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Can't Take Criticism
A character hates being criticized for his wrongs.


(permanent link) added: 2013-05-14 07:42:35 sponsor: 313Bluestreak (last reply: 2013-06-22 11:56:13)

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"A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent."
--Proverbs 15:5, King James Version

It's hard to listen to criticism, whether it's being put down in such a blunt manner because we aren't doing certain things correctly or if it's being criticized for our bad decisions, especially if it's moral. Instead of taking heed to it, some would breakdown miserably and are unable or unwilling to make themselves better. They are some would go as far as to become unexpectedly enraged by it.

This character hates being criticized in every way possible. At best, he often takes criticism as an insult more than a means of guidance or maybe the criticism was so unpleasant and harsh for him to handle. At worst, he just naturally hates criticism period and would rather listen to something he wants to hear. Even a more gentle criticism will cause the character to dish out Disproportionate Retribution. Not even a Compassionate Critic can deal with this character.

In moral situations, a character who resents being rebuked for taking a dark turn (usually a hero bordering to Anti-Hero territory) can make him worse than ever. If the character is a villain, showing displeasure in criticism for his wickedness can demonstrate how they cannot comprehend good, although justifiably, Good Is Not Nice. This can be seen as a character getting revenge on those who had a justifiable reason to criticize them, which makes them petty.

This encompasses narcissistic characters like the Insufferable Genius, Entitled Bastard, and The Prima Donna. It is also the hallmark of a Small Name, Big Ego character.

Compare Minor Insult Meltdown if they are shaken by the criticism instead of being enraged. Often overlaps into With Due Respect. The trademark method of ensuring a Bad Boss will be set on destroying you is to commit this trope. Can be a response to a Jerkass who actually is right for once. Contrast Heroic Self-Deprecation. This can be often Truth in Television.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it is implied that Isabel the Artist Witch was once a magical girl who didn't like criticism. Like what her card description says, "In order to defeat this Witch, remember to bring a critic."

Film
  • In Theatre of Blood Vincent Price plays an actor who kills the critics who gave him bad reviews, each murder in the theme of a Shakespeare play he was in which the reviewer panned.

Literature
  • In The Railway Series, The Fat Controller threatens to paint James blue if he doesn't stop misbehaving. Upon hearing this, James was angry and banged the coaches so hard that he made a hole in one of their lead pipes, which requires a passenger's bootlace to fix it.

Live-Action TV
  • Kitchen Nightmares has owners in this trope frequently when Ramsey tries to tell them their faults.
    • In the final episode of the 6th US has Gordon Ramsey actually give up on the owners of Amy's Baking Company, because they were unwilling to listen. This is notable because this is the first episode he has ever done this.
  • Revolution: General Monroe and Tom Neville have shown more than once that they respond very poorly to criticism. The sort of response that involves attacking or killing the critic.
  • A lot of the cast in The Big Bang Theory has this to some degree, but Sheldon Cooper absolutely cannot abide it. When Stephen Hawking corrects his work, it's like a Logic Bomb: he can't accept that he made an elementary mistake, but he can't contradict the great Stephen Hawking... so he faints.

Religion
  • The Bible: The Book of Proverbs has some verses that imply that those who resent reproof and correction are labeled as fools in contrast to those who are wise (see page quote above). It also insists that we should avoid this trope and just take heed to the criticism.

Western Animation
  • The reason the main character was put in charge of the company's new project in the Dilbert Animated Adaptation is because he dared to suggest the Pointy-Haired Boss got the steps to making it mixed up on the slideshow (whether or not he did is undetermined, but either way he is vehement the name is the first and most important part of the project).
    • Here's another example from the comic series:
      Catbert: So you want a job here, Tubby.
      Recruit: It's Toby.
      Catbert: Did you just correct me?
      Recruit: Er...
      Catbert: I ALONE WILL DETERMINE YOUR NAME!!! ...Now what is your name?
      Recruit: Tubby.
  • In an episode of Spongebob Squarepants during his review at work, Spongebob insists on being given some form of critism to improve upon. Eventually, despite being assured he is doing perfectly, his boss relents and suggests to put less sauce in the burgers, leaving Spongebob in a deranged whimpering BSOD.
  • An episode of American Dad! revolves around Stan deporting his entire neighbourhood (including his own family) because he heard them criticizing him.
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