Collective Hysterics or folie à deux
Collective Hysterics or folie à deux is a term for many things.
At its heart is the idea that people that act uncharacteristically, regressive, crazier about or around a character a person/place/thing. Its a form of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as well.
a person i.e. “My Dad drives me crazy”, “Whenever I talk to my ex I just get mad and want to yell at them”, “whenever I see that ex-friend the hurt and betrayal is all I feel and I freak out”
- a place i.e. “whenever I go to the school where that person molested me I get chills down my spine”
- a thing i.e. “whenever I see that shirt I get flooded with unpleasant memories and freak out”
Usually closure and/or time will reduce that effect.
Here are some examples
- People going home for family visits or on holidays
- People who just broke up and have not fully processed the pain or gotten closure.
- People dealing or discussing someone who is a crazy maker for them
- Toxic couples i.e. people who are more or less normal separately but when together become very
- People who date rape or molest or rape because their sex drive overcomes their sanity
Other great articles on this…
What usually accompanies it?
Collective Hysterics usually never travels alone.
- mild but temporarily strong Alexithymia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexithymia) the inability to recognize ones own emotions or emotional state. This is very time limited not a high value or chronic version (link to be added here). Since this creates cognitive dissonance and shame the person will be very uncomfortable accordingly.
- mild but temporarily strong Anosognosia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anosognosia) the inability to recognize a physological condition one has.
- Confabulation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confabulation sometimes encouraged by friends who disliked/misunderstood/felt disrespected by that person.
- So much shame that narcissistic amnesia even among people who are not narcissists kicks in. In order to not process shame narcissistic behavior includes completely minimizing, forgetting or denying shameful acts someone does. One narcissistic behavior in a crisis does not make one a narcissist but briefly they are quacking like a duck and might as well be duck if only for a few seconds/minutes.
Hope this helps you understand why it can be so difficult as these conditions gang up.
What to do to avoid it?
This is a bitter pill to swallow
- Avoid this person temporarily.
- Do not engage with the person in this state and don’t engage them outside of this state, because the change is instance and scary because of the extreme cognitive dissonance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance) and shifts into crazy making territory. The reason you should not engage with intimates is because of major and minor mirroring (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirroring_%28psychology%29) that served you well to model good and productive behaviors but is indiscriminate in a crisis, and mirroring their behavior creates a dangerous feedback loop (http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Feedback_loop specifically negative feedback and downward spiral).
- Get a 3rd party to engage this person exclusively and stick to it. Any violation of this is high risk and can undo all progress within seconds.
What not to do?
There are some really bad things you can do:
- Shaming yourself.
- Shaming them.
- Shaming any past mutual activities. You are a pervert because you like ___. You made ___ mistakes which proves you are a bad person.
- Mind Reading intent with certainty. I know you “meant” this by this action.
- Confabulating past incidents with certainty.
- Collapsing several issues.
Stay away from this. Easier said than done.
How it makes everyone feel
Many people caught up in Collective Hysterics will use the defense of “I Do Not do that except with that [Person|Location|Situation]” rather than recognize they are doing it. This is textbook denial and comes from the cognitive dissonance of temporarily crazy statements and actions a normally sane person is making.
They do this as an ego defense because they have not fully understood a “Good Person can do bad things” so denial is necessary to not seem to be a bad person or sink into depression.