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[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/MegaTokyo http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Broken_Bird_with__wings2_1055.jpg]]]]

-> "''Oh! I have a heart to be stabbed in or shot in, I have no doubt," said Estella, "and of course if it ceased to beat I should cease to be. But you know what I mean. I have no softness there, no--sympathy-sentiment--nonsense.''"
-->-- '''Estella''', ''Literature/GreatExpectations'' [[http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Great_Expectations/Chapter_XXIX chapter XXIX]]
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These characters (often female) are coping with a CynicismCatalyst, a DespairEventHorizon, or a DarkAndTroubledPast by becoming as [[TheCynic cynical]], [[TheStoic stoic]], and/or {{badass}} as possible.

Her deep experience and emotional detachment almost always give the impression of competence, though she doesn't always live up to her own hype. Varying between CoolBigSis, EmotionlessGirl, LittleMissSnarker, and [[TheSnarkKnight Snark Knight]], she marks herself as more experienced and worldly than the other characters, even if the CompetenceZone means she herself is barely out of her teens.

In fact, she can sometimes fill a mentor role for less experienced and more idealistic characters, all the while loudly expressing her irritation with said arrangement, so no one gets the impression she's softening up. Sometimes, this is to {{Jerkass}} levels; however, she is often a sympathetic JerkWithAHeartOfGold, [[{{Tsundere}} giving an impression of independent toughness to hide a sincere affection for the other characters]].

This character was a hero herself once and failed miserably, or maybe she was [[FreudianExcuse abused]] in some way as a kid; whatever the case, her cynicism undoubtedly stems from some [[BreakTheCutie traumatic event in her past]] that destroyed her faith in just about everything. This revelation is normally accompanied by a FreakOut, said past often delivered in a [[DontYouDarePityMe bitter diatribe towards someone]] who proved a bit too stubborn in their desire to know what it was. At this point, [[TenderTears tears are guaranteed]], probably more of them the less she's expressed emotion in the past. She also has a 65% chance of engaging in serious physical violence against whoever is closest at the time. This is always treated seriously and Broken Birds have a tendency to be both [[AxCrazy prone to violence]] and very good at it, therefore, potential {{Love Interest}}s should always prepare to be at least slightly maimed during these breakdowns.

If she is [[EpiphanicPrison cured of her emotional torment]], expect any of a number of paths. At best, she will continue on as a [[CharacterDevelopment deeper and]] [[DefrostingIceQueen less emotionally constipated]] version of who she was before...but she may also fall prey to GoodIsDumb or mutate into a SatelliteLoveInterest or SatelliteCharacter. Expect HopeIsScary on the road to recovery, unless she has an AdrenalineMakeover.

A number of {{Romance Novel}}s lean on this trope when the love interest of the heroine is an AntiHero with a [[DarkAndTroubledPast scar]] from the past for her to [[LoveRedeems heal]]. Sometimes involves a bit of [[IntimateHealing that one]] as well. Women want to Heal the Cutie instead of BreakTheCutie.

This trope can be [[AppliedMathematics summed up]] as TroubledButCute + DarkAndTroubledPast.

Popular with ByronicHero. A subtrope of TroubledButCute, which sometimes they start as before [[BreakTheCutie becoming]] [[BreakTheHaughty broken]]. Overlaps with StoicWoobie and JerkassWoobie. Also see DarkMagicalGirl. The male counterpart is HeWhoFightsMonsters, though as implied above there is no shortage of male broken birds.

[[noreallife]]
----
!!Examples:
[[index]]
* [[BrokenBird.AnimeAndManga Anime and Manga]]
* [[BrokenBird.{{Literature}} Literature]]
* [[BrokenBird.LiveActionTV Live-Action TV]]
* [[BrokenBird.VideoGames Video Games]]
* [[BrokenBird.VisualNovels Visual Novels]]
[[/index]]

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/JessicaJones from ''Comicbook/{{Alias}}'' ([[Series/{{Alias}} no relation to the Jessica Garner series]].) She lost her parents in the accident that gave her superpowers, and her initial career as a superheroine ended with her being kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery by the Purple Man. And the worst part was, even though she had friends in the superhero community at the time, it was months before any of them even noticed that she was missing.
* ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'':
** Ninjette, who describes herself as a [[HardDrinkingPartyGirl professional drinker]]/ninja, is haunted by her father's alcoholism, an abusive past, and her clan's plan to use her as [[spoiler:breeding stock]]
** Sistah Spooky, who sold her soul for her looks, but hasn't worked out any of her issues with [[spoiler:beautiful blonde girls. ItMakesSenseInContext]].
** Oh, and Mindf**k';...Between the telepathy she ''can't turn off'', her horrible break-up with Sistah Spooky, and [[spoiler: being forced to gouge out her eyes and cut out her tongue by her older brother]], it's no wonder she can get a bit cynical. The only reason she seems well adjusted, aside from self-imposed regular isolation? [[spoiler:She's forcibly re-edited her own psyche to suppress certain...problematic impulses in order to be as unlike her older brother as possible. That's right, she's so broken she brainwashed herself into faking un-breaking.]]
* Katchoo from ''Comicbook/StrangersInParadise'' is outwardly tough but a frightened little girl inside, probably because of her terrible childhood and all the years she spent running from her MafiaPrincess [[PsychoLesbian ex-girlfriend]]. She's very dependent on Francine and David (and later Casey), but can be very abusive of them as well, and she tends to [[DrowningMySorrows hit the bottle]] after every serious fight with them.
%%* [[ComicBook/{{Batgirl 2000}} Cassandra Cain]], the second Batgirl.
