->''"Every time I operate I always question myself. Have I made a mistake? Can I pull this off? Will there be any unforeseen complications? I'm always nervous. The patient's life is in my hands...In my hands. How the hell do you expect me to stay calm?!"''
-->-- '''Dr. Tenma''', ''Anime/{{Monster}}''

Medical professionals and others who work with human life and death day in and day out always seem notably emotional, sometimes to the point of breakdown.

While in reality, people might have some problems the first few times, they quickly grow used to what is, after all, part of their profession. For any given person or family, the sudden death of a loved one can be a traumatic and tragic event, but for the people who see it on a regular basis it doesn't have the same impact. Get a bunch of paramedics, firefighters or other first responders together in a room relaxing and inevitably you'll eventually get morbid jokes, [[BlackHumor pitch-black humor]], and stories of "good runs" where "good" would be defined by the average civilian as "scene from a horror movie". But studio execs assume that all ViewersAreMorons and if we'd see our heroes show even the slightest callousness, we would immediately reject them as inhuman monsters.

Even if the characters are normally professional (such as in police procedurals, where someone dies horribly in every episode), you can expect to see tears and barely controlled rage if children are involved. (Though, even for the real ones, there's that occasional deader that really rips them up, and this is often a child. Especially if the real worker has children of their own.)

Typically, only TheCoroner is allowed to face such things like gruesome death dispassionately as a professional who has seen the most hideous things done to a human body before and is long past being bothered by it.

The trope is named for the phrase that will be uttered to the NaiveNewcomer who is experiencing this kind of sorrow for the first time. It ''can'' be TruthInTelevision, as even the most jaded of these people probably have a story of a time when they'd been at the job for a while and something about a scene they were called to hit them incredibly hard. Nine times out of ten, it involves children or infants.

It's also worth pointing out that [[ShellShockedVeteran Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder]] exists in every job where workers are asked to internalize what are, after all, natural emotions; if the viewer [[AndThatsTerrible became as inured to violence and death]] as real workers become on repeat viewing, they would [[RuleOfEmpathy lose emotional connection]], decide [[DoNotDoThisCoolThing it wasn't exciting enough]] and [[HarsherInHindsight stop watching]]. Which, of course, never happens.

Contrast with the more [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism cynical]] ItGetsEasier and GainingTheWillToKill.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''GundamSEED'':
** Subverted when Andrew Waltfeld admits that he was sick after the first time he killed in battle, but that eventually [[ItGetsEasier he got used it it]]. Granted, although Waltfeld is by this point a protagonist, the series does not present it as a positive thing.
** Subverted by [[TheAce Mu La Flaga]], who displays a thick-skinned attitude towards combat. At one point, after a town is razed for supporting LaResistance, he tells its newly-homeless citizens (correctly, but [[{{Jerkass}} without sensitivity]]) that the enemy commander was very kind to give them the chance to evacuate first and that they are being let off lightly.
** On the other end of the scale, [[TheMessiah Kira]] spends a good portion of the first series in various stages of HeroicBSOD [[strike:because of]] trying to ''avoid'' this trope, because he knows he's the OnlyOne who can protect the [[CoolShip Archangel]].
* Dr. Tenma from ''Anime/{{Monster}}'' [[TheMessiah appears to be physically incapable of letting anyone die on his watch]]. Even when the patient in question has handcuffed him and is currently ''threatening to shoot him'' if he so much as takes another step closer.
* ''Manga/BlackJack'' does not handle the death of his patients well. And by "not well", we mean that [[DrJerk someone might get sucker-punched]].
