"Every fuckin' one of them... They have the gall to take pity on me...and they don't even know...how much they're hurtin' me by doin' it. I don't do mercy. Strong, weak, infant, monster... I just smash 'em all to pieces... I don't give 'em a chance to get up a second time. I don't..."
An injured or suffering character is approached by another, eager to help, but the injured party is offended. This reaction of humiliation and resentment may be spoken, acted upon, or merely felt, but it is some variation on "I don't want your pity," or "Don't You Dare Pity Me". This may be used as actual Stock Phrases, but the reaction does not have to be verbalized.
The more serious the problem, the more likely this is to cause conflict. Temporary situations can invoke it for a time, as when Manly Tears or worse Sand in My Eyes causes another to try to comfort the weeping character.
This is most likely to come from a character who doesn't deal well with sympathy, even in the best of times. The Broken Bird, Troubled, but Cute, The Tsundere, the Jerk with a Heart of Gold and the Ice Queen are particularly likely to react this way. Indeed, it may develop that their touchy character stems from this and can be resolved if it is. The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask doubly so, since anything for which she can be pitied is a weakness and danger. The Stoic Woobie is often this trope embodied. Getting them to fess up about it, much less confront it, can be a difficult prospect.
There is a range of possibile interactions:
At one extreme, an injured character tries to avoid insensitive or demonstrative "sympathy" that rubs salt in the wound. They might accuse others of having Come to Gawk. They might fear that any response to their problem will break them down, when they cannot afford to break down. The pity may be effusive for a trivial problem, or something that the character doesn't consider as such. In other examples, the character cannot tell their remorse is sincere; the Handicapped Badass is managing just fine, thank you.
At the other extreme, the sufferer rejects sorely needed and selflessly offered help and suffers all the more for it. They might inflict suffering on others in the process.
Genuine pity is often portrayed as an affront to the dignity of the pitied, though there is also the popular Aesop that too much Pride is foolish and shallow. The injured character may hide from others to preempt pity. For any such character, mentioning his problem may hit a Berserk Button. The character can wallow in self-pity, but that's different.
The effect is more dramatic if the characters knew each other before the injury or if the problem is invisible. The pitying character may change after The Reveal. If the other person is in any way responsible for the injury, things can get very ugly indeed.
A hero sympathising with a villain's backstory may also incite this response.
Compare Think Nothing of It, for when a character wants to avoid praise for admirable behavior, Leave Me Alone, a common phrase also said by characters of this type, and Bad Dreams, where the character's suffering is not displayed at all while he's conscious.
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Anime and Manga
In A Cruel God Reigns Jeremy uses a version of this version several times against Ian. While he does use the straight up Don't You Dare Pity Me!, he also uses the "I don't need love" and "I don't deserve love" versions.
Through the entire run of Air Master, Sakiyama Kaori had been caught in a Can't Catch Up dynamic with the titular street-fighter, Maki. No matter how strong she got — quickly going from being a joke to taking down championship-level wrestlers with a single attack — she still couldn't reach Maki's level, and every fight they had ended with Kaori unconscious or even near death. In the final episode, as Maki is on her way to face her final challenge against 'The Strongest Man,' Kaori challenges her one last time. She is at the peak of her power, even embracing a rage-powered near-Super Mode, and yet Maki and the viewers know that she doesn't have a prayer. But when Maki says "I'm sorry, but... it'll take only one minute," Kaori literally explodes in fury, not at Maki's confidence in her own skills, which is well-founded, but in the pity inherent in the first part of the statement. Taken aback, Maki apologizes and recants. "One minute." (It takes barely ten seconds, but Kaori is smiling as she goes down.)
In Kadowaki and Hinohara's backstory in Arata Kangatari, Hinohara took it easy and tied with Kadowaki in a track meet after hearing of his problems. Kadowaki didn't take the gesture kindly, and ruthlessly bullied him in response.
Toris aka Lithuania from Axis Powers Hetaliadoesn't have a good life since he works for Russia and is in a very weird and tragicomic Love Triangle with his boss and said boss's little sister, but hates telling others (even his old friend Feliks aka Poland) about his problems. In fact, Poland learns about Lithuania's woes only by accident, when he gets ready to sneak behind Lithuania when he's in the bath tub and happens to see the massivescars on his back.
Revy: Hm... so that's how you see it, huh? All right... Hell, I can't think of any better place for a little story that you ought to hear. I'll share a little secret with you, Rock. Question time. What are these two objects?
In Bleach, many of Nnoitra's decisions are based on his desire not to be pitied, as he is deeply hurt by then-Espada Neliel Tu Odelschwanck following him around to keep him alive because he is weaker than she is, and at one point after losing to Nel angrily thrusts his weapon at his fraccion Tesla when he asks if he is all right, warning him not to pity him. After being defeated by Kenpachi, he gets up even when Kenpachi believes the fight is finished, angered by being dismissed, and charges him again, but is killed.
Jun Misugi in Captain Tsubasa is an uber version of this. To the point that he'd rather put his life in risk (he's an Ill Boy with a weak heart) than abandon his team in their hour of need.
At one point in Code Geass Lelouch tells Euphemia "STOP IT! STOP GIVING ME YOUR PITY! SPARE ME YOUR CHARITY! THIS IS SOMETHING I HAVE TO ACHIEVE ON MY OWN! AND SO FOR THAT, I SHALL STAIN YOUR HANDS WITH BLOOD, EUPHEMIA LI BRITANNIA!"
Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z hates it when Goku and the others show him pity. He thinks it's a sign of weakness.
Frieza takes it a step further, and uses Goku's pity in a last-ditch attempt to kill him.