* Barbara Gordon, the ''first'' Batgirl, after her spinal injury at the hands of the Joker. Complete with hypercompetence, mentoring of other heroes (though Huntress and Black Canary were really Broken Birds themselves, rather than cheery optimists), the requisite explosive teary breakdown early in her story when her partner learns a bit about her horrible past, and a slow evolution into a happier, less bitter, and more open person...only to be promptly reverted two decades back to her immediate post-shooting self when [[Comicbook/BirdsOfPrey her series]] was cancelled. Expect a second boilerplate [[DefrostingIceQueen Broken-Bird-evolves]] storyline, with the ''third'' Batgirl in the 'cheerful mentee' role, over the course of the new volume of that series. Then, post relaunch, [[ComicBook/{{Batgirl 2011}} Barbara Gordon]] is back to suffering trauma over TKJ. This plot is on repeat.
* Still in Marvel comics, there's ComicBook/SpiderWoman[=/=]Jessica Drew. On top of her already broken and screwed up past, she gets caught by the Skrull and impersonated, and when she's rescued, almost everyone ''hates'' her, which makes her grow even more cynical than she was in the past.
* Following the reboot, Solstice in ''Comicbook/TeenTitans'' is this. Despite seemingly taking her shift in appearance (she now looks like she's made of charcoal and has deep black smoke for hair) graciously then most would, Kiran has stated that she was forced to do horrible things in order to survive after N.O.W.H.E.R.E. kidnapped her. She also broke down and started crying when she realized Red Robin already knew well beforehand about what the organization was doing to teen metahumans but waited to make a move because he needed more tangible evidence.
** It gets even worse from there. We learn the catalyst for Kiran's new form involved being set up as bait by another N.O.W.H.E.R.E. prisoner whom she had come to care for, and then later on when the team is sent into the future, she refuses to depart from Kid Flash's side. So she ends up condemning herself in the prison Kid Flash is being sent to by killing someone.
* How many readers of ''ComicBook/RedHoodAndTheOutlaws'' see Starfire. It's not certain at this point if this was Lobdell's intention. She gets really snippy and hostile whenever anyone tries to talk to her about her past, and we eventually find out that her most precious memory is [[spoiler:killing the only Citadel member who showed her sympathy in all her time as a slave. It's even lampshaded how screwed up the team must be.]]
* All of the kids in Marvel Comics' ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'' but special mention goes to Karolina, Nico and Chase who deal with issues of identity, love and the loss of it.
* ComicBook/{{X 23}}'s life is loaded with things that any one of which would make her a broken bird, including horrific medical experimentation, a stint as a child assassin, and a stint as a teenaged prostitute. And after finally making her way to the Xavier School, which should have been a safe haven, she was quickly pushed into the black ops division.
* Hazmat of ComicBook/AvengersAcademy lost everything because of her powers. Mettle, similarly, lost almost all tactile sensation and is now unable to do what he loves: surf. They find some solace in each other.
* The cast of ''ComicBook/AvengersArena'' is filled with these, including X-23, Hazmat, Mettle, and Nico, as well as space-farer Cammi. Cammi lives in the shadow of Drax the Destroyer and desperately does not want to be "normal" again. The series then proceeds to put them through hell.
* Sharon Ventura, the second ComicBook/MsMarvel, had a miserable childhood, then got gang-raped early into her superhero career, and then, just when she was starting to get over that and develop a healthy relationship with Ben Grimm, she was mutated into a horrible rock-monster form. And then, just as she was finally getting over ''that'', Grimm dumped her. And then Doctor Doom mutated her into an even ''more'' horrible form. She eventually had her form stabilized, but it required her to make deals with the Wizard, which cost her many of her friendships in the superhero community.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': [[http://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/a-crown-of-stars-nge-ou.11766/#post-2283165 The preface]] makes a good work summarizing how badly broken Shinji and Asuka were before the beginning of the story. To make a long story short: Their mothers died and their fathers abandoned them when they four. At the age of fourteen they were forced to fight alien monsters. Their pain, their inability to reach out to each other and the war broke them down, and then they died when the world ended. Shinji gave the humanity the possibility to return and they were reborn... into a wrecked world populated with warlords, bandits and starving masses. They were turned into the tools of bloody dictators for three years, and Asuka was turned into a plaything during that time. They went through another conflict where they got shot and nearly murdered, and at the end they stuck together because they felt that no one else in the world could understand their pain, but they were so soul-weary and broken that Asuka was afraid of loving Shinji and they had no hopes of developing a real relationship.
* ''Fanfic/AdviceAndTrust'': [[http://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/advice-and-trust-nge.8768/#post-2008906 In chapter 1]] Shinji and Asuka open up and talk about their pasts (their mothers' demises, their fathers' abandonment, their lack of friends, their feelings of insolation and loneliness, their self-worth and trust issues...) and realize that they were more alike than they thought:
-->'''Asuka''':''"What Sensei?"''\\
'''Shinji''':''"The one my father abandoned me with after my mother died in an accident with the Eva! Not that you'd understand that,"''\\
'''Asuka''': ''"Me too. [...] My mother... There was an accident with Unit-02... She... died, eventually. My father... didn't mourn very long. [...] So yes, Third Child, I know exactly what that felt like!"''\\
'''Shinji''':''"Your father abandoned you after your mother was gone,"''\\
'''Asuka''':''"You have nightmares all the time about it. The memory keeps coming after you when you try to sleep,"''\\
'''Shinji''' (nodding):''"It's hard to sleep. You feel lonely and cold at night, because no one ever held you after that,"''\\
'''Asuka''':''"You never had many friends before you came here. No on ever wanted to just talk to you for you."''\\
'''Shinji''':''"Your father never explained or apologized for why he just left you."''\\
'''Asuka''':''"No one even tried to understand your pain. No one cared."''\\
'''Shinji''':''"You miss her every day, but don't even have any pictures, barely any memories. No one tells you about her."''\\
'''Asuka''':''"And there was never any point in talking about it to anyone, because there was no one in the world who could understand what being an Evangelion Pilot was like,"''\\
'''Shinji/Asuka''' (in unison):''"You're just like me."''
