Trauma Conga Line

There's getting back-stabbed, and then...

The rule for finding plots of character-centered to ask, "What's the worst thing that can possibly happen to this guy?" And then do it.

You have reached a writer's block. You've created a hero so righteous, noble, good and pure that traumatizing them just once is not convincing enough to break them. Yet you want the intended audience to still feel like they want to reach into your work and hug the character in question.

Hence the name of this trope. You sit in front of your typewriter (for all us oldies who can remember what a typewriter is) or your laptop computer (for all you younguns) and put on a hat with the name "Murphy" written on it, and think to yourself:

"If traumatizing a hero once can earn the audience's sympathy, then what better way to earn your audience's love for the character than to lay trauma after trauma on them like a falling row of dominoes?"

Having donned the hat of "Murphy", you, the creator of this fictitious universe, are entitled, nay, obligated to make sure that whatever can go wrong for your hero will go wrong. The effect is akin to the Chinese proverb of water continuously dripping on a rock: one drop won't even dent it, but a million will crack a boulder. In other words, having your hero lose everyone they love and/or have every dream unfulfilled and broken is the most realistic way to turn a God Amongst Men into a pathetic crying wreck.

The usual results of a Trauma Conga Line is as follows:

Result A) The hero perseveres over the trials of life, rises above it and becomes a better person for it all. Defining term: Iron Woobie

Result B) The protagonist throws off his hero mantle, tramples it, and in a cold rush of unrelenting cynicism becomes a villain just as bad, if not worse, than the antagonist. Defining term: Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds

Result C) The hero curls into a figurative or literal catatonic ball in a cold dark corner, then proceeds to give up on life and the world. Defining term: Despair Event Horizon.

Result D) Goes out in a blaze of bloodthirsty rage realizing that the best way out is by taking it out on everyone. Defining term: Roaring Rampage of Revenge

Result E) The protagonist loses their sense of idealism, but not their morality. Most Anti Heroes who started out as an Ideal Hero are Type E. Defining term: Knight in Sour Armor

Result F) Rarest one: the protagonist just shrugs their shoulders at the Deus Angst Machina. No lessons are learned nor does the character behave differently. All that's changed is that the Bunny-Ears Lawyer now sleeps in a cardboard box and eats out of dumpsters. Defining term: Angst? What Angst?

Result G) Somewhere between the Despair Event Horizon and unbreakable resolve of the Iron Woobie is a common middle ground, where the survivor is clearly damaged by the ordeal, but is not lost completely or rendered insane (and thus has hope of recovery to Type A). Defining term: The Woobie

Result H) Loses all will, drive, ambition, or capacity for emotion from being broken so much. Defining term: Empty Shell

This trope is a particularly vicious example of Break the Cutie, and is a gamble on the part of you, the writer.

Handled correctly, it will create the ultimate Iron Woobie so endearing that the audience will cry and cheer with him/her to the bitter or uplifting end.

On the other hand, one melodramatic violin-music-laced scene too many, and you'll have the Narm of the century.

See also Humiliation Conga, where this happens to a villain who deserves what's coming to him. Deus Angst Machina is similar and there is quite a bit of overlap, but with the Trauma Conga Line more of it happens on-screen than in the backstory.

