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Big Screwed-Up Family
"Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers. With a stranger there is a possibility that you might be safe."

This is the family with issues, from which many, many kinds of Freudian Excuse can be taken. It's often very wealthy and powerful, when it's not royalty, and has many traditions. They have secrets, skeletons in their cupboards (sometimes literally) and are overly proud of their long (and bloody) history. Abusive behaviors of some kind are almost certain to have occurred. While they may display affectionate behaviors as well, to them Cain and Abel is a way of life — though if you piss off one of them, the rest will instantly band together to destroy you.

They're very likely to feature at least one Magnificent Bastard, Evil Matriarch, Manipulative Bastard, "Well Done, Son" Guy, Unfavorite or Black Sheep. There may be a Lady Drunk. While not frequent, Brother-Sister Incest and other kinds of canonical incest are most likely to be featured within this family. They also like to wage war with other families. Deadly Decadent Courts typically feature several of them. If they've been screwed up for a while, they're likely to have a Tangled Family Tree.

This family is often contrasted by the existence of a more traditional, if poorer, family, where everyone loves and supports each other despite occasional bickering.

A subtrope of The Clan. See also Royally Screwed Up, It Runs in the Family, Dysfunctional Family, and Dysfunction Junction. Contrast Thicker Than Water. May form a Super Family Team. If the family is screwed up in the narrative sense, because of complexity, Continuity Snarls and the like, see Tangled Family Tree instead.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Sohma clan in Fruits Basket has many instances of Domestic Abuse, some perpetrated by the head of the family, Akito Sohma, and some by various Abusive Parents (With Akito as one of the victims, which is his... er, her Freudian Excuse). It has a deep dark secret — 13 of its members are cursed to turn into animals if hugged by members of the opposite sex, which has been protected by memory manipulation. Family tradition states that the one cursed as 'the cat' must be imprisoned in an isolated room for life. Also, plenty of Kissing Cousins here, although in Japan, this is not considered incestuous.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Ishtar family, judging by what we see in flashbacks. Most of this can be blamed on their father, whose abuse gave Marik a Superpowered Evil Side whose first act was to become a Self-Made Orphan.
    • The Kaibas. Each member is an egomaniac and megalomaniac except for Mokuba, who was neglected by the father and ironically this is why he is the only normal one in the family aside from a sadistic streak in the manga.
  • Magi - Labyrinth of Magic: The Kou Royal Family is such a soap opera, a deranged soap opera. There are some exceptions, such as Hakuei, her brother Hakuryuu and their cousin Kougyouku post development... Sadly it doesn't mean that they are free of the consequences of where they live.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: The titular character's family revolves around an incredibly violent war between him and his older siblings. The oldest and second oldest (the latter being the last Big Bad of the original manga) are trying to rule the world, the middle daughter is a Cloudcuckoolander and the second youngest was brainwashed by another Big Bad, before his defeat at Bo-bobo's hands. And the parents? Dad's a hair follicle and mom's absent. Sweet lord.
  • Nothing is ever seen in the series proper, but Word of God stated that Gourry Gabriev the swordsman of Slayers has one. Owning a Forgotten Superweapon from another world, the Sword of Light, that can kill nearly anything mundane and even inflict damage to the equivalent of Satan in the show/novel's universe has more or less caused the entire family to go bonkers over who would own it, hence, a multitude of family civil wars occurred through the Gabriev family's generations. The author of the novels stated that Gourry's only family left are a grandmother and a dead older brother. Gourry himself finally decided to steal the Sword of Light and leave the family once and for all.
    • Princess Amelia Saillune's uncles and cousin tried to kill her father many times via questionable methods, her mother was murdered, and her older sister was so traumatised after witnessing their mom's murder (and how she killed the assassin) that she ran off to become a manic sorceress. Said sorceress, Naga the Serpent, journeyed with Lina for some time. Since Saillune is a rather prosperous kingdom, constant murder scares are not uncommon.
  • Naruto:
    • The Hyuugas, where the main family rules the branch family through a cursed forehead seal that causes agonizing pain. Amazingly, they look downright well-adjusted next to...
    • The Uchihas, whose eye powers are activated by killing friends and by taking the eyes of other family members. Fugaku, the head of the family put a lot of pressure on Itachi and ignored Sasuke, making Sasuke desperate for his father's attention. Yet this is nothing compared to Itachi murdering the rest of the family, torturing Sasuke, and telling him to cling to hatred because he would come back to kill him someday. Not to mention telling Sasuke to kill his closest friend. It's eventually revealed that Itachi murdered the family on orders from Konoha, because the Uchiha were planning a coup d'etat because they were being maltreated by the village. And Itachi left Sasuke alive because he wanted to be killed by one of his own clan.
      • As it turns out, Itachi actually killed his family to save Sasuke's life, as he had been promised that Sasuke would be spared if he did so. And both Fugaku and Mikoto knew it, so they offered no resistence and told Itachi that they loved him before dying. Still a dysfunctional relationship there though.
      • Let's put it this way: Itachi loved his family (seeing as he cried when he killed them) and they loved him back despite all how dysfunctional they were (seeing as Fugaku and Mikoto faced their deaths with dignity and even told him "You're just doing what you have to do", "It's not your fault" and "We love you" beforehand.). However, he loved the village more, and realized that the coup they were planning would eventually ignite the Fourth Great Shinobi World War. However, above the clan and the village, he loved Sasuke the most. Ultimately, his clan's ambitions did not outweigh the safety of the village, whatever fragile peace the shinobi world still had, and Sasuke's own mental health and safety. It really was a Sadistic Choice and no-win situation, and you really can't help but pity him for all the hard choices he had to make, which eventually ended with the extinction of his entire clan, leaving his home forever, and trading the love and adoration of Sasuke, the little brother he loved and cherished so much, for his hate and resentment — which is what caused Sasuke's own spiral into madness.
      • Even worse? It turns out they are at least partially the victim of their own bloodline limit: The Sharigan, as it turns out, is fueled by The Power of Hate and Love Makes You Evil. Yeah, no wonder they're all nuts.
    • The Sand Siblings family was like this, with their father trying to assassinate the youngest sibling, mother dying giving birth to and cursing the birth of the youngest sibling, and an uncle dying after trying to kill the youngest sibling. Oh yeah, and the sand demon possessed the youngest sibling. After an encounter with the titular character, the siblings themselves get better, moving safely into plain old Dysfunctional Family territory. It's eventually revealed that the mother did not curse Gaara, but the father had ordered the uncle to tell him she did in order to test him. But in fact both the mother and uncle had loved Gaara. And Gaara himself magificently called his dad out on his bullshit. And the old man realized how he had fucked up and took the call out.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist is... complicated. Father is a clone of Hohenheim and the homunculi are clones of Father. The relationship between Father and Hoenheim can be liked to a combination of sibling and father-son, while the relationship Ed and Al have with the seven Homunculi can be likened to that of siblings, cousins, and mutual nephews/nieces.
  • The Britannia royal family in Code Geass are certainly the embodiment of this trope. In particular their actions can only be explained by nearly the entire family being insane. To wit, Lelouch is basically the poster child for a Magnificent Bastard, Clovis is an iron fisted despot, Cornellia is a bloodthirsty, brutal warmonger who heavily criticises her younger sister for daring to treat the "Elevens" as equals, and Schnizeil is a Manipulative Bastard with delusions of godhood. Pretty much the only Britannia who is in any way sane is Euphemia, which ends up costing her her life.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam has the Zabis. Patriarch Degwin is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who sought to bring his political philosophy to Earth, but has since been cut off from all power by his eldest son's scheming. Youngest son Garma is a "Well Done, Son" Guy who proved too optimistic for the Universal Century; second son Dozle has his head screwed on for the most part (and clearly loves his wife and baby daughter and treats his subordinates decently), but becomes an Axe Crazy berserker and One-Man Army whenever he's turned loose on the enemy. Kycilia, his only daughter, loves her father, but is otherwise a cold-blooded, Manipulative Bitch and Lady of War who firmly believes that We Have Reserves. Then there's the oldest son and "biggest prize", Gihren: he's a manipulative, ruthless, scheming bastard who isolates his father so he can usurp his position, feels no sorrow when his brother dies and eventually commits patricide when the old man is about to ask for an armistice. He and Kycilia hate each other, and she ends up shooting him dead after the patricide incident.
    • According to Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin the Deikun family, whom the Zabis deposed, were in some ways even worse. Former leader Zeon Zum Deikun was, far from the sage New-Age Retro Hippie intent on helping humanity realize its "true potential" that Char and other supporters nostalgically remember him as, was a twisted, angry neurotic who wanted a war with Earth at least as badly as the Zabi family and whose death probably saved the colonies from getting completely crushed in a battle they were not at all prepared for at that point; his mother, Roselucia apparently raised him to have such extreme political beliefs and also had incestuous feelings toward him, resenting his wife because she got to bear his children instead of her and imprisoned her in a tower after Zeon was dead; then of course there's Char, (who's even more of a violent sociopath in Origin than he was in the anime) he of the suspicious relationships with underage girls and ill-conceived attempt to blow up the Earth in a fit of oedipal angst. The only one who came out relatively well adjusted is Sayla. Relatively being the operative word.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn adds the Vist family, who are apparently as dysfunctional as the Zabis: there's their Suzerain Syam who apparently found Laplace's Box during his time as a right-wing terrorist, hid the same, and is now regretting the actions he committed back then; his grandson and fellow atoner Cardeas, who shares his desire to rewrite the Universal Century back to how it should have been before the Laplace Station incident, even if it meant breaking the family's ties with the Earth Federation; his granddaughter Martha, who still resents her grandfather for killing her father, and is willing to take Laplace's Box for her own interests by any means necessary; and his great-grandson Alberto, who is willing to follow her Aunt Martha's orders, even committing patricide on Cardeas (although later episodes show that even he's not at all supportive of some of his aunt's methods). The odd one out on this family is Cardeas's illegitimate son, Banagher Links.
  • The Kuhoin family in Kure Nai is seriously messed up, as they lock away their daughters to give birth to the children of their brothers.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has the Ikari family, with Shinji Ikari, Yui Ikari, and Gendo Ikari, The Soryu Family, The Katsuragis, The Akagis... and all that is just the tip of a far more messed-up iceberg. Which has mass added to as the series goes by. One simply does not know where to start.
  • The Kunos from Ranma ½, they make the Saotome/Tendo household look positively normal.
  • The Vongola family in Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is the biggest Mafia family in the story and has its share of Cain and Abel killings and freakish traditions. This is initially played for laughs but following the manga's Genre Shift, it means that the Unexpected Successor Tsuna receives daily death threats to the point that he claims he'll destroy the family if he has to carry on its bloody legacy.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia: tends to get this trope Played for Laughs:
  • The Nanjous from Zetsuai and Bronze. Between the old man, his wives/mistresses, the three brothers (Hirose, Akihito and Kouji) and the sister (Nadeshiko)... hard to see who is the most fucked up.
  • The Itoshiki family of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is apparently a zaibatsu, and are quite wealthy, and the paterfamilias is a member of parliament, but they are really messed up. They essentially control the entire area on which their estate is, and one of their traditions is to have a ceremony where they force people to marry whoever they first make eye contact with. All of the members of the family seen in the show are nice enough, but they are either eccentric (Rin and Matoko) or downright crazy (Nozomu, the protagonist, is the most neurotic person imaginable, and his brother Kei is an insane artist married to a stain on the wall). Majiru is a fairly normal young boy, but he was abandoned by his apparently disinherited father Enishi and gets Nozomu of all people as his caretaker. Finally, all of the Itoshikis have embarrassing names formed by reading their names horizontally, and "Itoshiki family" itself can be read as "dying family".
  • The Zaoldyeck family from Hunter × Hunter fits this perfectly. The family profession is assassination, and from birth until death, you assassinate people or train to assassinate people. Instead of timeout, you get whips to the face. Older brothers Illumi and Milluki and little brother Kalluto are the good sons, faithfully obeying orders (until Kalluto gets tired of this), Killua is the Black Sheep, running away from home, etc. Just a generally screwed up family.
  • The Cain Saga/Godchild. There's incest of all types, child abuse, pedophilia thrown in there (and thrown in remarkably casually), poisons, angst (Jesus there's a lot of angst), Foe Yay, Ho Yay, Incest Subtext, Cannibalism Yay, and some fucking gorgeous art. Also, many many Tear Jerker scenes. Plus a ton of death in general.
  • Saint Seiya: The Kido Family. Saori Kido turns out to be the Goddess Athena and used to be a massive Spoiled Brat who only wised up after her grandfather's death, and yet she's also a borderline Martyr Without a Cause who places herself regularly in next-to-no-win situations to save the world. As for said grandfather, Mitsumasa Kido... he's not an evil person, but he takes seriously screwed-up decisions while trying to help keep the world safe: in the manga has 100 kids and then sends them to go become Saints, which is so bad that the anime softens it up by making them orphans taken into the Kido clan (sometimes forcibly, like in Seiya's case) and then sent off to train. Let's not forget Hyoga and his Oedipus Complex with his dead mother.
  • The Hatamoto, Yabuchi and Nagato families from Detective Conan. In each case, a member of the family (two, in the case of the Hatamotos) is very messily murdered... by another. (Though the Yabuchis also subvert the last part: the killer was impersonating a family member had already died years ago, and as much he was a family friend due to his long-standing friendship with the dead family member.)
  • The Lightsphere family of Ciel The Last Autumn Story. They're a notorious evil line of aristocrats, and their political connection to the royal family allows them to get away with committing many heinous crimes, usually against one another. The head of the family actually raised two of his own children apart, just so they could be married off when they became adults, and hopefully produce a child with a very specific magic power. Then the siblings died, and when it was made clear that their son, January, was going to one day lead the family and inherit the title of duke, every relative instantly turned on him and started making attempts on his life. There have been a few examples of decent people, but with the exception of January and his cousin Socie, they've all ended up dead.
  • Pretty much the entire Shuzen family in Rosario + Vampire, sans Akasha, has some issues. To make things clearer, among the four children of the family, Moka is the most stable among them, followed by Kokoa.
  • The royal family of Pheliosta in Vampire Game. Incest is the law of the land, power struggles abound, people everyone thinks are related aren't, surprise relatives show up at the drop of a hat, half the family's evil and the other half's just plain nuts.
  • Loveless:
    • The Kaidou family, which Kio comes from. He has a daughter, who appears to be around ten (Kio himself is only 21) and doesn't have cat ears, and who was apparently born "without his knowledge" (which given the closeness in age, suggests that Kio's backstory contains either sexual abuse or a Stalker with a Test Tube). Said daughter is also the head of the family. Oh, and his twin sister has connections to Septimal Moon and works for Seimei and Nisei.
    • The Aoyagi famiy isn't much better, between the mentally unstable Misaki who abuses her youngest son and is all but stated to already being messed up from WAY before, and the psychopath older brother who faked his own death and has some creepy Incest Subtext with the main character, as well as treating his already crazy mother like crap.
  • The Hückebein of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force also become this one. On the one hand, they seem to care about each other, even share dinner together at one table. But on the other hand, they seem to not care about anyone but themselves.
  • The Arima family from Kare Kano suffered from a continuing cycle of abuse and heartache. Reiichirou, Souichiro's grandfather and Eiko/Soji/Reiji's father, was horribly physically abused by his own father because his father couldn't stand how beautiful he was. Reiichirou as a result was disconnected emotionally and abused his own children emotionally: Eiko became a bitter and angry person who couldn't get over her broken dreams, but Soji managed to rise above it and ultimately become a better man. Reiichirou later connected with another woman, where Reiji was conceived, but harassment from the Arima family caused the woman to attempt murder-suicide with Reiji, destroying the boy emotionally. Finally, Reiji's son Souichiro was emotionally stunted because of physical and emotional abuse he suffered from his biological mother Ryoko, and from the isolation he felt from the Arima family, who hated him because of Reiji and openly wondered if he'd become a bad person because of him.
  • Bleach: The entire Quincy Clan is ultimately descended from Yhwach, their progenitor-king. While the Ishidas and Kurosakis come from a White Sheep non-genocidal faction, they're still mired in conflict with the evil majority and their immediate family relationships are still a hot mess. Since his grandfather Souken was murdered, Uryuu has been so deeply estranged from his father Ryuuken that he refers him by his first name, refuses to live under his roof, and honestly believed at one point that Ryuuken was attempting to kill him instead of fulfilling a bargain they had struck (although Ryuuken actually was keeping his word). Ryuuken works hard to give his son the impression that he regards him as a disappointment although he seems to be deeply concerned for the boy's well-being underneath it all. Ryuuken was in turn badly enough estranged from Souken (for reasons that are still somewhat hazy but probably have to do with the murder of Uryuu's mother Kanae Katagiri) that he forbade Uryuu to visit him. Which Uryuu still did until Souken's murder. The dysfunction is revealed to go back even further in the "Everything but the Rain" flashback arc: Souken's frequent absences caused tension with his unnamed wife, who took out her frustrations on Ryuuken and specially on Ryuuken's Arranged Marriage fiancee (and first cousin), Masaki Kurosaki. Oh and did we mention that the engagement was somewhat coercive, since poor Masaki had no other family to turn to?
  • Kill la Kill has the Kiryuuin family. Every single member of the family has tried to kill at least one other member of the family, the mother Ragyou is an abusive incestuous molester, the father Souichirou started a nudism-based terrorist organization to fight said mother, for which she killed him, the elder daughter Satsuki is a totalitarian dictator student council president with an extremely understandably Elektra complex, and the younger daughter Ryuuko was dropped down a garbage chute as an infant, lived, was found by her runaway dad who raised her under secret identities, and grew up to be a juvenile delinquent. It gets even worse if you count the Artificial Human created by the mother as her "daughter", since said...creature...is more or less a psychopathic, murderous Looney Toon, known as Nui Harime. Similarly one could also count Senketsu among the family, being the second human Life Fiber hybrid created by Soichirou. Ryuko's "brother" is her armor. The cast never quite draws this conclusion though as, unlike Ryuko and Nui, Senketsu's form is that of clothing.

