It is remarkable how similar the pattern of love is to the pattern of
Being in love can cause a person to behave strangely and irrationally
, a tendency which is often exaggerated in television and film. Usually played for laughs in SitComs
and anime, it can be used as a motivation for villainous
(or at least uncharacteristic) behavior in more serious stories. However, it can also result in behaviors that are presented as being noble, though unusual.
A special case of this is the Stalker with a Crush
, who often shows other irrational behavior as well. Love Hungry
, Psycho Lesbian
are other special cases, meeting obvious conditions.
If the writers have a deeper understanding of relationships, they may have "true" love not cause this effect, contrasting it with the crushes we've seen elsewhere in the series. This is relatively rare, though.
If two characters are the romantic rivals
in a Love Triangle
, one may become a Rival Turned Evil
. This is especially common in daytime soaps.
The Chick Magnet
and Hello, Nurse!
they meet crazy.
For people who hold this as their viewpoint about love, see Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!
Of course, things could be worse...
For the Romantic False Lead
going crazy to make the relationship easier for the Official Couple
, see Derailing Love Interests
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Anime & Manga
- From DC Comics, we have the Star Sapphire Corps, whose power is fueled by love. Originally the power was consolidated into a single person, and as a result this trope was mainly the sort of love that fit into this category.
- This trope is taken quite literally with Harley Quinn.
- In an issue of Swamp Thing, "My Blue Heaven" (written by Alan Moore) has Alec trapped on an alien world all alone. He uses his plant-controlling powers to create clones of himself... and then, in a moment of temptation, creates his love Abby. After spending another day creating an entire populated world, he accidentally creates a John Constantine who warns him how crazy he's become. It doesn't help that Alec can't ignore the fact he can't get Abby's smile just right, and he goes mad when his Abby-self responds "All love... is madness."
- Parodied in Astérix and the Legionary, where Obelix starts acting extremely strange because he's in love with Panacea, which is soon diagnosed by the other villagers. Later, after their terrible behaviour has caused a centurion to become extremely overstressed and prone to collapsing sobbing onto other soldiers, he assumes he's in love. This seems at first to be Obelix's Cloud Cuckoo Lander personality, but it becomes a Running Gag with every other character who witnesses his freakouts assuming the same thing.
- A more benign example: at one point in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Dawn of a New Day, Twilight Sparkle becomes so pent up over her inability to confess her feelings to Rainbow Dash that she enters a delusional state (complete with false memories) and spends several hours believing that she has and they are happily dating. Unlike other examples of this trope, she doesn't engage in any sort of violent or disturbing behavior and just acts more affectionate towards Rainbow Dash. Upon snapping out of it, Twilight is left feeling guilty and sad. Fortunately, her behavior helps Rainbow Dash to realize that she's starting to develop feelings for Twilight.
Film — Animation
Film — Live Action
Live Action TV
- A main theme of Battlestar Galactica seems to be "love makes you batshit".
- In Farscape John tells Aeryn she's the reason he's crazy. Of course, all that Mind Rape by evil guys might have something to do with it.
- It doesn't just turn you crazy in Supernatural, it makes you a suicidal martyr willing to sacrifice yourself for the one you love.
- Nearly everyone in Pushing Daisies is a victim of this, and it's not always even romantic love.
- In Jekyll, Tom's mother explains in the final episode. "People think that Hyde is rage. Or hate. Or greed. Or lust.... But Hyde is far worse. Hyde is love — and love is a psychopath."
- Ms. Ackerman wants to know where Spencer is for every minute of every day, and actually keeps logs on when he doesn't answer his phone.
- In a platonic!love (or not?) kind-of way, Sam got really, really mad when Carly was harassed by a bully in "iMake Sam Girlier."
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Don't ever hurt or kill one of Willow Rosenberg's girlfriends, lest you want to end up flayed alive.
- "Love makes you do the wacky." — said twice in the episode "Some Assembly Required". First time by Willow, in reference to Angel's jealous behaviour toward Xander, and then by Buffy, about why a classmate revived his brother as a sort of Frankenstein's monster.