Here Be Spoilers, Ladies and Gentlemen


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  • Ian from Not Simple. Everything, everywhere, goes wrong. And then he dies.
  • Berserk does this mercilessly with its three main characters:
    • Guts' childhood was singularly horrific. As a kid, he endured Training from Hell from a father figure who hated him due to blaming him for the death of his lover, enough to have him sold as a Sex Slave to one of his soldiers for one night, and who ultimately got drunk and tried to murder him, forcing the poor kid to kill him. Things went pretty good for him when he joined up with the Band of the Hawk, and even found a first love in Casca. Then the Eclipse went down, resulting in his best friend going bad in an unforgivable fashion, Guts losing everyone else except Casca to things out of pure nightmare, and losing an eye and being Forced to Watch as Casca is raped to insanity by Griffith himself in his new demonic form of Femto after having to chisel off his own left arm to try to save her. He is in hardcore vengeance mode following this, resulting in Guts becoming a bit of an asshole until some much-needed refocusing and reconnection with Casca and gaining a new set of True Companions sets him on the road to something resembling his original personality.
    • Casca was sold to a noble who wanted her for a Sex Slave. She was rescued by Griffith and became one of his best warriors, and life is good for her, and she eventually finds love in Guts. Then the Eclipse went down, resulting in Griffith going bad as mentioned above, Casca losing everyone under her command (particularly Pippin and Judeau, who sacrificed themselves to make sure she would live), getting captured and stripped naked by demons and ultimately being raped by Griffith himself in his new form of Femto, with Guts trying everything in his power but still failing to save her. The trauma of her experience drives her insane, and we can only speculate on what will result from her being brought out of it when Guts and crew reach Elfheim.
    • And then there's Griffith. His childhood was no walk in the park, but he lived quite happily until he discovered a kid who died in his service, whom he had come to befriend personally. Overwhelmed by guilt (not that he would ever admit this), he pimped himself out to a pederast lord for the money to fund his mercenary band, leaving him with serious emotional scars that he similarly hid from others. Then he meets, defeats, and befriends Guts, and life goes good for him up until Guts decides to leave him, and defeats him with one stroke, which brings him to the realization that he has forgotten his true ambitions and reason for living (due to the obsession that he had developed for him). Griffith's life falls apart after that when he's captured by the King's men after having sex with the Princess, resulting in him getting put to the torture for a year. By the time Guts and the rest of the Hawks rescue him, he's in a very bad way both physically and mentally, and has come to hate everything and everyone (except for Guts and Casca). This lasts up until Griffith finds out that Guts and Casca are in a relationship with each other and are discussing leaving him behind, at which point he loses it completely. And unfortunately for the two and the rest of the Hawks, his Crimson Behelit returns to him shortly afterward, and he activates it at the first opportunity, triggering the events of the Eclipse and his decision to take back his dream by sacrificing everyone in his command to the God Hand, including Guts and Casca, to become their fifth member, the monstrous Femto. Griffith crosses the Moral Event Horizon by the time this is through, and is now the Big Bad of the series. Bad things happen to the rest of the cast too, but they die pretty quickly as a result.
  • The entire series of 7 Seeds. It starts off by some of the protagonists waking up to a ship they are on sinking, then learn that they are in the future after meteorites impacted upon Earth and, not believing this story, head off on their own to see ruins of their hometowns. Then we even get some flashback chapters that show or describe the world before the impact, and even that one isn't sunshine and rainbows, with natural disasters like earthquakes and floods being an almost daily occurrence. And even shelters, made to keep some of the people save, don't do all that much better.
    • Then you have the entire candidacy for Team Summer A. These are kids who are raised in an institution, knowing of the meteorites to come and are being raised for survival in a post-apocalyptic world and are in constant rivalry to be chosen for Team Summer A. Things get worse when Ango (and Ryo) find out that "dropping out" means getting killed, that their Final Test to determine who will be chosen involves killing everyone except the last remaining seven and then there is the Final Test itself. Students get killed by guns exploding due to backfiring from poor maintenance, being buried alive under rock, getting maimed by animals, being half-crushed under rocks and slowly dying... It's not a surprise that the members of Team Summer A are a bit...unhinged at times.
  • Fruits Basket is full of this.
  • Hellsing. Seras Victoria had her police unit dispatched to a hamlet which happened to have been infested with vampires, all of whom were killed, including herself, then sired as a vampire herself. It all goes downhill from there. She wobbles between Type C and D until at long last, karma leaves her alone enough for her to develop into what seems to be a Type A thirty years after Millennium's attack.
  • Lelouch, the Anti-Hero of Code Geass, gets a mixture of type B and D. However, streaks of result A are shown at the end as his last act is to make himself the enemy of the world so the world becomes peaceful by his death.
    • There are a few other Code Geass characters that would fall under this, too, though less obviously due to not being the main character. Shirley and Suzaku stick out the most, but there are more, this being Code Geass.
    • Lelouch actually has a lot more in common with Type E, largely because he still has a firm grasp of his own sense of right and wrong, as well as wanting to see his ultimately noble goals come to fruition, even if he comes across as quite dark. It's hard to be a Type B when your enemy is a racist Empire that has one leader willing to destroy individuality due to his own crappy childhood, and a Prime Minister who's willing to nuke the whole world from orbit to enforce peace. Shirley almost becomes type C, before Mao makes her go into Type D, then she almost lapses into type C again before some Laser-Guided Amnesia allows her to shift into type A. Suzaku aims quite valiantly for type A, but with everything that happens, he shifts into either B or D (depending on your perspective) at the end of episode 19 of R2, before joining Lelouch in type A.
  • Albert Morcef from Gankutsuou. Albert first gets betrayed by the Count and Peppo, who he thought could be trusted, when Haydee exposes Albert's father as a criminal who gained nobility and power through non legal means. Then, his best friend Franz gets killed when Franz decides to go to the duel with the Count (the duel which the Count goaded Albert into making so the Count can get an excuse to kill Albert) instead of Albert. However, instead of breaking down, Albert ends up taking the route A and becomes a better person who not only saves the Count's soul from Gankutsuou but also fixes his father's wrongs by becoming an envoy of peace.
    • Don't forget that Albert's father also tries to stage a coup detat after he's exposed, even going so far as to try to kill his own wife and son when they get in the way.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion is probably the ultimate showcase of this trope in action.
    • Shinji Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion is the most well known Result C. He was a lonely, cripplingly introverted kid to begin with, thanks to seeing his mother die at a tender age and being subsequently abandoned by his father. Then, he gets shanghaied into piloting a mecha that's actually a Lovecraftian monstrosity, which exposes his already fragile mind to more than most adults can take. He gets beaten up at school for his efforts and his first proper battle experience all but ruins him, as in, he shut himself in his room for weeks, ran away, and contemplated jumping off a cliff. In spite of all this, Shinji manages to find himself some friends and a sort of replacement family and even bond with the cute girls surrounding him, pulling through all the challenges that life threw at him...until all of his achievements were ripped away from him in the cruelest possible fashion. First he put on a mental trial by the first Angel with psychic abilities, leading him to question and doubting himself, after which a critical mutual failure to understand each other leads to his relationship with a love interest souring, then, he has to watch his best friend get maimed at his own father's hands, all but destroying their relationship that was finally showing subtle signs of improvement, next, his mentor/father figure is assassinated and his mother figure falls into deep depression as a result, one of his love interests gets subjected to brutal Mind Rape and the other dies to save his life, just to be replaced by a clone who barely reacts to him, after which he's treated to watching several of these clones dissolving into bloods and gore, the revelation that his dead mother's soul is in his mecha all of which while he couldn't do a thing about her...and then, just when he's at the lowest of the low, some white haired Bishōnen turns up and wants to be his friend...except he turns out to be an enemy whom Shinji has to kill...and ends up sacrificing himself for Shinji's sake. Guilt-ridden, the poor boy tries drowning himself, but can't bring himself to go through with it, after which he just curls up and waits for someone to shoot him. Cue End of Evangelion. Uniquely, Shinji is all over the scale of results for this trope. At the start of the series he is already a Result E from his back-story alone. Throughout the series he keeps going back and forth between Result F, D and C. He usually tries to be a Result F, until something pushes him far enough and he plunges into D, which he usually precedes to fail at landing him on C until he manages to crawl back to F. In End of Evangelion he finally breaks the cycle by just giving up entirely and temporary becoming a Result B before finally managing to find a way to Result A.
    • In Rebuild of Evangelion, he's a strange variation of a Result D. He, not Unit 01, goes berserk at the end of 2.0 to save Rei, but doesn't give a damn if he kills everything else in the process. It's even displayed earlier in the movie, when he tries to destroy NERV and off Gendo with his EVA for using the dummy system on Unit 03 while Asuka was inside it. Then he goes through a particularly nasty one in Rebuild 3.0. that sends him straight into Result C. Pray that the last movie doesn't finish like End.
    • It is implied that Shinji's father is a type B or a type E.
    • In fact, it's harder to name the characters who don't get put through the meatgrinder as the series progressed. Asuka's story, in particular, is that of a naive young girl shattering on the hard rocks of reality.
  • On the other hand, Ayasaki Hayate of Hayate the Combat Butler is a most admirable example of Result A. You would think that being raised by two pathologically-unemployed con-artists of parents as a cash-cow only to be abandoned to some very nice people to pay off debt money with your organs would turn the boy Joker-Crazy. Wouldn't you know it, he is still a kindhearted fella who would give his life for a total stranger.
    • If you think about it, Hayate is kinda Joker-crazy. His childhood was crap, his parents were evil, and the universe occasionally punts him around like an old football ("Watch out for this paint that will permanently stain a cashmere coat!" and "We will attack you with swords that cut cashmere really well!" come to mind). And yet...he keeps smiling.
  • Tokiha Mai of Mai-HiME was a kind and emotionally strong girl who looked after her constantly ill little brother with a weak heart by giving up her own childhood to work for his medical bills after losing both her parents. Having both that little brother and the boy she came to love die in rapid succession, as well as seeing that the one to blame is, supposedly, her best friend and sworn sister, can even break a saint like her into a nihilistic Result C.
  • Kurohime: Zero's past was really horrible.
  • Shiina Tamai from Narutaru is a brave, kind-hearted, upbeat Action Girl...who, as per the Deconstructionist nature of the series, is put through a lot of crap. Between watching friends and loved ones die, and seeing that humans are a truly terrible lot, there's only so much trauma she can take before she turns into an example of Result C. The anime version doesn't get anywhere near that far, mind you.
    • Most of the kids connected to the Dragon Children. If they don’t have issues they will quickly get them. Akira is sexually abused by her father, forcibly dragged into a conflict with teenage psychos, mind-rapped at least twice to make her join, locked away for almost a year for killing said father and confronted with dozens of violent deaths. There is also Hirako, who has no-one beside Shiina, is heavily bullied in school and her demanding parents don’t give a damn as long as she has good grades. When her father tries to cut her ties with Shiina she slips.
  • Vash the Stampede from Trigun. As we learn more and more about him two important facts come to mind. 1. He is the unluckiest person who's ever lived. 2. There is someone out there directly responsible for that and he's far from finished. However, Vash takes the route A because he is just that badass.
  • Nana from Nana's Everyday Life.
    • To a lesser extent in Elfen Lied too. Several times, she thinks she's finally put her old hellish life behind. Not so. Until the very end of the manga...maybe.
  • Ga-Rei -Zero-:
  • Almost every major character in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. One good example is Fai, who has a backstory so mindbendingly dramatic it's verging on ridiculous and during the course of the story manages to be used by the Big Bad, be killed (in a virtual world, but still), have an eye gouged out and eaten by his surrogate son, after which he tries to let himself die but is forced to become a vampire by his partner, a curse obliges him to stab his surrogate daughter, his father figure tries to make him kill him right after he finds out the magical creature he made in semblance of his mother has been erased from existence, and then gives up his remaining magic power to get a prosthetic arm for his partner, who had to rip it off to save him once again. And this all happens in around 100 chapters. And that's not even mentioning how his backstory contains horrible abuse, separation from his twin, bearing witness to the genocide of the people of Valeria, his uncle stabbing himself through the head in front of him, the death of his twin in front of his eyes, and then ANOTHER genocide when Ashura goes batsy.
  • Bleach: Ichigo knows his need to protect can be exploited by the enemy and by the Lost Agent Arc was so Genre Savvy about this that he was starting to find it annoying. That's when it's revealed that the Arc Villain's plan took this ennui into account. The villain built up trust with Ichigo while tearing down his friends in secret, leaving Ichigo feeling isolated and alone in a world gone mad, unable to do anything other than fight for the strength to save his friends and family. Once he obtained that strength, the villain stepped forward and promptly stole them. In an instance, Ichigo was bereft of his friends, his family and his power and, quite literally, left with nothing but the clothes on his back, a sword through his chest, and tears pouring down his face at how completely he had failed. Before this arc, it would never have been believable to see Ichigo, a stalwart shounen hero, on his knees crying. This arc made it happen.
  • This happens to Mai Kujaku/Valentine. She was Mind Raped during the Battle City Finals and her subsequent inadvertent Face-Heel Turn that gets her in arguably even worse danger during the Doma saga in Yu-Gi-Oh!.
    • This happens on much a higher, much more heartbreaking scale to Judai Yuki in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, and could very well pass as the best example of this trope next to Naruto down below in Shonen anime history.
    • And it gets worse in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. At the beginning of the series, all the major and quite a number of minor characters are in a bad place. The major characters in Satellite are orphans and live on whatever they can salvage while pursued by Security and discriminated against by the people of Neo-Domino. But on the other side, things aren't much better. Aki Izayoi was struggling with her father's inability to balance work and home life, leading to the awakening of her Psychic Powers, that ruined her relationship with her parents, who saw her as a monster. She was sent to Duel Academy and came back to find her parents doing well without her, misreading the scene as their feeling glad to be rid of her and ran into the arms of a secret society housing scorned Psychics. Yusei, like Judai, has one heck of a battering—his parents were killed in Zero Reverse; the result of a project his father had been in charge of, who sacrificed himself to ensure the year-old Yusei could survive. He bares the mask of The Stoic, but has a fantastic breakdown in his match with Rudger—at the very site where the latter was responsible for his parents' (and thousands of others) deaths. There, Yusei reveals that he's been shouldering the guilt of his father and can't even understand why his friends can stand him, as the son of the man whose project took away their parents' lives.
    • The present of 5D's isn't even the worst of it. There's the Bad Future to deal with. A global version of Zero Reverse takes place as Synchro Monsters overlord the momentum system and as a result, the Machine Emperors are unleashed. What happens is the eradication of almost all human life on the planet. Of the four humans that are shown among those remaining, Aporia loses his parents as a child, his lover as an adult and finds no further sign of life by the time he's an elderly man, pushing him far over the Despair Event Horizon. Antinomy is so grief-stricken by what's happened that he's prepared to die when a Machine Emperor is about to fire on him, only to be saved by Zone and breaks down. Zone himself could be the worst. Unable to see his world crumble, he researched Yusei, who is effectively the embodiment of hope and works tirelessly to literally become him, even including headgear that holds Yusei's personality, just to become a symbol of hope and spur mankind into fighting back. His efforts fail horribly when the situation eventually worsens and he's unable to save anyone, almost killed himself. By then, he, too, is pushed harshly over the Despair Event Horizon, and, as a result, is so damaged, that his plan to save the future becomes a journey back 200 years to take out the Synchro Monsters that caused the destruction of his world - even if it means taking out Yusei and himself.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has Negi. Lets see, he's never known his parents, saw his entire hometown get destroyed at about age 6 or so, gets attacked by a vampire with a grudge against his father, inadvertently causes several of his students to get sold into slavery in the Magic World, gets framed for a terrorist attack (along with his other students), starts to lose control of his Black Magic, and when he finally discovered who his mother is, it turns out that most of the Magic World hates her because they think she's a genocidal maniac. And yet, he still manages to hold a positive outlook on life, making him a case of type A. He does occasionally show a few Type D traits, though. He's been shown to have some really severe hatred for those who destroyed his hometown, and it is suggested that, unconsciously, his real reason for learning how to fight so well was to exact revenge on those responsible. The fact that he specifically learned a spell designed to outright kill demons is telling...
  • Almost everyone in Monster, but Nina should get a special mention.
  • Naruto definitely qualifies. He was a life long outcast who never knew his parents at the beginning, before being told exactly why in a very brutal manner. All his peers treat him like trash, and he has to fight for every bit of respect he can. Not too much later, the closest thing to a grandfather and only family member he has dies, swiftly followed by his best friend's betrayal and attempt to kill him. He then spends 3 years away from his friends for the sole purpose of bringing back said best friend, and when he gets back, one of them dies for a little while. Thankfully, he got better. Then he once again meets traitorous friend, and he once again attempts to kill him. Some time later, a third retrieval fails. Now then, here's where it really starts. In rapid succession, his teacher and father(?) figure dies, his village is destroyed and he watches someone declare their love for him and then immediately get stabbed. Then his hopes of bringing his best friend back are shattered by revelation after revelation.
    • Sasuke isn't exactly happy either. First his family is killed, and he is forced to watch it over and over again. All of this at the hands of his beloved brother. Just as he was beginning to open up more, he is humiliated time and again by the supposed dead last as he beats enemies even he couldn't. Then, he finally meets his brother again, where he gets beaten and Mind Raped again. This drives him into a Face-Heel Turn that Word of God says was quite painful for him, but that doesn't count. All is good for a time, until he achieves his goal. He is then told about how that was all a lie, his recently dead brother really was a good guy who loved him, and how his idolized family were actually traitors. He then suffers a series of defeats, one after another as he tries to get his revenge. Though once again, the most recent doesn't count due to working for the Big Bad. Naruto is lucky to be as well adjusted as he is, and Sasuke...well, it doesn't excuse his actions, but it does make it easier to see why he is doing what he is.
    • Don't even get me started on Kakashi: first his mother dies before she's thirty, then Kakashi witnesses his father's disgrace and subsequent suicide, then Obito "dies" and Kakashi unintentionally kills Rin after she puts herself in the way of his attack, as she had the Sanbi sealed inside her by agents of Kirigakure and was intended as a Trojan Horse for Konoha, and finally he loses Minato, who may well have been a Parental Substitute. Also, 72 hours of Tsukuyomi and losing all of his students to other teachers, and finally finding out just who Tobi really is.... Trauma Conga Line? You betcha! The fact he has not gone insane yet is a miracle...
      • And now Gai's trying a suicide attack, Naruto's life is hanging by a thread...Kakashi needs some major therapy after all of this.
      • AND, after going blind in the eye Obito donated to him from overusing Kamui, Madara goes and rips it out. Also, before that he got to enjoy dying during Pain's attack on Konoha. Basically, if Kishimoto needs to torture a character, it'll probably be Kakashi.
    • Don't forget some of the other characters. Gaara, Kimimaro and Pain are stand outs. Notably a lot of them end up going the antagonist route (until Naruto shows them the error of their ways).
    • FYI, that makes Naruto a type A, Sasuke a mixture of B and D, Gaara a B -> A, and Pain a type B.
    • Rock Lee was treated this way in part one, with two parts inferiority complex/jealousy and two parts career-ending injury. Depending on how you look at it, he's either a type A or a type F; On the one hand, his injuries are healed and he ends up fighting alongside the guy who ruined his life. On the other hand, as a result of falling out of focus post-time skip, he stopped getting character development but no longer seems to be miserable.
    • Obito, after seeing his crush get kidnapped, having half his body crushed under rubble as he and Kakashi save her, and recovering with Madara's help, is given a Breaking Speech from the very same about how the world sucks, and it will only cause him pain, offering Obito a chance to create a new dream world at the expense of the current one. Obito promptly refuses, goes through months of painful rehabilitation, and eventually learns that Rin was kidnapped again, and goes on a desperate attempt to save her, arriving just in time to see her get stabbed by Kakashi, ending up a textbook example of Type B, believing Madara to be right and his solution to be the only way to save the world. Almost two decades later, after Obito returns to his old self and performs a Heel-Face Turn, he learns that Madara, the very same man who saved his life and told him of the Moon's Eye Plan, orchestrated Rin's death so as to manipulate Obito into joining him, since he knew that Obito was a kind person. Yeah, Kakashi isn't the only one that's going to need therapy after this.
  • In One Piece, Luffy finally had a Heroic BSOD after a Conga Line that started way back in Sabaody and was compounded by events that only succeeded in twisting in the knife.
    • Nico Robin's life. Nami's backstory. Ace. Hell, let's be real, almost every major character will dance this conga until their feet bleed. They promised us cute pirate shenanigans, and we got it, but with a huge helping of horrible heartbreak.
    • Trafalgar Law's childhood : doomed to an early death by poisoning along with all the people of his country, his father, mother, sister and friends finally die during the genocide commited by foreigh nations to prevent a pandemy that would have never occured anyway. After he managed to escape hidden among the corpses, he became a totally different kid.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Himura Kenshin is a mix between a Type A and a Type E.
    • Considering that Kenji basically becomes an orphan and most of his childhood consists of waiting for his redemption-obsessed father and watching his mother slowly dying from the grief and a skin illness she caught from said father, his life doesn't look much better.
  • Simon from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has basically everyone close to him die, and no matter how much Screw Destiny is the theme of the series there seems to be nothing he can do to prevent it. In the end, he abandons Spiral Power entirely, because he knows first hand how destructive it is.
  • Elfen Lied. The anime traumatizes the characters enough already, and let's just not get into the manga...
  • Allen Walker, from D.Gray-Man. Even before the series starts, he's abandoned by his parents at birth because of his apparently deformed arm. As a very young child he works at a circus where he's beaten by the clowns. He's finally adopted by Mana at the age of seven, only to lose him three years later. The Millennium Earl promptly manipulates a griefstricken Allen into making a contract to bring his foster father back, only to have Mana come back horribly wrong and curse him. Allen is forced by his own anti-Akuma weapon arm to kill his now-Akuma father and the trauma turns his hair white. Allen then goes through Training from Hell with his Jerkass mentor General Cross for four years, which leads to him becoming an exorcist and the start of the series. After the series starts, the hits keep coming, including having his Innocence seemingly destroyed and getting a hole torn out of his heart thanks to Tyki; having his friends disappear one by one as the Ark disintegrates around him; and having the only place that he could ever call home, the Order, almost be destroyed by a Level Four Akuma attack. Think he deserves a break? Not a chance. After nearly killing himself to fight off the Level 4 Akuma, he is told that he is the host of the mysterious Fourteenth Noah who's going to take over his body, and in the process of doing so, will destroy Allen's personality and force him to kill someone who he loves dearly. His mentor General Cross suddenly disappears under highly suspicious circumstances. Now Allen's being treated by almost everyone in the Order as a potential threat that needs to be ruthlessly eliminated at the smallest sign of stepping out of line. And in the most recent chapters, the Fourteenth is not only awakening inside Allen, but is capable of taking control of Allen's body without any warning in his quest to become the next Millennium Earl. Iron Woobie, indeed.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Another one that most would answer with "Everyone", however this is especially true for Roy, Riza, and everyone who had to live through both Ishval and the Promised Day storylines.
    • Edward from the 2003 anime adaption. Both at the beginning of the series and at the end.
  • Alice from Nemurihime. In the space of eight chapters she has lost her father, was stricken with a disease that will kill her in a year, was frozen for fifty years, learned that her doctor was in love with her but married another woman to have a family. His wife became so desparate for his affection that she figured they could only be Together in Death, which caused the doctor's son to hate Alice so much he unfroze her just to torture her for the rest of her life — which will be one year because there's still no cure for her disease. According to those who read the whole thing it gets worse. Poor Alice.
  • CLANNAD: Tomoya Okazaki. Oooohhhhhh, boy...
  • In Pokémon Special, White goes through one over the span of what couldn't have been more than an hour, and to make things worse all this happens immediately after the highest moment of her life. Though it takes a little while, she resolves to become a Type A.
    • The XY chapter starts with Shauna as a Type G. Time will tell where she goes from there, seeing how she seems to take the brunt of most personally traumatic experiences in the Five-Man Band.
  • The title character of InuYasha has so much of this it's ridiculous.
  • Rintaro Okabe from Steins;Gate had to go through seeing his childhood friend die repeatedly no matter what he does, and when he finally manages to save her, it's at the cost of sacrificing the love of his life for it.
  • After a childhood full of emotional and (implied) physical abuse at the hands of his mother and, as an adolescent, more abuse (and an attempt on his life) at the hands of his half-brother, Kazutaka Muraki, the main villain of Yami No Matsuei, becomes a very creepy Result B.
  • Several examples from Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Madoka goes through this largely by watching people she cares about either die or turn into a witch, with her being unable to anything about it, largely due to Homura who keeps getting in her way towards becoming a magical girl (because magical girls are doomed to become witches). When she finally does accept Kyubey's contract, she ultimately sacrifices herself by using her wish to ensure that no magical girl will become a witch, instead visiting them at the moment their Soul Gems would blacken completely and giving them a merciful end.
    • Sayaka first ends up fighting against Kyoko, who berates her using her wish for someone else rather than herself, then finding out what happened to her body/soul when she became a magical girl. Then her friend Hitomi mentions that she's interested in Kyosuke as well, and will ask him out after giving Sayaka one day to confess her feelings, which Sayaka doesn't do because of her body/soul situation. Finally, she hears of two guys who are making fun of a woman one is dating, and thinking she's a moron for devoting herself to him, which Sayaka doesn't enjoy hearing, and finally just gives up all hope and turns into a witch.
    • Kyoko first witnesses as her father starts to preach crazy things, which causes people to stop attending their church, and then their family starts to suffer lots of hardships, including starvation. When she makes her wish to have people attend the church, at first it seems good, until her father finds out what she did, and he kills himself and the family as a result. She finally sacrifices herself to stop Sayaka who just recently turned into a witch.
    • Homura is forced to watch Madoka constantly die, or turn into a witch, and almost every time she tries to warn them of something bad happening if they become a magical girl, they either ignore her warnings, or take it a with a grain of salt. Most of the time the main characters view her in a very negative light, and it isn't until episode 10 that we see why Homura acts the way she does, due to her inability to change the fate of people around her, including the person she cares about the most, Madoka herself.
  • A Cruel God Reigns: Jeremy. This poor kid gets everything from abuse, rape, being forced to live with his rapist, countless piles of guilt, drug addiction, prostitution, some pretty hefty Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and having to live as a murderer, the poor guy has to deal with it all. Also an example of Break the Cutie. At the beginning of the story, Jeremy is pretty much sweetest, most innocent teenagers to walk the Earth, but that changes in one of the first few chapters. At different points of the story, Jeremy is Type A, Type C, and Type E.
  • Oz Vessalius from Pandora Hearts has played the part of a Cheerful Child Stepford Smiler since he was young, but, despite being incredibly broken, he has been able to find some happiness in the present. That is, until he's betrayed by Jack, his trusted mentor figure, after which his world comes down around him. Along with the trauma he experienced at the hands of his cold and dismissive father, he then learns that his father's hatred of him may be justified, as it is revealed that he is not the person he thought he was but rather an existence dangerous to nearly everybody around him. Consequently, he experiences an identity crisis and goes into a Heroic BSOD after being shot by his best friend. Just as he's getting better after a reconciliation with said best friend, and even better after pulling off a Shut Up, Hannibal! at Jack and calling back Alice to the world, his own beloved uncle gets stabbed by one of his friends, who turns out to be taken over by her Split Personality, who is also one of the crazier Baskervilles they know, and said uncle pulls a You Shall Not Pass on the pursuing Baskervilles and lets Oz and co. go without him. It remains to be seen how he'll come out of it all in the end.
  • Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest: Let's see. Aoshika Akiko's trauma conga line began when she was in middle school, where she was sexually assaulted by some older male students. Victim blaming soon ensued, so she and her family had to move away. Soon after getting her teaching license at a young age, Aoshika quickly gets married at her father's insistence, saying that no man would want her. Her marriage did not go well and she divorced. She managed to live a quiet and simple life as a dedicated but under appreciated middle school teacher for awhile...until the New Transfer Student, Akira Inugami, entered her home room and her life. From there, she went through another sexual assault but it was averted, almost got eaten by an escaped lion, and survived not one, but TWO school shootings. Oh, and Inugami is a werewolf. That stuff was pretty minute to say the VERY least, as everything got, really, really bad when Inugami's arch-nemesis Haguro finds out that the student and teacher are attracted to each other. Wanting to draw Inugami out, he proceeds to kidnapping Aoshika, having her molested by his Yakuza mooks, raping her, then having his goons gang rape her for several hours, drugging her for half of the duration so then she would enjoy being raped, and he does this all in front of Inugami via video—which he proceeds to release on the internet to ensure that her life would be ruined.
  • The start of the first episode of Kotoura-san has one for the local telepath Haruka: her classmates ostracize her at school because she's different; her parents' unstable marriage is scuttled by her absentee, philandering father and lonely, desperate mother; her mother eventually abandons her, saying Haruka should never have been born to her face; a stray cat she was caring for—her last remaining friend—was taken to the pound by a cranky old woman (effectively a death sentence in Japan); and a broken, cynical Haruka ends up living alone, convinced it's better than being around other people. Her resolution was a bit different from what was described in the lead, though: she met Yoshihisa Manabe, a boy whose only worry about being with a telepath was to rein in his dirty thought. Right, she is clearly happier with the first friend (and not long after, lover) that she made.
  • Both Sorata and Nanami of Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo suffer through this in episode 21. While they had some other outstanding issues, it finally reached a boiling point for both of them after all the bad things that kept happening to them, such as their failures to achieve something in the goals they were reaching for.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Jonathan Joestar lost his mother when he was a baby which was very sad by itself, but then Dio showed up when he was 12; starting with beating him at everything, stealing his girlfriend's first kiss and settling his dog on fire. Long story short, it got worse from there.
    • Let's not forget Johnny Joestar. One, his father openly favored his brother over him. Two, his pet rat killed his brother after it was set free by him. Three, after that, his father wouldn't acknowledge him because he couldn't beat a certain British punk, and when Johnny and his dad fought, his dad said "God had taken the wrong son". *inhale* Finally, Johnny got shot in the spine by a young boy after he was persuaded to take the boy's spot in the line for a play. After he lost the use of his legs, things kept getting worse for Johnny. At least until...
  • Attack on Titan does this to humanity as a whole, via their nightmarish circumstances.
    • Connie Springer. Just...the things done to that poor boy over the course of a month. He starts out as Plucky Comic Relief, but once things go downhill for him they go downhill quickly. Fresh from graduation, he's thrust into battle against the Titans and nearly killed several times. Many of his classmates die horrible deaths, leaving him deeply shaken. Even so, he does not lose the will to fight. Then it went From Bad to Worse, as strange events within Wall Rose result in him finding his village devoid of life, save a single crippled Titan that he's absolutely sure greeted him and looks like his mother. Then, he finds out that not only are three of his good friends secretly Titan Shifters, his surrogate Big Brother is in fact The Mole and nearly kills them all. Last but definitely not least, he takes part in an investigation of his Doomed Hometown, confirming that Titans were once human. The Titans that attacked within Wall Rose were his friends and family, who are all dead now. And the mysterious Titan that spoke to him is his mother, trapped as a near-mindless monster and probably doomed to spend the rest of her life as a test subject for the military. Ouch.
  • Revy from Black Lagoon never had it easy as a kid, growing up in New York's Chinatown with an unstable, alcoholic father who once beat her face with a bottle and outside the home she was constantly subjected to police harassment. She learned how to shoot a gun at an early age and says that she lost her faith in God the day the police beat her up for something she didn't do. The real tipping point that turned her into what she is now was when she was raped by a police officer and her father's only reaction when she told him was to order her to get him another beer, at which point he became her very first kill when she put a pillow over his face as an impromptu silencer and shot him. Things didn't get much better after that, with her spending time in prison, being (in her own words) treated like a whore by her comrades, and occasionally falling into "Whitman Fever" where she becomes a borderline Serial Killer. By the time Rock meets her she's well past the Despair Event Horizon, but with his influence has started getting a little better (or at least not as crazy).
  • This sums up the life that Gray, from Fairy Tail lived. When he was a child, he lost his parents to Deliora, and was taken in by Ur, who'd trained him alongside Lyon. Because of his rage towards Deliora, he carelessly attacks Deliora, and is overwhelmed, forcing Ur to perform a Heroic Sacrifice, killing herself along with Deliora. He is immediately spurned by Lyon, and is forced to fight him years later. Fast-forward to the Tenrou Island arc, he fights Ur's daughter and his sisterly figure, and is suspended in time along with many of the other Fairy Tail members. During the Grand Magic Games arc, he loses spectacularly during the Hidden challenge, and becomes a laughingstock to the audience. Then, he is violently killed by a dragon, only to be revived by Ultear's time reversal, which ends up turning her into an old woman instead, and Gray is the only one to know of what she'd done for Fairy Tail. Fast-forward to the Tartaros arc, where he faces the threat of everyone who Ur cared about being murdered. On top of that, he was almost forced to kill his zombie father Silver and loses him anyway as Silver told Juvia to deactivate Face, which would kill Silver in the process. Subsequently, he'd been turned into a demon after battling Silver, and is set to kill Frosch, as Future!Rogue had warned during the latter half of the Grand Magic Games arc. In turn, this would lead to Ultear's Heroic Sacrifice. No wonder Gray is so somber, especially compared to Natsu and Lucy.
  • Dragon Ball: Poor, poor, Future Trunks. His father died when he was a baby, had to spend his whole childhood living in solitude and when he wasn't living in solitude he had to deal every day with reports of thousand people dying in cities all over the world. Future Trunks trains for several years and tries to save the world taking on the Androids only to lose on every occasion. Then his mentor/father-figure Gohan is murdered in cold blood. After that he trains for several years to avenge said fallen mentor and when he takes on the Androids ends up nearly dying. He then travels back in time to try and make thing better and only makes thing worse by unwittingly creating alternate timelines, goes back to his timeline only to find out nothing has change and so goes back to the main timeline again and ultimately ends up being killed by Cell. Then the Fridge Horror kicks in when you realize that the Cell that killed Future Trunks is not only from a timeline that Future Trunks created due to his constantly time travelling, but in the timeline which that Cell came from, he also killed Future Trunks and stole his time machine to travel back in time.
    • Gohan has a very bad day at the beginning of Dragon Ball Z. On a trip to see some of his father's old friends, he is kidnapped by his insane evil uncle from space and physically assaulted by said uncle, his father is killed by his then-archenemy in the rescue attempt, he is kidnapped again by said archenemy and told he is going to have to help fight off an invasion by two aliens even stronger than the one who just fought off both badasses combined, he is left to survive in the wastelands for six months with no hope of escape and no tools except a sword and the clothes on his back, and he is attacked by a dinosaur. All of this at the tender age of four.
  • Pretty much every one in Kagerou Project has absolutely terrible things happen to them, but special mention goes to poor, poor, Kano. First his mother was unstable and adbusive, causing Kano to see himself as no more than an object that can simply be thrown away, then when he's five a man breaks into his house and kills both him and his mother. Child Kano is brought back after entering a hellish never-ending world with the ability to shapeshift and is sent to live with distant relatives until they find out about said power and dump him in an orphanage. There he, along with Kido and Seto, is bullied and treated like a monster by other children. It all seems to be looking up when the trio get adopted by a happy family, only for their adoptive mother to die when they're 13 years old. His father is possesed by the snake that saved him from dying as well and is now plotting to kill Kano and his siblings to bring their mother back to life. Kano is informed of this plot by his older sister and is later forced to watch her kill herself in front of him in an attempt to ruin their dad's plan- only it backfires and Kano is threatened that Kido and Seto will be killed if he disobeys and is forced to lie to them for two years. Eventually he and his friend are all murdered brutally in order to trigger a time reset where all this happens again and again.

