarily 'bounce' back when their grief gets overrun by someone else's...I think my resentment here is because I didn't bounce back as a child from witnessing these things, or from being forced into a comforter role when I needed a quiet space to process my own grief. If everyone grieves in different ways and that's okay...why is okay for someone else's way of grieving to completely obliterate another person's? If the person next to me's way of grieving is to go into hysterics and my way is to be quiet and alone, only one person there is going to get their needs met.

The one woman who rolled on the floor in the actual exam room with her children...her oldest daughter (who might have been all of 13) got her up and outside. The younger lingered behind for a minute. She was reaching out to touch her now deceased pet when the eldest came running back into the room because her mother was throwing herself down in the parking lot. So the youngest ran outside too...and never got that last touch that she wanted. Her grief got overtaken by her mother's, and she didn't get to say goodbye in the manner that might have helped her. That's what bothers me...not because it's loud or messy or emotional...but because only one person really gets to have their grief.

Once more time in the movie....the dying girl wants to go to the beach. The mother flies into hysterics because she can't admit her daughter is dying and thinks her going to the beach will 'kill her'. She screams are everyone, threatens to divorce her husband, tries to get the daughter out of the car...later she shows up at the beach and everyone forgives her and her earlier behavior goes unmentioned. Because, just as with my mother, she's grieving so any behavior is okay. But she's not the only one grieving. Everyone in the family is basically fighting to be allowed to cope and handle their grief their own...include the dying daughter.
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:25 AM
 
Location: Lower east side of Toronto
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All drama is contrived...hysteria is self indulgent..Most of those that get that way seem to be able to turn it on as well as off...I don't want to see someone toss themselves on a casket during a funeral..screaming..what do these types of public out bursts really show? I doubt very much if hysteria is practiced in private...it needs an audience to exist.

The only type of hysteria that really might exist is the real one...such as a problem during menopause..when woman go through a stage of panic...or when younger woman are PMSing..
Hysteria in males is never called for.

The medical term hysterectomy - originated when doctors believed they could cure female hysteria by removing primary parts of the female anatomy...this was a barbaric practice and did not work...hormones naturally out of wack...cause this strain on woman..as a woman was approaching her period or during..hysteria would sometimes rear it's ugly head...Men at one time called the period..the "curse"...It was one of Gods little imperfections..and why woman suffer is beyond me...just poor design..and it makes you wonder if God was a jokester...or just not very good at creating people.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:19 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
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Originally Posted by Oleg Bach View Post
All drama is contrived...hysteria is self indulgent..Most of those that get that way seem to be able to turn it on as well as off...I don't want to see someone toss themselves on a casket during a funeral..screaming..what do these types of public out bursts really show? I doubt very much if hysteria is practiced in private...it needs an audience to exist.


Yup.

We dealt with the hysterical types all of the time in EMS - used to call their 'affliction' "Lordicardia with a junctional Jesus" because the lament was generally the same - "OhhhhhhhhhhhhhhLordyJesusLordyJesusLordyJESUS !" Got an ear infection or Grandpa died, it was always the same; the hysteria to draw attention to the self and their grief. It was usually out of all proportion to the event, and often referred to by other, more calm and rational, family members as "There she goes again" or "She didn't even LIKE Grandpa!"

IMO, it is a selfish drama mechanism, nothing more. It is an purposeful avoidance of rationally and responsibly dealing with the vagaries of life; from a dog dying to a parent dying; it helps no one (not even the hysteriac) and is a selfish insistence that their grief is far far greater than anyone else's. Hysteriacs and drama queens don't have to be responsible children, responsible parents, or responsible caretakers; everyone else is forced to drop everything and take care of and cater to them, no matter what the real emergency may be. Meanwhile, the responsible person who actually fed, played with, and cared for the dog throughout its life, or the responsible child who actually changed Grandpa's dirty diapers and fed him his meals spoonful by spoonful, gets shoved into the background and ignored. Which is exactly the purpose of the hysteriac and their fits....

"Look at meeeeeee!"
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