Living Emotional Crutch
He's there for the ruff times.

Leslie: You just do everything your boyfriend tells you to do? Make any pancakes lately?
Ann: He has two broken legs.
Leslie: Yeah, and he's got three crutches. And one of them is you. And the other two are crutches.

This person, let's call her Alice,note  provides a troubled character, let's call him Bob, with the emotional, psychological, and/or moral support to function. Sometimes to function at all. She might be his first good friend, a Love Interest, a psychiatrist/priest Confidant, or a full-blown Caretaker to Bob, serving as a Morality Chain or Kid with the Leash to rein in Bob's darker tendencies, deliver pep talks and administer a Cooldown Hug.

Summed up, while she's alive and near him, Bob is a better, happier person.

This is why she will usually get kidnapped or killed. Bob's reaction will be one of two extremes: a psychotic Unstoppable Rage on par with The Hulk in the throes of withdrawal from Gamma-Cocaine, or comatose gibbering. The middle road is a Tranquil Fury of deadly determination.

There are some dark uses of this trope. If Bob is psychotically possessive, he will go to any lengths to protect Alice from perceived threats, culminating in destroying everyone she loves so she becomes trapped in an All Take and No Give relationship. This is especially tragic if Alice genuinely wants to help him, but he's already sliding too far to help. When she inevitably leaves him/is rescued, Bob's mental state takes a nosedive.

Sometimes, Alice will be able to introduce Bob to other friends, lessening his dependence on her. Very rarely, she will be able to cure him of his dependence entirely, or give him the necessary tools and resolve to survive when she's gone.