    Comic Books 
  • Quite surprisingly, even The Joker himself may not have started out as a bad person. Alan Moore's The Killing Joke shows how losing your pregnant wife and getting disfigured on the same damned day can turn even a decent human being into a mass-murdering maniac. Bear in mind, however, that this story was the trope namer for Multiple-Choice Past, as the Joker later admits he remembers his "bad day" differently from day to day.
    "All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day. You had a bad day once. Am I right? I know I am. I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed."
    • But contrary to this, Gordon fails to break under the Joker's torments. Batman tells the Joker: "Gordon's fine. Maybe it was just you all along."
  • If the Joker thought he'd had one bad day, he should've seen what happened to Zomax, the villain of a 1941 Jungle Comics story by the notoriously grim cult-favourite cartoonist Fletcher Hanks. It begins when Zomax goes hunting in the jungle and is jumped and mutilated by a lion he'd mortally wounded and was about to finish off when his gun jammed. Then a "man-hating" elephant tosses him into a pond where he's stung by poisonous gnats, causing his face to swell. Upon crawling out of the water, he encounters a boa constrictor that crushes several of his bones. Next, an ape takes him to its lair, where for several months it beats him like a drum with bones. Small wonder that Zomax, after escaping the jungle and emerging from the hospital severely crippled, vows to exact revenge on all jungle animals by causing a massive tidal wave.
  • Tim Drake, the current— er, former Robin, is going through a rather rough time, with the predictable result that Tim's mental state and judgement are starting to slip. Several innocent bystanders have already been accidentally killed due to his negligence, and he's cut himself off from any healthy emotional support to instead seek an alliance with mass murdering vigilante Jason Todd. After Jason pulled his sudden yet inevitable betrayal and, after murdering a couple dozen people, stabbed Tim through the chest with a batarang when Tim attempted to register his objections, Tim, now as Red Robin, left Gotham City in search of Bruce Wayne and reached Jason levels of brutality. Aside from this, here's some other trauma that has occurred to him, listed in no particular order: his parents have died, his stepmother died, he thought his girlfriend died, his friend Cassandra Cain went MIA and apparently pulled a type B, Bruce Wayne was thought to have died, and Dick Grayson fired him as Robin. For some good news, at the end of his first (real-time) year as Red Robin, Tim actually makes it to type A.
  • Weirdly enough, Tim Drake's mentor, the goddamned Batman himself is a type F. He's lost sidekicks, allies both superpowered and non-, and has had multiple efforts to try to make something out of his life crushed. But he's still the same person he was at the beginning of his Darker and Edgier remake as he is now.
    • His transition from young Bruce Wayne to Batman is type E though. But when he is Batman, he stay at type F.
  • Spider-Man is also a Type F. Repeatedly loses loved ones? Check. Hated by the city he's sworn to protect? Check. Makes no progress whatsoever in his life? Check. Has Spider-Man really changed for the better or worse, though? Not really.
    • Blame Executive Meddling for that. Spider-Man has progressed in his life - he was happily married, and he may be a Hero with Bad Publicity but other heroes know perfectly well how amazingly good he is, both as a person and at what he does. And he even made some improvements here and there on the publicity. But then One More Day came and reset most of the above.
      • Before that, Spidey had a Type A origin, and has lost, in no particular order, his robo-parents, his actress-aunt, his first true love, his marriage (talking about the brief separation that ended through the Straczinsky run), his best friend Harry, some love interests and pals (we still miss you, Captain DeWolff), has suffered by every one of them, and then he grew a few more. In fact, before One More Day, this trope could have been called "The Parker".
  • Daredevil on the other hand is a Type E, especially after Kingpin put him through the wringer in his excellent Born Again series.
  • Robert Kirkman's The Astounding Wolf Man. Hoo boy, it's impressive how crappy the title character's life got so quickly. So he was a wealthy CEO shredded by a werewolf, became one himself, lost his multi-million dollar company, got an oh-so-brief respite of awesome when he got some control over his wolf form and became a superhero, found out he still became a murderous beast during a full moon by killing a well-known superhero, became estranged from his wife and daughter, found out that his vampiric mentor killed his wife, got framed for said murder (including, worst of all, in the eyes of his daughter), became a fugitive, got another minor respite when he became friends with a prominent superhero, reluctantly got a minor alliance with someone he already knew was hugely bad news, was thrown into prison, and was stabbed in the chest by his own daughter, who'd turned to the previously mentioned vampiric mentor to avenge her mother's death (and let him drink some blood from her), not knowing she was training with the real killer! Whew! It was only in issue 17 that his life took any appreciable change for the better.
  • Madelyne Pryor is a full-on Type D. After her husband abandons her and her infant son for reasons unexplained, she tries to get on with her life. Then she's ambushed by a squad of superpowered assassins out to kill her and steal her baby. They only succeed in the latter. Then she goes on the run with the one's idea of a relaxing vacation at the best of times...and starts falling in love with her brother-in-law. After finding some semblance of equilibrium with the team, she starts working as their tech support, and just happens to find her disappeared husband on a news broadcast...standing alongside a woman who looks just like her. Cue BSOD, and Deal with the Devil. Finally to top everything off, she meets a man who claims to be responsible for cloning her from the same woman her husband ditched her for! The resulting Roaring Rampage of Revenge comes as a surprise to no one.
    • Though, you can't ignore her Husband, Scott Summers/Cyclops, either here. It would take an entire page to describe the shit he's put up with, all to push him down deeper the Anti-Hero scale, and he gets blamed for each and every action and reaction, whether he's accountable or justified or not.
  • The 90s were a bad time for Aquaman with all the stuff that happened to him there. His infant son was murdered by Black Manta, and not only does his wife Mera blame him and his "weak genes" for their son's death, but she goes insane and has to be committed to an asylum. Oh, and Aquaman has his telepathy stolen and his hand eaten by piranhas. Not to mention nearly having his place as ruler of the seas almost stolen by the corrupt god Triton. And people wonder why Aquaman was so angry at this time in his life.
  • Roy Harper, the former sidekick of Green Arrow, has had it pretty rough recently. In Cry for Justice he got his arm chopped off by Prometheus. Then Prometheus and his accomplice the Electrocutioner unleashed a Kill Sat on Star City, killing thousands including Roy's daughter Lian. This drove him back to drug abuse, which just made things worse. To add insult to injury, when he and Cheshire got involved, he couldn't perform, so to speak. He became a Type E Jerkass, railing against his former friends and teammates, going so far as to blame Mia for Lian's death and calling Donna a whore when she tried to sympathize with him. Later he became a full-on Type B when he agreed to join Deathstroke's Titans (a team of assassins for hire) though it's heavily implied that this was an act he and Cheshire cooked up together in a bid to kill Deathstroke.
  • X-Men's Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane. To say she's had it rough is putting it lightly. When killing and eating your monster of a father is considered one of the better moments in your life (by anyone who isn't you; you were heartbroken about his death even before realising you were responsible), well...
  • Ultimate Reed Richards, as of the end of Ultimatum, cementing himself as a hybrid between Types B & F.
  • Tony Stark's entire life consists of one traumatic event after another, mixed with a morass of personal issues covering everything from alcohol to troubled romantic relationships, an angst-and-tragedy-ridden personal and professional life that include, but is not limited to, traitorous/murderous friends and business partners who have tried to destroy him and his friends multiple times, all combined with a ridiculous amount of overwork note  that is directly responsible for most of the aforementioned trauma, to the point where he has had to basically completely rebuild his life from the ground up on several different occasions.
    • His origin story alone is pretty terrible, but it's never addressed that, after going through that trauma conga linenote , he had to go back to the States and run a company. A company that was in severe danger of collapsing after he pulled the plug on the weapons department. He couldn't afford to show weakness, There Are No Therapists, and his only support system at the time was his secretary and his chauffeur. Let's not even get into the lack of support he gets from The Avengers, who seem to operate on the general policy of "if Tony's issues aren't affecting us, we aren't going to ask." He basically spends his life swinging between Type A, then Type C when some new trauma occurs, then back to Type A.
  • When John Byrne took over West Coast Avengers, his first act was to put Scarlet Witch through a seemingly endless trauma conga line: first her synthezoid husband, the Vision, was dismantled and his personality erased, effectively ending her marriage. Then she was kidnapped by a secret society trying to use her to create a race of super-mutants. Then her children were revealed to be made from pieces of the devil's soul and erased from existence. Then her memories were erased, and she was driven to catatonia and temporary insanity. Byrne managed to do all this in only a little over a year on the title.
  • In The Trial Of The Flash, the Rogues' Gallery and corrupt lawyer N.D. Redik make the Flash's life miserable. Redik arranges for Flash's lawyers to be killed, and while they're rescued, he's very shaken up by it, and the Pied Piper mind controls the mayor and innocent civilians to hate the Flash.
  • X-23. It starts with her being created to be the perfect assassin and a Living Weapon, and just goes downhill from there. She's abused and tortured physically, mentally and emotionally for thirteen years. When she finally escapes, she's forced to kill her own mother with a chemical trigger that sends her into an Unstoppable Rage. She eventually finds her way to her only other family and starts to build a happy life, until her creators come looking and she's forced to send them into hiding and never see them again to protect him. Then she spends a year or two as a Street Walker under a sadistic and violent pimp. After joining the X-Men (who could probably provide a whole page of examples themselves) she's nearly killed by Nimrod, joins X-Force and is recaptured by the Facility and tortured with a chainsaw, leading her to a mini-Heroic BSOD over how she'll never be able to escape them, is driven into an existential crisis by a demon over whether she has a soul, and just as she's starting to piece things together gets shanghai'ed by Arcade to fight other teens to the death for his amusement. And after that she's tortured by Purifiers, who reveal that the whole world has seen her in a trigger scent rage. The poor girl just can't catch a break!
  • Rachel Grey. Oh ye Gods, Rachel Grey. Put succinctly, dying was not the worst thing that ever happened to this poor girl. She grew up in a dystopian hellhole, has seen her loved ones killed before her very eyes more than once, been brainwashed and Made a Slave repeatedly, and almost never seems to catch more than a few seconds break before the next horrific thing comes along.
  • All-New X-Men: Teen Jean Grey, a 16 year old girl, has her powers blooming early, with her attempts to deal with Power Incontinence adding to her troubles. She finds out she is going to die (repeatedly) and is, as far as she knows, still dead, while her teammates survive to the current day.