    Comic Books 
  • The Batman Family. Almost all of them are orphans brought together by tragedy. First Dick was raised by Bruce and suffered tension to the point that they seemed ready to break. Then Bruce took in Jason, who was ultimately killed (and brought back to become a wayward son). Barbara was crippled and had to rebuild her life as a paraplegic superheroine. Tim volunteered and his family fell apart for it, Cassandra was drugged into becoming the very thing she feared most, Stephanie was tortured half to death, it took Helena years before she gained acceptance and started to trust the others, and Damian's problems start with being raised in a clan of assassins... they're all waifs, misfits and strays that would belong nowhere if not together.
  • The Wilsons. Slade "Deathstroke" Wilson may actually be the only sane one left. His wife, Addie, was ostensibly on the side of angels, but her methods weren't. They only seemed to get worse with time. Eldest son Grant was a Psycho for Hire who ended up killing himself when going up against the Teen Titans. Middle child Joseph "Jericho" Wilson was the White Sheep; a genuinely nice, artistic sort and a Titan in good standing...until he made contact with Raven's demonic side and the corrupted remnants of Azarath and went nuts as a result. Rose, the youngest, and the product of Slade's affair with a brothel keeper/mercenary, gouged her own eye out in an attempt to be just like daddy (that, before her Heel-Face Turn). So Yeah.
  • The Endless from The Sandman portray this trope very well. They argue, they're petty and some of them are downright bastards.
  • The Roark family from Sin City. While we don't see a lot of politics among them, the members that we do meet (Cardinal Roark, Senator Roark and Roark Junior) are evil to the core, and John Hartigan states that the bad shit that they get up to on the Farm on North Cross and Lennox has been going on for generations.
  • Venom's family from Spider-man; most of them want to kill each other.
  • The Pyms over at the Marvel Universe. Hank Pym and The Wasp, their robot son Ultron who later marries Jocasta who has the brainwave patterns of his mother... Yeah.
  • From Preacher, Jesse Custer's family will literally send chills up and down your spine. Trying to describe the revulsion that they inspire does not do the book justice.
  • We can officially list Bruce Banner's family at this point. It would take a long while, a lot of space on this page, and several spoiler blocks to list all the issues he, his kids, his cousin, and his ex-wife have. Don't even get started on his father.
  • Fantastic Four, Marvel's original dysfunctional family. Famous for operating so brilliantly as a team in the face of danger that they are the stuff of cosmic legends, but immediately falling apart into all kinds of internal strife from passive-aggressive warfare to spontaneous fistfights to stewing in bottled self-pity/resentment, all with a big helping of Poor Communication Kills, whenever the action abates.
  • The Nu'um family in the Star Wars comic book miniseries Jabba the Hutt: The Art of the Deal.
  • Enforced in Nikolai Dante: Dmitri Romanov encourages his children to be cruel, lying, ruthless, heartless backstabbers in order to strengthen the family and ensure strong leadership.
  • The Pride in Runaways is a collection of messed up families. Every single one of them has some strange quirk besides Alex's family and are all rather lacking in any sense of morality, only obsessed with their own children. Said children hate them for being crazy obsessed murderous supervillains and the parents never listen to them at any point and think killing the kids that aren't theirs can only help in the long run. The Runaways themselves could possibly count, turning into a makeshift family with a constantly shifting dynamic that goes through members with surprising speed.
  • The Lensherr/Maximoff/Amaquelin/Android/Dane family is screwed up in so many ways. The patriarch's a Well-Intentioned Extremist supervillain with a terrible case of Heel-Face Revolving Door, the son's a Jerk Ass Smug Super bigot with marital problems, the daughter's insane, the son-in-law's an android, the grandkids have their own problems, and everybody keeps losing track of just how many family members there are. (Given that Magneto and Professor X apparently share a soul or some such, we can throw Legion and all of the X-Men (as Charles's adopted children) in there as well.)
  • While fairly mundane compared to some of these examples, the Chu family from Chew includes Tony (a cibopath — someone with Postcognition applying to anything (or anyone) he tastes), his fraternal twin Antonelle "Toni" ( a cibovoyant — essentially the precognitive version of a cibopath), his older sister Rosemary (who, along with her husband, absolutely hates Tony for unknown reasons), Olive ( Tony's daughter, who hates her dad in part because she inherited cibopathy from him), his younger brother Harold (a drag actor under the stage name "Miso Honey") and his older brother Chow (a professional chef who insists that the government faked the Bird Flu epidemic and so insists on involving himself in the illegal underground trading of poultry products).
  • Where do we even begin with the Ducklairs? First off the father: Everett is one of the smartest minds on the planet but his Science-Related Memetic Disorder caused him to turn everything he touched in a superweapon: it took him several years of meditation far away from civilization to resolve that. He is also an alien escaped from planet Corona. He brought his daughters with him, to save them from becoming the queen of said planet. Unfortunately, due to a series of accidents upon their arrival on Earth, he left them when they were children and found them again as adults. He still has regrets over this. His daughters, Korinna and Juniper, are basically two kids trapped in adult bodies because of this, and they refuse to forgive him. They also plan to turn Earth into a new Corona. And then there is Serifa, Everett's wife and Korinna and Juniper's mother, who is just interested in using her children to obtain the title she never got. Man, is this enough for everybody?
  • Where to even start with Wolverine. One legitimate son is a manipulative sociopath who enjoys toying with others for his own amusement, while another he hasn't seen since he was a baby. His "daughter" is a depressed and likely suicidal ex-child soldier and prostitute struggling to turn her life around. He has a who knows how many illegitimate children, many of whom were sent to kill him and he was forced to kill first, only later discovering who they really were, and his father wasn't actually his biological father , his actully biological father Thomas Logan tried to kill him. And we still haven't even touched on his brother "Dog" Logan and adopted daughter.

    Cross Media 
  • No matter what medium they appear in, The Addams Family is always a spectacular aversion of this. They might be kooky, spooky and ooky, but without exception, they all love each other dearly. Their level of affection for non-family members can vary widely.

    Fanfiction 
  • In The Three Kings: Hunt the Andrews family is this.
  • Two examples in The Lion King Adventures:
    • Simba's family. He becomes a murderer in Series Five, his parents are possessed by aliens and his uncle is a psychopath. Not to mention his girlfriend's eyes glow red whenever she's feeling particularly evil.
    • Tama's family is just as bad. Her parents were abusive, three of her brothers were drowned and two of them ate each other.
  • Shinra High SOLDIER has two screwed up families which merge together through the marriage of their son and daughter. Let's begin with Julia, a sadistic, petty and arrogant psycho stemming from a violent, murderous, incestuous father and a highly emotionally unstable mother. Julia's husband Sephiroth is a cold-blooded, amoral and sadistic killer. Julia's father-in-law is the insane professor Hojo, whose main hobbies involve torturing and experimenting on teenagers and chopping people up with his battleaxe. The only seemingly normal member of the family is Tseng, Julia's foster brother, although even he begins displaying sociopathic tendencies toward the end of the story.
  • In Family Ties the canonical screwed up British Isles family arguments wind up causing WW 3. The screwed up psyches and relationships are expanded on in Vincere and the related drabbles confirming Rape as Backstory for both England and Ireland and confirming Northern Ireland as a child by rape and Brother-Sister Incest

    Film 
  • Star Wars: The Skywalkers, especially in the expanded universe. Marrying into said family has caused this to extend to the Solos as well. In the Bantam Era, the Solos and Skywalkers were relatively normal, well adjusted. It wasn't until Del Rey decided to inject massive amounts of wangst, killed off many popular child characters starting with Anakin Solo, as well as turning Jacen Solo into Jacen In Name Only that everything became messed up.
    • Gets even more interesting in the Expanded Universe now that Jaina Solo (Han and Leia's daughter) has accepted a marriage proposal from Jag Fel. Jag's dad is defected Imperial Baron Soontir Fel, who married Wynessa Starflame...only, that wasn't her birth name. Y'see, she's Wedge's sister. Star Wars: Legacy establishes that Jaina and Jag establish a kinder, gentler version of The Empire, and their descendant is starting to flirt with Cade Skywalker in a Kissing Cousins scenario...
  • The Godfather: The Corleones. They are a mafia family after all. And there's murders, assassinations, assassination of in-laws, fratricide...
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has the Largo family. It has Rotti, Pavi, Luigi, and Amber. They're constantly bickering, and Luigi and Amber are eerily close.
    • The Wallaces, Nathan and his daughter Shilo, are screwed up enough to count even though there are only two of them. Three if you count the heavy implication that Missing Mom Marni still hangs around as a ghost. But even aside from ghost mom, the fact that Nathan is poisoning Shilo to keep her dependent on him makes him count all on his own.
  • The Royal Tenenbaums. They'd probably be happier if it weren't for dad. Many elements of the film—particularly child prodigies' unfulfilled potential—are lifted from J.D. Salinger's Glass family stories.
  • The titular family in The Magnificent Ambersons, in Orson Welles's movie as well as the original book.
  • The Pascals from The House of Yes. Insanity, incest, murder... all at one Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Winter's Bone: Nearly everyone in the area is related to one another, and almost all of them are meth-addicted and unhelpful in Ree's quest to find her father
  • The family from the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre film series.
  • Asgard's royal family in Thor, especially Odin and Loki. Thor and Loki go without saying.
  • The Prescotts in the Scream series. Sidney's mother was the village bicycle who was murdered for breaking up a marriage, she had a long-lost half-brother who became a film director and then tried to kill her because "she got all the attention", her little cousin was a narcissistic, fame-hungry psychopath who engaged in mass murder to try and make herself a celebrity like Sidney, and of course, Sidney herself is frequently stalked by serial killers. Fortunately, by this point Sidney has gotten very good at dealing with said serial killers.
  • Madea's family in Madeas Family Reunion. Her niece Lisa is in an abusive relationship with a man she doesn't love. Meanwhile her sister Vanessa was allowed to be raped by her stepfather so that he wouldn't leave her mother, Victoria, who was sold by her junkie mother for 10 dollars and a fix.
  • Billy's family from the Black Christmas remake. Billy himself was born with a liver condition that caused his skin to turn yellow, but that's the least of it— his birth father (the only one who cared for him) was killed by his mother, who then locked him in the attic for most of his life. When her new husband was impotent she raped Billy resulting in the birth of his sister/daughter Agnes and making Billy even more The Unfavorite, not to mention more insane. Eventually Billy snaps and murders (and eats) the parents but spares Agnes (mutilating her in the process). Years later he and Agnes reunite for a killing spree.
  • The Browns from Buffalo '66 fit this trope. The mom is a sports nut that ignores anything that doesn't have to do with the Buffalo Bills, the father is a basket case who lip synchs to old records and accuses his son of trying to stab him (a knife was on the dinner table), and Billy is a Man Child who resorted to a life of crime.
  • Melancholia: The only issue-free person is Clair's little boy, who's also the only person who can make his severely depressed aunt smile. And then a planet falls on top of them.
  • The Essenbecks in The Damned. A wealthy German steel family scheming, backstabbing and murdering each other to gain favor with the Nazis, several members sexually deviant (to be kind) or otherwise having skeletons in the closet.
  • The Talbots from The Wolfman (2010) got issues to say the least.
  • The Brewsters of Lavender And Old Lace are without exception either insane or homicidal or both. Our protagonist is delighted to discover he was adopted.

