Disappointed In You

When I was younger, my bank manager would write from time to time saying he was 'saddened' to note that I hadn't done anything about my overdraft. This was no big deal. And nor would it have mattered if he'd said he was 'angry', 'livid' or 'incandescent with rage'.
He could have been whatever he liked, but it still wouldn't have altered the fact that I had three thousand pounds of his bank's money and no intention of doing anything about it.
But then one day he wrote to say he was 'disappointed' and that changed everything.
That meant he'd had high hopes for me and that I had let him down. Suddenly it was all my fault.
Jeremy Clarkson

One character fails at something. Anything Instead of being angry, another character is morose. They don't yell at the first character or ask them "What Were You Thinking?" or anything dramatic like that. Instead, they calmly, sadly and often regretfully tell the other person that they've let them down. Someway, somehow, they've set the second characters hopes for them high and then failed to deliver. May be worded as "I'm disappointed in you," or "You disappoint me," or at a stretch "I expected better/more." However it's worded, the issue isn't one of outrage or indignation — merely that the speaker has been let down by the other and they feel like a fool for believing there would be any other outcome.

This usually has a greater effect on the person they are disappointed with. The recipient of this trope may be driven to a Heroic or Villainous BSOD, in extreme cases to the declaration of "My God, What Have I Done?". If they've become a bad person or are in the process of it, they may have a Heel Realization. Except in the case of an Ignored Epiphany, this character will typically be driven to atone for their failure. Only very, very rarely do they cross the Despair Event Horizon and become Driven to Suicide.

Compare What a Senseless Waste of Human Life, where someone is moved to regret by the death of a particular person, and You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good, which may go hand in hand. This trope can typically get through to a Knight Templar or Well-Intentioned Extremist when angry callings-out and indignant diatribes fail. Contrast So Proud of You.

Examples

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     Anime and Manga 
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora scolds his friends for allowing themselves into being captured by a bunch of weak Heartless when the trio are captured and zapped into a computer world called Space Paranoids. This is different from the game, where he simply tells them to "show 'em who's boss".
    Sora: Come on, guys! You let the Heartless get you?

     Comic Books 
  • The Sandman - Morpheus creates the nightmare known as the Corinthian as a "black mirror" to reflect everything humans aren't prepared to acknowledge about themselves. Then Morpheus gets waylaid and captured by a cult for decades. After he escapes, he finds that the Corinthian has been at large in the human world for some time - and is unimpressed that all he's done is inspire the modern Serial Killer.
    "What have you wrought, Corinthian? NOTHING! Just something else for people to be scared of, that's all. You've told them that there are bad people out there. And they've known that all along."

    Fanfiction 
  • Unohana does this, in chapter 35 of Uninvited Guests, when she uses her Team Mom status to guilt trip Soi Fon into surrendering her hold on Soul Society.
    With immeasurable sadness in her eyes, she said, "I just want you to know... I'm not angry, Soi Fon. I'm disappointed."
    Soi Fon recoiled as if physically struck. "Wh-what... what was..." She muttered. What had just happened? Unohana had done nothing of note; she'd spoken a few words. They weren't even kido. And yet Soi Fon felt as though a spear of ice had been driven deep into her soul, a deep, crushing chill that permeated her entire being.
    "I've done so much for you. I work tirelessly, day in and day out, to keep you and your little friends healthy and happy." Unohana said, still sadly. "I do this because I care, Soi, I really do. And to see you respond by treating me like this... it hurts."
    Soi Fon fell to her knees. "S... stop it..." She muttered. "What are you... what are you doing to... to me..."
    "Look me in the eyes when I talk to you, young lady." Unohana said firmly. "I want you to understand just how much your selfishness has hurt the people who care about you."
    "Oh... oh God..." Soi Fon said weakly, tears in her eyes. What was going on? What was this woman doing to her? She hadn't been so much as scratched, but she felt so weak and terrible and... guilty.
  • In Boys Und Sensha-do, Miho expresses the sentiment to Mako when a mistake by Mako as driver results in Miho almost getting run over by their Panzer IV.
  • An Alternate Keitaro Urashima: Granny Hina tries guilt-tripping Keitaro into taking over the Inn by talking about how disappointed she is in the person he's becoming. This doesn't work. She also attempts the same tactic on his parents.
  • Twilight expresses her extreme disappointment over TD and Celestia's animalistic behaviour in TD the Alicorn Princess, which hits both quite hard. Celestia is also shown to be disappointed in herself.
  • Xander indirectly tells Buffy how disappointed he is in Hunter when after they both agree to share their dirty little secrets with the group (that Xander had Ethan Rayne mystically empower him and that Buffy has been hiding that Angel's back), he reveals his secret first and she refuses to say anything.
    Xander: "Well, I guess no one else has anything to say. I guess we can all go back to our so not normal lives."

