Did You Think I Can't Feel?
"Before I put on this dress, you couldn't even remember my name."Alice is an all around nice girl: she's quiet and maybe a bit of a pushover, but every so often she hints at having some deep Hidden Depths. She's sure to do whatever Bobby asks her, not just because of her loyalty but because she "doesn't seem to mind". She may even have a crush on Bobby, who seldom notices, dates everyone else but her, and asks her for dating advice. Over the course of the story Bobby will go on adventures and drag Alice along with him, putting her through progressively more embarrassing, painful, and emotionally hurtful situations while ignoring her feelings. She won't complain, and will likely offer advice and help however she can. Until she says "No". Bobby will be blown away and fail to understand why: "How can you be so selfish? I've always treated you right!" At this point Alice lets loose a simple yet powerful question: "Did you think I can't feel?" Turns out that Alice may be Stoic or even an Extreme Doormat, and that she'll tolerate heaps of emotional torture just to be next to Bobby even if she can't date him... but he's finally crossed the line, not because of his schemes, but for both failing to consider she has feelings and that he was badly hurting them. Alice will then painfully lay out just what it is he's put her through and leave. If Alice is especially nice, you can expect at least some violence to follow. If Alice is very shy she may run away instead, leaving it up to another character to enlighten Bobby on his carelessness. Knocked out of his egocentric worldview, Bobby now has to find a way to patch up their friendship or pursue a romance. In a kid's show, this is usually accompanied with An Aesop about considering other people's feelings. Alice can be of any gender, but as a character there are a lot of types that fit: The Nice Guy, The Stoic, Extreme Doormat, The Cutie, Cloud Cuckoo Lander (though they may be Bobby if they are very inconsiderate). Bobby may be Hot-Blooded, Horrible Judge of Character, or Oblivious to Love. One common variant is for Alice to be an outsider other kids pick on, dehumanizing her until she snaps with the above. Alice may be motivated by I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy and realize she's not at all happy, grow angry that All Love Is Unrequited, or that Bobby never notices (or sends mixed signals) to her advances. If this happens in the beginning of the story, this may lead to Madden Into Misanthropy as Alice changes her character radically. Compare Not So Stoic, where a Stoic is pushed past their limits. Also compare Stoic Woobie. Not to be confused with "Don't Think, Feel.."
— Carter, Princess Protection Program
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Anime & Manga
- Naruto features a powerful scene during the first arc after the Time Skip. His old friend Gaara (who is a fellow member of a small group of people with powerful demons sealed inside of them for huge amounts of power) has been captured. Considering that both he and Gaara endured horrible childhoods due to prejudice against people like them, and the people who captured Gaara specifically targeted him because of the demon inside of him, Naruto still puts up with everything throughout the entire series without lashing out at anyone. He's always nice and energetic, and extremely forgiving, despite the abuse he's endured. But when someone tells him to calm down after Gaara is killed, he snaps, unleashing a Big "Shut Up!" and tells her off for telling him to calm down. If it weren't for the fact that Chiyo sacrifices her life to bring him back to life, his very true rant would have really brought the point home.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Joey punched Tristan in the Duelist Kingdom arc for his constant teasing (mocked in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series). In Japanese, Hiroto (Tristan) was mostly prodding Jonouchi (Joey) not to gamble away his star chips on a hopeless duel — the punch was more provoked by Hiroto not minding his own business. In the dub, it was more a matter of mounting annoyance over the insults (the dub also turned the punch into a shove)
- In the later Haruhi Suzumiya novels, Kyon realizes on his own that he's been taking advantage of Yuki's tendency to do whatever he asks of her (what brings it to his attention is some extremely subtle hints of anger from her). He apologizes and decides to make an effort not to rely on her so much.
- A pivotal moment in Gakuen Alice comes when Mikan realizes that she cannot insist that the girl of her dreams stay with her forever.
- Gunslinger Girl: When the emotional controls on one unit fails, the entire batch becomes suspect.
