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Abusive Parents: Live-Action TV
  • Game of Thrones: Several:
    • Tywin Lannister, who dominates and demeans each of his children.
    • Craster, who rapes his daughters and sacrifices his sons to the White Walkers.
    • Samwell Tarly joined the Night's Watch when his father threatened to arrange a Hunting Accident.
    • Balon Greyjoy who greeted his only surviving son with scorn and refused to even consider ransoming him when he was captured.
  • The hosts of The Atheist Experience have no shortage of criticism on the topic of Abusive Parents. Matt Dillahunty has given a number of The Reason You Suck Speeches on the sub-topic of parents who refuse to get their kids medical treatment and pray instead.
  • Brenda's parents in Six Feet Under had sex in front of her during her childhood, threw orgies while she was in the house, and sent her to a psychiatrist who scrutinized her and played mindgames with her for a book. When she grew up, her mother constantly put her down and laughed at any attempts she made to improve her life, telling her that she would've aborted her if her father hadn't talked her out of it.
  • There are many abusive parents in Skins. Just in the first generation, we have Chris, whose mother left him without even saying goodbye and whose father rarely bothered to see him; Jal, whose motheFr abandoned her; Cassie, whose parents neglected her and were more concerned with their sex life than with their daughter's emotional health; and Sid, whose parents make it pretty obvious that they preferred his best friend and considered Sid a disappointment (however this is ultimately a subversion on the whole, going by how their relationship is portrayed in Sid's second episode. It's enough of a subversion that it is still the generation's first big Tear Jerker when Mark Jenkins, Sid's dad, dies). The worst, though, is probably Cook (of gen 2), whose mother had loud sex with strangers while he was in the next room, drove drunk with her kids in the car, and went on drunken rages, including smashing furniture in front of them. His father also walked out on him, made a pass at his girlfriend, and finally threatened to throw him into the river. Charming family, all around.
    • This justifies why all the generations of friends are so close to each other. Their parents are often downright incompetent at best, plain abusive at their worst, so they form intense friendships with each other as a surrogate family.
  • American dark-comedy sitcom TV show Titus has Ken "Papa" Titus, who was emotionally abusive toward his sons.
    • One of the quotes from the show:
      "Why abuse a child physically when emotional abuse is far more permanent?"
  • Supernatural has John Winchester, who might just own this part of the trope. Dean had an "obey or somebody gets killed" issue while Sam got completely disowned when he wanted to be normal; their tearful phone calls in both "Home" and "Faith" got ignored; Dean got used as an emotional punching bag when John was pissed off with Sam; and he gave them both so little affection that when he was a little softer they thought he was possessed or that there was something incredibly wrong going on. To add insult to injury, they were right.
    • Bobby's father is also revealed to have been complete scum, to the point where Bobby actually had to kill him to stop it. Not that his mother seemed to be any better, as she blamed him for his father's anger.
    • In "Nightmare," the first psychic child Sam and Dean meet is Max Miller. Max is a slightly deranged, telekinetic, abused child who was beaten by his father and uncle almost daily. He killed them both and, instead of killing his stepmother (before shooting Dean dead) as he was going to, he ends up tragically killing himself.
      • While Sam's childhood sucked ass, he openly and gratefully acknowledged that it hadn't been nearly as bad as Max's and he has his father to thank for it. Also of interest in that scene is while Sam is obvious in his relief, his older brother's subdued and twisted sounding agreement rings as considerably more hollow and forced.
    • It was also heavily implied that Bela Talbot had been sexually abused by her father by the time she was fourteen. In that case, can you blame the poor woman for making a Deal with the Devil?
    • In "The Rapture", Jimmy Novak'snote  wife smacks their daughter out of nowhere, a sure sign something is up with her.
  • LOST: All the characters have Daddy Issues, but Ben's father in particular is so nasty to him (blaming him for his mother's death in childbirth) that the viewer almost cheers when Ben kills him.
    • Ben's case really includes 3 types — emotional abuse, neglect, and physical abuse. Roger blames him for his mother's death, hits and manhandles him (breaking his glasses at one point), and always forgets his birthday. The only time he cares about his son is when Sayid shoots little Ben.
    • Locke's father, Anthony Cooper, not only stole Locke's kidney and pushed him out of an 8 story window, but was also the original Sawyer — you know, the man who ruined James Ford's father's life so badly that he murdered his wife and killed himself.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Tara McClay's father brainwashed Tara into believing that she was a half-demon. In fact, her entire family were misogynistic tyrants who told her that if she ever left them for too long, she'd turn into a monster. Her own brother explicitly threatens to beat her up if she doesn't come with them.
    • And then there's Xander's implied difficulties with his parents. He was so worried he might turn out to be a horrible husband and father like his dad that he ended up leaving Anya at the altar, unable to commit to marriage.
    • Can anyone remember seeing Willow's dad ever? Was her mom ever around except when it was going to be unpleasant or dangerous for Willow? Great parents there.
    • This trope is so prevalent that only one major character, Fred, was shown to have a happy and loving relationship with both her parents (it came as a shock to the other characters too). Then she got her soul devoured by an Eldritch Abomination from beyond who then took over her body.
      • Buffy, Dawn and their mom had a fairly good relationship (though the moment when Joyce kicked Buffy out of the house, then blamed it on her, comes close to being this trope). The mother and father were unhappy in marriage and their father left. Of course, the former dies, and the latter becomes a non-entity, so hey.
