"We only buy into what we can sellAll too often, when someone is forced to do something they don't want to do, they will be told, "It's for your own good!" This will usually be said by a parent. Other variations may include "We're doing this because we love you" or "We're doing this because we care". Often Truth in Television. It can also be used by someone (usually an adult) justifying why they did something to someone (usually a child), especially when the child thinks it was wrong. Of course, the child is almost always right. In some works this might be Played for Laughs during an intervention. Compare Tough Love and Cruel to Be Kind, which happens with something undesirable that really is for the person's own good. If the helpers are overbearing, a nuisance, or downright harmful in their attempts to render assistance, expect to hear complaints about Unwanted Assistance. It may also be Played for Drama, as in cases of Honor-Related Abuse, or Financial Abuse.
We only want to protect you from yourself"
We only want to protect you from yourself"
— "Control" by MDFMK
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- A whole lot of abusive parents in manga and anime eventually break down sobbing and explaining that it was all, in some brain-twisty way, for the child's own good and they actually care. They are almost without exception immediately forgiven. Even when what they did was hideous and illogical and ineffective and the kid will clearly be dealing with it for the rest of his or her life.
- If they don't cry, the chance of this (forgiveness) is much lower. See Charles vi Britannia of Code Geass for a detailed example.
- This is Kami's reason for permanently removing Goku's tail in Dragon Ball, saying his martial arts training was being hindered by it. It's more likely he just wanted to bring back the moon.
- In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist anime, this is basically Hohenheim's excuse for leaving his family: because of his immortality, his body is slowly rotting away and he didn't want his family finding out. There's also the matter of Dante and the Homonculi keeping tabs on him.
- This was a common explanation in the Silver Age for why the good guys had spent the whole issue behaving like jerks to their Love Interests / Sidekicks / Mentors. The person in question would always accept this without complaint and things would go right back to normal. It is one of the main excuses for Superman being a dick.
- Deadpool had a case of this with his daughter, Ellie in recent chapters when he takes her away from her adopted family. He pulls her arm while she questions what's happening. He tells her to put on the helmet, and she throws it. He pick her up, under his arm, and carries her to his motorcycle, while she yells at him to let her go. He tells her they have to leave but she continues to tell him she doesn't want to go. He explains that because she's different & the world is now different, he has to go to extra lengths to protect her. Because of that, she's never allowed to go back to her adoptive family -which makes her cry.
- In An Alternate Keitaro Urashima, Granny Hina claims that she has everyone's best interests at heart when she's playing The Chessmaster.
- In many Conversion Bureau spin-off fics the Equestrians see their Assimilation Plot as noble and good because Humans Are the Real Monsters. The PER take it further by forcibly ponifying people under the pretense of "saving" them, whether they want it or not. It's pretty easy to see why detractors of the TCB Universe compare the ponies in these fic to conquistadors or Nazis.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- This is why Megan's parents send her to a "straight camp" in But I'm a Cheerleader.
- In Cool Hand Luke, when the title character is captured after his first escape attempt and fit into chains before the other inmates, the Captain loudly informs Luke, and the prison at large, how the chains will remind him not to try and escape, ending with "For yer own good." Luke dryly replies "I wish you'd stop being so good to me, Captain."
- In Heavenly Creatures, Juliet has been repeatedly abandoned by her parents or taken from places and people she loves "for the good of her health." At one point she snaps "They sent me to the Bahamas for the good of my health. They sent me to the Bay of bloody Islands for the good of my health!" Finally, when she is told she's to be separated from her heart's companion Pauline and sent to South Africa with relatives "for the good of your health", she lets out a bloodcurdling scream.
- V for Vendetta (film version): Norsefire's Secret Police, the Fingermen, regularly arrest non-caucasians, dissenters and homosexuals, and send them to internment camps or execution...and all of their vans have "For Your Protection" written on the back.
- Airplane II: The Sequel. At the "Ronald Reagan Hospital for the Mentally Insane", the sign reads "We Cure People the Old Fashioned Way". Cut to a bunch of orderlies beating a patient with slapjacks, while telling him "It's for your own good!"
- The only really valid reason for Harry's return to his ridiculously unfit guardians every summer was that pesky blood-protection bit Dumbledore thought so much of. 'Twas for his own good, but only in the most basic-survival sort of way.