    Literature 
  • The royal family from The Chronicles of Amber kind of define this trope. So much backstabbery your brain will give up.
    • Let's just say that if you assume the alliances that develop in the first book are anything but the sheerest tissue of lies and fabrication, you're severely mistaken. Corwin's siblings fall into three categories: those who are in active opposition to him at some point during the series, those who do almost literally nothing throughout the series, and Random (and even he only throws in with Corwin to start with because he thinks Corwin's in a stronger position than he actually is).
  • Harry Potter:
    • The House of Black. Their house elf servants are traditionally beheaded once they're too old to fetch and carry, and anyone who shows signs of not being a Fantastic Racist is kicked out and has their name blasted off the family tapestry (Sirius's uncle got blasted off just for giving him some money after he left the house). Sirius's brother Regulus was considered The Dutiful Son for joining a terrorist group, though he eventually got a dose of reality.
    • The Dumbledores may also count. Percival maims a group of Muggle boys and goes to Azkaban, Kendra is thought to have imprisoned Ariana for being a Squib though it was common knowledge that she herself was Muggle-born, Ariana is driven insane by the Muggle boys (which is why Percival maimed them) and hidden by her mother. Albus develops a big gay crush on Gellert Grindelwald, who later gets into a fight with him and Aberforth, and one of the three winds up killing Ariana. Then Albus and Aberforth get into a fight at Ariana's funeral, and they have a very strained relationship for years. Whew.
    • Of course we should add Tom Riddle's (aka Voldemort) family, the Gaunts. His grandfather and his son were typical racist pure bloods who abused his mother. His mother drugged a muggle boy with love potion in hopes that he would love her for real.
  • The Mayfair family in Anne Rice's trilogy Lives of the Mayfair Witches fits this trope to a T.
  • Played surprisingly straight in Discworld by the Lavish family of Making Money. They can't even have dinner together without their Army of Lawyers. At one point, Cosmo attempts to "reassure" an employee he's extorting that he's always thought of the man as family. He thinks about this for a second and adds "but in a good way."
    • Nanny Ogg's ginormous family has enough grudges "to keep an entire Ozark of normal hillbillies going for a century". It's noted that the only way the various branches will stop fighting each other is if some outside party insults any family member.
  • Several noble families in A Song of Ice and Fire fit the bill, Deadly Decadent Court oblige. Our main protagonist Stark family however seems immune at the start of the series which didn't save them at all.
    • The Lannisters are pretty much a textbook example. Not only are they wealthy, powerful and ambitious, but scheming and snarking seem to run in the family. Not to mention incest, father-son conflicts and horrendous parenting. Not to mention they scheme against each other almost as much as they do other people.
    • The Targaryens are not very far behind, and Royally Screwed Up to boot.
    • The Freys are the biggest of the screwed up families present. Their current patriarch has fathered 22 legitimate sons and 7 legitimate daughters, to say nothing of his many bastards (plus grandchildren, great grand children, grand bastards etc.), and if half of what is said of the machinations of his progeny is true (particularly those surrounding Black Walder) they have already begun clandestine murderous maneuvering against one another in addition to the constant complex political moves to curry favor, and need only the death of the head of the family (currently over 90) to erupt into open struggling.
    • Craster's family. It doesn't exactly fit the description (though they are relatively well-set for wildlings), but "big and screwed up" doesn't begin to describe it. Craster has nineteen wives, most of whom are his daughters and it's understood that his grand-daughters of the right age are/would also be his wives. He rules the family with an iron first, makes the women do all the work and forbids them to speak to strangers as well as the strangers - to them. Oh, and the skeleton in his cupboard? His wives sometimes bear him sons, which he then sacrifices to the Others.
    • The Greyjoys. Considering they're the ruling family of a culture that considers Rape, Pillage, and Burn a good thing, it's no surprise they are screwed up. Theon Greyjoy was relatively well-adjusted living with the Starks as a "ward" (read: hostage), but his reunion with his birth family and the conflict between their values and Stark values screwed him up fast.
    • Marrying into the Boltons? Might we cordially suggest diving into chummed waters around the Summer Isles without a cage, rather? You'd have better luck with the sharks — what with the greater than 66.66% chance you'll just end up wishing to die quickly to get it over with. And, this is not hyperbole: count the number of dead or really, really messed-up wives — with just two husbands involved... Of four that we know much about, two are dead (one very horribly; the other a little mysteriously of a fever — whatever that means), one so badly abused and on the run, your heart goes out to her... and the other is so far fine. So far. It's doubtful much of the fanbase is holding their breaths on this staying the case, however (if Roose doesn't try to kill her, Ramsay is likely to). Oh: and, there is a fifth. But, we don't even know what her name was or what happened. Just that she's not around. And, if the rumours that have surrounded House Bolton for centuries are even remotely true... this is not new. And, puts the relatively small number of Boltons into a very interesting light, considering their mileage on wives — and temporary others.
  • The Dresden Files: The Raiths, the royal family of the White Court, are a whole bunch of scheming succubi and incubi with a Smug Snake at the head. On the other side of the playing field, Harry's family is also pretty screwed-up, with multiple people treading dangerously close to the Black Magic line. Amusingly enough, these two families are actually related through Harry and Thomas's mother, making it one giant screwed-up family.
  • Gormenghast: The House of Groan is the epitome of this trope.
  • The Do'Urden family from The Dark Elf Trilogy and pretty much every dark elf family from Menzoberranzan in the Forgotten Realms universe; comes with the territory.
  • Redwall: The Marlfoxes. The Pure Ferrets of Riftgard in the same series would probably count if there were more than three of them. Verdauga Greeneyes and his two offspring don't count because the only truly screwed-up member was Tsarmina.
  • Any family in William Faulkner's novels is, in all likelihood, quite large and quite screwed-up. The Compsons, the Bundrens, the Sutpens ... implied incest, murder, cruelty, bad luck, you name it.
  • The Foxworths in Flowers in the Attic. Generations of incest, parental abandonment, and abuse (emotional, physical, and psychological) are only made worse by the fact that these people are richer than God and can do whatever they want.
  • Any family the heroine is a member of in any V. C. Andrews novel is screwed up by default.
  • Agatha Christie used this trope to maximize the pool of suspects in Death Comes as the End, Crooked House, and A Pocket Full of Rye.
  • The House of Finwë from The Silmarillion. Finwë, king of the Noldor, remarried; his elder son was very, very bitter: the Big Bad, a Manipulative Bastard, stirred things up: numerous feuds ensued. Brother tried to kill brother, brother forgave brother, brother did it again; cousin saved cousin, cousin tried to kill cousin, there was a bit of incest, etc. Finarfin is completely aware of how messed up his family is, and tries to distance himself from them. Galadriel, Elrond, and his children are the last (mostly elven) members of that family in Middle-Earth in the Third Age, by the way, but by this time the craziness has mostly run out. Aragorn is also technically of the House of Finwe, since his umpty-great grandfather was Elrond's brother, but there are a lot more generations in between him and the crazy.
    • The crazy is mainly in Finwë's eldest son Curufinwë/Fëanor and his descendants; Galadriel and Elrond are descended from Fëanor's half-brothers, who were generally the more responsible/reasonable parties in the tried to kill/forgave/tried to kill again pairings mentioned. Only two of Fëanor's sons aren't killed, and even they don't get happy endings.
  • The Buchanons, from the Maggody mysteries. No, they're not even close to rich, but they're screwed up enough to qualify for this trope several times over.
  • Iain Banks likes these, occasionally when writing as Iain M. Banks too. Probably the best example is Prentice McHoan's family in The Crow Road, but The Business, Whit and The Steep Approach to Garbadale also centre around similar families.
  • The Vangers in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy are big and they're definitely screwed up.
    • Zalachenko's children, for that matter.
  • The Buendías in Gabriel García Márquez' magnum opus One Hundred Years of Solitude. Many editions of the book come with a family tree — it's nearly impossible to navigate the story without it, especially since the family recycles the same few names every generation.
  • The Wildesterns from Oisín McGann's Ancient Appetites heartily approve of the use of murder to improve one's standing in the family.
  • At the beginning of Flora Segunda, Flora describes how messed up her family is, what with her mother being Married to Her Job as Commanding General of the Califan Army (and being away from home for long stretches of time), while her father is a drunk prone to fits of violence as a result of having spent three years in their world's equivalent of the Hanoi Hilton. Though in the next book, we learn they're practically the Cleavers when compared to the extinct Hadraada family.
  • The Breedlove family in The Bluest Eye. The parents are always fighting, the father is an alcoholic who rapes his 12-year-old daughter, and said daughter is Driven to Madness.
  • Jonathan Franzen loves this trope. The Lamberts in The Corrections are a prime example, as are the Hollands in Strong Motion (for a given definition of big).
  • The Marsh Family from "The Shadow Over Innsmouth".
  • The Malagash family in The Chronicles of Magravandias. They are constantly plotting the downfall of other family members and shifting allies in their Deadly Decadent Court.
  • P. G. Wodehouse's Woosters are this trope Played for Laughs. "Family rows" are nasty and complicated, there's more than one instance of diagnosed insanity, a lot of things are kept hushed up, and Evil Matriarch Aunt Agatha frequently resorts to bribery and trickery to stop members of the family from marrying into common blood. According to Bertie, the Woosters can trace their ancestry all the way back to the Crusades.
  • The 39 Clues has the Cahill family. Nearly every influential historical figure born in or after the 16th century is related to them (by blood or marriage), and quite a few of the family members are extremely rich and powerful. The family is big enough to be divided into four rival branches, which formed from the descendants of the four original Cahill children, as well as the Madrigal branch, which is made up of people descended from Madeline Cahill, the fifth sibling, and members of other branches who wish for peace. Most of the time, the four branches are spying on or trying to kill each other, and even individual family branches experience internal conflicts a good deal of the time.
  • Most of the Israeli author Meir Shalev's books contain examples of this; examples appear in, among others, Esau, A Russian Novel, and A Pigeon and a Boy.
  • GONE series:
    • Caine Soren and Diana Ladris both came from big, (rich), messed up families, which could of been foreshadowing for their future relationship. Caine's mother gave him up for adoption and then he was adopted into a family with a step father and mother who literally thought he was evil and sent him away to Coates Academy so they wouldn't have to deal with him (he never hears from them again). Diana's situation was arguably even worse, as her father was having a affair, and her parents were getting divorced. That's not even the bad part. Then her mother fell down a flight of stairs and became paralysed from the neck down, and Diana blamed her dad, who was arrested and imprisoned. It was even lampshaded that Diana was sexually abused by her mothers boyfriends (her mother was apparently, also unfaithful).
    • This becomes Fridge horror/brilliance, when you think about how in PLAGUE and FEAR Caine and Diana form their own *estranged* big messed up family when their demon daughter Gaia is born, who tries to kill her father and comes pretty close, too. Also a little messed up as Caine and Diana are only 16/15 years of age when they had her, and that they aren't even together anymore.
    • Most everyone else had abusive parents too: Dekka Talent, Brianna, Orc, Zil... Basically, all families apparently sucked in Perdido Beach.
  • In Tom Holt's Expecting Someone Taller (a very loose comic sequel to Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung), the Gods, much as in the opera, are severely dysfunctional. Wotan and the Valkyries, in particular, have a passive-aggressive thing going where he refuses to wipe his feet before entering Valhalla, or to clean up after himself, and they bitch about how insensitive and uncaring he is, and everyone's happy.
  • J. B. Priestley's Benighted (more well known from its film adaptation The Old Dark House) features the charming Femm family. Of the group, only Sir Roderick, the oldest, seems sane, but he's also bedridden and effectively trapped upstairs. His brother Horace is on the run for committing some mysterious crime, while his sister Rebecca, who is almost completely deaf, suffers from religious mania. And then there's the murderous Saul, kept locked away—until the drunken servant lets him out.
  • Restrepo's Delirium pretty much revolves around this, from Incest Subtext to some brutal Brainwashing through out Plausible Deniability.
  • A lot of the minor characters in White as Snow are King Draco's bastard children and issues arise for his legitimate daughter from how well he treated them.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt gives us the Löwenströms in her debut novel Överenskommelser''. They might seem to be an ordinary upper middle class family. The sad truth though is that the head of the household is a cruel domestic abuser, who has made his wife ill from unhappiness. He has also abused his own children until his son became a sadistic sociopath and his daughter became a "flawless" extreme doormat. He has now moved on to abuse his niece...
    • Illiana Henriksdotter in "Betvingade" also comes from a screwed-up family, with a tyrannical father and a cold-hearted mother.
    • And the Gripklos of "De skandalösa" also have their issues, with a tyrannical father and a neglectful mother.
  • The Accursed Kings interlaces two of them, the small d'Artois and the much larger french Royal Family (including its laces to other European regnant families), and runs on it for seven books. Not for nothing has George R. R. Martin declared he used it as an inspiration for A Song of Ice and Fire...
  • The Furstans, the royal family of Torenth in the Deryni series, with a special mention for the Festillic branch of same descended from an incestuous affair.
  • Being full of proud West Virginia hillbillies the town of Grantville, transposed to 1632 thanks to alien carelessness, has lots of these, not to mention home to some seriously Tangled Family Tree. This turns out to be one of the few things they have in common with the aristocracy of their new time.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The Harrises. Xander's the only good one out of them; his parents are such drunken abusive jerks that Xander would rather sleep outside, at night, in vampire-infested Sunnydale.
    • Tara's family - or, at least, the men. Women in her family tend to have a gift for magic, so the males created a story that there was something demonic about them to keep them in line. Thankfully, by the time we actually see them, Tara's found a real family.
  • Arguably, the Barones from Everybody Loves Raymond.
  • The Bluths in Arrested Development. Let's see: The patriarch of the family gets arrested in the first episode for stealing from his company, his wife is mean to all of her children who don't get along that well with each other except compared to with her, two of whom are self-absorbed to a great degree and one of whom is a Man Child, one of the grandchildren has a crush on his cousin, whose parents are extremely neglectful and have an extremely rocky marriage, and only one of the adults has any work ethic of any kind. Said adult is seen as the "boring" one by his relatives. Later in the series the family gets even more screwed up.
  • The Hardacres in Brass are a very conscious exercise in playing this trope for laughs.
  • The Maguire family in Shameless embodied this trope, being aggressive Irish drugdealers, and as such were the feared family in their area. Paddy the Papa Wolf, Mimi the Mama Bear, Micky, who is tough but gay, Jamie the ex-con, Shane the violent but clumsy stoner, Mandy, the only nice member of the family, who later dies.
    • The Gallagher family from the American version qualify too.
  • While most of the families on Coronation Street are screwed up the Barlows are the only ones really large enough to meet the "Big" qualifier. Being in the third and fourth generation helps, along with serial philanderer Ken having five children. The Barlows have fought with each other and everybody else over the years. They've also stood together through bigamy, alcoholism, cold blooded murder, and more adultery than most can count.
  • The Petrellis in Heroes.
  • The Pucketts in iCarly.
