troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Abusive Parents: Literature

  • The 39 Clues: This is most certainly the case with Ian and Natalie Kabra. Their mother Isabel verbally degrades them on a regular basis, and it's left unclear whether their father treats them similarly or whether he simply doesn't notice or care about what Isabel does. Ian and Natalie love and fear Isabel simultaneously, while believing that they lead the perfect lives because of their family's extensive wealth. They'd be Woobies if they weren't so nasty themselves! Then Isabel takes it Up to Eleven in the final book of the first series, Into the Gauntlet, when she shoots Natalie in the foot.
  • Adventure Hunters: Lisa's parents were truly awful. First they abandoned her in the woods because she was The Runt at the End and when she miraculously finds her way home and cries in happiness to see them again, her dad punches her because he believes crying is weakness. Her mother doesn't acknowledge that she came home at all. She runs away from home afterwards.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Huckleberry Finn's alcoholic dad beats him, verbally abuses him, takes his money to buy whiskey, leaves him to live on the streets, and at one point kidnaps him and keeps him hidden in the woods. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer it's implied that he also abused Huck's late mother—"They used to fight all the time."
  • Anne of Green Gables: In this series, Anne goes through several homes and orphanages before being taken in by the Cuthberts, many of which were abusive and cold.
  • Bastard Out of Carolina: Bone Boatwright, the main character, was born out of wedlock to Anney, a teenage mother. Anney marries Daddy Glen, who molests and rapes Bone.
  • Black Dogs: Trent is forced by his sorcerer father to perform ritual bloodletting on unwilling women before killing them. If he refused, his father would do it instead, except more slowly and less mercifully. Trent even tried killing himself to avoid this a number of times, but he would be brought back to life using a sacrifice of one of the aforementioned women.
  • Bridge to Terabithia: Janice Avery, Jess and Leslie's classmate, has an abusive father. For her, it was a Freudian Excuse, in that she's the school bully.
  • Carrie: The title character's mother from this Stephen King book, Margaret White, whose religious fanaticism led to physical and emotional abuse upon her only daughter, whom she believed to be the spawn of the devil since poor Carrie actually was conceived through marital rape. Margaret tried to kill her once when she was a baby, and when the two had their showdown following Carrie's telekinetic rampage at the prom, she tried to kill her again, putting a knife through her daughter's shoulder before Carrie killed her by either stopping her heart telekinetically (book and tv film version) or using several knives to stab and pin her to a door (1976 film version).
  • The Cat Ate My Gymsuit: Marcy's father constantly berates her in nasty ways, calling her stupid, ugly, fat, a know-it-all and saying that he'll never get her married off. Her younger brother, Stuart (who's four years old, mind you), doesn't get off much lighter, as he's scolded for sucking his thumb and having an attachment to Wolf, his teddy bear. It doesn't help that their mother is severely in denial, trying repeatedly to justify his actions to Marcy ("Daddy loves you very much, he just doesn't know how to show it"), and is on prescription tranquilizers so she can deal with life. Hell, "I hate my father" are the first words printed on the back of one edition of the book itself. (The book was written and is set in The Seventies, which accounts for some of the Values Dissonance between the characters; Marcy can see that her family's dynamic is messed up, but her father's mindset is mired so much in The Fifties that he genuinely doesn't realize he's the problem.)
  • The Charlie Parker Series: Angel's alcoholic father sold him into prostitution for six years, starting when he was just eight.
  • Chris Crutcher: Any novel of his will have at least one character go through this; it's damn near his trademark. Doesn't make it any less effective.
  • Cloud of Sparrows: Emily was raped by her evil stepfather, and her brothers were regularly whipped and beaten at the slightest pretext.
  • The Color Purple: In the book, film, and musical of this Alice Walker story, Celie's adoptive father sexually and physically abuses her, not only impregnating her twice but taking the children away as soon as they are born and giving them to the local church. Celie believes that he drowns them.
  • Daniel Faust: Daniel's father was both an abusive alcoholic and an unmedicated schizophrenic who flew into a paranoid rage at the slightest provocation. Daniel occasionally wonders/worries how much of his father's madness is in his own blood, and nothing sends him into a murderous rage faster than seeing a child harmed.
  • Danielle Steel: She likes this one too. Parents in her books are either perfect or display varying degrees of emotional abuse, although one book in particular does feature a physically abusive mother.
  • Daphne's Book: In this Mary Downing Hahn book, the protagonist Jessica discovers that Daphne and her little sister are orphaned and live with their grandmother. Said grandmother is mentally unstable and unemployed; she feeds all the food in the house to her many, many cats instead of eating it herself or feeding her granddaughters. She screams and throws tantrums in the grocery store when Daphne tries to buy a particular food item they need. She's horribly neglectful, tells Daphne to her face that she "sent her father away" (in reality, he was killed in Vietnam), and terrifies the younger, kindergarten-aged girl by saying the ceiling will fall on them and kill them all. She also forbids the younger girl from going to school, calling it useless, and Daphne herself misses many days of school to take care of Grandma and her sister.
  • Darkness Visible: William Marsh's father is a brute, though how much of one is only gradually made clear. Lewis is so shocked about it that the abuse is never, ever played for laughs.
