Created By: TitoMosquito on November 4, 2011 Last Edited By: Dravencour on March 18, 2016

Abusive Parent Enabler

A kid is abused by one parent, while the other does nothing to stop it.

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Trope
An Abusive Parent (usually the father) is beating up their child, while the other parent (usually the mother) just stands there and watches.

There are two reasons why:
  1. They're afraid that they'll get beaten too, or aren't strong enough to stop it.
  2. They're apathetic. While they might be afraid to get hit, the real reason is because they don't care about their child either.

Those who stand by often will feel Survivor Guilt.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Fruits Basket, Yuki's brother Ayame turns away as their mother slaps Yuki and yells at him.

Film
  • In the Bollywood movie Patiala House, the father forbids his son from playing cricket for England while the mother looks on
  • V for Vendetta. In Valerie's story, as she reveals her homosexuality to her parents, her dad rambles and her mom "said nothing".

Literature
  • In A Child Called "It", Pelzer talks about how his brothers and father never offered any help to get him out of the situation he was in with his horrible mother. Eventually, his father couldn't take the stress of knowing what was happening anymore and simply left. Despite clear warning signs, no one at the schools helped either for many years.
  • In Harry Potter, Snape's father abused him, but his mother didn't do anything to stop it- Your Mileage May Vary on whether this was because she was depressed, afraid, or just didn't love him.
  • Terri Windling's The Armless Maiden: And Other Tales for Childhood's Survivors is a collection of short stories about child abuse, as framed through fairy tales. There are several examples, including a story about her own younger brother who was too small to prevent her abuse and had Repressed Memories of it.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Supernatural episode "Nightmare", while one of the Special Children Max is physically abused by his dad and uncle, his step-mother just stands and watches. When Max calls her out on this, she's just indifferent about it. However, she may have regretted it in the end, because she starts breaking down for losing her family (Max killed his dad and uncle with his powers, then shot himself).
  • In Burn Notice, Michael's mother was pretty much this way in relation to his father abusing them, and it doesn't help that early on, she's deeply in denial about how bad Michael's father was.

Western Animation

Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • November 6, 2011
    TechUnadept
    Death from Family Guy, on not wanting to carry on the family buisiness "Dad started yelling 'I have no son! I have no son!' and mom... mom just stood there".
  • November 6, 2011
    MorganWick
    Past-tense makes this title look like a line of dialogue, but I don't know what a better title would be.
  • November 6, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    Something along the lines of Inactive Non Abuser? (I know it's bad. I'm terrible at titles. I'm just batting around ideas).

    • In A Child Called It, Pelzer talks about how his brothers and father never offered any help to get him out of the situation he was in with his horrible mother. Eventually, his father couldn't take the stress of knowing what was happening anymore and simply left. Despite clear warning signs, no one at the schools helped either for many years.

    Dunno if that should be Real Life or Literature. It's a non-fiction novel.
  • November 6, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    • In a bollywood movie, Patiala House, the father forbids his son from playing cricket for England while the mother looks on.
  • November 7, 2011
    CompletelyDifferent
    • In Harry Potter, Snape's father abused him, but his mother didn't do anything to stop it- Your Mileage May Vary on whether this was because she was depressed, afraid, or just didn't love him.
  • November 7, 2011
    Duncan
    Those who stand by often will feel Survivor Guilt.

    Terri Windling's The Armless Maiden: And Other Tales for Childhood's Survivors is a collection of short stories about child abuse, as framed through fairy tales. There are several examples, including a story about her own younger brother who was too small to prevent her abuse and had Repressed Memories of it.
  • November 7, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
  • November 7, 2011
    Mith4
    V for Vendetta: in Valerie's story, as she reveals her homosexuality to her parents, her dad rambles and her mom "said nothing".

    Seconding "Abusive Parent Enabler". Or something like "silent abuse bystander".
  • March 19, 2012
    animeg3282
    In Fruits Basket, Yuki's brother Ayame turns away as their mother slaps Yuki and yells at him.
  • March 19, 2012
    Jordan
    In Burn Notice, Michael's mother was pretty much this way in relation to his father abusing them, and it doesn't help that early on, she's deeply in denial about how bad Michael's father was.
  • June 20, 2012
    captainsandwich
    the name is a lot more vague than the trope, which i feel is unusually specific. try and come up with a name with that is more specific.
  • December 12, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Sorted examples by media and added media section titles.
      • Namespaced and italicized work names.
      • Blue Linked and capitalized (bollywood).

    Since they didn't have Namespaces, I assumed that the Harry Potter example was Literature and the V For Vendetta example was Film.
  • December 12, 2014
    SvartiKotturinn
    There was a notorious case in Israel in which one of the leaders of the Haredi burqa sect, Bruria Keren, was revealed to be very abusive towards her children. Keren was dubbed 'Taliban Mother' on the Israeli media, and the sect was dubbed 'the Taliban Women'. One of her sons was interviewed after her conviction about the case, and he said that he was not resentful towards her as she was clearly mentally ill, but was deeply resentful of his father, who never did anything about it.
  • December 16, 2014
    Pichu-kun
  • December 16, 2014
    DAN004
  • March 8, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    Sub-trope?
  • March 8, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ perhaps
  • March 9, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    Do family members allowing abuse done by non-relatives count?

    • The rest of The Simpsons family continuously allows Homer to strangle Bart. It's not treated too seriously.
    • Jamie's mother in Khaos Komix is more concerned with her own reputation than bringing the man who sexually abused her son as a child to justice.
  • March 10, 2016
    qazwsx
    • Once Upon A Time: Regina's mother emotional (and on at least one occasion physically) abused her, and her weak-willed father was too cowed by his wife to make her stop. That said, her father did try to support and protect her in whatever ways he could.
  • March 9, 2016
    DAN004
    ^^ They should, really.

    Title would be Parent-Enabled Child Abuse or something like that.
  • March 11, 2016
    Reflextion
    We've also had Useless Bystander Parent YKTTW'd and launched sometime after this one was proposed and fell by the wayside.
  • March 11, 2016
    DAN004
    What would you guys think if this is broadened to Abuse Enabler?
  • March 18, 2016
    randomtroper89
    Would both parents not stopping a Big Brother Bully count?
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