  • Used for a few chapters in the The Princess and the Frog fanfiction A Son for a King. Charlotte's banker husband demands sex from Tiana in exchange for giving her a loan and for not asking for the money back, and when she refuses, he tells Charlotte that Tiana tried to bribe him with sex so as not to have to pay back the loan. Charlotte then goes to Tiana's house and yells at her, and breaks off their friendship. Tiana's mother then persuades her to go on a date with a man she has no attraction to, and on the date, he is stabbed by racists and has to be taken to the hospital by Tiana where it turns out he has lied about his name, as well as the fact that he is married to a woman who then arrives at the hospital and chases Tiana around the hospital room, calling her a tramp and screaming at her for sleeping with her husband (which she didn't do). Once she gets back to her mother's house, it's revealed that her house and restaurant have been set on fire by the Ku Klux Klan. She then collapses on the floor, yelling, "I've been a good person my entire life. I followed all the rules. Why do these things keep happening to me?" It's all quite hilarious.
  • The Firefly fanfic Forward does this to most of the crew, especially for River. Aside from being kidnapped and tortured by Niska, she's also undergone multiple mental breakdowns due to her insanity, she's been nearly eaten by Reavers, and has been repeatedly Mind Raped by another psychic escapee from the Academy. Not a single "episode" in the story passes without River being repeatedly punched in the gut.
  • The Death Note postseries fanfic arc Redeemer by CocoaCoveredGods lays this on Light like woah. Being stripped of his identity as Kira was only the beginning- so far, he's been killed multiple times, buried alive, tortured, raped (again, multiple times), suffered two mental breakdowns and been attacked by an axe-wielding psychopath in a scene that even L found difficult to look at the aftermath of. And some of this at the hands of people he loves. It's no wonder he's a gibbering wreck by the start of the fourth fic.
    • So does ''True Elision'' by Ezan, another post-series fanfic. Having been given a second chance to have a proper afterlife and avoid being transformed in a Shinigami, Light is forced to face a Trial from hell and battle his worst nightmares (which include being torn apart by the thousands of people he directly killed with their bare hands while being unable to move and having a handful of hair forcefully shoved down his throat. Multiple times. And that's just the first level...).
  • This is Deadlock's intention in The Legend of Spyro: A New Dawn. She intends to inflict one on Spyro and Cynder because she suffered one that she blames them for. Her own included having her mate and unborn children killed in front of her and apparently having her adult children killed by Dark Cynder.
  • The Team Fortress 2 Zombie Apocalypse fanfiction Respawn Of The Dead tortures just about every member of the team, but a special mention has to be given to The Medic. Over the course of the fic, he gets the crap beaten out of him by The Soldier, has to leave The Heavy behind to be devoured by zombies, and after recovering from the Heroic BSOD caused by that, he has to Mercy Kill his Morality Pet, the Pyro. Yeah.
  • Fallout: Equestria is no picnic for its protagonist Littlepip—continually shot at (she isn't nicknamed "Bulletsponge" for nothing), had friends die on her, the works. But its side fics Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons and Heroes extend the Line even further.
  • Ace Combat The Equestrian War has Firefly, who had a pretty rough childhood, to say the least.
  • Imperfect Metamorphosis has Rin Satsuki, whose backstory starts with being kidnapped as a child by slavers and only gets worse from there. Over the course of the story itself she is attacked, brutalized, betrayed, at one point her mind is literally shattered, and nearly everyone in Gensoukyou wants her dead. It is no mystery whatsoever that she becomes a Death Seeker.
  • Mortality (and its series as a whole) is one long trauma conga line for Sherlock Holmes. Right from the prologue, we know that he's in major trouble, then we go back in time a month or so to find out how he gets to this point. Starts out by getting infected with a mutation of a deadly Asian disease, which is only cured just in time (though not before putting him through a stomach-churning conversation with a Serial Killer and getting himself in trouble with his best friend). Less than a week later, he's kidnapped (quite brutally) and Locked in the Dungeon, therefore being subjected to all manner of Cold-Blooded Torture. He almost hits the Despair Event Horizon but wills himself away from it. Even after being rescued (while half-dead), Holmes deals with fever, frailty, Flashback Nightmares, and Survivor Guilt. He ends up with a Result A, although his actions in the sequel do beg the question of just how well he learned his lessons.
  • Another Sherlockian example is A Study in Regret. First, Holmes watches as Moran shoots Watson; next, he's Locked in the Dungeon and subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture for well over a month and does hit the Despair Event Horizon. (If any of this sounds familiar, it's because the fic was inspired by Mortality.) Even after being rescued, his physical and spiritual recovery is long and painful, and it's seriously one Tear Jerker scene after another (Survivor Guilt and Flashback Nightmare included). It gets worse when Holmes realizes that Moran intends to kill Mary and her baby in order to achieve the ultimate revenge on Sherlock Holmes. Eventually, Holmes tries to commit suicide to spare Mary and the baby, and Inspector Lestrade stops him. The woobieness, however, continues. If left to himself, Holmes would go for Result C, while his adoptive family are constantly pushing for Result A — and it's slowly but surely working.
  • The Bleach fic Uninvited Guests is built out of this trope, but it’s played for comedy.
  • Children of Time has Sherlock Holmes and Beth Lestrade.
    • Holmes is first possessed by a sentient sun, a vicious Break the Cutie experience, and he develops towards Result E. Eventually, he "loses" his best friend to marriage once again, having already been forced to observe from the past Watson falling in love and being unable to do anything about it. Major rift occurs between the two. Holmes finds himself unable to solve a case that has to be solved, and is subsequently kidnapped by none other than his Back from the Dead Arch-Enemy, Professor Moriarty. Moriarty offers Holmes a Sadistic Choice: surrender his soul to him or watch Watson be broken piece by piece. Holmes quickly descends into Result B and has become very thoroughly The Sociopath by the time Beth attempts to rescue him. Moriarty decides to break the apathetic detective until he does have a heart again, and then break that heart into tiny little bits. His most effective weapon is Holmes's apathy to Beth's murder as he tortures him. This does lead to a Heel Realization and Result A for Holmes, as well as a Bittersweet Ending.
    • As for Beth...Having been handcuffed, insulted, and threatened with physical harm by her hero, she still comes back to rescue him, only to find that he's done a Face-Heel Turn. Shocked and desperate, she commits a Heroic Sacrifice in a last-ditch effort to save him and wake him up, then dies realizing that he doesn't care. This makes her a Broken Bird once she's resurrected and the memories set in, and it takes quite a bit of effort on Holmes's part to pull her out of Result C. All that effort seems to go right back down the drain, however, when she's kidnapped by Moriarty and sells herself to him in return for the safety of Holmes, Watson, and the Doctor. Like Holmes, her journey towards Result A is slow and difficult, and matters are hardly helped by the fact that she has to return to her own timeline, despite her and Holmes's love for each other.
  • In Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover and its sequel, Samantha Shepard gets hit with this. First, Liara and several others end up dying, for which she blames herself. This drives her into depression, making her an easy convert to the ways of an insane admiral, whereupon she engages in some highly questionable missions. Due to her Face-Heel Turn, her now-former friends abandon Shepard, even going so far as to administer a savage beating in order to keep Sam out of the final fight, though she is recovered afterward with severe injuries. Once reawoken, a continuous losing battle against a Force-wielding Siren combined with the arrival of Flood breaks her again, causing Shepard to hang up her uniform. Only some pep talks from Garrus and Wrex combined with the magnitude of what's at stake manage to convince her to step back into the fight. Even then, she initially leaves command to others.
  • In the Lost Girl fanfic Mad World, Lauren's entire time with the Fae has been this largely as a result of her being a Cosmic Plaything. Trick uses his powers to write that the Garuda will be defeated by a champion (who turns out to be Bo). The Garuda is aware of this, and knows that Lauren will be involved. So it and Thane utterly destroy her life trying to prevent it. Thane murders 19 of her colleagues/friends, murders her, she is then brought back by the Fae, forced into slavery to them, and then Thane returns and subjects her to Mind Rape and horrific torture. She spends most of her time as a Type A (said torture briefly sends her into full on Type C). In the sequel however, she is beginning to be a Type E both because she is sick of her life being a Trauma Conga Line, and because it's heavily implied she's now possessed by the Garuda.
    • Notably, in the sequel she calls Trick and The Ash out for their roles in it. Trick for setting events in motion without considering the consequences, and the Ash who despite claiming to view Lauren as friend, is still using her as pawn. The fact that neither one of them seems to understand that the Fae destroying her life is pissing her off, just makes her even angrier.
  • Lost Boys, its sequel Broken Heroes, and (probably—it's still being written) its second sequel Shattered Saviors gives each character a run for their money, but mostly the worst stuff happens to Sora, Aqua, and Ventus. Sora keeps getting hurt mentally and physically. One breaking event after the other. He loses his home at the age of four thanks to Venitas, grows up on the streets of Traverse Town with Riku, has several moments where he either becomes engulfed in rage or loses himself to despair, has Ventus die just after he finally thinks of forgiving him for destroying his home, and gives himself up to Xemnas to keep Kairi and the rest of his friends safe. Aqua comes back from the Realm of Darkness only to have Ventus die, then die AGAIN shortly after she revives him. When she finds Xemnas, she clings to a hope that he's still Terra, only to find out that answer is no. She gets completely broken by the fact that, despite her efforts, Terra and Ven are pretty much long gone. And then Ventus. He spends his time feeling EXTREMELY guilty of destroying Sora and Riku's home, and being flat out abused by an extremely wrathful Sora. Then he dies. Horribly, brutally, and flat out MURDERED by Saïx, who gives zero fucks over killing an old friend of his. That is without going into every little detail, because, in short, someone gets hurt at least once a chapter.
  • In the My Little Pony/BioShock fanfic Vision, Siren's stay in the city has been this. Which is understandable, given that the plot circles around taking a somewhat petty and pampered artist and putting her in Rapture.
  • Summer Days And Evening Flames: Poor, poor Iron Bulwark. From June to August, he's torn between his griffon girlfriend and best friend who hates griffins, both of whom are guards under his command, and then has to deal with his best friend attempting to murder his girlfriend and then a violent breakup with said girlfriend. He takes to drinking for a few weekings, and then when things are finally looking up after reconciling with both Gilda and Starfall, his mentor, Sherry, starts a gang war that gets two dozen of his officers killed, and his girlfriend is nearly killed in said gang war. When confronted, Sherry assaults Iron and runs off to join the Mafia, and gets Iron fired through her connections when Iron puts out her arrest warrant, and Iron is remitted to the guard as a mere sergeant. Eventually, things get better as he and Gilda grow closer and he comes to enjoy his new position, but that was a long way to fall.
  • Just about everything that happens to the old miner in The Blessed Disaster. Dead parents, dead brother, awful job. Then the Pale Girl shows up...and dies. You do not Earn Your Happy Ending more than this guy did.
  • This trope sums up the core of the Total Drama story Courtney and the Violin of Despair, as befits the Revenge Fic setup. Courtney continues to behave normally for the most part, but she begins to lose her love of music. She just as gradually begins to rediscover it after she is freed of the curse.
  • Attelus Kaltos of the 40k Secret War. His whole life seems to be this, from one horrible thing after another: as a teenager his whole planet was embroiled by war, his city bombarded from orbit and he was one of the few survivors. For months he lived alone and was eventually forced to cannibalism to survive. But before that it's heavily implied his mother did something horrible to him as a child, this isn't elaborated on. In Secret War, the girl he loved tried to kill him. Then when he finally professes his love, she's immediately killed, then her body stolen and taken off world, this after, during their fight, she dealt him a horrific scar across his cheek which will be there forever to remind him of this constantly and it only gets gets worse, far far worse from there. He's so far type A but is very close to losing it, and becoming a full on type D.
  • Celestia begins The God Empress Of Ponykind as The Empress, brimming with confidence and ready to rebuild her empire. Then her beloved sister (who has become increasingly unstable due to The Corruption) runs off and nearly gets herself killed in a war, and although Celestia saves her and her army Luna angrily accuses her of being a Glory Hound. Then Celestia is Mind Raped by some of Sombra's magic, causing her to see a vision where She was the one that turned evil during the Horus Heresy. Then, when she tries to make amends with Luna, she finds that her sister has been taken over by The Corruption, starting a civil war that almost tears Equestria apart. Said war reveals that Celestia's oldest enemies, the Gods of Chaos, are still very much alive, and she is forced to imprison her sister in the moon. By the time the war is over, her confidence is replaced by a massive amount of self-loathing which carries over into the sequel, where Celestia laments that everything she cares about ends up being destroyed or corrupted.
  • The JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and Persona 4 crossover A Different Kind Of Truth. The main character is Johnny Joestar of Part 7, and it's made abundantly clear that his life sucked as much as it did in canon. At the age of seven his big brother dies, thanks to a white mouse that may or may not have been Johnny's recently freed pet Danny and making Johnny constantly blame himself since. At the age of fourteen Johnny has to hear from his dad that NONE of the awards and achievements he earned since becoming a jockey mattered since he's not his brother, and has never visited even ONE of Johnny's races. Johnny then gets into a fight with and nearly kills his own father (In his older brother's own room, much to Johnny's shame) and has to hear his father say that Johnny should have been killed instead of his brother. Not even a few hours after that Johnny is yearning to feel accepted by someone, even if it's his bitchy date of the week. He kicks a guy out of a club line to prove himself to said date, and gets shot in the back as a result. He then wakes up in a hospital, finds out he's crippled, spends a lot of his time crying and laying in his own filth with neither any of his false friends, date, or his father visiting him. Needless to say, Johnny has a LOT of trust issues and is Not Good with People thanks to the experience.
  • Virtually all of the supporting cast of Sonic X: Dark Chaos have been through one, to the point where it quickly becomes a Dysfunction Junction. Tsali and Cosmo are the ones who get it the worst. To expand:
    • Tsali's home planet is annihilated and his family was killed when he was only ten. The Seedrians rescued him and then Cosmo's father Luke decided to use him in a demented attempt to defeat a Demon invasion of their homeworld. Tsali gets turned into a combat android powered by Dark Chaos Energyvery painfully—and Tsali promptly goes completely crazy from rage once he finally breaks out. He ends up slaughtering the entire Seedrian race before getting several dozen nuclear weapons dropped on him by Cosmo's mother Hertia. He barely survives by making a literal Deal with the Devilbecoming a pawn of the very same person who destroyed his home planet—and is forced to fight a brutal one-man war across the galaxy for revenge against the Metarex...yeah. It's telling that when Dark Chaos begins thirty years later, he's been so utterly brutalized by his experiences that he considers disemboweling children to be a source of cheap entertainment.
    • Cosmo is way, way worse off than the original Sonic X, which is saying something. Her family was slaughtered and her home was destroyed (including watching Tsali burn her sisters to death). Then she ends up being forced to command a fleet of starships against an Eldritch Abomination. And then she's forced to murder the boy she loves. And in the preview of the sequel, her father Luke/Dark Oak dies and she watches an army of unstoppable Lovecraftian horrors bring about The End of the World as We Know It. And finally, just to utterly break her, she finds out she's pregnant through Bizarre Alien Biology. All of this happens to a prepubescent girl. Is it really surprising that she tries to kill herself and then completely snaps, betrays her friends, and becomes an utterly evil Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds?
    • The Conference Wives series in NUMB3RS fandom. The author has Charlie Eppes having a child with lesbians he knew from grad school, except he rarely gets to see his son for the first few years of his life because they live on the East Coast and are paranoid about homophobic reactions from Charlie's parents, since their own parents reacted that way when they each came out. One of the mothers dies in a car crash orchestrated by her father, who runs a hate group; the other mother was in the car at the time and is heavily implied to have been beaten to death by the father's hate group cronies. Alan has a homophobic freak out (which is OOC for him & therefore purely inserted for its Break the Cutie angst value). Charlie is kidnapped and tortured by Marshall Penfield twice, including being raped by him and having a Pi symbol carved into his back. And the author does all this with Charlie suffering almost none of the psychological damage that this would inflict and what damage is done seems to resolve itself in nothing flat. A definite Result F scenario.
  • Solitary Locust is centered around one for Twilight Sparkle, starting with her accidentally turning herself into a changeling.

