As the name indicates, this is a person who inflicts Domestic Abuse. This trope covers abusive partners of both genders, and the abuse they may dish out can be either mental, sexual, verbal, physical, financial, or emotional. The abuser puts the "destructive" in Destructive Romance. It often invokes a rather nasty Double Standard, as the major part of the abusers in media will be male, and women will rarely be portrayed other than as victims. Where the double standard is reversed, on the other hand, you get Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male. Of course, the truth is that anybody can be a victim and anybody can be an aggressor, regardless of gender, race, or anything else. If the Domestic Abuser is played to be erotic, then they're a Bastard Boyfriend or Girlfriend. Any character who reacts less than favourably to such an abuser is a Wife-Basher Basher. Sometimes part of a Big Screwed-Up Family. Compare Abusive Parents. Also Loving Bully, the much Lighter and Softer version. Sadly, of course, this is Truth in Television. You Are Not Alone. More specific information and ways to seek help can be found at our Useful Notes page on Abuse.
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Anime and Manga
- Kaibara Yuzan in Oishinbo.
- Some of the relationships in Fruits Basket are pretty damn nasty.
- Example - Akito and Kureno. Akito doesn't let him out of the main house without permission[slapping him when he does], and unloads Akito's trademark verbal abuse on him constantly. She also stabs him later, but visits him in the hospital to apologize for her behavior.
- Kagura, being a Yandere, is pretty abusive to Kyo. She calls it off later, when Kyo falls for Tohru, and apologizes to him because her love was very selfish.
- Bokura ga Ita: Yano has a hard time trusting Nanami completely, displaying jealousy and possessiveness, even to the point of physically abusing her.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena is full of relationships of the Love Martyr kind.
- Especially Akio to Anthy, to the point that a few people have put them through a checklist used by real life researchers on domestic violence and found that they hit nearly every point on the list.
- Saoinji is obsessed with Anthy, who was his fiance at one time until he lost her in a duel to Utena, because he views the Rose Bride as a mindless doll who will never disobey him, and thus be with him forever, so he acts rather abusive and controlling towards her.
- Death Note: Misa's involvement with Light is played out very similar to Harley's involvement with The Joker. That said, Light is no more manipulative with her than anyone else. Indeed, Misa (and later Kiyomi) are abused much more by the various detectives pursuing Light.
- Bandage Babe Abiru Kobushi from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is a suspected victim of domestic violence, which, at one point, leads to people ostracizing her father. Actually, she just has a nasty tendency to pull large animals' tails..
- Girls Bravo gives us the insane black magic user Lisa Fukuyama who becomes infatuated with male lead Yukinari, believing him to be her soul mate, and constantly tries to abduct and rape him despite him clearly saying "no". She even threatens to have her attendant Kosame shoot him in order to keep him from refusing her.
- Shouko to Yuji from Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. She is a genuinely nice girl, but is also shown to be crazily infatuated with Yuji since childhood and acts possessively towards him, to the point of poking his eyes to keep him from looking at other girls, applying a strong grip w/ lock while they are together, uses a handheld taser on him if he is being 'unfaithful' to her, doing things like breaking his arm and calling it "holding hands" or breaking into his house because she felt like it (and then burning his porn).
- Katsuragi from Sakura Gari. Which bites him in the ass, since the abused wife snaps in the end and burns him to death as punishment.
- Hitagi Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari. She gets better.
- Chiaki from Nodame Cantabile frequently uses physical violence against Nodame, his eventual girlfriend, and it's played for laughs in the manner of a Boke and Tsukkomi Routine. In the live-action version especially, however, it comes across as less slapstick and a bit more disturbing...
- OTOH, in paris Nodame goes Yandere and brutally beats Chiaki up, even kicking him on the head. And then the same fans "horrified" by Chiaki's behavior... bend over to justify Nodame's.
- Reimei No Arcana: Though they're technically married, Caesar starts off as this towards Nakaba, yanking on her braid and pulling forced kisses on her in the first chapter. Needless to say, once Caesar begins to genuinely fall for Nakaba, he stops doing these childish and insensitive antics for the most part and treats her gently and with respect.
- Naru from Love Hina is a Tsundere of the highest order, assaulting Keitaro over every single slip up, even famously once where it was her fault to begin with. The anime, however, takes this aspect of her and dials it Up to Eleven.
- Both Shinji and Asuka to one another in Neon Genesis Evangelion. One could make a strong argument that this is one of the main focuses of the series, analyzing the the type of thinking that leads to people who love each other hurting one another.
- The comics had Harley Quinn's Mad Love towards The Joker who, being a psychopathic murderous clown, most likely didn't care about her that way and was just stringing her along. In one particularly horrific scene, he shoved her out a window because she gummed up one of the death traps he wanted to use to kill Batman. Poor Harley ended up nearly crippled for life.