  • Deepgate Codex: In this series, the god Ulcis' abuse of his daughter Carnival lists so heavily on the holy shit meter that it might as well be breaking it. He only kept her mother alive so that he could rape her to his enjoyment, and was not pleased when she got pregnant, especially because as an angel's mother, she died in childbirth. Although he named his daughter Rebecca, he more commonly referred to her as a freak or with expletives—she calls herself Carnival as in carnival freak, and WILL NOT be referred to as anything else. He had his soldiers gang-rape her often and very brutally; when years of this treatment didn't break her, he executed a vicious Mind Rape on her and hanged her from Deepgate's chains. She got loose — as a rather psychotic amnesiac. It wasn't for 3000 years, until Carnival finally got acceptance and kinship from Dill and Rachel (and bloodily killed Ulcis), that she finally started to calm down a little.
  • Doctrine of Labyrinths: The people who raised Felix and Mildmay, who were as close to parental figures that the brothers had after they were sold at the ages of four and three, respectively. Both of them were raised as kept thieves, with Felix going on to be taken in by a pimp and blood wizard.
  • Dolores Claiborne: This Stephen King book had a husband who, in addition to physically abusing the title character, had a decidedly unwholesome interest in their teenage daughter Selena, who suffered sexual abuse at his hands in addition to manipulation into being afraid of her mother in order to keep her from talking about it. It is this, along with the stealing of their children's college money in order to spite her, that ultimately led to Dolores' decision to murder him.
  • Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey: The sixteen-year-old protagonist suffers abuse from both her parents. Her father, who left the family years earlier, was emotionally abusive and tried to pass it off as just kidding around, and physically abusive—one of his last actions before running out on them was shoving his daughter so hard he knocked her out. The mother is neglectful, sitting around and being useless, letting her daughter parent her ten-year-old brother, and then finally just runs away from home without so much of a note, leaving her children to starve and freeze for a few weeks until the protagonist finally decides to tell someone what's happening.
  • The Dresden Files: Lord Raith rapes his daughters when they start to be a threat to his position. The Raiths are White Court vampires, so it gives him supernatural control over his children as well. Lara turned the tables on him and kept this fate from falling upon her youngest sister Inari.
  • Dubliners: Farrington in "Counterparts", receiving a surprisingly sympathetic, Anti Villain-like portayal.
  • The Fifth Born: Odessa, the protagonist of this novel by Zelda Lockhart, was physically abused by her mother while her father emotionally and sexually abused her. It doesn't help that she's the youngest of five kids and was three years old at the start of the story.
  • Eleanor And Park has the abusive stepfather in Richie, who is frequently drunk, bullying his stepchildren, or abusing his partner Sabrina. The ending hints he was planning on sexually abusing Eleanor as well.
  • Flight: Several of Zit's foster fathers sexually abused him.
  • Freckles: In this Gene Stratton Porter book, Freckles is horribly afraid that his parents were this, and otherwise disreputable, and so he comes of bad blood:
    Does it seem to you that anyone would take a newborn baby and row over it, until it was bruised black, cut off its hand, and leave it out in a bitter night on the steps of a charity home, to the care of strangers? That's what somebody did to me.
  • Gerald's Game: In this Stephen King novel, Jessie (the protagonist) was sexually molested by her father once. This was especially traumatizing to her because until then, they had a very close, loving relationship.
  • GONE: This series has Orc, who's step father hammered a electric drill through a vein in his wrist, Bug, who was beaten pretty badly by his mum's boyfriend and apparently had to go to boarding school for "his own safety" and Dekka Talent, who was slapped twice across the face and disowned by her father because of her sexuality. A case could also be made for Diana Ladris, who was implied to be "perved on" by her mum's boyfriends when she was in the shower aged 12. But that's a entirely different form of abuse altogether.
  • Goodnight Mister Tom: In one of the most harrowing treatments of the subject in a children's book, Willie is regularly beaten and starved by his religious maniac mother. He is eventually found locked in a cupboard after a week's incarceration, cradling his dead baby sister.
  • Grave Sight: Harper and her stepbrother from this series by Charlaine Harris were nearly sold into prostitution as children by their drug-addicted parents.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry's case, the Dursleys are emotionally, verbally and, on occasion, physically abusive to Harry. Relegating him to the cupboard under the stairs of their house, hiding the letters from Hogwarts, telling people that he was a delinquent, lying to him about his deceased parents, boarding up the door to Harry's new bedroom except for a small cat door through which food is inserted...he is clearly neglected as well, as well as starved.
    • In Dudley's case, the Dursleys are an odd sort of mentally abusive because they raised Dudley to be a bully with an entitlement complex, and Petunia spoils him so much that he is morbidly obese up until Order of the Phoenix. This is made more obvious in the last book, where Dudley finally thanks Harry for saving his life in the fifth book and wishes him luck. His parents are horrified. They also abuse Dudley psychologically through how they treat Harry, telling him what amounts to "If you don't live life by our rules, we'll treat you like this."