Elfen Lied has Kouta finding Yuka on a beach as she is reflecting on her Unrequited Love. Her exact line to him as he offers to take her home was along the lines of "Stop wasting your sympathy!" His response? A slap to the face for not considering how worried he was about her.
This was also Lucy's response to Kouta mentioning how sad she looked during her childhood.
The reason for Kazuma and Fumino's marriage in Faster Than a Kiss. In the extremely brief backstory, she originally refuses his offer to take her and her little brother into his home, not wanting to receive "vague sympathy". Only when he agrees to marry her instead does she accept. Then Hilarity Ensues.
In Fruits Basket, Kyo himself invokes the trope when Tohru sees his true form for the first time, lashing out at her in fear of rejection.
The trope is lampshaded by Kagura twice: when she asks Tohru not to go out with Kyo purely because she pities him, and when she refuses her mom's sympathy after Kyo rejects her affections, referring to herself as a "very selfish girl".
Akito invokes this when Tohru offers her her friendship towards the end of the manga. She slaps Tohru and screams "Do NOT talk to me like you understand! Do you pity me? You can't deceive me! We can't reconcile... I'm... I'm dirty!" Tohru cries at this and says she's not perfect as well, that she also is in pain, and Akito panics and has a Villainous Breakdown.
Averted when Miles, in a Secret Test of Character, reveals his Ishvalan ancestry to Ed and accuses him of the crimes the Amestrians committed to the Ishvalans. Ed, who was a child during the war and is only half-Amestrian, counters that Ishvalans burnt his hometown and killed Winry's parents, which surprises Miles, who said he usually did get pity as an answer to that question.
Naoki Shinjyo from Future GPX Cyber Formula invokes this on Hayato when his car got stuck in the mud during the first half of the African GP. Hayato tries to help Shinjyo to get out of the mud, but he said:
Shinjyo: "Weren't you satisfied enough just to laugh at me? I'd rather drop out than have to take your pity!"
In Gundam SEED, Flay takes it really bad when she feels Kira is spending time with her rather than his parents because he pity her as an orphan. Previously, she was the one acting as Kira's only moral support. This is also something of a Heel Realization for her; she's been manipulating him all this time, using him for her own ends...and he's being kind and pitying her.
Claes from Gunslinger Girl does not tolerate sympathy from anyone concerning her situation within the Agency (handler is dead, cannot go into missions anymore, is confined as a tech tester). In an inverse, she doesn't give sympathy to the girls or even tolerate their angsting, as seen when Angelica becomes self-deprecating after her blunders in the mission in the mountains.
InuYasha: When Sesshoumaru's only arm is badly injured by Magatsuhi, Inuyasha becomes visibly guilt-stricken over the extent of his wounds, blames himself for what's just happened, and promptly tells him that a fight is no place for an injured person. All it does is trigger Sesshoumaru's Berserk Button for precisely this trope's reason.
May Wong from Kaleido Star invokes this trope on Sora Naegino twice. First, after her Break the Haughty episode, when she thinks Sora will mock her for being abandoned by Leon and tells her to go away, when in reality Sora wanted to tell her that she flunked Leon's last test.. Second, when Katie asks a punished Sora (meaning, she's not allowed to perform for almost dropping out of the Stage) to challenge her during rehearsals, but Sora refuses and May even slaps her in the middle of her upcoming Heroic BSOD.
Mahou Sensei Negima! did this during Negi's fight with Rakan. Jack patronizingly tells Negi that while he's impressed with his progress, he should just give up because he really has no chance to win. Negi doesn't take it well. Of course, knowing Jack, he probably said it just to get Negi to fight harder.
Fate's minion Homura pulls this on Rakan as well, when he briefly reads her mind and finds out she's a war orphan taken in by Fate.
Natsuki in the manga. When she is fighting her mother, Saeko, she gets a Breaking Speech saying that since Yuuichi has kissed and effectively chosen Mai, he is only helping her out of pity. Yuuichi then admits that he kissed Mai but asks if Natsuki has any objections to him helping her, causing her to punch him and accuse him of pitying him before kissing him and, her feelings settled, summoning her Child to fight.
Sakura from Naruto refuses to have Ino hold back during their fight in the Chuunin exams. She resorts to deliberately hitting Ino's two Berserk Buttons (her crush on Sasuke mocked/challenged and being called "Ino-pig") in public to force her into attacking at full strength; Naruto is shocked when he does that, and Kakashi's explanation goes by this trope.
Kakashi: "Sakura isn't the kind of person who mocks someone out of pure cruelty. But she also dislikes the idea of Ino taking pity on her".
Chopper goes over to treat Usopp after he loses his duel against Luffy, saying crewmember or not, he needs medical help, but Sanji tells him that Usopp knew what would happen, and it would be even more painful to be pitied after his loss. Chopper opts for just leaving medical supplies for Usopp to tend to his own wounds. Chopper's done this a few times as well, but it's played for humor.
Zoro, after taking all of Luffy's pain, when Sanji asked him what's going on, he simply answered "Nothing happened"
In a stranger take on the trope, after Brook is beaten within an inch of his un-life by his own shadow in the form of Ryuuma, it is Ryuuma (who both is and is not a part of him) who scolds the rescuers for "interacting with the defeated." Brook himself, however, eagerly accepts help in taking his shadow back.
Mariko of Oniisama e..., tells this first to Nanako, mistakenly thinking that she only came to her birthday dinner only due to pitying her.; she later does it to to Kaoru when she attempts to make her eat some days after the incident where she threatens to pull a Murder Suicide with Nanako, few after telling her not to pity her.. In the anime, Mariko also tries to hide her distress at her parents's divorce to Nanako and Tomoko.