- He's done way worse than just that. There's a point in one of the pre-New-52 Birds of Prey issues where the Joker has Harley hanging from a building by her fingers, and he's stepping on her fingers, and it's implied that he put her in the position where she's hanging on for dear life in the first place. That's not even counting all the psychological, verbal, and oftentimes physical abuse he piles on her. All this makes it pretty sick when you consider that a LOT of Joker/Harley shippers prefer to state their relationship as being "twisted" rather than abusive, and therefore make the Joker into less of an abuser and more of a Bastard Boyfriend.
- In Death Of The Family, it's made clear that he doesn't love her at all! Indeed, he has allegedly had multiple Harley Quinns in his life, and considers every single one of them disposable and forgettable. The one we see here is not the first or the last one he's had, but she is the first to escape with her life.
- Two examples in V for Vendetta: Derek Almond batters and abuses is faithful and gentle wife whenever he can. On the other hand, the equally abusive Helen Heyer treats her kind husband like shit and uses him as a means to an end.
- Supergirl's boyfriend Powerboy.
- The Ultimate Marvel variation of Hank Pym. Put Janet in the hospital with a split palate while they were still dating, regularly pulled out chunks of her hair when they were married. After the divorce, he nearly killed her once, trapping her while she was at tiny size and using both insect killer and a horde of fire ants on her. His 616 universe counterpart also has this reputation, though much more unfairly.
- And the worse part? Janet actually went back to Hank after the fire ant incident even though the poison (she was the size of an ant at the time) left her in the hospital for days. Classic battered person syndrome, unfortunately.
- Superman's debut in 1938 features (among other things) the Man of Steel administering an epic beat-down to a domestic abuser after Clark Kent is assigned to cover a police call about a wife-beater and beats him up. A Crowning Moment of Awesome in the very first issue!
- Dulcy's boyfriend Zan in Sonic the Hedgehog (incidentally, this revelation happened smack in the middle of the comic's Dork Age...).
- A well-known issue of Deadpool involves him struggling with his morality and mortality after his secretary/close friend Sandi is put in the hospital by her abusive boyfriend. After finding out what happened, the enraged Deadpool tracks the guy down as he's trying to flee the city and proceeds to beat him within an inch of his life. He stops himself from murdering the man however, as he can't bring himself to break his promise to Sandi that he would try to be a better person.
- The relationship between Spider-Man villains Carnage and Shriek has shades of this. Carnage seems to genuinely love Shriek on some level, but his violent mood swings and instability causes him to frequently lash out at her both physically and verbally. It reached it's zenith when he tried to attack during a heated argument; fellow villain Doppelganger tried to break things up, which caused Carnage to violently gut Doppelganger and hurl him out a window out of pure anger (fortunately for Doppelganger, he has a Healing Factor).
- Red Skull being one of the worst human beings in the Marvel universe, it's hardly a surprise he falls straight into this trope. His relationship with Mother Night amounts to a endless stream of batterings, beratings, and humiliations - to the point he refuses to let her kill herself because it would make the abuse stop.
- Common in certain Fanfics that make one character look like an abusive Jerkass so as to allow the Fan-Preferred Couple to get together. This is particularly ridiculous when it requires dramatic personality rewrites on everyone involved to make it sound reasonable.
- Also common in Slash Fic where canon characters get made into this. For example, Sasuke to Naruto.
- More disturbingly, this trope it's also applied to the Fan-Preferred Couple as well, transforming one member of it into one towards the girl or the uke in order to get some angst. Expect some magical reconciliation at the end thanks to the Power of Love.
- Non-Die for Our Ship example in the Avatar: The Last Airbender fic Guide Me Home. Canonically, Firelord Ozai is already a genocidal, child-abusing fascist dictator, but Ursa's Flashback Nightmares reveal him to be horribly abusive towards her as well.
- Drago Wolf in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Daryan Crescend in Dirty Sympathy, he tears Klavier's earring out of his ears, caused him to lose a toe, makes "jokes" about Klavier's probable death and made a set malfunction that would have strangled him to death when he found out Klavier was cheating on him.
- Hear my Song! has IA to See U. It's horrifying, and ends up completely breaking her.
- In Getting Back on Your Hooves, it's revealed Checker Monarch is Trixie's older sister and has been emotionally abusing her most of her life.
- Satsuki's father is this in Kiryuuin Chronicles, as per her narration, the which of his abuse includes slapping, beating, causing his wife's miscarriages, and, in general, not treating her like a human being, i.e calling her "Bitch" instead of her name and using it as though it is such. He also extends his abuse to his daughter, as he hurled her into a wall, and Rei, their servant.