* FanFic/AGrowingAffection has Hanabi become one after [[spoiler:Madara's attempt to BodySurf into her]].
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'':
** Asuka. Prior to the beginning of the story she had been traumatized (it is implied that she [[spoiler:tried to commit suicide at one point]]), and her performance -which her self-image depended hugely on- was slipping due to her past personal issues making her falling apart. She recovered... and then [[spoiler:the experimental jet fighter that she was testing crashed, and her best friend died in the accident. She spent several months in a coma,]] and when she woke up she was a neurotic, short-tempered mess who blamed herself for [[spoiler:the failure of the mission and her friend's death]] and hated herself for being a failure and hurting Shinji due to her out-of-control temper.
** Rei. She [[spoiler:was piloting a war plane and it crashed in the middle of sea. She survived, but she suffered brain damage and she spent several months in a coma.]] When she woke up, she had become cold and emotionless. She recovered, but she never became [[GenkiGirl her former cheerful self]] again.
* Miko in [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8082443/1/Dirty_Little_Secrets Dirty Little Secrets]] is definitely one- She's just good at covering it up. It's a wonder she's not worse then she is- [[spoiler: she was born from a long line of prostitutes and raised to join the 'family business', starting when she was ''12''... and both children she became pregnant with were aborted against her will]].
* ''FanFic/RacerAndTheGeek'' features Sunny Breeze, a stallion who knows nothing but war, isolation, violence, and betrayal. He's suitably messed up to match, having problems with both post-traumatic stress disorder and severe alcoholism. Even worse is that, despite his vague age, it's readily apparent that he's so young most ponies see him as a colt. His own inability to see the good in himself is his tragic flaw. It's evident in every chapter, although chapters three and four showcase it best.
%%* Firefly in ''Fanfic/AceCombatTheEquestrianWar''.
* The ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' fanfic ''Fanfic/{{Antiphony}}'' portrays recurring villain Mozenrath as one, in a [[GenderInvertedTrope rare male example]]; he used to be a sweet, excitable child [[AllLovingHero who just wanted to help people]] and had a strong devotion to his god. Fast-forward fourteen years of what was essentially slavery and emotional-psychological torture, and he's become a sarcastic SocialDarwinist who scorns any form of faith and seeks power for himself.
* Beth Lestrade gets this ''twice'' in ''Fanfic/ChildrenOfTime'':
** Having to watch the man you love slide down the slippery slope, then running for your life for nine months, then finding out that said love interest has done a FaceHeelTurn, then committing a HeroicSuicide... will do that to you. The timeline in which most of the above happened is retconned into never having happened, but the main players, Beth included, still retain the memories. She later tells Sherlock that she was considering shooting herself.
** The beginning of the next season seems to imply that Season 2 might ultimately be about her CharacterDevelopment, just as Season 1 was ultimately about Sherlock's. Initially after Sherlock's rejuvenation, she seems okay, but future episodes prove that she's '''not''' to the point where even ''Professor Moriarty'' was concerned about her. (She spent a year thinking that her husband was irretrievably dead and became a DeathSeeker.)
* The pro wrestling story ''A Ring Of Their Own'' portrays Molly Holly as one of these, that getting her head shaved at WrestleMania 20 and her subsequent losing streak caused her to lose all confidence in herself and retire from wrestling.
* In ''Fanfic/KitsuneNoKenFistOfTheFox'', [[spoiler:Tenten]] is shown to be this. After all, losing both of your parents during a year-long rampage by [[TheDreaded the Kyuushingai]], having no other living relatives to take you in after the fact, bouncing about from place to place without a stable home for a long time following said orphaning, and being driven to learn how to fight just so you can take revenge on the people responsible for said orphaning can't be good for one's psyche.
* The ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' ContinuationFic ''Fanfic/WhiteRain'' has one in Lucia Van Alstyne. She witnessed her mother's murder as a child, and married into an [[DomesticAbuser abusive relationship]]. The readers can easily tell how broken she is when she regards both Ino's friendship with Sakura and Hinata's genuine love for Naruto with ''curiosity''.
* In Fanfic/Gensokyo20XX, we have this with Yukari, who is the most noticeable than the others and became bitter towards her experiences during the course of the series.
* In ''Fanfic/OriginStory'', Alex Harris's conversation/therapy session with Doc Samson reveals just how much psychological trauma she's experienced over her young life. Alex's partner Louise also qualifies. The pair of them use their relationship to help each other heal.
* In ''[[FanFic/SovereignGFCOrigins Origins]]'', a ''MassEffect''[=/=]''StarWars''[[spoiler:[=/=]''[=Borderlands=]''[=/=]''[=Halo=]'']] MassiveMultiplayerCrossover, we are given OCStandIn Athena who is tricked into killing the only people she considers family, causing her to fly into an UnstoppableRage whose brutality haunts her. From the same galaxy, a RichBitch named Jackie Jakobs is set up [[ColdBloodedTorture quite]] [[ItsAllAboutMe unsympathetically]], but is revealed to have had [[FreudianExcuse reasons]] to act out in the ways she does.