Similarly, this can be seen as one of the reasons why Kaoru broke off with Takehiko after having to go through a mastectomy.
Mai (Konami's daughter) from Popotan does not take kindly to Mai the main character trying to help her when her sketchbook gets stolen.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Sayaka does not like it when people pities her for not getting the boy. She even rebukes Madoka's approach! Homura is not pleased with this development.
In Ranma ½, after a fight with a stronger and faster Ranma, Ryoga has been twisted into a human knot. Akane is trying to untie him, and explains how Ranma is stronger and faster due to his training/fighting with Cologne (Shampoo's great-grandmother). Ryoga doesn't "want to see pity in those eyes," so he runs away... on his hands.
Romeo X Juliet: As he lay dying, Leontes Montague tells Juliet that he'll not have her pity.
Sailor Moon: Used big time by Queen Nehelenia. After finding out about her past, the sailor soldiers start to pity her, causing her to fly off the handle. "Those eyes again... DON'T LOOK AT ME WITH SUCH EYES!" She then attacks them. They keep it up as she breaks down and gives up.
In Sangatsu No Lion, Kyoko has a lot of pride in herself that would cause her to react this way. She verbalizes this to Rei when she attempts to leave the Kouda house; by that point, she is sick of being treated delicately and people feeling sorry for her.
In Marvel's "Age of Apocalypse" alternate history, Quicksilver learned that his father had been kidnapped by his worst enemy, his half brother had vanished, and a virtual stranger had also been captured. He had to decide to rescue the stranger. When his girlfriend Storm tried to sympathize, he refused to talk with her because if he thought of what he was doing, he would not be able to do it.
In All Fall Down, the de-powered Portia defiantly bears this for most of the story.
Another example courtesy The DCU: In issue 13 of the '80s Batman and the Outsiders, Katana (who actually Is Just Better, by the way) is tracking a poisoned and delusional Batman. She stops to save a civilian's life and thus, loses Bats. So she expresses her regret to substitute commander Black Lightning, prompting the following conversation:
Black Lightning: Don't go committin' Hara-Kiri or anything over it, Katana! You've been through a lot lately!
Katana: Don't pity me because of the death of my husband, Lightning! I won't have that!
Black Lightning: Sorry! But any of us would have done the same thing!
After DC Comics's Damage is seriously scarred in battle, he is resentful, bitter, belligerent, and unwilling to join any other heroes. The Justice Society of America manages to slowly integrate him into their team. Then his character takes a sudden turn for the sunnier when his scars are healed.
Sunnier nothing, his step-brother Atom-Smasher derides Damage for essentially being "Vanity Smurf with superpowers". Damage's face was healed by Gog, so Damage spread Gog's message, all the while showing off his "perfect face". This leads to a Kick the Dog moment when Damage destroys Atom-Smasher's (originally Damage' and A.S.'s father's) house full of priceless memories because he didn't want to be "linked to a dwarf". When Gog dies, Damage's face gets re-scarred and is this all over again.
In Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment, Doom takes advantage of a contest to put Strange in his debt and get his assistance in rescuing his mother's soul from Hell. While they are successful, Cynthia von Doom witnesses her son being a Manipulative Bastard, dresses him down, and escapes to Heaven without any chance of reconciliation. Strange, moved by pity, reaches out to Doom, but Doom coldly rebuffs him.
In one MAD "Lighter Side of" feature, a man politely rejects help carrying groceries to his car, saying he has to learn how to do some things on his own. It then turns out that he parked in a handicapped spot illegally, which he regrets because of the attention, and said this because he is not handicapped.
In Archie's Sonic Universe, could be Scourge the Hedgehog in issue 29. The pitiers sing "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" and state that they're only doing this because they feel bad that they're happy he's getting hurt, not them.
Star Wars: Obsession: Asajj Ventress tells this to Obi-Wan as she battles him, and notes that he no longer has pity in his eyes as she dies. (Or does she?)
DC's The Ray foolishly caused his father to go into respiratory arrest and saved him with mouth-to-mouth. The father immediately berated him for his stupidity, but the Ray ignored him in his relief that he was alive, which was so great that he started to cry. His father realized it, stopped the scolding, and tried to put his arm about him. Ray angrily shrugged it off. (A second attempt was more successful.)
The Sandman: Orpheus says this to the Griffin gate guard of his father's kingdom after his wife dies.
In the short lived Warrior comic, when the title character returns from the hospital, his butler gives him his wheelchair in order to help him relax. Warrior flips out at this and tosses the wheelchair into the stratosphere.
In The Prince of Egypt, after Ramses' son dies along with the other firstborns in the last plague Moses tries to comfort the grieving Ramses. Ramses swats his hand away demanding that Moses leave.
Films — Live-Action
The first Alien vs. Predator has Charles Bishop Weyland, a wealthy elderly industrialist, who funds the mission to a newly-discovered pyramid under tons of ice. He later reveals to the protagonist that he's dying of lung cancer and wants leave his mark on the world. Later, as the survivors are running from a Predator, Weyland tries to have a You Shall Not Pass moment. The Predator scans him, sees his deformed lungs, and just walks right past the old man. The pissed off Weyland attacks the Predator with a makeshift flamethrower. Now, the Predator won't ignore him and goes all stabbity on the guy.
In Chocolat (2000), Armande (Judi Dench) turns out to be hiding the fact that she's diabetic from Vianne, the chocolate shop owner. After Armande's daughter reveals this, chews Vianne out for giving her sweets, and leaves in a huff, Vianne asks the old woman why she did not let her know. But Armande won't let anyone boss her around about how she lives her life, and as she leaves, says "Don't you dare pity me!" She dies the night after a sweets-filled birthday party Vianne caters for her, but this is seen by the film as preferable to living out her life in a nursing home.