  • The Gavins in Rescue Me. Doubly so if you included Sheila Keefe, the window of Tommy's cousin.
  • Jack Bauer is revealed to come from this type of family in season six of 24. They are also, however, a total Badass Family.
  • The whole family in Titus is severely screwed up, where mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse are common affairs. And they were based off of his actual family, so guess what that makes this.
    • Erin's family also qualifies, as it seems to consist mainly of thieves, gamblers and drug dealers/addicts.
  • The Ewings of Dallas.
    • And of course their counterparts from Dynasty, the Carringtons and Colbys, and the Channings from Falcon Crest
  • The Lopez family of The George Lopez Show. Max is dyslexic, but there's nothing wrong with that. However, later, he gets mixed up with a gang, gets in a knife fight, frenches behind a dumpster until he gets hungry, then shoplifts, and launched a bottle rocket that destroyed the garage and put the family in horrible debt, got alcohol poisoning as a young teen, and tore up a perfectly good pillow. Carmen got featured in a rap video, having a pillow fight, if you know what I mean, then went to a party with beer, then drank beer (elsewhere from the beer party), then planned her pregnancy with a boy she was dating (and she was very Crazy-Prepared for it, too), and insulted her father in her diary. Their GRANDMA, even, is alcoholic, addicted to smoking, and hit a guy in the nuts this one time. George Lopez... nothing too wrong with him. He lies. A lot. Then Angie, who... actually, she's the sole refugee from this trope in the family, even though she does tend to scold George for things he can't help at all.
  • Half of the Midsomer Murders episodes feature a feud between two Big Screwed Up Families.
  • The Nichol/Cohen family in The O.C.. The patriarch, Caleb Nichol, is a Magnificent Bastard par excellence. His daughter Kirsten married Sandy Cohen, had Seth, and adopted Ryan, so that's four of the main characters. But Nichol went on to marry Kirsten's best friend Julie; this added her ex-husband Jimmy and daughters Marissa and Kaitlin to the clan (and gave Ryan's relationship with Marissa a vaguely incestuous quality). It gets worse: Caleb's illegitimate daughter Lindsay was also at the kids' school and she also dated Ryan. Then after Caleb is gone, Julie marries Summer's father. And Summer marries Seth in the finale. End result, thanks to Caleb's industriousness willingness to marry a woman his daughter's age, ten of the 12 characters who were cast members are eventually related by marriage — only Luke and Taylor escape. (And Taylor lived with the Cooper side of the family for a while at one point anyway, to the point of almost becoming an adoptive member.)
  • The Wilkerson Family in Malcolm in the Middle, as part of an effort to make the world's worst dysfunctional family.
  • Blanche's family in The Golden Girls is a comical example. In the episode "Adult Education", Rose is quizzing Blanche in psychology and asks, "Who said that the son wishes to extract revenge on the father by having sex with the mother?" Blanche responds, "I don't know who said it, but my cousin did it!"
  • Supernatural features the delightful blend of the Winchesters and the Campbells. Between manipulations, impossible orders, and the possibility that the family patriarch might have once set his nine and five year old sons up as bait for a child eating monster, there's a bunch that's screwed up in this family. What's best is that the reasons why things are so messed up weren't known for years and some of them we're still learning about.
    • The entire Heavenly Host, full stop. So screwed up in fact that one of the four archangels, Gabriel, decided to run away and join the Norse Pantheon and become Loki. Yes, THAT Loki. And considering how screwed up the Norse gods are, that's saying something.
  • Revenge has the Graysons.
  • The Bristow family from Alias. Jack, Irina, Sydney, Nadia, Katya, and Arvin, by various connections. Six people, of whom 2 are actually Bristows by blood and 1 by marriage (depending on whether you count Jack and Irina's marriage as valid).
  • The Collins family on Dark Shadows. In the original series, it was intended that Victoria Winters be Elizabeth Stoddard's illegitimate daughter. Roger Collins let another man take the fall for vehicular homicide (and is a cowardly, arrogant, jerk into the bargain); Elizabeth Stoddard confined herself to the estate for 20 years because she thought she'd killed her husband (and she didn't even like him that much); David Collins, besides having his own problems, was the son of a supernatural being who would kill her child as part of her rebirth; Carolyn Stoddard deliberately dated a biker to piss off her mother (and was supposed to be wed to a demon before he underwent a Heel-Face Turn) — and then there are the sins of Collinses past, which regularly come back to haunt the modern family. Barnabas was supposed to be one of those, until the character proved too popular to get rid of. On the other hand, at times most of the Collinses can display sudden and surprising impulses toward genuine goodness. It's complicated. Most of them would actually prefer behave fairly decently, if circumstances were not so weirdly freakish.
  • The detectives of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit have some family issues, to say the least:
    • Olivia Benson is a Child by Rape, her mother being an alcoholic who died falling down some stairs. She also has a half-brother through her rapist father, Simon Marsden, who always seems to find himself in some sort of serious trouble.
    • Elliot Stabler was suggested to have an abusive father. His mother, meanwhile, has bipolar disorder, causing him to become estranged from her. Not helping matters is that his daughter, Kathleen Stabler, inherited the disorder, accounting for her bizarre behavior in her early adulthood.
    • Odafin Tutuola may have the most dysfunctional family of the entire main cast: the long amounts of time he spent undercover caused his wife to leave him and his son, who is gay, to be estranged from him, the schism between him and them never fully recovering. Worse still, Fin's ex-wife was raped by her father, resulting in the birth of Darius Parker, who she resented and who later went on to commit murder.
    • John Munch didn't get along with his father. The last thing he said to him was that he hated his guts before he killed himself. His uncle, Andrew, also suffers from mental illness.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent has Detective Goren's family. Goren's older brother is a loser, drug addict who's always asking him for a handout. Goren's mother is almost always rude and disrespectful to him, regardless of him being the successful son in the family and Goren treating her with nothing but respect. Meanwhile, the mother treats her loser son with love and affection, even though he hardly visits and takes of care her like Goren does. Besides the clear display of favorites among her sons, Goren's mother had him by cheating on her husband with a man who turned out to be a serial killer. Which explains her treatment of Goren compared to his older brother.
  • Gossip Girl:
    • The van der Bilts (including Archibalds).
    • The van der Basses (now also known as the Bass der Humphreys) could also count, if you consider all of them truly related at this point. Screwed-up is really putting it mildly, Dan and Serena have an on-and-off romance while their parents are married and they share a half-brother. Chuck tried to rape both Serena and Jenny before he became adoptive brother to the former and stepbrother to the latter, though after they became stepsiblings Jenny decided to lose her virginity to him. Oh, and Dan and Chuck have both slept with Vanessa who also bedded their half-brother Scott. Throw Uncle Jack into the mix and it gets even crazier...
  • Two and a Half Men: Every family on the show is screwed up one way or another.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys arguably tops them all: on that show, Hercules came (via a human mother, Alcamene) from a family of screwed-up gods! "I really hate my family," Herc complained in one episode. And who can blame him? His father (Zeus) is a dried-up old adulterer; his stepmother (Hera) is a homicidal bitch; his uncle (Hades) is a borderline rapist; his aunt (Demeter) is an embittered hag; his cousin (Persephone) proves herself to be a total slut; his half-brother (Ares) is a psychopathic Blood Knight; his half-sister (Aphrodite) is a Brainless Beauty (with a touch of Alpha Bitch); and his nephew (Cupid) is a moody delinquent who changes from an angel-winged hunk to a literal monster whenever he gets jealous, due to a curse put on him by Hera. His other half-brother Apollo is a Smug Super Jerkass who treats mortals like garbage. The only halfway decent members of the pantheon are Athena and Hephaestus who each only appear once in the series.
  • The Borgias, of course. Affably Evil Rodrigo buys the Papacy, makes his son a cardinal, and installs his mistress Giulia into his dead rival's apartments. Cesare follows it up by being a Magnificent Bastard, acquiring a personal assassin, dispatching a rival for insulting his mother, and having a worryingly close relationship with his sister Lucrezia. Said sister is turning into quite the manipulative seductress and plots against her Domestic Abuser husband while having an affair with his servant. Meanwhile Juan is a dim-witted, socipoathic Spoiled Brat who has sex with his brother Gioffre's wife on a table surrounded by stuffed corpses. And Vannozza, former Spanish courtesan and mother to Rodrigo's children, while not as overtly homicidal and violent as the rest, still manages the balls to storm into the Vatican, slap the Pope across the face, and call Giulia a whore in front of most of the college of cardinals. Gioffre has a twenty-something-year-old wife at thirteen. And the marriage was consummated. Less than five minutes after she had sex with Juan. Again.
  • The Lannisters from Game of Thrones fit the above description perfectly, which isn't surprising, since the series centres around a Deadly Decadent Court and Feuding Families. They will indeed instantly band together to destroy you if you attack one of them, despite not liking each other. They have a Tangled Family Tree, as being one of the great families, they have studiously married into all of the other noble families, to form alliances. Tywin is the Magnificent Bastard and "Well Done, Son" Guy, Tyrion is the The Unfavourite, and you don't want to know what's up with Jaime and Cersei. All that's missing is an Evil Matriarch, as Mummy Lannister died giving birth to Tyrion (Tywin is quite fond of reminding Tyrion that he "murdered his mother"; it's one more reason he's The Unfavourite, as if being a usually drunken debauched "half-man" wasn't enough... though the drinking and debauchery came later, Tywin hated him long before those particular things were true).
  • The Pendragons on Merlin, composed of a tyrannical king, his emotionally-damaged son, their illegitimate daughter/sister who keeps trying to kill them both, and an Evil Uncle (who seems to have a thing for the earlier-mentioned niece).
  • The Closer's "The Butler Did It" featured a family of three that is the combination of Big Screwed-Up Family and Rich Bitch. The eldest member, Dennis Dutton, is a psychotic guy who sees women frequently, and whenever one of the women he sees denies him, he cuts her up. The sole daughter, Deanna Dutton, was a woman who is on-and-off on drugs, frequently going through detox. What is presumably either the youngest or middle child, Devlin Dutton, is a Depraved Homosexual who often sleeps around with guys and hustles around. Surprisingly, none of them committed the murder against the only sane member of the family: The Butler did.
  • Once Upon a Time has Emma Swan's family. Emma is twenty eight and is roughly the same age as her mother Snow White, her father Prince Charming, and her mother's step mother Regina the Evil Queen, and because of a curse they are under none of them know they are related to each other and from another world. And then there's her fight with Regina over who her son Henry's real mother is, the one who gave him up at birth or the one who adopted him. This also being a story with Snow White, you know there's already a few murder attempts and entire kingdoms hanging in the balance, not to mention the way the writers take liberties with the original story lines, particularly Charming's.
    • Then there's the fact that Henry and his grandmother Snow could be considered step-siblings through the complexity of the relationship between Snow and Regina; the two were stepmother and stepdaughter, and Regina became Henry's adoptive mother. Regina is Snow's stepmother, making her Emma's step-grandmother, and Henry's step- great-grandmother, but is also Henry's adoptive mother. While no one has mentioned it yet, this means Henry and Snow are step-siblings which means his own mother is technically his step-niece.
    • Add Cora for even more good times. She was having a Teacher/Student Romance with Rumplestitskin, and her illegitimate daughter, This universe's Wicked Witch of the West later did the same thing. Cora abandoned her because her scheming for power was more important, killed Snow White's mother so she could force Regina into an Arranged Marriage for Regina to gain power, and killed Regina's lover. Regina blames Snow for this, as she told Cora, and spends the next thirty years bullying and then trying to kill her stepdaughter and everyone else in range. Finally, Snow White has enough of this and murders Cora, her step-grandmother, out of revenge for killing her mother (and throwing Snow's elderly nanny to her death For the Lulz). Oh, and she used Regina to do it.
    • And that's just the maternal side of the poor kid's family. His dad turns out to be Baelfire (Rumplestiltskin's son), meaning the Dark Lord is his grandpa. Great-Grandpa is even worse, as he de-aged himself into Peter Pan (who actually makes his son, the Dark Lord, look like a good guy by comparison) Baelfire's mom ran off with Captain Hook. Baelfire's dad is hooked up with Belle (who, like Henry, is pretty much an innocent caught in the crossfire). Baelfire was forced to leave Emma in jail and knocked up, and now he's built a new life complete with fiancee... said fiancee turns out to be part of a magic-killing order of KnightTemplars who is using Baelfire, and actually romantically involved with Owen Flynn, and jury's still out on if Owen's related to that Flynn family...
    • Prince Charming summarizes it with:
  • Smallville: The Luthors. Good god. Between Lionel, Lex, Lucas, Lillian, Tess, and Alexander there's so much deceit, manipulation, murder, and betrayal that it's amazing any of them are still alive. On Earth-2 it somehow gets worse even though there are fewer of them, with Earth-2 Lionel being the Ax-Crazy Social Darwinist who manipulates the hell out of Earth-2's versions of Clark, Lex, and Tess.
  • One episode of Scandal featured an extremely wealthy and politically powerful family that has run on this trope for generations. In more recent history the patriarch of the family was almost a presidential candidate but that was scuttled when the press found out about his secret second family in Canada. The daughter was the Attorney General of Texas but had to resign when her massive cocaine use came to light. The two sons are the current faces of the family and seem to be nice men with no real vices. In fact Olivia is called in when the younger brother's political campaign starts to flounder because he is seen as too asexual. The solution is to get him into an Arranged Marriage so the voting public can relate to him more. In the end Olivia discovers that he has been having a decade long affair with his older brother's wife. The older brother knew all about it from the beginning but did nothing because the arrangement kept the family together.
  • The Vampire Diaries. The Originals. Let's face it, any family where Klaus carries his family around the world in coffins after sticking daggers in their hearts and their mother wants to kill off her children qualifies.
  • The villains in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers were a family that got more screwed up as the series progressed. It started when Rita married Lord Zedd, and that might have actually worked out... But then Rita's brother Rito showed up, and his incompetence drove both his sister and brother in law crazy. But it didn't stop there. Then Rita's dad Master Vile appeared (at which point Tommy actually commented on how screwed-up Rita's family was) and things went downhill. Right from the moment Zedd and Vile met, they hated each other, and argued constantly. It was a relief to everyone concerned - especially Zedd - when he left.
  • The Hunters in Boy Meets World - an intermarriage of rednecks and Italian immigrants made up of a sprawling gaggle of cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and half-siblings, all of whom are trailer trash as well as crooks, con-men, delinquents, and criminals so suspicious of the cops they refuse to be filmed even for innocent reasons. This is in direct contrast to the Matthews' loving, quiet, tidy nuclear family.
  • In Justified, the Crowders and Bennetts qualify. Both are longstanding criminal families brimming with deception, betrayal, resentment, and favoritism.
  • In the Masters Of Horror episode "Imprint", this is the nicest thing to say about the disfigured prostitute's one. The father and mother were incestuous siblings who lived in poverty. The father beat the mother, while the mother aborted or murdered all her inbred infants, except for the resilient girl who eventually became the prostitute. The father raped the girl during one of his violent stupors and she beat him to death in return. The mother sold her daughter into sexual slavery because she couldn't care for her anymore with the father gone. Finally, the girl has a mutant, evil twin sister growing out of the side of her head.