     Film — Animated 
  • The Lion King:
    Mufasa: Simba, I'm very disappointed in you.
    Simba: I know.
    • And again later in the film:
      Nala: You're not the Simba I remember.
      Simba: You're right, I'm not. Now are you satisfied?
      Nala: No. Just disappointed.
      Simba: You know, you're starting to sound like my father.
      Nala: Good! At least one of us does.

     Film — Live-Action 
  • A sub plot of The Nutty Professor 2 has Sherman's dad taking Sherman's youth formula to be younger and skinner. When he tries to get his wife to take it, she's angry because she thinks it means that he's grown tired of her. After exiling him to the couch, she says that she's disappointed in him.
  • Gettysburg. General Lee's mild-mannered rebuke of his cavalry commander Jeb Stuart cows the flamboyant general so much he tries to resign on the spot.
  • Black Rain. After his partner is murdered the protagonist, an NYPD detective, admits to a Japanese detective that he stole money from drug dealers.
    Masashiro: Did Charlie (his dead partner) know this?
    Nick: No.
    Masashiro: [quietly] You shame him. And me. And yourself.
    Nick: [long pause] I know.
  • X-Men:
    Professor X: The next time you feel like showing off, don't.
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Xavier is upset when the mutant teens are behaving like party animals, and he rebukes them with a frown: "I expect more from you."
      • After Havok insults Hank by calling him "Bozo," Charles' terse delivery of "Thank you, Alex" is his very polite way of saying, "Shut up."
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Magneto believes that Mystique has grown soft when he sternly asks her, "What's happened to you? Did you lose your way while I was gone?"
      • It's subtle, but there is resentment in Charles' voice when he says, "Goodbye, Erik."
  • RoboCop (1987), following a disastrous test run of ED-209 leaving an OCP executive riddled with bullets.
    OCP Chairman: Dick, I'm very disappointed.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service:
    • Arthur tells Charlie this once he fails his Secret Test of Character. Especially noteworthy as Charlie was the only remaining candidate who fit his vision of what a Kingsman agent should be.
    • When Eggsy fails his last Secret Test of Character by refusing to shoot the dog he adopted, Harry sees it as Eggsy throwing away everything he'd been working towards over something trivial — even worse because, turns out, the gun was loaded with blanks. This is particularly sad because it's the last exchange he and Eggsy have before Harry's death.

    Literature 
  • In A Brother's Price, the punishment for Corelle's irresponsible behaviour is very calmly delivered. The Whistlers don't yell at kids or beat them ... they just strip Corelle of all possessions she doesn't need to survive. As they're not that rich, and are a large family, Corelle doesn't have much to begin with, but it's still a harsh punishment.
  • In Harry Potter, this is a recurring theme in Harry and Dumbledore's interactions.
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore is disappointed with Harry for flying the Ford Anglia to Hogwarts — Harry would rather he had shouted.
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Lupin is quietly disappointed in Harry over the fact that he didn't hand in the Marauder's Map, "leaving [him] feeling worse than he had at any point in Snape's office."
    • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Harry disappoints Dumbledore by not making much of an effort to get a memory from Slughorn, he again would have preferred him to yell; "this cold disappointment was worse than anything."
  • In Tom Sawyer, there is a passage where Aunt Polly starts crying and berating Tom. He thinks that for a moment, he hoped she'd just beat him.
  • One Choose Your Own Adventure Narnia book uses this. Aslan sends the Player Character to investigate an island where some of the water can turn everything it touches to gold, which is otherwise indistingishable from all the other water there. If the hero decides to join a gang exploiting the water to get rich quick, Aslan appears, tells them how disappointed he is, and sends them back home, along with their ill-gotten wealth. The hero's deeply upset, realizing too late the folly of their greed, and it's implied they'll never get a chance to atone or return to Narnia.
  • The quote above comes from one of Jeremy Clarkson's car review collections, while discussing the Mazda3.
  • This is how Joe's cultist parents react to his betrayal in The Tenets of Futilism. Rather than punishing him directly, they 'teach him a lesson' by hurting the woman he loves in the hope of molding him into the son they want. It doesn't work.
  • This is very much Granny Helga's reaction to Jan's panicked actions in Unique. It takes a heartfelt appeal from Charles to convince her to stop her quiet yet seething rant at him in favor of further training to prevent a repeat.

