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  1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Need a word for the catharsis of going over and over something in your head

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by GingerCoffee, Aug 10, 2015.

    My character is alone talking to herself, saying the things she wished she had said but didn't have the courage to. I do it all the time myself, only it isn't a lack of courage so much as I think of the things I wished I'd have said that I didn't say at the time.

    I know this exercise in magical thinking has sone therapeutic value. In grief counseling when the person says, "if only X had happened, if only I was there sooner, if only ..." it's part of the coping mechanism when one is grieving.

    So my character gets interrupted in her mental exercise and I had written:

    Seeing a lumpsucker in my trap ended the mental catharsis.
    But the critique group thought catharsis was the wrong word and I'm having trouble coming up with another one that works.
     
  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Mobius loop.
     
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  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Humm. I can't think up a word off the top of my head, but I agree that catharsis isn't it. Catharsis implies a huge release, an END:


    Perhaps what your character is searching for is catharsis, but hasn't reached it yet?

    Seeing a lumpsucker in my trap ended (stalled) my quest for catharsis.
     
  4. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Endless recriminations.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    Hmmm, futile and endless, you might be on to something there.

    Seeing a lumpsucker in my trap ended the futile repetition.
    Still not quite right. Perhaps if I changed 'ended' to 'stopped' so I could say endless repetition?

    Seeing a lumpsucker in my trap stopped the endless repetition.
    Still not quite right. The problem is the reader doesn't know yet she does this over and over. I've only told them she said what she wished she'd said the one time.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    Seeing a lumpsucker in my trap ended the futile exercise of ‘if only’.
     
  7. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Catharsis is the process whereby you remove the thing.

    What you are describing here sounds more like stewing on something or ruminating.

    Seeing a lumpsucker in my trap stopped the futile rumination.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumination_(psychology)
    Rumination is the compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one's distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions.

    ETA: rumination may be a similar mechanism but different focus.
     
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  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    What does the mental catharsis represent? Maybe explore it more in a sentence rather than a phrase. Sometimes when I can't find a word to sum something up it's because it can't be summed up in a couple words it needs its own thought or sentence.
     
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  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Are you talking about the catharsis of finally reaching the solution/conclusion? Joyous epiphany?

    EDIT: You could always describe it, given the context, as 'mental flogging'.
     
  10. Aaron DC
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    mental flagellation :D
     
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  11. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    riggaremeax ... I can't figure out how to spell it but you know what I am talking about.
     
  12. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    nfi
     
  13. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    nfi?
     
  14. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    nfi = no fucking idea what you're talking about. nada. zip. zilch.
     
  15. Ms. DiAnonyma
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    Do you mean rigmarole? Doesn't seem quite the right word...

    Maybe like some sort of anti-mantra?
     
  16. Lewdog
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    That's the word. I would think that the thought of rethinking ones thoughts over and over despite not being able to change what happened would fit rigmarole perfectly.
     
  17. Ms. DiAnonyma
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    Ms. DiAnonyma Active Member

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    Probably makes more sense with a different definition, but the two I got were: "a lengthy and complicated procedure", and "a long, rambling story or statement", supposedly b/c of some legal stuff... Neat word, though.
     
  18. Scrib
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    Scrib Active Member

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    self-reproaching ?
     
  19. uncephalized
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    uncephalized Active Member

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    Seeing a lumpsucker in my trap...

    cut short the self-recriminating litany?

    forestalled my endless mantra of blame?

    Dunno, that's a tough one.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There're some really intriguing suggestions in this thread, so thanks everyone. My character is 17 so I need to keep that in mind with my word choices.

    And the key emotion is, via daydreaming she imagines herself saying what she didn't say at the time.
     
  21. Scrib
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    (futile) wishful thinking
    if-onlys works too
     
  22. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Well, it doesn't sound like a catharsis because she hasn't accepted or released anything.

    There is a lot of things we do before we accept a fate: debate, ruminate, ponder, muse, brood, deliberate, reflect, etc.
     
  23. AspiringNovelist
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    Hmmm.... "Seeing a lumpsucker in my trap ended the mental catharsis."

    Well ,if you're kind of ticked off when doing all this thinking, maybe mental stewing.
    If you're relaxing, then maybe meditation.
    Maybe rewrite to say something like "...made me take off my thinking cap."
    Maybe reference it to the 'weight' of thoughts.
    Maybe call it brainwork.
    From just the description you gave it really sound like you're 'reflecting'
     
  24. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    This doesn't sound like an emotion? more like an action. It sounds like visualisation to me.
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Am I the only one that goes over some negative interaction day-dreaming a scenario where I said something I would say if I had it to do over again?

    The emotion is something akin to regret colored with just a tint of low self-esteem, but you feel better about yourself if in your daydream things went better than they had.
     

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