    • It's heavily suggested that Faith was a victim of parental abuse. Her mother was a neglectful alcoholic who was likely physically and mentally abusive. As well, Faith's rather twisted relationship with sex hints at possible sexual abuse. The Big Bad who took her in as a Dragon and surrogate daughter was a better parent! Even after his death, Faith still remembers him fondly while still acknowledging that he was an evil man.
    • Amy's mother told her she was useless and wasting her youth, stole her body, kept her locked in the house as a prisoner (while still in the wrong body) and almost trapped her in a small cheerleading trophy, forever.
    • Spike's mother tried to come onto him after being turned into a vampire.
    • Principal Wood's mother prioritized her Slayer duties over him. This is witnessed from four-year-old Wood's point of view, which is somewhat biased.
    • Wesley's father is obviously incredibly emotionally abusive, and used to lock him under the stairs. Any time Wesley speaks to him it's nearly possible to see his self-esteem draining away. When he finally showed up in person this continued, until Wesley actually managed to impress him. Except that no, this was all a ploy to gain access to a mystical artifact to use against Wesley's friend and employer. Also the father turned out to be an illusion-clad cyborg impostor, but Wesley was perfectly willing to believe that his father would actually do this. After shooting the cyborg while still believing it to be his father, he called home to make sure the real one was alright, and was promptly told off for calling at that hour.
    • Connor's relationship with Holtz started when he kidnapped him as a baby and fled to "the darkest of dark worlds". Apart from that he raised him to hate his biological father and tied him to a tree and abandoned him for weeks at a time to teach him how to track. From the age of about six. Given that this is a man who decided to teach someone else "loyalty" by nailing their hand to a table there's presumably a lot more. And when it looked like Connor might have a happy life with Angel, Holtz killed himself to set Connor against his real father, thus abandoning him in a world he knew nothing about with nothing left to live for except revenge.
    • One case dealt with a telekinetic teen named Bethany who had been sexually abused by her father. Wolfram and Hart's attempt to turn her into a killer amounted to putting her father in the same room, on the basis that she'd be unable not to kill him with her new powers.
  • NCIS
    • Ziva's father. Dear Lord, Ziva's father. Descriptions of her childhood mention that the "fun" activities she enjoyed involved being taken blindfolded into the forest and left to find her own way out. After that, he raised her to be a killer, instructed her to kill her own brother, abused his position to spy on her, sent a drunken assassin to pretend to be in love with her, left her to be tortured to death in Somalia without a pang of guilt, and finally tried to frame her for murder. She cut off all contact with him following the last incident. What a shocker.
    • The episode "Restless" had the foster daughter claiming that she ran away from home because her birth parents in a commune were abusive. Although her parents living in a commune wasn't true and in fact part of a scam (although the episode itself implies that she genuinely believed her identity and the part about her parents was true due to mental brainwashing and subsequent reprogrammings), the part about her having an abusive parent (more specifically, an abusive uncle, as her actual birthparents were killed in a car crash and he received custody) was actually true. The uncle, who worked as a chef in the second-chance shelter, was the one who masterminded the foster child scam that she was unknowingly/unwillingly involved in; he often physically abused her (one example is a burn mark on her shoulder that was revealed to be from tongs used for handling taco shells), and had her reprogrammed at least twice beforehand.
  • House: Dr. House's father started out as just a harsh bastard who didn't see eye to eye with his son, but then, as is so often the case, more than a few nasty things popped up about him. He doesn't believe in unconditional love, he apparently never told his son that he was right or did the right thing, he made him sleep outside and take ice baths when he was a child (trust the writers to go for things that are considered torture in some places), refused to speak to him for two months when a twelve-years-old Greg told him (truthfully) that Papa House wasn't his real father, and let him go without food if he was ever a tiny bit late for a meal. But, even after all this and in the last fifteen minutes of "Birthmarks", House (in his own guarded way) admits that his father's death has affected him more than he would care to admit.
    • Greg House hated his dad so much, he convinced himself that he wasn't his biological son. Not only was he right, but he made the deduction based on red flags spotted when he was fourteen, something that impresses even Wilson. He even deduced his actual father, or so we're led to believe until season 8. Whatever kind of lesson this gives is rather ambiguous.
    • Chase was abandoned by his father—a brilliant but seriously unstable doctor—at age 15 and left to take care of his sister and alcoholic mother for the next few years. Flash forward to Season 2, when his father dies of lung cancer without even mentioning he was sick, and cuts Chase out of his will. He became a doctor because he had frequently read the medical texts in his father's study... where his mother would lock him for hours on end whenever she couldn't deal with him.
  • Scrubs
    • Dr. Cox's father was an abusive alcoholic who showed love by throwing bottles at his head and missing on purpose while his mother simply stood by and let the abuse happen. He can't stand the sight of his own sister, because seeing her reminds him of their childhood.
    • Jordan tried usingthis as an excuse for why she's so mean once or twice, but later admits that her parents were actually both very supportive.
    • Elliot's parents were emotionally abusive and neglectful of her when she was little, to the point that the maid raised her and her mother still ridicules her whenever she comes to town.
    • The Janitor's parents kept him in a "Baby Cage" (which was actually a pet carrier). One would assume this was just another one of his many Blatant Lies if he weren't so distraught that no one else had ever heard of a Baby Cage and were so horribly disturbed when he gave one as a present for a baby shower. The overheard phone conversation with his mother: "No, Mom, playpen/baby cage is not like tomayto/tomahto." The Janitor also has occasional flashbacks in the show to his mother cheerfully assigning him bizarre and rather cruel punishments when he was messy, like making him eat his dinner off the floor (with no plates), because he got crumbs everywhere. "Soup night was the worst..."