- In a later episode, it appears this is happening with Dawn when she falls for a jock. It turns out, there was a spell involved and Hilarity Ensues.
- In Skins, Effy's love for Freddie literally makes her crazy: she's eventually sectioned for either schizophrenia, depression, or both.
- Noah's Arc: Dre goes to crazy lengths to get Alex out of the picture so he can be with Trey, setting up a Batman Gambit to turn Trey and even Alex's friends against Alex. It's bizarre even by TV drama standards.
- Often a case with patients in ER. After the death of his granddaughter caused by a crazy bomber who happened to be taken into the same hospital, the man who was previously shown to be friendly and calm went and strangled the guy to death. When Gates's best friend's wife finds out he was dating Neela, she got drunk, went to the ER and flew into a rage at both Gates and Neela. In another instance, when a man found out his girlfriend was dying, he brought in a gun and threatened the doctors working on her to continue working on her and bring her back, even though her heart had stopped.
- Characters of As the World Turns often go to pretty extreme extents for their family and love interests. This is actually a standard trope of many Soap Operas, usually combined with Derailing Love Interests as heretofore normal, decent people, usually women, go completely off the deep end in an effort to hang onto or seek revenge on former love interests.
- Bus Driver Stu Benedict, of The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Almost every time we see him, he's just been dumped by his on-and-off girlfriend Bus Driver Sally Knorp, and he reacts increasingly poorly. On various occasions, the break-up has caused him to spend the bus ride home giving a six-hour tour of important locations in his and Sally's life; go insane upon hearing "If You're Happy and You Know It"; and drive to the Arctic, tattoo her name to his chest, strap himself to an iceberg and drift out to sea (though we don't know if he went through with that last one. He shows up again afterwards, so he probably didn't.)
- On Doctor Who, Rory loves Amy. A lot. Enough that he guards her sleeping body for 2,000 years without leaving.
- Although that was arguably more like love keeping him sane.
- River loves the Doctor. A lot. Enough that she almost destroys time in order to save him.
- The Vampire Diaries: Damon has played with this trope as well as Love Redeems, Love Makes You Evil and Love Makes You Dumb at some point during the show.
- Torchwood: There's a lot of love… and a LOT of insanity.
- Cole in Charmed. It may have also made him evil, again, but then again it could have been all the demonic powers he absorbed. Then again again, he absorbed all those powers in order to be able to return to the mortal plane to be with her again.
- In Desperate Housewives, Edie, who up until that point was a casually promiscuous woman who was more bitchy and snarky than actually crazy. Once she starts having a liking for Carlos, suddenly she starts going completely insane and even attempts suicide just to get his attention.
- Chris Keller in Oz for Beecher. And Ryan for Dr. Nathan. Also overlaps with Love Makes You Evil.
- Shane Walsh in The Walking Dead.
- In Flashpoint, the team regarded Valentine's Day as one of the toughest days with plenty of calls. Three cases are shown: a suicidal widower whose wife died on Valentine's, a mother taking her daughter's manager in a strip club hostage and a recently fired man who was madly infatuated with his boss.
- The Haunting Hour: The Valentine's Day episode "Terrible Love" had Brendon go insane when Maggie begs Cupid to shoot Brendon with another love arrow. Cupid initially objects as one love arrow is enough, and more than one causes jealousy, greed, and possessiveness (which Cupid has seen too much of in his time as the god of love). Maggie doesn't care, and ends up dealing with her crush who has turned clingy and deranged.
- Wizards of Waverly Place: Harper, before her much needed Character Development. This could also be said of Justin, ever since "Wizards vs. Vampires" - and is specifically stated as the reason why Justin didn't dump Rosie when he found out that Rosie was an Angel of Darkness.
- Steven Curtis Chapman explains in "Something Crazy" that you don't know what love is until it makes you do something crazy. He mentions a street corner preacher, a humanitarian in Uganda, and the biggest one of all, Jesus Christ.
- Bruno Mars seems to be fond of this trope.
- The song Grenade may sound upbeat. But when you listen to the lyrics, it's kinda disturbing. Voluntarily giving your life for someone that no longer loves you? That's not sweet. That's sick.