    • Severus Snape's backstory implies that his father, Tobias, was physically and emotionally abusive. For extra points on the tragedy meter, Snape spends much of his adult life handing out the same kind of emotional abuse he received from others. It's also implied that Severus' mother, Eileen, was neglectful, although whether it was because she hated/didn't want/was indifferent towards him or because she was dealing with the effects of Tobias' abuse could be debated until the Earth falls into the sun.
    • Voldemort's mother, Merope Gaunt, also definitely suffered some level of parental abuse. Some fans interpret it as going even further.
    • The Blacks tended towards this with children that didn't turn up quite up to their standards, such as Sirius, Andromeda, Alphard, Marius, Cedrella Weasley, etc. Anyone who got sick of their holier-than-thou attitude and left was automatically disowned and scorched off the family tree tapestry. Being cooped up in his family's house again is brutal on Sirius's mental health; Harry, who dearly wants to escape his own "family", sympathizes.
    • Many, if not most, pureblooded wizards turn into this if they have a non-magical child. Neville, whose abilities took a long time to manifest, mentions that his great-uncle went to rather alarming lengths to "scare" some magic out of him. His actual parents were never abusive, but that's an even sadder story.
  • The Heroes of Olympus:
    • Jason's mom.
    • Queen Marie, Hazel's mother, actively (if unintentionally) cursed her daughter and resented Hazel for it when bad stuff started happening.
  • Heroics: John Wechsler is the most prominent example, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who treats his daughter like a lab mouse and has tried to kill her several times.
  • Hometown: The first time we see Brenda Powers, she throws a glass at her daughter's head. It just goes downhill from there.
    • Val's parents are heavy-handed, but not abusive per se. It's her grandmother that's the piece of work.
      • Part of Natasha VanDyne's Freudian Excuse is that her mother is emotionally abusive.
      • Even Angelina's father starts to tip this way when he finds out that his daughter's best friend is a lesbian.
  • How NOT to Write a Novel: In the section "A Novel Called It" (named for a Real Life account of this), the made-up "excerpt" serving as an example of this trope has a heroine who is beaten by and forced to toil for her emotionally abusive dad, valiantly hoping that her little brother Tiny Tim will be safe if she takes the brunt of his cruelty. The authors proceed to discourage the use of this trope in fiction, as it is both hackneyed and depressing.
  • The Hunger Games: Peeta is beaten by his mother (badly enough to give him a black eye) for burning two loaves of bread in the oven. He was eleven at the time. It's implied it wasn't an isolated incident.
    • The second book of the trilogy implies that she also whipped him.
    • She also wished Katniss luck in the tournament, meaning she wanted her to win over her son. Ouch, that hurts. Katniss calls her a "witch of a wife" and says the father is nice when she isn't around.
  • I Capture the Castle: Mr. Mortmain is presented as a broken, pitiful man who was imprisoned for an Abuse Mistake incident. But when his daughter Cassandra challenges his ennui he first hits her and then throws a plate at her. He also is verbally abusive at times and puts down her writing efforts.
  • In Death series:
    • Eve Dallas Her mother was a prostitute who resented Eve's very existence; her father beat, starved and raped her regularly, with plans to sell her to pedophiles, until she killed him at the tender age of eight. Hers is a Line-of-Sight Name, since her "parents" didn't see fit to give her one. This leads her to become a police officer, in order to never again be a victim. If that wasn't enough in the long cutie break that was her childhood, she winds up with Trudy Lombard, who had a pattern of fostering girls, treating them like slaves, forcing them to take ice-cold showers (the reason Eve takes 100+ degree ones), and so on. It was bad enough that just seeing Lombard again (she had come to blackmail Eve and Roarke) hit her like a Shell-Shocked Veteran's flashback.
    • Roarke himself received regular physical and financial abuse from his father, and his hatred for the man is one of the things which motivated him on his way from being a petty street-thief to topping the Fiction 500.
  • Ironman: Has a minor and a major example. The minor example is the main character's father, whose extremely strict discipline policies, while ultimately well intentioned, end up being a major contributor to the main character's anger issues and inferiority complex. He eventually gets better. The major example is Hudgie's father, a psychotic, inhuman sociopath who regularly tortured his son for even the most minor offenses. Thankfully, he's finally arrested for his atrocities towards the end of the book. Unfortunately, the semi-sequel Angry Management reveals that Hudgie killed himself shortly after Ironman.
  • IT:
    • In this Stephen King book, Eddie's mother takes him to the emergency room at least twice a month for imagined ills, bullies her doctor into prescribing unnecessary placebos for the psychosomatic asthma she caused, pressures his teachers into keeping him out of gym class, and tries to drive off the rest of the Loser's Club after Henry Bowers breaks his arm, all because of her fears of him abandoning her.
    • It's made worse if you grasp HOW this irrational fear started: the unexpected death of her husband and Eddie contracting pertussis/whooping cough as a very young child, when pertussis is at its highest risk of being fatal. Describing how she sat by his bed, night after night, listening to Eddie struggle to breath and wondering if she was going to have to bury her son as well...that's how it starts. The rest is human failing. Years later, when Eddie is middle-aged, he's married to a woman who treats him almost exactly the same way.
    • Also happens with Beverly Marsh, whose father took the Overprotective Dad archetype to abusive levels, and it's further implied that he has sexual feelings for his daughter, though he doesn't act on them. The man that she marries, Tom Rogan, is just as abusive as her father.