- Dumbledore also points out a couple times that it was rather useful in stopping Harry from becoming full of himself due to being exposed to fame at a too early age. Whether it was worth the abuse he got instead is up for debate...
- Hermione also uttered some variant of this when Harry and Ron demanded to know why she turned the Firebolt over to McGonagall for stripping.
- In Twilight, a rather large portion of Edward's actions are for what he considers Bella's own good, whether or not she agrees—though she usually does. These actions include following her without her consent, breaking into her room every night to watch her, forcing her to flee Forks when James hunts her, leaving her in New Moon because she might be killed if she stays with him, stealing her car engine so she can't visit Jacob, etc. The list goes on, right to the end of the series.
- Victoria has a particularly dark example, with the Christian dominionist ideologues ruling the Northern Confederation using this reasoning to justify their annihilation of Azania, a Lady Land, since women must be guided by men for their own good. The surrendered Azanians are reeducated into "real women" and freed of their "unnatural" feminist ideology, and can then look forward to marriage to a gentlemanly Confederation soldier and a quiet home life. Those who resist and cling to their old beliefs are made slave-concubines instead—And this, too, is said in so many words to be for their own good, since, unpleasant though this fate may be, it will surely strip away their delusion that women can be the equals of men and show them their proper place in the world.
Live Action Television
- Our Miss Brooks: In "Spare That Rod!", Principal Osgood Conklin's rationale for his strict discipline policy (read dictatorial) at Madison High School. Well, it's either that, or he just likes making everybody miserable!
- Better Call Saul: Used by Chuck when he figures out how Jimmy gaslit him by forging documents and lays it out to Kim, trying to turn her against him.
Chuck McGill: Yesterday morning was the worst professional humiliation of my life. A single transpositional error cost my client time and money, and permanently damaged my reputation. Then I realized, it wasn't an error. Not at all. A week ago last night, I was right there on that couch, barely conscious. And Jimmy showed up... [stands up from his chair] ...and he sent Ernesto away. My brother was going to take care of me. And in the dead of night, he went through my Mesa Verde files.Jimmy McGill: All right, you know what? We don't have to listen to this-Chuck McGill: She [Kim] does! [to Kim] You do, for your own good.
- An indirect version in the song Sooner or Later: "We only want what's best for you, that's why we tell you what to do."
- MDFMK song "Control" mentions this among the rest of dystopian features.
- Will Smith's theme from Men in Black uses this:
'Cause if we ever show up in your section/Believe me, it's for your own protection.
- Calvin's father in Calvin and Hobbes often tells his precocious son that various unpleasant activities "build character".
- "Pretty convenient how every time I build character, he saves a couple hundred bucks."
- The whole in-character idea behind WWE's Right To Censor stable, even invoked by name by the leader, Steven Richards. Out of character, it was a pretty blatant Take That! against the Parents Television Council.
- Valentina was left alone in SCW before and TNA after but discouraged from joining Women's Extreme Wrestling by her sister, Alexis Laree, on the grounds it was a racy garbage wrestling fed (yes, even more so than early TNA)
- In 2007, Hornswoggle won a battle royal to become WWE Cruiserweight Champion. A week later, GM Vickie Guerrero told him that as a champion AND as Vince McMahon's illegitimate son, he'd be a target of the other wrestlers and she'd hate for anything bad to happen to him, so for his own safety, she stripped him of the title.
- Roderick Strong's reasoning for antagonizing Cedric Alexander, and Decade attacking the C&C Wrestle Factory, saying he was only doing for him what they established Ring of Honor veterans did for Strong and the rest of Generation Next.
- Madison Rayne advised Brittany to stop trying to help in her feud against The Beautiful People insisting that only years of dealing with them could make someone ready and that kind of prolonged exposure to them would not be worth it. Rayne took an even harder stance on the issue after Angelina Love and Velvet Sky gave Brittany a concussion.
- This was the explanation Silas Young gave for attacking ACH at the 2016 War Of The Worlds. He was trying to be helpful, to teach ACH the lessons his father had failed to.