Gillespie: Don't you ever get just... a little lonely?
Tibbs: No lonelier than you, man.
Gillespie: Oh, now, don't get smart, black boy. I don't need it. No pity, thank you. No, thank you!
In Lockout Snow's friend, Mace, dies and Emilie tries to console him and he roughly rebuffs her.
In the third Lord of the Rings movie, Gandalf offers forgiveness to Saruman, after Isengard is destroyed. His response?
Saruman: Save your pity and your mercy, I have no use for it! *launches attack*
In Midnight Cowboy, where Dustin Hoffman's character refuses all attempts to help him over the course of the movie. Moral? He dies on the bus to Florida.
In Disney's less-popular 1992 musical Newsies, Crutchy states, "I don't want nobody carryin' me. Never, ya hear?" when Jack and David go to break him out of the Refuge.
The blind woman and the serial killer in Red Dragon.
Woman: If there's anything worse than pity, it's fake pity. Especially from a walking hard-on like Ralph Mandy.
Killer: I have no pity.
Parodied in the second Scary Movie with Dwight, a wheelchair-bound cripple, who gets offended every time someone offers to help him with anything. He does this even when it makes no sense or is ridiculously hard to do by himself, such as giving himself a blowjob and going up two flights of stairs.
In The Crossing Guard, Jack Nicholson's character falls into a spiral of despair and anger after his daughter gets killed by a drunk driver while crossing the street. He delivers this to his wife when she expresses her pity for him.
Annie tells Kate not to pity her in The Miracle Worker, despite the fact that Annie had grown up in an almhouse, because it made her strong.
You have exactly ten seconds to replace that look of disgusting pity with one of enormous respect.
Subverted in The Road Warrior : Max is clearly suffering from a traumatic loss, and could probably do with a little pity and understanding. Papagallo deliberately tries to re-open his old wounds.
Papagallo Tell me your story, Max. C'mon, tell me your story. What burned you out, huh? Kill one man to many? See too many people die? Lose some family? Oh, so that's it. You lost your family. That makes you something special, does it?"
In When Harry Met Sally, Sally's reaction to Harry's explanation for why he had sex with her is... less than favorable.
Harry: But you looked up at me with these big sad eyes; "Don't leave, Harry," "Hold me a little longer, Harry..." I mean, what was I supposed to do?!
Sally: What are you saying, you took pity on me?! Fuck you! *SLAP*
In Young Man With a Horn, Amy (Lauren Bacall) slaps Rick (Kirk Douglas) and says this as they're breaking up.
Michael Myers from the Halloween series is perfectly willing to kill people for no real reason. However, Michael really goes out of his way to kill people who dare to pity him as brutally as possible.
There's a variant in one of the later Campion novels by Margery Allingham. Campion conceals the fact he has amnesia and that one of his few memories is of how much he loves Amanda because he can't bear the thought of her choosing him out of pity.
Dorothy L. Sayers' Harriet Vane found it difficult to accept Lord Peter Wimsey because he had fallen in love with her after she had been arrested for murder and was in serious danger of execution.
In Sorcery & Cecelia, at the beginning of her Season, Kate has no partners at her first dance except for one who seemed rather distracted during the dance and immediately afterward claimed his dance with her sister, making the sister's magniminity a little too blatant for Kate.
In Robert Asprin's Hit or Myth, Aahz makes or breaks heavy promises to his family in order to rejoin his apprentice Skeeve and finds out that Skeeve is evidently coping just fine without him. Skeeve quickly realizes how crushing this is, but other characters happily burble about how well Skeeve is doing before coming to belated awareness. Panic-stricken, they look to Skeeve to convince Aahz that he really is still needed, and they aren't saying so out of pity.
In the final Codex Alera novel, when Tavi finds out Kitai is pregnant, she starts to cry, uses watercrafting to remove the tears, and Tavi has a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when he holds her close and says:
Don't hide those tears from me.
In John Barnes's One for the Morning Glory, Amatus's behavior is so erratic after Gorlias's death that people worry that he doesn't sit about spurning sympathy despite his otherwise melancholy behavior.
Ender's Shadow: Achilles doesn't want your pity, and in fact will kill you if he detects even a hint of it in any of your interactions. Of course, he may just kill you anyway. He's like that.
In Animorphs, Marco presents the facade of aloofness because he hates feeling pitied, which ultimately fails when his teammates find out that his mother is Visser One, leader of the Yeerk Invasion. Likewise, teammate Tobias eventually becomes accustomed to being a hawk, but still tries to avoid the feelings of pity from his friends. That said, he is Emohawk, so he spends most of the time wangsting. Jake, similarly, can't stand pity, because he feels that as the leader, he should appear flawless and confident in every decision he makes, and therefore tries never to let the others see him second-guessing himself.
Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind is an example. She cannot stand being pitied. At one point in the novel, Rhett claims that she cannot stand pity and sympathy because she sees them as a sign of weakness.
Belle in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol breaks up with Scrooge when she realizes that his personality has changed and his love of wealth now overshadows any feelings he has for her. When Scrooge points out that he has never asked to break off their engagement, she rejects it as pity or a sense of obligation.
Scrooge himself also has a moment like this in the 1984 TV adaptation starring George C. Scott. In the scene following the one above, an older Belle, now Happily Married with many children, expresses pity for Scrooge when she learns that he's alone in the world. Scrooge, forgetting that Belle can neither see nor hear him, exclaims "Spare me your pity! I have no need of it!"