- Gensokyo 20XXV has Baka's wife, who is, well, called "Baka's Bitch Wife" and, according to Ren, she left her husband with a patch of missing hair and a black eye.
- What's Love Got to Do with It? is based on the abuse Tina Turner suffered from her husband Ike.
- The Color Purple has Celie's husband "Mister", who beats her and, at one point, attempted to rape her sister, along with making sure she never gets any letters from her. In that vein, we have Harpo and Sofia, who are abusive to one another before the latter leaves the former..
- The Killer Inside Me. The main character Lou beats his wife and mistress as well as being a serial killer.
- Police Detective Bud White in L.A. Confidential targets men who beat their wives. When he was a kid, he witnessed his own father beat his mother to death, making this a Berserk Button for him.
- Sam towards his high school girlfriend Claire in Kidulthood
- One too many Lifetime movies. And 90% of times, the abuse is dished out by An Evil Man. The other 10% of the time, it's an abusive woman, usually the protagonist's mother or sister.
- Enough starring Jennifer Lopez is a theatrical version of the typical Lifetime Movie of the Week, Up to Eleven.
- Rose's fiance Cal in the movie Titanic (1997) starts out as merely protective and later grows increasingly possessive and aggressive around Rose when she starts spending a lot of time with Jack.
- Bobby Tennison (played by Fred Savage) in the made-for-TV movie, No One Would Tell.
- Judith Light's character in Men Don't Tell is one of the uncommon examples in media, mainly because women are only victims, not perpetrators of Domestic Violence in Hollywoodland.
- ... but not in TVland. On certain shows, you can lay good odds that any female victim-of-the-week will turn out to either be the abuser or to have beaten herself up as part of a scheme.
- Zachary 'Sack' Lodge of Wedding Crashers could count as this. He is Claire's sociopathic, testosterone-fueled, preppy, violent boyfriend who is obsessed with winning at any cost. Though he cheats on Claire regularly, he is angry at John for his interest in Claire. He physically abuses John and threatens him to stay away from Claire.
- Stu's girlfriend Melissa in The Hangover. She reportedly slept around on him on a cruise, called him "Doctor Fag" and is an emotional shrew. She gets her comeuppance when he ditches her for a single mom stripper he married during the binge the group went on in the movie.
- Tyler Perry is particularly fond of this, with Carlos in Madea's Family Reunion and Charles in Diary of a Mad Black Woman both abusing their wives.
- A mild case with Leroy and Destiny's relationship in Mystery Team; they seem more mutually emotionally abusive than anything.
- In Lajja, Raghu cheats on, berates, and beats Vaidehi, and tries to have her killed. She tries to go back to her family, but they won't let her move back in with them because that would be shameful in their culture.
- Also, Puroshottam keeps his (much younger) wife Lata confined to the house, for fear that a) she'll cheat on him or b) people will think she's being unfaithful (and that he can't keep his woman under control.) The result is that Puroshottam can go out to his heart's content (and the contentment of other parts of his anatomy, but if Lata so much as looks out the window there is hell to pay.
- Men In Black: In the short time before he's killed and inhabited by the Bug, Edgar demeans his wife's cooking, calls her lazy and threatens to hit her.
- Suicide Kings includes a Big Lipped Alligator Moment in which Dennis Leary's character reveals that his family has a history of spousal abuse and beats up an unrepentant wife beater.
- Walter in Big Eyes, of the mental and emotional kind mostly. But after being humiliated by a critic, he gets drunk at home and starts tossing lit matches at Margaret and her daughter, nearly lighting a can of turpentine in the painting room the girls had locked themselves in.
- Biff Tannen in the alternate 1985 from Back to the Future Part II is shown to be an abusive husband to Marty McFly's mother, whom he married after killing his rival George McFly. He's also abusive to his own adopted children.
- Retroactive: Frank is a violent thug with a Hair-Trigger Temper who emotionally and physically abuses his wife Rayanne. When he finds out that she cheated on him, he murders her.
- In Dragon Bones Ward's father is abusive towards his wife, who became The Ophelia as a consequence. He also beats their children.
- Tom Buchanan, Daisy's husband in The Great Gatsby.
- Stephen King has many examples in his books, especially his "Abused Wife Trilogy"
- The eponymous character from Gerald's Game. We don't see a lot of his normal relationship with Jessie, but he's quite willing to take advantage of what had started out as a consensual bondage game to rape her when she decides she wants the handcuffs off. She does stop him, with unexpectedly horrific results.
- Joe St. George from Dolores Claiborne.
- Norm Daniels from Rose Madder is arguably the most extreme one that he has ever made.
- Tom Rogan from IT.