* In ''MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaSoundStageX'', this was a discussion that Subaru had with her [[EmergencyServices Special Rescue Team]] Commander after she had watched a person she was trying to save commit suicide ([[spoiler: or more specifically, [[PeoplePuppet was mind-controlled to suicide]]]]) right in front of her. They talk about how hard it is to see someone die and how they could still see the people they failed to save in their dreams. Then Subaru's superior breaks the tension by saying how idiots such as them shouldn't be having introspective conversations like these and the two share a slight chuckle. ItGetsEasier and It Never Gets Any Easier are both present in TheVerse: everybody normally uses magical guns set to non-lethal - even if the blast had to go through half a warship to hit it's target, it will still be a NonLethalKO, thus ensuring that fighting someone ''is'' psychologically easy right from the start, but reaction to seeing anyone actually die for any reason is no different from non-combatant's reaction.
* In ''Anime/IlSolePenetraLeIllusioni'' this is said word for word, regarding the fact that the heroes have to kill the victims of possession.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* In Chapter 1 of ComicBook/AllFallDown, at a hospital for superheroes, Dr. Young finds himself overwhelmed by the sheer number of injured coming in at once.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* Krzysztof Kieslowski's ''AShortFilmAboutKilling'' from his ''Dekalog'', or series on the Ten Commandments. A young advocate in Poland is representing a murderer, whom the audience have seen on camera murder a taxi driver. The lawyer sees his client hang (the death penalty remained in force in Poland until the end of the communist era), with the last shot showing his anguished face and his senior partner remarking that "today, you have become a man".
* The first ''Film/XMen1'' film has a rare physical version:
--> '''Rogue''': When they [the claws] come out... does it hurt?
--> '''Wolverine''': Every time.
* ''Film/TheProfessional'' features a LittleMissBadass who trains to become a killer to avenge her family.
--> '''Mathilda:''' Is life always this hard, or is it just when you're a kid?
--> '''Leon:''' Always like this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* When an officer dies under Wedge's command in the ExpandedUniverse novel ''[[XWingSeries Wraith Squadron]]'', he finds it hard to write the letter informing next of kin. (That the next of kin is in this case his supreme commander probably makes it a bit more difficult.) However, while it takes him all night to word it properly, and he doesn't have much time for sleep, he's ''able'' to sleep for the hour or so, and is faintly proud that it ''isn't'' any easier than it was the first time he had to do it. It's also come up that since he half expects new pilots to die soon, he doesn't let himself get to know most of them, even keeping to a LastNameBasis.
* The trope is discussed in the first Stackpole novel, at a funeral for a pilot killed in her sleep by Imperial commandoes:
--> "It never gets any easier, does it?"
--> "No, and it never should. Because if it ever does, [[WeHaveReserves we've become]] [[TheEmpire the enemy]]."
* In ''{{The Saga of Darren Shan}}'' the fact that it ''does'' get easier is included as a plot point. The first time Darren kills a vampaneze in combat, he is horrified to see him slowly die in front of him, and cries over his body. After several years of bloody war against the vampaneze, he finds that he barely feels anything when he needs to fight and kill. [[spoiler: Evanna later cites this as a reason Darren will eventually become "The Lord of the Shadows" and destroy the world.]]
* Steven Brust and Emma Bull's ''Freedom & Necessity'': James Cobham's letter of 27 October, and then Susan Voight's journal entries of 30 November and 1 December. (It would take far too long to explain the combination of "you get used to it", "you never get used to it", and "I am used to it but ''you'' are not allowed to get used to it".)
* Happens in ''[[TortallUniverse Squire]]'' by TamoraPierce, after Kel is {{Squick}}ed out by the executions she had to witness. Probably a way of further establishing the main characters as heroic, because Pierce has a tendency of giving her villains a complete and utter disregard for human life.
* Literature/MaryRussell and Holmes discuss this after the end of her first case in ''The Beekeeper's Apprentice''. Holmes admits that this is the source of his addiction to cocaine.
* Although Franchise/JamesBond in the movies follows the It Gets Easier path, in Ian Fleming's original novels, there are numerous occasions in which Bond makes it clear that killing people, even in self defence, never gets easier for him. In the original ''Literature/{{Goldfinger}}'' novel, for one example, he mopes over having to kill a thug, and in ''Literature/DiamondsAreForever'', Bond momentarily imagines a corpse of a man he just killed confronting Bond with the permanence of his actions.