  • Present in a good number of Don Bluth films. Fievel just never gets a break in An American Tail; in The Land Before Time Littlefoot sees his mother die, his herd separated, and his home destroyed, with only his few friends as support. Good thing Don Bluth believes in happy endings; too bad you have to earn the hell out of them.
  • Frozen:
    • Elsa goes through one throughout the entire film as viewers watch how a Cheerful Child grows up into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds filled with fear and anxiety. She nearly freezes her little sister to death by accident while playing, receives a vision of her possible future where she is seemingly attacked by an angry mob due to her powers, grows up in isolation since she now fears how her steadily growing powers could harm her loved ones again, loses her parents who were the only ones helping her with her powers, gets her powers revealed in public on the day of her coronation in the worst possible way, goes into self-exile after she believes that everyone sees her as a monster now, starts to accept her powers again only to learn that she accidentaly caused an Endless Winter when she ran away and she doesn't know how to reverse it, accidentally strikes her little sister with ice magic again, gets an army Storming her Ice Palace, is nearly killed by the Duke's henchmen, is chained and imprisoned in her own home, learns from Hans that her little sister had died because of her and is nearly killed again only to be saved because her actually-not-dead little sister pulling a Big Damn Heroes at the very moment she completely turns into ice, so Elsa gets front row seats to her very worst fear coming true. It's like Elsa was wearing a cosmic kick-me sign for most of her life, as every well-intended action and inaction she did only made things worse for her. Fortunately, Anna's sacrifice actually saved her life, inspiring the epiphany Elsa needed to finally truly control her powers, allowing her to become a Type A.
    • Her sister Anna gets one as well. First her beloved sister shuts her out without any explanation as the reason was erased from her mind, she becomes an orphan and has to attend her parents' funeral alone, then in the space of a day she has to endure her sister refusing her to marry what she thinks is her true love, having said sister reveal ice powers and flee the town while ignoring her pleas to come back, then later on reject all her attempts to reconnect and strike her heart with her ice powers, dooming her to a slow death, and finally who she thought was her true love reject her in the most callous way. Then she has to choose between saving her life or her sister's. Fortunately she makes the right choice.
  • In The Book of Life, Manolo is publicly rdidculed by the town for not killing the bull. His father even disowns him. He thinks that he caused the death of Maria, his one true love. Joaquin coldly states it should have been Manolo instead. Finally, being Driven to Suicide and with Xibalba's "help" he commits indirect suicide to "join" his beloved.