- Joe Camber from Cujo.
- Both "Buster" Keeton and Wilma Jerzyck from Needful Things terrify their respective spouses, Myrtle and Peter, into submission.
- We don't see it, but in the same book, there is also Nettie Cobb, who finally reached the breaking point one evening after being abused by her husband for years.
- Bad-boy delinquent Billy Nolan from Carrie, especially in the original book. He dates bitchy popular girl Chris Hargensen, and their relationship is shown to be quite abusive, with Billy regularly hitting Chris, humiliating her, calling her a bitch, and forcing himself on her. Even his "friends" are terrified of him. Chris herself is not shown as a sympathetic character, characterized as a petty bully.
- Jack Torrance's father in The Shining. One of Jack's defining childhood events was the time his father brutally beat up Jack's mother during supper, without any warning or reason.
- Milt Sturmfuller in Cycle of the Werewolf. He's the town librarian, a job not usually associated with domestic violence - or violence of any kind - and yet he physically and emotionally abuses his wife for his own amusement, while at the same cheating on her. In a case of Even Evil Has Standards, the werewolf, Reverend Lowe, uses Milt's notoriety as a wifebeater and general scuzzball to justify killing him.
- In Sarah Dessen's novel Dreamland main character Caitlin has an abusive boyfriend in the form of Rogerson Biscoe (he's a drug dealer and is abused by his father). He only admits that he loves her after the first time he hits her. In addition, he usually hits her when she does something "wrong" like talking to another guy, or being late to meet him. He begins to hit her harder as their relationship progresses but he refrains from hitting her where it was visible to avoid suspicion. He also gets Caitlin addicted to marijuana and this leads Caitlin to forget to attend school and fail her classes. Rogerson helps her with this, claiming that "he knows everything."
- Francis Begbie is this to his girlfriend June in Trainspotting.
- Hest Finbok is this to both his wife Alice and his lover Sedric in Robin Hobb's The Dragon Keeper. Although he is violent, his main abuse is constantly belittling and domineering them - "He had a knack of telling the truth, but studding it with tiny, painful, but undeniably true insults."
- A mild example in Kristin Cashore's Fire is Archer, who is the protagonist's childhood friend and lover. Fire is a 'monster', an incredibly beautiful human with the ability to control people's minds. People tend to either love her or hate her, often trying to kill her just because of who she is. The understandable insecurity leads him to be very jealous and controlling. She breaks up with him because of it, but she still cares about him and he is generally portrayed sympathetically.
- Kelly's husband in John Grisham's The Rainmaker
- In North Of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, Terra's father is more verbally abusive, especially towards her mother. He constantly calls her fat and says that, because of Terra's port-wine stain on her face, there are roadkill that look better than her.
- One of the many sins of Councilor Hardcastle in Winner Takes All, and one for which he pays with his life, as his beaten-down wife goes into a frenzy and stabs him to death once his political schemes crumble and he's left unprotected.
- Eugene from Purple Hibiscus beats his wife Beatrice hard enough that she miscarries at least twice. He pays for it later, though.
- Raggedstar is this towards Yellowfang on Warrior Cats: Yellowfang's Secret. He never hits her, but he constantly belittles her and insults her when she tries to protest about Brokentail, sneering that she's just a medicine cat.
- Tom from Thunder Rising fully becomes this after Turtle Tail leaves him. Once she's gone, he turns on her friend Bumble and keeps hitting her whenever the Twolegs aren't around. Because of this, Bumble leaves her owner's house to live in the wild.
- In Mercedes Lackey's book Steadfast, Katie Langford's husband, Dick.
- Keifer Porter of A Brother's Price regularly bullied his wives by way of temper tantrums and withholding sex, and both physically and sexually brutalized Trini. At one point, Ren's memories of dealing with him strongly imply sexual sadism toward her as well.
- Although Word of God denies it, Christian is abusive to Ana in Fifty Shades of Grey. The physical abuse is questionable because they are in a BDSM relationship, but Christian pressures and manipulates Ana into going along with it, so their relationship is emotionally abusive at the least.
- Chicago Sanitation Commissioner Timothy O'Herlihy in The Clone. He's prone to smacking his girlfriend Patricia around for the most trivial things imaginable and behaves very unpredictably.
- Simona Ahrnstedt has a few examples.
- Wilhelm Löwenström in Överenskommelser abuses his own children until his son Edvard becomes a serial abuser sociopath and his daughter Sofia becomes an extreme doormat. While we don't know exactly what happened between him and his wife Harriet, she has become ill from unhappiness. But after his niece Beatrice becomes an orphan and has to live with him, she becomes her uncle's new favorite victim...
