You see characters blaming themselves for major messes fairly often, especially when they're not the only ones who are suffering as a result. It's a universal phrase used in every genre and medium.
- "It's not your fault": A stock reply to an apology, and like the main phrase, it's often followed by why. Often implies the main phrase as well. "There's no way you could have foreseen this" is also popular as is "You Did Everything You Could" when the other failed to prevent bad things from happening.
- "I am also to blame"/"We're all to blame": As stated above, when the penitent one is neither blameless nor solely to blame.
In the future, it is likely that a Big Bad
, The Rival
, or an Evil Counterpart
will take some opportunity to remind the character of this culpability.
May be the result of failing to Must Make Amends
. May end up being a Career Building Blunder
. May be uttered by someone laboring under The Chains of Commanding
. See also My God, What Have I Done?
, in which case it typically is
all "my" fault, and "I" have just realized the consequences of "my" actions, and Failure-to-Save Murder
. When death ensued, see Blood on These Hands
. If a character has so many It's All My Fault
moments that it becomes almost a character trait, it's a Guilt Complex
. Characters may irrationally think of this if I Wished You Were Dead
. The opposite trope is Never My Fault
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Anime and Manga
- At the very start of Bleach, Ichigo's family is attacked by a hollow and they are all badly injured except him, since he was talking to/being restrained by Rukia when the hollow first attacked. He is horrified to see his little sisters bleeding out but is at a loss to understand why the hollow didn't devour their souls, since Rukia told him that this is what hollows do. When she explains that the hollow is here because it is attracted to him and it is ignoring the others' souls in favor of his, Ichigo instantly blames himself for the situation and goes into a Heroic BSOD, shouting at the hollow to come after him.
- Soukou No Strain, when Lavinia indirectly causes Carrisford's death and the revelation of Sara's identity. Maybe next time she shouldn't grab an episode all to herself.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: In season 4, Yami Yugi blames himself for using the Seal of Orichalcos trying to defeat Raphael, but ultimately leads to his downfall, making Yugi have the seal take his soul instead of the Pharaoh's. Rebecca and Orichalcos-possessed!Weevil said that it was his fault as well. Arguably, it wasn't all Yami's fault. Raphael provoked him into using the card first after Yami Yugi used Exchange.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Judai completely breaks down, mercilessly blaming himself, when Johan gets stranded in the Duel Monsters' world, even though everyone else escapes, since they can't even be sure Johan was still alive.
- And everyone also says it's his fault except Jim and O'Brien. Jerks. Magical orby things only go so far when Sho was able to destroy the one embedded in him without anyone ever realizing it was there.
- Shou didn't destroy his on purpose (you know, since he didn't know it was there). His only faded when he had complete faith in Juudai again, which he only had after Juudai went through hell to prove he wasn't the same as he'd been, wasn't just looking for revenge or caring about himself, that he was doing everything he could to help other people. No one else even had a chance or even knew that their orb was there either.
- There's also the fact it pretty much * was* his fault, by one of his greatest character flaws: being impulsive. And yes, Jim and O'Brien * did* say it was his fault, because he didn't wait for them to come back before going in to fight Brron. Everyone also blamed him because he flat out said he'd sacrifice anyone and anything to get revenge for Johan and for Freed's people, and since he was just charging ahead blindly, they all figured that meant them too.
- In Clannad when Nagisa finds out that her parents originally had better careers and stopped pursuing them in order to stay at home with a bakery to care for her sickly character since a nearly-tragic incident. She was not meant to find out the secret as Tomoya and her father even saw it coming that she was going to start blaming herself and Wangst about it.
- On Dragon Ball Z, Gohan blames himself for his father's second death, when he could've just instantly slaughtered Cell and instead decided to torture him, which led to Cell having a Villainous Breakdown and attempt a Taking You with Me, prompting Goku to step up and sacrifice himself for Earth's sake, which didn't work.
- In the Mazinger series it's dangerous being impossibly willful and Too Dumb to Live, as well as not listen to good advice and thinking before acting:
- Mazinger Z: It happened to Yuri -Sayaka's cousin- after she wheeled herself out of Kouji's house in spite of everybody telling her it was dangerous outside due to Mazinger-Z and a Mechanical Beast duking it out. She was kidnapped by several Iron Masks and The Dragon Baron Ashura used her like a hostage. She blamed herself, thinking if she would not have been so stubborn and would have listened to what people told, Kouji would be safe.
- Great Mazinger: Tetsuya Tsurugi blames himself for his and Jun's adoptive father's death. Given that Kenzo pulled a Heroic Sacrifice to save Tetsuya's life, and Tetsuya was in danger because he behaved like an arrogant and jealous idiot, he is right. During a hospital scene, as he was rambling My God, What Have I Done?, his Love Interest Battle Couple and Not Blood Related adoptive sister Jun listened in silence, trying to be supportive, but she was not gainsaying him. That might suggest she did not want grieving him, but she did not disagree.
- UFO Robo Grendizer: Duke blamed himself for having been unable to protect his planet and save his people from the Vegan Alien Invasion, and having run away. Actually the main reason of he wages war against the Vegans despite of he hates fight is he does not want the same thing happened to his homeworld happens to Earth, and he would not bear to run cowardly again. Nevertheless, unlike other instances of this trope he is wrong on blaming himself since he could have not done anything back then (other than dying, that is).
- CB Chara Go Nagai World: Satan blames himself for killing Akira Fudo. Pretty reasonably, since he killed him... again.
- Shin Mazinger Zero: In the first timeline we see, Mazinger-Z has become an Eldritch Abomination. Earth is now a flaming, barren, lifeless rock, and humanity has been wiped out. Kouji blames himself for it, uttering that same exact sentence and stating if he would not Refused The Call and piloted Mazinger-Z, nothing of this would have happened.
- In End of Evangelion, Shinji decides that everything is his fault, and thus that everyone would be better off without him. Unfortunately he doesn't recover from his Heroic BSOD, with disastrous results; namely: his inaction, apathy, and wangst ensure that everything that happens in the movie actually becomes his fault.