  • What happens to Veronika in The Cranes Are Flying? Well, Operation Barbarossa separates her from her fiance when he joins the army. Her parents are killed by a German bomb. She's raped. She gets stuck in a marriage with her rapist. She's evacuated to a shack in Siberia along with the rest of her hospital. And she goes to greet her old fiance when he comes home from the war, only to find out for sure that he is dead.
  • The Dark Knight: Poor Harvey Dent, the White Knight of Gotham, was a prime candidate for vicious brainwashing by The Joker after losing Rachel, the love of his life, and half his face in a gas explosion. His transformation into the cynical monster Two-Face only took the slightest of nudge on the evil bastard's part.
  • This trope drives much of the events in the Coen brothers' 2009 film A Serious Man; it's played for dark comedy.
  • The film version of 1408 is essentially the story of one man getting repeatedly kicked in the balls, by an "evil, fucking room."
  • Johnny Belinda. Your mother dies in childbirth. You go deaf from an illness shortly thereafter. You get raped. Your father falls off a cliff and dies. The town tries to take from you your child by rape. You have to shoot your rapist to keep him from stealing your baby. Then you're tried for murder.
  • Serenity sees fit to kick Mal in the balls over and over again. Also, the only reason it doesn't kick River in the balls is because she's already been hammered plenty of times prior to the movie, and, well, she doesn't even have a set to be kicked in anyway.
  • The Human Centipede is an unusually literal use of the trope. Do I really need to spell it out?
  • In the Thor film, Loki goes through one heck of a trauma roller coaster as his Start of Darkness.
  • In It's a Wonderful Life George Bailey survives getting trapped in his hometown,robbed, his company's near bankruptcy (multiple times), intense disillusionment, and almost getting erased out of existence to become one of cinema's most heroic Iron Woobies.
  • Jurassic Park: Tim and Lex barely endure most of the worst events during the first movie. (read the whole story in the film's main page)
  • Vada from My Girl goes through this. Her life was already a little rough, but then her best friend, Thomas J, dies in a bee attack. She was the one who angered the bees in the first place, and he only went back to try and find her mood ring that she lost, her father is the coroner, the funeral is held at her house, and to top it all off, on the day of said funeral, she discovers the teacher that she had a crush on is getting married. It's quite understandable when she ends up having complete breakdown, although some would argue that it's a bit surprising that it wasn't worse.
  • Well, let's see what happens to Kotpun, the heroine of The Flower Girl. Her father dies. Her mother becomes deathly ill. Her brother is sent to jail. And her sister is blinded. And that's all in the backstory. As the story unfolds, her mother dies, her brother is reported to have died in prison, and her sister is presumed dead after disappearing without a trace. And just for fun, she's dirt poor, hence the name of the movie, as she's selling flowers in the street to get medicine for her mom.

  • This is a most popular plot device for sentimental 19th-century novels such as Dog of Flanders, Uncle Tom's Cabin and A Little Princess, as well as their anime adaptations in the World Masterpiece Theater.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Book of Job (from The Bible) springs to mind.
    • And it's pretty Narmful when Job's messengers come in one after the other to tell the bad news, and each starts talking before the previous one has finished. You can practically see Job Face Faulting and sporting a big Sweat Drop by the end of it.
    • Robert A. Heinlein wrote a deliberate parody/deconstruction of Job in Job: A Comedy of Justice, in which the protagonist is subjected to a set of mind-twisting disasters and reality twists apparently being engineered by Satan. The twist comes after he's whisked away to Heaven in the Rapture, when it turns out that God was the one behind it all.
  • Candide is the lord and master of this trope. Almost every single character falls victim to this.
  • In Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag by the end has had his secret work for La Résistance discovered and smashed, his wife killed, his friend and mentor "disappeared", and been forced to burn down his own house, all the while his Magnificent Bastard of an opponent laughs about how they're Not So Different. It's a relief to see Beatty meet his Karmic Death and Montag eventually get at least a Bittersweet Ending; the play makes it a Happy Ending.
    • Except, that Bradbury wrote the story for the text-adventure sequel, and he cheerfully gives Montag and Clarisse a Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold has explicitly stated that she generates her plots by asking herself what the worst possible thing she can do to the hero is. For example, in her Miles Vorkosigan novel Memory she begins by having interstellar superagent Miles notice he is suffering from seizures from injuries sustained in the last book. Next he makes the bad decision to personally lead a prisoner rescue mission anyway and ends up having a seizure in mid mission. While having the seizure he accidentally saws off the legs of the prisoner he was rescuing with a plasma gun. Then he lies about the seizures on his After Action Report because he is afraid of getting a desk job. This gets him cashiered. And this is just the plot setup in the first few chapters! Miles, fortunately, always manages to achieve Result A.
    • Later on she refined her philosophy to "the worst possible thing that the hero can still learn a useful lesson from." For example, despite the political trouble the circumstances of Tien Vorsoisson's death caused Miles in A Civil Campaign, a far more thorough and protracted torture could have been produced for Miles simply by not killing Tien off in Komarr and letting Miles suffer for years knowing that the woman he loves is married to someone else and thus condemning them both to suffer nobly, unrequited, for years. (That Ekaterin was going to leave Tien anyway cuts no ice — both Miles' and Ekaterin's honor would never have allowed them to remotely act on any mutual attraction so long as her husband was still alive). However, since going this route would have been dramatically pointless, Bujold didn't. So very occasionally, her characters do actually get cut a break.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien specialized in these: the plot of The Silmarillion is basically driven by a series of Heroic BSODs brought on by excessive disaster. Probably the best example is Túrin (a hard E, followed by a C), whose whole freaking life was one; others include Fingolfin (result D), Húrin (possibly B, then C), the Sons of Fëanor (all over the spectrum, excluding A) Fëanor himself (D), and Tuor (a rare A).
  • Captain Lawrence in the Temeraire book, Victory Of Eagles. He starts the book off under a death sentence for treason and ends it sailing off in exile to Australia, on the books as a prisoner. In between, he has to put up with half the Aerial Corps despising him as a traitor (the other half thinks he did the right thing), his commanding officer/lover chewing him out for his Lawful Stupidity that gained him traitor tag, the husband of a former love interest he'd treated badly getting killed helping him on a a covert mission, and his personal fortune getting wiped out by a lawsuit. And did we mention Napoleon has invaded England while all this is going on?
  • Harry Potter. Nearly every adult authority figure either despises Harry and tortures him, or is killed protecting him. He also is the witness to several of his friends and loved ones being murdered. If your family was murdered while you were a baby and you bear a scar from that event the rest of your life, and it WASN'T the worst thing to ever happen to you, you have a seriously messed-up life.
    • Also Sirius Black, who grew up in a neglectful and unloving home, was disowned by his family for refusing to join Voldemort, lost most of his close friends in the First Wizarding War, was framed for the murder of two of them, spent 13 years being subjected to the torture of Azkaban, and finally escaped only to have his chance to gain a real family snatched away at the last minute, lived off rats while on the run, and had to spend most of his remaining time confined to the home he hated as a child. Frankly, Bella gave him a Mercy Kill.
    • Remus Lupin didn't fare much better. It started when he was bitten by a werewolf, meaning a lifetime of excruciating changes and social ostracism to go along with it. When he got to school, he made three good friends in spite of all that - and then had to watch them all die or turn traitor one by one. After he and Tonks got together and had a child, they were both hit with Too Happy to Live during the final battle.
    • Luna has it pretty rough—her mother died in front of her when she was nine, she's ostracised and bullied by other students at Hogwarts for being weird, and it's only after the Golden Trio, Neville and Ginny start talking to her that she has any friends, and then she gets kidnapped by Death Eaters when her father shows too much support for Harry in The Quibbler.
  • Vanyel Ashkevron of the Heralds of Valdemar series. He starts out life hated and abused by his father and brothers for the sin of being gay, which they deliberately try to keep him from figuring out. When he finally gets a Love Interest, he's Driven to Suicide. The earthshattering magical powers Vanyel gets as a result only serve to make him the go-to guy for every problem Valdemar has, to the point where he can't take a break for five minutes without the kingdom falling apart. Then, just when he makes up with his family, someone starts picking off his friends one by one. This nearly causes him to break his oath as a Herald as he storms off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, only to walk into a trap in which he's serially raped into a Heroic BSOD. After recovering from that, he's forced to give up his new Love Interest in order to deliver a final Heroic Sacrifice to save the kingdom. To top it all off, the Aesop appears to be Comes Great Responsibility.
    • Mercedes Lackey has a basic formula to give her characters Angst: Drop a mountain on them. Let them recover slightly. Drop another mountain on them. Repeat.
  • The title character of The Dresden Files. His mother died in childbirth, his father died when he was a child, he had to kill his adoptive father when the latter tried to mentally enslave him along with his first girlfriend, he spent the next decade or so living under a "one-strike-you're-out" death penalty by his fellow wizards, his next girlfriend got turned into a half-vampire, terrible things keep happening to his friends, he can barely make rent, and there isn't a single book in which he isn't beaten, shot, burned, knifed, and/or just plain tortured. And then came Changes...
    "Typical. Even when you're dead, it doesn't get any easier."
    • And he was right. After all he's gone through in Changes, Ghost Story cranks it up beyond eleven.
    • It says something that compared to Cold Days, Ghost Story can honestly be described as a Breather Episode.
    • The author, Jim Butcher, has flat-out said that dropping pain on Harry is an integral part of his creative process.
  • Murtagh from Inheritance Cycle. The main article describes his life as a series of people kicking him in the balls. As of the ending of the 2nd book, he's well on his way to becoming Type B.
  • This happens to most of the characters in Sometimes A Great Notion, but the one who gets it worst has to be Hank. He loses his father, who dies of blood loss after losing his arm in a logging accident; he fails to save his cousin Joby from drowning while trapped under a log from the same logging accident; his half-brother Leland tells him he was having an affair with Hank's wife Vivian and then blames him for driving Leland's mother to suicide by having sex with her, even though she was several years older and it would count as statutory rape - and says all this immediately after leaving their father's deathbed; his wife Vivian leaves him; and the whole town gangs up on him for refusing to join their logging strike. All in the same day.
  • What is it with people named some variation of "Henry"? In The Time Traveler's Wife, Henry has no control over what he can and cannot time-travel to. Want proof that someone has it in for him? He time-travelled to his mother's death more times than we can count. And hasn't been able to do a damn thing to stop it.
  • Chinese Cinderella, full stop. The main character is blamed for her mother's Death by Childbirth and mistreated by her birth siblings and Wicked Stepmother. Her father disregards her to the point he can't remember her birthday or name. She adopts a duckling that her family feeds to the guard dog. Her friends at school throw her a surprise party, earning her a vicious beating from her stepmother. She's separated from her beloved aunt and grandpa, then sent to a boarding school in the path of Communist uprisings. After her family moves, she's sent to a different school, but still neglected and then bullied by her peers. She wins a writing contest, but her grandfather dies immediately after. The closest the book comes to a happy ending is that her father notices her grades and sends her to college. And this was all based on the author's real life.
  • Black Dagger Brotherhood: Zsadist has this in spades. He was abducted from his family as an infant, sold into slavery, and then the moment he became an adult his mistress began raping him. Often she'd let her other male slaves watch, or even have them join in. He was sometimes kept bound to a pallet on the floor, flat on his back, for days at a time—y'know, so he'd be in the right position when the mood struck her. She'd often neglect to feed him or give him the blood he needed, and liked to beat him when he offered any form of resistance. (His back is a mass of scars because of this.) It took more than a century for his twin to track him down and rescue him, and in the attempt his mistress' enraged husband scarred Z's face with a sword. Oh, and later on his girlfriend is kidnapped and tortured by vampire-slayers.
  • Seyonne in the Rai-Kirah books. He's been a slave for sixteen years by the time we're introduced to him, and is basically just waiting to die. Then things get worse. He spends a good chunk of the second book in hell being arbitrarily tortured, and the third book ends with him stripped of his powers and about half his memory...and those are just a couple of the highlights.
  • Alex Rider's parents are killed when he's an infant, he's raised by his housekeeper as his guardian is either away or training him to be a spy, his uncle dies and he is recruited into taking his place, he witnesses enormous horrors and is scarred for life. And then there's Jack's death, which destroys Alex.
  • The Hunger Games: Peeta Mellark is routinely beaten by his mother, falls in love with Katniss, is thrown into an arena to fight her to the death, nearly dies of sepsis, loses his leg, finds out the girl of his dreams only faked loving him back, goes back into the arena to fight her to the death again, has a heart attack, gets left behind when Katniss leaves, is tortured to the point of seemingly irreparable insanity, is present while everyone else on his squad (save Katniss) discuss killing him, and never stops having insane outbursts. Ouch.
    • And Katniss: Her father is killed in a mining accident, she nearly starves to death, she goes to The Hunger Games, she is forced to fake love to someone who really loves her during and after the Games, she goes back into the Games, she watches her close friend being beaten before her eyes, she accidentally becomes the face of a rebellion, she watches the boy she loves get beaten on live television, then realizes everything she does to help the rebellion leads to torture for him, he then tries to strangle her when they reunite, she goes into a battlezone and watches her sister explode. Not to mention her breakdown after she shoots Coin.
      • They both saw a lot of people die.
    • Invoked by the Capitol for all victorious tributes. As children they are put through Deadly Games, where they are forced to kill or be killed not only by other tributes but also by most of the things in the arena. These experiences are enough to make most of them Shell Shocked Veterans, but the Capitol doesn’t leave them alone even then, and puts them through even more suffering for the rest of their lives, making sure There Are No Therapists to help. They can’t even fight back, with the lives of their loved ones on the line and are Forced to Watch as people they know participate in the same Deadly Games. Taken Up to Eleven when victors are faced with a possibility of coming back on the arena and having to kill people they’ve became friends with. At the end only seven victorious tributes remain (out of 50), because both Capitol and rebels target them to make sure they can’t support the opposite side.
  • For someone whose books are geared towards women, Danielle Steel tends to employ this with disturbing frequency. One of her books starts off with the protagonist's mother dying from cancer, then killing her father after years of him sexually abusing her (which her mother has told her that she must submit to, as she can no longer fulfill his sexual needs). Then she's sent to jail for murder, where she's nearly beaten by her fellow inmates. After her release, she starts to rebuild her life—and then she's viciously attacked and beaten on her way home from work and left unable to have children. Then after she's married a wonderful man and built a life with him, revelations about her past come out and nearly destroy her marriage, etc. The only redeeming factor is that ending is always Scenario A.
    • Similarly heroines in Catherine Cookson books are born to suffer, and spend much of the novel(s) having all sorts of angst thrown at them. They don't necessarily get a happy ending either. They very often settle for a life that's not quite as miserable as the one they've gone before. Example: One girl became a mistress to her rapist (and father of her child) when she decided he was actually quite a nice man. He had undergone some character development, but even so...
  • Sidney Sheldon was awfully fond of this trope too. What's worse is that he often likes to cap it off with a Scenario B or C ending.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire is one big conga line for several characters, but the ones inflicted on Arya and Sansa Stark, starting with their father's death, are especially brutal.
    • Not to mention the brutality of pretty much everything that happens to Theon Greyjoy in A Dance With Dragons
      • Heavily implied that Littlefinger, perhaps the closest thing to the Big Bad in this series (besides The Others), went through this when he was younger, leading to Result B with a splattering Result D.
    • Tyrion Lannister's life takes a sharp nose-dive in A Storm of Swords including a ghastly facial injury, being denied credit for his accomplishments, betrayal from people he was starting to think of as friends, being falsely accused of murder again and being convicted, and discovering a past betrayal from his family. He finally snaps from this abuse, commits two revenge-fueled murders, and flees Westeros vowing to return someday to take his revenge. And then it gets worse in A Dance with Dragons.
    • Jaime Lannister's adventures as a prisoner of the Boltons.
  • Michael gets dragged through one in the first two books of the Knight and Rogue Series, consisting of multiple abductions, use as a test subject, and ostracization. He spends the second book a little broken but manages to come out in almost as good shape as he was in the beginning, by means of lots of distractions and help from Fisk.
  • Stoneheart has Edie, whose backstory is horrifying (especially for a children's book) and whose role in the actual story isn't much better. Because most of it happens in backstory, it's unclear what Edie would have been like without it, but she seems to become more generally badass as the series goes on, though not without a touch of woobie thrown in. What makes all this even worse is that she's only twelve.
  • A few of the characters in The Emigrants go through this, but perhaps Kristina more than anyone else. Her infant baby dies, her three year-old dies a rather painful death, she almost dies from scurvy on the journey across the Atlantic while pregnant, nearly loses her only surviving daughter on the shores of the Mississippi, Indians point a loaded gun at her, she goes through a hard and drawn-out delivery, spends the second half of her life longing for friends, family and places she can never go back to, for all intents an purposes loses $4000 (a lot of money in the mid-19th century), goes through a severe crisis of faith, miscarries her baby, finds out she can never be intimate with her husband again and...dies before she's forty.
    • Robert is a pretty good contender as well. His master hits his ear so hard he gets tinnitus and chronic pain, his master whips him with a branch for something that wasn't his fault, he gets lost in the desert with his best friend and has to watch him die a slow, agonizing death, loses several teeth, gets conned, tends to his dying master, comes home to his brother sick with yellow fever and completely disillusioned, finds out he's been conned and traded his gold for counterfeit money, his brother accuses him of knowing the money was fake all along and the last time he sees his brother Karl Oskar punches him in the face. Then he dies from his illness all alone by a stream at the age of 22.
  • Nearly everyone—hero, villain, or otherwise—in the GONE series by Michael Grant. It would actually be easier to name the EXCEPTIONS, Brianna and Albert being the only characters out of a cast of 400 kids who don't get tortured every book. And even Brianna got radiation poisoning and even Albert was robbed and shot in the leg. These are the lucky characters. Here are the most noteworthy examples of characters undergoing the trauma conga line, though, you could make long examples of every character;
    • Brittney Donegal had to watch her little brother get eaten by coyotes, before she herself is tortured by the boy responsible for her brothers death, then, Edilio mistaking her for dead, she's buried underground fully conscious (because of her sucky power of immortality), and has to dig her way out. Then she discovers she has to share a body with the boy who murdered her and her family. Then she's tricked into becoming a slave, and is tortured various times; and because of her sucky power she just keeps coming back for more torture—decapitation, getting shot 9 times in the face, you name it. She probably wishes she didn't have her power so she could curl up in a ball and die.
    • Hunter was attacked by his racist, bigoted "best friend", before being framed for a murder that wasn't his fault and being kidnapped and hung half to death by said "best friend". He doesn't die, but is permanently brain damaged and deformed as a result of the torture, and is then exiled from Perdido Beach for the murder he hasn't committed. Then, his body is infested by flesh eating bugs who chew on his brain and further deform him. Then he's burnt to death in "mercy". Fun times for Hunter.
    • Ooh, Diana. The last few books haven't been kind to you have they? First, being tortured by your worst enemy and nearly dying from internal wounds. Second, starving to death for months to the point where you're driven to eat human flesh. Shortly followed by a nearly-fatal plunge off a cliff, Post-Traumatic Dtress Disorder, and a Teen Pregnancy cultivating in your boyfriend, the only person you've been able to trust this entire time, saying that you repulse him and he wants nothing to do with you anymore. Then you are forcibly kicked out of your home, and with no choice but seek refuge in your enemies terrain whilst you suffer the indignities of everyone knowing about your fall from grace. Next up? You're kidnapped and tortured by the boy who nearly killed you while heavily pregnant, as you are forced to walk miles across sandstone with no shoes whilst suffering contractions. You are whipped, psychologically tortured, threatened, humiliated and at one point forced to crawl in the mud on your belly. Then, when you give birth at 15 years old in a steaming hot, pitch black mine with no medical assistance, congratulations! It's a Queue becoming a slave to your own child and suffering pretty extreme post-partum depression. Oh, and great news! Once you outgrow your usefulness to your daughter, she or Drake will probably kill you, and it's implied you're going to be raped by Drake. Laser-Guided Karma for all the heinous things she did just for malicious glee, or Disproportionate Retribution for a girl who in reality was just a bit of a snobby bitch?
  • Given the Crapsack World (or possibly World Half Full) setting of The Wheel of Time, it's probably not surprising this happens to quite a few of its characters. One example is Morgase, queen of Andor, who is brainwashed and raped, then forced to flee her country, then tortured and forced to Abdicate the Throne and probably raped again. Until one of the Deuteragonists comes across her, basically everything that happens to her is immensely traumatic.
    • Rand, the pivotal character and The Chosen One, doesn't have it easy either. He finds out that he is adopted while his father is near death from an infected wound, he is slowly (or rapidly) going insane because that's what happens to all males who are born with the ability to channel, and, due to him being a channeler, he is alienated from pretty much all of his family and friends, many of whom later view him chiefly as a force of nature that needs to be controlled and/or manipulated. This is one of the factors that makes him decidedly paranoid...or justifiably suspicious, considering all those assassination attempts by everything from sentient mist to normal people out for glory or money. He's also suffering from a wound that won't heal for the longest part of the series, giving him a physically exhausted look and a twisted relationship to pain. There's more, but needless to say, he adopts the maxim; "Duty is heavier than a mountain, death is lighter than a feather" from Lan, to explain his relationship to the whole "save the world business".
  • Beatrice Löwenström in Simona Ahrnstedt's Överenskommelser becomes a type G example in the end. She's smart, competent, and tough, but life has been really hard on her. Not only did she lose her mother when she was only six years old and her father when she was only fourteen years old. But she also has to live with her tyrannical uncle, who abuses her for five long years, forcing her into a marriage with a man, who's like forty years older than her and treats women like dirt under his shoes. Beatrice's relationship with Seth, her love interest, is also complicated to say the least. And just when she thought that things would turn out good between them, cue her sadistic cousin ruining everything! Not to mention that she was brutally raped and almost killed on her wedding night...
  • The Copper, one of the three protagonists of Age of Fire, has a rough life right from the start. As per dragon traditions, as he and his brothers hatch, they fight to the death, and while the Copper lives, he still loses and is cast out by his family, with nothing but a permanently broken front leg to show for it. Then, after months of scrounging for food to survive, he's captured by dwarves, who trick him into selling out his family's location (after breaking his tail For the Lulz) so they can kill them all, succeeding in the cases of his parents and one of his sisters (namely, the one who was the only family member to show him kindness), and as a parting gift, their dragon-hunting mercenary gives him a wound that guarantees one of his wings will never grow in properly, denying him the chance of ever flying. And then his surviving sister, on running into him shortly after, nearly gouges out one of his eyes as revenge for his treachery, leaving him practically half-blind. Things start to look up for him after that, as he finds his way to the Lavadome and starts a new life there, but he carries his wounds (both physical and psychological) for the rest of his life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Horror Story: Everyone. Literally, everyone. Everyone in this show undergoes a trauma conga line, because tragedy is the only theme that lasts throughout all the seasons. I'll use an example that I think is really good: Misty Day. We don't know much about her backstory, so everything described happens in the show.
    • First, she's at a church-like meeting in an outdoor area. While everyone is praising God, Misty Day sees a dead bird. She picks it up and, using her ~*power of resurgence*~ (I like the sound of that), she brings it back to life. Everyone in the area is upset by this necromantic action! So, what do they do? They Burn the Witch! I mean, I can't think of a better solution! Well, because she has the power of resurgence, she's able to bring herself back to life and, using the swamp mud, look normal again. After this, she disappears into nature. I mean, she has her Stevie! What else could you need? However, after she helps heal a young man who was sloppily brought back to life using a spell, she expects the girl who came with him to stay for dinner. She refuses, but, because Misty still needs to care for the guy, it doesn't matter. However, when the girl comes back to get him and, once again, neither can stay for dinner, Misty breaks down in a weird mix of The Ophelia, I Just Want to Have Friends, and Fangirl (she's a fangirl of Fleetwood Mac, specifically Stevie Nicks). It's a very strange scene. It may be disturbing to younger viewers. (Not really, your kids can watch it, that just sounded right.)