- Carl-Jan Rosenschiöld of Överenskommelser rapes and almost murders his wife, who happens to be Beatrice, the story's female protagonist, on their wedding night. When he dies a couple of days later, nobody misses him. We also find out later that he has murdered one previous wife and driven another previous wife into suicide.
- Lily Tremaine's alcoholic first husband is yet another example (albeit an off-screen one) from Överenskommelser. Lily had to let herself get beaten to protect their little son from his father!
- Illiana's parents in "Betvingade" are really bad as well. Her father is tyrannical, her mother is cold-hearted. They have no love for their daughter, and they even threatened her in front of the king!
- Gabriel's father in "De skandalösa" seems to have fitted into this trope as well while he was alive, so much that Gabriel ran away from home when he was sixteen years old. Gabriel's mother was also afraid of her abusive husband.
- In The Red Vixen Adventures Lady Sallivera's ex-husband, Viscount Kev Highglider, who beat her for two years, eventually gouging her eye out. Thanks to his mother's influence Kev was only declared violently insane and committed to an asylum, while Salli was so traumatized that she hid herself away for years before her family found an off-world psychologist (foxen psych is very undeveloped) to help her.
- Once Max Tarn of SeaFire learned that his wife was a quarter Jewish, she tarted repeatedly receive violence since he fashions himself as a Nazi messiah.
Live Action TV
- Adam-12: Malloy and Reed frequently were called to domestic abuse calls throughout the series' run. Many were played straight (i.e., someone beating up his wife, or both of them getting into a scuffle), some were part of a larger plot, and a few had unexpected twists. The latter example had our two heroes trying to take a large man-mountain of a professional wrestler into custody after getting into a scuffle with his wife ... and the wrestler wins. In another episode, Malloy and Reed let a traffic offender go (not yet having the NCIC check completed) to respond to a disturbance that turns out to be two people rehearsing a little too loudly and enthusiastically for a community theater play ... and the traffic offender happens to be a wanted bank robber!!! (In the latter instance, Malloy gets the riot act read to him by the desk lieutenant, since he violated procedure on NCIC checks and that there were other units available to handle the "domestic call." In the former, Malloy and Reed are forced to admit they lost as they nurse their wounds. )
- COPS: Many episodes, often with the aggressor refusing to cooperate and getting more hostile with every approaching cop. One memorable episode saw a drunken wife-beater throw a chair at the officers before lunging at his wife to step up the abuse (in the end, the suspect was finally brought under control and arrested).
- The Burning Bed, the landmark 1984 made-for-TV movie starring Farrah Fawcett as Francine Hughes, who endures 13 years of vicious physical abuse at the hands of her husband, Mickey ... abuse that ends only after he is killed in a house fire that she sets (she douses his bed with gasoline and sets the house on fire, hence the movie's name based on Francine Hughes' real-life story).
- Debra Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond generally behaves like this, and is arguably the character that ushered in the modern age of Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male sitcoms in the US. Some of the things Debra did to her husband Ray bordered on abuse. Things such as shoving Ray into bookshelves, physically beating him on multiple occasions, being a total hypocrite, calling Ray an idiot in every episode, making bets with the kids that Ray would screw up, and on one occasion even faking plastic surgery on herself just to trap Ray into admitting he liked the fake changes.
- George from the first two seasons of Desperate Housewives. Carlos also had his moments.
- Several, in various episodes of Little House on the Prairie. Not all of the episodes related to domestic abuse, but — for instance, the 1978 episode "Whisper Country" — it is strongly implied that the man made use of his physical dominance over his wife and children.
- Oz's Chris Keller.
- Every guy that Claire Howell had gotten with or was interested in, she either raped, physically assaulted, or harassed on a regular basis.
- Ryan O'Reilly is extremely abusive towards Dr. Nathan, who he is trying to woo, though they aren't actually in a relationship for the most part.
- In the EastEnders episode Kevin's Day Of Reckoning, Denise reveals that she was going to leave Kevin, but that Shirley talked to her and convinced her to go through with the wedding. Denise then takes Kevin aside and knees him in the crotch, after which they get married.
- Trevor and Little Mo.
- The setup leading to Teal'c being framed for murder in the Stargate SG-1 episode Affinity involves him getting between his neighbor and her abusive boyfriend.
- Tutti Frutti
- The backstory of the character Deedee in Buried.
- Sean in The Street.
- Trevor Jordache in Brookside.
- The Bill has had many storylines involving abusive husbands and boyfriends and it was revealed that the character Jim Carver was being beaten by his wife Marie.
- Barry Pierce in Bad Girls.
- Homeand Away: Donna's ex boyfriend.
- Titus was based on the actual history of the comedian: his previous girlfriend was an abuser, whose abuse was bad enough they went to the funeral to make sure she was actually dead.