* In the {{Warcraft}} novel, ''Literature/TidesOfWar'', Jaina tells her apprentice Kinnidy, [[BreakTheCutie distraught after seeing war for the first time]], that war is always difficult to bear, but after a while, it becomes more familiar and you learn to move on. [[spoiler:She's consumeed by grief and rage after Theramore's destruction, and loses sight of this for a while, but comes to her senses]].
-->''"It hurts, every time. But the... unfamiliarity of it goes away, and you learn that you can go on. That those you've lost would ''want'' you to go on. You'll remember how to laugh and be thankful and enjoy life. But you won't ever forget."''
* [[TheMedic Kaladin]] in ''Literature/TheWayOfKings''. A combination of this and SamaritanSyndrome nearly drive him over the DespairEventHorizon.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Seen on ''Series/{{House}}''.
** For instance, very sensitive Doctor Allison Cameron had to tell parents that their baby died. It was the first patient of House's team that died in the series. She literally couldnt do it and broke down.
** Dr. Foreman considers quitting his job and eventually does because a patient died because the team misdiagnosed her. House is disappointed, but felt he and the team did the right thing. Foreman felt that it was House's methods that killed the patient, and eventually quit because he "didn't want to be like House".
** The cynical and amoral House repeats over and over that doctors will see a patient die every now and then and they just have to live with it - to the point that he even uses it as a reason to fire Dr. Amber "Cutthroat Bitch" Volakis, because House doesn't see Amber as an individual who could accept losing. He isn't ''completely'' immune, too, given his obsession with saving patients ("Control"), getting upset when he seems to be failing ("Autopsy"), brooding years later over hard cases ("All In")... In these instances, it fits his "obsessive-must-be-proven-right" character.
* The downright worst perpetrator seems to be ''Series/GreysAnatomy''. In one episode, an experienced doctor ordered one of the newbies to watch a premature baby in an incubator overnight. The exhausted doctor fell asleep, the baby died, and her supervisor explained she knew the baby would die and assigned her to watch it specifically so she could get used to patients dying.
* A short-lived medical drama ''{{Mercy}}''. It's a nurse's first day on the job, and her first assignment is to unplug a guy on life support. Striking is the cavalierness of which her supervising nurses treat the assignment.
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'':
** Mentioned often as half the stories have AnAesop that sometimes patients just die, and if you go into depression every time, you'll never get anything done. ** The only character who actually ''acts'' on this Aesop, though, is Dr. Kelso, but that's just because he has to keep himself together in order to effectively run the hospital. However, has stated that he doesn't ''want'' to be one of the doctors that just doesn't care anymore. One of the reasons he respects Dr. Cox so much is because when he loses a patient, it still hits him hard (granted Dr. Cox was responsible for the deaths of three patients all in one day. That kind of thing can [[HeroicBSOD take a toll on your psyche]].)
** Kelso isn't immune either. The purpose of the episode "My Jiggly Ball" seems to have been to [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruct]] the 'heartless administrator' stock character by showing that he isn't obsessed with money because he wants to be, he's obsessed because he ''has'' to be.
* Subverted in the first episode of ''Cardiac Arrest'' (a series written by an actual ex-doctor) in which a junior doctor, after telling a patient's family that he has passed away, is told by his boss "Soon you'll be worried about how ''little'' this affects you".
* Subverted on ''Series/WithoutATrace'', a show about an FBI unit looking for missing people; when asked if it gets any easier, Jack Malone answers, "Unfortunately, yes."
* ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' has this trope in an awkward position, as children get horribly abused and, sometimes, killed in every episode. Bouts of angsty rage are quite common, though; Stabler on occasion wonders whether he can keep doing his job. Considering that it's mentioned ''in the show'' that the average time in the department for an SVU detective is two years, and the detectives in the show have been on the job for as much as ''eight'', it's no surprise that they're breaking down rather spectacularly at times. In fact, the show can be a lesson in why detectives rotate out of that position after two years: if they don't, they start to go native.