    • It's hard to tell if Henry's bat-shit craziness was a result of heredity or environment, although it's quite possibly both.
    • There's also a whole chapter on the disappearance of a boy who turns out to be one of It's victims. Newspaper clippings chronicle an investigation revealing that the boy's stepfather killed a younger stepson with a hammer, leading him to be wrongly convicted of the older stepson's murder as well.
  • John Varley:
    • This man employs this trope with frightening frequency:
    • The Golden Globe: Sparky, emotional abuse and physical violence by his father
    • Steel Beach: Brenda Starr, sexual abuse by her father
    • Red Thunder trilogy: Jubal, religious extremism and physical violence by his father
    • Some short stories as well.
  • The Journey to Atlantis: In this Bryan Miranda book, the father of Stacie. Not only does he beat this character and one's siblings, he a general asshat as well.
  • Jumper: Davy Rice in this book was physically abused by his father. In fact, Davy's learning to deal with the emotional effects of the abuse he and his estranged mother suffered is a major subplot of the novel.
  • Katherine Paterson: Every single novel written by her has at least one abusive parent. She claims that the reason is because it reflects her childhood.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird:
    • Mayella Ewell's father, Bob Ewell. We know her dad beats her, and it is hinted that he also abuses her sexually.
    • Boo Radley as well. He was kept locked in his house for over 30 years by a man described as "the meanest man God ever blew breath into".
  • Knight and Rogue Series: Michael's father comes off as just a strict man with his sons. One who also told Michael that being honest was the only thing he could do right, and who was willing to let him go off as a man with no legal rights to try and take down a murder suspect to win favor with a higher authority figure, and who permanently stripped away those legal rights to try and force a life on Michael that he knew his son didn't want.
  • Kokoro: Sensei in this Japanese novel, albeit through his uncle. It's one of the reasons why he crossed the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Like Water for Chocolate: Mama Elena. She is constantly controlling to her youngest daughter, Tita, and forbids Tita to marry the man she loves so Tita can care for Elena when she's old just because it's tradition.
  • Lola Rose: This Jacqueline Wilson book has Jayni talk about how her dad beats up her mum whenever he gets angry or suspicious, and constantly threatens her, and how he inevitably hits Jayni hard at the start of the book for the first time. Jayni repeatedly talks about how scared she is of her dad, even when he's miles away. He treats her little brother Kenny 'okay', but his behaviour is slowly convincing him that it's okay to beat women, and it seems only a matter of time before either he starts hitting Kenny or Kenny starts hitting his mum and sister.
    • In Cookie by the same author, the heroine's father frequently berates and emotionally abuses his wife and daughter. We are shown that he hits his wife, and while he's never violent to his daughter on the page, he has her living in a state of terror and even kills her pet rabbit when he decides that she wasn't grateful for the birthday party he gave her.
    • In Secrets by Jacqueline Wilson, both of the main protagonists go through this. India's neurotic mother constantly criticizes her and insults her weight, as well as generally neglecting her and having very little time for her. Treasure has a violent stepfather who beats her with his belt, and as a result she goes to live with her grandmother, who eventually gets legal custody of her.
    • Dixie in The Diamond Girls discovers that her new friend, a six-year-old girl, is being violently abused by her mother. The mother eventually ends up in hospital due to her mental illness.
  • Malevil: This French Sci-Fi novel has Wahrwoorde, an Evil Poacher. He forced this family to live in backwards squalor in a swamp, without electricity or anything they can't produce themselves. He's cruel to his son (and mother-in-law), rapes his stepdaughters, and is willing to risk the young man's life for his gain.
  • Mansfield Park: Fanny Price suffers from neglect when she's adopted by her Aunt and Uncle Bertram and cruel emotional abuse from her Aunt Norris.
  • The parents of The Man With The Terrible Eyes beat him and abandoned him as a child, largely because his eyes were so disturbing. Eventually, his future Supervisor, no prize himself, found him and used mind alteration technology to make them love him.
  • Margaret Atwood:
    • This woman does this a lot:
    • In The Year of the Flood, Burt is implied to be sexually abusive towards his daughter.
    • In The Robber Bride, all of the main characters had abusive parents/guardians—Tony's mother was emotionally abusive, her father became an alcoholic and tried to physically abuse her after her mother ran off with another man, Charis first had her mentally ill mother who physically abused her and then her pedophile uncle and her aunt who refused to believe her when she told on him, and Roz had her emotionally manipulative mother. Also, one of Zenia's stories about her past has her mother acting as a pimp to her (it, like all of Zenia's stories, may or may not be true.)
  • Matilda: Roald Dahl's Matilda endures both this and neglect; they call her names and deride her for not being like them (she prefers to read while they watch endless, brainless television). At one point, her father rips up one of her library books while calling it trash. Also, her parents leave her (a five year old) alone on afternoons when they are at work or bingo. And yet for all that, they're not as bad as the Trunchbull. Later in the book, it's revealed that Miss Honey was raised by the Trunchbull, who wasn't any less abusive to her than she is with the students.