- Paul (Rita's ex-husband) raped Rita and on at least one occasion threatened to take her kids away from her. During one particularly nasty baiting of Dexter, the titular character finally loses his cool and hits Paul in the face with a frying pan.
- The Trinity Killer also subjects his family to severe physical and psychological abuse, to the point where all they are all terrified into absolute obedience to him. He uses this to make himself and them appear as a wholesome family.
- Owen, Annie's (very, considering her somewhat dead status) ex-fiance, and murderer from Being Human.
- Kate Gosselin, of Jon And Kate Plus Eight persistently yells at her husband Jon, belittles him, and repeatedly hits him. On camera. In addition, people who know the Gosselin family says she keeps him on a $5 a week budget, has invaded his office to scream at him in front of colleagues at work, and prevented him from attending his own family's funerals. Despite this history of abuse, Jon is the one villified for their breakup, and for the fact that he's now seeing other women. Make of this what you will. According to Jon, she even pulled a Wounded Gazelle Gambit on the cops when she was having a tantrum and he wouldn't let her in the house.
- The abuse made the show, as evidenced by the fact that the ratings dropped after Jon left. Without her normal outlet for her bitchiness, she has to inflict it on her kids, which is less funny.
- The Sopranos:
- Christopher Moltisanti may not be a habitual abuser, but he does kick his girlfriend around on a number of occasions.
- Carmela once threw a phone at Tony, but low-level violence by women is rarely considered an issue.
- Tony's mother is a pretty good example. Dr. Melfi speculates that she was actually mentally ill, but she made her husband's life miserable and threatened to stab her son Tony when he was an unruly kid once. Tony claims that this justified his father's infidelity.
- Degrassi The Next Generation: Rick Murrary was one of these to Theresa 'Terri' McGreggor in season 3. His abuse got so bad that it put her into a coma.
- In Out Numbered they hear a crash from next door during an argument and go and check if everythings okay, the next day the police come to ask them about what they've heard from next door when they ask if she's alright they discover she's not the victim he is.
- Sam Puckett on iCarly still hits Freddie after they start a relationship. The only difference is that she no longer hits him in the face.
- Ray Pruitt in Beverly Hills 90210 repeatedly abuses Donna Martin. Most infamously, he pushes her down a flight of stairs, semi-accidentally.
- Quinn on Glee is constantly verbally abusive towards Finn, repeatedly telling him he's stupid, attempting to control his hobbies and activities. She is also willing to let Finn raise and pay for a child that isn't even his. It affects his life pretty massively, but their friends encourage her to do it.
- Coach Cooter is physically abusive to his wife Shannon Beiste in season three. She beats her until she finally leaves him.
- On a second season episode of Mad Men Joan's fiancee Greg rapes her in Don Draper's empty office.
- Leo to Shelly on Twin Peaks. Also, Hank abused Norma before he went to jail.
- Two examples from Doctor Who:
- Stella's boyfriend Frankie on CSI NY. The guy's last name was 'Mala' if that tells you anything. ('bad' in Spanish)
- Jackie's boyfriend Fisher in Roseanne. Dan flexed his Wife-Basher Basher muscles when he found out.
- Many, many a Lifetime movie has this as the plot.
- Scandal: Abby's ex-husband, apparently.
- Masters of Horror:
- In "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road", Bruce becomes an emotional abuser towards Ellen as their marriage disintegrates, then, after she leaves him, he resorts to physical abuse, including rape.
- In "Imprint", the disfigured prostitute's late father was cruel and violent and constantly beat his wife because they were both cast out for being incestuous siblings.
- In the Supernatural episode "Heart" (S02, Ep17), Mason's ex-boyfriend was said to be controlling and possessive, and also like to punch people.
- Grimm has a race of Wesen called Klaustreich, who are Cat Folk with a penchant for this.
- Lady Gaga: The boyfriend of the protagonist of "Dance in the Dark". It seems to be nothing physical and limited to emotional abuse, but it's hurt her horribly all the same.
- Linkin Park: The music video for "Crawling" portrays a young woman's inner conflict at dealing with an abusive boyfriend. The woman (portrayed by Katelyn Rosaasen) closes off to the rest of the world, represented with the special effects of crystals forming around her. By the end, the crystals recede, symbolizing her success in fighting the relationship.
- David Bowie: "Repetition" (from Lodger) is about a bitter man who verbally and physically abuses his wife.
- Disturbed: The song "Façade" is about a woman who puts up a front of pretending that the abuse isn't happening, wondering when she'll finally lose control and kill her abuser.
- Eminem: Though this theme is found in many of his songs, the song "Kim" particularly is about Em verbally and physically abusing his wife, before killing her. "Love The Way You Lie" has extremely similar themes.
