Created By: KnownUnknown on May 25, 2011 Last Edited By: KnownUnknown on March 5, 2012

Let It Out

Let yourself grieve for once.

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"If tears should fall from my eyes"
"Just think of all the wounds they could mend,"
"And just think of all the time I could spend"
"Just being vulnerable again."
-- "If I Could Feel," The Wiz

Alt Title: Cathartic Tears

A character has just gone through a traumatic, tragic event that might and maybe even does cause everyone else to break down, but instead of going into a Heroic B.S.O.D. or shedding a single tear they keep going without letting themselves feel for it. Cue drivenness, emotional stiltedness, veiled depression, and all sorts of complexes as a result.

Another character will often comment that the character is suffering because they are "not allowing themselves to cry," and "it's not healthy." Expect the non-griever to brush it off, but for it to press on them more and more, all leading up to this moment:

Sometimes by the prompting one someone who cares, sometimes on their own, in the midst of danger or before/after what must be done is done, they finally take a moment to finally let themselves feel, acknowledge, and cry, sometimes onto another loved one who helps them through the pain.

After this moment, expect the character to reappear more centered, more in control in themselves, and all around better for the ware.

Expect these to be Tear Jerkers or Crowning Moments Of Heartwarming. Occasionally done by way of Cry into Chest or Manly Tears. Can result in a Not So Stoic situation, but generally not, as the character isn't stoic but repressed.

Seen It a Million Times, but irritatingly enough I can see the trope clearly but can't really think of more than one example. Sorry...
  • Batman prompts Commissioner Gordon to do this after the Joker kidnaps him in The Killing Joke. The guy has a lot in the way of traumatic experience.
    • Batman generally does this for anyone he cares about who he knows isn't dealing with something properly - while not allowing himself to fully do so: he believes if he truly grieves it will lead to forgiveness, and then his dedication would falter. However, he doesn't want anyone else to end up like he thinks he needs to be, so he encourages others to do what he can't.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • May 25, 2011
    Happens near the end of Nanoha As supplemental manga, when Nanoha and Fate tell Hayate that it's OK to cry for Reinforce Eins when it's just the three of them there. She does.
  • May 25, 2011
    A short piece written by Christopher Durang that aired on a TV special starring Carol Burnett and Robin Williams featured Carol as a woman at her husband's funeral. Robin tries to get her to "keen" with him. [1]
  • May 25, 2011
    • During the final battle of the Land of Waves arc against Zabuza and Haku in Naruto after Sasuke's apparent death at their hands, the bridge-builder tells Sakura that it's okay to cry, even though it's something that her training has taught her to avoid.
    • In the last few episodes of the Angelic Layer anime, when Misaki and her mother finally reunite, they both start crying simultaneously over the pain of not seeing each other.

    This also seems like a trope that would need a spoiler warning since so much usually hinges on them, but that's just my opinion.
  • May 25, 2011
  • May 25, 2011
  • May 26, 2011
    • The Simpsons: Bart's new teacher is the first teacher who ever "got" Homer, and Homer starts bawling.
      Teacher: Let it out, let it out.
    But Homer just keeps going
    Teacher: Keep it in, keep it in.
  • May 28, 2011
    I do think this looks like Not So Stoic.
  • May 31, 2011
    Nah, for two reasons.

    • 1) Not So Stoic is when The Stoic is shown to lose their composure. The character here doesn't have to be The Stoic, and, in fact, the point is that they usually aren't, and that in suddenly refusing to react they're hurting themselves.
    • 2) The character here doesn't have to be acting stoically at all - more that they have to be repressing grief or a reaction to a traumatic event. They could be acting oddly cheerfully, or even falsely acting as though nothing is wrong at all and acting the way they usually do. That, and even if they were acting distantly or without feeling, that isn't really the same as stoicism.
      • b) In short, this trope is about refusal/lack of acknowledgement, not stoicism
  • March 4, 2012
  • March 4, 2012
    Can also be subverted when the character who's not visibly mourning is doing so because they genuinely don't feel any grief or upset about the event the other person thinks they're repressing.
  • March 5, 2012