- Shikamaru in Naruto says this at the end of a mission that got very nearly two of his friends killed. Neither his boss, his father nor his potential love interest deny that it is, but urge him to instead think of the failure as motivation to do better the next time, rather than run away from responsibility and risk entrusting his friends to someone who might not bring them back alive.
- In the anime Shikamaru repeatedly says this just before Asuma dies, as it flashes back to a strategy meeting held before the battle.
- Averted later on, when Pain attacks Konoha looking for Naruto, he never once blames himself.
- The same cannot be said for Negi of Mahou Sensei Negima!, who blames himself for the attack on his home village. After all, he was looking for trouble so his father could save him, right? Fortunately, Asuna tells him he's wrong.
- Chrono says this during his Heroic BSOD in the anime adaption of Chrono Crusade, essentially implying that everything bad that happened in the story so far had been his fault. In the manga itself he never says this, but he does imply several times that he feels responsible for much of what's happened.
- Gundam 00 features this happening in season two's fifth episode to Saji Crossroad, the unluckiest civilian ever.
- Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. Seeing as how it was his idea to transmute his and Al's mother in the first place and how he got off easy compared to his brother as a result, you can see where he's coming from. But Al did go along with it.
- If the lyrics to the song Brothers are any indication, Al blames himself even more than Ed does, having said nothing at all to stop the attempt despite his fears of what could (and did) happen.
- All over the place in Princess Tutu (Fakir blaming himself for not protecting Mytho, Rue's breakdown after Mytho's transformation into a crow), but the titular character has the most, which is to be expected when the main character is constantly trying to make everyone around her happy. The first major instance is when she overhears Mytho saying he's terrified of her after she returns his feeling of fear and realizes she might have been hurting him all along, and later on, near the end of the series, she tries to drown herself in the Lake of Despair because she believes her inability to remove the pendant has doomed the town and everyone she loves.
- Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi blames herself for a number of stuff throughout the series: Getting Yui almost raped, having the Seishi have to donate blood to her (from the wrist and the chest, to boot), losing the Universe of the Four Gods scroll, losing the Shinzahou, etc....
- Maiza Avaro in Baccano begins to regret bringing immortality into the world almost immediately after doing so (a notion which is only cemented by the fact that it sparked a chain of events which led to his brother's murder). He finally learns to move on when his protege Firo winds up immortal and with the Ghost Memories of both Maiza's brother and his killer...and doesn't blame him one bit for it all.
- In the same canon, Jacuzzi Splot. After going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge on the Russo family, he's cornered and beaten up in an alleyway by three members of that family. The rest of his gang comes to his rescue, and his girlfriend knifes all three guys in the head and then blows up the alleyway; but not only does Jacuzzi blame himself, he describes the incident as though he was the one who murdered the guys.
Jacuzzi: ...and yesterday, I ended up killing three people.
Isaac and Miria: Killing?!
Donny: No! We were the ones that did the killing. Jacuzzi didn't do nothing!
Jacuzzi: What's the difference, it happened!
- Yamaki from Digimon Tamers blames himself for almost everything involving Digimon being in the real world, including the kids biomerging with their Digimon. Using the program that opened a huge portal between the worlds and almost let a whole bunch of Digimon into the world was totally his fault, but little else that he's blamed himself for was.
- Impmon/Beelzemon spends the last half of the third season being eaten alive by guilt for killing Leomon, thus causing Jeri to cross the Despair Event Horizon and get possessed by the D-Reaper.
- Let's not forget Kari's reaction to Myotismon's takeover of the city. she starts sobbing about how it's all her fault, and then tries to pull off a Heroic Sacrifice (of sorts) to get the big bad to stop.
- Very common in Monster, to the point of being Tenma's driving force. Never mind that his biggest crime was saving a little boy's life. Granted, said boy grew up to become one of the most evil bastards in any media ever. Though he was evil even before he saved him.
- Suzaku in Code Geass is defined by this trope - it's the major reasons for his death wish. In the latter parts of R2, Lelouch also starts thinking like this.
- In Fruits Basket, Ritsu and his mother fit this trope so well- whenever anything goes wrong, Ritsu starts running around screaming that it's his fault and he's soooooooo sorrrrrrry.
- Tohru also has some elements of this. When Ritsu and Tohru meet, Hilarity Ensues.
- Another example is Hatori blaming himself for putting Kana through so much heartbreak and pain.
- Kaga Ai from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is a parody of this. She will blame herself for anything, at anytime for absolutely no reason.
- In fact, in the episode where Kaga was introduced, everybody did this.
- In Pokémon Special, both Ruby and Sapphire blame themselves for screwing the other over as kids. Sweet little Sapphire blames herself for being too weak when she couldn't do anything when Ruby nearly got killed protecting her, therefore resolving to becoming stronger, while battle-ready Ruby blames himself for being too fierce and thus terrifying Sapphire, therefore resolving to focus on beauty. Both wanted to show their new selves to each other to show how much they changed and that everything would be alright, but the ultimate irony is that when they are finally reunited, they fail to recognize each other, get off on the wrong foot, and berate the other for the attributes they themselves once had.
- In Fairy Tail, during the "Phantom Lord" arc, after the Fairy Tail guildhall is destroyed, Lucy, after being kidnapped, learns that it was all so they could get to her. Initially, she plays the trope straight, but then inverts the trope by saying that she still wants to be a member of Fairy Tail (i.e., instead of "leaving" in order to avoid having anyone else get hurt "because of her").
- Loke had been going through this for three years after accidentally and indirectly causing the death of the cruel Celestial wizard he'd been contracted to. Luckily, Lucy manages to break him out of it and convince the Celestial Spirit King to let him back into the Spirit World.
- Used terrifyingly in Soul Eater with Dr. Stein. After the battle to reclaim the Brew fails because Stein is overtaken by insanity and becomes unable to fight, he says this line to try to comfort Marie. The scary part kicks in when he then repeats it amid peals of mad laughter.