- "Getting Better" by The Beatles.
I used to be cruel to my woman,I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved
- Jun Togawa: The song "Love Bazooka" is about being in love with someone physically (and implied, emotionally) abusive.
- The speaker in the Hozier song "Cherry Wine" has a girlfriend who is one.
- During his initial heel run in the World Wrestling Federation, Randy "Macho Man" Savage would often publicly belittle or demean his valet, Miss Elizabeth, often for minor mistakes (such as not holding the ropes wide enough, not taking proper care of his robe and sunglasses, etc.). This was abandoned during the summer of 1987, as Savage was being primed for his run as a good guy wrestler.
- Hitting a woman was taboo for many years in sports-entertainment - unless, of course, the abuser was a woman herself. Dangerously Genre Savvy heels would take advantage by grabbing their female valets and holding them in front of them for protection when the faces were about to hit them. (Randy Savage and - more recently - CM Punk have both done this.) In the wake of the "Attitude" era, however, males can get away with physically assaulting females in certain circumstances, such as when the Big Show (accidentally) shoved over AJ Lee and nearly broke her neck. It enters Unfortunate Implications territory when it is done on purpose. And when it's done for comedy. And when the abuser is a face. And when the victim is also a face.
- Little Shop of Horrors: Orin Scrivello towards Audrey.
- A Streetcar Named Desire: Stanley towards Stella.
- The Taming of the Shrew can be considered "humorous" domestic violence, although contemporary interpretations most often lean toward Belligerent Sexual Tension. Katharine indulges in verbal abuse towards the men, Petrucchio in mental abuse towards Katharine.
- Carousel contains the rather disturbing lines:
Louise Bigelow: But is it possible, Mother, for someone to hit you hard like that - real loud and hard, and it not hurt you at all?Julie Jordan: It is possible dear, for someone to hit you, hit you hard, and it not hurt at all.
The Daughter: Mother, did anyone ever hit you? I mean a real slap that you can hear ring, and you didn't feel a thing?Julie: Yes, my child. There was a time when someone hit me, and I didn't feel a thing.The Daughter: Then, it is possible for someone to hit you, and not hurt you at all?Julie: Yes, my child. Someone can beat you, and beat you, without hurting you at all.
- The original source for Carousel, Molnar's Liliom, contains the same exchange between the same two characters, in different words:
- In the classic Danish play, Jeppe på Bjerget (Jeppe on the Hill), the titular character is not only regularly beaten by his wife, but she also openly cheats on him with the deacon of the town. Is it any mystery why he drinks so much?
- Cyrano de Bergerac: Raguenau and Lise against each other. In act II, both of them engage in Domestic Abuse (Lise destroy Raguenau’s cherished poems, Raguenau shames his wife and neglects her) against each other instead of recognizing his reality and try to fix their situation. At Act II, it seems is Played for Laughs, but at Act III we see the terrible consequences of this conduct.
- In the 1st Degree has James Tobin as this. He is very controlling of his girlfriend Ruby Garcia. When he found out that Ruby had an affair with his business partner Zack, he responded by snatching a love letter written by Zack from her before she could read it, yelling at her, and pushing her around. If you ask Ruby the right questions, she will admit that Zack was so kind to her and Tobin had made it clear to her that he just wanted to get into her pants. Combine that with the fact that his wife Helen divorced him (because she could no longer stand his ways), and the fact that Tobin himself slept around, and you have a disgusting excuse of a human being.
- A female-on-male example is in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Poor Harry.
- Another is Serena from the titular game, who threw a frying pan at her husband, the protagonist (and may have killed him with it).
- Amber O'Malley of Shortpacked! has an abusive father that controlled her well into adulthood. It was recently revealed Mr. O'Malley had cheated on his wife...repeatedly. This then led to a more horrifying possibility.
- In Suicide for Hire, Tybalt Montlet is an absolutely classical, textbook example.
- In Nip and Tuck, Gus Gunthrie is this to a tee. Not only he shows up drunk at the Harvest Dance, Gus picks a fight with Nip, and manhandles Beebee... only to get hit by a frying-pan-wielding Nip.
- Vriska to Tavros in Homestuck, though it's driven less out of a true desire to control him and more her being a dumb teenager with Abusive Alien Parents and a lot of hidden emotional issues who doesn't know how else to interact with people.
- A slightly less black and white example is Gamzee's emotional abuse of Terezi in Act 6; the details of their relationship are unknown and he but at the very least their relationship proved to be hugely destructive to her.
- In later episodes of KateModern, Rupert was revealed to be one of these.