This trope has some basis in Real Life. People like Bob might be diagnosed with dependent personality disorder or, if they're cripplingly shy around most others, avoidant personality disorder.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Adekan Kojiro appears to be a Living Emotional Crutch for Shiro with all the Ho Yay implications attached and Shiro actively allows Kojiro to get close to him most of the time stemming from his Dark and Troubled Past and as a kid was very close to Anri who served as a Living Emotional Crutch for him before Kojiro came into the picture. It's even said outright that since Shiro had his humanity stripped away from him he's learning to be kind and care about people again ever since he got close to Kojiro, given how Kojiro himself is such a kindhearted guy.
  • Kaori is one of these to Tetsuo from AKIRA, and is the one person keeping him from losing his mind completely. In the anime, she dies horribly when she's engulfed by the...thing that Tetsuo has become after losing control of his powers. In the manga, she's gunned down by Tetsuo's treacherous lieutenant and Tetsuo not only kills said lieutenant, but carries her lifeless body around in his arms.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Eren is one to Mikasa: as he saved her from the people who murdered her biological family and is the only one of her loving adopted family left, she's deeply attached to him and even joins the military solely to protect him (despite her status as The Gift). Needless to say, she has more than one massive (but tranquil) Freak-Out after she thinks something bad has happened to him.
    • Krista being one to Ymir is a darker example: Ymir is completely willing to side with the villains and take away Krista's future if it means she can have her to herself, and she openly admits it.
  • Attack on Titan: Junior High:
    • Again, Eren to Mikasa, although the reason for her dependence on him isn't clear. When deprived of Eren for too long, Mikasa loses 70% of her skills and confidence.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia Russia is normally an Ax-Crazy Stepford Smiler. It's also hinted that Russia has feelings for his "favorite" Lithuania. Additionally if you ask the fandom, Lithuania is the only one who can keep Russia relatively sane.
    • Also, Russia truly loves his older sister Ukraine as much as his insanity lets him.
    • Germany for Italy, with the latter having fits of panic and depression whenever it's even hinted that Germany might stop being friends with him.
      • It's also likely that North Italy is one for Germany, as he mentions that Italy is one of the first friends he has had.
  • Berserk
    • Casca is this to Guts because without her around Guts would probably completely give in to his Superpowered Evil Side.
    • During his time with the Hawks, Guts eventually became Griffith's crutch. Griffith trusted Guts with the seedier elements of his power plays and opened up to him more than anyone, even Casca. The downward spiral toward the Despair Event Horizon that would eventually result in Griffith becoming Femto started when Guts decided to leave the Band of the Hawk.
    • Casca also had shades of this when it came to her relationship with Griffith, since she had also seen a more vulnerable side to Griffith that no one else had seen and helped him through it. Griffith did not take it well when he found out that she and Guts had become an item, which was the final straw before his Despair Event Horizon.
  • Betrayal Knows My Name:
    • Yuki to Luka.
    • Every Zwelit partner to another, especially Hotsuma and Shuusei, who are only one step away of being an Official Couple of the Ho Yay variety, and who state multiple times that they cannot live without the other.
  • In the second series of Black Butler, Claude appears to be this for Alois. It backfires. Horribly.
  • In Brave10, Saizo is one for Isanami. After watching her home being burned to the ground and almost everyone she knew being killed, she adopts Saizo as "her light."
  • Last Order to Accelerator from A Certain Magical Index, his Morality Pet that catalyzed his Heel–Face Turn after his defeat at the hands of protagonist Kamijou Touma. Seeing how she is integral to the SISTERS network, she is also the embodiment of his redemption. Also, she gets kidnapped. A lot. The entire second half of Accelerator's story arc is his quest to save her, which involves turning on the city that raised him, him travelling through Siberia, facing off against Angels and spontaneously figuring out and using magic, something which usually would at least severely harm any weaker ESPer and definitely kill the stronger ones like Accelerator. He also is taken care of by Yoshikawa, who has a great effect on his mental health. And then there's Misaka Worst, a girl who is his crutch and he is hers in return. Their relationship is… entertaining.
    • Touma has recently become this for Othinus with Ollerus mentioning that if Touma were to die in front of Othinus then she would become even more of a monster than she once was.
  • Code Geass:
    • C.C. was this for Mao. And he wants her back! Cue heavy, heavy drama with a bit of squick thrown in.
    • More subtly, Nunnally for Lelouch. Compare how Lelouch is when Nunnally is around to when she isn't—or even more so, when she is his opponent or he thinks she is dead.
    • Euphemia is this for Nina. Just look at how Nina reacts when Euphemia dies.
    • Euphemia is this for Suzaku.
  • Lina from Cyborg 009 is this for Phil, despite his protests. When she's thrown into the Bad Future alongside Joe/the titular 009, Phil is devastated to the point of an Heroic B.S.O.D., and Mai lampshades the trope by saying that without Lina, the child simply will NOT survive.
  • Light to Misa in Death Note (whether he wants to be or not). This becomes a plot point when Rem realizes that she cannot kill Light without taking Misa's will to live, since she has become dependent on him. Light uses this trope to his advantage and forces Rem to kill L for him, even if Rem would die after doing it because she would voluntarily influence Misa's remaining life time which is forbidden for Shinigami to do so.
  • In Detective Conan, Shinichi Kudo aka Conan Edogawa has his almost-girlfriend Ran Mouri. At best, the thought of her showing interest in other guys makes him almost childishly jealous and it's mostly Played for Laughs. At worst, whenever Ran has disappeared/been attacked/been wounded/ believed to be dead, Conan has either fallen into Heroic BSODs and, at least once, has been dangerously close to crossing the Despair Event Horizon. Ran is no better, considering that when he disappeared, she was worried to the point of insomnia and is now waiting for him to come back without knowing where he is or what he's doing. She also shows jealousy whenever any girl appears to be interested in him.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Mr. Satan and Bee (the puppy) becomes this to Fat Buu. He completely loses it when they're shot by a madman to the point that he releases all his inner evil who took the form of Evil Buu. They're also the primary reason he is ultimately redeemed.
    • Goku and Krillin to each other. They were training buddies and in Krillin's case, the first real friend he ever had. When Goku isn't around Krillin is noticeably pessimist (more than usual) and is more prone to depression. For Goku, hurting or killing Krillin tends to sends him into murderous rages.
    • Goku is also this to his son, Gohan. When Goku isn't around, Gohan tends to have less self-confidence in himself and it's his father's encouragements that inspires him to make one final stand against Cell.
    • Piccolo and Gohan are this to each other too. At first, Gohan was terrified of Piccolo, and Piccolo was annoyed by Gohan's constant whining, but their relationship after they bonded over the course of their training for the Saiyan. Every time Piccolo dies (In Z, GT, and Super), Gohan will be saddened. Piccolo believed Gohan had died fighting Majin Buu, he was also greatly affected.
    • Trunks and Bulma are this for Vegeta after his character development. If his family threatened in any way, he will react violently, as seen when Cell kills Future Trunk upon his return, and Beerus striking Bulma in retaliation for slapping him.
  • Elfen Lied:
    • Kohta to Lucy.
    • Kurama to Nana as well. Sort of...
  • Eureka Seven:
    • Played straight for Eureka in episodes 24 to 26. She is constantly in grief at Renton's absence and determined to see him to the point that she departed from Gekko behind everyone's back, including the three kids, to find Renton. She was finally emotionally at ease when she was reunited with Renton.
    • Also, Anemone starts off as a violently psychotic Tyke Bomb, but grows much stabler in the presence of her handler/guardian Dominic. Late in the series, he manages to restore her sanity completely through the Power of Love.
  • In Free!, Makoto is Haruka's crutch, functioning at Haruka's all-in-one intermediary, alarm clock, and constant companion, making Haruka's life as easy and non-confrontational as possible. It should be noted that Haruka also functions as an occasional emotional crutch for Makoto, too. When Makoto tells Haruka that he is going to attend a university in Tokyo, Haruka has a BSOD; even then, Makoto discusses the issue with Rin, and prompts Rin to take Haruka to Australia, where Haruka (re)discovers his love for swimming. At the end of the series, Haruka also ends up in Tokyo, though he's not living with Makoto, so it's up in the air whether Makoto will remain Haruka's crutch.
  • Freezing:
    • Kazuya Aoi is this for Satellizer. Before she met Kazuya she was a Broken Bird, unable to stand any physical contact and suffered constant torment from her half-brother's sexual abuse. After meeting Kazuya, she underwent massive Character Development and was able to face all of her problems and improved greatly for it. Now, her greatest fear is losing Kazuya, so much so that when her greatest fear manifest, it's in the form of Kazuya's sister, who was the closest person in Kazuya's life before her. Recently, it's becoming more mutual with Kuzuya and his family issues.
    • Gengo, Kazuya's grandfather, is this for his bodyguard Su-Na Lee. As The Sociopath, Su-Na had difficulty socializing and understanding emotions such as grief. As a result she was ostracized, even by the few friends she had. She eventually tells Gengo about herself and instead of shunning her, he accepts her and offers to be her "family". Afterwards, she seems to grow quite a bit as a person.
  • Fairy Tail: The main Exceeds in the series to their respective Dragon Slayers. When it looked like Jiemma had killed Lector, Sting had a major Freak-Out that ended with him blasting Jiemma through the stomach. And it was Frosch's death at the hands of an evil Gray Fullbuster in an alternate future that caused Future!Rogue to turn evil.
    • Happy is clearly distraught over the prospect of Natsu dying because of how his life is linked Zeref. He cries uncontrollably, begging for Natsu to live.
    • Lucy has Fairy Tail as a whole for crutch, as her Lonely Rich Kid background can attest.
    • Juvia is officially this for Gray, having lost so many people in his life, such as his parents, his Master and foster mother, and his father once more. When Juvia is nearly killed Invel during the war against the Alvarez Empire, he becomes so bent on revenge that he nearly fought to the death with Natsu, who is revealed to be E.N.D, his greatest nemesis. Thankfully, Juvia survives, and Gray comes to his senses.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • This is essentially stated to be the case with Hawkeye and Mustang. When she's told that he's dead, she loses the will to live. Later, when he threatens to be consumed by his own desire for revenge, she—fulfilling the oath she made before the start of the series—prepares to shoot him; the fact that she intends to kill herself afterward keeps him from crossing his Moral Event Horizon. Later still, when she's on the brink of death, he begs her not to die and leave him alone. They're an unfortunate case of Love Hurts, but they'd still rather be together.
    • The Elric brothers are also a form of this for one another.
    • On the villainous side, there's Lust and Gluttony. Considering how Gluttony's a literal bottomless pit who only cares about his next meal, it says a lot how he listens to Lust and misses her, especially after she dies. It's taken even further in the 2003 anime, wherein Gluttony becomes so consumed with grief that he doesn't even think about eating after Lust dies.
  • Yukiteru for Yuno in Future Diary. One reason Yukiteru continues a relationship with her as the series goes on, despite her psychosis, is the fact that she is noticeably more stable and calm when she's with him, and he believes he can help her. And she turns out to have a deeply heartbreaking and screwed up reason to love him.
  • Issei to the Occult Research Club from High School D×D. When he dies in Ophis' dimension, the entire club goes into a severe Heroic B.S.O.D.. After all, when you have Akeno, the beautiful, serene and seductive heavyweight of the club go catatonic due to Issei's death, then you know things can't get any worse.
  • Princess Finé in Izetta: The Last Witch is this to the titular character Izetta. Izetta admitted to herself she used to be lonely and hated herself before becoming friends with the princess, and she only started liking herself thanks to the kind princess.
  • Yata of K for Fushimi—or at least he used to be. It was when Fushimi thought Yata was distancing himself that he started going over the deep end. Yata is still something of his crutch, albeit in a twisted sort of way.
    • Totsuka seemed to be one for Mikoto before his death. After he died Mikoto seemed to have become something of a death seeker.
  • In Kaguya Hime, Midori is very much this to Yui, who becomes a useless crying mess every time they're separated. Midori hates it. And you can probably interpret a lot of other pairs as having this dynamic (Akira as Mayu's, Kaede and Katsura as each other's, Miller as Nobuo's, Yu-Ling as Gao Li-shi's, etc).
  • In Kara no Kyoukai Mikiya Kokutou becomes this to most characters. Specially to Shiki over the course of the series, although she doesn't notice it until the final moments of the last film. After she and Lio (who was very attached to Mikiya as well) mistake him for dead, their reactions go to the extremes. While Lio goes more Ax-Crazy than he already was, Shiki goes through a Tranquil Fury and murders Lio, the culprit, 7 times over in the space of a few seconds. She then falls over, and realizes that she really doesn't have any reason to get up. Then Mikiya then claws his way back to her.
    • Of course, keep in mind that Mikiya is explicitly characterised as a literal bodhisattva. The relationship between Shiki and Mikiya is one of the most complex possible, actually, since it mirrors the theoretical dynamic between Buddha (Mikiya) and Christ (Shiki).
  • Tsuna is this for Gokudera in Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. He reacted quite fiercely to learning Tsuna died and was the only one to visit his grave and did it quite often too.
    • This is the main reason Chrome Dokuro is Willfully Weak. She loves to rely on Mukuro.
  • In Koharu No Hibi Akira is this for Koharu. Very much so.
  • Miki is this to Ayumu in Life. She's the only person who knows of Ayumu's Self-Harm habits for most of the manga.
  • In Lying Mii-kun and Broken Maa-chan: Precious Lies, the titular characters are each others' crutches. The horrific ordeal they endured together in childhood screwed them up very badly, and their relationship is the only thing that lets them maintain even a semblance of sanity. As messed up as they are, the third kidnapped child aka the real "Mii-kun" is even more broken. The protagonist wonders if real!Mii-kun would have been less screwed up if he had remembered Maa-chan.
  • The least controversial interpretation of Nanoha and Fate's relationship in the Lyrical Nanoha franchise is that Nanoha serves as Fate's Living Emotional Crutch in the late first and most of the second season, following Precia's abuse and abandonment of Fate. Fate herself later serves as this to other characters, e.g. Erio. A recurring theme of the franchise is that while anyone can require an emotional crutch at some point, they will eventually be healed of their traumas and live a happy and satisfying life, if given enough warmth and care. And firepower.
  • In Mawaru-Penguindrum, what keeps Shouma and Kanba united despite their differences and the absence of their parents is their common care and affection for their sister Himari. Also, according to the flashbacks of episodes 19 and 20, Shouma used to be one for child!Himari, and he may still be.
  • Naruto:
    • Itachi was this for Sasuke, with Sasuke not realizing it until Itachi dies and Sasuke learns that Itachi had done everything to protect him in an HORRIBLY convoluted way; he then goes mad with grief and has a huge moment of Sanity Slippage.
    • It's implied that Orochimaru was this for Kabuto.
    • Rin. Oh, dear lord, just Rin. She is not only a crutch for one, but two. She was Obito's entire reason for living, and also the only one who keeps Kakashi's mental health together out of a promise he made with Obito. When she dies by basically commiting suicide by Kakashi's hand after she's forcibly turned into someone who could bring the world to an end, everything goes to hell for both boys: Obito becomes a psychotic terrorist hell-bent on assimilating mankind, Kakashi becomes a mentally damaged person whose sanity is barely hanging on and is dangerously close to being Driven to Suicide like his father before him.