* From Fanfic/KillLaKillAU, we have this Ryuuko, who is a bit young for one, however, she seems to have a rather cynical view of the world, especially when it comes to her poor health, having been in and out of the hospital, along with the fact that she was separated from her mother when she was two, meeting her again fairly recently. Apparently, due to the aforementioned poor health, she counts how much time she might have to live, considering death to be a release.
* ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'': When [[FieryRedhead Asuka]] was four her mother went crazy and hang herself (and her daughter was the one found her corpse). Shortly after her father remarried and virtually abandoned her. In response to it she tried to become stronger, tougher and fully self-reliant. [[LoveInterest Shinji]] discusses it at one point:
-->“Passing the favour forward? Yeah. I’ve been helping [[EmotionlessGirl Rei]] since I got here, she was far worse than she is now socially, and then you came along. You were the kid, the one in a million, who chose to become strong instead of break in response to such monumental adversity. But I could see it in your eyes, the tone of your voice in sheltered moments that you still carried the wounds, that you were more fragile than you seemed,” Shinji explains.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film -- Animated]]
* Mittens from ''Disney/{{Bolt}}''. Being abandoned by her owners made her [[CatsAreSnarkers snarky]] and [[JerkassFacade abrasive]].
* Megara from Disney's ''Disney/{{Hercules}}''. After making a DealWithTheDevil and becoming a slave to Hades to save her boyfriend's soul, only to have said boyfriend dump her for another girl, she's more than a little cynical, particularly towards Hercules.
* ''Disney/WreckItRalph'':
** Vanellope von Schweetz first comes off as a BrattyHalfPint, but she reveals she is much more in a CrapsaccharineWorld where she is dismissed as a "mistake."
** Sergeant Calhoun. Being programmed to [[spoiler:believe [[WidowedAtTheWedding your fiancé died on your wedding day]] due to your mistake]] is definitely going to make you rough around the edges.
* Queen Elsa from ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' used to be a happy kid until one night when she hit her little sister in the head with her ice powers. After that incident, she refused to use her powers, detached herself from her sister, and locked herself in her room. She's pretty much lived the past thirteen years of her life in isolation and fear of herself and hurting others.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* The Hatter in Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/AliceInWonderland''. Mercury poisoning is only part of what drove him mad.
* ''Film/JamesBond'': More than one Bond Girl.
** Countess Tracy Di Vincezo (Diana Rigg) from ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService''. She's barely recovering from a traumatic divorce (and her ex husband's death), drug addiction, ''and'' her child's death. [[spoiler: And once she and Bond are HappilyMarried, she's shot to death.]]
** Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) from ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly'', who joins Bond to avenge her parents' deaths with her trusty crossbow.
** Vesper Lynd in ''Film/CasinoRoyale''. Like Tracy, she's the only girl Bond thinks about leaving MI6 for, but she turns against him by stealing his winnings to pay for her boyfriend's ransom, [[spoiler:but dies during the exchange]]. And what's worse is in ''Film/QuantumOfSolace'', we learn [[spoiler:that her boyfriend was really an agent with QUANTUM, who staged the kidnapping.]]
* Maggie in ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'' has the attitude, although the audience learns very little about her past.
* The Bride and O-Ren Ishii, in ''Film/KillBill''.
** The plot revolves around The Bride on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge to murder the assassins who crashed her wedding, killed her fiance, and ruined her life.
** As for O-Ren: when she was seven, she watched her parents be brutally murdered right before her eyes, leading her to avenge them by hunting down their killer. At age [[LittleMissBadass eleven]], she found him and stabbed him to death.
* Annie Newton in ''TheInvisible''. Call her that, and she'll [[BerserkButton beat the tar out of you]]. Half the movie is spent learning how she was broken.
* Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie) in ''Film/TheHustler'' is this both mentally and physically.
* Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be here. In ''Film/{{Thor}}'', we see that he is actually a relatively nice person deep down, who loves his brother and looks up to him immensely. Sure, he's manipulative and a little shit most of the time, what with ruining Thor's coronation to be King just because he thought Thor wasn't ready (he wasn't, but not the point), but learning his whole life and family is a lie and that he's actually part of a race he's been taught to hate his entire life is still pretty devastating, and is what ultimately makes him snap and go about violently trying to prove his worth in the exact wrong way. After this, the downward spiral only continues… [[spoiler: though he does seem to get some redemption in ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld''. Or does he?]]
* Theodore in ''Film/{{Her}}'' begins the film isolated and withdrawn. He's a writer who has always been inside his own head, but completely caves in after his wife divorces him.
* Time and events have really taken their toll on Young Charles Xavier in ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast''. He lost Raven and Erik, Sean disappeared several years prior [[spoiler:(and is later confirmed dead at the hands of Trask)]], then his teachers and students were drafted, leaving Charles alone except for Hank.
* Selena in ''Film/TwentyEightDaysLater'' has already seen society crumble around her and everyone she knows killed or infected by the time we meet her, and as a result maintains that "staying alive is as good as it gets". [[spoiler: She ruthlessly kills her companion Mark when she suspects that he is infected, and assures Jim she would do the same to him "in a heartbeat".]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Take all of the mixtapes and albums of Music/LupeFiasco and listen to them in order. If you notice the gradual change into darker, cynical and politically charged lyrics and stories, then congratulations, you've seen what a combination of social issues, executive meddling, and personal loss can do a person.
* The Music/ToriAmos song "Me and a Gun" from ''Music/LittleEarthquakes''. The fact she throws some really ''bitter'' snark into it just makes it more so.