- Angel Beats!: Yuri blames herself for not being able to save her siblings. Needless to say, nobody else does.
- And perhaps to a lesser extent - Hinata for failing a decisive catch.
- Yuri again after accidentally sending Kanade into a coma by dumping 100 aggressively violent copies of herself into her mind.
- Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru: Hotsuma blames himself for causing Shuusei's burn scars.
- Princess Resurrection: Reiri tricks Hiro and bites him. Riza chases after Reiri. When Reiri escaped Riza and Hime told her that Hiro could die, she screamed this phrase.
- Amasawa of The Weatherman Is My Lover blames himself for his parents' deaths after they ignored his warnings about the oncoming storm. Every time a storm comes thereafter he is scared to go outside because it feels like the wind is blaming him too.
- In Future GPX Cyber Formula ZERO, Kurumada blames himself for causing Hayato's accident in the English GP, to the point where he briefly retired from his team.
- Vash the Stampede has a habit of thinking like this, pretty independently of whether things are in that instance actually his fault...probably because he has a massive guilt complex about A) continuing to run around even though so much chaos folllows him wherever he goes and B) not having neutralized his Evil Twin yet. Since he is then responsible for all incidental misfortunes and any actions taken by the Big Bad, this trope just kind of happens.
- Rurouni Kenshin tends to this as well, as he is an ultimate The Atoner. Usually only when he's kind of right and the thing is worth angsting over, but the contrast to all the other powerful sword characters is interesting. Except later-stage Aoshi, but he's probably emulating Kenshin.
- Hey, Aoshi bears the distinction of being the only swordsman from Kenshin's 'generation'—already active during the revolution and left at loose ends by it—who's younger than Kenshin himself. Child Prodigies are unfun, especially when placed in positions of tremendous responsibility in their mid teens.
- Enishi agrees that it's all Kenshin's fault. Specifically, the thing that totally wasn't and all the nasty shit Enishi is now pulling on everyone Kenshin knows to punish the Battousai.
- In Tiger & Bunny, Ivan/Origami Cyclone guilts himself for his best friend Edward's imprisonment and disbarment as a hero, because Ivan's reluctance to intervene in a hostage situation led Edward to accidentally kill someone. Thus, when Edward breaks out of jail to get revenge on him, Ivan resigns himself to his death in order to atone. Telling him it wasn't his fault has no effect on him, so Kotetsu tries a different approach.
Ivan: No! He wanted my help back then, but I... If I'd made a move, then he could have actually still become a hero. He would have been a much better one than I am. This is all my fault!
Kotetsu: ... That's why you need to stop him.
Kotetsu: He committed a crime because of you, right? Are you going to let him commit more?
Ivan: But I can't do anything!
Kotetsu: So you're going to repeat the same mistake? Remember that you're a hero now.
- In Bakuman。, Miura blames himself for Detective Trap being canceled, out of the belief that he failed to notice Mashiro's declining health. This belief leads him to be driven to getting a series going, unfortunately to the extent that he pressures Mashiro and Takagi into immediately going for a gag manga rather than proceeding more carefully and finding something that would become a hit.
- Girls Saurus: Haruka Nishiharu, who, after spending almost the whole series holding a grunge against Shingo for seemingly rejecting her when she was still a Fat Bitch, has this reaction after learning about his gynophobia and terminal illness and tracing it back to the day she sent him to the hospital. Note that she is one of the few Tsunderes to admit that she was doing harm to her love interest, but it doesn't make it any less heartbreaking: "I'm the cause of all your problems, so it's better if I stay away from you!"
- Leo of Pandora Hearts feels like Elliot's misfortune and death are all his fault.
- Deconstructed in the XXX Holic tie-in novel ANOTHERHOLiC. A customer of the week blames herself for her friend's accidental death (the friend had fallen and hit her head at a train station because she had been running late to a meeting with the customer and was in too much of a hurry to follow safety regulations) and has developed a mantra of "I must be punished," which isn't helped by the daily text messages her friend's vengeful spirit seems to be sending her from beyond the grave. But as Yuuko ultimately points out, the responsibility for the accident falls squarely on the victim's shoulders for choosing to act so carelessly. By constantly blaming herself and by secretly writing the phantom text messages just to give people a reason to keep talking about the accident, the customer turned the tragedy of her friend's death into "a tragic little farce, written by and starring herself."
- Amuro Ray goes through this a number of times in his appearances in Mobile Suit Gundam. He blames himself easily for the deaths of, amongst others, Matilda Ajan, Lalah Sune and, in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, Kayra Su. Granted, while Matilda's death was unavoidable, Lalah was killed because of his rivalry with Char and Kayra was killed because the Nu Gundam was still sensitive and reacted to his anger.
- She didn't speak it out, but this is how Haruka of ''Kotoura-san thinks about the events in the latter half of episode 3, when Hiyori sent dojo members/cult thugs to attack Manabe, causing Manabe to be hospitalized and Hiyori having a My God, What Have I Done? moment. This line of thinking, however, came from all the Break the Cutie that came from her telepathic powers, eventually causing her to think she will eventually cause the downfall of anyone she cares about.
- Happens to Doctor Spectrum in the Squadron Supreme limited series after he accidentally kills deranged teammate Nuke.
- A teenage boy felt The Death of Superman was his fault, because he inadvertently distracted Supes with his cries for help in a stage where Supes could have possibly finished Doomsday off.
- Reed Richards tends to blame himself for a lot of things that happen to the Fantastic Four. Part of it is semi-justified, because the accident that gave them their powers and effective ruined their quiet, ordinary lives really was his fault. However, he also believes that because he is so incredibly intelligent, any misfortune that they can't avoid is automatically his fault for not pulling a brilliant solution out of his ass. Naturally, his Arch-Enemy, Doctor Doom, is not only one of the most rabid adherents of this trope's diametric opposite, he also further aggravates Reed's issues by narrowing his Never My Fault down to Always Reed Richards' Fault.