    • Naruto and Hinata. Both characters with self-esteem issues helped out each other during the darkest of times in their lives. Naruto's determination inspired Hinata to never give up on herself, while Hinata gently encouraged Naruto during his moments of despair. Naruto's emotional dependency on Hinata first became apparent during the Invasion of Pain arc. Along with still reeling from his master Jiraiya's death, Naruto has just seen his village completely demolished, confirmed that his sensei Kakashi is dead, and just saw his frog-sensei get killed in front of him, and yet he still maintains control of his emotions. But as soon as he is Forced to Watch Pain almost fatally stab Hinata with one of his chakra rods, right after she sincerely confessed her love to him—which was the first time he ever heard anybody say that to him genuinely—Naruto crosses the Despair Event Horizon, completely loses his will to live, and nearly releases the Nine-Tails.
      Naruto: When Pain struck Hinata I was so mad, so full of rage, my heart instantly connected with the Kyuubi's will.
      • If one were to keep a close eye on their interactions throughout the series, Naruto seems calmer around Hinata and more open about his insecurities with her than with anybody else, as if being with her helps him be at peace with all the pain he's been through in his life.
      • After Hinata "rejects" Naruto in The Last: Naruto the Movie, our Determinator finds himself in a deep depression for four days—three of which he spends in an Angst Coma—and even comes very close to giving up on everything. A pep talk from Sakura regarding the depths and unwavering nature of Hinata's love for him snaps him out of it and gives him a Heroic Second Wind. After the Final Battle, Naruto and Hinata finally become a couple, get married, and have two children together.
      • This quote from Sakura Hiden explicitly states just how important Hinata is to Naruto:
      "Throughout that mission, Naruto realized that Hinata's being was irreplaceable and essential to him."
  • In No. 6 it's hinted that Sion and Nezumi are this for each other. Nezumi for Sion especially. Take for example Sion's reaction to a guy almost killing Nezumi in episode 10.
  • In No Game No Life, Sora and Shiro are this to each other. They have to be near each other in order to keep each other sane and
  • One Piece:
    • Ace is definitely this for Luffy. Notice Luffy's reaction when Ace died. In turn, Luffy was this to Ace, to the point that he says that he probably wouldn't want to live if it wasn't for him and Sabo.
    • All the Straw Hats are this to each other. They all helped each other in their time of need and become noticeably depress when separated from each other. It's Luffy thinking of his crew that gives him the will to live after Ace's death, just like how Robin's will to keep living was rekindled when she realized that the Straw Hats were the friends she's been searching for all her life.
  • Osomatsu-san: The titular man relies on his five younger brothers more than they rely on him. When they all start leaving home in "Letter", Osomatsu becomes withdrawn and unstable.
  • Pandora Hearts: Elliot to Leo. Leo by far appears to take Elliot's death the hardest, blaming himself entirely for Elliot's death and losing his sanity in the days that follow. Elliot's also the only reason that Leo was even friends with Oz with Leo stating to Oz that now that Elliot is dead there's no reason for them to be friends anymore but rather enemies.
    • Alice to Oz. Oz goes into Love Makes You Crazy mode over Alice when he thinks she died and when she's feeling pain.
    • Oz for Gil. Big time. Also, Gil for Vincent. Though sometimes even Gil isn't enough to rein in Vincent's Ax-Crazy tendencies but its implied he would go completely and irreversibly Ax-Crazy if Gil ever died.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica Madoka Kaname is basically the only reason Homura Akemi keeps going. She also sort of acts as this for Sayaka, at least at first.
  • Oriko and Kirika, of Puella Magi Oriko Magica are basically two crutches leaning against each other. The former is the town pariah, and a Knight Templar who becomes increasingly conscious of the consequences of her actions, while the latter was antisocial even before being warped by her wish to the point of psychological dependency. Neither one seems able to survive without the other, happily risking their lives for the other's sake and no one else's, and neither seems to have any real friends outside of the other. The last scene of the manga shows this trope almost literally, with Kirika promising to shoulder half the burden of Oriko's guilt as they pass into the afterlife holding hands.
  • In Ranma ˝, although neither would admit it both Akane and Ranma are this to each other. Case in point, when he thought Akane had died Ranma went into a Heroic B.S.O.D. so bad that he only came out of it when he learned that Akane was still alive.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena:
    • Touga is this for his sister Nanami. She's very attached to him and he even managed to stop her from killing Utena in one duel.
    • Akio and Anthy are a dark example for each other— they manipulate and betray everyone besides each other because, after the massive shit they went through as Prince Dios and his sweet little sister, they're too afraid to live any other way. Their relationship isn't portrayed as healthy or pleasant for either of them (and in Anthy's case), it's clearly abusive.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Kaoru is this to Kenshin. When he believed that she was killed by Enishi, he shuts down and loses the will to live. He only partly snaps out of it because of his desire to protect his friends.
    • Kenshin is also this to Kaoru. When he left for Tokyo and gave his final goodbye, she became so emotionally distressed that she laid in bed for days. She only got up to go after Kenshin and bring him back.
    • Before Kaoru, there was Tomoe. She was explicitly said to be the sheath (sanity) to his sword (savagery) and brought him out of the darkness of being an assassin.
    • To a lesser, Kenshin is this to Sanosuke. It was Kenshin that helped him get over his grief and anger over his mentor's betrayal and death. When Kenshin left for Tokyo, Sanosuke was the first one to go after him.
  • In the beginning of Saikano Chise is acting as Shuuji's crutch. By the end, Shuuji is the crutch to an emotionally destroyed Chise.
  • In Sailor Moon, Usagi seems to be this for all the Guardian Senshi, at least at first. Said Guardian Senshi, in order of introduction, are: Ami Mizuno a shy honor student who is further snubbed by the other students due her shyness being mistaken for arrogance who never had a friend before; Rei Hino, who, depending on the medium, was either practically abandoned by her father and is still recovering from a massive love delusion (manga and possibly second anime) or became an outcast due her Psychic Powers and a string of kidnappings near her temple; Makoto Kino, a Huge Schoolgirl treated with fear and hostility due an undeserved fame as a bully; and Minako Aino, a competent Senshi who is Married to the Job and, because of this, the local poster girl for Broken Ace and Stepford Smiler (listing everything that happened to her would take too much time, so we'll just inform you that, in the manga, she killed her true love because he happened to be Kunzite's Dragon, and as a civilian, is seen as too weird by her classmates). With time they recover, but they still remain rather attached to Usagi. It's even lampshaded in the R movie, when The Dragon is torturing Usagi and the girls, after recalling the above depicted sad pasts, they throw themselves at the feet of said Dragon while begging him to not kill Usagi:
    Rei: "You don't understand it [what she means to us], do you? WITHOUT USAGI, WE WOULD'VE BEEN ALONE FOREVER!"
  • In Saint Beast, the half-human, half-angel brothers Kira and Maya are this for each other.
  • In Saiyuki the four main characters are arguably this to each other, as due to their pasts no one in the group functions at all correctly when they don't have the others to fall back on. This was best demonstrated when Gojyo left the party and things started going wrong almost immediately. More specifically though, Goku is Sanzo's (before he met him, he was emotionally dead) and Gojyo is Hakkai's. Both those relationships work the other way around as well, though Gojyo and Goku have much less volatile personalities so it isn't as apparent... Though it could be argued that without Sanzo, Goku becomes Seiten Taisen, and you don't get much more volatile than that.
  • School Days:
    • Setsuna is this to Sekai. Setsuna knows it clearly, too; hence why she wants her to be with Makoto, so he can protect her because she's soon moving abroads and doesn't want Sekai to be all alone.
    • Makoto is one for Kotonoha. When she found out that he was cheating on her, she started falling into denial and despair.
  • School-Live!:
    • Megu-nee is this to Yuki. Without her Yuki would have a breakdown and her delusions that she isn't in a zombie apocalypse would shatter. Megu-nee isn't actually alive, though. She in herself is a delusion but others trying to remind her that Megu-nee died weeks ago causes Yuki to freak out.
    • Yuki is a far more subtle version of this to Yuuri. Rii seems to be a stable, Cool Big Sis character but it's shown she's Not So Stoic several times until she outright starts slipping when Yuki's mental health starts getting better. Yuki's optimistic and cheerful attitude, due to her being oblivious of the Zombie Apocalypse, keeps everyone going.
  • Hatori serves as one to Chiaki in Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi. Despite their personality types being reversed, Chiaki is unable to function without Hatori who has been taking care of him all of his life. Without Hatori by his side, Chiaki loses the will to do anything. And Hatori technically takes advantage of this by brutally raping his best friend. The dependancy is so strong that Chiaki is willing to ignore what happened to him just so Hatori will stay by his side. Naturally, this dependancy is shown to actually be more harmful than good.
  • Played very close to literally in Serial Experiments Lain, in which Masami Eri attempts to talk Lain into loving him because, as he claims, no one else is capable of doing so—but in order to even exist, he not only needs Lain's affection, but also requires that Lain worship him as a God, and the most powerful being in the Universe. When Lain turns on him and criticizes his own manipulative logic in her Crowning Moment of Awesome and renounces her belief that Eri has ever been a God and is only a narcissistic wannabe created by the real God, Eri literally just disappears, blinking out of existence completely, since by that point in the story, Lain was the last person left in the world to believe he was God.
  • Yuu and Mika are very much this to each other in Seraph of the End and Yuu's past family and current comrades are this to him.
  • Kaede from SHUFFLE!. As long as she can live with and take care of Rin, she's the nicest, gentlest person around. It's only when he starts shutting her out of his life that trouble starts. To her credit, she tries to keep it under control and feels shame when she can't. The difference between her and a regular Yandere is that she doesn't care how many girls are in Rin's life, as long as she's one of them.
  • Both Simon and Kamina, from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are interesting examples, as they are both crutches for each other. Simon has a limitless amount of potential, but too timid to live up to it. Kamina, meanwhile, knows how to inspire confidence, but can't do much by himself other then boast. For these reasons both believe they need the other to go on. When Kamina dies, Simon falls to pieces as a result. He recovers and gains his confidence thanks to Nia's support.
    "Listen up, Simon. Don't believe in yourself. Believe in me! Believe in me, who believes in you!"
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu eventually becomes Barnaby's Only Friend and confidant. It's because of his influence that Barnaby is able to adjust to having any sort of life after spending twenty years socially withdrawn and preoccupied with revenge. According to the creators, if Kotetsu had actually died in the final episodes, Barnaby never would have recovered.
  • Tokyo Ghoul:
    • Tsukiyama is one for Kanae. The idea of Tsukiyama choosing Sasaki/Kaneki instead of her lead her to become susceptible to Eto's torture and manipulations as well as becoming increasingly unstable and murderous. She even sacrifices herself so Tsukyama can live because she can't live without him.
    • Kaneki is initially one for Tsukiyama as the thought of loosing him to anyone makes him crumble into despair and his apparent death leads to his Angst Coma. Merely learning about Sasaki's existence in the sequel is enough to revive his health. However, after choosing his family over continuing his obsession with Kaneki/Sasaki his family becomes this for him.
    • Torso's backstory reveals he grew up isolated from others and was abused by his father. He states the best time of his life was when he made his first female friend. When his father killed her he killed him. Mutsuki also ends up becoming this for Torso and he considers Mutsuki to be a replacement for his deceased friend though he resorts to unscrupulous means to keep Mutsuki by his side.
    • In chapter 114 Sasaki/Kaneki is revealed to be one for Mutsuki as Mutsuki states to Uta wearing Sasaki's face that they love him and thinks "Without you around I..." Given what we know about Mutsuki we know they are attached to Sasaki because of his kindness towards them that they grew up living so long without due to abuse from their father in their childhood and from Torso. They may be mentally unstable now but according to them they are much more well adjusted and calm around the actual Sasaki/Kaneki.
  • Kisshu of Tokyo Mew Mew goes insane out of love for Ichigo when she refuses to love him and stay by his side and he tries to kill her. When it seems she might get hurt because of him in one episode its enough to break him out of his crazy Yandere facade.
  • Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest: Aoshika and Inugami are this to each other. When Haguro found out, he set out to break Aoshika so he would tear them apart. It failed.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Both Yugi and the Other Yugi to one another, at least initially. Once aware of his existence, Yugi depends on the other Yugi to handle situations he can't, usually with the copious amounts of bullies at his school and with other duelists in both tournament arcs. The other Yugi depends on Yugi for a purpose, and the link between their souls later boosts him during the Millennium World arc. The Ceremonial Duel is essentially a test to see if Yugi is ready to 'stand on his own'.
    • Rishid more or less takes this role for his Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds kid brother Malik, since Rishid swore to protect Malik when their mother was dying after Malik's birth, and he has a bit of a guilt complex about having once tried to murder Malik—plus, Rishid is grateful toward Malik because Malik considers him a brother despite the fact Rishid was a foundling and was only taken in grudgingly by their dad. Therefore, Rishid is committed to putting up with Malik's crap. It actually manifests in a particularly obvious way: Malik's Superpowered Evil Side can only take over if Rishid is unconscious. And if regular Malik is pretty unpleasant and maladjusted, Yami Malik is much worse.
    • Guardian Eatos is this to Rafael. After she gets destroyed, Rafael gets a massive O.O.C. Is Serious Business moment, by sending all of his beloved monsters to the graveyard to empower Eatos' Evil Counterpart, despite Rafael did everything to protect his monster cards before.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Johan quickly becomes this for Judai in season 3. When Judai starts questioning himself and his motives for dueling, he opens up to Johan and ends up latching on him emotionally, even to the point of obsession (more details on that here). So when Johan gets left behind in the other dimension, the second half is almost entirely devoted to Judai's search for him (and his other friends hesitatingly coming along). His obsession leads to his friends getting captured and killed.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Odd-Eyes Dragon/Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon is this to Yuya. Whenever it gets destroyed, Yuya becomes incredibly sad. This is until he learns that destroyed Pendulum Monsters don't go to the graveyard, but to the Extra Deck instead, so they can be Pendulum Summoned again.
    • Yuzu is this as well for Yuya. When Yuzu disappeared from the Standard dimension and Yuya thought she was either kidnapped by Academia or worse, killed, he couldn't think straight in his duel against Reiji. In said duel Yuya reveals his inner feelings about Yuzu, that she was always with him, supporting him even when he was bullied, and that she never left him. His worry kept repeating everytime, in the Synchro Dimension, when he saw that Yuzu was in some kind of danger. It's also her voice that makes him calm down once he starts becoming controlled by Zarc.