    Music 
  • The Tom Waits song "Cemetary Polka" runs through a list of aunts and uncles, each of whom is screwed up in their own unique way.
  • Most Anti Christmas Songs at least give a mention of having one of these that makes the holidays a special kind of hell.

    Mythology 
  • Greek mythology. Just about anyone with any relation to the gods falls under this, not to mention the gods themselves. And a lot of people were related to the gods.
    • The House of Atreus is the best example. Menelaus is the only adult member who doesn't commit some sort of unforgivable crime.
      • Except for that time in Andromache when he threatened to murder her child if she didn't come out and admit she was bewitching his daughter Hermione, who was no bag of sunshine herself, so that she would be barren; the plan was, naturally, to kill both Andromache and her little boy. Of course, that characterization can be attributed to Euripides's dislike of Sparta at the time.
    • The House of Thebes is another cursed dynasty. While the founder of the House Cadmus did quite well for himself and married Harmonia, the daughter of Ares, all of their descendants fared poorly. The most famous ones are of course Oedipus and company mentioned in the Theater folder.
  • Norse Mythology has this in spades. Whether it's Odin's family or Loki's many kids, there is always a reason to have a duel or a shouting match.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The McMahon family. At any given second during the heyday of the Attitude Era, you can count on a ton of dysfunction going on with this family, usually as a result of Vince McMahon. Even when it seems like they're all one big happy family, it's usually the result of one of them pulling a complicated plan. Just to give you an idea of how screwed up this family is, The Undertaker kidnapped daughter Stephanie in order to convince Vince to hand over the company to him...and then it was revealed that Vince was Undertaker's "Higher Power" and the person telling him to pull off this scheme in the first place, which means that Vince McMahon basically had his own daughter kidnapped. And I'm not even going to get into all of the crap from 2000. This quote sums them up nicely:
    Triple H: What the hell kind of family did I marry myself into?!
  • The Hart Family is a real life version.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, the Giovanni Vampire clan fits the description (incestuous, power-grubbing necromancers) to a tee.
    • The new version, Vampire: The Requiem, brought them back as the Sangiovanni bloodline of the Mekhet in the Sourcebook Bloodlines: The Chosen. They're still one big, happy, inbred, necrophiliac family. You don't want to know how they got into the vampire business.
    • Likewise the inbred, insanely wealthy Crassus family is the Ghoul equivalent. Their masters use them not as servants or proxies, but as playthings.
    • Really, any ghoul family is this (VTM calls them "revenant families"). The Crassus just have the advantage of wealth.
    • Frankly, the Giovanni clan takes this Up to Eleven. How does an incestuous family of necrophiliac vampire mobsters take things too far, you ask? They've also married into the Dunsirns of Scotland, an equally inbred Cannibal Clan of corrupt bankers.
  • The Whateleys from Deadlands. Brother-Sister Incest, worship of evil spirits, locking less "viable" family members in the attic, and allowing their patron demon to consume the newest, youngest member of the family corporeally to become a god on Earth. Also, the entire family has incredibly weird genetics from swimming around in a shallow gene pool for so damn long. C'mon. Admit it. You're dying to create one of your very own (who is of course a nice guy). Bear in mind if you do make one, however, that yours is going to be from a fairly distant branch. That's the only way to make them playable.
    • How bad does it get? Looking at the Family Tree in their Family Bible can cause Sanity Slippage.
  • The Ravenloft setting was born from this trope. It's got enough of these families to write a book about how screwed up they are ... and Arthaus did so, with Legacy of the Blood: Great Families of the Core.
  • An epic case of this resulting in betrayal, a bloodbath and the shattering for an empire is the main backstory of the unimaginably brutal setting of Warhammer 40,000. It involves The Emperor and his twenty cloned sons, and various cases of Parental Favoritism, Cain and Abel, The Unfavourite and others, culminating in the great betrayal known as the Horus Heresy.
  • The Karanok family in the Forgotten Realms city of Luthcheq is filled with insane devotees to the "god" called "Entropy," which seeks the destruction of all magic. The 2nd Edition sourcebook Old Empires details a few members of the family, and explicitly states that DMs should feel free to come up with however many more evil lunatics in the family he or she wants.
  • At one point or another, every ruling family in BattleTech has been like this. House Liao is probably the most obviously screwed up, with a long history of internecine familial conflict up to and including secession, terrorism, assassination and abortive coups (all in the same generation even). The Kuritas of the Draconis Combine are also notorious for killing each other off to ascend to the Coordinatorship, and while there are many members of the family with diverse goals, these too spend most of their time putting on an external visage of cooperation while attempting mutual treachery behind closed doors. The Clan invasion dampened this tendency somewhat, but it probably says something that a minor member of the ruling family far from succession who was quietly plotting in the background to weaken their enemy, the Clans, via cultural and psychological warfare was suspected of conspiring to claim the throne instead, and was nearly assassinated by the Secret Police for helping his nation.
    • As most of its ruling caste are connected by their bloodlines thanks to the enormous importance placed on genetics and Designer Babies, the Clans are all in essence big screwed up families on their own. Even members of the same blood house were known to plot against each other politically, which was seen as especially serious business.

    Theater 
  • The Hubbard family in The Little Foxes. The planned first-cousin marriage between Alexandra and Leo would not have been the first in the family. (How screwed up you consider that is very much a factor of what culture you grew up in, but the play is set in the US and Americans tend to be more uptight about it than many cultures are.)
  • The Brewster family Arsenic and Old Lace, to the extent the only sane one in the family turns out not to be blood related.
  • The Duke's family of The Revenger's Tragedy. Brothers and stepbrothers conspire to have each other executed and actually end up stabbing each other later in the play, the mother sleeps with her step-son, the youngest brother is a rapist, and the Duke himself has a history of having women who reject him poisoned.
    • The 2002 film adaptation just makes matters worse by styling the brothers as camp cyber-punk/glam-rock types and ramping up the incestuous subtext (e.g. the Duchess and Junior after Junior is arrested, not to mention Ambitioso and Supervacuo's somewhat excessive hand holding and pawing at each other)
  • The Capulets in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Juliet's father decides to marry her off against her wishes a day after her cousin gets killed, to "cheer her up", and when Juliet protests he threatens to let her "beg, starve, die on the streets!" He also hits his wife, but when Juliet goes to her mother for sympathy, she's equally nasty.
    • The musical went ahead and added incest (by some people's standards) into the mix by presenting Tybalt, Juliet's cousin, as also being in love with her. The Hungarian adaptation of the musical took this even further by making him epileptic (probably as a result of an injury incurred as part of his harsh, almost military upbringing as a designated champion for his family in their feud with the Montagues — who interestingly don't seem to fit this trope) and having a pervasive level of sexual tension with Lady Capulet, who at least knows well enough to firmly turn him down when he tries to lunge at her and kiss her. For that matter, Lady Capulet is cheating on her husband with a servant and ends up a Lady Drunk after Tybalt's death.
  • Laius, Jocasta and Oedipus, Polyneices and Eteocles, Antigone, Ismene and Creon, Eurydice and Haemon...no one in the entire family catches a break throughout Sophocles's Theban plays Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, and The Progeny.
  • The Oresteia: Agamemnon, Clytaemnestra, Aegisthos, Elektra, and Orestes.
  • The Lion in Winter, play and film. Henry II of England, his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, three sons, and one French king (who's also the boyfriend of one of the princes). Oh, and the French king's half-sister Alais, who is betrothed to one of the princes and is also Henry's mistress. Each plots against most or all of the others, over the course of the story. Lampshaded by Eleanor: "All families have their little ups and downs."