- Spider-Man blames himself for just about everything that goes wrong to anybody in his life. So much so that it's become something of a joke for the fandom.
- He even lampshades this several times in New Avengers, as in the first arc he says that the rest of the team can blame the prison break at the Raft on him if they want, seeing as the press are going to.
- When J Jonah Jameson's wife Marla took a fatal blow for him, Jonah refused to blame Spider-Man (significant given that Jameson is usually the first to blame Spidey for anything and everything) and even said "It's all my fault."
- At the climax of Siege, Loki actually accepts responsibility for the consequences of his actions namely, the near-destruction of Asgard at the hands of the Sentry/Void, and provides aid to the heroes in an attempt to mitigate the damage and is slain by the Sentry in the process.
- Used A LOT in Maliver fan fics, where something bad
normally always happens (Alliance finds them, she gets raped, she has traumatic flashbacks, all of the above, and more), Mal always blames himself.
- Shinji's mindset in the A/S fic Scar Tissue. He goes so far as to carve "my fault" into his skin... after the first time he was raped by Asuka.
- Luso had a period of this in The Tainted Grimoire due to being comepletely helpless and only being able to watch Sir Loin burn to death, despite being the one to defeat Vaticus Finch. Thankfully, Judgemaster Cid was able to talk him out of it by going over how flawed that line of thinking is.
- This is almost a stock phrase of Rainbow Dash shortly before and during her Heroic BSOD in Ace Combat The Equestrian War.
- In Oyuban Naruto (after joining the Yakuza) feels like this about his short stint as the leader of a gang in The Land Of the Waves who all got killed by him (inadvertently) starting a gang war. The senior members of the Yakuza (who know about it) agree with him but encourage him to learn from it.
- The Blind Side: Michael feels this way after he is involved in a car accident which injures SJ. It was partially his fault for not paying enough attention while driving, but on the other hand, Michael also saves SJ from suffering more serious injuries or being killed during the accident.
- The Josie and the Pussycats Live-Action Adaptation.
- The U.S. Godzilla movie.
- Parodied in Scary Movie 4.
Cindy: I blame myself.
Tom: As well you should.
- Subverted in The Movie of The Magic Roundabout, where Dougal doesn't take responsibility for releasing Zeebad, until near the end:
Florence: Don't blame yourself, Dougal.
Ermintrude: Let us do that for you.
and shortly afterwards:
Brian: Now, Dougal, you mustn't feel guilty, just because it's all your fault.
- Used in Monsters Unleashed where the Velma, Daphne, and Fred find increasingly ridiculous reasons to blame themselves for something that was clearly Shaggy and Scooby's fault.
- In Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker breaks down and confesses the indirect role he played in Uncle Ben's death to Aunt May. May is initially unable to deal with it and walks off, leaving Peter alone, but she later tells him: "You made a brave move in telling me the truth, and I'm proud of you, and I thank you, and I love you, Peter, so very, very much."
- Nathan in Repo! The Genetic Opera has this a lot, helped along by guilt trips from the Genterns and Marni's ghost.
- In Gettysburg, there is a scene where Lee removes his hat as he looks out upon the survivors of Pickett's Charge, and he actually says this. The men of course try to convince him it wasn't, and some even urge another attempt. This is historically true but apparently Pickett himself disagreed and thought it was mostly or completely Lee's fault that his division was obliterated. Both he and Lee were right.
- Back To The Future Part II: Marty, after realizing he was responsible for Biff changing history.
Doc: It's all in the past...
Marty: You mean the future!
- The TV movie Rent-a-Kid (used to be on Disney or ABC Family sometimes) had a rather creepy dream sequence where a young orphan saw her whole family chanting, "It's all your fault... it's all your fault" at her, until she eventually joined in with "It's all my fault."
- In Star Trek, Spock Prime blames himself for being too late to save Romulus, leading to Nero's actions during the film.
"All of this, Jim, because of me. Because I failed."
- In the novelisation, we find that the approaching disaster he was trying to prevent unexpectedly accelerated, thus making the fact of his failure not his entire responsibility (except in Nero's eyes).
- The "it's not your fault" variation was used in an emotionally climactic scene of Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams' character is finally able to crack through Will's last emotional wall and get him to confront his feelings about the abuse he suffered as a kid by just repeating the phrase over and over with a sincere and forgiving tone. Will recognizes what he's doing right away, but eventually breaks down and admits that he HAS been blaming himself.
- Practically each member of The Brady Bunch goes through this in A Very Brady Sequel: After a smuggler kidnaps Carol and ties the children and Alice to the staircase, Bobby, Cindy, Cindy's doll, Peter, Greg, Alice, and Jan each consider something they could have done to foil his scheme, then think "This is all my fault." Marcia actually averted this, and instead thought, "This is all Jan's fault."
- Chris in Mrs. Doubtfire blames himself after his parents decide to split up following the secret birthday party his father Daniel threw for him which lead to Miranda saying she had had enough and wanted a divorce. Daniel of course reassures that Chris did nothing wrong and this was probably going to happen sooner or later.
- Four Weddings and a Funeral: The protagonist's brother David (who is deaf) interrupts Charles' wedding because he knows the groom loves someone else. Afterwards:
David: [signing] I blame myself.
Rest of the cast: No, no, it wasn't your fault, you did nothing wrong, etc.
Charles: [signing] They all blame you too.
- In Brave, finally admitting their own role in everything that went wrong is an essential bit of Character Development for both Merida and her mother.
- In a more Meta example, Pixar blame themselves for making All-CGI Cartoon movies the norm rather than the exception and forcing traditional animated films out the mainstream.
- Subverted in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. C-3PO thinks he's responsible for Luke and the others dying in the Death Star's trash compactor.
C-3PO: Listen to them! They're dying, R2! Curse my metal body! I wasn't fast enough! It's all my fault! My poor master!
Luke: 3PO, we're all right! We're all right!