%%** Many of her songs fit this trope, but "Honey" is practically the Trope Anthem.
%%* Buy a Music/SarahMcLachlan album. Put it in your CD player/boot up your mp3 device and press 'Play'. Has she started singing yet? Good. IT IS THIS TROPE.
%%** ''Afterglow'' really just serves to drive it home, as if Sarah's just finally coming to terms with her brokeness.
* Beth Hart's "Leave the Light On."
--> [[AbusiveParents Daddy ain't that bad, he just plays rough]]\\
[[StepfordSmiler I ain't that scarred when I'm covered up...]]\\
I swore to God that I'd never be\\
[[WhatHaveIBecome What I've become]]
%%* The song "Broken Wing" by Thousand Foot Krutch is all about this.
* More than one Music/AyumiHamasaki song has shades of this, made even worse by [[LyricalDissonance the poppy, energetic tune.]]
* The Music/LadyGaga album "The Fame Monster" definitely qualifies, particularly tracks like "Monster" (in which the narrator becomes as bad as her "monster"-boyfriend) and "Speechless" ("I'll never talk again [...] I'll never love again"). Plus Gaga's more overt use of her more gothic stylings.
%%* Any song from EmilieAutumn's "Opheliac" album.
* Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It", which is practically the Broken Bird anthem. Not far from this is Tina Turner herself, who left a violently abusive marriage with Ike Turner in 1978.
--> What's love got to do, got to do with it?\\
What's love, but a second-hand emotion?\\
What's love got to do, got to do with it?\\
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?
%%* The subject of Music/{{Blutengel}}'s song "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogQnvzMO_ko Broken Girl]]".
* Music/{{Evanescence}} lyrics are made of this trope. A particularly good example is the (very infamous) "My Immortal", from the perspective of a person who once had a broken bird lover and has become a boken bird themselves after losing them:
-->These wounds won't seem to heal, this pain is just too real.
-->There's just too much that time cannot erase...
-->When you cried I wiped away all of your tears
-->When you screamed I'd fight away all of your fears
-->And I held your hand through all of these years
-->But you still have all of me...
* Pain of Salvation's albums "The Perfect Element I" and "Remedy Lane" both feature broken birds, the former a male and female and the latter just male. TPE even has the line "A wind-beaten bird/for reasons unheard" when introducing the female broken bird of the concept.
%%* She Wants Revenge - "She Will Always be a Broken Girl" and "Rachael" are about broken birds.
%%* Pick a Diary of Dreams song. There ya go.
%%* Most LacunaCoil songs (in the pre-Karmacode era) had Christina Scabbia come off as a broken bird.
* Pick a Katatonia song, preferably from "Tonight's Decision" or "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" (one track in the former is titled "I Break", for example). Broken. There's even a meeting of the broken birds in "Passing Bird" (one is faking it, though.)
%%* The Foreshadowing album "Days of Nothing" is a concept album about a male broken bird.
* Savage Garden's "To the Moon and Back" depicts the mindset of a Broken Bird in all details. "Gunning Down Romance" to an even deeper extent, though this time, it's the male singer experiencing it.
* Mr Mister's "Broken Wings" is about someone trying to help a broken bird pull [[AmbiguousGender themselves]] together
%%* TheCrystallineEffect's songs 'Poetry' and 'Another Rainy Day' are about this trope.
* Music/DemiLovato's album "Unbroken" is about a recovering broken bird.
%%* Zoe's Adventures Under Ground's first album is called The Broken Bird E.P., and every song fits this trope.
%%* Whatsername in AmericanIdiot.
* Music/CityAndColour:
** "Fragile Bird" talks about one who keeps having BadDreams, who the singer promises to comfort throughout the night.
** "O' Sister" is about the singer's sister, who is suffering from depression.
* Marianas Trench has "Porcelain", which describes a recovering Broken Bird, who the singer sympathizes with and wants to help.
* A few of Music/IngridMichaelson's songs have this:
** "Be OK" (which [[LyricalDissonance ironically has a cheerful tune]]) is about wanting to have a good day despite being so broken.
-->''"Open me up and you will see/I'm a gallery of broken hearts/I'm beyond repair, let me be/And give me back my broken parts"''
** "Locked Up" is about being emotionally guarded and cynical about love after [[SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids growing up]] and being hurt in the past, but trying to get over that and be able to trust again.
-->''"Should I show them all my scars?/Cherry red, bleeding burn ... Like an angry apple tree/I throw my apples if you get too close to me"''
* Music/SuzanneVega's "Luka" is about a battered wife/girlfriend (or [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation an abused child]]), and sung in a toneless, unemotional voice indicating how the titular character has totally given up on life.
* Boyce Avenue's "Broken Angel" has shades of this; the subject is a perfectionist young woman who suffers lasting damage from an emotionally neglectful father, and blames herself--her shortcomings are the reason he was distant.
* Music/BillieHoliday had a tragic life where she was the victim of rape at age 11, teenage prostitution, abusive partners and severe alcohol, morfine and heroin addiction. All it culminated in her world weary MagnumOpus ''Music/LadyInSatin'', where she sings about break-ups, unrequited love and all hardships of relationships in her drug ravaged voice. Only a year after recording this album she would die from liver cirrosis.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Myth and Legend]]
* OlderThanDirt: Ereshkigal, the Mesopotamian goddess of the Netherworld, is the mythological variant of this trope to a tee. While she mainly shows up as the bitter, [[LonersAreFreaks lonely]], and adversarial older sister of the GenkiGirl goddess Inanna/Ishtar, Ereshkigal's character is more elaborated elsewhere through her [[FreudianExcuse unhappy backstory]] and her encounter with the TroubledButCute plague god Nergal. In a rare happy ending in a mythological love story, the two outcast gods eventually resolve their differences and resolve to rule the Netherworld together. (Scholarly opinions are divided on whether this resulted in BadassDecay of her.)
