Resentful Guardian

I hate you right back you little shit! You and your mom took my life away from me. I just want it back!
Ollie, one of the least resentful examples, Jersey Girl

Who leaves a kid with someone like me? No way in hell!
Otto Heckel, Monster

Once upon a time, she was a genius with dreams, pursued by everyone, one of the guys, or content in screwing people over.

Then you came into the picture, and she hates you for it.

You might be a decent kid. A prodigy even. But that doesn't matter to the one that raised you. You stripped her of her goals in life. Whether or not that belief they hold has any factual basis doesn't matter, for your caregiver has become the Resentful Guardian. They may feel love and protection towards the child but they will have one eye on the past and what they could have been. They'll make attempts to get some of that old life back and it will end up with some neglect of the child.

This can often be the basis for an entire film: a person gets lumbered with a child via family death or similar and so they have to go on a personal journey of connecting with the child and learning to give up some of their old life's hopes and dreams to raise them properly. Expect some timetable clash between a job prospect and a play recital or baseball game.

At an extreme end, the resent may build up to loathsome levels. They may or may not go the full hog into Abusive Parents but it will be obvious to those around them that it will lead to some level of neglect. Here then, the focus is more on the child trying to get some happiness away from their parent.


Anime & Manga
  • The main characters' aunt from Grave of the Fireflies.
  • In Paradise Kiss, George's mom Yukino complains that George's birth ended her modeling career.
  • One Piece: Nico Robin's aunt, Roji, was not at all pleased about taking in her niece, who was the daughter of her husband's sister Olvia, excluding her from family outings and forcing her to do chores. Robin's uncle seemed to care about her more, but it's unclear how much he tried to offset or prevent his wife's mistreating Robin, if at all.
  • Gendo Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion. As far as he sees it, if Shinji had never been born, his wife probably wouldn't have basically committed suicide in order to become a component of a Humongous Mecha so that Shinji could interface with it. It still doesn't justify the utter Hell that he put Shinji and others through, and Gendo himself acknowledges it at the end of his life.
  • Monster has Con Man Otto Heckel being ordered by Tenma to be with Dieter, much to his dismay.
  • Elfen Lied has Mayu. Her own mother slaps her in the face when Mayu tells her about her stepfather molesting her. Her own mother only sees her as competition.
    • Lucy's caretakers at the orphanage are resentful of the fact that they have to take care of a sick child.
  • A one-shot opponent in Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer was a girl named Maria. Her childhood mostly consisted of having to take care of her sick younger brother, leaving her too busy to go outside and play with the other kids. As a result, her only "friend" was her Angel, Tsubaki. While she did resent this, she still cared about her brother, and a You Are Not Alone speech from Misaki during their match was all she needed to make her into a more cheerful person.

Comic Books
  • Rorshach's mother in Watchmen. "I should have had that abortion!"
  • Squee's father in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Squee. Probably his mom, too, though it's implied her neglectful parenting is more because she's a drunk and a drug addict than anything.

Film - Animated
  • The movie Despicable Me plays with this trope. A classic Evil Overlord adopts 3 children as part of one of his schemes to defeat his archnemesis. The conflict between his schemes and raising the children defines the movie.

Film - Live Action
  • Ollie from Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl ended up as a single father when his wife died in childbirth, he then lost his job when screwing up at work from the overloaded stress soon after. He then spends seven years working as a manual laborer, living at his dad's place, raising his daughter pretty damn well in fact but then he gets to thinking he wants his old public relations job back. Cue struggle to convince his family, cue arguments with daughter who doesn't want to move, cue page quote (wow!), cue moment where, after meeting with incidental stranger (who in this case is Will Smith, not played by, is Will Smith) realizes he should run back and attend his daughter's musical performance instead of going to his job interview.
  • Raising Helen is about a woman named Helen who receives guardianship of her recently deceased sister's three kids but as it turns out she's the one who ends up growing up in the end hence the hilarious (!) inversion in the title. She's got a high flying job at a modeling agency, a cool pad in Manhattan and is contractually obliged to party at 3 am in the morning. Next thing we know, she's moved to Queens, is handling school runs and is sleeping with a Lutheran minister to get them into a good school (note, cause and effect may not be as stated).