- Averted in Mysterious Girlfriend X, as any reflexive move by the usually stoic Urabe is taken as a sign of rage by Tsubaki.
- In Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers), when Analyzer and are prisoners, Yuki makes a hurtful remark to the effect that Analyzer has nothing to worry about, that he can't be killed because he isn't alive. Analyzer then proceeds to make a very touching little speech about how much he does feel, and Yuki is ashamed of what she said to him.
- Haruka Kotoura from Kotoura-san never says this, but it is clear that the other students are taking advantage of her Extreme Doormat tendencies just because they can and often can get away with it. Yoshihisa quickly realizes this and often gives her "a certain look" whenever she denies this, but he would never hesitate to speak in her defense.
Yoshihisa: She kept it all bottled up inside her.
- In When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, after politely taking Andou's "You wouldn't understand" remarks for a long time, Hatoko finally tears into him and lets him know that not understanding him is what makes her so frustrated at him.
- Watchmen; Ozymandias talks about how easy it was to push Dr. Manhattan over the edge:
"Most humans wouldn't be able to tell, but from where I sit he might as well have been weeping."
- Also, the bit between Dan and Rorschach. Dan finally snaps from all the bullshit, and Rorschach actually seems to feel bad.
- Near the latter half of Scott Pilgrim, each of the girls that the eponymous character has dated at some point tell him off for being such an inconsiderate jerk in the past.
- X-23: When Laura rejects Julian's confession of love, he lashes out verbally, accusing her of being the emotionless robot that everyone says she is. In response, Laura reminds him that he is not entitled to her affection because she is a person capable of making her own choices.
Laura: No, Julian. I feel...I want. I just do not want you.
- Light to L in Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything. L is utterly flabbergasted when Light ignores his advances and suggests that L should just go home to his other boyfriend. It is well-deserved; Light confronts L with this after L manipulated, abused, and raped him.
L: Whuuu... What's wrong with you? Light? Light, stop it.
Light: I've been thinking. I realised that you've treated me like I was less than dirt, and that I was letting you.
- In Where The Eyes Of The Old Gods Can't Hope To Find Us Lauren does this twice. The first is internally after Dyson makes a comment about a place where he had previously had sex with Bo (and where Bo and Lauren just almost had sex). Tamsin also notices, and is indignant on behalf as well.
...but too often Lauren has her nose rubbed in these pesky little passive-aggressive jabs. The quips and jokes that everyone seems to think escape her are just plain cruel at times.
- She does it verbally later, when she finally gets sick of Kenzi's shit:
"Don't go shy on me now Kenzi. I have an entire arsenal of quips and comments and passive-aggressive slants hurled at me at one time or another. Maybe the lot of you felt these slights went over my head; I may be a nerd to all of you but I'm not deaf and I'm certainly not stupid."
- She does it verbally later, when she finally gets sick of Kenzi's shit:
- In Pony POV Series, Havoc has a few moments as this. Being the Anthropomorphic Personification of Fear, and one of the four strongest beings in all creation, few ever give how he feels thought other than not wanting to tick him off. Despite this a few times it's made very clear that despite not showing it, he's heartbroken at the loss of two of his suns, and the few ponies who have actually given him condolences genuinely touched him.
Film - Animation
- In Kung Fu Panda 2, Tigress reveals that part of her kung fu training involved punching ironwood trees, so now she "feels nothing." Po is awed and calls this "hardcore." He immediately assumes that she can't feel emotional pain either, which shocks her, but she's interrupted before she can correct him. Later in the movie, when Po persists in trying to confront Lord Shen despite his freezing up when facing him, Tigress angrily tells him to stay behind. Po explains why he wants to go: Lord Shen was there the day Po's parents died, and Po wants answers about that day.
Film - Live Action
- In Gosford Park, Commander Meredith was eating jam preserves and sulking when Dorothy, a maid, walks in on him, he starts saying that his life sucks when she jumps in with a heart wrenching speech about how loving, even if it's unrequited, makes life worthwhile and worth living. It helps to mention that Dorothy was in love with the butler Jennings, and though she often hinted to him she was interested, he was always too afraid to start anything. Not expecting anywhere near that emotional wisdom, he goes back upstairs and passionately kisses his loving wife.