Live Action TV
- In an episode of What I Like About You, it's used as a followup/admission by a character who has previously denied responsibility.
- Brilliantly parodied in the Swedish comedy series Varan TV. While hunting a man wearing a deer cap, one of the hunters accidentally shoots a REAL deer (no, seriously!) who of course dies. While he is overcome with guilt, his buddies tries to cheer him up, which leads to the following dialogue:
"You can't blame yourself for this, it's not your fault."
"It's all my fault! I shot him!" (being un-sarcastic and fully serious)"Well... Yeah, you're right! It is actually all your fault!"
- Invoked rather cruelly, and quite often, for Dean Winchester in Supernatural:
- In the episode "Faith," Dean gets electrocuted and is about to die from heart damage. He seems to be accepting it but Sam takes him to a faith healer and Dean makes a full recovery. But then they find out that it's a life for a life and he feels guilty (and almost suicidal) for the entire episode.
- While Dean lays in a coma during "In My Time Of Dying," his father makes a deal with the Yellow Eyed Demon to save Dean's life. Over the course of the season, he is slowly broken down because of this, until Sam dies and he makes a deal of his own, still thinking that he should have stayed dead and if he does this then at least something good will come out of his life.
- In the fourth season episode "On the Head of a Pin", Dean is told he is completely to blame for the upcoming apocalypse, because he was driven to torture souls in Hell. His father was meant to be the first seal but he never broke, proving that John Winchester has the unique talent of making Dean feel worthless long after he's dead. Of course, as it turns out Sam is also to blame, because, while Dean broke the first seal by drawing blood in Hell, Sam broke the last when he killed Lilith.
- In Teen Wolf, there's a very good reason Derek Hale is the way he is.
- Inverted and subverted in a fifth season episode of Angel. In exchange for being given legal knowledge, Gunn allows an item to pass through customs, which eventually leads to the death of Fred. Naturally he feels guilty about it, and is even stabbed by Wesley after he finds out. Later, Angel visits him in his hospital bed and tells him:
Angel: Listen, Gunn. I know you feel bad about your part what happened to Fred. And you should. For the rest of your life, it should wake you up in the middle of the night. And it will. Because you're a good man. You signed a piece of paper. That's all.
- In Star Trek: Voyager, Chakotay started blaming himself after he learned that his former lover Seska had betrayed the titular ship to an enemy species; she turned out to be a Cardassian spy dolled up to be a Bajoran to infiltrate the Maquis, and Chakotay felt responsible for not catching on to her as the leader of the cell she infiltrated, especially after he learned later that he had missed several other spies among his ranks (including science officer Tuvok). It was only when Tuvok admitted that Seska had deceived him while they were in the cell, as well, that Chakotay got over it.
- Averted in Stargate SG-1. Daniel's grandfather tries to comfort him over the loss of his parents years ago, telling him it wasn't his fault. Daniel's reply? "Of course it wasn't my fault!"
- In Dead Set, when Angel is bit by a zombie, the character who is responsible says "it's all my fault."
- Clark Kent in Smallville is like this almost to a neurotic degree, to the point that it has been Lampshaded by Chloe in Season 8. Witness the misery (a compilation of the times Clark implies, says or worries about this in dream sequences): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6z8EPJyb1U
- Chloe does this a lot too in later seasons.
- Murdock blames himself when Face is shot in The A-Team episode "Without Reservations."
"He's getting weaker. I can't believe I'm responsible for all of this."
- In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Red Zone Cuba, Frank finds himself owing a large amount of money to the mob, then he tricks the mob enforcer into thinking that Dr Forrester is him. As Forrester is getting beaten senseless, Frank says to Mike and the bots, "You know, I can't help but feel somewhat responsible."
- In Doctor Who, the Ninth Doctor hardly gets through an episode without blaming himself and/or apologising to someone for getting them killed, failing to save somebody else, or just snapping at someone he likes. And since he expects the same kind of owning up to mistakes from his Companions and will give them the Death Glare until they do...
- Babylon 5: G'kar has an appropriate quote re: Ivanova:
"It is as though her heart has been pierced, and her spirit has poured out through the wound. She blames herself. It is foolish. It is destructive. ...It is human."
- In season 3 of Veronica Mars, Dick, of all people, falls into this trope while dealing with his brother killing a dozen people, then committing suicide. When his father shows up, Dick has something of a breakdown and admits he thinks it's their fault.
- Criminal Minds
- In "Ominvore", Hotch believes it's all his fault for one of his actions. What does Rossi do? Offers his gun.
Rossi: So you think this is your fault?
Hotch: (voice tight) It is.
Rossi: Well, here, use mine. (offers Hotch his gun) No, really, you've convinced me. You hung up on him, practically killed them yourself. Go on, get it over with. Don't worry about us, we'll get this guy without you.
Hotch: Dave, I had ten years to do something about this!
: Shaughnessy made the deal
. The killing stopped, he closed the case and sent the BAU away. For ten years you worked on other cases, active cases-
Hotch: But I kept coming back to this profile.
: Hey, I was retired! Should I blame myself for every victim that got killed when I was on my book tour? Look, if you wanna end up like Shaughnessy, like Gideon
, blaming yourself for everything, you go ahead. But that voice in your head? It's not your conscience, it's your ego
. This isn't about us, Aaron, it's about the bad guys. That's why we
, it's their fault. We're just guys doing a job, and when we stop doing it, someone else will. Trust me, I know.
Hotch: (gesturing to the gun) You can put that away now.
Rossi: You sure?
Rossi: My wife always said I had a flair for the dramatic.
- This is the cause of some unsubs' actions, the most obvious example being "Hanley Waters", in which a woman goes on a killing spree exactly one year after her son's death in a car accident because she cannot bear anymore the sense of guilt caused by constantly blaming herself along with her ex-husband.
- Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined): Gaius Baltar gets a taste of this after realizing it was his lover Caprica-Six who frakked up the colonies' defense systems through his gullibility and — let's face it — horniness. He deals with it by blaming the rest of the universe, and ultimately God.