    Comic Books 
  • Billy Butcher in The Boys has two. The first was his wife, until she died. The second was his dog... until he died.
  • Rick Jones to the Incredible Hulk. Also Betty Banner and (on a good day) Doc Samson.
  • Deconstructed in the Supergirl Green Lantern crossover Red Daughter of Krypton. Guy Gardner tries to convince his ex-girlfriend Ice to get back together, stating that she keeps him sane. She replies that isn't a good foundation for a relationship.
    Guy: Come on, babe. Give me a shot. I need this— out there... It's no easy. I need a reason to keep it together.
    Tora: Guy, you have your good qualities. But you must see why the idea of being your sole link to sanity is less than appealing to me. The weight of that — we'd never get out from under it.
  • Exploited in Watchmen, where The Government employs young women (Janey Slater and later, Laurie Juspeczyk) as Living Emotional Crutches for the Physical God Dr. Manhattan, realizing that this is pretty much the only thing that can preserve the last shreds of humanity within him (and also incidentally, keep him on the planet and working for the right people). True enough, as soon as Laurie dumps him, Dr. Manhattan moves to Mars with no intent of ever visiting humanity again. And it's Laurie again who manages to renew his interest in humanity and come back to Earth, however briefly.

    Fan Works 
  • There is a strong element of this to the bond between the Heralds of Andraste in All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird. Should one be seriously injured or thought to be dead, the other doesn't take it well; it's so pronounced that when something happens to both of them at the same time, their companions are actually relieved because "there would be no comforting a lone Herald."
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Asylum, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy are this way to each other. They both are emotionally distraught and very distant from most other ponies, but are friendly toward each other. Dash is quite protective of Fluttershy, while Fluttershy is a socially anxious mess around everypony but Rainbow Dash.
  • A Triangle in the Stars: As if Steven didn't have enough weight on his shoulders having to take care of the Crystal Gems and sometimes Connie, Bill, of all people, eventually comes to depend on him for support. However, while he likes the encouragement, given his Pride he often doesn't like being so helpless and so dependent and often tries to fix things himself (read: hold things in).
  • In Brainbent, Aradia to Sollux. He nearly hero-worships her, which is not unjustified—he has severe bipolar disorder, and she's one of the only people who has consistently stuck with him. She's also one of the reasons none of his suicide attempts have been successful. He tends to get very angry if anyone points out his dependency on her, but at the same time wonders if he's burdening her too much with his problems. She's pretty good at dealing with it, though, and says that she chose this and she can handle it, because he's her friend.
  • Unlike in Naruto canon, this is consciously averted in Catch Your Breath with regards to Obito and Rin. Kei makes friends with them in the Academy and, due to being the only member of the group with a living family, quickly incorporates both orphans into an extended family group with her, her mother, and her brother. Because of this, Obito is less dependent on Rin and later defies Madara’s attempt to break him to heel. Kei points this out in a later chapter.
  • In A Charmed Life Ryuk becomes this for Light, helping him through his psychotic breakdowns.
  • In the Dead or Alive fic Kunoichis Like Us, Kasumi ends up becoming one to Alex, and he admits as such because he doesn't want to be alone again.
  • Apollo to Klavier in Dirty Sympathy, Klavier had been virtually isolated by both his fame and by his abusive lover so Apollo is the first person he got close to. When Klavier thought Apollo was killed, he nearly went over the Despair Event Horizon until he saw he was fine.
  • In the Facing the Future Series, it's revealed that Danny is this to Sam, who says that she can't live without him and that he's the only one who really makes her happy.
  • First Try Series, Mai Tokai is the emotional crutch to her husband, Renji. In a mission gone wrong, Mai is severely injured, leaving their leader Zabuza to worry that Renji will kill himself if his wife doesn't survive from her injuries.
  • In A Growing Affection, Naruto becomes this for Hinata. When he is around (physically or spiritually), she is able to stand up for herself. When he's not, she is almost as much of a Shrinking Violet doormat was she was at the start of the story.
  • In Hope for the Heartless, Avalina causes pleasant feelings in the Horned King with her aura of Life against his aura of Death and beautiful piano playing. After months of experiencing these, his heart becomes alive again and just mentioning her name calms his mind.
  • In the Percy Jackson and the Olympians fanfic I Need Another Story, all of Victoria's siblings are this for her, to the point that she almost certainly would have committed suicide by now if it weren't for them.
  • In Your Arms centers around Harry Dresden becoming this to Molly. His temporary death coincided with a very bad time in her life, and she therefore associates him with safety. One of the reasons they share an apartment is because his presence stabilizes her.
  • In the Lord of the Rings fanfic Lost In The Darkness, Aragorn explains to Haldir that he "fear[s] for Frodo's survival" if Sam dies.
    "Frodo carries the Ring, but Sam..." He shook his head. "Sam carries Frodo."
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Memories Born Of Fire, Spock becomes rather dependent on Kirk's presence after the kal-i-fee. McCoy and Chapel's conversation partway through suggests that this is always the case:
    "Doctor, what is he going to do if...something ever really does happen to the Captain?" she asked hesitantly.
    The question hung ominously in the air between them for a moment before McCoy finally managed to answer her.
    "I don't know, Christine. I have my theories…?but I'm in no rush to check them out. It's a question Jim and I don't ask, especially after something like this happens; we're afraid to find out the answer."
  • Samus becomes this for Mitsuzane in Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations when she learns his tragic backstory. Samus's fighting spirit as a whole is what motivates him to follow her and fight his inner demons.
    • His brother Takatora also counts. Gou is also this for Mitsuzane too, one chapter states that he can't make good sarcastic remarks without him.
    • Micchy himself becomes this to Alain, encouraging him to gain a purpose in life as a human.
  • Mortality has this with Holmes and Watson, since Watson is MOST LIKELY pissed while interrogating a criminal on his friend's whereabouts, even though his boast is well-frightening as well as passionate, but definitely ruthless. He also kills Smith when the guy tortures Holmes with an inch of his life and gloats over him while he's dying.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has a few examples...
    • A Crown of Stars: Shinji and Asuka are this for each other. Even before starting to open up, Asuka felt that Shinji was the only person in the world could relate to her—and vice versa—and they could not bear the thought of being apart again. When they were together they supported, reassured and kept each other grounded and emotionally stable. Deconstructed when Asuka tells Shinji it is not good or healthy depending too much or completely on other person and giving too much of oneself until there is nothing left. Reconstructed when Shinji replies he will lean on her to become strong enough to stand up for himself and stand beside her.
    • Advice and Trust: Shinji and Asuka end up being this to each other, although in a weird way both of them also end up being this to Rei.
    • The Child of Love: Asuka drove everyone away to not get hurt again, but she desperately waited for someone seeing past the harsh shell and pushing past her emotional barriers. When she met Shinji and they got together she felt she had finally found someone she could trust and love. Though she also became very dependant on him, and during the month he broke up with her she was falling apart because she needed him desperately.
    • Evangelion 303: Since their relationship's beginning, Shinji and Asuka gradually become this for each other, in such a way that when one of them fell apart, the other also did. Later, when Asuka became completely unstable and abusive due to the Unit-04's crash and Jessika's death and Shinji does not know what to do, Kaworu tells him what Asuka really needs is for Shinji to be strong for her because she'll eventually hit rock-bottom and then she will need Shinji's help. And Kaworu was right. Grummancat said that Shinji would not dump her because he is now too codependent to live without her. In other scene Shinji said that he can not cut her off anymore that he can cut off his own leg.
    • Ghosts of Evangelion:
      • Shinji and Asuka became each other's emotional anchors after Third Impact. They suffer from severe PSTD, but they can keep it at bay because their relationship.
      • Per Word of God:
        "A big part of the reason Shinji and Asuka can function is because they can recharge their batteries, so to speak, with one another when they're not working. They can make it through the day, come home all stressed out, and then lean on one another to make it through step by step."
      • In a deleted chapter, Asuka says she can't survive without Shinji:
        Asuka: Misato. He can survive without me. The reverse is not true. We both know this.
      • Deconstructed when Ryuko is born. Shinji is afraid of her because Asuka almost died by childbirth. And he neglects her for a short while because he puts Asuka first, and he was worried about her PTSD getting worse due to the strain of raising a child.
        Asuka: Shinji, it's not her fault.
        Shinji: I know that! Of course I know that. But I can't help it. She...
        Asuka: I know. Misato's right. We really are too attached to one another.
        Shinji: Is that such a bad thing?
        Asuka: It is when we hurt ourselves because of it.
      • Reconstructed when Asuka calls Shinji out on his behavior and helps him become a good parent.
      • Asuka passed away in 2080. Shinji cried that no one was taking care of her now, and he died three days later. They couldn't live without each other. Literally.
        Kyoko: He's gone, then?
        Ryuko: Yes.
        Kyoko: They always were too dependent on one another.
        Ryuko: The doctors said it was heart failure. I guess—
        Kyoko: Of course it was. He couldn't bear to live without her, so what else could it be?
    • HERZ: Shinji became incredibly emotionally-dependent on Asuka since he met her for first time. During the battle of 2015 he muttered over and over again he needed her. Seven years before the beginning of the story he asked her not leaving Japan, telling he needed her. And Asuka became way more stable and more grounded after hooking up with him.
    • Last Child of Krypton: Throughout the story Asuka bonded with Shinji, fell in love with him and became very dependent on him. When Shinji disappeared or got hurt she get worried or freaked out.
    • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Shinji really needs Asuka. When she's missing, he's helpless and falls apart.
      Asuka was the strongest person he knew, maybe that had ever or would ever know. In a sense she was his example of what it was to be strong, the foundation of his own strength. He would stand as long as Asuka stood with him. But if she collapsed he wouldn't be able to keep himself together.
    • Scar Tissue: During the events of the series and the Third Impact, Asuka and Shinji became this for each other. However they were wasting away because their increased issues prevented them from opening up and leaning on each other. As soon as their relationship stopped to be abusive and they started to rely on each other, their mental and physical health improved greatly and instantly.
      Maya paused, taking a breath to remember what Sempai had told her regarding Shinji and Asuka. She had told Maya those too had developed a codependent relationship, they could not function correctly around each other or anyone else for that matter, they were simply too alien to the entire human experience, too deeply hurt to risk getting close to anyone, but due to the vast amount of traumatizing experiences they had both suffered together, neither Shinji nor Asuka would even think of leaving, since they believed nobody else would ever be able to understand their pain. To be without the other, it was beyond unthinkable in their minds, even when they were not consciously aware of it. Asuka had managed to put up a good show during the incident of the 14th, but almost everyone who had in any way interacted with the volatile redhead through that period clearly noticed she was affected.
    • In The Second Try Shinji and Asuka are this for each other, mostly because for about half the story there's nobody else left for them to turn to except each other. It's also pretty strongly implied that Yui was this for Gendo.
    • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Shinji became this to Asuka. He had always tried to help her when she had any trouble or was going through a hard time, and he could understand her better than anybody due to being a pilot ditched by his parents when he was a kid. In chapter 19 she asked him if he could be the one she could lean on and rely on.
      Asuka:"I think I can keep being the Supergirl that everybody believes in, the one that inspires people, but only if I have somebody I can show the real me to. Somebody I can talk to, and tell about the times when I was really tempted to do something cruel or selfish, without horrifying him, [...] You've seen the worst parts of me. You've seen me at my nastiest, and you've seen me as a broken mess. And you're still here, practically bending over backwards to help me through a rough time. Still caring about me. So, I'd like that person to be you, if you think you can stand it."
    • Thousand Shinji:
      • When Asuka met Shinji he helped her, showed her love and appreciation and taught her how becoming more powerful. Eventually they got together and she became very dependent on him. Her emotional stability became so reliant on him that when he got absorbed into Unit-01 and fell in a coma she fell completely apart.
        Asuka Langley Sohryu: Your brother denied me Shinji, the first person who understood me, the first person who knew how to take the pain away simply by being!
      • And Shinji became completely dependent on Asuka through the history. Her death at the hands of a MP-Eva broke him down completely. He was so crushed and shell-shocked that he asked Rei starting out Third Impact in order to bring her and Misato back.
    • Children of an Elder God: Shinji and Asuka became hugely codependent throughout the history. At the beginning they were just friends, then they were dating, and then they needed each other to keep their sanity while their world collapsed, their friends died, and their powers corrupted them. At one point Shinji begs Asuka not to leave him, and she answers she'll never, ever, leave him.
  • In Nightblade, Kana/Argo is this to Nick. In a non-canon side story, it's shown that losing her causes him to mentally snap in two.
  • In Out Of The Dead Land, Steve is this to Bucky. He never truly stops being one, but the degree of Bucky's dependency on him evolves from "believes that he's nothing without Steve to base his identity around" to "would be devastated if he ever lost Steve, but would ultimately continue living and being the good man Steve (correctly) saw him as" over the course of the fic.
  • Quicken: Taylor became this to her best friend Emma as soon as the red-haired girl met her again after going through Hell.
    After a minute or so passed, we stepped out of the hug. I chuckled a little as I wiped away my tears. Finally, after everything that had happened, I had found someone that I could lean on, someone I knew that had my back and a small smile came to me. I drank in her appearance, glad to see her familiar form once more.
    I hadn’t found Mom, Dad, or Anne. They weren’t even in the same city anymore, let alone the same state. I had thought I would have been all alone here, with no one familiar to reach out to, that I’d be stuck by myself with whoever or whatever I was now.
    But, just when I had been ready to give up any hope, just when I was resigned to being alone, I had found Taylor. She had always been dependable like that.
  • In Shatterheart Kurogane becomes Syaoran's only source of emotional stability and comfort since Fai and Sakura shunned him. Deconstructed in that Kurogane realizes that Syaoran's dependency on him is unhealthy after Fai points out that Syaoran still remains withdrawn and actually gotten worse despite his efforts. When Kurogane ends their relationship in an attempt to get Syaoran to stand on his own, he relapses back as shut-in.
    • It turns out to be mutual for Kurogane, as Syaoran is only one that he opens up to and let his guard down. Kurogane realizes this when he starts to miss Syaoran's physical and emotional intimacy.
  • In the Overwatch fanfic Sleeper, Jesse McCree is one to Gabriel Reyes as the former gave hope and support during the darker times in Blackwatch and the only one to have hope in him reforming after he escapes Talon. The dark side of this trope is shown when Gabriel refused to leave Blackwatch with Jesse despite the signs showing that things were falling apart and his slow mental deterioration. This lead to Gabriel resenting Jesse which lead to him torturing and murdering Jesse several times as Reaper. While Jesse still has a lot of faith in Gabriel and gives him suppport, Jesse's abandonment and Gabriel's actions weigh down their relationship and gives Gabriel further feelings of isolation since Jesse is literally the only one in Overwatch willing to give him a chance.
    • Hanzo is a reconstructed version for McCree as he gives McCree the courage to face and later support Gabriel, and Jesse helps him integrate into Overwatch.
  • In Sleeping with the Girls, Luna is this to the Self Insert main character, according to Word of God.
  • In Somebody That I Used To Know, Juan Corrida TRIES to be this for Matt Engarde after the latter vanishes for a month and comes back dramatically altered and deeply traumatized by something. It ends badly for both of them.
    • As in the game, Celeste Inpax serves as this for Adrian Andrews; unlike in the game, she also explicitly serves as this for Juan Corrida. They both utterly fall apart, albeit in different ways, after her death. Adrian attempts to kills herself,and then builds up her Ice Queen persona after the attempt fails. Juan falls into a total Heroic B.S.O.D., and develops marked Death Seeker tendencies.
  • Like the example in the source material, Kamina is this for Nia in Tengen Toppa Gurren Solvernia. Nia basically shatters after Kamina dies, and skirted dangerously close to fall into despair. But the arrival of Prince Simon helped to develop her character in order to avoid this.
  • In How the Light Gets In it's made clear Laurel was this to everyone. Following her murder, her father starts trying to drink himself to death, Sara is described as looking thin and tired, like she's slowly wasting away, Oliver is stuck in a permanent Heroic B.S.O.D., and TeamArrow is falling apart. Dean (her husband) is forcing himself to keep going to raise their daughter Mary (and believes he's failing), but freely admits if he didn't have a child he would've killed himself within a month of her death. The same seems to be true for Thea, who has become Mary's nanny, but is clearly falling into despair as well. Upon her resurrection, this is deconstructed as most of them are so use to her supporting them, they have no clue how to help her; and this dialogue between Diggle and Dean makes it clear that having someone as this is damned unfair to them:
    Diggle: All I know is that when Laurel...She always seemed to be able to pull him back. He's been-
    Dean: What? Lost without her? Boo fucking hoo. He can join the damn club. (inwardly, Is that all she was to them? Just some doe eyed chick meant to prop up Oliver's fragile ego?) It wasn't her job to pull him back.
    Diggle: No, it wasn't.
    • The author also cites while she was dead, Dean and Thea developed a (rather unhealthy) codependence on each other, and on taking care of Mary. Making Mary one of these to them as well.