  • Midnighters: This Scott Westerfeld book. Rex Greene's father would beat him occasionally, once pointed a loaded gun at him, and made him sit still while tarantulas crawled over him because he wanted Rex to be "a man instead of some book-reading pussy".
  • Mommie Dearest: The book which inspired the better-known film.
  • Valentine Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments was of the emotionally abusive variety.
    • He also beat Jace on alternate Thursdays.
  • My Sister's Keeper: Sara Fitzgerald is of the well-meaning variety in that she essentially forces Anna to go through various medical procedures so she can donate her organs to her sister, who has cancer. Anna was literally conceived for this exact purpose. Any time anyone protests on Anna's behalf, Sara shoots them down, protesting that Kate's needs are more important. She is even willing to force Anna to donate her kidney to Kate with no regard for how difficult Anna's life would be afterwards. She does, arguably, learn to love Anna for Anna later.
  • The Nature of the Daughters: This novel by Elizadeth Hetherington features a female protagonist, Renata Savannah, that suffers all but sexual abuse at the hands of her mother, a woman who has repeatedly tried to kill her. Her mother even enlists her twin sister to aid in the murder attempts. Given that this is a coming-of-age novel about a teenage serial killer, the horrid abuse Renata suffers is the least disturbing thing in it.
  • The Night Circus: Has two prominent examples: Mr. Alexander H—, who isolates the orphan he plucks out of the street for uninterrupted study for about a decade and then, once the child has grown into a man, essentially vanishes from his life. There's also Hector Bowen, who never hesitates to tell his daughter how much of a disappointment/weakling/slut/whore she is while slashing her fingers open to teach her healing magic.
  • Night Huntress: Justina from these books tells her daughter Cat about her rapist vampire father with the words "You have a monster inside of you". She convinces Cat that her rape and her ostracism for being a single mother is all Cat's fault. When Cat starts hunting vampires in high school, it's the first time that Justina ever shows pride or love for her daughter, not caring that her sixteen-year-old is risking her life to earn her mother's affection.
  • Nightrunner: Korit, father of Seregil from this Lynn Flewelling book - his mother died at childbirth and he could not expect much more than coldness from his father - Seregil believed that his father blamed him for the death of his mother, but it is later reveiled that Korit never got over losing his wife. That Seregil is the very image of his mother didn't help. Not that this would excuse him being a distant, cold bastard who imparted a major inferior complex on his son....
  • North Of Beautiful: The father. Exhibit A: One of his sons self-harms. Exhibit B: Terra, the main character, is almost anorexic, hates herself, is germophobic, and is in a mostly sexual relationship that she knows is unhealthy at the start of the story. Exhibit C: Terra's mother, a binge eater, has nonexistent self esteem. Exhibit D: His eldest son has no healthy relationships at all. This book has a very realistic portrayal of abuse.
  • Odd Thomas:
    • Stormy Llewellyn lost both of her parents when she was little and was put in an orphanage. She was adopted by a couple who lived in Beverly Hills and didn't go three weeks before her adopted dad came into her room at night and molested her. She took it for three weeks before telling a visiting social worker what was happening; from then on she lived in the orphanage until she was 18, claiming she didn't want any parents except her biological ones.
    • Odd himself has a self-absorbed father who abandoned him when he was born, leaving him to his mentally unstable mother. She's even worse: at one point she held a gun to his eye and threatened to kill him because he got sick. He was five years old. No wonder he's a sixteen-year-old runaway at the beginning of the first book.
  • Parting Jane: In this short story, a young girl is being harvested for parts to save her sick sister. Her parents don't seem to care about Jane at all, only the sick girl. Unfortunately this can be Truth in Television.
  • Prophet's House: This Micah E.F. Martin Quintology has Lord John Blackwall, who despises his second son, Jonathan, for outliving Titus, his heir. Then there's Sen'Tan Alecad who engages in Offing the Offspring at every opportunity. Given, he has about eighty kids, so this may be justified.
  • Push: This is central to the plot of this Sapphire novel, which was made into the film Precious. Precious is raped by her father from age seven. When she has her first baby at twelve, her father leaves, but later returns and impregnates her again at sixteen. Her mother fondles her and forces her into oral copulation, reasoning that since Precious was responsible for her husband's disappearance, she should provide sexual services in his place. Much of the plot revolves around Precious' love for her children and her determination to give them a better life.
  • Purple Hibiscus: Kambili and her brother Jaja are often physically hurt by their father - whipped and scalded, but also forced into a strict, oppressive form of Catholicism. Kambili hardly speaks and never laughs - at least until her Aunt and Cousin get fed up with that.
  • The Raven Cycle: Adam Parrish's father. Even causes Adam to go deaf in his left ear when he tries to stand up for himself.
  • Red Dragon: Francis Dolarhyde. The main culprit is actually his grandmother, who is nevertheless the parental figure for most of his childhood. Some of her methods of discipline could easily be considered sexual abuse, and she only took Francis in in the first place to get her own back on his mother. The mother in question abandoned him because of his cleft palate. A real Tear Jerker, seeing as he Used to Be a Sweet Kid.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Reynard began his life of crime in order to support his mother, a drug addict who beat him whenever he came home empty-handed.