* ''Series/ThirdWatch'':
** Once the senior paramedic Doc eventually has a mental breakdown.
** Subverted with Carlos. After his first day on the job, Doc assumes he's having trouble dealing with everything they went through and tells him that all the pain and suffering "gets to you". Carlos says that it didn't get to him at all and that he felt no emotional connection to their patients. Carlos is a bit of a {{Jerkass}}, but Doc eventually realizes that this makes him an excellent paramedic since he can look at a situation objectively.
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'':
** It features Ducky, a gentlemanly coroner who is positively delighted with his trade and Abby, a PerkyGoth [[TheLabRat Lab Rat]] who isn't squeamish, either. Ducky does play this trope straight with one specific type of victim: colleagues. He invokes this trope to his assistant Mr. Palmer, who's normally as unfazed by the gruesome nature of their work as he is, the first time he has to autopsy an NCIS agent [[spoiler: actually Director Shepard]] and the boy is visibly shaken. Ducky seems to be deliberately trying to avert this trope in himself - he talks to the corpses, making sure to give them their dignity instead of dehumanizing them so that he can examine the absolutely staggering number of corpses the MCU seems to deal with and not suffer a nervous breakdown.
** [=McGee's=] shocked reaction to a body in a suitcase... Not because it's a dead guy thrown in a dumpster, but because he just bought that exact model of suitcase, and the seam on this one is ripped. After another agent points out what he just said, [=McGee=] wonders if maybe he's been doing this job for too long.
** Ziva is a walking aversion of the trope. In the season 3 episode "Jeopardy," when a perp drops dead while in her custody, Ziva is unbothered by his death and confident that her actions didn't cause it, and simply wants to know when she can get back to work. Ziva was trained from birth to kill, but not to question. Years later when she kills a serial killer who nearly killed her, she breaks down; she had come literally within a millimeter of death, and started doubting herself for the first time. And then, a year or so after that, she resigns herself to death, only to be rescued by the last person she expected; afterward she changes loyalties (from an external perspective), and her co-workers comment on how relatively subdued she has become.
* Parodied on ''ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'', where (in a ridiculously simplified parody of medical programmes) a doctor pulls off a plaster and says 'That Never Gets Any Easier'.
* Parodied and referenced in the ''Series/{{Monk}}'' episode "Mr. Monk Stays in Bed", when Randy tells Natalie that one gets used to seeing murder victims while working on the police force, especially if one is his rank (a lieutenant). He then adds that "getting used to it" is the worst part of the job, the part he never gets used to.
* A variant is used in ''Series/{{Mash}}'' when Father Mulcahy insist on going to the front for an errand. When there, the battalion aid station is shelled and Mulcahy asks a soldier how does one get used to it. The soldier wryly responds, "You get used to never getting used to it."
* Reversed the first time Sam Beckett killed a man on ''Series/QuantumLeap''. The man in question is a former French Resistance fighter who is said to have killed ''his own mother'' during the Second World War. After a scuffle, Sam backs away holding a bloodied knife as the man smiles up at him knowingly, whispers 'The next time, it will be easier' and dies.
* The show bible for ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' describes [[TheMcCoy Dr. "Bones" McCoy]] as this type of character, even though he is fully aware that most of his patients may be inevitably doomed, sooner or later, to the fate of all {{Red Shirt}}s.
* Averted in ''Series/{{CSI}}'' where Grissom always cracks a [[QuipToBlack grim joke]] at a crime scene. And many viewers think he's cool for it. Very occasionally played straight in his case; as the trope description notes, it's usually something to do with kids...or when it affects his own team.
-->'''Grissom''': There's three things I got a real problem with: Guys that hit their wives, sexual assault on children, and the scum that deal death to kids.
* In an episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', Picard has to tell a boy that his mother was killed on an away mission, and Wesley asks how one gets used to doing that. Riker replies that you hope you never do.