    Films — Animation 
  • Belle is the Beast's emotional crutch in Beauty and the Beast. According to Word of God, Beast hides the carcasses of animals he's slaughtered in the west wing, which is part of why he doesn't want her in there; if Belle hadn't come along, he would have turned full Beast and lost his humanity.
  • Marlin to Dory in Finding Nemo. Normally she's a Cloudcuckoolander with all the long term memory of a sieve, but when she meets up with Marlin on his quest to rescue his son, she finds she can focus and remember the address of the dentist who has captured Nemo. When Marlin loses faith in finding Nemo, he leaves her to avoid remembering. Her speech pleading him to stay is one big Tear Jerker, as is her state when Nemo later finds her swimming to and fro trying desperately to remember what exactly she lost.
  • Anna is her older sister Elsa's emotional crutch in Frozen. A large part of what Elsa has been doing her entire life is to protect Anna. After their parents' deaths, Anna is the only known relative Elsa has left.
  • In Tekkonkinkreet, White and Black have been living together for years. When they are forcibly separated, White starts filling out his Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book (and the walls) and Black makes a White puppet and talks to it like it was White. Then the mooks shoot the puppet, which triggers Black's Despair Event Horizon and releases the Superpowered Evil Side.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Adam, Beth Buchwald tries to become one of these and use The Power of Love to help poor Adam be just like All of the Other Reindeer. It doesn't work.
  • In Disco Pigs, Runt is this for Pig. When she starts showing interest in other people, things go south very quickly.
  • The 2007 Halloween (2007) plays Michael's obsession with Laurie this way, being the only person in his family he loved other than his dead mother. It doesn't end well.
  • The Hunger Games: Prim starts out as being this for Katniss. Eventually Peeta takes over the role instead.
  • Daisy the puppy, a gift to John Wick from his recently-deceased wife, is a combination Living Emotional Crutch and Morality Chain. And then, a few days after his wife dies, someone just had to murder the dog while stealing his Cool Car.
  • This trope is likely to come up in any Lifetime Movie of the Week.
  • The movie May had the eponymous May form a close relationship with Adam and ever so gingerly crawls out of her Shrinking Violet pot... only for things to Go Horribly Wrong when they later break up. She descends into full on horror-movie Serial Killer mode and proceeds to make the friend of her dreams from the most beautiful body parts of those around her.
  • Watson to Holmes in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
  • The Steven Soderbergh remake of Solaris (2002) implies this is the reason for Rheya's suicide
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Hank is this to the dispirited Charles; the latter is so desperate to escape from his mental pain that he would most likely have died from alcohol poisoning if McCoy wasn't around to supervise him. But it works the other way around, too, as the approval-seeking Hank has voluntarily suppressed his individuality (i.e. he has no career, hobby, or social life) just to attend to Xavier's needs 24/7, and is thus defining himself exclusively through his dutiful service to his ex-mentor. These are strong indicators that they are both trapped in an unhealthy codependent relationship.