    Video Games 
  • While not especially powerful, the generational family that forms the core of the Myst games fits this trope far better than any mere dysfunctional family:
    • Ti'ana (great-grandmother) managed to cause a civil war in an ancient civilization (granted, not her fault).
    • Aitrus (great-grandfather) got vengeance on the man who killed his family by trapping him in another world and destroying it.
    • Gehn (grandfather) set himself up to be worshiped as the god of multiple private universes, keeping his subjects in check by feeding dissidents to his pet beasties.
    • Atrus (father) is a little too concerned with his research and not concerned enough with raising his family, and ultimately relies on other people to solve most of his problems.
    • Katran (mother) was (and presumably still is) worshiped by rebels against Gehn, and represses a few things about her sons that she'd really be better off concerning herself with.
    • Achenar (elder brother) is an Ax-Crazy psychopath with a macabre taste in decoration and a penchant for Electric Torture.
    • Sirrus (younger brother) is a narcotics abuser and Mad Scientist with serious sibling rivalry issues. He and Achenar plundered the dozens of populated worlds, massacring their inhabitants and wrecking their ecosystems, then imprisoned their father and trapped their mother in a universe with Gehn, who wants her dead.
    • Yeesha (younger sister) is a bit of a creepy but naive Cloudcuckoolander who helps her brothers escape their prisons by mistake, is briefly imprisoned in Dream and possessed by her older brother and comes out of the whole mess with a Messiah complex and an inability to communication clearly.
      • Oh, yeah. And just about all of them are capable of carefully Rewriting Reality. Especially Yeesha, who is apparently right about being the Messiah. This bodes not well.
  • In Haunting Ground — the Belli family. Ugo was the only normal child and he escaped as when he met Fiona's mother.
  • In F.E.A.R. you're a mute supersoldier known as the Point Man. The man you've been sent to kill, Paxton Fettel (who is your brother) is a cannibalistic, psychic psychopath who is going on a violent rampage with his army of telepathic soldiers and merely gets pissed when you kill him. Alma Wade (who is your mother) is a homicidal ghost out for revenge (and to protect her children). Harlan Wade (your grandfather AND technically your father) is the person who caused this mess by working with an evil corporation to experiment on his own daughter who happens to be the aforementioned ghost that is your mother. Note that this is just the first game. In the second one, Alma decides to add Michael Becket to your relations by using him to father another child, but this is after a gene-splicing operation that directly links him to your bloodline. By the third game, Alma is expecting again. On top of that, while grandpa is still dead, the worst parts of him are back and want you dead too. And at the very end, the Point Man and Fettel face off, and one of them gets killed/consumed, leaving the other to raise the newborn as their own.
  • Most families in Crusader Kings ends up this way after a while. Favorite gameplay example when playing as the Sverkers: Son gets "You have fallen in love with a girl in your court." event... With his SISTER. A week later sister gets "Death By Suicide". A generation later the son-and-heir assassinated his father...
    • You think that's bad? Try playing the Sword of Islam expansion. Muslim rulers can have up to four simultaneous marriages, and technically every child from all of them is legitimate. This means your wives will be doing a lot of plotting and political maneuvering to try and get their kid as heir to your throne. There's also the decadence mechanic for Muslim dynasties, which causes huge problems for dynasties with unlanded males: the only thing worse than a plotting family member is a plotting family member with their own land and armies... and family members who disgrace the family name by sitting around the palace all day drinking and chasing servant girls. If you're not the plotting type yourself, you can quickly end up feeling like your dynasty's Only Sane Man.
  • Clive Barker's Undying has the Covenant family, even before the last members were horribly cursed. It's hinted that the Covenant family has a dark history involving untimely deaths, creating all sorts of bloody rumors.
  • To summarize BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger's story: 3 Orphan Siblings + Time Travel + Cloning Blues + Ax-Crazy = Big Screwed-Up Family + The End of the World as We Know It Repeatedly. To specify, the younger brother is driven to insanity by the Big Bad, so he cuts off his big brother's arm, then later supervises a clone of his sister, whom he hates, who is a main piece in the Big Bad's plan to destroy the world, and is then driven to hunt his thought-to-be-dead big brother, who will also destroy the world, and it turns out the sister who disappeared is the villain behind the main antagonist. In the original timeline, the big brother was turned into a monster and sent back in time, while his younger brother turned himself into a hero to atone for everything he had done before. Even as a reformed hero, he is still intent on killing his big brother, though now he wants to do it for the sake of the world and not because of Yandere tendencies. Speaking of Yandere tendencies, there's also another clone of their sister who has some serious hots for Ragna, and when he rejects her she decides to kill him so that they can fuse and become the earlier mentioned world destroying monster together... Yes, this game is very confusing... Credit where credit is due, though: The family have become a little less dysfunctional by the end of the second game. Well, except that sister-turned-villain... Though all hope is not lost for this family, due to persisting rumors that this sister-turned-villain could be just a victim of manipulation of the Big Bad and her villain status was just a front provided by the Big Bad so he could move as he like and Troll the brothers.
    • The Clover family. The father, Relius, is a sociopath who turned his daughter into a machine and then used the experience to turn his wife into a superior version... For SCIENCE All while, his abandoned son, Carl, who was forced to finish the experiment that his father begun, because Relius couldn't be bothered to finish the job on Carl's sister, was understandably deeply traumatized by these events. He now greatly distrusts adults and will do anything to return his sister to normal and get revenge. When they eventually reunite? Relius brags about how he has "ACHIEVED PER-FEC-TION" with his wife and promptly tries to demonstrate her power on his children.
    • Makoto's family is heavily implied to be this in two of the gag reels from Continuum Shift: Extend. While a bit exaggerated in Makoto's own gag reel, it's still nowhere near as bad as what Ragna and Carl had to endure.
    Narrator: Mommy ends Mikoto's rant with a wicked right cross to the mouth - a textbook example of the famous Nanaya "tough love".
    Makoto In Ragna's Body: Geez, and I thought my family was nuts!
  • The Mishima family from Tekken. It's badass... and it's also ridiculously shattered. By Tag Tournament 2, there are certifiably five family members competing. There's Jinpachi, his son Heihachi, his son Kazuya, his son Jin, and Heihachi's illegitimate son Lars (there is also Heihachi's adoptive son Lee Chaolan, although his involvement with the "family business" varies). You can basically draw a web of who wants to kill who and why. The only one who is 'good' in the general sense of the term is Jinpachi (he has a good heart but is unable to fight the engulfing evil force that has possessed his mind and body; although Lars is heroic his disgust with his parentage does cause him to shoot at Heihachi unprovoked when the two cross). This basically all starts with Heihachi, who tried to overthrow his dad, and threw his son Kazuya into a ravine to kill him, and then a volcano, when that didn't take. Jin's family on his mother's side is relatively sane though his mother Jun has a creepy Superpowered Evil Side and terrible taste in men (she did fall in love with Jin's father Kazuya and still thinks he can be redeemed).
  • Honorable mention goes to Kasumi, Hayate and Ayane from Dead or Alive. Kasumi was sentenced to death because she was trying to find the (at the time) missing Hayate. Regardless of the reason, leaving the clan is punishable by death. And her own half-sister Ayane is the one trying to kill her. And you thought Sub-Zero had it rough...
  • Xenosaga has a good example of this in the form of the Yurievs. You have father Dimitri, who is Really 700 Years Old, a BodySurfer, and a Well-Intentioned Extremist (on the surface), among other things. Next, we have the mother(s) who, for all we know, could have been used as The Pawn. Then there's big brother Jr (Rubedo), who's older than he looks, being raised by his younger brother as his son (at least, to the public eye), and the "Link Master" in an experiment to control and defeat the existence known as U-DO (later revealed to be God itself). After that, there's Rubedo's conjoined twin, Albedo Piazzola, who gets less and less mentally stable as he grows up. As a child, he was the Creepy Child and generally shows traits of Undying Loyalty towards Jr. However, after finding out he was immortal and his sibilings weren't, he went off the deep end, winding up to be a Large Ham, Psycho for Hire, Nietzsche Wannabe, and Wicked Cultured as an adult. Following up is Gaignun (Nigredo), who seems to be mostly normal, even hinted at being wise beyond his years. However, it's revealed that he was responsible for killing Rubedo, should his special power, Red Dragon, ever get out of control. Also, he killed Dimitri in an attempt to free himself from this, as well as his other purpose, which was to serve as a body should Dimitri ever have to Body Surf. Also, he dies near the end of the third game, eliminating Dimitri in the process as well. Which leaves Citrine, the only woman actually shown in the family. Put simply, she's a Chekhov's Gunman whose only purpose was to also kill Rubedo in case his power went out of control. Also, she's the only one of the family who still sees Dimitri on a regular basis. Last are the other 665 other siblings, who were created to be standard URTVs (basically the counter to the existence, U-DO), with Rubedo, Albedo, Nigredo, and Citrine as the variants (who get more attention, stronger abilities, and a bad case of Theme Naming). Also, all of the standard units are all dead. And, quite honestly, this doesn't even begin to explain everything...
  • No More Heroes features the Touchdown family, which in the last 10% of the game is revealed to be incredibly expansive. There's Travis Touchdown, otaku assassin; his mother, murdered; his father, who cheated on Travis's mother with another woman, who committed suicide, resulting in resulting in the murder of himself and his wife at the hands of his mistress's daughter Jeane (who Travis was dating, unaware that she was his half-sister); this is all revealed after Jeane kills Dark Star, the number 1 ranked assassin who also claims to be Travis's father. In an unrelated plot, Travis discovers that his rival, Henry, is actually his twin brother, and is married to Sylvia, the woman Travis was pursuing. And they have a daughter, also named Jeane. You might as well count Travis's cat, Jeane, as part of the family to round out the hat-trick.
  • In The Sims 2, the Curious/Smith/Singles family sprawls diagonally over Strangetown, dominating the town's drama. Apparently it all started when Glarn Curious was abducted by an alien pollination technician. Sick of caring for his alien daughters, Glarn abandons them to wife #1 Glabe, took off and remarried to Kitty, proceeded to have four children with her the old-fashioned way, one of whom proceeded to marry the alien who inseminated him and have two kids of her own. Then the younger son Pascal, err, followed in his father's footsteps, and is "expecting" at the beginning of the game. If you play your cards right, brother Vidcund can reach the same happy state shortly thereafter, by the same alien daddy — leaving you with two adorable green brats who are both cousins and siblings. Not to mention the special relationship between the Singles sisters and the Smith kids. Check out this fancy family tree including the antecedents from The Sims 3.
  • Metal Gear Solid. First off we have Big Boss who is the most gifted soldier of the 20th century and would be recognized by America as their greatest asset, but after many hardships, betrayals, and tragedies were thrown his way by the government he swore his life to, he became disillusioned and drifted the world as a mercenary. Eventually his disillusionment reached such a point that he sought revolution, overthrowing America and the corrupt forces behind it, the Patriots, who controlled everything in secret, thus bringing a new birth of freedom to the country. Meanwhile the Patriots cloned Big Boss so as to have copies of the greatest living soldier in the world to use at their disposal, and the sons of Big Boss would go on to agree with their father's stance (Liquid and Solidus both try making their own Outer Heavens) and have feuds (Snake and Liquid fought their father) with their genetic father, and the protagonist of the series Solid Snake would eventually defeat his father in single combat, being the lapdog of America that Big Boss had once been. Liquid Snake, failing in his feud with Big Boss, took up his cause in order to prove he was better than his father by succeeding in the dream of defeating the Patriots where his father had failed, and Solidus the third son takes up his father's cause as well, but both brothers are stopped in part by their brother Solid Snake just as he had stopped their father. The Snake family only knows how to fight one another, which comes off as sad as all of them have noble causes but they all get manipulated so that they have to fight each other, and even when this is brought to their attention their differences are never settled.
    • Don't forget Ocelot, who's The Boss's son, but comes to admire Big Boss as a father figure, too, in his own way. Or the Emmerich family, as elaborated upon in Peace Walker. Hell, it's even suggested that Otacon's mother is Strangelove!
  • The Fact Family of Ys takes this trope Up to Eleven.
  • The Borgias of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, albeit this is just an adaptation of their own, also-screwed-up Real Life selves mentioned below. Even Lucrezia's son Giovanni Borgia the Younger is not spared due to being warped by the Shroud of Eden, though he ends up leaving them to join the Assassins.
    • On the heroes side, we have the Kenways who in Assassin's Creed III and prequel Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag contain three generations of Player Character. Edward Kenway abandoned his wife for riches and unknowingly fathered a daughter, Jenny Kenway who comes to have issues with him not being around. His son Haytham becomes the family Black Sheep, a Templar Grandmaster and becomes an Arch-Enemy to his own son Connor, who murders his Archnemesis Dad out of Self Defense when the former tried to strangle him.
  • As badass as they may be, we see some serious family issues between Younger Sub-Zero and Noob Saibot and Kitana and Sindel in Mortal Kombat 9. Both involve extensive amounts of puppy-kicking from Person B, and the latter example actually culminates with the death of Person A.
  • A good bit of the cast of Odin Sphere turns out to make up one big Royally Screwed Up family:
    • Demon King Odin's legitimate daughters Griselda and Gwendolyn are desperate for his love and approval to the point that they long to die in battle in the hopes that it will prove their worth to him; Griselda does die in the opening of the first leg of the game, and Odin uses Gwendolyn's longing for his affection to manipulate her throughout nearly her entire book.
    • Odin also has two illegitimate children, Velvet and Ingway, from an affair with Princess Ariel of Valentine. Seeing his beloved daughter give birth to his enemy's children caused King Valentine to snap: he forced Velvet and Ingway to renounce their mother and claim they never loved her, executed Ariel, and abused and terrorized both twins, Velvet especially. Thanks to Velvet's Uncanny Family Resemblance to her mother, she's the only one of Odin's children he shows any affection towards, while she blames him for her mother's death and wants nothing to do with him; meanwhile, Ingway destroyed the entire country of Valentine in order to save Odin from dying in battle against Valentine's superior army only for Odin to dismiss him with a callous, "Well done, traitor."
    • Gwendolyn eventually marries Shadow Knight Oswald, the adopted son of Melvin, who is the cousin of the Fairy Queen of Ringford. Melvin adopted Oswald when he found him abandoned as an infant, and even after Melvin sold Oswald's soul to the Queen of the Netherworld in order to make him the Shadow Knight, Oswald is fanatically loyal and obedient towards him right up until Melvin dies in a failed attempt to seize the throne from Queen Mercedes and admits in the process that he never saw Oswald as anything but a tool with which to take over Ringford. Unbeknownst to Oswald, his real father was actually the exiled Prince Edgar of Titania, who renounced his claim to the throne in order to marry a peasant woman, and who was assassinated for it by his father King Gallon. This makes him the cousin of Prince Cornelius of Titania, whose father King Edmund was forced to take up a magic sword and kill his own father after King Gallon turned himself into a monstrous man-eating beast and ravaged his own country.
  • In the RPG Maker game Mermaid Swamp there is the Tsuchida family. In the game, there is a legend of a man who kidnapped a mermaid and kept her alive with swamp water only for her to die, and now the mermaid wants vengeance. In reality, there is no mermaid and the entire legend was fabricated by the women of the Tsuchida family in an effort to keep travelers away from their village. Turns out that the men of the Tsuchida family have a strong romantic attraction for women who are underwater and they would kidnap girls from the village in order to force them to live in tanks. The fact that the girls would become sick and eventually die did not bother them in the slightest. That's what preservatives are for.
  • The Drens are a small-scale version of this in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Duke Vedam Dren and his brother Orvas Dren are Cain and Abel, with Vedam as the at worst biased towards his House but still noble Duke of Vvardenfell, while Orvas is referred to as 'Orvas Dren Druglord' in the editor and leads the local xenophobic mafia (and plans to kill his brother). And then there is Ilmeni Dren, Vedam's daughter, who lives as a commoner in the lower-class areas of Vivec, and is highly placed in another illegal organization, fiercely opposed to Orvas' on ideological grounds.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The Fey Family has a long history of in fighting, in murder, and dysfunction. The Kurain Master position is usually held by the oldest daughter of the Master, but Misty Fey turned out to be more powerful than her sister Morgan and stole the position out from under her, dooming Morgan Fey to become the "branch family". Her rage at this and her desire to make her daughter Pearl the next master leads her to try and get rid of Maya twice. The first by framing her for murder, the second by getting Pearl to channel her other daughter Dahlia, who would then murder Maya in Pearl's body. Did we mention Pearl is nine?And her father divorced because, in Kurain village, men are pretty much useless since only women inherit psychic powers.
    • Surprisingly subverted with the von Karmas. While von Karma himself is an Amoral Attorney of the highest caliber and murdered Miles Edgeworth's father before adopting him with intention of raising him to be another Amoral Attorney before having him convicted of his own father's murder fifteen years later, he seems to have treated both Miles and Fransiska with no more unkindness than your average demanding parent. The murder thing is still sort of messed up, though.
    • Although not all of them are actually related, the Gramarye Troupe from Apollo Justice certainly fit this trope. Accidental shootings, blackmail, suicide, frame-ups...Trucy's lucky that she's not being raised by them, really.
  • The Matou/Makiri in Fate/stay night. Not the best family to give your extra daughter away to.
    • Also the Einzberns. Chasing after the Holy Grail and nothing but the Holy Grail for a thousand years? Turning your girl children into homunculi? Trying to summon the devil to win the Grail War? They must be so pissed when the Grail is destroyed in every route without Ilya ever even getting to the finals.
  • The Tohnos of Tsukihime are kind of this trope as well. Luckily, it seems they've been killing themselves and each other for so long that by the end there's only Akiha and the relatively normal branch families left. Yay?
  • Little Busters! has the Saigusa family, once fairly powerful but gradually lost it, and got a little screwed up as a result, mandatating all daugters have TWO husbunds from other powerful families, somehow this managed to work out for a while. Things get complicated when one of the husbands doesn't stand for itnote , and breaks into and kills some of the higher ups in the family, and then twins are born of both him and the second husband. The familiy doesn't want the daugter of 'that' man to drag the name of the family down, so the familiy, unaware of which is the daughter of which, decides that the twins should compete at everything, and the 'worse' twin is declared the 'bad' daughter and gets to enjoy redicule and beatings for things as little as using her left, her dominant hand, because its different, and gets beaten for screwing up when she uses her right. To make things even more fun, the 'good' twin was raised by a branch family while they were 'competing', a branch family that believes belts are a good motivator, just ask the scars on her back. She's also told to hate and pick on her sister, lest she wants to take her place.
  • The Sonozaki clan in Higurashi: When They Cry qualifies.
  • Umineko: When They Cry features the Ushiromiya family. Oddly enough, though, they also qualify as a Badass Family.
    • Starting with the family head, Kinzo, who is completely insane, obsessed with black magic and with the Golden Witch, Beatrice, who happens to be a Legacy Character, and in fact is based on two people: his mistress Beatrice Castiglioni, and his daughter Beatrice II, with whom he had a child with through rape. He's also hostile to his own children and is, in fact, dead.
    • His eldest son, Krauss, is a failure as an investor and doesn't get along with his siblings for being a Manipulative Bastard. This causes much stress for his wife Natsuhi (a girl from an Impoverished Patrician clan, whose Arranged Marriage to Krauss was brought up as a way to pay off the family's debts to Kinzo), who in turn puts a lot of pressure on their daughter Jessica to be a suitable heiress to the family (even though it's her future husband who will be the head, not her), especially since Krauss and Natsuhi couldn't have a child after trying for years. In fact, poor Natsuhi has so much baggage over not being able to produce an heir sooner that when she's given a child to raise by Kinzo, she pushes a servant who was looking after the child off a cliff because the child reminded her of her failure. Said child later starts making creepy calls to Natsuhi and possibly attempted to frame her for murder.
      • Said child is actually a result of Kinzo's Parental Incest with his mistress's daughter. Said child grows up in an orphanage and brought as a servant to the family, and orchestrates the murders that occur on the island.
    • His eldest daughter Eva has some major issues with her older brother and treats Natsuhi poorly, not to mention they pretty much had a "competition" to see who'd first give birth to a child who could be appointed as succesor. She also dislikes Shannon, and is against her relationship with Eva's son, George. When she finds the gold in Episode Three, she becomes a witch and basically goes insane. Beyond that, in Episode 6, when George tells her he's going to marry Shannon, she basically goes insane again, and George kills her. Not to mention how Kinzo denied her the right to be the succesor despite her intelligence and investing talent, solely for her gender. Except in one timeline.
    • His other son, Rudolf, is a known philanderer. This philandering, in fact, caused his own son Battler (the main protagonist) to leave for six years when he remarried way too soon after the death of his first wife. It has also caused a lot of Epileptic Trees since the fourth arc regarding Battler's parentage. As for that remarriage? The woman he married and with whom he had Ange, Kyrie, is a Yandere Runaway Fiancé who leaves her younger sister Kasumi to be forced into her own Arranged Marriage with the ditched fiance. Kasumi herself goes insane, abuses poor Ange and tries to get revenge years later. In fact, it's implied that Kyrie goaded Rudolf into trying to murder everyone on the island except Battler in an attempt to gain the inheritance money. It blows up in their face. Literally.
    • The youngest daughter, Rosa, is a horribly Abusive Mom towards her daughter, Maria. This is because she is incredibly stressed out as a young, single mother whose husband left her, and even now, she's trying to convince him to come back by cosigning a loan for him that threw her deep into debt. He, of course, has no intention of returning, and Rosa knows that even as she tries to do this. Some of the abuse also comes from her own frustration at having been bullied by her siblings when she was a kid, which Rudolf comes to acknowledge at some point.
  • In Long Live the Queen all the noble families are screwed-up in some fashion, but the biggest is the family of the Duchess Arisse of Lillah. Her three marriages as well as the marriages of her children have secured her immense power, enough to be called Nova's Eastern Queen. Too bad this resulted in her being the Only Sane Woman leading a family of broken and messed-up individuals.
    • Her stepson from her first marriage turned out to be a Depraved Homosexual who abused and killed an ever increasing number of servants. Eventually it became too much and Arisse had him killed.
    • Her second husband, a commoner, possibly raped a teenaged duchess and "seduced" her (Arisse's) son Kevan who was either a preteen or in his early to mid-teens at the time it started. When Arisse found out about this she tried to make him stop and when that failed she had him killed as well.
    • Kevan became estranged from his mother and ended up as a rage-fueled Jerkass Woobie, obsessively devoted to his family to a suicidal degree. He also moved in with his older sister and the two got a little too close for comfort.
    • The whole "affair" was discovered when a very young Thaddeus walked in on his father and half-brother, an event that made him rebellious, broody and gave him extreme trust issues he never quite got over.
    • And finally there is Arisse's stepson from her third marriage, who is constantly targeted by assassins send by a foreign duke who is set to inherit his lands if he dies. His mother was also the woman who was most likely raped by Arisse's husband number two.