  • Rogue Sorcerer: Serah's mother neglects and verbally abuses her after Aiden is taken away.
  • Saga of the Exiles (Pliocene Exile Saga): Felice in this saga by Julian May. Introduced as a sadist and violent sociopath, it's revealed that her parents sated their boredom and idle lust with her, and otherwise thoroughly neglected her. She later gains her all-consuming power after being sexually tortured, stripping her mind to a bare core of personality and conveniently also removing all her mental blocks. An attempt to heal her mind succeeds in making her sane, but it was far too little, far too late to save her soul. In the end, she's removed from the game via her mind being trapped in a crystal along with her torturer, condemned to torture each other forever.
  • Septimus Heap: Queen Etheldredda is very disapproving of her daughters, treating them with less love than her hunting dogs.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Count Olaf was the Baudelaires' legal guardian, and, really, he covered all the abuses. He hit Klaus, called Sunny names, and was going to force Violet to marry him, all to get the family fortune. It was mainly played for dark comedy, but in The Movie, Olaf's abuse was a bit less comedic and a bit more shocking. The Baudelaires also managed to avoid the Freudian Excuse and grew up fairly well because they had each other to lean on despite the horrors plaguing them.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock Holmes prefers the city to the countryside because this is more easily revealed:
    There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child, or the thud of a drunkard's blow, does not beget sympathy and indignation among the neighbours, and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going, and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.
    • It shows up in direct examples with regards to his client in A Case of Identity (whose stepfather and mother concoct a horrible scheme to cheat her out of her inheritance), and a character in The Adventure of the Copper Beeches (whose father and stepmother are doing something similar). The latter story is the source of the above quote.
  • The Silver Metal Lover: In this Tanith Lee's book, Jane, the heroine, discovers that her mother futzed with her phenotype to make Jane plainer than she should have been because she didn't want the competition. The reader sees all along how her mother passively-aggressively manipulates and undermines Jane at every opportunity. She also arranges for the destruction of Jane's android sweetie because Jane was growing up: growing *away* from her.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt has had one case of this in all of her three novels so far.
    • Wilhelm Löwenström of Överenskommelser abuses his own children until his son Edvard becomes a serial abuser sociopath and his daughter Sofia becomes an extreme doormat. While we don't know exactly what happened between him and his wife Harriet, she has become ill from unhappiness. But after his niece Beatrice becomes an orphan and has to live with him, she becomes her uncle's new favorite victim...
    • Illiana's parents in "Betvingade" are really bad as well. Her father is tyrannical, her mother is cold-hearted. They have no love for their daughter, and they even threatened her in front of the king!
    • Gabriel's father in "De skandalösa" seems to have fitted into this trope as well while he was alive, so much that Gabriel ran away from home when he was sixteen years old. Gabriel's mother was also afraid of her abusive husband.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Tywin Lannister of this George R. R. Martin story. He treated his youngest son like crap for years, culminating in forcing him to watch — and ultimately participate in — the gang-rape of his new wife because she was a commoner. He sees his older son and daughter as pawns to further his takeover of Westeros and judges them on how useful they are to him.
    • Tywin's daughter Cersei has shades of this, too. She genuinely loves her children, but clearly favors Joffrey, the eldest. After he dies and his kinder, gentler brother Tommen takes over the throne, Cersei constantly compares him to Joffrey, and uses him as a puppet so that she can act as queen. She goes as far as to force him to beat his whipping boy when Tommen refuses to obey her out of love for his new wife, whom Cersei hates. Tommen is eight.
    • Samwell Tarly's father takes Why Couldn't You Be Different? to extreme levels, openly despising his son for his bookishness and lack of badassitude. After years of trying to make him shape up through means such as forcing him to constantly wear chainmail and slaughtering a bull and making him bathe in its blood, he fathered a second son who he liked more. So he threatened Sam with a "hunting accident" if he didn't join the Night's Watch, thus giving up his inheritance to his younger brother.
    • Craster lives alone with his nineteen unwilling wives, the majority of whom are his daughters. But the girls are almost lucky by comparison, as he leaves his infant sons out as sacrifices for the Others. The only reason he's even allowed to get away with this is because he lives North of the Wall, a place where the only law is that there is no law.
  • Spectral Shadows has a few of these here and there. Christine's father Harrison James had some of his abusive moments, and in Serial 11 there's Queen Davilla, who hasn't really abused her daughter but fills her with horrid morals such as love being useless unless you gain something out of it; it's played more straight with her when Jenny gets pregnant by the canine prostitute, though the Queen tries to play it off like she won't harm her daughter. Then there's also Alditha Collins, Princess Kara's mother.
  • Star Wars: This is part of Darth Bane's Freudian Excuse. His father was a grade-A asshole who physically and emotionally abused his son. Said son went on to become one of the most Badass and evil Sith Lords to have ever lived.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • In The Way of Kings, we find out that Shallan's father was violent, quick to anger, and got the entire family into debt with extremely powerful people. He also really screwed up his three sons, though he left Shallan alone. Didn't stop her from killing him.