- Dexter has killed dozens of people and felt no remorse, but when he finds his wife, Rita, dead, his shocked response as police arrive is to blurt out "It was me."
- From Power Rangers RPM: It is revealed that the Rangers' mentor figure, Dr. K, was actually behind the creation and (accidental) release of the Venjix computer virus which has devastated the entire world. The bad guys have placed that same virus inside of Dillon, the Half-Human Hybrid of the team, and is taking over his body. Before he falls fully under Venjix's control, Dr. K is forced to upload the base code for the virus to slow its growth. What she says next shocks her team:
Dr. K: [Flatly] What just happened was that I entered the base code for the Venjix virus. I know it because I wrote it. I'm the one who released it. Everything that's happened, everything you've all been through—it's all my fault.
- A blunt statement of the "command responsibility" version from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Metamorphosis":
McCoy: It isn't your fault.
Kirk: I'm in command, Bones. That makes it my fault.
- The Mentalist has Jane blaming himself for the deaths of his wife and daughter. He doesn't get much pity though considering, well... it is his fault.
- Used to a Narmful degree by Tim Owens in Iced Earth's Gettysburg 1863. Granted, it IS General Lee's fault, but is it really necessary?
- Dr. Light in The Protomen's rock opera Father of Death, says this trope word for word.
- There is an entire musical number about this during the second act of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods.
- Seere says this often in Drakengard. He and the Big Bad are twins, and the main reason the Big Bad is crazy is because their mother doted on him and ignored her completely. He keeps the party from killing the Big Bad and then tries to reason with her. Needless to say, this fails. Leonard from the same game probably qualifies as well since he blames himself for the death of his family, and this is the only possible reason he agreed to a pact with that damn fairy.
- This is practically the Catch Phrase of post-Important Haircut Luke in Tales Of The Abyss, to which the most common reply is a Don't Say Such Stupid Things variant from Tear.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, Hercules declares this because he failed to defeat the Hydra and falls into a depression that lasts until you defeat Hades late in the game. Even though it wasn't really his fault.
- Fail a mission in Katamari Damacy? Don't worry, it is not your fault. It is our fault for believing in you.
- Like THAT'S going to make us feel any better.
- In Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice For All, Regina Berry says this when she realizes she was responsible for the accident that sent Bat into a coma, and thus partly responsible for Acro killing Regina's father in an attempt to get revenge on her.
- Quercus Alba from Ace Attorney Investigations does this a lot. It's to prop up his facade of being a frail old man, when in reality he's the Big Bad.
- Miles Edgeworth falls into this for about half a case during the finale of the first game (not counting the Bonus Case), until Phoenix manages to snap him out of it. With Evidence.
- Oichi in Sengoku Basara. It's practically the only thing she ever says.
- In Persona 4, Teddie blames himself so hard for Nanako's death that he nearly Heroic BSODed himself out of existence.
- Final Fantasy XIII practically makes a theme of this. The only playable character who doesn't blame him/herself over something that's not his/her fault is Hope; Hope, rather, blames Snow for something that wasn't his fault. The things being blamed include Serrah and Dajh becoming l'Cie, Serrah being taken captive and turned to crystal, and Hope's mother volunteering to join Snow's defensive force and getting herself killed.
- Depending on dialogue, Hawke in Dragon Age II will beat him/herself up after his/her mother's murder saying that s/he wasn't fast enough and didn't watch over his/her mother closely enough.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, Oghren himself will make this statement if he's brought to the Gauntlet, stating that he believes that if he had been a better husband, Branka might not have dragged their clan to their deaths in her mad search for the Anvil.
- In Magical Diary, during Damien's path, the player character blames herself for the injuries Damien caused her. Virginia is quick to dismiss this, but it doesn't comfort the PC much.
Virginia: Don't say that! It is not your fault, it's his! No one saw this coming! He's dated lots of girls and broken all their hearts, you're not the first!
Mary Sue: No, I'm just the only one stupid enough to agree to give him my soul.
- In the Sly Cooper series, Murray blames himself for Bentley being permanently crippled at the end of the second game, saying he "just wasn't strong enough" to save him. Bentley repeatedly makes it clear that he doesn't blame Murray in the slightest, but still takes a lot of Walking the Earth before Murray stops blaming himself.
- Bain in PAYDAY: The Heist will usually blame himself or says how he underestimated the cops whenever you fail a heist. He apologizes and even starts working on bailing you out of jail. While the player characters have no reaction to this (being in jail obviously), it makes many players see Bain as quite a nice guy despite the fact that he's the mastermind behind all the heists.
- Little Busters: Said word for word by Kyousuke early on in Refrain in reference to the way Rin's social anxiety had hit critical levels to the point where she can't function normally in society anymore. Though in this case, it's mixed with I Did What I Had to Do, and while the consequences are certainly regrettable the reason behind the actions in the first place are more real now than ever.
- Vaarsuvius from The Order of the Stick blames him/herself for not having been powerful magically to change the outcome of the Azure City battle and, since then, for failing to locate a missing friend who got separated during the battle. V's self-blame is anything but objective, since his/her friend is blocked from scrying by an abjuration that can only be broken with Epic-level magic, and V's contributions during the battle far outweighed his eventual limitations, but intellectually acknowledging this does little to stop the anguish.
- And poor V plays this even straighter — and with more cause — upon realizing that it was V's own spell that wiped out the Draketooth family and every other bloodline they'd ever reproduced with.
- Trying to avert this trope is partially Redcloak's motivation for his deeds, as expanded on in Start Of Darkness. While he has other reasons, another part is avoiding the guilt he feels for every goblin that died under his command. As his brother Right-Eye put it best...
It's all about whose fault it is... If I kill Xykon now, then it was all a waste. You ordered goblins to their deaths believing in the Plan- so if we abandon it now, then you were wrong. You let them die for nothing. You're willing to throw good lives after bad
so that you don't have to admit that we were wrong to work with Xykon in the first place, much less help him cheat death.