- In the music video, he drags a piano around with him to her house. While it seems strange at first, observe how the piano could stand for the suffering for not being loved by her anymore. He reaches her house, to see her kissing another man. Depressed, he leaves, standing in front of a railroad crossing, playing the piano. Then, a train hits him, and he dies.
- A more literal example of this trope, the song ''Talkin' To the Moon'' takes a similar approach to Grenade, but instead, it depicts a man who has been driven stark raving mad instead of being Driven to Suicide over a relationship. Here, the person is revealed to be talking to the moon...pretending the moon is his once significant other.
- While the tone of this song is Lighter and Softer when compared to Grenade (though the music sounds sadder), imagine if you broke up with your significant other. You no longer have any interest in him/her. You've completely moved on and wish to find someone else. Meanwhile, that person you dumped is left emotionally compromised by your relationship with him/her, that he/she is driven mentally insane...to the point where he/she ends up talking to a figment of his/her imagination: You. He slowly deteriorates under his own delusions of being in love with you while you don't even know about it.
- "Voices in My Head" is the most literal example of this.
- Taylor Swift's song The Way I Loved You is all about this trope. "I'm so in love that I acted insane; that's the way I loved you."
- Jo Jo says herself when singing about her "Boy Without A Heart"
So why am I here at your door, at your door.
If I was sane, I'd take my crazy behind,
And get back in my BMW
- In P!nk's "Please Don't Leave Me" she slowly goes insane when her boyfriend attempts to leave her.
- The Police's "Next to You". Love makes you sell your possessions and contemplate theft, apparently.
- The Therapy? song Dopamine, Seratonin, Adrenaline outright links love, mental illness and drug addiction as per the Real Life example.
- "Love Makes You Crazy" by Mike Batt. (Part of a SF concept album where the future society has outlawed love.)
- "I Drive Myself Crazy" by *NSYNC has the chorus "I lie awake/I drive myself crazy/drive myself crazy/thinking about you," with the music video of the band in an sanitarium.
- In WHO dunnit, Butler has this for Victoria. Not only does he put up with her constant abuse, but he also participates in her Black Widow tendencies and attempts to murder Tex after he threatens her.
- Polonius is initially convinced that Hamlet's recent wacky behavior is caused by his love for Ophelia. His attempt to set up a sting operation to prove his theory ends with an apparently-deranged Hamlet ranting that he'd never loved Ophelia, and that she'd best go be a nun (or a whore, depending on your interpretation). So much for that idea.
- In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena is aware that her passion for Demetrius is wacked out even before she betrays Hermia and Lysander to him.
And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities:
Things base and vile, folding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity:
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath Love's mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
- Othello insists that his flaw is that he "loved not wisely, but too well." Of course, being a Horrible Judge of Character doesn't help either.
- In Thrill Me, this trope is Nathan's explanation for why he committed a series of crimes, including murder.
But you've asked a simple question
And I've told you why
It wasn't on a dare or on a whim
It's hard to comprehend now
That the reason why
Was simply that I went along with him
- Salome, the former disciple of Makai Kingdom's Overlord Zetta, whose crush on said Overlord goes into this trope on the deep end. She willingly started channeling her own mana into Zetta without his knowledge or consent, slowly killing herself to make him stronger. Upon learning that Zetta has been cursed by The One and has only two days to live, Salome, who is dying herself, then tries to make Zetta marry her so they can die together...by crashing her own netherworld into Zetta's and eventually provoking him into killing her.
- Persona 3's Yukari nearly dooms the world in an attempt to see the person she loved again.
- In Prince of Persia (2008), the Prince destroys the trees that sealed Ahriman again to revive Elika. It's either a case of Love Makes You Dumb or Love Makes You Genre Savvy, as the epilogue Establishes that he did this because he knows the prison can't hold, and he'd rather face Ahriman now with Elika's help, then to face him without her down the line.