  • The Beast from Beauty and the Beast (not the Disney version) tells Beauty that if she doesn't return to him within a set amount of time, he'll literally die of grief. When she stays just one day later, she receives a vision of him on the verge of death and rushes back to his side, at which point he promptly begins getting better even before she breaks his curse by agreeing to marry him.
  • Rosethorn is this for her student, Briar, in Circle of Magic. As of Battle Magic, it's clear that he is one for her as well: she very nearly breaks down completely when she realises that he's been injured. Although she's generally better at hiding it.
  • The Dresden Files has a supernatural variation: White Court vampire Thomas Raith has a girlfriend who is schizophrenic and prone to dangerous mood swings. By feeding off her excess emotions, he allows her to be fully functional without the side-effects of medication. When separated from him for too long, her emotional instability returns and she becomes dangerous to herself and others.
    • Harry himself has his circle of friends that act as a stabilizing influence in his life, but especially the women he's romantically interested in and possibly Ebenezar McCoy. It's been proven multiple times that if they get hurt (or if they hurt him) he becomes... slightly less than stable. Gets turned Up to Eleven post-Changes, because he has to keep them around to combat the Winter Mantle's pull.
  • In Forbidden, Lochan and Maya are this to each other.
    Only with Maya can I really be myself. We share the burden together and she is always on my side, by my side. I don’t want to need her, to depend on her, but I do, I really do.
  • Diana is this to Caine in HUNGER, to the extent that when Caine thinks Diana is dead he actually asks his brother to kill him.
    • As the books go on however, she mellows into a less influential crutch, and eventually in PLAGUE, Caine spends an entire book kicking the morality pet.
  • Herald-Trainee Tylendel, to Vanyel, in The Last Herald-Mage trilogy. He becomes Van's first and greatest love and the only one he can trust. 'Lendel does nothing to discourage this dependence, which is why things start to go south when his own sanity begins to slip. And then it gets worse...
    • On the other hand, there are milder examples in some Lifebonded pairs, where a Herald with a slightly broody personality and a strong Gift bonds with another who is less Gifted but more stable, and this is treated as a good thing.
  • The narrator of the poem How to love a girl who can't love herself is one, and discusses the trope in verse three.
    But do not be the one to fix her—no, she
    must be the one to do it herself, and you
    merely are there to quietly encourage her.
  • At the beginning of The Hunger Games, Katniss' sister Prim is her Crutch. By the end of the series, Peeta pretty much replaces her.
  • Patroclus can be interpreted as this for Achilles in The Iliad.
  • Jeeves is this for Bertie Wooster, who "rel[ies] on him absolutely" at all times and has actually suffered anxiety as to what he'd do if Jeeves ever left for good. When the Zany Scheme of the week separates them, the poor Upper-Class Twit has a breakdown and loses interest in everything. He does figure out how to dress himself, if only because Jeeves carefully packed all his clothes.
    I don't know when I've felt so rotten. Somehow I found myself moving about the room softly, as if there had been a death in the family. If I had anybody to talk to I should have talked in a whisper; in fact, when the telephone-bell rang I answered in such a sad, hushed voice that the fellow at the other end of the wire said "Halloa!" five times, thinking he hadn't got me.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Stephen Herondale was implied to be this to his second wife Celine, to the point of her nearly committing suicide upon hearing of his death.
  • Kate is this for her mother Sara in Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper, and Willow is this for Charlotte in Handle with Care.
  • In Twilight, Jacob is this, very much, to Bella during most of New Moon. In fact, ever since falling in love, Edward and Bella have generally been this for each other.
  • Archie Goodwin functions as something like this for Nero Wolfe; as Wolfe's personal assistant, Archie's pretty much the only reason Wolfe's carefully structured life functions as smoothly as it does, but he's also Wolfe's conscience when he feels Wolfe has crossed the line, and his snarky attitude works to motivate Wolfe into accepting work despite his laziness, preventing him from stagnating. Accordingly, despite the frequent tension between them Archie is one of the only people—if not the only person—Wolfe ever expresses any genuine regard for.
    • To a lesser extent, Wolfe also returns the favour for Archie; most notably, in one novel Wolfe disappears without trace for several months, forcing Archie to open his own detective agency. He makes a point of noting that while he made more money than he ever made working for Wolfe, he found the work a lot less interesting.
  • In the Novelization of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan and Padme are both this to Anakin, to a point. A point which diminishes steadily as the story progresses and he turns increasingly to Palpatine; even at the beginning, he saw and sometimes resented their influence. Without them—after he kills Padme and drives Obi-Wan irrevocably away—he turns into Darth Vader.
  • The protagonists mother in The Skin I'm In had her husband as her emotional crutch. When he died she was absolutely miserable.
  • Lucie in A Tale of Two Cities is the only thing between her father and solitary-confinement-induced insanity. He soon progresses from needing her presence to simply needing her happiness, but when Charles falls under the shadow of the guillotine, that kind of backfires.
  • Karan of The Three Worlds Cycle has an excuse for this—half-breed characters in this setting are prone to serious psychological issues, and as a Heinz Hybrid she shouldn't even be functional. Her friend/love interest Llian somehow manages to stabilize her, and when she's separated from him, things go badly, to say the least.
  • In The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Addie is easily frightened and depends on Meryl to protect and calm her. She grows out of it when she has to save Meryl from the Gray Death.
  • Cathy was this for Heathcliff growing up amidst the abuse and prejudice of Wuthering Heights.
  • Played very strangely in Lurlene Mc Daniel's Don't Die, My Love. Luke Muldenhower's the one with terminal cancer, but his girlfriend Julie is the one who clings to him and their relationship as her reason for living. When he dies, she pretty much shuts down emotionally and it takes a group effort to pull her out of it.
  • In Les Misérables, Cosette is this to Jean Valjean. She's his only source of love and happiness, and when he's separated from her at the end of the novel, he wastes away and dies of grief.
  • In The Machineries of Empire, while not technically living, Jedao seems to have taken it upon himself to keep Cheris mentally stable in face of War Is Hell, and pulls her out from the edge of a mental breakdown several times.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This trope will happen at some point in any Soap Opera (English or otherwise).
  • Liz was this to Jenna in early seasons of 30 Rock, but it mostly fell by the wayside after Jenna was Flanderized into a crazy Attention Whore.
  • Angel:
    • Fred becomes this to Wesley after getting his throat slashed, nearly killed by Angel for stealing Connor and temporarily alienated from the gang. After Fred dies, Wesley was never the same.
    • Cordelia for Angel during Season 3. She stuck with him after his son was kidnapped by Holtz and served as a steady, reliable source of companionship when Angel had spells of doubt and hopelessness.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Giles for Buffy in the first half of Season 6. Giles eventually leaves to force her to become independent.
    • Willow's girlfriend Tara was this extremely. After Tara gets shot and dies right in front of her, Willow goes insane with grief and literally almost ends the entire world.
    • Buffy for Spike. His love for her makes him depend on her for everything, whether hopes of reciprocation, general companionship, or redemption. Buffy's still the only person besides Dawn in the entire Scooby Gang he hangs out with outside of parties and slaying.
    • For the majority of S7, Spike was this for Buffy. Under pressure of organizing potential slayers and the threat of the First Evil, she relied on Spike as a source of connection and stability, even to the point believing he was the only person she could fully trust.
      Buffy: "No, you have to stay."
      Spike: "Why?"
      Buffy: "Because I'm not ready for you to not be here."
    • Buffy also functioned as this for Angel, who fell in love with her. She gave him connection where he had none and revived his hopes of redemption and being a champion. However, after he leaves for L.A., Buffy becomes more of a Morality Pet than a living crutch, given how Angel becomes used to being away from her.
  • Wild Bill Hickock is one for Calamity Jane in Deadwood. Then he gets shot in the back of the head, and she goes on a drunken binge that lasts about a year.
  • In Degrassi, when Ellie starts dating Sean, she insists on bringing her Pet Homosexual Marco with her on their dates, and he is explicitly called her security blanket. This is largely because she's never been in a real relationship before, and had only been someone's beard up till then.
  • In Elementary, Joan Watson is this to Sherlock Holmes, and he flat out admits this to her and his brother when they are in the imminence of being apart.
  • As with the above examples, in Sherlock, Sherlock depends on John to be there for him and honestly, John needs him too. They definitely didn't have it easy at the start of the series, and don't take it to well when the other's threatened, which proves that you're screwed if you do try it. Also, Sherlock doesn't want his friend to lose faith in him. Luckily, he doesn't.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Rose was this to the Doctor in Series 1 and 2. When they were separated the Doctor spent the next season depressed and implicitly suicidal. The last time we saw the Tenth Doctor genuinely happy for any extended period of time was during Series 2!
    • All the companions, to a certain extent. They work as a combination of friendship, a Morality Chain, and helping the Doctor see the beauty of the universe again. In the new series, although he loved Rose, he was just as disappointed when Martha left him, completely devastated when Donna's memory was wiped, and became a virtual recluse when he lost Amy and Rory (not to mention going into pure fury when Amy was kidnapped). Even in the classic series, the death of Adric tore him apart. In fact, the Doctor seems to be dependent on these crutches, but unlike many of the other examples on this page, is doomed to outlive all of them. And this reaches an apex with...
    • Clara Oswald, companion of first the Eleventh and then Twelfth Doctors, over Series 8 and 9. Twelve has No Social Skills and is Creepy Good, embodying Good Is Not Nice, Pragmatic Hero... and Hurting Hero. As he does not get on well with most people — even Clara has trouble with him initially — his relationship with her is one of the few things that keeps him grounded, and grows stronger after they experience mutual tragedies at the end of Series 8. Now she's using him as a crutch too, outright saying he's essential to her in "Before the Flood". Anyone threatening or harming Clara will find they've pressed a Berserk Button hard; in Series 9 he openly laments that he has no idea how he'll move on from her when the time comes, even bringing up how much he's already lost. And then comes "Face the Raven", in which she is Killed Off For Real. As she prepares for this, Clara knows he will have a very hard time handling this, and warns him before they're parted not to let this change him. Alas, he doesn't even have a chance to process his anguish before he's dropped into a torture chamber by his enemies, where he spends the next 4.5 billion years basically lamenting Clara in the episode "Heaven Sent". In the season finale "Hell Bent", he has firmly become a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, willing to risk the safety of the universe to save her, heedless of what she wants. In the end, he realizes how badly he's gone astray, and accepts that they cannot stay together because their relationship is too strong for anyone's health. In the end, he even accepts being Mind Raped and losing most of his memories of her in the service of returning to his best self and making a fresh start. The story that follows, "The Husbands of River Song", sees him initially broody and traveling solo, but his actions show how far he's come emotionally thanks to what he's learned from his recent experiences.
    • In the Expanded Universe Big Finish audios, this trope holds especially true for the Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller after "Orbis".
  • Firefly:
    • Simon to his sister River. It's very much reciprocated, as the movie Serenity shows us exactly how dangerous River can get when Simon's life is threatened.
    • Every person on Serenity to Mal. They each represent some emotional aspect or part of his life he's become dissociated from.
  • Peter to Walter in Fringe. Peter can somewhat focus Walter, calm him down, and ground him in reality. However, Peter is very critical of Walter (and oddly overprotective), leading to bouts between them or Olivia.
  • In House, Wilson is this for House. And while their relationship may appear to be of the All Take and No Give variety, it actually goes both ways as Wilson is not as well-adjusted as he seems, and probably needs House just as much as he is needed by him.
  • Inspector Lynley and his partner, Sergeant Havers. They are both incredibly screwed-up people, but over the course of the show regain something resembling normal emotional stability because they happen to balance each other perfectly. Separate them again, and the results aren't pretty (although not as bad as they were before they met each other, thanks to a healthy dose of character development).
  • Nico Saiba is this to Taiga Hanaya in Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. She lessened his jerkish tendencies and became a surrogate little sister of sorts. Unfortunately, the need to keep her safe blends with his own self-destructive tendencies, making a mess at times.
  • Jin is this for Sun in Lost. Notice Sun's reaction when she thought Jin died.
  • Despite their bickering, Vince is Howard's crutch in The Mighty Boosh. In "Tundra", when Howard thought Vince had died, his instant reaction was to try to kill himself. When Vince was revealed to be alive, Howard was so happy he made a dramatic love confession.
  • Merlin is this for Arthur on Merlin. Without Merlin and his influence, it's been shown that Arthur cannot function that well on his own.
  • In Monk, Sharona is this for Adrian, until she leaves the show; the very next episode shows him finding her replacement, who continues in this role for the rest of the series. It's heavily implied that neither of them are a patch on his late wife Trudy, around whom he was genuinely happy and almost neurosis-free; her murder caused the Sanity Slippage that turned him into a Defective Detective.
  • Supernatural:
    • The Winchester brothers are this for each other. They definitely have their troubles when they are together, but when Sam is gone, Dean falls apart. Case in point: the beginning of "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2" (S02, E22). Dean is also this for Sam to a slightly lesser extent: when Dean went to Hell, Sam practically destroyed himself (and probably would have ended up killing himself had Ruby not stepped in) trying to get Dean back. It's also heavily implied that in season 8, Sam slipped into a fantasy world when he lost Dean.
    Zachariah: You know Sam and Dean Winchester are psychotically, irrationally, erotically codependent on each other, right?
    • As the series goes on, this relationship ends up getting deconstructed. Sam and Dean become too reliant and dependent on each other, and this behavior ends up becoming self-destructive for the both of them. Their refusal to let go of the other leads both brothers to make some very poorly thought and selfish decisions that often end up making things worse rather than better.
  • On Teen Wolf Scott McCall is this for Derek Hale, Stiles Stilinski, and Allison Argent.
  • On Torchwood Jack Harkness emulates the Doctor by also assembling his own teams of people who help to ground him and give him purpose. He is virtually immortal and without companionship tends to go into bouts of depression and self-destruction.
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • Stefan Salvatore employed this role frequently in the series with more than one character. He largely fulfilled this role for his older brother Damon Salvatore and formerly Elena Gilbert. In Elena's case, he was her crutch that caused her to be glad to be alive after the death of her parents, but her dependence on him gradually lessened in that aspect until he disappeared altogether when she fell in love with Damon. However, his influence on Damon remained, shown in how he would become extremely violent, impulsive, and bitter without Stefan around him.
    • Later in the series, Damon replaces Stefan's role for Elena. After she was turned into a vampire, Elena was taught to enjoy the perks of her new transformation and feel happiness again. Elena even admitted, in her love confession to Damon, that he was one that made her feel most alive.
      Elena: I'm not sorry that I met you. I'm not sorry that knowing you has made me question everything, that in death you're the one that made me feel most alive. You've been a terrible person. You've made all the wrong choices and out of the choices I have made, this will prove to be the worst one. But I'm not sorry that I'm in love with you! I love you, Damon. I love you.
    • Yet, unexpectedly, Stefan takes up this aspect again in the extreme for his sometimes lover, Katherine Pierce. After she's dying of old age due to the loss of The Cure, she re-connects with Stefan when he stopped her from killing herself. As her impending death draws closer, Katherine latches on to Stefan's compassion and falls in love with him all over again. She's becomes surprisingly dependent on him, admitting to Nadia that Stefan is the only reason she wants to live.
      Nadia: I see. So when you were asking about forgiveness, you were talking about him. Not me.
      Katherine: Maybe I don't want to die a sad, lonely 538-year old. If I have to bow out, knowing Stefan still cares might not be the worst way to go.
    • Gaius is also this for Merlin.
  • The X-Files:
    • Mulder and Scully are this for each other. In the beginning, it was more that Scully was an emotional crutch for Mulder, who is introduced as brilliant but troubled. As time goes on, however, it becomes just as hard for Scully to function without Mulder as it is the other way around. There isn't really a dark side to this aspect of their relationship; rather than trying to keep Scully around forever, Mulder urges her at several moments in the series to leave him, to have a normal life away from his quest and problems. They are each other's Berserk Button.
    • During Scully's abduction in Season 2, Mulder essentially falls apart. When offered a hotel room in "3" while working a case, he tells the local investigator that it wouldn't be needed because "I don't sleep anymore." He also wears Scully's cross around his neck. When she is returned in "One Breath", he bursts into the hospital and demands explanations as to how she got here, having to be forcefully dragged out by security.
      • This works the other way around, too. When Mulder is abducted in Season 8, Scully goes almost immediately from her hospital room to launching a non-FBI sanctioned search for him, despite the fact she's pregnant. When he's returned dead, Scully has her own version of a Heroic B.S.O.D..
    • It becomes even more striking when Doggett and Reyes are introduced into the series to replace Mulder and Scully on the X-Files. They clearly have feelings for each other (in season 9, anyway), but aren't nearly as dependent on each other as Mulder and Scully.
  • Fleabag is a dark comedy about what happens when an It's All About Me character with multiple living emotional crutches loses them one by one.
  • Arrow:
    • Laurel Lance was this for Oliver Queen during his five years away from home. Right before the voyage, she gave him a picture to remind him of her while he was gone. Oliver never once parted with it, using it as a reminder that people were waiting for him back home. At one point the memory/a hallucination of her talks him out of committing suicide. When Laurel dies a few years after his return from home, Oliver is pushed to the absolute brink, regressing back to killing and left on the teetering point of a breakdown. It is made very clear that, with her gone, Oliver Queen really can't take any more tragedy in his life before he falls apart completely.
    • She is also this to her father, the one person who never turned their back on him or stopped believing in him. He even outright says "She's my rock", and the Dollmaker says She's your heart, your soul". Oliver even lists this as a reason she shouldn't become the Black Canary, pointing out what would happen to her father if he lost her. Sure enough, her murder catapults him over the Despair Event Horizon. Actress Katie Cassidy at one commented she feels Laurel is this to most of the characters, calling her a "backbone" and referencing her tendency to support everyone and try to see the best in them.
  • Detective Bobby Goren of Law & Order: Criminal Intent can't really function without his partner and best friend, Alexandra Eames. When she goes on maternity leavenote , he's nearly impossible to work with, and only gets better once she's back.
  • Second Chance (2016): Otto has such a relationship with his twin sister Mary. He was an incredibly introverted but brilliant child, to the point that he invented his own language to share with her and only spoke to other people through Mary. This dynamic continued into adulthood, so when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he goes to extreme lengths to find a cure for her.