  • In The Sopranos, Tony Soprano is emotionally manipulated and terrorized by his difficult mother throughout his childhood and well into his adult life. One notable incident featured his mother threatening to stick a fork in his eye when he was only ten years old. Tony's father was outwardly friendly, yet also a manipulative sociopath who indoctrinated his son into violent crime and the mob. It's implied that the various degrees of emotional manipulation and terror Tony suffered under his parents is what turned him into the violent sociopath that heads the New Jersey crime families. Oddly enough, Tony manages to become a better father to his kids (he never struck them, although he did manhandle A. J. from time to time, and he certainly never engaged in emotional manipulation) than his parents ever were to him (despite being a manipulative violent sociopath), and his children turn out relatively nice and normal, even if they have a few issues of their own.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, there's an example to be had in almost every episode, though usually played for laughs. In the first season, Harper's parents are implied to be pretty abusive and the reason why she ends up becoming a member of the Russo family.
  • In Young Dracula, Dracula shows blatant favoritism for Vlad over his older sister Ingrid, even though Ingrid acts exactly the way he keeps pressuring Vlad to act. One could argue that he's also abusive to Vlad based on his inability to accept that Vlad isn't a younger copy of himself, but it's much less blatant than his abuse of Ingrid.
  • George Sr. and Lucille of Arrested Development are emotionally abusive to all of their children. Tobias and Lindsay are extremely neglectful toward Maeby. Michael might be on the borderline, given how demanding he is of George Michael, but it's clear that Michael cares and isn't intentionally being too demanding; it's just that in the Bluth family, George Michael is the only person Michael can actually count on to do anything right.
  • In Doctor Who Peri has nightmares of her stepfather doing unpleasant things to her and there's an implication he's abused her in the past.
    • The second season of the new series gave us Eddie Connolly, a 1950s patriarch who was a product of his time, treating his son like dirt.
      • His wife finally decides that she's had enough of him and kicks him out of the house when she finds out that he was the one ratting out several people who fell victim to The Wire (including her mother and several of their neighbours) and having them locked up.
    • Season 4 also had a somewhat milder example in Sylvia Noble, who didn't seem to realize that her daughter had an inferiority complex, and that her jabs were legitimately hurtful to Donna. The Doctor calls her out on this during the finale, and Sylvia becomes much nicer in subsequent appearances.
  • These kinds of parents came up a few times in the original The Twilight Zone. Specifically, the stepfather in "Living Doll" and Jenny's aunt in "The Fugitive." However, the latter really did love Jenny, as she was clearly distressed when Jenny was near death, and the former was mostly antagonistic because a doll was trying to kill him.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • Doctor Mora Pol was the scientist that was supposed to figure out what Odo was initially, subjecting him to a lot of probings and unpleasantness (though he was under pressure from the Cardassians at the time). Eventually he figured out that Odo was sentient, but didn't quite realize just how much Odo resented being subjected to the crap that he was. Even years later, Doctor Mora didn't realize how much of an ass he was to Odo, constantly interrupting him and telling him that he was responsible for Odo becoming the man that he was and educating him in interacting in society (which would make him the closest thing to a parent Odo would have), leaving out the parts where also he electrified him, subjected him to vacuum, and used a "protein decompiler" on him. Eventually, it took Odo trying to maul/kill him while under the Changeling equivalent of a mind altering substance for him to realize that a lot of what Dr. Mora did was not appreciated, and he became somewhat less an ass to Odo in subsequent episodes. They do eventually reconcile fully.
      • Also, Mora Pol and the other scientists named the young Changeling Odo Ital (from odo'ital, Cardassian for "nothing"), even after they understood that he was sentient. Understandably, this took a toll on the young Odo's self-esteem.
    Odo: I thought it was the most appropriate name anyone could give me.
    • A straight example with Enabran Tain, who expected full Cardassian filial piety from Garak yet refused to publicly acknowledge him as his son until he was on his deathbed, and even then he had to be forced. As a child, Garak was disciplined abusively for even minor transgressions. Tain exiled Garak and once even attempted to assassinate him. He was unapologetic about it and implied he'd try again if given the chance. He once saved Garak's life solely to ensure Garak would live a long, miserable life surrounded by aliens who hated him. When on his deathbed, he didn't care about Garak's loyalty in trying to rescue him, only berating him for being stupid enough to get captured. He spent years telling Garak he was a weakness he couldn't afford and that he wished he'd killed Garak's mother before he was born. When he reluctantly agreed to give Garak one genuine father/son moment before he died, he used it as an excuse to give Garak an aesop about how Garak never gives up to ensure Garak would escape captivity and avenge his death. Cardassians believe family is everything, so Tain's treatment of Garak was abusive by Cardassian standards as well as by human standards.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • What kind of parents did Annika Hansen have? They kept her with them when they flew into the most dangerous area of the galaxy, ignoring the danger while searching for the most dangerous species known to the entire Federation. And we all know how well that turned out - Annika Hansen is the birth name of Seven of Nine. She says herself how irresponsible this was, in conjunction with denouncing Icheb's parents for using him as a biological weapon against the Borg.
      • They were more neglectful than abusive, really; they had no idea what the Borg were capable of when they started researching them, only that they came from far away and nobody knew anything about them. This tracks back to the TNG argument about keeping families on board the Enterprise, though.