- Alex Shelley's reason for cancelling Lio Rush's cancellation of a flight to Germany and kicking him out of the tournament to be a third of Ring Of Honor's first World Six Man Tag Team champions in favor of KUSHIDA. It turned out to be part of a complex gambit to give Rush a better chance at winning the whole thing, a better chance at assuring a team like The Kingdom lost, though the Kingdom won anyway.
- A near-catchphrase of the Tau Empire in Warhammer 40,000, along with For The Greater Good, to justify all sorts of things. The thing to bear in mind is that they mean it — their belief in acting on The Needs of the Many is absolute and they would much rather be your friends, but if you're going to force the situation to be hostile... what else can they do?
- The Imperial Guard actually have a rule called "For Your Own Good", where a Psyker that comes under psychic assault while using their powers is summarily killed as a precaution if a Commissar is in the squad.
- In Mystara when the Alphatian point of view is voiced, they are resentful over the lack of appreciation Thyatian "barbarians" show for conquering and enslaving, er, patronizing and "educating" them in general, and over "perverting our teachings" (not becoming The Magocracy too after they kicked Alphatians out) in particular.
- Kreia in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords has an unfortunate habit of setting large and unpleasant threats on your party in order to toughen you up.
- David Sarif from Deus Ex: Human Revolution gave Adam all of his augments without his consent, at the cost of removing stuff that didn't even need to be removed. But given Sarif's views on Augmentation and how much he sees it as a benefit to anybody, he genuinely sees what he did as a favor more than anything else.
- Toriel in Undertale wants to keep the player character from leaving the ruins for this exact reason, even going far enough to attack you if you insist on leaving anyways. Her concern is 100% sincere, since she wants to protect the player from the same fate as the other humans who left. She makes the player fight to prove he can survive out there, and makes her attacks avoid the player if his health drops too low.
- The Order of the Stick has Tarquin finishing an overview of his scheme of creating three empires with puppet rulers controlled by him and his pals playing bad empire - good empire until they subsume the whole continent with "It's for their own good". Because once everyone else is conquered, there's going to be peace, right?
- Haley wanted to bust her father out of prison against his will when she lost patience with his self-important paranoia.
- Invoked by Venir in Evon, as he plannned to betray Evon and Hero to The Cabal, thinking Evon had some sort of mystical hold on Hero. Once Evon was gone, Hero would return to his senses. The massive reward The Cabal offered for Evon's capture had nothing to do with it.
- In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Dough Ray Me", this is Scrooge's rationale for not advancing Huey, Dewey or Louie their allowance - or giving Fenton Crackshell a raise. Scrooge claims that, if he gives them more money, they'll take money for granted, spend it foolishly, and end up homeless and begging on the street corner!
- In the original The Transformers cartoon, Omega Supreme tries to undo the brainwashing done to his enemy, Devastator, using this phrase in the process. Devastator throws the phrase back into his face during a later fight.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph Beifong's parents quote the trope name word for word as justification for their decision to lock her up, ostensibly to protect their "helpless" blind little girl. When she proves herself to be a Handicapped Badass by beating up an entire arena full of large, earthbending men in front of her dad, instead of getting the massage that she is more than capable of defending herself, he takes this as evidence that she needs even stricter supervision than before.
- At the end of one episode, Robotboy says to the boy that takes care of him something like "Tommy does not love Robotboy. He does not shout at him." Tommy laughs.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Safety", Darwin uses this to justify his extreme safety measures.
- In Garfieldand Friends episode "Arrivaderci, Odie!" Jon takes Odie to the vet, Odie refuses by trying to stay in the car, Jon tells him that he is going and that is that, and it is for his own good.
- Dr. Alice Miller's book on cruelty in the name of discipline is called At the Beginning of Education in the original German, but is known as For Your Own Good in its English translation.
- For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts' Advice to Women, by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, talks about American medical, psychological, and childbearing "help" and advice that did great harm to women although the experts insisted it was meant for their own good. (Such as clitoridectomy, to name just one unfortunate idea. Don't let anyone tell you this doesn't happen in the U.S. or is limited to a certain culture, religion or race.)
- "Chief, don't you be my benefactor" was an old adage in Soviet prisons. Lev Gumilev — who was there in Stalin's era — used more than one opportunity to quote it in the context of politics in his history books.