- In ''Psycho Girlfriend'' Brandi subverts and not only is incredibly manipulative of Seth, but verbally abuses him frequently, lies about being pregnant, threatens to tell the police that he raped her, and then SHOOTS him.
- Shannon on Echo Chamber. She's Tom's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend, stalks and obsesses over Tom, is supposedly stalking other people besides him, is very controlling, and Tom states that she won't stop hitting him.
- The Nostalgia Chick has these tendencies towards Nella, even paying her to put up with the abuse.
- Lucky Day Forever has Sasiadka's boyfriend. When we see Sasiadka in the few scenes she's in, she has blackeye, which was probably caused by the boyfriend hitting her.
- Luanne's mother on King of the Hill is another dramatic female example. The whole reason Luanne lives with her aunt and uncle is because her mom stabbed her dad with a fork. Only appeared on screen in one episode where she gets released from prison, but it's clear she hasn't changed a bit.
- Before Cerebus Retcon was used on him, Luanne's father Hoyt was never seen due to his job on an offshore oil rig. Hank claims that Hoyt had sworn he would never set foot on dry land until he received a copy of his wife's death certificate.
- However, when she got released it was clear that Leanne was just an emotionally abusive and self-centered bitch who outright ignored Luanne and used Bill to get stuff. Her physically abusive side came out when she started drinking again, which comprised of beating Bill up, attempting to kill Luanne's boyfriend Buckley with a fork, and then attacking Peggy who managed to literally kick her ass.
- Family Guy: Peter openly mocks and belittles his wife Lois in both public and private, ignores her wishes at every conceivable opportunity, and wastes family funds on whatever little whim strikes him.
- Not to say that Lois is that much better, since she rapes him in a few episodes.
- Family Guy actually had this is the subject for a Halloween episode in which Quagmire's sister Brenda was being beaten by her "boyfriend". It was actually based off a throwaway gag a year before where Brian thought Quagmire was having sex with her when he saw her. What's scary about this case is that despite the show's penchant for Crossing the Line Twice and Refuge in Audacity, the boyfriend was played completely straight, to the extent where you'd likely cheer when Quagmire kills him by running him over in his car.
- American Dad! plays a similar two way example, Stan is a chauvanistic Control Freak who frequently belittles or ignores Francine. However Francine herself has a fairly unstable streak, one that Stan is actually shown to be terrified of the odd occasion he pushes her too far (perhaps most notably the violent beating he earned for forgetting their wedding anniversary). In later episodes this is downplayed a little, and while conflicts are still very frequent they are more frequently shown to love each other, in their own twisted manner.
- Him in We Are the Strange. In the opening of the film, he repeatedly punches and backhands Blue. He then compares her unfavorably to the pictures of other women he has plastered on his wall. The final capper: he tells her that she becomes unbearable to look at whenever she smiles or speaks. In his later appearances, he's less vile, if only because of his hamminess. In this scene, however he's...well... you probably get the idea.
- Ren of The Ren & Stimpy Show has a lot of Ho Yay with Stimpy with him acting as the abusive workaholic husband to Stimpy's doting Woobie housewife.
- Angel Bunny can dip into this in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy gives us Eddy's brother. There's also Ed's sister Sarah.
- Season 2 of The Legend of Korra has Korra's cousin Eska as one to Bolin, complete with treating him like a slave, threatening him if he tries to leave and, when he does go for a final breakup anyway, declaring they shall be married at sunset (she is seriously angered when Bolin cuts and runs). While the fandom agrees that initially it was played for laughs, the writers took extra care as things developed to show just how scary the situation is even with the girl as the abuser. Eska does get a bit better by the end of season 2, but she and Bolin remain separated.
- Ozai might not have seemed like one in Avatar: The Last Airbender itself, but The Search makes it clear that he was severely abusive to Ursa as well as Zuko. In fact, his abuse of Zuko is recontextualized to be intentionally abusive to Ursa as well, since he sees it as a "punishment" for lying and implying that Zuko was illegitimate in a letter to her former fiance.
- Richard Impossible from The Venture Bros.: He did a dangerous experiment which resulted in his family getting super powers that are less like super powers and more like tragic conditions (except for Richard himself). For example, his (ex-)brother-in-law, Cody immediately sets on fire whenever he touches oxygen. His wife, Sally, has to all her concentration to keep her skin from turning invisible. As a result, he tells them to never leave the house for fear that they embarrass him. Also, he's very callous towards them. When Sally finally leaves, he becomes an emotional depressed wreck and ends up becoming a professional super villain.
- Sadly, this is Truth in Television and should be taken very seriously. You Are Not Alone. This post gives some suggestions of how to confront abuse if you see the signs in your friends, your family, or yourself. Also see our Useful Notes page with more detailed information on the subject. And Now You Know.