In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel The Armour of Contempt, Dalin Criid feels and knows he dares not express a deep pity for Merrt after the Ghost ends up in RIP with him.
In the Sherlock Holmes story ''The Crooked Man a soldier had been betrayed to the enemy by his rival in love and suffered horrific tortures. He had avoided his old love for fear of inspiring her pity for many years.
Éowyn, in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, says this to Faramir with the line, "I desire no man's pity." (Faramir responds with a rare defense of pity: "Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart.")
In William King's Warhammer 40,000 novel Space Wolf, when Strybjorn is injured, he snarls at Ragnar, "I don't need your help," but gets only to his knees before he starts to topple. Ragnar helps him up and to walk.
In Wolfblade, Ragnar at one point thinks of helping Haegr to his feet and gets a warning glance that keeps him silent.
In The Wheel of Time, every time one of the heroes meets some Traveling People (who are pacifists), the main response toward him is pity for his readiness to do violence (even in self defence). One of the sharpest examples was with Perrin, who actually feels guilty doing violence but understands the necessity and gets one of those looks from one such a woman in the middle of a battle! He pretty much starts shouting the name of the trope at her. In a rare occurrence, she actually breaks that principle to protect him and gets killed.
Erik has this down to a T. Having a face like a skull can train you for that.
In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Small Favor, Harry is angry with Michael's pity partly because he can tell that Michael thinks he's deluded, and he knows he's not.
In Steven Lyons's Warhammer 40,000Imperial Guard novel Ice Guard, Anakora joined the Guard to avoid the pity. She is convinced that her subsequent survival — two and a half years, where normal life expectatency is measured in hours — resulted from others pitying her.
In C. S. Goto's Blood Ravens novel Dawn of War: Ascension, a captive eldar is infuriated when he realizes a human woman pities him.
In Iorich, Loiosh knows better than to extend psychic sympathy when his boss is getting beaten up, as Vlad just wants to ride out the pain until it's over.
During Wedge's Gamble, one of the Alderaanians who was off-planet when it was destroyed explains that many Alderaanians feel this trope, hating the thought of pity, but at the same time feel the need to remind people of their loss.
Harry also suffers from this, usually justified but sometimes to Too Dumb to Live levels. He hates being famous partly because it's annoying, partly because his parents' double murder is part of his fame, and therefore a good bit of the attention he gets is pity, which he hates. He goes further however, in frequently not telling Ron and Hermione (especially Hermione) his problems, even if it would do a lot of good, because he doesn't want them to pity him. For example, he wouldn't tell them that his detentions with Umbridge involved writing lines with his own blood, provoking an outraged response when Ron found out.
Raistlin Majere of the Dragonlance books absolutely hates to be pitied.
In Uncle Tom's Cabin, the runaway slave George Harris speaks to his kindhearted former boss about his horrible situation and his escape. The boss tries to lend him some money that George desperately needs, but the Hot-Blooded George rejects it. They find a compromise, though: George does take the cash, but promises to repay it once he's free.
In The Full Matilda by David Haynes, Matilda refuses the pity of whoever "you" is when she tells the story of how at the age of 16 slept with the senator her family worked for so she could secure her father a house of his own.
Jenna Heap in Septimus Heap doesn't exactly approve of being pitied by Hildegarde after her mother Sarah was trapped in the Darke Domaine. In fact, she runs away just to get rid of her.
Vlad Tepes in Count and Countess. God help you if you try to point out his sucky childhood or show him sympathy over having lost his entire family to a pointless war.
In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, Freckles, returning from town where Angel and her father treated him as an equal, breaks down and cries on his return trip. He's not sure what it means but he's afraid it's pity.
In the The Savannah Reid Mysteries novel Buried in Buttercream, when Savannah's having a rough time because she and her friends are having some psychological issues from her being shot a couple months ago, and now her wedding had to be canceled a second time (first because an arsonist burned the building she was supposed to be married in, second time because someone was murdered at the place), she tells her Granny to not say any pitying, kind words because that will make her just fall apart.
Inverted in the John Updike novel Rabbit Redux, in which a white character angrily tells a black character that he does not pity Negroes and that they need to get over their narcissism in thinking that American society was set up for the sole purpose of screwing them over. He also mentions that life in America has not always been easy for white people, either, and the subtext seems to be that he thinks whites are the ones who deserve sympathy for constantly being accused of racism.
In Redeeming Love, Angel reacts with derision (and, as she gradually begins to grow more open towards him, anger) towards Michael’s attempts to show sympathy for her unhappy and lonely life as a prostitute.
In Circle of Magic, Briar and Daja make themselves rich with plant and smith magic, and Sandry's an heiress who lives with her uncle the Duke of Emelan. Tris is the odd one out since she can't profit from her magic without sacrificing her ethics. When Daja asks her to move into her new forge/house in The Will of the Empress, Tris immediately insists that she'll work as Daja's maid rather than accepting "charity."
Kara uses almost these exact words on Lee in the Season 2.5 episode "Scar".
As does Gaeta in Season 4.5's "Blood on the Scales".
Walt in Breaking Bad is so full of pride that when his once-friend who made a lot of money off his accomplishments that he didn't (because he severed their professional relationship at exactly the WORST TIME) says she feels so sorry for the kind of man he's become his response is a beautifully delivered Precision F-Strike.
A variation in the sixth season Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy tearfully reveals her mutually-abusive sexual relationship with Spike to Tara. She begs Tara to not forgive her; not out of anger, but because she's so disgusted with herself that she doesn't think she deserves pity.
Played straight in the fourth season with former badass Spike, who was rendered unable to hurt humans due to the chip in his head and was on the verge of suicide. When Willow and Xander bring him along to stop him from staking himself, Spike manages to cheer himself up by taunting and insulting them, stating that they are "even more useless than he is" and he doesn't want their pity.