* An example from the re-imagined ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'' series: in episode 2.09 "Final Cut", Dualla is asked whether it ever gets any easier. She replies that, in fact, "It gets harder." "It" in this case being protecting what's left of humanity from genocidal robots.
* In the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode ''Lie to Me'', after Buffy has just staked a former friend who had become a vampire:
-->'''Buffy:''' Does it ever get easy?
-->'''Giles:''' You mean life?
-->'''Buffy:''' Yeah? Does it get easy?
-->'''Giles:''' What do you want me to say?
-->'''Buffy:''' [[TitleDrop Lie to me.]]
-->'''Giles:''' Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.
-->'''Buffy:''' Liar.
* In ''Series/TheCloser'', Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson is going to tell a family that their child has died, and requests that Sgt Gabriel deliver the actual news, as part of his training (they are effectively a homicide squad, so he will be doing this a lot). As they pull up to the house, Johnson says to Gabriel, "Prepare to be the central character in the worst day of these people's lives".
* Not actually said on ''Series/CriminalMinds'', but seems to be present to an extent: all the team have had cases that bothered them more than usual, because the cases [[ItsPersonal somehow directly connected to them]], involved someone who reminds them of themselves, or were just that horrible.
* Averted in ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet''. The detectives are so used to dead bodies that seeing corpses has practically no effect on them and they're prone to gallows humour. This makes the cases that do stand out all the more powerful such as Adena Watson, or the shopkeeper murdered by Luther Mahoney. The more difficult aspects come from shooting people on the job or working cases where children are the victims.
* Parodied on ''Series/StrangersWithCandy'' when Jerri's father dies.
-->'''Doctor:''' This is the hardest part of my job. I've done it a thousand times and [[ItGetsEasier it just... keeps getting easier]]. [[ChunkySalsaRule What's left of your husband is dead.]]
* ''Series/{{Highlander}}'' has a variation, with Richie asking Duncan if it ever gets any easier for an immortal, referring to losing a loved one. Duncan replies that it doesn't.
* In the ''Series/BurnNotice'' episode "Dead or Alive", Michael soberly narrates over a scene of Sam telling an old friend's wife that the man is dead:
-->'''Michael''': You can work in the field your entire life, but telling people their loved ones are dead never gets easier. There's no training that makes it better, no technique that makes it smoother. You just get through it, however you can.
* Parodied on ''Series/ThirtyRock''. When [[BackAlleyDoctor Dr. Spaceman]] says, "This is hard to say," he means, "This is hard to pronounce."
-->"You have... ''[squints at paper]'' ...dee-AY-buh-tees?"
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': The Doctor never gets over the loss of the people that he's charged himself with protecting. He just buries it in his memories and goes on, presenting a cheerful face to the universe. Sometimes, after a particularly wrenching loss, he [[HeroicSafeMode withdraws into himself]] and decides that he will travel alone. This never lasts for long, because ''without'' [[MoralityChain a companion]], he becomes [[AGodAmI truly fearsome]].
* Played with in the first episode of ''{{Threshold}}''. After the group's first battle with an alien, Arthur retreats to a bar where Sean finds him. The academic civilian Arthur asks the seasoned government agent Sean if it gets easier to face those kinds of situations. Sean replies "Unfortunately, it does get easier."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:TabletopGames]]
* In PrincessTheHopeful , thanks to Sensitivity, it's nearly, if not outright impossible for a Princess to shield themselves from suffering they witness.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:VideoGames]]
* [[EldritchAbomination Flemeth]] paraphrases the trope in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', in regards to Hawke's upcoming trials and tribulations. And she's right.
* While a variation of this trope may seem to be played straight in the game ''VideoGame/BrothersInArms: Hell's Highway'', it can be excused on account ThatOtherWiki claims the Operation Market Garden that the game takes place in seems to be a rather big failure as there are around 18000 casualties or losses by the Allies' forces that you play versus the 8000 casualties by the Germans. ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Market_Garden see the proof here!]]) Operation Market Garden was, strategically speaking, a colossal failure, committing resources to a risky attack that failed within ''days'' and had to be defended for ''weeks'', requiring even more resources.