* If the Romans are to believed, Queen Dido of Carthage from ''Literature/TheAeneid'' is this. She is happily married, then her brother kills her husband and forces her to flee her homeland. Then, she has to start a new city from scratch with a few men, and then Aeneas turns up. He has a love affair with her that ends badly (he leaves her because of the {{Jerkass}} gods). Later, she [[DespairEventHorizon loses her sanity]] and [[DrivenToSuicide kills herself]]. To show just how badly she is broken when Aeneas leaves her, Vergil stretches to its limits the inherent flexibility of Latin word order (an effect lost in translation)--the word order and grammar are so horribly broken that the subject and direct object can be several lines apart.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Elspeth Tirel from ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has lived through a childhood of Phyrexian horror and has seen her self-proclaimed homeworld of Bant fall, even as she tried her hardest to defend it. Because of this, she is portrayed as a cynic and a CowardlyLion who just wants to put down her sword and live a normal life - unfortunately for her, [[DoomMagnet conflict seems to follow her to every world she visits]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* Aldonza in ''Theatre/ManOfLaMancha''. "Aldonza" (the song) is a great portrayal of anger and cynicism overlaying a very unhappy backstory.
* The Witch in ''Theatre/IntotheWoods'' consistently embodies the cynical and badass qualities, warning Rapunzel, "the world is dark and wild." It never becomes entirely clear where the Witch's brokenness stems from, but she is persuasive enough in pointing out the failings of others to make us suspect that her ruthless and misanthropic ways came from somewhere.
* [[spoiler:Meg Giry]] in the sequel to ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', ''Love Never Dies'', due to [[spoiler: a combination of her falling for the Phantom, who still pines for Christine, and too much time on the CastingCouch over the ten years separating the two shows. She ultimately tries to kill Christine's son; she winds up ''actually'' killing Christine.]]
* Niobe from ''The Love of the Nightingale''. Procne and Philomele become birds after their BreakTheCutie.
* In ''The Little Foxes'', Birdie married twenty years ago into a BigScrewedUpFamily, who took her cotton plantation and sired on her an unlikable twit of a son. She spends a lot of time [[DrowningMySorrows drowning her sorrows]] in her own room, which they try to hide by lying and saying she has a headache.
* Blanche Dubois of ''Theatre/AStreetcarNamedDesire'' is strictly the badass type. She is definitely not emotionless, but she does tend to put herself in charge.
* Depending on the interpretation, Joanne from ''Theatre/{{Company}}'' could be a cynical example: She is an alcoholic who has been twice divorced and is currently on her third husband. She is rather different from Bobby's other friends, spends most of the scenes making occasional snarky remarks, and is shown being extremely critical of both her husband, who clearly loves her with all his heart, and of Bobby. However, Bobby describes her as "warm", and her husband says that her behaviour comes from her being "wildly conceited" with "no self-esteem", and in the end, she also plays something of a mentorly role to Bobby, as she is the one who makes him question what he wants from a relationship.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Hayasaka Erika from ''Webcomic/MegaTokyo'' is cool, calm, sarcastic, and quick to inflict violence on anyone violating her personal space. At first thought to be the only person in the cast who wasn't awash with neuroses, she eventually turned out to be possibly the most damaged of them all. And [[TropeNamers it was the title of one of her albums]].
%%* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'''s main character 25th Baam in a case where we see the initial breaking in season one and the final result five years later in season two.
* ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}'':
** Jillian Zamussels turns out to be a Broken Bird, among other things, due to being the princess of a destroyed kingdom that she never wanted in the first place, in addition to massive amounts of torture, MindRape, and failed attempts to ScrewDestiny.
** Her lover and torturer (yeah, it's that kind of relationship) Wanda isn't better: her backstory, explored in the ''"Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower)"'' stories, reveals just how much she was broken, repeatedly, during her first turns of existence, slowly turning her into the ruthless and Fate-abider character she is nowadays.
%%* Miranda West in ''TheWotch''.
* Red in ''Webcomic/NoRestForTheWicked'' is a ruthless monster-hunter, quick to violence, ''extremely'' protective of November, and has AnAxeToGrind. Having died ([[UnexplainedRecovery she recovered]]) and hacked her way out of a wolf that ate her grandmother changes one's outlook.
%%* Kamikaze Kate from ''Webcomic/{{Misfile}}''.
* ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent''
** Faye -- though she subverts the FreakOut, she makes jokes about it while she's in obvious pain from bringing it up, and chooses to tell Marten beforehand. Still counts, though, because she is [[TheWoobie pretty broken]]. After finding out the whole story, Marten is careful to explain the situation to her next potential boyfriend.
--->'''Angus:''' Wait, how do I know any of this is true? Maybe you're still holding a torch for her!\\
'''Marten:''' Dude, when a park ranger warns you about bears, it's not so he can keep all the bear hugs for himself.
** More recent issues indicate that Dora may also be one, particularly regarding her relationship history and trust issues with Marten.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** Considering recent developments with her character, [[DarkActionGirl Tsukiko]] from ''might'' be this - or she might just be crazy. She says that she "likes" the undead because she thinks that [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters living people are the real monsters]] and therefore the undead, as their inverse, [[InsaneTrollLogic must be good]]. It is, however, unclear whether these opinions come from personal experience or not - if they do, she's probably this trope, and a good deal more sympathetic than she had been previously. Which wouldn't be surprising, as a lot of villains tend to have a dimension of sympathy. (Except the BigBad himself, by [[WordOfGod admission of the creator]].)