    Web Comics 
  • In the webcomic God Mode Marceline's family seems really screwed up. But what can you expect when red eyes run in a family?
  • At least three of the 11 noble families from Tower of God.
    • The Zahard family, comprised of the King of the Tower and his adopted daughters, is by nature of the adoption requirements full of rather peculiar individuals, but the most disturbing thing is that there is a strict rule against romance, dating and sex that is enforced with the threat of assassination.
    • The Koon family, which is quite the inverse: The family head, Koon Eduan, is a notorious playboy and has the greatest amount of wives throughout the whole tower. His children are basically are uncountable so that when two meet they have to confirm that they really are of the same family, despite rather obvious signs. Family branches easily fall out of grace and Koon Agero Agnis's experiences with his family lead him to mistrust everybody. Children who don't win a competition against one of their brothers get kicked out of the family at the tender age of ten.
    • Finally, there is the Hendo family. The name of the head, Hendo Lok Bloodmadder, is fitting. The less you know about them, the better.
  • Girl Genius takes a mostly-feudal society with Real Life amount of grand scheming and backstabbing and adds an equal amount of mad scientists, so it's an entirely expectable result for many nobles.
    • Valois/Sturmvoraus/Other-Last-Names-in-the-Line clan look like this. At least, Tarvek called it "a bunch of evil-minded, cynical, backstabbing old fools" and mentioned that "the only caretaker who showed him love or kindness" was a construct usually seen in the moods from "foul" to "murderously foul" and whom Tarvek himself defined as "terrifying". Oh, and his sister slowly died because their father tried to upload into her brain a copy of the insane lady he was infatuated with. And the level of abuse his distant cousin Violetta constantly piles on Tarvek from her introduction on was already adjusted for the discovery that he pulled her butt out of a big meat grinder not long before.
    Tarvek: And how is it even possible you're on my side here?
    Violetta: Oh, well, you know, family...
    Tarvek: That means I should be looking for the knife in my back.
    • The Heterodyne family was known primarily for their bloodthirsty and tyrannical ways until Bill and Barry gave the family a bit of an image makeover with their heroics. Armored toys in the nursery is a telltale sign, though little iron cages were used more sparingly.
    • The Mongfishes aren't much better. Case in point: Lucrezia and her sister Serpentina. Then the rest of their clan trying to subvert Lucrezia's minions and hijack her scheme — not because they disagree about the whole Zombie Apocalypse thing, they only want a good share of its fruits.
  • The Masters Family in Chess Piece fit this rather well. Danny's cousins both seem to want to boink him. One is much younger and the other has tried poisoning him.
  • The bloodline-obsessed Jansen clan and the Calley family in Concession. Raj Jansen, the good ol' Evil Matriarch of the clan, had one of her nieces raped in order to carry on her bloodline, and ...Jesus Christ. Joel Calley is a Satanist with magical powers and one of the most massive and convoluted evil plans I've ever seen, because his brother Julian murdered Joel's twin sister Miranda when they were kids AND took over his late father's company rather than letting his mother have it. The aforementioned father was a religious douchebag, a "Well Done, Son" Guy and, possibly, an Abusive Parent. The only one who seems anywhere near normal is Lorelei Calley. Oh wait, she's tried to seduce several of Joel's friends (including his boyfriend, unsuccessfully). Never mind.
  • In Digger there's Grim Eyes, whose mother went insane and beat up her father, further encouraged by her aunt due to jealousy. When she was born, her mother started abusing her as well, and her father killed her in order to protect his daughter, resulting in his exile from the tribe and leaving her all alone. In short, the only member of her family who wasn't completely insane ended up leaving her. It's a wonder she grew up to be relatively normal and stable.
  • Drowtales, let us count the ways. First off, the Val'Sarghress ruling family—Quain has Mel locked up and possibly raped and stole her daughter to raise as her own, Laelle is dead and being used as some kind of creepy golem, Syphile hated herself and pretty much everyone around her. Her son is pretty much the only one who turned out alright, and given that drow society is matriarchal, this isn't really something for Quain to be proud of. The Val'Sharen clan is also screwed up: Snadhya'runes, Zala'ess, and Sarv'swati made a coup against Diva'ratrika, their own mother, and blamed their sister for it. During this, Zala'ess suggested they take Diva's dead body and hang it naked from the gate, and although her sisters vetoed the idea, it was on the grounds that there were too many chances to be seen rather than that it was distasteful. After forcing Sii'lice into hiding, they tainted Nishi'kanta by force. And the Vloz'ress clan: fronted by an insanely powerful sorceress with the mind of a child who likes to turn people into dolls and can swallow the auras of others, now led by Kiel, who is the equivalent of fifteen or sixteen, and pretty much tainted to the core.
  • There's the royal family of Spain, the Estabens, of Pacificators. The King set up a contest between his four children to see who would inherit his throne. What's this contest? A war. Princess Belinda managed to mislead her brothers, so nobody died in this war. In response to this, the King named her the heir. Oh, and he knew that she was poisoning him the whole time.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures might be playing this trope straight or subverting it in this comic.
  • In Urban Underbrush, the rabbits can choose one of five screwed-up Christmas by joining any of their friends.
  • The Travorias in Dominic Deegan, White Sheep Luna was mistreated by the rest of her family because of her orc-like teeth (result of a curse), her mother tried to drive her to suicide, one of her sisters had a habit of enchanting rich men into challenging her husband to duels to the death then claiming their money afterwards, another sister is a lawyer (and the second most ethical of the lot after Luna), and the third sister was an assassin.

    Web Original 
  • New Vindicators has plenty of examples of this trope, including the Seven Fallen Seraphim and their extended families, since they're all older than history and their children are the reason for Neo-Sapiens in the first place. The Loder dynasty is another-there are superheroes, super villains, a superhero grandpa who gets deaged, and one of Magnus Loder's cousins eventually turns out to be an immortal who, in one timeline, puts himself up as a god and rules the solar system for decades.
  • The Fiametta triplets from Survival of the Fittest v4. One (Rosa) is pretty much the poster girl for Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, and has been known to hit on Anything That Moves, another (Frankie) regularly uses drugs, and the last, and the one male out of the three (Ilario), not only is heavily pressured by his father, but has to look after the other two in spite of actually being the youngest (albeit by a matter of minutes), and is somewhat neurotic as a result.
    • You can add to that mix a clueless stepmother with no emotional connection to the children whatsoever and a father who only really cares about his son, showing it by... insisting that he must perform well at school and more or less ignoring his daughters.
  • Lawn Justice: Every time a new member of Shelly or Ophelia's family is revealed, it gets a little more screwed up. And now that Shelly is pregnant, probably with Oscar's baby, which combines the two families it's going to get much, much worse.
  • Whateley Universe: Sara Waite has one fucked up family. Let's see... Her daddy is Gothmog, Demon Lord of Lust and Perversion; her mother mutated into a freakish Deep One thing that drives Sara (then known as Michael) insane when (the then) he killed her; the Necromancer is her uncle; her blood-sister is the ultimate elvish Faerie Queen; her family tree includes several Great Old Ones; Tennyo, if actually part of the Mythos, is possibly a relative, and therefore Jade would be too (adopted); Sara herself is an omnisexual, tentacle-raping, part-demon, part-were, part-fey, part-Deep One, part-Great Old One, part-human who is supposed to destroy the world, but decided to Screw Destiny.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers there's the Cain-Davis family, of which Herbert and Psyche are probably the two most prominent members. Nearly every member of the extended family that's been shown onscreen is either evil, highly traumatised, just kind of a jerk, or some mixture of the three. The few decent ones almost always seem to end up dead or broken.
  • Pact has the the Thorburn family.

    Western Animation 
  • The Fire Nation's royal family in Avatar: The Last Airbender fits this trope to a T. It's even lampshaded. The only family members he is still close to are his uncle and mother.
    "I guess my dad didn't want to break the family tradition."
  • In the Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, Korra's family is showing signs of this in Season Two, at least until Unalaq's defeat.
  • The Oblongs. Are they ever.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has the Demon Sorcerers, Shendu's brothers and sisters. While Shendu was imprisoned in a statue, they were banished to a prison dimension and hate Shendu for never trying to release them (even before his imprisonment). They're not above annoying each other whenever.
    • Then there's Shendu's relationship with his son Drago. In the finale while they're Sealed Evil in a Duel, Shendu admonishes Drago for trying to take over his father's world while Drago complains about how Shendu was always off fighting wizards.
  • The Patakis. Abusive father, alcoholic mother, one daughter that pretends to be the perfect girl is massively messed up on the inside, and another daughter that's overly grumpy, and, compared to the rest, looks like the Only Sane Man in this screwed-up setting. Not really big as a family, but quite big in name, though. It's the nearest of a really screwed up family one could see in a kids' show.
    • Interestingly, both Helga and Olga each see each other as "getting the better deal from their parents". Helga just wants to be noticed by her parents, darn it! But they're too busy pouring all their love and adoration on her perfect older sister Olga. Unfortunately, Olga (who is not perfect, she just seems that way) is being crushed under her parents' ridiculously high standards, and a lifetime of this has turned her into a neurotic Extreme Doormat, deathly afraid of even the slightest hint of The B Grade. She is incredibly envious of Helga's freedom to be her own person, away from the ever-watchful eyes of her parents.
  • The Blakes from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated; not only is Daphne's mother committed on a regular basis, Daphne and her sisters once caught their father in the kitchen jay-bird naked gnawing on a can of soup.
  • The Lanes from Daria certainly qualify. The parents are never home, leaving major character Jane and brother Trent to fend for themselves. Speaking of them, while Jane is comparatively normal, she's still quite jaded, while Trent is a lazy burnout who's never worked a day in his life. The rest of the kids are even worse: Penny is bitter and spends most of her time peddling hand crafts, Wind is an over-emotional man who's been divorced at least 3 times, Summer is worn down by raising 3 out of control kids, and the rest of their family hates them, including an alcoholic, self proclaimed bum, and a grandmother who screams "What the Hell is wrong with you?" into Jane's ear.
  • The Griffins in later seasons of Family Guy have become dangerously close to this trope.
    • To the point where they're just as screwed-up as the Barones.
  • Adventure Time:
    • If you count her creations as her children, Princess Bubblegum's "family" counts. Her "son," Lemongrab, was "the first of her experiments gone wrong," and has an Ambiguous Disorder due some kind of error in his creation. He's a perpetually unhappy, sour, bitter, angry, isolated person who was sent by Princess Bubblegum to a castle outside of the Candy Kingdom walls, presumably to keep him away from everyone else. And they DESPISE each other. If you think about their family situation long enough, it gets very depressing.
    • Bubblegum eventually created a second Lemongrab to keep the original company. The two discovered how to create candy life of their own and made a bunch of other Lemon children. The Lemongrab family is even more screwed-up than the Candy Kingdom, and may be almost as big.
    • Cinammon Bun isn't much more functional, but he at least seems to be happy in his weirdness.
    • Goliad is even worse than Lemongrab. She isn't even a day old before she decides that she wants to be a Social Darwinist tyrant. She also has incredible Psychic Powers. It's not a good combination. Her "brother" Stormo seems like a pretty good guy, if locking himself into psychic combat with his sister for all eternity to keep her from ruling the Candy Kingdom with an iron fist is any indication.
  • The Puppingtons in Moral Orel.
  • Ed and Eddy from Ed, Edd n Eddy are implied to have bad families. The former has parents who are abusive and far too submissive to their bratty daughter Sarah and a bratty little sister and the latter has two abusive parents who berate him for his bad grades and an abusive Big Brother Bully.