- A variation; in Carrie, it's Miss Collins who does this for the title character after the shower prank, giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to her gym class.
Miss Collins: Did any of you ever stop to think that Carrie White has feelings? Do any of you ever stop to think? No, I guess you're too busy thinking about your dates, and the prom.
- Essentially Velma asks Fred this at the start of the first live-action Scooby Doo film. It kicks off the whole group break up and paves the way for the plot
- Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility, the first of Jane Austen's Emotionless Girl brand of heroines, who all have this problem, although without getting such an awesome speech to summarize it; since their society doesn't typically care about women's emotions anyway, everyone is perfectly content to assume that not showing happiness, grief, or anger means you must not have any. Naturally, it's those who keep their emotions hidden who feel more strongly than anyone:
Marianne: If the loss of what is most valued is so easily to be made up by something else, your resolution, your self-command, are, perhaps, a little less to be wondered at. — They are brought more within my comprehension.
Elinor: I understand you. — You do not suppose that I have ever felt much. — For four months, Marianne, I have had all this hanging on my mind, without being at liberty to speak of it to a single creature; knowing that it would make you and my mother most unhappy whenever it were explained to you, yet unable to prepare you for it in the least. — It was told me, — it was in a manner forced on me by the very person herself, whose prior engagement ruined all my prospects; and told me, as I thought, with triumph. — This person's suspicions, therefore, I have had to oppose, by endeavouring to appear indifferent where I have been most deeply interested; — and it has not been only once; — I have had her hopes and exultation to listen to again and again. — I have known myself to be divided from Edward for ever, without hearing one circumstance that could make me less desire the connection. — Nothing has proved him unworthy; nor has anything declared him indifferent to me. — I have had to contend against the unkindness of his sister, and the insolence of his mother; and have suffered the punishment of an attachment, without enjoying its advantages. — And all this has been going on at a time, when, as you know too well, it has not been my only unhappiness. — If you can think me capable of ever feeling — surely you may suppose that I have suffered NOW. The composure of mind with which I have brought myself at present to consider the matter, the consolation that I have been willing to admit, have been the effect of constant and painful exertion; — they did not spring up of themselves; — they did not occur to relieve my spirits at first. — No, Marianne. — THEN, if I had not been bound to silence, perhaps nothing could have kept me entirely — not even what I owed to my dearest friends — from openly shewing that I was VERY unhappy.
- Viola in the Chaos Walking series gets a moment like this early in the first book. It's the precursor to some really great character development between her and Todd and helps highlight just how deep their bond of trust grows to be.
- In Jane Eyre, Rochester deliberately provokes Jane into this: constantly gushing about his upcoming marriage to this woman who is not suited to him, and he knows it and Jane knows it, but Jane has no power to speak up because she's a governess, and in no way equal to Rochester's apparent intended. Jane takes this to awesome levels.
“I tell you I must go!” I retorted, roused to something like passion. “Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton?—a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!—I have as much soul as you,—and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh;—it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal,—as we are!”
- In Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster, Lilia says this nearly word for word after her ex-brother-in-law, when trying to convince her to call off her marriage to her much-younger Italian fiance (who she's already married anyway), insinuates that her fiance is bullying her into staying. (unfortunatly for Lilia, they're right to try and stop her marriage, but she doesn't know this yet.)
Lilia: For once in my life I'll thank you to leave me alone. I'll thank your mother too. For twelve years you've trained me and tortured me, and I'll stand it no more. Do you think I'm a fool? Do you think I never felt? Ah! When I came to your house a poor young bride, you all looked me other - never a kind word - and discussed me, and thought I might just do; and your mother corrected me, and your sister snubbed me, and you said funny things about me to show how clever you were! And when Charles died I was still to run in strings for the honour of your beastly family, and I was to be cooped up at Sawston and learn to keep house, and all my chances spoilet of marry again. No, thank you! No, thank you! "Bully"? "Insolent boy"? Who is that, pray, but you? But, thank goodness, I can stand up to the world now, for I've found Gino, and this time I marry for love!