This is Saha's reaction in an episode of Bunheads when Boo defends her to Melanie and Ginny for being the Mean Girl.
Subverted in an episode of Castle, when Castle has been feeling insecure about the fact that his daughter Alexis is no longer the little girl she used to be and is gradually moving away from reliance on him and into adulthood, as evidenced by her getting a boyfriend. At the end of the episode, Alexis 'happens' to casually suggest that they go out for a meal and hang out, the way they used to when she was little. Castle pegs immediately that she's been informed of his earlier insecurity and that he's essentially being offered a 'pity-date', but he's willing to take it at that point.
After the study group in Community learns that Jeff is living in his car, they attempt to offer him a place to stay. "The next person who offers me charity or pity gets mentioned by name in my suicide note," Jeff responds.
Pierce Hawthorne takes this trope to an extreme; he hates the idea of anyone pitying him for his age and his mostly lonely, miserable life, but is otherwise so desperate for attention that rather than accept their pity and sympathy he'll act out in more destructive ways to the point where he eventually makes everyone so sick of him that pity's the last thing they end up feeling towards him for him, which usually ends up with him ultimately being even lonelier and more miserable.
Mac Taylor on CSI NY started this when his colleagues started picking up on his trauma induced aphasia. Christine seems to have broken through somewhat though.
Aeryn from Farscapedoesn't object to pity. At the start she objects to every single emotion. In one episode, instead of talking things out with Crichton and letting him comfort her, she pounds a punching bag until it's stained with her own blood. Ow.
Subverted in the first episode of Foyle's War: DCS Foyle approaches Sgt. Milner, who is recuperating after having his leg shot off in the Battle of Norway (and is consequently a little shell-shocked and shaken) and asks for his help in investigating the case. Milner bitterly replies that he doesn't want Foyle's pity. Foyle immediately responds that he doesn't have time for pity he's trying to solve a murder of an unpopular German woman with, thanks to World War II, a severely reduced staff in an atmosphere of fear and chaos, and is approaching Milner because he's a trained police officer and Foyle needs all the help he can get, but if Milner wants to lie around uselessly feeling sorry for himself, that's Milner's problem. Milner eventually agrees to help.
In Gossip Girl, Dan runs out on his family and Vanessa after Georgina takes Milo away and just won't deal.
[the Missing Words headline is "(Lack of item price) surprises many customers about bar codes"]
David:[reading autocue] To be honest, it doesn't bother me that prices aren't included in bar codes, because, over the years, I've come to know the prices of every single Ready Meal for One.
Audience: Awww. [David looks mortified]
Paul: Shall we start a collection?
Andy Hamilton: Yeah!
David:(waving his hands) The pity's worse!
The title character of House accuses Cameron of pitying rather than loving, and it's implied that it was the reason for her attraction to her husband (who was dying of cancer) and to House himself.
Effectively subverted on the recent episode "Emancipation." The patient, an emancipated minor and orphan, vehemently rejects any pity from the other characters. She maintains this stance when she later states that she lied about her parents' deaths and ran away from home because her father raped her. Ultimately, House realizes that the reason she's so adamantly against being pitied is that she doesn't think she's worthy of it. The real reason she ran away from home was that she (accidentally) killed her brother.
In Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger, this is initially Yellow's response to any overture at comradeship from Red, since Red had replaced Yellow as the leader of the Gaorangers.
In LOST, after Kate learns of Sawyer's backstory and self-loathing, he warns her never to feel sorry for him.
Locke almost epitomizes this trope. Especially in his first centric episode.
Don't tell me what I can't do.
Said by Jack in the season 3 Finale, "Okay, I'll tell you what... you do this... you get my father down here. Get him down here right now and if I'm drunker than he is you can fire me. Don't you look at me like that. Don't you pity me."note Since this scene is a Flash Forward rather than a flashback, Jack's father is actually dead.
Mash: Margaret is incredibly torn up over the death of a small dog that had been wandering around camp, and when Hawkeye tries to comfort her, she has this reaction. It doesn't last, though, and the floodgates eventually open.
After Gus in Road To Avonleais blinded, he lets Felicity think he is dead rather than to have her pity him.
Joy's mother says this all the time in My Name Is Earl because she's in a wheelchair. She's not really disabled. She's just pretending.
MythQuest: Cleo, who is wheelchair-bound from a climbing accident when she was younger, has this attitude. She will run over her brother's toes if he holds a door open for her, and one time she won a ski trip in a raffle. She accepted it, but afterwards she complained about how she could feel the pity of everyone watching.
On Newhart when maid Stephanie is afraid her wonderful temporary replacement will become permanent, and she tries to impress Dick by making his office “sparkle as never before.” Unfortunately, the replacement maid has made the place spotless and there is nothing for her to clean. Dick balls up a piece of paper so she can empty the trash, only to be told that she doesn’t want his charity.
In the Star Trek: TOS episode "Is There No Truth In Beauty?", Dr. Miranda Jones considers pity to be the worst of all the human emotions, partially because of her blindness and partially because of her attachment to Medusan ambassador Kollos, whose people are said to be so hideous, they drive any humanoid who sees them to madness.
A variant from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: when Garak discovers the Odo is suffering the effects of a devastating illness, he opens his mouth to say something, but Odo speaks first, telling him, "If I don't want pity from the woman I love, Garak, I certainly don't want it from you." Garak then smiles, turns, and leaves.
Used repeatedly in Stella, most often by Michael Showalter. That he also frequently does it in a West Virginia coal miner a la "Coal Miner's Daughter" accent is deliberate.