      I feel like I need a paragraph break, so here it is. Okay, to continue. Well, the guy ends up needing her help—stupid needy men! While she's working on her garden, he arrives. Well, guess what? She accidentally triggers an awful memory of his when she's trying to clean the Frankenstein-esque young man up, and he wrecks her house, including her eight-track player with Stevie Nicks - Stevie Nicks, her Only Friend! Oh, and just then, that stupid girl shows up! The stupid girl who wouldn't stay for dinner! What a bitch! She's all "oh, my friend's dead! Oh, resurrect my friend, great necromancer whom I refused friendship with!" Misty does as so, even though she's perfectly fine leaving the friend dead.

      Okay, we're getting closer to the end now. Take a deep breath, friends - I know I need one. Alright, anyhow, later on, Misty shows up to the Coven from her lil' swamp home because guess what? Someone came into her lil' swamp home and started shooting the place up! She barely escaped in time, but, thanks to Myrtle Snow (whom she was gardening back to health), she did. Alright, well, a little bit later on, she's challenged by that friend she resurrected to see who could perform more of the ~*Seven Wonders*~. The friend shows that she, too, recently developed the power of resurgence. She then convinces Misty that they're both very powerful, and that Misty needs to let her replication of Stevie Nicks retire, and give birth to the great Misty Day. Misty is hovering over an empty coffin (because the guy who was in it waltzed off), about to drop her best shawl in, when the bitch friend conks her over the head with a brick and entombs her! She's been Buried Alive. What. A. Bitch.

      Misty is found a few days later and she's dead as a doornail. She was alive for some time in the coffin, though, as was suggested by a vision that one of the witches had. So, she's back just in time for the test of the Seven Wonders. Well, wouldn't you have it? Misty passes all the tests that she'd been tested for, but then fails at the most vital stage—Descensum. She's trapped in voodoo hell forever! SHE FUCKING TURNS TO DUST! Okay, the same girl who killed poachers for killing God's innocent creatures (alligators) by resurrecting the alligators and making them kill the guys, is now forever on a loop of having to kill and dissect a frog, no matter how she resists! It's suggested that the only way to break free is to stop the loop, but there was no way in hell (haha!) that Misty was gonna let those frogs die! She just kept resurrecting them!
    • R.I.P., Misty Day.
    • Pretty much every character on American Horror Story have that kind of life, though. I mean, even the worst, most unsympathetic characters. If you're on American Horror Story, you're not going to be a happy person.
  • EastEnders: Ronnie Mitchell. Her time on the show is best described currently as God taking one giant crap on her life. All she wants is a child but if she has one, it ends up dead...and then there is the fact she was raped as a child, her husband shot in the head (although he survived albeit crippled a while), family dysfunction that the former Matriach wants her to look after, and she was recently seen banging on the door of her mother's flat screaming "Mummy!" like a scared child after her latest baby died in cot death.
  • The title character in Monk has been a textbook Type C for years by the time the show begins, having dealt with phobias and OCD his whole life and finally breaking down and leaving the police force to lock himself in his house after the murder of his beloved wife. He does slowly recover throughout the series, however.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Writing everything that happened to Buffy over the series would result in several massive Walls of Text, but the major ones: briefly dying and resulting PTSD, Angel turning evil and killing Jenny, having to kill Angel, Angel leaving, her mother's death, her sister's the Key, dying again and then being dragged out of Heaven, and the attempted rape.
    • Tara was brainwashed by her sexist family into believing she's a demon, had her mother die at age 17, had her mind messed with by Glory, memory-wiped by Willow (twice), and just as she reconciled with Willow, she was accidentally killed when a bullet that Warren meant for Buffy hit her instead.
    • Drusilla, though a lot of it takes place off-screen/before the show takes place.
  • Throughout Stargate SG-1, the eponymous team are on the receiving end of a seemingly endless series of pain and suffering and defeat, and it's fortunate There Are No Therapists, because if they were real people someone would be making a fortune off of their PTSD. And Daniel Jackson manages to not only suffer more than the other three members combined, but each instance is even more devastating. After all, all of them have had love interests die, but Daniel is the only one who had them shot to death in front of himnote .
  • Stargate Atlantis, while you're at it. Lots of people, but Ronon Dex especially.
  • Supernatural: You would not want to be a Winchester. Or an angel on their side. Or their love interest.
    • Dean just keeps getting hit by more and more tragedies and still has to stumble to get up and go on. Let's recap shall we? First off, his mother dies when he's a kid, leaving him to be dragged across the country in pursuit of revenge, then his father goes missing, so he has to team-up with his estranged brother to find him; next his father dies exchanging his soul for Dean's leaving him with horrific Survivor Guilt; his brother dies, leaving Dean to make another Deal with the Devil and 1 year to live (being constantly tormented by his upcoming damnation); next he is ripped to shreds by hell-hounds and spends 40 years equivalent in Hell.