- The "it's not your fault" variation is darkly twisted near the end of the webcomic It's Walky!, when the Head Alien uses it to make Sal feel helpless.
- This strip of Loserz. "I should just live in a box from now on, and stay out of everybody's lives!"
- Probably owing to her (almost) complete self-reliance through most of her childhood, Antimony from Gunnerkrigg Court blames herself for her father's disappearance and for failing to help the Ghost with the Sword (even though their meeting lasted less than a minute, most of which the Ghost spent trying to cut Annie's face off). Both times, Kat tells Annie she's being ridiculous.
- Another example is Diego, who was in love with Jeanne (The Ghost with the Sword mentioned above) while she was alive. Any of the court robots (the originals were built by Diego) will respond to "Jeanne" with "She died and we did nothing." It is recently revealed that Diego set Jeanne up to her fate because she didn't love him back, it really is his fault.
- Averted. Even on his deathbed he pins all of the blame on the other members of the Court involved in Jeanne's death.
- Karl of Emergency Exit say this when he finds out sbout Eddie and Jason's plan to fix his face by trading an artifact, despite the fact he was unaware of the plan while it was in progress.
- In Sluggy Freelance Torg blames himself for failing to save Alt-Zoe. In fact, he blames himself more than he blames the guy who actually killed her.
- Riff blames himself for Zoe getting horribly burned, mistakenly believing it was one of his malfunctioning inventions that started the fire.
- In Homestuck, when a deceased doomed alternate timeline version of Dave finds out that his Bro died, his first question is "what did i do wrong". At the time the event occured, Dave was psychically unconscious on a different planet, and could not have possibly done a thing to help (of course, he is a time traveller who revisited that point of the timeline several times, so he could theoretically have gone to help, but another alternate version of him was already helping and he still failed).
- Also, WV. When he led the black and white pawns to battle, Jack Noir went and killed every single one of them. He blames himself for all of their deaths, and leads to a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment during [S] WV: Lead your men to victory! He's commanding a chess army.
- And Karkat. While he may try to push the blame on his past selves for little things, like trolling Jade for most of her life, he always blames himself when things get really serious. Like failing to get Sollux into the Medium in time, not preventing Eridan from killing Kanaya and Feferi, not keeping an eye on Gamzee to prevent him from going Ax Crazy, accidentally giving the kids' universe cancer... He's complex enough that this isn't exactly his defining trait, but it's damn close.
- In Oglaf the ghostly Lizard of Guilt pesters Ivan into lashing out and yelling insults... in the middle of his trial for treason against the Mistress. In the last panel, the guards are posting a new "Apprentice Wanted" sign, and the Lizard of Guilt has a screaming guilt trip.
- Ultra-Man blames himself for the death of his grandson, who was killed at the hands of his Arch-Enemy, Baron Maltus, and he thinks his daughter blames him for it as well. (He's wrong about that last part.)
- In the web-novel , this appears in one of the story's more poignant scenes. Severin apologizes to Page for going insane because of how it hurts him (Page, that is, not Severin). An emotional episode ensues, in which Page assures Severin that not only is it not his fault, there wasn't anything he could do at all to prevent it.
- Spider-Man, from I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC. From this episode:
Batman: Don't you know, Spider-Man blames himself for Marvel losing the Transformers?
Hulk: But why?
Batman: I don't know, he blames himself for everything!
- In the Whateley Universe, Phase blames herself for what has happened to her own body. Word Of God says that isn't true.
- In one of the Muppet Viral Videos, two pumpkins unwittingly goad the Swedish Chef into using a bazooka on them.
Pumpkin 1: Sorry 'bout that.
Pumpkin 2: Neh, I blame myself.
- The Nostalgia Critic tortures himself over Ma-Ti's death in Suburban Knights, realizing that even though he proved his friendship in the end, it was still partly his treatment of Ma-Ti that drove him to Heroic Suicide in the first place. He spends a year getting sadder and more obsessed with responsibility, and then in To Boldly Flee - to put it in simple terms - atones, apologizes and makes his own Heroic Suicide too.
- In Entry #66 of Marble Hornets, Tim admits to Jay that he feels everything that happened to the cast of Marble Hornets is his fault because his exposure to the Operator as a child may have been what lured it to them in the first place.
- Helga Pataki says it twice in the same scene of Hey Arnold, "Phoebe Breaks A Leg".
- Arnold also says this after he somehow caused Helga to go blind, which turns out not to be the case, but he doesn't know that. Matters are not made better by Grandpa, who keeps prattling on how Helga will somehow get by, somehow, even after what Arnold did to her. Of course Helga plays this up enormously, as it keeps Arnold completely at her back and call.
- The Simpsons, Bart, on his dog running away, says this phrase, following it with "I called him a dumb dog". Others also blame themselves, as well.
- Also from The Simpsons, Marge says that Homer getting thrown into a U.K. jail is "partially my fault" in the episode "The Regina Monologues". This was also done in an earlier episode ("Bart the Lover"), where Bart said "I can't help but feel partly responsible." when he was entirely responsible for Mrs Krabapple's hurt feelings.
- Another one from The Simpsons: When Maude Flanders gets Killed Off for Real after being hit by cannon-launched T-shirts while getting hot dogs, Ned worries it's all his fault, for not getting them himself.
Homer: Don't blame yourself, Ned. After all, it was me who insisted we go to the game. It was me who provoked the lethal barrage of T-shirts. It was me who parked in the ambulance zone, negating any possibility of resuscitation... But let's not play the blame game!
- Furthermore, when Homer drove Ned into moving away, he lamented "It's all somebody's fault!"
- Yet another Simpsons example; after Homer refuses to pull over and let Grandpa go to the bathroom, Grandpa's kidneys burst. Homer's response? "I blame myself!" Marge's response? "We all blame you."
- Angry declaration: Quasimodo, upon seeing Esmeralda being put on a stake in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- This is essentially the plot point of Finding Nemo.