DS Barbara Havers eats, lives, and breathes this trope. When we first meet her, everything she does is designed to make people give up on her before they can pity her. Shegetsbetter.
Scully of The X-Files reacts like this. The more upset she is, the more emphatically she insist that she's fine. Lucky for her, Mulder usually knows she's bluffing and will even call her on it—like in season 2's "Irresistible."
Shawn from Boy Meets World gets very touchy about anyone trying to help him or express sympathy for his horrible home life or poverty.
Averted in Seinfeld by none other than George, who actually enjoys getting pitied, often even using it to get things he wants out of people.
George:(Discussing how he'd like to be in a mental hospital) You get to wear slippers all day... Friends come. They pity you. Pity's very underrated.
The lyrics of Rick Astley's Cry For help are about a man getting frustrated because his girlfriend is the poster girl for this pose.
Kiss of Fire:
I can't resist you, what good is there in trying?
What good is in denying you're all that I desire?
Since I first met you, my heart was yours completely,
So, when thine own dark hour shall fall, Unchallenged canst thou say: "I never worried you at all, For God's sake go away!"
Ric Flair went into WWE's Wrestlemania 24 about 10 years past his prime, rapidly decaying in the ring, and laboring under a decree from Vince McMahon that meant that the next match he lost would be his last. Knowing this, he challenged Shawn "Mr. Wrestlemania" Michaels to a match at the show. And when Michaels showed pity for his opponent in a promo a couple of weeks before the show and hinted that he might not bring his A-game, Flair called him out on it, demanding that Shawn give him everything he has, because, win or lose, he wanted to come out of the show with his honor and integrity intact.
This carried over into the match; Flair was obviously unable to put up an actual fight, but he refused to simply lay down and be beaten. Shawn had (apparently legitimate) as Flair stood there, wobbling, fists barely up and yelling at him to "pull the trigger". Shawn's response? "I'm sorry. I love you." Superkick.
Don't you see what you gentle insanities do to me?
Rob me of anger and give me despair
Blows and abuse I can take and give back again!
Tenderness I can not bare.
In Wicked, Nessarose asks Boq if he took her to the dance only because he feels sorry for her: "It's because I'm in this chair, and you felt sorry for me...." As a matter of fact, that is not the reason.
The reason, however, is that Glinda asked him to, and she specifically cited the chair as the reason she'd find it attractive, so, close enough.
Edgeworth to Phoenix in case 3-5 of Ace Attorney, after he faints because of an earthquake and the defendant escapes from him; echoing the same reaction he had in the 4th case of the first game, where his aversion to earthquakes is explained. Fortunately, his adopted sister Franziska is around to whip some sense into him. Literally.
In Baldur's Gate II, Jaheira's immediate response to finding Khalid's mutilated corpse is to instantly rebuff all and any attempts at consoling her, stating clearly that "the only voice I want to hear... Is no more."
In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Flonne takes pity on the 'Dark Adonis' Vyers Mid-Boss as he has no one to make his lunch for him, but he asks her to stop as "That sends a sharp pain to moi heart!"
In Dissidia: Final Fantasy The Warrior of Light's response to Garland's speech about being "trapped" by destiny is to pity Garland, explaining that being stuck in the cycle has driven the man to despair. Unfortunately, (as one might expect) Garland doesn't take this very well, and he yells a bit during his fight with the Warrior.
During Fenris's companion quest in Act 2 of Dragon Age II, he gets news from one of his former tormentors about having a sister living in Tevinter, and is torn between hope and suspicion of a trap being laid by Danarius. Any attempt at sympathy from Hawke gets angrily rebuffed, and he storms off. (He apologizes for it later, though.)
Surprisingly, Hanako of Katawa Shoujo. She is well aware that her being The Woobie is why Hisao is initially interested in getting closer to her. She doesn't like the idea of him and Lilly seeing her as a child that needs protecting. For the most part she doesn't say anything about it until her bad ending.
Similarly, Emi has a similar distaste for "white knights", but is much more outspoken about it.
Emi: So you want to fix me, Hisao? Wanna swoop in on your white charger and save the day? Stop the nightmares, the phantom limb pains? Restore what's lost? Well, you can't. Nobody can. Nobody will.
Hisao himself feels this way in Lilly's route.
Lilly also feels this way on a lesser scale. She laughs when people quickly apologize over using expressions that include "see" in them, and later says, in all seriousness, that she doesn't like being pitied. She's also aware that she has been overprotective of Hanako in the past and tries to remedy this.
Lilly: If you'd pitied us, I would have been quite offended.
Samara from Mass Effect 2, after telling Shepard that Morinth, the fugitive serial killer she's been hunting for several hundred years, is her daughter. "I do not want your pity, Shepard. I do not accept it."
Jacob isn't quite as blunt, but he's not interested in Shepard trying to play amateur shrink (even after the events of his loyalty mission). His romance path is one of the few that lets Shepard do the venting instead, and you can convince him to break off the relationship if you keep prodding him.
Mega Man Zero: Though less extremely offended than most other examples, Fairy Leviathan in the first game specifically warns Zero before the fight not to hold anything back on her for being a woman. After Zero wins, he disregards her orders and does not terminate her, which she finds doubly rude the first time around. But Leviathan seems to mellow, making no more stink about it from then forward — simply glad she met someone that could defeat her.
In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of The Betrayer Gann approves of the player saying "good riddance" to his parents (who abandoned him unwillingly and disapproves of pity for his situation.
Persona 3: Ken Amada doesn't want any sympathy for being an orphan, he's too busy plotting revenge and plans on committing suicide afterwards because all he gets is sympathy now. Played for the destructive as he realizes that while he feared being alone, he exactly did just that, even though there are True Companions around to help him.