    • Words Of Radiance gives more detail. After killing his wife, Shallan's father slowly went insane, seeing enemies in every corner and punishing his children by killing their pets and beating their loved ones. Shallan eventually poisons him, then strangles him with the necklace he gave her when that didn't work. Furthermore, Shallan's mother was also abusive. When she realized that Shallan was becoming a surgebinder (which implied that the Voidbringers were returning) she freaked out and tried to kill her. Shallan killed her using the Shardblade every Radiant has due to their bond with their spren, and her father took the blame.
  • Sunny Ella: In this dark retelling of Cinderella, Ella's stepmother slaps her across the face twice the day they meet. Later she uses her cane as a weapon and at one point removes Ella's voicebox as punishment for talking back.
  • The Sweet Hereafter: In this Russell Banks book (and the critically acclaimed film adaptation by Atom Egoyan), 15-year-old Nicole Burnell is molested regularly by her father. Following the accident around which the plot of the book revolves, which leaves her paralysed, she even expresses some relief that he won't find her attractive any more.
  • Sybil: Sybil Dorsett, subject of this book (and miniseries), suffered domestic abuse at the hands of her mother so severe that she developed sixteen split personalities. Even worse? The story is based in truth.
  • Tender Morsels: This Margo Lanagan book features the teenage Liga who is used as a replacement for her mother after her death when Liga was only a child. Because of this, Liga becomes pregnant by her father not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES. She later becomes pregnant a fourth time after she is assaulted by some boys from the village.
  • Terry Pratchett:
    • There are a number of examples from his books:
    • Coin, the Tykebomb from Sourcery was psychically dominated by (what was effectively the ghost of) his father almost from birth, leaving him with almost no personal identity after he was finally freed. May overlap with physical abuse, via Functional Magic; at one point, a bystander smells scorched flesh.
    • The Truth: William de Worde and his father are not, shall we say, on speaking terms.
    • Young Nobby Nobbs fears prison because his father's in there, and he used to break Nobby's arms. And while the Grey House isn't exactly parental abuse, it's still... icky.
    • In the novel Hogfather, the criminal Catseye is famous in criminal underworld circles for being able to see in the dark. But as he admits he is actually scared of the dark and of old cellars, because when he was a boy his father regularly used to lock him up in their cellar without a light for hours as a punishment. He trained himself to see in the dark mainly as a way of compensation.
      • Most of the working-class, small-time criminals in Hogfather turn out to have been abused, physically and/or emotionally, as children, although they're still sane... compared to the main villain, the psychotic, boyishly handsome assassin Mr. Jonathan Teatime, who is implied to have killed his own parents when he was still a child.
  • This Boy's Life: Dwight was this. He would force Toby to spend hours shucking extremely spiky horse chestnuts bare-handed as a chore for no apparent reason other than to torment him, spent Toby's money on a dog that Toby himself didn't want, and tried to force Toby into the local Boy Scout troop just to give him some work to do, even joining as the adult leader just to make sure he did. There's also the times where Dwight attacked Toby physically over some pretty minor offenses. In the climax of the film version, Dwight attacks Toby over something involving breakfast which a now fed-up Toby reacts to by fighting back. The two end up in a huge fight. Finally, Toby's mother helps him and the two decide to leave.
  • The Thread That Binds The Bones: This is The Reveal.
  • The Ties That Bind: Laika took corporal punishment from her father for the first 20 years of her life.
  • Till We Have Faces: In this C. S. Lewis story, the king of Glome is physically and verbally abusive to his daughters, particularly Orual.
  • Time Scout: Skeeter's parents were so distant that five years after he went missing, his father's response was, "How much money can we make? Gotta be a TV movie in this." and his mother gave him a peck on the cheek for the cameras, started organizing his doctor's visits, and never said a word. Jenna Caddrick's father might never have hit her, but he was certainly a vile man. Meanwhile, Margo's father was a drunk who hit her and her mother. Seven-year-olds are advised not to spill nail polish when playing dress up.
  • Song of the Lioness: Alanna's father neglects his two children, spending more time in his study reading books than raising them. And during the time Alanna was at the palace, all he did was send one letter and nothing more. Even other characters such as Jonathan and Duke Gareth knew it and were both happy that Alanna had found a Parental Substitute in her teacher Myles.
  • While most of her novels deal with Abusive Parents in some aspect, Elena Ferrante's Troubling Love is the one that specifically hones in on the subject as well as the topic of Domestic Abuse. Delia's father was a violent drunk and not only beat her mother, but his kids as well. When she confronts her father about it, he hits her.
  • The Truth of Rock And Roll: When Jenny gets suspended from school, she has to stay out an extra day "to let the bruises heal to the point she could cover them with makeup." They're pretty good at emotional abuse, too. Meanwhile, Johnny's parents are extremely controlling, and turn truly nasty if balked.
  • Trylle Trilogy: In this trilogy, Wendy's mother stabbed her with a knife when she was 6, claiming that she was not her child. Turns out, Wendy was actually a changeling child.
