Created By: Nightraid on December 26, 2011 Last Edited By: Nightraid on December 28, 2011

Snapped To Survive

A character loses his mind in a way that helps him stay alive

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The human mind is a wondrous thing. It's capable of adjusting to many things, even extreme situations. However, when the pressure becomes to great it can break. This trope is for those cases where a character loses his mind in a way that helps him deal with his hardships. Just hardening in response to misfortune isn't enough. The character must actually have lost his mind to some degree to qualify for this trope.

Related to Crazy Survivalist and Power Born Ofmadness. See Heroic Safe Mode for a specific kind of madness that helps a character survive sticky situations.

This Trope contains spoilers. proceed with caution.

Needs More Examples


Anime and Manga:
  • Hansel and Gretel from Black Lagoon snapped at some point during the time when they were forced to take part in pedophilic Snuff Films where they were alternatively raped or forced to kill other children their age to avoid being killed themselves. At some point they broke and began to love killing in general, becoming hired guns for the guys in charge.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • December 26, 2011
    • Web Comics: Happens in Ian Samson's one-off Idle Minds. The heroine volunteers to be turned into a statue so she can spy on the Big Bad, but starts going slightly crazy while waiting helplessly for his arrival. Then, after he does arrive, she believes she's missed the vital information she was waiting for in the first place, and that drives her completely crazy, until an imaginary friend she created in her earlier delusions drags her back to sanity and makes her realize she hasn't failed after all.
  • December 26, 2011
    • In one of the later Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy books, near the beginning, Arthur Dent (trapped alone in prehistoric times after the events of the previous book) decides to go mad...only for Ford Prefect to turn up and say he already tried it, but it doesn't really work.
  • December 26, 2011
    • In The Long Walk, every Walker who lives long enough for it has a Sanity Slippage to the point where each one of them becomes the Determinator to the extreme. With having to walk continuously on threat of death if they stop for any reason, going insane, and having to walk continuously even if they're ill, you'd think that any of them would decide to simply give up sooner rather than agonizingly later. Given the nature of the Walk, this works in the favor of the one Walker who does win.
  • December 27, 2011
  • December 27, 2011
    Perhaps now would be a good moment to start looking for pictures. Any suggestions?
  • December 27, 2011
    Sounds like a subtrope of Power Born Of Madness
  • December 27, 2011
    In one episode of Star Trek Enterprise Dr. Phlox mentioned that his people believe that situation-based insanity was a healthy thing for the mind, allowing you to compensate for what is going on. In a later episode Phlox was forced to maintain the ship while the crew stayed in stasis pods and he slowly went crazy, but by the end of the episode it showed that his dillusions were what gave him the direction to save the ship.
  • December 27, 2011
    Isn't going insane considered the standard response for the human brain to cope with encounters with an Eldritch Abomination and such, at least as far as the Cthulhu Mythos is concerned?
  • December 27, 2011
    What level of insanity are we talking about here?
  • December 27, 2011
    A noticeable level of madness. Even if the character isn't AX Crazy, it still has to influence his behaviour in some way that helps him survive.
  • December 27, 2011
    Cillian Murphy's character in 28DaysLater snaps into a dissonantly serene orgy of violence in order to save himself and his friends that were kidnapped by the military.
  • December 27, 2011
    Isn't this part of Harley Quinn's backstory?
  • December 27, 2011
    @Sheba: Not exactly...

    Harley Quinn's backstory from Batman The Animated Series started out with her as a psychologist being assigned to the Joker. He manipulated her until she fell in love with him, and willingly chose the Harley Quinn identity. She is often saner when she's around Poison Ivy (for some values of saner), but behaves like an abused spouse when it comes to the Joker. That's why she has a cycle of leaving him and running back to him.

    In the comics, they augmented it to her being something of a child prodigy who was good enough to get what she wanted, and used sex as a weapon to get what she wanted the rest of the time. And the Joker was the first person who didn't fall for her wiles, which contributed to her falling in love with him.

  • December 27, 2011
    Though now you bring the subject up, Batman himself is sometimes this, Depending On The Writer.
  • December 27, 2011
  • December 28, 2011
    In Happy Tree Friends, Flippy is shown to have snapped and developed an Ax Crazy Split Personality capable of defeating the Tiger Soldiers in "Operation: Tiger Bomb".