      • Sure, they spoke of only knowing of the Borg through rumors - rumors that likely included things said by the el-Aurians, Guinan's species, which would include their world being destroyed. And regardless, they knowingly took their daughter across the Romulan Neutral Zone, making themselves felons in the process. While Annika would be unlikely to face those charges herself, the fact that they did so with their eight year old daughter on board their ship doesn't exactly speak to them being well-suited to being parents.
  • In The West Wing, the only flashback about Jed Bartlet's past portrays his father as an emotionally, and sometimes physically, abusive parent toward the young Jed. In a battle with his subconscious, personified by the "ghost" of Mrs. Landingham, his father is described as "a prick who could never get over the fact that he wasn't as smart as his brothers". Sorkin says that Bartlet's tirade against God in the episode "Two Cathedrals" is directed just as much at his own father.
    • Reappears in season 3, when Toby observes that Bartlet is still trying to get his father to stop hitting him.
  • In Bones, the title character's parents abandoned her and her brother when she was fifteen. She went into the foster care system where, at one point, she was locked in a truck for two days because she broke a plate. Sweets was physically abused as a child by his parents. He was removed from them by social services and adopted by another family when he was six. Booth and his brother, Jared, were physically abused by their father before their grandfather took them in.
  • The rich Shin family in the Korean Drama Bad Boy.
  • Practically every single parent in Gossip Girl, but especially Bart Bass.
  • There was a Texas Runaway Hotline Public Service Announcement that aired for a time that had two boys discussing how badly things were at home, cutting twice from the boys to a Jerk Ass father from one of the boy's point of view:
    Boy's Father: You live in my house, you live under MY rules!
    (After a while...)
    Boy's Father: If you don't like living here, you can pack your stuff and LEAVE!!
  • Celia in Weeds, who constantly berates and belittles her Hollywood Pudgy daughter, Isabelle.
  • Rich in Community, revealed in the last few seconds of the episode "Beginner Pottery".
    • Don't forget Jeff's father.
  • On the 1970s situation comedy Good Times, the Evans family (the main protagonists), Willona Woods (their neighbor) and building superintendent Bookman intervene when they learn that Penny, a little girl living in their building, is being physically abused by her mother. The show features one particularly nightmarish scene of the mother punishing her daughter by burning her arm with an iron. The story arc plays out over four episodes to open the 1977-1978 season. Penny (played by a very young Janet Jackson) eventually becomes adopted by Willona, and a regular character on the series.
  • It was implied that Horatio and Ray had a level of angst with their father in CSI: Miami
  • Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. We learn all of her fingers were once broken at the exact same place - due to her mother putting Kara's hand in the doorframe and closing the door shut. This being a show of Grey and Grey Morality, Kara's mother is not portrayed as pure evil despite this. She knew from oracles that Kara had a special destiny in store, and her way of trying to toughen her up and prepare her was really warped. She was also a Colonial Marine and a really bitter one for not having made officer (remember that OCS rejection letter?).
  • Aaron Echolls, father of Logan Echolls in Veronica Mars, is notably one of the worst dads in television - among other things, he has been shown to physically abuse his son, hitting him and striking him with a belt, and having sex with his son's girlfriend and then murdering her with an ashtray.. Logan's mother could be said to be neglectful, in the least, due to her drinking with the intention of ignoring her son being beaten in the next room.
  • The Mentalist:
    • Lisbon has this as part of her backstory. Her father was an abusive alcoholic who left her to raise her three brothers. Jane is not above using this to manipulate her, most notably in a recent Season 3 episode.
    • In a flashback, Jane himself was shown to have had an emotionally abusive father who brought him up to think of all other people as objects to be lied to, stolen from, and thrown away when no longer required.
  • In Red Dwarf, Arnold Rimmer and his three brothers were abused by their father in various ways; the most severe of them was the use of a rack to try to accelerate their growth. Rimmer's father had been refused entry to the Space Corps for being an inch below regulation height. Indeed, all of the abuse they suffered was to make them succeed where Rimmer Sr. had failed; unfortunately, Arnold continually tries to use this as a Freudian Excuse for his constant failures and annoying behaviour, whilst his brothers each become successful in their own Space Corps specialty.
    • Ironically, a deleted scene from the series six episode Rimmerworld reveals that Arnold might be the best adjusted of his brothers: at some point before the accident that left Red Dwarf without a crew, Rimmer's three brothers suffered long-delayed psychotic breakdowns, each one resulting in a significant body count.
    • The Freudian Excuse even worked once; when asked to justify his existence to the Inquisitor, Arnold notes that yeah, he may have squandered his life and ended up with nothing, but compared to his childhood, nothing's an improvement. The Inquisitor accepts the argument.
    • Interestingly, in series X Mr. Rimmer Sr.'s favoritism of his other three sons over Arnold is revealed to have truly petty and spiteful roots. In a holographic message to Arnold, Rimmer Sr. revealed that Arnold wasn't his son at all. Indicating his abusing Arnold in his youth was Mr. Rimmer's way of paying back his wife and Arnold's real father, "Dungo" the family gardener.
  • Part of Michael Westen's backstory in Burn Notice is that his father physically abused Michael and his younger brother Nate. It's never mentioned if Mr. Westen beat Madeline as well (though good luck with that, considering the woman carries around a shotgun), but 3x07 "Shot in the Dark" has Michael, Sam, and Fiona helping a mother and two boys on the run from an abusive stepfather.
    • It also confirms the abuse is the reason why Michael is taking such a "domestic" situation so seriously:
      Madeline: For two little boys getting kicked around by their father? Michael would take on the entire Chinese army.