  • Crutch by Matchbox Twenty
    I don't wanna be a crutch, one step away from down
  • Dinosaur Jr.: "The Post"
    She's my post to lean on
    And I just cut her down
  • The narrator of Red's "Pieces" has one.
    You call my name
    I come to you in pieces
    So you can make me whole
    I've come undone
    But you make sense of who I am
    Like puzzle pieces in your hand
  • Evanescence's "Taking Over Me".
    I have to be with you to live, to breathe
    You're taking over me
  • Deconstructed in Ally Burnett's "We Would've Broken Up Once You Heard This Song Anyway".
    I want you to know that when I leave
    It'll be the last you'll ever see of me
    I tried so damn hard to fix you
    To make you believe in what I see
    If you wanna be broken, be broken
    I won't dare try to mend you again
    I've tried my best to get through
    But there's no getting in

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Many of the more poignant Calvin and Hobbes stories imply this. In spite of bullies and all sorts of other bad things in his life, Calvin will always have his best friend Hobbes.
  • A lot of the relationships in Peanuts are arguably this, since the characters are brimful of neurosis. (Just temporarily take someone out of the picture and place your bets on who will have a breakdown. Someone always does.) Even Linus' blanket is an example, as it often takes on a life of its own.

  • In Antony and Cleopatra, according to Enobarbus, men to women, because women supposedly can't control their emotions.
    Enobarbus: Why, then, we kill all our women. We see how mortal an unkindness is to them. If they suffer our departure, death’s the word.
    • Antony has quite the opposite opinion, at least for Cleopatra.
  • In Company, the lyrics of What Would We Do Without You? indicate that Bobby is this to his married friends, or at least to their marriages.
    What would we do without you?
    How would we ever get through?
    Should there be a marital squabble,
    Available Bob'll
    Be there with the glue.

    Video Games 
  • .hack//G.U. had Endrance, whose entire world reflects around Mia and only Mia while everything and everyone else were too ugly, weak and boring to care for. After Haseo reveals his cat as an AIDA and destroys her while fishing for Endrance to get back on his feet, Haseo becomes this for Endrance instead. However, his views on the rest of existence slowly become more positive in doing so. Also do note, Endrance is played by Elk's player. His dependancy on Mia goes all the way back to the original games, though not to this extent, and possibly put Kite in this role After Mia awakened as the Phase Macha.
  • Amy has the main character, Lana, to Amy.
  • In Blaze Union, Siskier was the first person to befriend Garlot when they were little kids, and worked hard to ensure that he had a place to enjoy himself and act his age so that his father's abuse wouldn't destroy him completely. Even now, he sees her as something of a mother figure, and relies on her support whenever he has doubts. In the route where she is killed, Garlot nearly goes berserk on the spot, with the only thing stopping him being the seal on his powers, which cuts his rampage short as soon as it starts. He develops severe PTSD afterward, his personality becoming quite a bit harsher, although the rest of his True Companions still serve in this role. In Yggdra Union, he really does go berserk after every single one of them is killed.
  • Dead or Alive: Ayane's relationships with Hayate and Genra are indicated to be as such in Dimensions. When Genra makes a Face–Heel Turn and she offends Hayate during an argument over Kasumi, Ayane ends up thinking that Hayate hates her now and is so distraught over it that she almost kills herself.
  • BioWare's first, and most comedic example. Minsc in Baldur's Gate is reliant on his "miniature gigantic space hamster" Boo, meaning he has one less inventory slot. Less comedically, he is devoted to protecting his witch, and takes it badly when she dies.
  • In the Dragon Age games, the player character often fills this role for their followers.
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Warden is everyone's emotional crutch, but bonus points go to Zevran (who goes utterly to pieces if he loves and loses you, and whose shot at redemption hinges on whether you build up a strong relationship with him or not) and Alistair (who counts on you to lead the team and deal with his parental issues, and with a little luck, follows your leadership example and becomes a good king). Most characters will show development and stop using you as an emotional crutch once you've slain their personal demons/dragons...
    • In Dragon Age II, Hawke fulfills this for a Friendship path Anders and Merrill. Fenris has elements of this as well. Over the course of the seven years the game covers, Hawke can help them work through their troubled pasts and personal issues but will be unable to save Anders from crossing the Moral Event Horizon. On the Rivalry path, the companions take a more proactive stance in their life, and rely less upon Hawke. Whether this is a good thing is a personal matter.
      • On Rivalry paths for Anders and Merrill, Hawke serves as basically the opposite of this. Instead of enabling them, s/he constantly questions what they are doing which, even though they don't like it, eventually leads them to change their ways. (Unfortunately, Anders isn't alone in there, and Justice resents the interference.)
    • It's less obviously present in Dragon Age: Inquisition than in the previous installments. However, the Inquisitor is still the emotional linchpin of the companions, and in particular has a lot to do with the personal demons/issues of Dorian, Blackwall, Iron Bull, and Cullen. Three of the four will be dead by the end of the Trespasser DLC if their issues are not resolved correctly.
  • Although it's not entirely obvious from the beginning, Mia's crutch in Duel Savior Destiny is her brother. Without him, she becomes deeply unstable and jealous culminating in her attempting to kill her allies in her own route. She sorta gets better. Well, she gets to have her brother around all the time anyway, meaning she won't go all crazy again.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII-2, it's heavily implied that Hope feels this way about the whole group (including Serah), but it's most noticable when he mentions Lightning, Fang or Vanille. Given his implied feelings of abandonment after his mother left him to fight the Purge (she had his safety in mind), and how much of a motherly figure the women in the previous game (especially Lightning) became to him, it's understandable.
    • The fact that Serah, Snow and Sazh all disappeared (on their own adventures to find Lightning and into a paradox, respectively) after the loss of the aforementioned four sure as hell made it worse.
  • Fire Emblem Tellius has Ike as one to Soren due to treating him like a person when everyone else treated him like he didn't deserve to exist, and saving his life as a child. Ike is almost always on-screen when Soren smiles, is the only one Soren shows a softer side to, and is the only one Soren seems to actually care about as more than just another soldier or formal position-holder.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates , both Mikoto and especially Sakura are this to Takumi. After Mikoto died as early in Chapter 5, Takumi clearly started to lose his marbles... and at some moment, he began to emotionally rely on the safety of his younger sister. In the Birthright path, it was because of Sakura that Takumi managed to break free from Iago's control. And what happened in the Conquest path was the opposite: Takumi had become increasingly unstable, but when he learned that Sakura had been defeated and captured by the Nohrian army he absolutely lost it, and since that came after he had lost an extremely important battle, it opened the gates for him being completely subjected to Psychic-Assisted Suicide and More Than Mind Control, thanks to Anankos.
    • In Shadows Of Valentia, Valbar is this to Leon. In the past Valbar befriended Leon during a very harrowing time in his life, so Leon became completely devoted to him and even fell in love with the guy. In the game itself, if Valbar is killed in battle, Leon will be left completely distraught and lost and he will angrily tell Celica he is going to protect her so Valbar at least didn't die for nothing; if Leon himself lives to the end, the mostly happy ending he gets with a living Valbar changes to a bittersweet one stating that he recovers from Valbar's death, but never fully gets over him.
  • In Freedom Wars, Accessories are created both to surveil sinners and to act as an emotional crutch, since it is forbidden by law for sinners to have any relationships with other sinners outside of casual friendships.
  • In Halo 4, the Master Chief gives Cortana hope and the will to fight against her impending insanity/death due to rampancy. At the end, after her Heroic Sacrifice, John-117 reveals that her partnership with him was allowing him to hold onto his humanity.
  • Commander Shepard of Mass Effect is the only reason most of his/her crew do not kill each other.
    • Anderson orders Joker to act as this for Shepard in Mass Effect 3 because once the Reapers show up, Shepard is under greater stress in his/her resting state than s/he's ever been in his/her life.
      • As s/he moves closer to the Despair Event Horizon over the course of the game, many of the interactions in the game and dialogue options can have Shepard reveal that s/he is relying just as closely on some of his/her closest teammates/friends, especially Liara, Tali, and Garrus to keep it together.
    Shepard: There is no Shepard without Vakarian.
  • Onmyōji: Shirodōji is this to his friend Kurodōji, being protective of him and helping him regain his speaking.
  • The protagonist of Persona 5 becomes one to Futaba after the team rescues her and her confidant starts; to the point that she even refers to him as her "Key Item" early on. Justified, as she's a recovering agoraphobic with severe PTSD.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness, you are one for your partner, to the extent that after you are removed from time and space, the god of time sees fit to make an unstable paradox by putting you back rather than have your partner sad.
  • In Solatorobo, Elh becomes this to Red when he starts Hearing Voices, providing another voice to focus on instead of the one trying to convince him to kill everyone.
  • Tales of Graces has Sophie acting as this to resident self depreciating Asbel (who thinks he's a Failure Hero). By being the father figure she needs, she gives him a reason to not wallow in guilt and self-pity.
  • In Pillars of Eternity, the Watcher may just be one for Aloth, even if he doesn't openly admit it, and most players probably won't be cruel enough to find out. Being rejected at a crucial point leads to the worst ending for him: "After the Watcher sent him away, Aloth found himself cut off from every authority and ally he had ever known – his family, his homeland, the Leaden Key, and, finally, the Watcher." He wanders away and effectively commits suicide a few days later.
  • Undertale's Papyrus is this for his brother, Sans. His extremely jovial and optimistic personality is pretty much the only thing that can put a (genuine) smile on Sans's face. If you kill him, Sans makes it clear you won't be welcome in the world of monsters anymore.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Air Pressure, Leigh is this to the PC. This is not portrayed as healthy in the slightest, as Leigh turns out to be most likely a metaphor/stand-in for drug addiction and "getting closer" to her results in the PC waking up in the hospital and being told that he nearly died but choosing to stay with Leigh anyway because he can't imagine living without her.
  • In Fate/stay night Shirou is a crutch for Sakura, though this is not immediately evident. He's the only one she'll let kill her, even after she loses it completely.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry has Rika and Satoko, but it isn't noticeable until the "answer arcs". Rika is so overcome by the abuse Satoko takes in certain worlds she would rather die and be taken to the next Alternate Universe than see it anymore.
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • Shizune is one for Misha, as seen in her route.
    • Hisao becomes one for more than one of the girls in their respective routes. Also viceversa, as in Lilly's route he comes to emotionally rely on her. Deconstructed in Hanako's route: he aims to become this to Hanako so he can protect her, which will end up alienating her if you keep it up.
    • Emi keeps people at arm's reach to avert having someone become this. And specially, to not suffer if she loses someone else she loves, as happened with her father... who died few days after the accident that took her legs.
  • Little Busters!: Kyousuke (and to a lesser extent, Kengo and Masato) are this for Rin and Riki, who are so shy and fearful of strangers or so passive and worried about the outside world respectively that they are very dependent on them. In fact, the main driver of the plot is Kyousuke's attempts to break them away from this, as a bus they were travelling in crashed, leaving everyone but Riki and Rin with fatal injuries, and Kyousuke knew they couldn't survive on their own.
  • Ryo serves as this for Hibiki in Lux-Pain. Hibiki crossed the Despair Event Horizon in his backstory and it was Ryo (and the nurse Honoka that brought him back to almost complete health...only for it to shatter when Ryo gets a new, beautiful assistant who Hibiki gets jealous of as she serves as a better caretaker of his best friend than him. And of course, Ryo being unaware of his best friend's feelings also makes him completely lose it. Once you beat the game again and you get the cutscene where Ryo tells him not to disappear on him again, you can see that Ryo is what keeps Hibiki from completely going insane. Ironically the normal ending implies that they serve as an emotional crutch to each other as in the normal ending when Hibiki is killed by a crazed Honoka, you don't get to talk to Ryo anymore as the game implies he locked himself in the library shocked that he lost the last person that was important to him.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All. Adrian Andrews suffers from an intentionally overcompensated for and totally-played-straight Dependent Personality Disorder. Initially appearing as a self-contained narcissist who needs no one and prefers being by herself, it is later revealed she is actually the exact opposite in hiding and willing to do literally anything to not be found out. Her codependent pathology is so severe, in fact, that it is eventually discovered that she attempted suicide after the death of the person she pathologically idolized and lived exclusively for: Celeste Inpax. In an attempt to hide this fact, she forms a relationship with Franziska von Karma to protect herself from needing to reveal her true nature. Andrews, naturally, clings to Franziska like a terrified and helpless child, doing everything she says without any thought of her own needs.
  • Played very darkly in Saya no Uta. The main character suffers from a severe case of agnosia which causes everything he sees, hears, touches, etc. to be utterly repulsive (everything's covered in or made out of Meat Moss, people are disgusting amorphous creatures who bellow nigh-unintelligibly at him, etc.) Saya, the only person who appears normal to him, quickly becomes his only reason to keep living. Unfortunately, having an Eldritch Abomination as an emotional crutch doesn't exactly do wonders to your sanity, and while he may be happy in his madness, he also ruins the lives of everyone around him in spectacularly horrific ways. The lives of every human, anyway. From the Eldritch Abomination's point of view, he's a godsend.
  • Like its anime adaptation listed above, School Days has multiple examples. Makoto becomes this for Kotonoha, to the point that she is homicidally insane if they're not together. On a less batshit crazy level, Setsuna fills this role for Sekai; the reason Setsuna is pushing Makoto towards Sekai so hard is to get him to fulfill this role for Sekai, since Setsuna is about to move to France.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Beatrice Castiglioni was this to Kinzo. Her Death by Childbirth caused him to cross the Despair Event Horizon, so much so that he eventually raped their own daughter after convincing himself that she was her mother's reincarnation.