- Craft of Mega Man Zero 4 is either this or Love Makes You Evil. He joined Dr. Weil's army only so that he can protect Neige, the girl he loves. When the latter fled from Neo Arcadia because of the iron-fisted rule of the Big Bad, he makes it his mission to bring her back (thinking that she will be safer in Neo Arcadia), all while spearheading Operation Ragnarok, which would obliterate any inhabitable area outside of Neo Arcadia. Neige did eventually talk Craft out of working under the Big Bad, only for him to destroy Neo Arcadia with the namesake of Operation Ragnarok, a Kill Sat, aiming for Dr. Weil. According to the Complete Works, that attack claimed thousands of lives.
- This is how the original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain begins: When Nupraptor the Mentalist, guardian of the Pillar of the Mind, discovers that his lover Ariel, guardian of the Pillar of Balance, has been murdered in cold blood, he goes completely insane and secludes himself in his mountain retreat. Which wouldn't be so bad by itself, except he has a mental link with all the other Pillar guardians, who all become corrupted by his madness in turn. Including Kain while he was still in the womb.
- In Half-Minute Hero, the so-called "Beautiful Evil Lord" went completely insane after learning that his beloved Millennia was kidnapped by an Evil Sorcerer named Noire, and vowed to cast the spell of destruction because he felt that a world without Millennia wasn't worth living in. You, the Hero, come along and try to calm him down by beating up Noire and returning the Evil Lord's girlfriend to him. You can also attempt to try and tackle him head-on first to snap him out of it by force (and you get a Cosmetic Award title for doing so), but because the Evil Lord is hopped up on equal parts adrenaline and angst, you'll get beaten repeatedly unless you take enough time to Level Grind to the point where you can face him on equal footing.
- And he goes insane again later when Millennia's transformation into a bat suddenly worsens.
- In City of Heroes, the Clockwork King is hopelessly in love with Penelope Yin, a young psychic. His love for her manifests in the Clockwork Army which he uses to keep her safe from heroes and other boys. His Praetorian counterpart Metronome has the same feelings for his world's Penelope. He wants to rescue her from Mother Mayhem's mental hospital by transferring her soul into a Praetorian Clockwork body.
- Rule of Rose: Gregory loves his son Joshua. Therefore, after Joshua dies of unspecified illness, he becomes a crazed serial killer. Wendy loves Jennifer deeply. Therefore it's completely unacceptable for her that Jennifer could love anything even nearly as much as her, so she kills her beloved dog - for starters.
- In Arc Rise Fantasia, Adele takes a dive off the slippery slope to evil and onto the crazy train when she finds out that she's an Unlucky Childhood Friend. Nice Girl to Yandere Vamp in about five minutes or less!
- If Usso fights Laodecia in the final Space Scenario of Shin Super Robot Wars, Fala will show up, vowing to pay back the debt she owes Laodecia. When Usso protests, she tells the little boy to shut up, saying that only a strong man like Laodecia can satisfy her - and Tashiro wasn't up to the task.
- This trope is the whole shebang of Silent Hill 2, where the protagonist James Sunderland is absolutely nuts following the death of his wife Mary... to the point where he's desperate enough to believe that she is actually alive and waiting in Silent Hill. Of course, his feelings toward Mary, inability to see her suffer, and all-consuming fears of abandonment are so exaggerated that he kills her instead of letting her die and is eventually Driven to Suicide, at least in one ending.
- Denny, Professor Capek and Charlotte in Shikkoku No Sharnoth.
- Tsukihime has Roa. Arcueid is so beautiful! How can I make her like me? Oh I know, I'll make her turn me into a Dead Apostle so I gain immortality, steal some of her power, turn her against every other being like her and then turn up in random towns for the next eight hundred years so she has to come find me and kill me! Man I'm smart, this is sure to work.
- To be fair, at least in Ciel's route the implication is that he doesn't KNOW it is love.
- Arcueid actually has the same trouble telling how she feels towards Shiki. She doesn't know why she gets all emotional around him, upset if he breaks a promise and spends so much time thinking about him. The idea is raised that maybe Arcueid hates him or something but that's obviously not the case.