    Live Action TV 
  • Discussed and subverted in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "All The Way":
    Giles: We need to have a conversation.
    Dawn: This the part where you tell me you're "not angry, just disappointed"?
    Giles: Pretty much. Except for the bit about not being angry.
    • And averted by Giles in "Innocence", after Buffy's decision to sleep with Angel releases the evil Angelus, who Buffy (at that point in time) is unable to bring herself to kill.
    Buffy: You must be so disappointed in me.
    Giles: No. (she looks at him) No, no, I'm not.
    Buffy: But this is all my fault.
    Giles: No. I don't believe it is. Do you want me to wag my finger at you and tell you that you acted rashly? You did. A-and I can. I know that you loved him. And... he... has proven more than once that he loved you. You couldn't have known what would happen. The coming months are gonna, are gonna be hard... I, I suspect on all of us, but... if it's guilt you're looking for, Buffy, I'm not your man. All you will get from me is my support. And my respect.
  • Garibaldi and Sheridan in the Babylon 5 episode "Wheel of Fire":
    Sheridan: I'm not angry with you. Not now. I was. .. But Delenn has a .. way of looking at things.. No. No, I'm not angry with you. But I am very disappointed, Michael.
    Garibaldi: I'd rather have you yelling at me or angry. Anything but disappointed. I know I failed...
    Sheridan: I didn't say I was disappointed in you because of your failure. I'm disappointed because I didn't pick up on this earlier. Disappointed because you felt that you couldn't come to me about this on your own.
  • Parodied on 3rd Rock from the Sun when Tommy has to pretend to be a juvenile delinquent to keep up the Masquerade:
    Tommy: Why me?
    Sally: Well, you're a minor. They'll go easy on you. Besides, we all have to make some sacrifices around here.
    Tommy: Okay, what sacrifice are you making?
    Sally: The shame of having a juvenile delinquent for a nephew, okay? [leaves]
  • Go On:
    Ryan: You know, this would be better if you just yelled at me.
    [later]
  • Community - in "Comparative Religion", Shirley, as the group mother-figure, tries to guilt Jeff out of fighting a bully on (or near) Christmas.
    Jeff: Oh, come on, Shirley, don't be mad!
    Shirley: I'm not mad, I'm disappointed.
    Jeff: That's 'mom' for mad!

    Video Games 
  • The ending of God of War III has Athena say this to Kratos when he runs himself through with the Blade of Olympus, giving the power to the humans instead of her.
  • In RosenkreuzStilette, two characters say this.
    • In the original game, when Freu asks Tia if she thinks she can stand against all of RKS on her own, Tia resolves to do just that. In response, Freu will say this.
    Freu: ...A foolish decision. You disappoint me. If you will not rethink your answer, then... I shall end your life with my own hands!
    • Freu will also say this again if Tia uses up her last life against her.
    • Similarly, in Grollschwert, Raimund will say this to Grolla if she uses up her last life against him in the first phase of the boss battle against him.
  • In Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, if you fail to complete the game's main goal by the end of the third year, then Keith arrives with Nio in tow and tells Ayesha to consider what it is that she lacks that she wasn't able to save Nio on her own.
  • In World of Warcraft, Thrall says this to Garrosh Hellscream (the exact words are "You disappoint me, Garrosh.") after Garrosh picks a fight with Varian Wrynn at a meeting with Rhonin to discuss their efforts against the Old God Yogg-Saron, who's a threat to the entire world, resulting in Varian walking out and not wanting to cooperate with the Horde. Although Garrosh seemed unrepetant at the time, in the short story "Heart of War" (which you can read here) he admits to himself that he does feel bad about hearing those words.
    • Much later, Thrall uses that phrase again as an Ironic Echo. After Garrosh is defeated at the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar Thrall says, once again, that Garrosh disappoints him and adds for good measure, "You are not worthy of your father's legacy."
    • At the end of the Nagrand storyline in Warlords of Draenor, Thrall tells Garrosh that he must answer for his crimes and that he failed the Horde. His Berserk Button firmly pushed, Garrosh proceeds to scream at Thrall for making him Warchief as a temporary measure during Cataclysm and then leaving him that way even though everyone, Garrosh himself included, knew that he wasn't cut out for it, and declares that Thrall was the one who failed him.
      • It seems as if Thrall agrees with him. Although he denies Garrosh's claim that Thrall is responsible for the man he is ("You made me what I am!"), he doesn't refute the accusation that whether or not Garrosh failed the Horde, Thrall failed him personally. Case in point? After he defeats his former protegé for the last time, he sullenly walks away with his shoulders sagged and his head down, and if the player tries to talk to him afterwards, he has literally nothing to say.