    Web Comics/Web Original 
  • Dan becomes this to Michael in Agents of Cracked. According to Michael, if Dan left, "I'd get really sad - and then I'd die. Is that what you want?!"
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl deconstructs this with Mike and Lucy's relationship. At the start of the series, she's extremely heavy on the Slap-Slap part of Slap-Slap-Kiss... but if anything happens to Mike that she's not inflicting, she breaks down. Mike is painfully aware of his LEC status, and secretly resents it — so much so that by the time Lucy's Character Development has made her less abusive and willing to admit her feelings, he rejects them, having been worn down into someone who's a lot less nice.
  • Tacoma for Donnie in Demo Reel. He loves Rebecca too, but whenever Tacoma's upset or sick, there's a suspiciously large amount of crying and cuddling going on.
  • Deconstructed with Satellite Character 13 in Depression Comix. The unseen depressive's manipulations and dependence on her leaves her so exhausted that she eventually leaves him. Some time later, she learns he committed suicide.
  • In Drowtales, Ariel has this relationship with Faen, being the first person she called friend. Also suggested to go the other way as well, since Faen is an unstable empath who has difficulty relating to people.
  • Fox Maharassa was a Living Emotional Crutch to boyfriend/best friend Collin throughout most of Friendly Hostility. When Fox loses the Emotional Crutch status, the relationship falls apart, although this is arguably only one of the factors that resulted in the Downer Ending.
  • Black and White from Grey is... are this to each other. Black needs White around to be able to think clearly and White needs Black to bring color into his world. Their friends and family however, saw this as unhealthy which eventually lead to White leaving for 2 years
  • Gamma is Zimmy's Emotional Crutch (among other things) in Gunnerkrigg Court.
    • Zimmy literally cannot function without Gamma. Zimmy's powers leak out whenever Gamma falls asleep or is absent. This normally wouldn't be so's just Zimmy's powers consist of Reality Warping, which often sucks nearby other people into demented and twisted hallucinations.
  • In Homestuck, one of the four kinds of troll romance is moirallegiance, in which a relatively calm troll pacifies a dangerously hot-tempered one. There are several in-story examples.
    • Eridan and Feferi's relationship is practically a deconstruction of it. Feferi keeps Eridan's genocidal tendencies in check, but Eridan eventually wants to take things to a more intimate level, meaning he can't reciprocate and keep her from doing stupid things. However, the chore of constantly keeping her moirail from killing off all the land-dwelling trolls has emotionally drained Feferi. Once they get into the Medium and she doesn't have to look after him anymore, Feferi tells him they can't be more than friends and splits with her newfound freedom. Later they seem to just barely be able to interact with each other, and and in the end, Eridan goes on a rampage, but before Feferi can run him through with the culling fork to stop him, he one shot kills her with White Science of Hopelessness.
  • Iriana and Mille are this to each other in Ilivais X. Iriana literally has nobody else, as while she's decent enough to the male members of the team, she's still quite afraid of men. The only reason she avoids constantly searching for ways to die is because she wants to figure out exactly what she feels. Mille, on the other hand, is so used to being a one-night-stand object of lust that she feels utterly unloved, and is utterly obsessed with earning the love of someone who doesn't just want to sleep with her. Granted, she's far more capable of independence and will act on her own, but if separated from Iriana she shifts all of her thoughts to bringing them back together, and can't stand to keep away even after a brief period of being abused by her.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!—Even though she likes to seem aloof, Galatea clearly needs to believe her sister Molly is there for her. She comes close to having a panic attack at even the slightest suspicion that Molly might abandon her.
  • In the now defunct Loserz, Jodie does not take her two friends leaving her alone for other activities well at all. It only takes about a day or two apart from them for her to go insane and try to replace them with puppets.
  • Marten is this for Faye in Questionable Content; this is true, anyway, in the earlier parts of the comic. Character Development hit Faye, making her attachment to Marten vanish. It was difficult for both of them.

     Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time season seven premiere, "Bonnie and Neddy", Princess Bubblegum is revealed to be this to her brother, Neddy. Neddy is a reclusive candy dragon who is extremely sensitive and lives in fear of everything that isn't his sister ever since his birth. His only source of security is suckling on candy roots, and when he is deprived of secreting juice, she is the only one who can comfort him.
  • As Told by Ginger: Ginger appears to be one for Dodie, Macie, and Courtney. For example, when Ginger was considering switching schools Courtney fell into pieces. Miranda is this for Courtney too, as she considered Miranda her right hand; now that she's gone and dating Darren, Courtney feels lost and says she only has her left hand now.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Appa and Katara serve as this to Aang, to some degree, particularly in regards to his grief over the annihilation of his people, the peaceful Air Nomads (Appa is his only remaining link to his past while Katara gives him hope for the future).
    • In "The Runaway" episode, it's hinted that Katara might serve as this to Sokka and even to Toph on some level.
  • Lydia is this (no pun intended) for Beetlejuice, who even states in one episode that "I can't live without you!" Of course, as he himself immediately lampshades, he's already dead. But he does have a difficult time functioning when they're apart, which is only exacerbated by the fact that she's also his Morality Chain.
  • On Daria, Daria and Jane have this toward each other. Daria is the weaker of the two, as seen in "See Jane Run" (Daria becomes isolated and starts Thinking Out Loud without even realizing it), but "Is It Fall Yet?" demonstrates that both have a hard time functioning when the two are fighting.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy, the Eds are this to each other, possibly due to the neighbor kids' neglect of them and all three of them having dysfunctional home lives. This is especially evident in The Movie: Eddy shatters completely and begins to cry for the first time in the series when Edd decides to leave him; Edd breaks apart when he thinks the other two died in quicksand (even putting aside his Neat Freak tendencies at that moment just to save them) and Ed's worst nightmare is all three of them falling apart. Really, they mean the world to each other.
  • PJ from Goof Troop is a more passive example of someone who needed help, but he acts depressed (apathetic, distant, and moping) in the first half of the pilot, and only starts to smile in the second when he's around Max. He even explicitly states that the day of fun he's had with Max is the only one he can remember ever having. His misery is highlighted repeatedly whenever their friendship is in danger. Though he may become less dependent on Max after finding a Love Interest in An Extremely Goofy Movie, it's unclear whether she won't just replace him, and it certainly doesn't take immediate effect: when Max threatens to transfer schools, PJ relapses from his Character Development.
  • Dipper and Mabel both have trouble coping without each other. Mabel is the more dependent of the two. Her world is so shaken by the possibility that they may be separated that she attempts to freeze time to prevent it from happening, inadvertently causing the apocalypse.
  • Arnold for Helga on Hey Arnold!, for being nice to her when everyone else in her life was neglecting her, as is readily apparent in "Helga on the Couch." Unlike most examples, however, Arnold and Helga aren't really friends; she's his Loving Bully, to which he's oblivious.
  • One episode of Jem has Rio being this to Minx. Usually he's annoyed by her romantic advances but after she nearly dies her personality completely changes and she's suddenly nice, though anxious and insecure. Her band kicks her out because they hate her new personality but she has nowhere to go and attempts suicide only to be stopped by Rio. She insists she has nothing to live for besides him and he feels incredibly awkward being her crutch. Thankfully at the end of the episode she gets better.
  • The eponymous Jimmy Two-Shoes is this to Heloise to an extent.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • It is heavily implied that, at the end of the series, Korra has become this for Asami. After her father's Heroic Sacrifice in stopping Kuvira's giant mech from destroying Republic City, Asami mentions to Korra at a wedding that she couldn't have handled losing her father and Korra in the same day. From this scene it is implicated that Korra is Asami's main reason for living after the loss of her family. Although, their relationship in no way is portrayed as unhealthy as Korra is more than happy to be there for Asami - especially after all of the care, kindness, and warmth Asami showed her while she was recovering from her poisoning, PTSD, and depression.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Spike's life revolves around Twilight.
    • In "Owls Well That Ends Well" fear that he would lose his status as her Number 1 Assistant temporarily made him a villain.
    • In "The Crystal Empire part 2" his greatest fear is revealed to be her revoking this status and casting him out of Ponyvile because she doesn't need him anymore.
    • In "Spike At Your Service," Twilight gave him the weekend off, and he had nothing better to do than smell his feet.
    • Twilight Sparkle also revolves the majority of her life on the approval of Princess Celestia, her own greatest fear being her rejection. One instance implies Twilight may have gone completely insane without her and Spike's intervention.
    • Apple Bloom seems pretty dependent on her fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders. In one instance where Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo suggested that they try out things on their own, she interpreted it as them not wanting to be friends anymore and fell into a downward spiral.
    • Fluttershy is the only character Discord seems to have genuine affection for, and was directly responsible for his reformation. When the main cast is later captured by a villain, Discord initially couldn't care less... until he's informed that this includes Fluttershy. Cue an immediate shift into Tranquil Fury.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: Stimpy is this to Ren, and without Stimpy around Ren would become completely and irreversibly Ax-Crazy and overcome by loneliness. In the very first episode, Stimpy leaves Ren (temporarily). Ren falls to pieces within the first five minutes.
  • In Rugrats Chuckie is this to his father Chaz. In one episode Chaz goes insane in a world where Chuckie doesn't exist. Although considering that Chaz already lost his wife and Chuckie is their child, this is very much justified. And heartbreaking.
  • Steven Universe has Ruby and Sapphire. Ruby is especially distraught when forcibly separated from Sapphire, but both of them are simply determined to get back together and fuse back into Garnet.
    • Rose Quartz seems to have been this for the rest of the team, who even 10-ish years later become very distraught about her "death."
    • Steven is the Gems' current crutch, in which he's a deconstruction. Its not exactly a good thing since as much as he tries, he is just a young boy who doesn't have the means or the maturity to be that crutch. But he tries to help as much as he can even if its mentally and emotionally unhealthy for him. As we see in the episode "Joy Ride", he feels very weighed down by the stress in his life.
    • Connie is shaping up to become this for Steven, promising to be there for him whenever he feels stressed out by Gem stuff.