- Caster in Fate/stay night, who at one of her more sympathetic moments in UBW is extremely stressed over the actions she's been taking. They're horrible things she never would have done in life on top of her not believing her plan will actually work, but she's desperately struggling nonetheless. It would help if it was easier to read what Kuzuki was really thinking. It's not even entirely clear to the reader whether her affections are reciprocated.
- Umineko: When They Cry.
- EVERYONE! It's true that while Yasu A.K.A. Shannon, Beatrice, and Kanon may be the craziest since s/he planned the murders of everyone in the Ushiromiya family, as well as a few servants, and a doctor because Battler came to Rokkenjima at the wrong time, but EVERYONE has their moment where love drives them bonkers.
- This is Played for Laughs in George's Image Song, "Ai no Sengen". Yeah, that's right. Played. For. Laughs. If you want the more tragic versions, you can certainly find that in many other parts of the series.
- If you thought the School Days anime was bad for this, just try the original visual novel and one of its companion games, Cross Days. Now with multiple bad endings involving various kinds of sharp object. Or trains.
- In Lux-Pain, this happens to Yui after Mako dies. She eventually tries to kill Tanaka as revenge for Mako's death.
- In Draw With Me, the boy tries to get through the unbreakable (instantly repairing) glass and loses his hand for it. And then the girl cuts off her own hand to give to him to use to draw. (It Makes Sense in Context.)
- Neomutant from TOME became a hacker in TOME just so he can protect his obsession, Flamegirl, from her actual Love Interest, Alpha. This help is nether needed or wanted by nether the girl or the love interest. He has also been in pursuit of her for an entire year, and is seen as being extremely 'dense', as well as selfish, when in regards to Flamegirl. To the point of attacking her love interest within two seconds of being revealed.
- Oasis from Sluggy Freelance cranks this trope up to 11 until she finally winds up in a mental institution.
- She's not gotten any better since leaving either. Sure, she had a point where she managed to level out - only to lose it again when her sensei was killed in front of her eyes. At this point, only death will save her.
- A more humourous version of this showed up when Gwyn used a Love Potion...and apparently there are problems when it comes in contact with alcohol...
- In The Dreamer, Alan infiltrates Gen. Howe's ship just to rescue Beatrice.
- There's a mild version in Penny and Aggie, where Duane reflects on how his crush on Penny affected him.
- Girl Genius, which is not that surprising.
- Gunnerkrigg Court has a sentient cruise ship that holds Court Students hostage and wants to use Zimmy's powers to become a living thing to win the heart of Lindsey.
- El Goonish Shive got Melissa, Unlucky Childhood Friend of Justin. Who told her he isn't attracted to her because he's gay. So she shared this grief with her rumour-mongering sister and everything quickly rolled downhill from there. She had fits of delusion that she could seduce Justin and revert the break if she tried harder — until he couldn't stand hearing her name. Sometimes managed to Dope Slap herself out of this, got another boyfriend, but... still continued to slip into this. They seem to become able to interact normally only after facing a bigger and more immediate problem together.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, the Beast proposed two hundred and forty-three times, but wonders whether giving her a magical ring was too forward.
- Velma from I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space insists this is a good thing.
- Narbonic inverts this. The main character is already insane. Turns out she's more normal now than before she met her crush and love interest.
- Although whether or not it actually qualifies as "love", most instances of a Stalker with a Crush can qualify as this.
- STFU Marrieds is a treasure chest of many real-life examples.
- Romantic love is in fact linked to high levels of dopamine. High levels of dopamine are directly related to symptoms of psychosis, i.e. delusional thinking and hallucinations. Love actually makes you crazy.
- A study noted that the behaviour associated with the initial stages of romantic love is functionally indistinguishable with the behaviour associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Eminem and Kim Mathers
- David Blakely and Ruth Ellis
- Tracie Andrews and Lee Harvey
- The Lighter Side of relationships that end up needing Restraining Orders fits under this. There's only so much bad poetry, unsolicited messages and overtures one can take before annoyance builds to level usually reserved for telemarketers and things that get stuck in your teeth without any floss handy.