- This is most of the plot of Disney's The Lion King.
- Aladdin does this on occasion, in both the series and films. In the first film, Jasmine says "It's all my fault" after Aladdin is taken captive. It's actually Jafar's fault, since he'd have needed Aladdin and had the guards capture him whether Jasmine got involved or not. Then Aladdin says it after Jafar steals the lamp and takes over Agrabah, which partly IS Aladdin's fault for not setting Genie free.
- This instance from "The Spice is Right" is probably the best example:
Aladdin: I'm gonna lose her, Genie, and it's all my fault!
Genie: You're right, kid. All your fault.
Aladdin: Now, wait a minute here! How was I supposed to know giving Jasmine a gift was going to unleash that guy?!
- From Beauty and the Beast, Belle says this after she's comforting the dying Beast.
- Skipper in The Penguins of Madagascar does this twice in a matter of about 12 episodes. The first time he poked a hole in Julien's bouncy house causing him to lose his crown and that was his fault in fairness, but the second, when one of the chimps causes him and the penguins to spin out and loss a race to the lemurs and by default their car also he accepts full responsibility despite the fact he did nothing that caused it. He even said they would have resignation in the morning because of his shame and guilt.
- Played with in Avatar The Last Airbender when Katara's theft of a Water Bending scroll has gotten them all captured by pirates and Zuko:
Katara: Aang, this is all my fault.
Aang: No, Katara, it isn't.
Iroh: Yeah, it kind of is...
- A more serious example is Sokka's attitude in the first half of "The Boiling Rock".
- Inverted in the episode "The Desert" when Sandbenders steal Appa. Aang blames Toph for saving him, Katara and Sokka instead of Appa.
- Zuko feels this way about being banished, that he did something dishonorable by speaking out against the senseless sacrifice of novice troops and subsequently displaying filial piety in the Agni Kai arena. This is pretty common for child abuse survivors in real life.
- He finally realized he wasn't to blame, just that his father is "a monster, and the worst father in the history of fathers".
- Variation in Danny Phantom, after Valerie's been hurt during Pariah Dark's invasion:
Tucker: You can't blame yourself for this. It's not your fault.
- Used in Ben 10 when Ben thinks that Gwen has died.
- Parodied after Stan's parents split up on South Park:
Stan: Oh no! This is all my fault, isn't it?
Sharon: ...yeah, kinda.
Stan: Dude, you're not supposed to say that!
- Also when Terrance and Philip reconcile:
Philip: Terrance, I-
Terrance: No. No, Phillip, don't say it. I'm an asshole, and this is mostly my fault.
Philip: That's what I was gonna say: You're an asshole, and this is mostly your fault.
- In Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Oneupsman Chip", Chip's joke on Dale backfires when it leads the latter out of safety and right into the hands of archenemy Fat Cat's men. A dejected Chip says "This is all my fault", and the other Rangers console him... until Gadget blurts out that "although basically, you did trick him into going there." Great consolation, Gadget. Chip bonks himself on the head and resolves to rescue his friend.
- In Garfield and Friends episode 16, "Scrambled Eggs", a turtle mama mistakes Sheldon for her baby, and the turtle baby (who, indeed, is still mostly inside his shell, except for his legs) is led back to the barn by Booker, because they both have vision problems, apparently. Roy, too, is afflicted, as he tries out his sneezing powder on "Sheldon", and hides. It's effective mainly because it wouldn't be funny if it just bounced off. The turtle sneezes, breaking him out. He leaves before Roy looks around the corner. When the dust clears... all that's left is a shell! Roy walks around dejected for a while, thinking he's sneezed himself into nothingness, until a couple of seconds after he realizes he's just said hello to him.
- The Brain, of Pinky And The Brain, after he accidentally pushes Pinky off the countertop they are standing on: "It's all my fault! This obsession with taking over the world is causing me to hurt the ones I... tolerate."
- In the Super Mario World cartoon, Luigi blames himself for the cave people's crops being stolen. (This scene has, needless to say, been memetically mutated in YouTube Poop and nicknamed "Emo Luigi".)
: Now wait, Luigi! The cave people can go back to picking berries. Luigi
: Aw, no they can't! Oh Mario, I was so sure that we'd have a great crop, that I told the cave people they didn't have to save berries anymore, and they didn't. They don't have any food stored for the winter. *sob* AND IT'S ALL MY FAAAULT!
- King of the Hill: Peggy blames herself for the problems of Hank's co-worker, uttering the "It's all my fault." Hank tries and fails to re-assure her. "No it's not...OK, it is."
- In the Family Guy episode Mother Tucker, Peter says this before running up the stairs sobbing when his mother leaves Tom Tucker and needs to be consoled.
- Subverted in another episode after Peter ran over Brian with his car (it was entirely Peter's fault): "I can't help but think this is somehow Meg's fault."
- In the Disney war short "The Old Army Game", Sergeant Pete yells this when he thinks Donald got cut in half after he threw him (in a box) onto some razor wire.
- In the Recess episode 'The Lost Leader' TJ blames himself when Gus gets injured during a Zany Scheme...because TJ forgot a teacher had fishstick stuck in their teeth. (Complicated plan.) Plus it was mostly Gus's fault for panicking. But TJ goes into Heroic BSOD for the rest of the episode and even resigns as leader until the other five pull him out of it.
- In the Futurama episode "The Sting", Leela blames herself for Fry's death by space bee sting. The professor tries to comfort her by telling her it isn't her fault - then ruins it by (loudly) telling Bender, "I'm lying to make her feel better!"
- Subverted in the first film. Bender believes he's killed Fry, and Amy tries to tell him not to blame himself. Bender says that he in fact blames all of them for what he did. He sees his ability to do so as proof of how great he is.
- Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In "Have Plane, Will Travel," Dastardly feels the pangs of guilt when he thinks Klunk has flipped his lid in trying to use clouds as a means of chasing Yankee Doodle Pigeon.
Dastardly: It's all my fault. I've been too hard on the poor nincompoop.