** [[LawfulStupid Miko]] [[KnightTemplar Miyazaki]] could be [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation interpreted as such]] as well; she was orphaned at a young age, is severely socially awkward, and her only friend is her horse. One could imagine a lonely young girl with poor social skills adopting a rigid black-and-white view of the world as a means of emotional defense - only making things worse, as her narrow-mindedness and arrogance drives people even further away from her.
%%* Iris Kolrick from {{Shadownova}}. Her past hasn't been shown yet, but word of god confirms that it is a tragic one.
%%* Lindsey from {{Shadowgirls}}. She ain't forgiving herself anytime soon.
* Galatea ("Golly") in ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob.'' is much less of an emotional disaster than she once was, but she still tries to project an air of competence and experience far beyond what she actually has (even if she is a genius).
%%* Susan from ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' is not quite as broken as some on the list, but she has her problems. Also, one of the more {{Badass}} characters.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. [[StringyHairedGhostGirl Aradia]] [[EmotionlessGirl Megido]]. The poor girl is so broken by the time the game starts that she's forgotten what emotion feels like, [[spoiler: which makes her ascention to God Tier all the more heartwarming.]]
%%* Lucy of BittersweetCandyBowl. It's only noticeable under certain circumstances, but ''wow''.
%%* Carmen of ''Webcomic/NinthElsewhere''; explained by her childhood.
* [[spoiler:Bathory]] of ''Webcomic/{{Crepuscule}}'' seems to be this, as revealed in more recent chapters: [[spoiler:For hundreds of years, she's been searching for a surviving relative from the extermination of the pureblood succubi. Thankfully, she finds Angela, her aunt, and seems to be getting better because of it.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'':
** [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2012-11-14 Seymour diagnoses the navy blue succubus as this.]]
-->''So much cynicism in your voice -- masking untold sorrows.''
%%** [[spoiler: Blue herself]] is revealed to be one.
* The title heroine of ''Webcomic/{{Glorianna}}'' is carrying heavy angst from some as-yet-unspecified childhood trauma, as well as guilt over her [[spoiler:unplanned pregnancy and subsequent abandoning of her baby]].
* ''Webcomic/TheFoxSister'': Yun Hee might be warming up towards Alex, but overall she's still quite brusque and closed off.
%%* ''Webcomic/ItsWalky'': JerkassWoobie [[DarkActionGirl Darkish Action Girl]] Sal.
* Murai in ''Webcomic/{{Digger}}'' is a variant-- her EstablishingCharacterMoment is her collapse during the bandit raid, meaning the broken side of her was shown before the facade was.
* Lei'ella if ''Webcomic/{{Inverloch}}'' puts on a ruthless facade and uses SpockSpeak to intimidate people in her capacity as a thief-catcher, a job which she admits usually results in her killing someone. She's cynical about Acheron's motives, and refuses to believe the thief Varden has any capacity for goodness. This is because she's an elf "afflicted" with mortality and exiled when she was twelve; since then she's had to hide her race because she's invariably been rejected by prejudiced humans.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Originals]]
* Iriana Estchell of ''Literature/IlivaisX'' lived a life that amounted to abusive rape followed by even more rape, which given her condition meant more like being tortured for 15 years. By the time the story starts, she's desperately trying to cover her mushy, fragile core with stoic badassery and indifferent sadism, but isn't as good at that as she'd like. When she meets someone that loves her (or rather, manipulated into doing so), she's so confused at how she's treated that she tends to respond by hurting her even more.
%%* Shoutan Himei of ''SailorNothing'' fits this trope in a heartbreakingly perfect way.
* ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick'':
** In a far [[PlayedForLaughs lighter]] example, Nostalgia Chick is a twisted CuteAndPsycho girl with a big drinking problem.
** The Makeover Fairy is also pretty bad, trying so hard to be happy and girly and cheerful, but always showing in the end that she's just a NervousWreck.
* ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'': Thanks to the premise, there are a fair amount of examples of this trope due to [[BreakTheCutie how many cuties are broken in each version]]. It's either that they ''started'' out this way and only get more scarred and/or AxCrazy, or that they become this way due to the amount of trauma they've suffered. Either way, the island doesn't do well for mental and emotional health.
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'':
** [[spoiler:Agent Carolina]], in the present, is one of these, having built up a cold, callous exterior that covers her sadness concerning the fates of her Freelancer comrades.
** Agent Washington was once an {{Adorkable}} and friendly NiceGuy, Wash had the memories of a tortured AI unit uploaded into his head. This, combined with the betrayals of various friends and allies later in life, led to Wash becoming cynical and no-nonsense. [[spoiler:After the Blues help him escape custody, however, Wash begins to recover and becomes something closer to his kinder self.]]
** In Season 12, it's implied and later confirmed that Felix's experiences in the Great War against the Covenant have kind of broken him and reshaped him into the cynical, sort of-SociopathicHero he is today. [[spoiler:Nope, that's his cover story. He did fight in the war, but he's a total sociopath and isn't broken in the least.]]