    Real Life 
  • The Julio-Claudian dynasty was not only a big Real Life example, but they have also figured in the shows The Caesars, I, Claudius, and Rome.
  • Then there's the Borgias. According to contemporary gossip - which may or may not have been based on fact - in addition to poisoning everybody in sight, Rodrigo (aka Pope Alexander VI) and his offspring were given to fratricide and incest as well as literally cut throat power politics. It is a fact that Cesare Borgia murdered his sister Lucrezia's second husband and had an affair with his brother Jorge's wife Sanchia of Aragon (the fact that Jorge was barely pubertal probably had something to do with this).
  • In fact, given the incredible network of intermarriages that was key to diplomacy in medieval times, European royalty as a whole can easily fit into this trope. Especially notable are the utterly screwed up relations between the English and Scottish royalty.
    • For some Swedish examples: The Bjälboätten) (English: Bjelbo) dynasty. First generation had the king falling in love with his brother's wife and getting deposed for it. Third generation had three brothers engaged in a complicated conflict ending with two of them starved to death and the third killed by supporters of the other two.
    • The Vasa dynasty, who tended to be either really competent, really crazy or, quite often, both. With juicy scandals like alleged wife-murdering, poisoning, random stabbings, castration of foreign dignitaries and stuff like that. Really, the Tudors have nothing on their Swedish contemporaries. Granted, the branch of the Vasa family which ruled the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for two generations (Sigismund III and his two sons) seemed to be of the competent kind, behaving within the norms of the aristocracy of their times: Sigismund burned down his palace (and a part of Cracovia along with it) while playing alchemist, the elder son Vladislav was a legend among the whores of most major Polish and Lithuanian cities, and the younger son Casimir was infamous for his affairs with married women (regardless of social standing).
  • World War One was a feud between the European royal families, all of which were blood-related! Yes, this does include the Osman dynasty (of the Ottoman Empire), which were related to the Habsburgs through the Byzantine house of Gonzaga (however, they were on the same side.) Not that the Osmans didn't have their own issues...
    • The Habsburgs - any family whose family tree actually bends back on itself, and generally resembles a bramble thicket, is hardly the most stable, but as monarchs they generally all loathed each other.
    • Wilhelm II of Germany, George V of the United Kingdom, and (Tsarina) Alix/Alexandra of Russia were all grandchildren of Queen Victoria, and therefore first cousins to each other. Alix's husband Nicholas II was more distantly related, being a third cousin of Wilhelm's (both were descended from Paul I of Russia). And those were just the most recent common ancestors.
    • Hell, to many people, WWI was "The Great Family Food Fight".
      • However, it's worth nothing that the actual monarchs didn't start off hating one another. Wilhelm and Nicholas exchanged a series of telegrams in the lead-up to World War I known as the "Willy-Nicky Correspondence" because that's what they called each other. It's difficult to know how much of the sentiment expressed in them was real, but taking them at face value it appears that neither of them particularly wanted the war but were being pushed into it by their respective governments (who got along rather less well).
  • The descendants of Richard Wagner, whose lives and fights for control over the composers legacy and the World famous Bayreuth Wagner Festival are truly the stuff of operas.
  • The German writers' family of Heinrich and Thomas Mann (and the latter's six children, three of which were authors too).
  • The O'Carroll Clan. After the death of Mulrooney O'Carroll in 1532, they got into horrific power struggles. It got so bad that, for example, one guy killed his priest brother while the latter was celebrating Mass for his family at Leap Castle. (The room is now known as the Bloody Chapel.)
  • Cleopatra (Julius Caesar's girlfriend) sided with the Romans against her own family members. All of her siblings were either assassinated or killed in battle. (Apparently if you were a ruler in Ancient Egypt and you had siblings, you either married them or had them murdered.) The '80's era British historical miniseries The Cleopatras examines not only this branch of the family, but also Cleopatra's equally screwed up ancestors.
  • The Angevins, who were actually nicknamed the devil's brood by people at the time. King Henry II of England spent most of his life fighting his sons and his wife for control of his empire, with his sons often taking time to fight each other. This didn't stop after his death either.
  • The Jackson family is perhaps the most infamously troubled of show business families, thanks largely to abusive, greedy patriarch Joe, who relentlessly rehearsed, bullied, and beat the five sons who made up the bubblegum pop group The Jackson 5. Working through a showbusiness gauntlet that worked its way up from strip joints to the Apollo in New York City, they became a hit act at Motown, but from there, of his nine legitimate children...
    • Michael Jackson went on to superstardom as a solo act in The Eighties, but also became a Cloudcuckoolander Man Child. He died at 50 of a prescription drug overdose, leaving behind three children to be raised by their grandmother (or Diana Ross, according to his will) rather than their birth ones. This came after spending two decades in the public eye more for child molestation accusations brought against him, two failed marriages, plastic surgery, etc. than his music despite recording the biggest-selling album ever. And he was the most successful of the siblings.
    • The most notorious, La Toya, was the first to spill the beans publicly about Joe and other family members — including Michael when the first round of molestation allegations came out. She has since claimed that then-husband/manager Jack Gordon, who himself was an abuser, forced her to lie about and exaggerate her family's sins. She and brother Jermaine currently put forth a conspiracy theory that Michael's woes at the Turn of the Millennium were all an evil plot by Sony to claim his half of the ATV (Song) Publishing Catalog, and that this plot culminated in his assassination in 2009.
    • After Michael became a megastar, his siblings — save for Janet — couldn't manage thriving careers and were left unsuccessfully clawing at his coattails, constantly begging him to rejoin them to capitalize on offers of millions of dollars for reunion shows. In 2012 several of them — including Janet — became embroiled in an ugly dispute with the executors of his estate regarding the legitimacy of his will (he left everyone in his family, save for his mother and children, out of it), which also led to conflicts between them and his children, the oldest of whom was only 15 when the trouble started. In 2013, Katherine and the family sued AEG Live (the promoter of what was to be Michael's final concert series), claiming they were culpable in Michael's death for hiring the doctor who administered the fatal prescription drug overdose, and sought millions, even billions, of dollars in what they claimed would have been his future earnings. They lost that lawsuit, but not before Michael's daughter Paris attempted suicide, suggesting that things will not improve anytime soon.
  • The Kennedy Family should be the Trope Codifier of Real Life. From Father Joe's bribing and political scandals to the random deaths of older Kennedy children to the lobotomy of Rosemary, they certainly qualify as being screwed up — and that was in the early half of the twentieth century. Let's not forget the assassinations of JFK and Robert and the murderous and political scandals of later Kennedys — they can write their own edit.
  • TBN, the largest Christian television network in the world, is run by the Crouch family, which have been locked in an ugly internal legal battle over the past few years. While Paul and Jan Crouch and their children presented themselves on TBN as wholesome Moral Guardians, some details about their behind-the-scenes behavior have undercut that image:
    • In early 2012, Brittany Koper, TBN's former Chief Operating Officer and the granddaughter of Paul and Jan Crouch, came forward with allegations that that the family used viewer donations to fund an excessive lifestyle. She later claimed in affidavits that Paul, Jan, and uncle Matthew Crouch all abused and threatened her when she decided to blow the whistle. Paul and Matthew Crouch later made a veiled death threat on the air. TBN also began firing her close relatives (including her father; heir apparent Paul Crouch, Jr.) to force her into silence.
    • Shortly thereafter, Carra Crouch, a younger granddaughter, claimed that she had been raped by a TBN employee when she was thirteen years old. According to Carra, Jan and TBN's lawyer (and Carra's familial cousin) John Casoria both berated her when she told them about the crime. She later found out, however, that they let the rapist off the hook on the condition that he not seek worker's compensation. (As ordained ministers, the Crouches were legally obligated to report a sexual assault against a minor.)
    • Koper made other claims, some corroborated by the Los Angeles Times, that the family was split long before she became a whistleblower. Paul and Jan Crouch, despite appearing together on TV as a devoted couple, had lived separately for decades. Allegedly, Jan and Matt fought Paul for control of the network, and celebrated over Paul's deathbed in anticipation of Matt's promotion as TBN president. (The party was premature, and Paul Crouch died in November 2013.)
  • The Komnenoi imperial family of Byzantium destroyed itself over the course of several decades as family members backstabbed, poisoned, imprisoned, exiled, blinded, executed, and led armed insurrections against one another. By the time Constantinople fell to the Fourth Crusade in 1204, no less than 26 members of the Komnenos dynasty had been taken out of commission by their close relatives note 
  • The medieval Nemanjić dynasty of Serbia was a nest of snakes; like the mythical House of Atreus, each generation preyed on the next, pitting father against son, uncle against nephew, brother against brother, and cousin against cousin.
    • Stefan Nemanja, grand prince of Serbs from 1166 to 1196, was betrayed and imprisoned by his brothers in a cave. He escaped and had his brothers exiled. Later in life, he preferred his younger son, also named Stefan, to his elder son, Vukan, ensuring that Vukan and Stefan would someday clash over the throne.
    • Stefan Nemanjić, king of Serbia 1217-1228. His first wife, the Byzantine princess Eudokia Angelina, quarrelled with him, declaring that he cheated on her and was "drunk from morning to night", so Stefan threw her out of the castle in her undergarments. She had to seek refuge with Stefan's brother, Vukan, himself a troublemaker and self-proclaimed king.
    • Stefan Radoslav, son of Stefan Nemanjić and Eudokia Angelina, king of Serbia 1228-1233. He and his wife, Anna Doukaina Angelina of Epiros, were so unpopular that they were driven out and he was replaced by his younger brother, Vladislav.
    • Stefan Vladislav I, king of Serbia 1233-1243. Deposed by the nobility and replaced by his younger half-brother, Uroš.
    • Stefan Uroš I, king of Serbia 1243-1276. Son of Stefan Nemanjić by his Venetian second wife, Anna Dandolo (herself granddaughter of the notorious doge Enrico Dandolo), he preferred his younger son, Milutin, to his elder son, Dragutin. Dragutin led an armed insurrection against his father and forced him to abdicate.
    • Stefan Dragutin, king of Serbia 1276-1282. Unexpectedly surrendered his throne to his younger brother, Milutin, after being injured in 1282. Some years later Milutin apparently reneged on an agreement to let Dragutin's son Vladislav succeed him, resulting in the brothers quarreling until Dragutin's death in 1316.
    • Stefan Uroš II Milutin, king of Serbia 1282-1321. Warlike, quarrelsome, and oversexed, he seduced his sister-in-law Erzsébet (daughter of the king of Hungary), with whom he fathered a son. He ditched her for a Bulgarian princess, Anna Terter, and then divorced Anna to marry a five-year-old Byzantine princess, Simonis. He raped Simonis and left her infertile. Upon returning to Constantinople for her mother's funeral in 1317, Simonis begged to stay and had to be forced by her brother the emperor to return to her husband. Milutin sent his son, Stefan Uroš, to the Mongols as a hostage and later had him partially blinded.
    • Stefan Konstantin, king of Serbia 1321-1322. Son of Milutin and the Hungarian princess, Erzsébet. A three-way war erupted upon his father's death, pitting Konstantin against his half-brother, Uroš, and his cousin, Vladislav (son of former king Dragutin, Vladislav had been imprisoned during Milutin's reign and only released upon his death). Konstantin was captured by his cousin Vladislav and crucified to a tree.
    • Stefan Uroš III, king of Serbia 1322-1331. Son of Milutin and his Bulgarian wife, Anna Terter, he spent his youth a hostage at the Mongol court and was later partially blinded on the orders of his father. He drove his cousin Vladislav out of the country in 1322. His own son and heir overthrew him and had him strangled.
    • Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, king of Serbia 1331-1355. Son of Uroš III and Theodora of Bulgaria, he was a great warrior-king and lawmaker. He overthrew his father and had him strangled. He died under mysterious circumstances, possibly poisoning, while embarking on an offensive against the Turks.
    • Stefan Uroš V, king of Serbia 1355-1371. Son of Dušan and Elena of Bulgaria, he was a gentle and modest ruler. His uncle Simeon tried to usurp power in Serbia. He also died young under mysterious circumstances (his co-ruler, Vukašin, popularly credited with having murdered him in folk tales, actually died a couple months before Uroš himself). His death extinguished the dynasty in Serbia.
  • Although not every child who has a bad upbringing grows up to become a criminal, most serial killers and violent offenders did not have what you would call healthy home lives. The one who takes the cake however is Richard Ramirez, aka "The Night Stalker", who had a backstory most cop shows would consider unrealistic. He had an abusive father who beat him, his brother-in-law was a disturbed voyeur who bonded with Richard over stalking people, and his childhood hero was his Vietnam veteran cousin- a Sociopathic Soldier who carried around photos of the atrocities he'd committed (including raping and then beheading a woman).
  • A lot of families are this in real life, in contrast to the way they're usually represented on television.


    Dysfunctional Family IndexBlack Sheep
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