  • V. C. Andrews: A favorite trope of his. A particularly horrific example is found in the Casteel series, where not only does Jill Tatterton refuse to believe her daughter Leigh when she tells her that her stepfather Tony raped her (instead believing Tony's claim that the 14-year-old Leigh attempted to seduce him), in a later book it's implied that Jill offered Leigh to Tony when she refused to continue having sex with him, believing that it would diminish her youth and beauty.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Crowfeather is neglectful and verbally abusive towards his son, Breezepelt. This is because he only chose Nightcloud as his mate and had Breezepelt after he returned to prove that he was loyal to the Windclan after he had a secret relationship with the Thunderclan medicine cat and ran off with her, leaving their clans behind.
    • Rainflower, Crookedstar's mother, can also count. She rejects him all because he broke his jaw and couldn't be cured of it. Earlier on, before she starts ignoring him, she had become verbally abusive.
    • Lizardstripe, Brokenstar's foster mother, definitely counts. When she was given Brokenkit to take care of, she keeps biting him, scratching him, and doing whatever to keep him from being loved. It's perhaps thanks to her that Brokenstar is the evil tyrant we see today.
    • Tigerstar is also this to his son, Hawkfrost. He doesn't care at all for his son even after he follows him to the grave, but is rather affable to his son, Brambleclaw.
  • The Watcher by James Howe (of Bunnicula fame): The title character whose real name is Margaret, is violently abused by her father, while her mother is too weak or fearful to intervene. Her father tries to murder her by drowning her in the kitchen sink, but the two other main characters rescue her and her mother finally turns against her dad.
  • Wild Cards:
    • Succubus, one of the characters from this series, was used as a sexual toy by her parents.
    • Mackie Messer was physically abused by his mother. Possibly sexually as well.
    • The Amazing Bubbles was supposed to have had money from her modeling career put into trust for her until she was of legal age. But her parents instead funded their own decadent lifestyle. When she found out and sought legal help against her parents, they took the money and ran, leaving her with what they couldn't carry. And in a nasty parting shot, they also slashed open her beloved stuffed toys.
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase: In this sequence: Dido's parents are neglectful of her to the point of cruelty and her father, in particular, does not hesitate to imprison and endanger his daughter in the name of Hanoverian conspiracies. Worse off still, her half-sister, Is, is used by her mother as a drudge and treated with nothing but casual violence and verbal abuse by both her mother and father. It's never acknowledged outright by the pair that she is their child, probably since she is the product of an extramarital affair, a fact which might explain their disregard. An example of an abusive guardian is Miss Slighcarp, to Bonnie and Sylvia in 'The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase', and to Dido and Dutiful Penitence in 'Nightbirds On Nantucket'.
  • A Wrinkle in Time (A Swiftly Tilting Planet): Meg Murry O'Keefe learns that as a teenager, her mother-in-law had a horrible stepfather who physically abused her mother and brother Chuck, and harbored sexual interest in his stepdaughter. When the stepfather attempted to hurt their beloved grandmother, however, Chuck intervened and received such severe injuries that he was brain damaged and ultimately died.
    • It's also implied that Calvin's home life is not a happy one and it's part of the reason he spends so much time at the Murrys'.
  • Alys's mother Lucy in Terra Mirum Chronicles. She drinks, hits her daughter, and brings home a string of worthless boyfriends that warrant Alys buying a lock for her bedroom door. Charlie's father's abuse was one of the driving forces behind Charlie committing suicide.
  • While both of Sunny's parents in Akata Witch use corporal punishment, her father is excessive. He is also never emotionally supportive of her.
  • The Power of Five: It is revealed in Matt's backstory that when he was taken under the 'care' of his Aunt Gwenda and her boyfriend, they spent all of his inheritance; after they lost all his money, they started beating him up. In Jamie and Scott's backstory, when things start to go bad for their adoptive parents, they start abusing them to the point where Scott snaps and tells the father figure to 'go hang himself'. Considering that the twins have the power of telepathy and mind control, this ends very badly. Oh, and let's not forget wonderful Uncle Don...
  • In Of Fear and Faith, August briefly talks about how his stepfather used to hit his stepsister and him, and August was also sexually abused by their mother. Said abuse is what started August's descent into alcoholism.
    • Lilac's parents are also examples. Her mother is verbally and emotionally abusive almost to the point of Black Comedy, insulting her daughter with almost every sentence that comes out of her mouth, and Lilac's father is said to be neglectful if not necessarily abusive outright.
  • In the Evillious Chronicles there are more of these parents detailed in mothy's Light Novels. From the Daughter of Evil series installments Praeludium Of Red and Praefacio Of Blue we have Prim Marlon, who demoralized and emotionally smothered her son to force him to become king not to mention had him possessed twice, and then there's what she did to Ney...poor neglected Ney...
    • From the Deadly Sins of Evil novel series installments The Lunacy Of Duke Venomania and Evil Food Eater Conchita we have respectively Duke Venomania's father, who locked him in a basement for years because of his deformity, and when he finally let him out it was to work as a servant, and Banica's mother, who force-fed her when she didn't finish her leftovers and harshly punished her besides.
  • In L Jagi Lamplighter's The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel, we learn of Magdalena Chase's who offered her up for Human Sacrifice and were told it wouldn't work because they didn't love her enough. So they locked her in her room for a week. Two days, they didn't even bother to feed her.

FilmAbusive ParentsLive-Action TV

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
87743
33