* Averted in ''Franchise/MetalGear'' as one of the major themes of the series. As Snake points out killing does get a lot easier the more you do it, but in his opinion that is one of the worst things about his job. It's also the reason he works alone and keeps doing the job he hates, so nobody else has to do it.
* Part of Luke's CharacterDevelopment in ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' comes from him slowly accepting the realities of- and getting used to- killing people in warfare. Though [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman he's fine with killing monsters]], when he first kills a human (accidentally, and in self-defence) he suffers a HeroicBSOD. Both Tear and Jade lecture him on how they don't enjoy killing humans, but as soldiers they ''have'' to kill for a greater cause: in this case, stopping a war that would kill millions. Even so, an extra scene with Jade near the end of the game reveals that Luke still "lay[s] awake, shaking" all night whenever he kills bandits or Oracle soldiers.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'':
** Mostly because he is at heart [[MartialPacifist a pacifist]]. While Zero has learned to deal with death over his career, X always feels grief and doubt about those who die in the Maverick Wars, even his own enemies. It's even be argued that he ''deliberately'' does this so he always has sympathy for the enemy because becoming callous is not the way to finding real peace. When he finally loses all sympathy centuries into the future, he retires.
** Zero doesn't let it bother him. He's not totally heartless though - he just sees it from a different perspective. When a twin dies along with his BigBad brother (because they shared a CPU), he told the upset X that he knew the consequences and he should honor his sacrifice instead of bemoaning it. However, when his [[ItsPersonal love interest Iris]] dies in cruel and pointless war, [[HeroicBSOD he didn't take it well]].
* ''{{MadWorld}}''. In the ending theme [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9vB94bpw_A "Soul"]], the song takes place from Jack's point of view and deals with his conflicted self. The song suggests that he hates killing [[HeWhoFightsMonsters but he has to keep doing it for a greater cause.]]
* In ''VisualNovel/VirtuesLastReward'', Sigma states to the player a number of times that walking into a room and finding a dead body never has any less of an impact or ever becomes any easier to cope with, despite how often it happens.
---> Sigma: [Even after all that's happened, a room full of dead bodies has a significant impact.]

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Misfile}}'' contains a slightly less serious example of a subversion. Rarely dealing with life and death, ''Misfile'' instead deals with the nigh-constant identity crisis of a [[GenderBender boy turned into a girl]]. Ash initially spent each morning hoping that it was AllJustADream, but has gradually moved to dealing with the realities of his situation. He's no longer shocked to wake up with boobs. What currently tops his list of worries, though, is that she may be [[TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody getting too used to being a girl to ever really go back to being a guy.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/SouthParkBiggerLongerAndUncut'', when the doctor (voiced by George Clooney) who has failed to resuscitate Kenny because he replaced his heart with a baked potato cries, verbatim, "It never gets any easier!" He immediately begins whistling cheerfully as he walks away.
* In ''TheBraveLittleToaster'', the [[SentientVehicle hearse]] going to meet its death in the crusher sings:
-->''I took a man to a graveyard''\\
''I beg your pardon, it's quite hard enough''\\
''Just living with the stuff I have learned.''
* Parodied on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' when Granpa Abe Simpson tells a {{Bowdlerized}} war story.
-->''"They say the more teddybears you tickle the easier it gets. No, sir."''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* US police departments encourage this way of thinking. Lethal force is always the absolute last resort and after having to use it most officers are taken off active duty for a period of time and receive counselling.
* If you've gone through multiple losses of close family members and friends, you realize that it can appear to get easier to deal with losing yet another close family member/friend, but it doesn't get any easier coping with the loss, particularly if it pertains to a parent, child, spouse, or sibling. You'll be able to manage living a normal life again after the original grieving process is over, but you'll never really be able to "get over it".
[[/folder]]

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