    • Michael's background with his father was used in an episode overtly, when he was hired by a mother to get her son back from his father. The character's narration mentions that it's a bad idea to get involved with causes that have emotional impact, since they can lead you to make bad decisions. The mother who hired him turns out to be an assassin, after the father of the boy. After Michael and the target escape, the assassin tells Michael that she has been following his progress for the last decade (after he nearly managed to catch her following one of her hits, without knowing who she was), and she used the 'father kidnaps son' story specifically because he has problems with thinking clearly in such scenarios.
  • In one of the last episodes of All in the Family before the Stivics move to California, Mike and Archie get locked in the unheated bar's basement during a cold spell. Both drink to keep warm, and in this altered state Archie tells Mike about how his father would beat him and lock him in a closet to "teach me to do good". In another episode, Edith tells Mike that Archie was forced to drop out of school in eighth grade to help support his family.
  • A Mash episode has Frank Burns telling Trapper, "I'm from a very strict family. We weren't allowed to talk at meals. We couldn't even hum. Anybody who hummed got a punch in the throat."
  • A Very Special Episode of Major Dad dealt with this, with Robin's new boyfriend being beaten by his father (another USMC major). Major McGillis eventually confronts his fellow major (leading to a Crowning Moment of Awesome), and the episode's stinger featured actors Gerald McRaney and Nicole Dubuc providing a hotline number for domestic abuse victims.
  • Francis implies that Lois in Malcolm in the Middle was physically abusive in addition to the more well-known abuses in finance. For instance, when listing all of the punishments that they should make themselves immune to after she thinks they burned her red dress and is interrogating them as to which ones ruined it (which turns out to be neither of them, as it was actually Hal, the father, who did the deed), he lists them as crushing their toys, making them spin around with their heads on baseball bats to make themselves dizzy, corner standing, laying under a dusty couch, single interrogations, loud children's songs, and threatening to smash the TV. In another episode, it was also shown that her punishments towards Francis actually made him incapable of being humiliated; a cult, which had been trying to haze him, eventually learn his secret and actually adopt Lois's punishments to use on new recruits as their new method of hazing.
    • However bad Lois was, Ida was even worse, to the point where even Lois says that she is and always will be a twisted monster of a mother, but she at least has some love for her family as she pushed Dewey out of the way of a large truck, which cost Ida her leg.
    • Francis hates her so much because of psychological abuse which can be just as bad or worse as physical abuse.
      • Francis was probably disturbed to begin with. For starters, Francis as a toddler did several terrible things, including dousing his teddy bear with lighter fluid. After witnessing this Lois set the teddy bear on fire in the fire place becoming the lady she is today when at first she spoiled him.
      • The end of that episode hinted that Francis wasnít insane he was hype up on sugar due to Lois feeding him chocolate every 5 seconds. Jamie was acting up in that episode as well because Reese was feeding him energy drinks so Lois traumatized two of her children for no reason.
      • Actually Lois has been torturing Francis since the day she came home because in her own words "he started it" (Lois had to stay at the hospital and Francis went home happy). The bear episode showed Francis after he could walk and talk his first year as pay back for being a happy baby she dumped Francis with Ida, and Ida abused him. Shouting, hitting, cutting, enforced cross dressing, I think maybe there was something about cigarette burns in one of the Christmas specials? Lois wasnít any better Francisís first words were literally you shut up.
      • Her first instinct as a parent was to torture her child for being happy she is no better a parent then Ida.
    • Francis technically isn't a parent (yet, anyways), but he did abuse his brothers Malcolm and Reese rather physically (such as locking them up in a closet, stealing their toys, frequently torturing them, and scarring Reese on the shoulder with a bayonette).
    • In the series finale, Lois actively made sure Malcolm didn't get that high paying job which he EARNED by sole virtue of merit. Yeah, she did it because she wanted Malcolm to become president, someone who will know how people like them live and would be able to do something about it. However, Malcolm's family's problems largely are their own fault. She's also said at one point that she'll happily throw Malcolm's future away to save Reese (the family failure).
      • Malcolm helped Reese cheat in school and was found out, at which point the teacher (who had been giving Reese failing grades because of personal bias) challenges that Lois wouldn't sell the 'good' son down the river for the 'bad' son. The context of the conversation makes it very clear that she isn't saying she would throw away either of their futures, but that she is aware which one has the higher skill set. She says if she had to choose one over the other, she'd sell Malcolm down the river because 'he'll be alright no matter what', and that Reese is the one who NEEDS help. It is definitely arguable whether this mentality is fair or even if it is abusive, but the situation is not quite so black-and-white as throwing away Malcolm's future. It's more about which one she'd choose if she could only throw one life-saver: the one who could swim or the one who couldn't.
    • Hal kept a $10,000 grant Malcolm earned a secret from him. He also charged an expensive Christmas vacation on Malcolm's credit card; Malcolm wasn't completely innocent here, seeing as though he was responsible with it he got the card illegally, but still....
    • Lois takes 3/4 of Malcolm's paycheck from Lucky Aid with no reason given.
    • Malcolm was offered a full scholarship to a prestigious boarding school and knowing they wouldn't let him go under normal conditions, he makes a very rational argument that with him away, the family could actually afford a coming baby without being drowned in debt. Rather than let him go, Hal chastises him by telling him "you don't get to leave", with only the rationale that something will come up to keep the family afloat.
      • The rationale is actually that MALCOLM would be the one to come up with something. Which doesn't necessarily negate the point, but he says that Malcolm can't go to the prestigious school because they need him there to help them figure out how to stay afloat.