- There's a form of this in Yoda: Dark Rendezvous. After the Padawans Master Yoda is traveling with lose their masters, he comforts them, and one gets angry at his advice, claiming that he wouldn't understand grief. Of course, he would, and he reminds them of this. In nine hundred years there have been many friends and students lost, and grief like they can't imagine.
- John from I Am Not a Serial Killer is normally a Deadpan Snarker whose emotional responses are fairly subdued, what with him being a sociopath and everything. However, when his mother pushes him a bit too far, he finally snaps, and almost crosses the Moral Event Horizon.
John: How'd you like to live with a Mom who thinks you're a robot? Or a gargoyle? You think you can just say anything you want and it will bounce right off? John's a psycho! Stab him in the face—he can't feel anything! You think I can't feel? I feel everything, Mom, every stab, every shout, every whisper behind my back, and I am ready to stab you all right back, if that's what it takes to get through to you!
- Opal of The Ultra Violets is frequently bossed around by her friends, and keeps to herself. She eventually has a Rage Breaking Point and defects to the dark side when she sees Cheri kissing her crush, Albert Feinstein.
Live Action TV
- Drake & Josh had an episode devoted to this.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, instead of saying it to Buffy, Spike sings it in the Musical Episode.
- Xander is also on the receiving end of this when, having failed to successfully ask Buffy to a high school dance, he tactlessly asks Willow (who has been crushing on him all season) to go with him as his backup.
- In Torchwood, Ianto's job description is general dogsbody: he does everything nobody else wants to do, from feeding weevils to ordering pizza, and tends to blend into the scenery unless someone (usually Jack) wants something. They're so dismissive of him and his feelings that they don't even notice that he's hiding a half converted Cyberwoman in the basement which is pretty damned oblivious. When this is finally discovered, Jack blows a fuse and starts violently question him on it, Ianto bites back: "when was the last time any of you asked me anything about my life?" It's possible that realising how dismissive they've been of him is part of the reason as to why he wasn't fired from Torchwood (at least), after this incident in the first place.
- Steve Urkel of Family Matters finally stood up to Laura after she refused to show any consideration for Steve giving her a ride to an out-of-town function, caused his car to break down by putting it into high gear and insisting she take the bed alone while Steve sleeps in the bathtub in their motel, culminating in the line "I'm a person, I have feelings and I demand to be treated with respect and dignity."
- In Coupling, Jane gives a speech to Steve about this.
- A variation in How I Met Your Mother occurs when Barney finally realises how much his behaviour post-breakup is hurting Robin, although its more a "Do you think she can't feel" as its the rest of the gang who eventually break it to him (after each realising themselves how much they weren't helping the situation).
- In Doctor Who, companion Martha spent an entire season pining after the Doctor- probably due to the fact that on top of being good looking and intelligent, he kissed her the first time they met. (To save the Earth, but still). He spent most of the time dismissing her, and constantly comparing her to his last companion and love interest Rose. Eventually she took a level in badass and left the TARDIS, telling him up straight that she wasn't going to stick around feeling second best.
- In Classic Who, Zoe Heriot was noticeably distressed when, during her introductory story "The Wheel in Space", she was twice accused of being "All brains and no heart."
- In Robin Hood after Guy of Gisborne discovers that Marian is in fact the Night Watchman (a vigilante who steals for the poor) he manages to bring the entire situation back to his unrequited feelings for her. Marian? She's more concerned about not getting hanged for treason.
- Throughout Sherlock, Molly Hooper has always had a very obvious crush on Sherlock, and always takes his abuse/taunts. In 'A Scandal of Belgravia,' Sherlock goes too far during Christmas at 221B, deducing that the reason she's dressed up is to try and seduce a man, and that she's obviously bought a present for 'someone special.' When he realizes that the man in question is him, he's stunned into silence and shame at his own cruelty. And finally, Molly calls him out on his behaviour.