  • Coira's nurse and caretaker in White as Snow hates and resents her charge. Ignoring the fact that if Coira did not exist, the nurse would not have a cushy, relatively easy job, but a very labour intensive one in the kitchens or scullery.
  • The Dursleys of Harry Potter are like this to their nephew Harry acting with nothing but fear that revelation of what he is could ruin their quiet little Middle England life.
    • For Mrs. Dursley, this resentment is based partly on the fact that her sister was a witch and got to go to Hogwarts and she didn't, which she attempts to mask and compensate for through excessive middle-class snobbery. Again, no excuse for keeping an innocent child in a cupboard for a good part of his early life.
    • Dumbledore is an even greater example, according to back story in the final book. His parents died right around the time he graduated from Hogwarts, and despite being a prodigy he was forced to stay home to raise his younger brother Aberforth and sister Ariana. Then, Gellert Grindelwald came into the picture...
  • Ingrid of White Oleander is brutally frank with her daughter Astrid about feeling this in their final confrontation. "...clinging to me like a spider..." is a quote that references toddler Astrid, and sums up the overall feel of the rant.
  • In the first book of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Dr. Underwood resents having to put up with an apprentice, although apparently every magician is expected to do the same to ensure the production of new competent magicians. His instruction technique mostly consisted of shoving him in a room with a lot of books and telling him to get on with it. His apprentice Nathaniel resents him in turn for being a failure as a teacher, magician, and parental substitute, and considers private study more useful than his infrequent and glacial-paced lessons.
  • Before the start of Galaxy of Fear, Hoole took in two orphans from Alderaan, Tash and Zak, out of a feeling of obligation - he's technically their uncle, since his brother and their aunt were married - and to assuage feelings of guilt for a world he helped destroy. Since he's very aloof and uncommunicative early in the series he leaves most interaction with them to his research assistant DV-9, who was built for far more complicated and intellectual tasks than babysitting and giving lessons to twelve-and-thirteen year olds, and lets them know this regularly. All the same, both do care for their charges, and come to lose their resentment over time.
    "Zoology lessons. I have the brain capacity of a supercomputer and I'm giving zoology lessons."
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality novel "For the Love of Evil," Parry (who later becomes Satan) is forced on a sorcerer by the Church and lord of the manor. At first, he is this trope (because the sorcerer wanted to sacrifice Parry in a spell), but that changes significantly as Parry grows older.
  • James' aunts from James and the Giant Peach

Video Games
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning starts off as this towards Hope Estheim, but she eventually evolves into an effective Parental Substitute. Odin really helps this along.
    *Hope trips along a bridge after a long hike*
    Lightning: This isn't working. I mean, you're a liability. You'll only slow me down.
    Hope: What?
    Lightning: I'm sorry, but I can't protect you when- *grunts, collapses to knees, l'Cie brand glows through uniform*
    Hope: You can't just leave me here! You gotta take me with you!
    Lightning: ENOUGH! The whole world is against us. I can barely keep myself alive; let alone some helpless kid! *another grunt* I don't have time to baby you. You want to get tough? Do it on your own! *grunts one last time before rolling out of circle as Odin emerges*
    *Hope is laying back on his rear and hands, visibly frightened of Odin*
    Lightning: This cannot be happening. *Hope cowers as Odin prepares to cut him down* Look out! *parries Odin, prepares for battle as Hope rises to a stand*

Visual Novels
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni has many examples, mostly pertaining to Satoko When her parents die, she's forced into her aunt and uncle's household, which causes them both to resent her and abuse her. The aunt loves to whip her and call her names while the uncle forces her to be his slave and go out and buy alcohol for his buddies.
    • Whenever Shion is asked by her love interest to take care of Satoko, she does not do so because she hates her for taking up all of his time and interests. She later brutally murders her by stabbing her to death on a cross and then later regrets it.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Rosa Ushiromiya. BEST MOM EVER.
    • Well, sometimes she's this — and sometimes she actually is the BEST MOM EVER.
  • Lady Carmosa in Cinders acts like this to her step daughter to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the choices of the player.

  • Lifelong sexual hedonist Charisma of Penny and Aggie had Marshall unexpectedly as a teenager. Although she sees more than adequately to his material and educational needs, even paying for private school, she views him as an obstacle "put on this earth to slow me down." Some time after Nick, the first man she truly loves, overhears this outburst, he asks her to look him in the eye and assure him she didn't really mean that. She can't.
  • In Homestuck, Rose and her mother hold up a passive-aggressive oneupmanship contest with each other. Rose sees her mother as being resentful in nature, and her somewhat quirky personality as hateful. May or may not be a huge misunderstanding on her part.

Web Original
  • Both The Nostalgia Critic and Ask That Guy with the Glasses got resentment from their parents, with the former being yelled at to shut up when he was crying as a baby, and the latter getting threatened with "going back in the dumpster where [they] found [him]".

Western Animation
  • Family Guy: Lois Griffin has been shown to have feelings of contempt towards her oldest daughter Meg for being unable to have an abortion and therefore getting disqualified from participating in the Olympics. Instead she is now stuck raising her.
    • Lois has actually made it clear in several episodes that she never wanted 'any' of her children, even claiming that she attempted to miscarry Chris before she chickened out half way.
    • And yet the moment a Straw Feminist mocks her three kids... cue the catfight.
  • Moral Orel: Clay Puppington AND his father. The former actively sees family as a curse and the latter never even wanted children to begin with and was forever embittered towards Clay after he caused his mother to die of a heart attack.
  • Homer from The Simpsons slips in and out of this. While he can be openly contemptuous of Bart (from strangling him to calling him a mistake to his face), his treatment of his daughters is much better, though he wasn't looking forward to Maggie since it cost him his dream job (he got better when he first laid eyes on Maggie). That said, he once drunkenly complained about his family on a television show reminiscent of HBO's Taxi Cab Confessions.
    • Abe Simpson also can swing in and out of it as well.