    • Reese also implied at one point that his parent's antics with their children resulted in Child Services arriving at least once, with Hal and Lois somehow managing to get them off of their backs. When Hal locks up the kids in a room and ties them down in order to keep anyone from getting injured (long story short, he forgot to renew medical insurance), Reese stated that he'll call Child Services and that "This time, they'll know!"
  • Beverly Hills 90210 character Valerie Malone was repeatedly raped by her father as a child.
  • Child abuse of all flavors is one of the specialties of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but since rape is the other, sexual abuse against minors is one of their most frequent case types. Female circumcision is one plot that shows up more than it in all likelihood would.
    • One episode had a set of white parents arrange for their black adopted child to be killed by white supremacists so they could collect the insurance money.
    • Another episode had a grandmother poison her granddaughter in a way to make it look like she had cancer, so she could collect insurance money and sympathy.
  • It also shows up many times in the original Law & Order:
    • Mike Logan's mother was a rather nasty piece of work - an alcoholic and a devout Catholic who had no trouble "beating him with one hand while holding her Rosary in the other". The additional trauma of being abused by his parish priest (something his mother refused to believe) left him with a deep, almost pathological, anger that drove a lot of his Cowboy Cop tendencies.
    • Victims and some of the defendants were often shown to have been subjected to this. One episode had the police find a teenage boy chained to a radiator, while another had a girl whose mother and grandmother wanted to do "traditional" vaginal mutilation. The worst has to be a female cult leader, whose children talk how they were made to perform all kinds of sex acts while she watched.
  • Also happened a few times in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In the episode "Crazy", the team found out that the victim had molested his young daughter. He didn't. It was because his ex-wife was becoming desperate and accused her husband of the crime, despite knowing what really happened.
  • In Twin Peaks, murder victim Laura Palmer, repeatedly raped over several years and later killed by her father Leland. Leland is supposedly not entirely responsible because of possession by BOB, an evil spirit.
  • Ricky Underwood in The Secret Life of the American Teenager was abused by his father at a young age, leading him to be placed in a foster home. This sets him up for his rebellious womanizing attitude that the high school girls are fawning over.
  • Theodore Bagwell's father from Prison Break: He raped his retarded sister, was an alcoholic, and finally was revealed to be verbally, physically and specially sexually abusive to T-Bag in the second season, shown in a very creepy flashback Theodore has when he returns with Susan to the house he grew up in.
  • Gilmore Girls: Paris's parents decide to evade their tax responsibilities and leave the country, leaving her high and dry when the IRS moved in, and she was forced to take work and move into a skeevy apartment featuring a "doo-wop group" on the front steps in order to get through the last two years of Yale.
    • YMMV: but Emily and Richard can be considered to be mentally/emotionally abusive toward their daughter Lorelai. They're extremely controlling and manipulative and never seem to run out of ways to insult or belittle her. Now yes, it's made clear that the elder Gilmores really do care for their daughter. But it's hard to believe that anyone who truly loved their child would treat them this way. It's best summed up like this:
      Rory: Now I officially know what it's like to grow up here (at the Gilmore mansion).
      Lorelai: Mmm, it's not official til you're huddled in a corner, eating your hair.
    • It's also implied Jess suffered physical/emotional abuse at the hands of Liz's boyfriends, with numerous comments about her 'choice in men'.
  • Married... with Children: Bud Bundy has had his scholarship money stolen by his parents.
  • Dark Angel: Max was fostered by a family shortly after her escape from Manticore, the father of which was a drunk, and he smacked both her and her foster-sister around and molested the latter. This scenario is replayed in episode 3 of season one, when she is imprisoned in the Warden's house. However, it ended differently in the fact that Max ended up splattering him by ramming a jeep into the car he was hiding behind. Because Max was a Tyke Bomb, she endured plenty of abuse from the adults at Project Manticore. It's a wonder more of her group didn't go crazy like her brother Ben.
  • Both Niki Sanders and Elle Bishop in Heroes were abused by their fathers, though neither actually remember it. In Niki's case, her alter ego due to Split Personality does remember and also suggests that her father killed her deceased sister. Elle's father is alleged to have performed invasive experiments on her when she was very young, with the memories of this being removed through the use of another character's ability, and is shown to be generally cold and manipulative toward her.
  • Mad Men
    • Don Draper's father abused him physically (partially explaining how he got so messed up).
      • Given how he was born, Don was probably also emotionally abused by his father's wife. "I'm a whoreson, didn't you know?"
    • On the other hand, messed-up as he is, Don never physically abuses his children; Don generally tends towards well-meaning cluelessness. Unfortunately, his cluelessness conspires with his stoicism to come off as aloofness, and he forgets important events all too frequently. That said, even if you count this as emotional abuse or neglect—and some, perhaps many, would not—it's peanuts compared to...
    • Betty, who has long been icy and manipulative towards her children—especially her daughter, Sally. She even begins to hit her as time goes on (for instance, after she cuts her hair). Her second husband, Henry Francis, is much more understanding, but runs into a brick wall when he tries to explain to her that she might be part of Sally's problem.
    • Betty's mother.
  • Smallville
    • Lex's dad, Lionel, withholds affection and approval from his son in the warped belief that it will make him stronger. Their tortured relationship is one of the keystones of the series, and ends very badly when Lex kills his dad. It is revealed in Season 3 that Lionel himself suffered physical abuse from his drunken, alcoholic parents, who sought to keep him down in the gutter with them, and prevent him from succeeding at anything; this is one of the reasons he's so oblivious to his abuse of Lex, as he thinks he has a firm grasp of what abuse looks like. And then there's Tess Mercer, whose real parents abandoned her and whose foster father broke her eardrums and arm through physical violence.