** It's implied that Locus' experiences in the Great War have also left him with some form of trauma, which he hides with his OneManArmy and ConsummateProfessional mask. [[spoiler:Unlike Felix, it appears to be genuine.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Vista, the youngest member of the [[SuperTeam Brockton Bay Wards]], becomes this after Leviathan's attack on the city kills two of her teammates-including one that she had a childhood crush on-and then seeing the rest of her team slowly collapse, eventually becoming TheFatalist and accepting what she viewed as her inevitable death while still doing everything she could for her teammates.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Helga Pataki from ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' is the badass variety. She mentions in one episode that she would probably go crazy if it weren't for Arnold.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'':
** Raven, though she does gradually open up in the last two seasons.
** Terra, though she tries to hide it behind a FunPersonified façade. Stick around her long enough, though, and it becomes obvious the girl has ''serious'' issues with people.
* Karai from ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|2003}}'' becomes one of these during the show's fourth and fifth seasons, after the turtles and Utroms exile her father to an icy asteroid.
* Meg of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''. Although it's PlayedForLaughs and she's a pretty big ButtMonkey, some episodes depict her being both emotionally fragile and disturbed, [[IJustWantToBeLoved derived from a desperation for love and attention.]]
* [[http://www.anna-blue.de Anna Blue]], it doesn't get any more broken than this.
* Mrs. Krabappel from ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' is TheSnarkKnight variety. In her case, it's PlayedForLaughs.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender,''
** Mai. Her parents neglected her and forced her to be a "perfect child", causing her to be cynical and apathetic. [[BirdsOfAFeather Unsurprisingly]], she ends up with the resident TroubledButCute.
** Azula as well:
-->“My own mother thought I was a monster. *{{Beat}}* She was right, of course, but it still hurt."
** Zuko could definitely be considered a male example. His father [[AbusiveParents burned half his face]] and banished him, sending him on a SnipeHunt to find the Avatar, all when he was only thirteen. And that's only the beginning. [[spoiler: Luckily, he gets better.]]
** In the sequel series ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', three seasons of various kinds of trauma have made Korra herself into one. [[spoiler:After a three-year timeskip, she's gone into hiding as an earthbender, getting beat up in fight clubs for cash. None of her friends know where she is, and even her parents thought she was in Republic City. Thankfully with some help, Korra is eventually able to recover from her past traumas and retake her position as being the Avatar. By the end of the series, she is hopeful for the future again and begins a romantic relationship with her [[RelationshipUpgrade friend]] [[BiTheWay Asami.]]]]
** Averted with Asami Sato despite losing her mother to murder and her father being a terrorist, but [[spoiler:she hints that losing Korra would have most likely pushed her over the edge.]]
* Gwen from ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland'', in spades. She's [[FriendlessBackground never had many friends]] and gets picked on by every villain.
* Charmcaster in ''Ben10UltimateAlien''. Being used by Darkstar was a huge part in making it worse.
* Artemis from ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' comes from a broken home, with her mother having spent years in prison, her father being a supervillain, and her older sister, Jade, being the notorious assassin Cheshire. This has understandably made Artemis very cynical and abrasive.
* Both Rogue and [[Comicbook/ScarletWitch Wanda]] from ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution''.
** Rogue was purposefully raised as an [[{{Goth}} outsider]] by Mystique and Destiny to manipulate her into becoming Mystique's tool, [[BlessedWithSuck cannot touch anyone without draining them due to her mutant ability]], and to top it all off suffers from a bad case of [[LoveHurts unrequited love]] for Scott and consequentially is bitterly jealous of Scott's official {{Love Interest|s}} Jean.
** [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds Wanda]] on the other hand was raised in an abusive asylum after her [[SelfDemonstrating/{{Magneto}} father]] [[ParentalAbandonment left her]] there as a child for undisclosed reasons. Her brother is utterly terrified of her as her entire life's goal seems to be to [[{{Patricide}} murder her father]]. Sadly, she only improves after her father [[MindRape has a telepath rewrite her memories to make her love him]]. The sad part is that while Rogue at least got to be be redeemed by the ComicBook/XMen and made some friends, Wanda never really had anyone help her without selfish motives.
* In "Sad About You" on ''[[WesternAnimation/CareBearsWelcomeToCareALot Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot]]'', the human girl Joy was a broken bird who had sworn off friendship and happy feelings after her best friend moved away, but the Care Bears managed to fix it, in large part thanks to Grumpy Bear, who helped them to see that they need to empathize with and acknowledge her feelings rather than simply try to cheer her up.
* Marceline from ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime''. No sign of her mother ever appears, her biological father ranges from "neglectful" to "abusive", her [[ParentalSubstitute father figure]] has magical curse alzheimers and doesn't remember her (but still sticks around, just to twist the knife), her boyfriend sold her most cherished possession, and she's had a millennium of other miscellaneous such events. Is it any wonder she [[JerkassFacade plays up her vampirism to drive people away for their own good]]?
* The widow Kelly Deegan in ''WesternAnimation/HollyHobbieAndFriends [[ChristmasSpecial Christmas Wishes]]'', until Holly manages to help restore her happiness by contriving to give her the solo at the Christmas pageant.
* Enrique on ''WesternAnimation/DragonTales''. According to his [[AllThereInTheManual bio]] that was posted on the parents section of the show's official website, much of his general mopiness at times as well as his wariness of making new friends and trying new things came from the fact that he and his family had moved several times in his young life.
* [[JerkassWoobie Kitty]] from ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'' lost her [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar girlfriend to their abusive pimp]] and walks around wearing a creepy mask to shield herself from the cruelty of reality. Courage does everything he can to appease her [[spoiler: and succeeds when he reunites the two.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BojackHorseman'' qualifies, as he'd grown up with a StageMom who withheld affection unless he acted, which [[FreudianExcuse pretty succinctly explains why he's at]] ''best'' a JerkWithAHeartOfGold.
[[/folder]]
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