    Web Comics 
  • In PVP Online, Francis, after revealing to Cole his plan to fool the world into thinking that he's waiting for Star Wars Episode III since Episode II's release with a robotic double of himself, expects Cole to lay into him for this, but instead gets a simple statement that he's disappointed at him. As Cole walks away, Francis realizes that it's even more effective than yelling at him.
    Francis: Please yell at me?

    Web Original 
  • In Ink City, Yosuke repeatedly ignores Souji's wishes to lay low and not draw undue attention to themselves, including signing both of them up as the headliner of a 'Butler Fight'. When he plasters posters with their images and names across the City in order to promote the fight, Souji responds this way.
  • In the She's All That review, The Nostalgia Chick tells the nineties that she's not angry at it for the bad movies it has, just disappointed.
  • At one point in Cleolinda's Secret Life of Dolls series, Cleo disciplines Edward simply by telling him she's disappointed in him.
  • Homestuck: Trickster mode naturally ends in self disgust. Jane's dad showing STERN FATHERLY DISAPPROVAL upon seeing Jane's antics. Subverted when Dirk expresses disappointment at Roxy falling Off The Wagon, he admits to Jane that he's actually proud of her for buckling down with the sobriety. Kanaya expresses both anger and disappointment when Rose takes up drinking, as she feels that Rose is both wasting her talents and hurting herself.
  • The internet meme "Son, I am disappoint" is based on this.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Marge Be Not Proud," from Season 7: Marge is clearly at the end of her patience with Bart after he had been caught shoplifting a video game from a local discount store, but instead of yelling at or lecturing him, she just shuns him. The clear disappointment Marge has with Bart says far more than any punishment could.
    • And again in Bart The Mother, when Bart kills a bird.
    • Parodied later, with an inversion of how the trope would normally go. Someone is forced to bring bad news to Fat Tony, and says that he know Tony will be disappointed. Tony responds that "I am not so much disappointed as I am blinded by rage!"
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode 24, Spike was already on edge from being worried that Owlowiscious would replace him as number 1 assistant, and in turn, take away some of the admiration that went towards him, and when Twilight Sparkle finds out that Spike lied to her about the book he was asked to get, she says he is very disappointed in him. Hearing this only drives him into being even less honest.
    • Considering the last thing she said about the book was to call Spike out on lying, it's less Freudian Excuse and more Spike Completely Missing the Point
    • Princess Celestia throws this at Twilight Sparkle when she accuses Princess Cadence of being evil with flimsy, easily explained "evidence." This is after having, throughout the episode, expressed anger and resentment towards her brother about not being told about his wedding to Cadence sooner and jealousy towards Cadence; causing the whole thing to come off as petty and childish on Twilight's part. Once it comes out that Twilight was correct, everypony's quick to apologize.
  • In "Arthur the Wrecker" on Arthur, Mrs. Read is "not mad, just disappointed" that Arthur disobeyed her playing on her computer when she asked him not to. And this isn't the only instance of her using this or a similar line in the series.
  • Family Guy, after Peter engages in some alcohol-induced mischief, Lois says that she isn't mad, just disappointed. Still blitzed out of his mind, Peter considers this a good thing.
  • In a segment of the revived Beavis and Butt-Head, the two are watching an episode of Jersey Shore where Snookie talks about how someone saying they're disappointed in you hurts a lot worse than if they were just angry. Beavis disagrees. People say they're disappointed in him all the time, and it doesn't bother him none.
    • In one episode the two end up at a feminist meeting, under the impression that they're a bunch of chicks who do it for free. Beavis asks Butt-Head why there aren't more guys there if they do it for free.
    Butt-Head: Damn it, Beavis, we've got a room full of chicks here who do it for free, and all you can think about is how come there aren't more guys here?
    Butt-Head: Beavis, I'm a little disappointed in you.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Joker has gained reality warping powers and has Batman at his mercy. Harley asks Joker if he's going to take off Batman's mask, and Joker says "And reduce my primal enemy to a mere man? Harley my dear, I'm so disappointed in you! Where's the fun in that?"
  • The Earth Empire from The Legend of Korra has captured Zaofu, and Bataar Jr. tries to force his father and one of his brothers to bow to Kuvira. Bataar Sr., however, calmly retorts that he was disappointed in what he had done.