(tearfully) You always say such horrible things....
- And then it leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when Sherlock apologizes (something he has NEVER done to anyone, at least in-show), gently kisses Molly's cheek and says "Merry Christmas, Molly Hooper."
- Once Upon a Time: The closed-off Emma eventually opens up to Graham. Also, at one point in the Enchanted Forest, Rumplestiltskin was talking to Charming about the power of True Love and Charming dismissively asked what he could possibly know about True Love. Rumplestiltskin irritably replies, "Not so much as you, perhaps, but not so little as you might think." (Referring to his role as the Beast in Belle's story.)
- Grey's Anatomy: Izzy gives one to Alex after he keeps taking out his recent heartbreak and frustrations on her, including stealing one of Izzy's patients:
Izzy:Using me as a doormat is one thing. Screwing with my career is another! I have been wiping your snot and covering your ass for weeks now. And all you've done is abuse me. And for a little while you get to do that because you're heartbroken and pathetic, and I'm a good friend. But it ends now. Get your own surgery and wipe your own snot.
- Emily Thorne has one on Revenge where she goes off on Aiden for mentioning her lack of empathy.
Aiden: I'm sorry if I'm not as cold and calculated as you. I can't just turn my feelings on and off like the flick of a switch.
Emily: Is that what you think? That I don't feel? That I don't miss my father every single day? That I don't mourn the life that I could've had? But that's why people like you and me fight. Because it gives us something to live for when everything else has been taken away. I thought you understood that. I thought we shared that.
- Older Than Steam: William Shakespeare brings us The Merchant of Venice and Shylock's "Hath not a Jew eyes?" speech to the court. While Shylock isn't a nice guy, the thrust of the speech is still the same: "I've got feelings, too."
Shylock: He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew.
Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is?
If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
- This crops up a few times in Homestuck:
- Jane gives a rage-filled "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Jake after Jake calls her up on her birthday (which he forgot and makes lame excuses for) to ramble one-sidedly about how the boy he hooked up with instead of her is self-absorbed and kind of smothers him without letting him ever get in a word edgewise. Which is exactly what Jake does to Jane in between neglecting her for weeks on end when they're two of the last four humans alive. And then he misinterprets her frustrated almost confession of having had feelings for him as feelings for Dirk.
- Happens with Dirk as well. "You act like I don't have feelings, like I'm some kind of robot. Well you're wrong, I do."
- Dirk's Auto-Responder, an AI based on a scan of his brain, gets tired of Jake treating him like he's just a computer program and bluntly tells him "I do have feelings. And you're shitting on them. It sucks." Later, when Dirk almost destroys him in a moment of displaced self-loathing, he drops the emotionless AI facade he had adopted to admit that he's scared of dying.
- Archipelago's Raven implies this in a much more literal sensenote after a sobbing Credenza remarks that "you can't understand what that feels like" due to him not being human.
- In the TV Tropes webseries Echo Chamber, the episode about this trope featured two separate moments like this. Tom finally snaps at Dana for being aloof and judgmental, and Shannon insists that Tom, in dumping her, is not considering her feelings. However, The Stinger implies that Shannon isn't as shaken up as she lets on, and was simply manipulating Tom.
- Wind Whistler from the original My Little Pony is The Spock to the point of basically being a Vulcan in cartoon pony form. However, she does have the same feelings as anyone else and doesn't like being thought of as a machine just because she doesn't wear them on her sleeve (and finds that the Fridge Logic kills the romance of a Romance Novel that had the others captivated, which is what started the debate that time.) She says something along the lines of the trope name in "Crunch the Rock Dog", only she's muttering it to herself when she's out of earshot of the other Ponies who insulted her. Megan is shown scolding the insulting Ponies, telling them that they just proved that Wind Whistler has feelings, by hurting them.
