The Year of Magical Thinking

Didion, Joan

Knopf, 2005

pp. 192 - 193

People in grief “think a great deal about self-pity. We worry it, dread it, scourge our thinking for signs of it. We fear that our actions will reveal the condition tellingly described as ‘dwelling on it.’ We understand the aversion most of us have to ‘dwelling on it.’ Visible mourning reminds us of death, which is construed as unnatural, a failure to manage the situation. ‘A single person is missing for you and the whole world is empty.'” (Phillipe Aries ) He adds, “‘but one no longer has the right to say so aloud.’ . . . We feel selfish for feeling bad. ‘Self-pity is feeling sorry for yourself, self-pity is thumb-sucking, self-pity is boo-hoo poor me, self-pity is the condition in which those feeling sorry for themselves indulge, or even wallow. It’s a ‘universally reviled character defect.’”