    • In Season 4, we meet Jason Teague, who's parents were also less than loving. His father, Edward, subjects him to Financial Abuse, disinheriting him when he sets off on his own. His mother, Evil Matriarch Genevieve is even worse, being more or less Lionel's Distaff Counterpart. She's emotionally manipulative of Jason and his girlfriend, whom she plans to murder in order to fulfill a prophecy; her control of Jason is so extreme that by the end of the season he's unwilling to do anything without seeking her permission first. Then in Season 10, we meet Earth-2 Lionel, who takes this Up to Eleven, encouraging his kids to plot against one another for the privilege of being his Bastard Understudy, and eventually tries to have them all killed off at one point or another. Archnemesis Dad indeed.
  • Benny Lopez was pretty bad to George as a kid, but it was more due to George's dad walking out on her and not having the money herself to afford it. The real abusive parents are hers, who make her look like a decent mother compared to them.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has Sara as a main character, and possibly Ray, plus all the CSI's have quite a few criminals with such pasts.
  • Adam's father on CSI NY
  • Michael on Roswell has this problem with his foster dad, until he emancipates himself.
  • Kenzi's stepfather from Lost Girl used to lock her in a closet for laughing too loud, and it's implied that he was sexually abusive.
  • In Criminal Minds, some of the UnSubs were abused by their parents. Then there are the UnSubs who are the abusive parents. It's also heavily implied that Hotch was abused by his parents.
  • Starsky & Hutch
    • One episode deals with child abuse, where the titular characters attempt to find who hurt a young boy they see at school and initially suspect it was the father. As it turns out, the mother was the abuser and she was arrested after Starsky and Hutch barged in her house to look for her son.
    • At the end of another episode, it is implied that Starsky himself was once beaten by his father during his eighth birthday.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Regina is strongly implied to be emotionally abusive towards Henry in terms of neglect and lack of involvement. She also tried to convince Henry that he was insane, forced him to stay with her when he very clearly did not want to, constantly tried to murder people he cares about (she actually succeeded once) so he can be "her's," tried to force Henry to love her, spied on him, and destroyed his playground/castle
      • Yet despite this she keeps insisting that she loves him and is willing to perform Heroic Sacrifice for him at least twice.
      • Loving someone and abusing someone are not mutually exclusive things. Regina definitely loves Henry, but not in a healthy way.
    • Cora towards her daughter Regina, taken Up to Eleven when Cora kills Regina's boyfriend because she plans for Regina to marry someone else.
    • Bae sees his father Rumpelstiltskin as this.
      • Rumpelstiltskin did kill someone in front of Bae.
      • Rumpelstiltskin does genuinely love his son but his use of Dark Magic has terrified Baefire. Same with his mother Milah who left him home alone when he was six to go out drinking. Both wind up abandoning him, but at different points.
    • Jiminy Cricket's parents are magnificently emotionally abusive towards their son.
    • Belle's father attempting to strip her of her true memories just to keep her from Gold could be seen as this.
    • Rumplestilskin's father, Peter Pan abandoned him twice. The first time, he left Rumple to go drinking at the pub when he promised to be loooking for a job. The second time, he traded Rumple for nearly-eternal youth. He later kidnapped his grandson and later his great-grandson. He tricked Henry into sacrificing his heart, just so Peter could remain young. He also banished his son to Pandora's Box. When that didn't work, Peter switched bodies with Henry to avoid being trapped in Pandora's Box. Later, after using magic to kick Rumple across the room, Peter outright admitted to him that he resented his son from birth for taking away his time and money. After putting the anti-magic cuff on Rumple, he tried to kill all the people Rumple loved, solely for their connection to Rumple. For everyone else in Storybrooke, Peter planned on using the same curse Regina did in order to steal their memories and make Storybrooke the new Neverland.
  • In one episode of The Conditions of Great Detectives the murder victim was physically abusing his daughter which started causing her sleep problems. Subverted when it's revealed that it wasn't "him" but his second personality that did it.
  • Where to begin with Dan Scott of One Tree Hill? He alternates between pretending older son Lucas doesn't exist, pitting him against his half brother Nathan when he does bother to acknowledge his presence, or just outright telling Lucas that he was a mistake that should've been aborted, take your pick. Speaking of Nathan, Dan raised Nathan to become the NBA star that Dan never became, all the while telling Nathan that he doesn't have what it takes to be a better player than Dan. Dan also has no qualms about putting his hands on either of his boys, as seen when he almost strangles Lucas and when he pushes Nathan down in order to stop him from making the winning basket in the father/son game.
  • Isaac on Teen Wolf is abused by his dad, until his dad is killed by the kanima. His dad's abuse is the reason Isaac says yes when Derek offers to turn him into a werewolf.
    • Gerard Argent molded his daughter into a genocidal lunatic and was willing to kill his own son and granddaughter to cure his cancer by becoming a werewolf.
    • Arguably, both Victoria and Chris Argent. They're controlling, they lie to Allison her entire life, they discourage her interests, they disrespect her privacy, her father has her kidnapped as a "training" excercise. That's not even getting started on the fact that they try to kill her boyfriend basically only for being her boyfriend.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Robin's father not only wished she was a boy, but actively pretended she was for pretty much her whole life. And even if Robin had been male, that still doesn't excuse his parental techniques, such as, say, abandoning her in the woods for a week on her fourteenth birthday.