- The general message is used in the beginning of the episode "Ren Seeks Help" of Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon. Apparently, Ren had said something so insulting, it broke down even Stimpy, who was always immune to nearly all of his offensive behaviour. Stimpy shouts at Ren for being horrible and disrespectful towards him.
- Jessie gives Nitz one of these in the finale of Undergrads
- In Ed, Edd n Eddy, Edd and Eddy both get one of these in the same scene towards one another in The Movie. Edd spends the entire course of the show suffering the torturous alienation that comes with Eddy's friendship, but when Ed and Eddy fake their deaths for a cheap laugh at Edd, Edd blows up at them for being oblivious to his feelings and leaves for the first time in the entire series... prompting Eddy to blow up and unearth his own Hidden Depths right back. It ends up a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming— in fact probably one of the more genuine moments in the entire series.
- Mai from Avatar: The Last Airbender. For most of the series, she appears as a cold, sarcastic girl that happens to be childhood friends with Zuko and Azula. She gets much more character development in the third season, especially in "The Beach". Later that season, she even gets an even more awesome line showcasing how she can feel:
You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you.
- Zhu Li from The Legend of Korra is the devoted assistant of Varrick and will do pretty much whatever he asks her to do, from cleaning up the messes that are the inevitable results of his experiments to cleaning his feet... at least until she finally snaps, tells off Varrick for mistreating her and being a total idiot half the time, and joins Kuvira... or at least, this is what Zhu Li wants Kuvira to think. She did in fact feel this way as to how Varrick treated her, but she just needed an excuse to make her defection look convincing.
- In the Adventure Time episode "Burning Low," Finn gives this to Princess Bubblegum; he had long had a Precocious Crush on her, only to have her now seem to reciprocate when he's instead interested in Flame Princess. Subverted because in this case, Finn doesn't understand what PB is really trying to tell him.
- In the Goof Troop episode "O, R-V, I N-V U," Max, who is working on an RV project with Pete, doesn't realize that PJ feels inferior and lonely as a result of Pete favoring Max over him and Max ignoring him (the audience does because it's PJ's point of view), and expects him to run errands and do favors for them. About two thirds through the episode, Max asks PJ to take his picture, PJ snaps at him and explains exactly why he's upset with him. However, instead of picking up on PJ's feelings, Max asks, "Hey, can I help it if your dad thinks I'm bright?"
- One of the main plot points, not to mention some serious Character Development in Recess: School's Out, when Principal Prickley, after enduring an entire series worth of scorn and mockery from T.J and his friends finally stands up and tells him point blank that, as distant and abstract as it may seem to him, Prickley and every other adult "villain" TJ has ever tormented were kids at one point, and knows exactly what it feels like to be one. Prickley may seem like an uncaring, spiteful old man to him, but the principal was once a kid too, who lived for summer vacation, so never tell him that he doesn't care about it.
- Subverted in Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown is desperate to get a Valentine, since he never has before, but when the cards are handed out at school absolutely nobody gets him one. The next day, some of the girls come by and Violet offers him one that somebody else gave her. In a way it's even more depressing that Schroeder has to be offended on Charlie Brown's behalf.
Schroeder: You and your friends are the most thoughtless bunch I've ever known. You don't care anything about Charlie Brown! You just hate to feel guilty! And now you have the nerve to come around one day later and offer him a used Valentine just to ease your conscience! Well let me tell you something: Charlie Brown doesn't need your—
Charlie Brown: Don't listen to him! I'll take it!
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, most of the Mane Six were put off by their expectation to make friends with Pinkie Pie's older sister Maude. While friendly they weren't sure what to make of Maude being a Stoic on the level of Mr. Spock and interpreted her lack of perceived emotion as her blowing them off. By the end of the episode, the group are perfectly polite and friendly to Maude, though Pinkie has to explain to them that Maude has been uncharacteristically excited through the whole episode.
Maude: (Stoically, as Pinkie Pie does cartwheels in the background) I don't know if you noticed, but I don't show my enthusiasm in quite the same way that my sister does.