Naoki in Persona 4 has both this complex, and one about not mourning his own sister's death.
When Ratchet in Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction questions Big Bad Emperor Tachyon as to how he could get himself to kill Lombaxes when they were the ones who saved his egg and raised him, Tachyon simply yells: "Those filthy creatures had the gall to pity me!".
In Silent Hill 2, the mentally unstable and cynical Angela tells James not to pity her when he reaches out to her, claiming that she's "not worth it".
In Super Mario RPG the Samurai Boss Boomer grumbles that he doesn't want Mario's pity after him and the other good guys trounce him, and instead offs himself by cutting the chandelier he was standing on during the boss fight. Granted, it's hard to tell exactly if Mario was offering pity when his only form of communication is jumping up and down.
In Sword of Mana, after you defeat Devius, Julius' voice is heard and he offers to heal him. Devius' pride is so offended by this that he declares he'd rather die than accept Julius' pity, and then does.
In World of Warcraft, the gnomes, especially their leader, Gelbin Mekkatorque, feel this way about the dwarves housing them in Ironforge while Gnomeregan is irradiated, as seen in Gelbin's short story "Cut Short".
A flashback in Fate/stay night reveals that Shinji's Start of Darkness was at least partially due to this. He was originally content with being a descendant of a magus family, even though he lacked magic circuits, until Sakura apologized for taking his place as heir and showed pity for displacing him. Any other action would have been fine, but pity enraged him.
In Abel's Backstory of DMFA, Abel learns that another character's mother and father left him/died. Abel begins to say something along the lines of 'Sorry, I didn't know.' when he is cut off by the other person who complains that he wasted enough time pitying himself and wanted no more.
In Pacificators, it's strongly implied that Muneca Powell cannot handle people pitying her, as seen in when she screamed at Daryl to Get Out after accidentally discovering her secret. Afterwards, she begged Daryl to not to tell anybody.
In Not A Villain, Danni behaves like this towards Kleya on several occasions when Kleya tries to help her out: after she loses during the Death Match tournament, and when after she's booed by the crowd on her way to enter the Game.
In Tales of MU, Sooni's slave-cum-friend Kai endures extreme abuse from Sooni, including frequent beatings (once nearly to the point of death) and being forced to dress up in ridiculous cosplay. Whenever any of the main characters try to show any sympathy for her, she reacts with rage. It's later revealed in a bonus story that Kai comes from an extremely impoverished background and always dreamed of getting an education, and although Sooni as good as kidnapped her (with an implied reward to her family) Kai is willing to accept anything as long as it means she can continue going to university.
In The Antithesis, Qaira Eltruan is a cold and callous militant leader on the outside, but suffers with self-hatred and guilt on the inside. Leid Koseling attempts to help him through his internal struggles along with the malay addiction (a type of drug similar to heroine) he suffers in the beginning of Decus, but he is at first very reluctant to accept her help. In fact he feels threatened and insulted by Leid's attempts to aid him, and often becomes angry over the fact.
The Nostalgia Chick has a big breakdown in Spooning With Spoony after being raped by the titular character. The next episode later, she's dragging Nella everywhere to dance and shooting laser beams at her with delight. Two years later, she flinches and tries to hide her face when she's near Spoony and it's obvious she's nowhere near over the rape.
Toph has shades of this trope too, when it comes to her blindness. She gets a bit better at distinguishing between pity and friendly help after talking with Iroh in "The Chase" though.
Joe Swanson from Family Guy. For example, when he falls down in one episode as a result of Peter stealing the wheelchair ramp in front of the Swansons' house, he turns down an offer for help, saying that he "needs to retain his independence". Somewhat justified in that he still is quite capable of getting around despite being handicapped.
Dr. Doom: No one pities Doom! I will have your head for this, Richards!
On Ultimate Spider-Man,Peter chases off Flash from bullying his newest victim, then tries to introduce himself. Any gratitude he might have received is ruined by that, since the two already knew each other and Peter just couldn't remember him.
Peter: Oh! Oh, Alex! Right! Duh! My bad.
Alex: Forget it. Forget me. Unless somebody wants my homework or to save me, I'm invisible to all you popular kids.
Most people with disabilities in general take this viewpoint nowadays. See for example the Piss on Pity movement.
After an episode of Family Guy with a subplot of Chris dating a girl with Down Syndrome, Sarah Palin, who has a child with Downs Syndrome, called out the writers for being so callous. Then the actress who voiced said girl (who actually has Down Syndrome) called out Palin for using the disabled as political props.
Randy Newman's acceptance speech on receiving his Academy Award for Best Song after countless nominations began with the line, "I don't need your pity."
Most organizations representing disabled people adopt this stance.
Subverted for addicts. Admitting you need help is often the first step towards recovery.
Freddie Mercury kept his HIV/AIDS diagnosis secret throughout the late 80s until shortly before he passed away in 1991 because he was afraid people would buy Queen albums only out of sympathy. Though it still hasn't stopped people from criticizing him for hiding it until the end.
For blind Puerto-Rican singer and guitar player Jose Feliciano, having someone try to help him walk around seems to be quite the Berserk Button due to this trope.
According to daughtersLiza Minnelli and Lorna Luft, their mother Judy Garland was often irritated at the idea that she was a sad, tragic, melancholic figure with no happiness on her life. Despite the hardships she went through, she tried to keep a sunny disposition and always tried her best to rise up from them. Reputedly once when she was about to be interviewed, she littered her hotel room with pills and alcohol all over the floor and tables. When Liza asked why, she replied, "I'm just giving the reporters what they want to see."