    • Lily and Barney's fathers abandoned them when they were fairly young. Lily has clear trust issues with her father, and Barney has a breakdown upon finding that his father has settled down and raised a happy suburban family.
  • Friends: Although Played for Laughs, Monica suffers a lot of emotional abuse from her mother who either ignores or criticizes her. Chandler's childhood was also pretty horrible. (His parents skipped his first parents' day, announced their divorce on Thanksgiving, had orgies with the poolboys in front of him, and used him as a pawn in their fights). Both characters are clearly screwed up as a result, Monica striving to be perfect at everything because she never feels good enough, and Chandler using humour as a defence to hide his crippling insecurity. It's not until they fall in love and build a loving relationship together that their self-esteem improves.
  • Santana Lopez from Glee had a abusive grandmother who tried to sell her once, threatened to beat her with a chair, and apparently insulted and demeaned her grandchild so much she forgot her real name. When she told her she was lesbian, she kicked her out of her house, leaving Santana homeless and has refused to have any more contact with her.
    • From the same show, we also have Quinn Fabray whose father also throws her out of his house with no place to go, because Quinn has become pregnant. three years later and Quinn still hasn't seen her father since. Her mother on the other hand constantly ignores her emotional problems, and is never around when Quinn is pregnant, depressed, behind at school, smoking, having sex with men four times her age, getting underage tattoos or trying to steal back her biological daughter. Her mother is however there for her daughter when she is the "perfect model student".
  • Nearly every soap opera that gets aired on Indonesian television stations, especially if the protagonist is a child. There are always parents, usually women, who are greedy and abuse their children; often there are abusive older siblings too.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Richard Lockwood is this to Tyler. Mikael is this to Klaus. To a lesser extent, Giuseppe Salvatore to Damon. Caroline's father tortures her quite brutally, although he claims it's for her own good.
  • Crossing Lines: In Tommy's backstory he was part of a Travelers Clan. When he joined the police, his father put a hit out on him.
  • Beverly Hoffsteder, mother of main character Leonard Hoffsteder from the Big Bang Theory was this intentionally, so she could write a book about the experiment. It's so bad that Leonard has said as a child he built a robot to hug him: but his father was always using it. Or, to put it another way, she's basically Sheldon as a caregiver.
  • Degrassi: Oh, Lord. There are multiple examples of this trope throughout the series.
    • Craig, in his introductory episode, is shown to be physically abused by his father, who his later implied to have had bi-polar disorder. The abuse is so bad that Craig tries to run away and then attempts suicide when it is pointed out to him that if he ran away he would end up on the streets.
    • Ellie's mother could be considered neglectful, as she is often passed out drunk, and even emotionally abusive. Ellie self-injures as a way of dealing.
    • Manny's parents kick her out because she wants to be an actress.
    • Alex's mother uses the money that her daughter earns stripping, which is intended to pay for rent and other necessities, to bail her deadbeat, physically abusive boyfriend out of prison.
    • KC is in foster care when he first comes on the show. KC's mother was an addict who locked her son in a closet so she could go out and get high. She got clean in prison and came out a functioning mother. However, when KC's father gets out of prison, KC and his mother are so afraid they leave town.
    • Jane's father molested her as a preschooler.
  • On Fresh Meat, Vod's mom is revealed to be an abusive parent who is addicted to drugs and alcohol. Her nickname for Vod is "Millie", short for "Millstone", and she frequently says she wishes Vod were never born. At the end of the episode, she goes into a coke-fueled rage.
  • Surgical Spirit has Sheila's bitch of a mother, who maybe says a handful of lines that don't criticise anything or anyone. It's hinted that at least some of it was an act, designed to see exactly what her daughter's new boyfriend was like, but then again, this is the woman who readily admitted to driving her husband into an early grave.
  • In Helix, The Farragut brothers had an angry, violent drunk for a father, which, according to Alan, lies at the root of some of Peter's behavioral tics. In one of his video logs, Peter uses a hand signal that used to mean their father was home and angry to communicate his distress at working for Arctic Biosystems, either as a deliberate warning, or reflexively. When infected with The Virus, Peter holes up in Air Vent Passageways, which Alan points out mirrors Peter's tendency to hide from their father in the attic.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "Imprint", the disfigured prostitute's father was a violent drunk who beat her mother and raped his inbred daughter, prompting her to kill him.
  • In House of Anubis, there's Victor's father, who was at least emotionally abusive. In flashbacks, his father was shown yelling at him and demanding he get information out of his friend Sarah about the treasure her parents hid. When Victor argued, he threatened that he would throw him in the orphanage, and called him a 'useless piece of nothing'. In season 2, the ghost of his father originally, when talking to Nina, continued insulting Victor. However, in the end, just before he faded, he left a gift for his son and gave Nina a message to pass on- "Tell him I'm sorry, and that I was the worthless one after all."
    • Mr.Sweet, Eddie's father, also had a bit of this going on in the third season. He started putting his mission before Eddie, which caused problems when they ended up on opposing sides. He showed no problems with manipulating and betraying Eddie to get what he wanted. Unlike the above example, it is unknown if he ever reconciled with Eddie, but in Touchstone Of Ra, he clearly cared for Eddie when his life was at risk, implying they were on good terms once again.
  • Day Break: Miguel Dominguez, a notorious Professional Killer working for the conspiracy, went to prison for murdering his own parents. It's originally believed that he's just a total psycho who targeted his sister afterwards and she's been in hiding ever since, but it eventually transpires that their father slashed up her face while the mother watched and Dominguez just wanted to protect her. She's instead adored him ever since and is his contact in Los Angeles.

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