      Then he is resurrected by angels to serve their purpose, constantly being haunted by the memories of his soul-destroying torture with more guilt pertaining to the fact that he broke the first seal for the Apocalypse; next he tries to handle his brother becoming a junkie addicted to demon blood; and finally he fails to stop his brother setting off the apocalypse, resulting in him spending the 5th season hunting down the four horsemen of the apocalypse and trying to put Lucifer back in his cage, so far losing hope that he agrees to let Michael possess him to defeat Lucifer even though that will raze the world. His brother's faith makes him take it back, but then Dean loses his brother again. Also, his childhood was filled with neglect and emotional abuse. Natch. It's no wonder Famine told him that he was dead and empty inside.
    • Sam went through life fearing he was some kind of freak, and then it turned out he really was. His fiance-girlfriend dies at the very beginning of the series; every other woman he has ever gotten close to has died a horrible death or betrayed him, leading him to be emotionally scarred and introverted; he never lived up to the expectations of his family; was constantly denied the chance to live a normal life because of demons; was forced into hunting and the family lifestyle; his dad disowned him for going to college; his father told his brother to kill him; he's apparently an abomination of God because his mother made a deal to sell him to a demon when he was born; he never got to know said mother as she died when he was a baby because of him.

      When Sam's murdered, Dean sells his soul to bring him back (and spends 40 years in hell because of it, while Sam spends that 4-month period suicidal and becomes addicted to demon blood); he accidentally starts the apocalypse trying to stop it, and then in season five finds out he's the vessel for Lucifer and that he was destined to be the Anti Christ; at the end of season five, he sacrificed himself to lock Lucifer away, knowing he'd be tortured by Archangels Lucifer and Michael for averting the Apocalypse; and as of season seven had some version of schizophrenia/mental illness due to nearly two centuries of torture in which his soul was effectively flayed and then pushed back into him after centuries of mutilation done to it. Conclusion: It's not fun to be a Winchester.
  • Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood. Between "Exit Wounds" and Children of Earth, it's no wonder he gave up and left to travel in space.
  • Angel: Pretty much Connor's entire life up until Season 4 was one long Trauma Conga Line. (Not that his life was great after that; there was a brief pause, but only so we could see the damage.) In fact, things get even worse in season 4. The pleasant part of his life before a total memory wipe was the time period between seasons 3 and 4, which lasted about 3 months.
    • If Connor thought he had it bad, at least he got superpowers and a Happy End in the end. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce's life from Season 3 onwards to the series' final episode became a downward spiral of losing baby Connor while trying to save Angel's son from a prophecy, having his throat cut nearly fatally, nearly being choked by an enraged Angel, losing his friends' trust, his idealism, his happiness, seeing the woman he loved die horribly, falling into despair, cynicism and alcoholism, and finally being killed by an ancient sorcerer in a magical duel he had no reasonable chance of winning.
  • Happens twice in Scrubs, first to Elliot and then later to JD. During Elliot's crap, she doesn't try to get help from others and closes herself off. Most of the series has her personally dealing with her issues with some venting from time to time. JD, on the other hand, had become far too dependent on his friends and his constant self-pity had been going on for seven years by that point. It's when he saw just how annoying he could be by watching others does he start to really deal with his problems on his own instead of relying on others. It's easier to help someone when they're trying to help themselves then someone who constantly annoys you instead of dealing with their own life themselves.
    • More than once, JD has wryly noted that sometimes the hospital doesn't space out tragedies and disasters so that the doctors have time to pull themselves together after each one—sometimes it just piles the suckitude on until you can't take it any more (for example, "My Lunch").
  • Happens to Tommy in Rescue Me nearly every episode, although some are worse than others. He's a Type F, and remains a lying, scheming, womanizing, short-tempered, alcoholic, self-centered asshole for seven seasons.
  • While not technically the hero, Dollhouse's Topher seems to be the definition of this trope. Nothing seems to go well for the poor bloke.
  • In M*A*S*H, this happens to every main character at least once. Hawkeye and Margaret, in particular, get it the most, partly because they've been there the longest.
  • The Doctor of Doctor Who is a prime candidate for having the worst life ever. Before the series even begins he's on the run from his own people, who never regard him as anything more than a madman and a renegade (and that's before he becomes the Last of His Kind). Every single person he loves or is close to in any way dies or leaves, though not before being inflicted with the horrors of the universe thanks to their association with him, and he always ends up alone. No matter where he goes he frequently lands in the middle of wars and invasions and general misery, enduring every pain and torture imaginable, including dying again and again in horrible ways, and witnessing the deaths of uncountable people. And no matter how much good he does or how many people he saves, his worst enemies always survive and half the universe either hates him or fears him. It's nothing short of a miracle he hasn't just given up.
    • The Tenth Doctor attracted both extensive praise and criticism for suffering everything that could possibly go wrong at every possible opportunity. By "The End of Time", everyone close to him had moved on, voluntarily or otherwise, the closest thing he had to a friend was one old man who still believed in him (who he dies to save), and his almost maniacal desire to Screw Destiny and avoid his "song" ending was less about self-preservation and more desperately trying to keep hold of the last thing that hadn't been taken from him.
    • Amy Pond is the trope's poster girl for the series, going through severe emotional trauma every two episodes on average. Every possible kind of hardship seems to find its way into her life, and her husband Rory is forced to live with every bit of it as well. The Doctor eventually realizes this, dropping her and her husband Rory off home before he gets them killed, but they're confirmed as returning in the following season and Amy's having severe My God, What Have I Done? feelings over killing Madam Kovarian.
    • River Song has been through her share of this. Or will be. Or both.
    • Clara gets one during season 8. First, the Doctor she had come to know and be mildly attracted to disappears and is replaced by someone with a much different personality and appearance, then she has a violent fallout with the Doctor, has the man she loves die a stupid death, return as a Cybermen zombie, sacrifice himself twice afterward and finally the Doctor leaving her to return home.
  • The Wire:
    • Randy Wagstaff in Season 4, who is only 13 to 14 years old. He confesses to knowing about a murder to his school principal to avoid getting in trouble and the drug kingpin in the streets, Marlo Stanfield, finds out about it and decides to ruin his life and puts out the word that he's a snitch. Everyone avoids Randy or beats him. Then in the Wham Episode, his house is firebombed, his foster mother brutally burned, and despite all the help of a police sergeant, he is sent to a foster home where other kids, knowing he's a snitch, beat him daily.
    • Bubbles, a heroin addict and a Type I Anti-Hero, is homeless, unwelcome in his family, often gets beaten up, repeatedly fails in attempts to go clean, suffers the deaths of his two best friends (one of which he indirectly causes), and tries to commit suicide due to intense feelings of guilt. In the end, his fate is Type A, in a rare The Wire example of Earn Your Happy Ending.
    • The impulsive and idiotic Ziggy Sobotka suffers blow after blow to his self-esteem—he's routinely beaten up, his precious car is stolen and torched, his pet duck dies, and finally he's cheated out of $18,000. This finally makes him snap.
  • The backstory of Veronica Mars. A few months before the show started, Veronica's boyfriend broke up with her for no reason. Then her best friend was brutally murdered. Then her dad got fired from his job as sheriff, and the related events made her a social pariah in school. Then her mom abandoned her without warning. Then she was drugged and raped at a party, and the new sheriff refused to even investigate. The end result is that she turns from a popular, fun-loving high-schooler to a jaded misanthrope Kid Detective with no respect for authority.
  • Tara from True Blood. She starts out as the rational, fiesty, voice of reason but complications involving her alcoholic mother, the love of her life murdered, and being kidnapped by a psychopathic vampire reduces her to a sobbing wreck. She spends almost every episode crying or contemplating suicide.
  • John Crichton of Farscape. To list all the things the writers put him through would take waaay too long, but the highlights include brutal torture both physical and mental, being controlled by a neural clone and forced to kill the love of his life, being cloned only to have his resurrected lover fall in love with the OTHER John and take off with her, having the other John die and Aeryn (said lover) abandon him, having her come back with his worst enemy, the man responsible for the torture and the neural clone, and being raped. And that's not even touching on all the things he's been forced to do in order to survive all of the above. Really, this trope could be NAMED for John Crichton.
  • ER's Mark Green. Actually happens to many of the characters, but he really stands out.
  • 24: Jack Bauer is a Type E. While he put up with a lot of crap in the first season (including the kidnapping of his wife and daughter, the police chasing him, duplicitous co-workers and obstructive bureaucrats), he arguably triumphed...until the final minutes of the season finale, when he finds his (pregnant, unbeknownst to him) wife tied up and gutshot in the CTU server room. From that point on, 24 becomes "The Tragedy of Jack Bauer"—over the course of the series, most of his friends have died (Season 5 could unofficially be called "Let's Kill Jack Bauer's Support Network"), he's been tortured multiple times, gets little respect from government agencies because he's perceived as a loose cannon and generally has to go on the run at the end of most seasons because of the circumstances leveled on him. At the end of the series, he's almost executed and forced to flee the country, beaten and battered, with his new love interest dead.
  • Izzie Stevens in Grey's Anatomy, who can fall into categories A, C and E at times. She started off being sexually harassed at work by her peers for being beautiful and minor hazing stuff from other doctors including a rather cruel learning experiment from a doctor she looked up to by giving her a patient she knew was going to die and making her responsible for seeing the patient through the night. Later on in the season Izzie lost the love of her life a heart patient at the hospital. She quit her job and became catatonic for days. She also went through a very realistic process of grief. A few seasons later they gave her cancer, killed off her best friend, fired her from her job, dissolved her marriage and then put her on a bus to never been seen again.
  • Kurt Hummel from Glee comes to mind, even though a few of the things that happen to him are due to his own mistakes.
  • Dr. Jack "Boomer" Morrison in St. Elsewhere. Let's see. His wife dies, his son gets kidnapped (though later returned), he gets raped while volunteering in a prison infirmary, the rapist breaks out of prison and comes after him, his girlfriend aborts his baby over his objections...when does anything go right for Boomer?
  • Shawn Hunter in Boy Meets World, even the show runner has mentioned how nothing good ever happens for Shawn throughout the entire 7 season run. His mom abandons him, driving away with their trailer (his home) and all his possessions and his dad abandons him trying to get her back. He's basically homeless for a bit before finally settling in with his English teacher for the year(who, of course, gets into a car accident and is never heard from again), then both parents come back only to abandon him AGAIN at some point between seasons 4 and 5 (the muddled timeline makes "when" unclear). Things finally appear to be looking up for him after he starts college; until, in quick succession, he breaks up with his long term girlfriend, his father dies and he learns that the woman he THOUGHT was his mom, wasn't and his real mom was a hooker. It's no wonder he started drinking again.
  • Nobody really fares too well in Breaking Bad, but Jesse Pinkman seems to get the absolute worst of it starting from season 2: he has to deal with his parents giving up on him and kicking him out, leaving him homeless; the death of his girlfriend Jane to an overdose that he feels responsible for; Hank beating him into unconsciousness, leaving him hospitalized; having to go on the run after he reaches his rage breaking point and tries to kill a group of men who murdered a little kid; having to murder an unarmed person in order to save the life of an increasingly abusive surrogate father, which causes a Heroic BSOD so strong he pretty much gives up on his life for a few episodes afterwards; having to deal with a kid he's befriended being poisoned and thinking said surrogate father is the cause; seeing a kid get killed unnecessarily again and finding out that his partner has killed a whole bunch of other people as well; and figuring out that his partner actually did poison the kid, which drives him to a self-destructive rage so intense he comes very, very close to burning Walt's house down. And just when you think things couldn't possibly get worse, he's forced into slavery by the same guy who killed the kid earlier, and when he tries to escape one time they react by murdering Andrea, the woman he loves. And all the while dealing with continual threats to his own life and abuse from Walt. It's no wonder he's so often considered a Woobie despite being an Antivillain.
  • Played for Laughs in a Black Books episode when Manny is mugged after having punched through the glass of a phone booth to avoid a bee. When Fran is looking for Manny, Bernard advises her to "become a terrible event and happen to him."
  • Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Starting it off, in season one, it was revealed that Jake's dad abandoned him when he was 7 and his mom was a workaholic and was never there for him. In one episode, he was bankrupted and was being evicted from his apartment. Then the writers gave him no mercy in season two: He has been rejected by Amy, a woman he has a mad crush on, because she's dating someone else. He finally met another woman, Sophia, whom he really clicked with, only for her to break up with him, because Jake arrested her boss and it turns out that she wasn't all into him, despite Jake developing some serious feelings for Sophia. He was the main suspect for the mole investigation and was suspended when an Internal Affairs agent saw him in the evidence lockup, has been outed by the Pontiac Bandit twice, had a major falling out with his best friend, had his crushing debts from his friends and colleagues bite him back, lost in his Halloween bet with his captain after his friends betray him, because they just want to see Jake get humiliated. His dad came back to visit him, only for him to use his son's cop status and abandon him again. Jake also suffered from a string of bad luck in one week that ended with him getting suspended from the NYPD then kidnapped by Sophia's ex-boss. He also sustained multiple injuries (broken ribs and toes, hairline fracture) within a month, and when it looks like something is finally right in his life... Captain Holt, his father-figure and mentor, suddenly leaves the Nine-Nine.

  • The "Weird Al" Yankovic song "One of Those Days" describes, y'know, one of those days; where everything that can possibly go wrong does, from getting to work late and getting yelled at by the boss, to getting chased by Russian spies, having a 747 crash through the den window, running out of Cheetos, and finally having the whole world explode for no reason.
  • The Police have two songs about this, Played for Laughs: "On Any Other Day" and "Synchronity II."
  • The Half Man Half Biscuit song "National Shite Day" may be the apotheosis of this trope. The first line is "Pulling the ice ax from my leg, I staggered on," indicating that before the story has even properly begun, the narrator has managed to get a mountaineering tool lodged in his leg. It gets worse...
  • Happens to 2D in Gorillaz. Ran over by Murdoc, causing his eyeball to fracture and him to become comatose. He's then put in the care of Murdoc, who crashes the car again and fractures 2D's other eyeball as well as waking him up. Since then he's been constantly verbally and physically abused by Murdoc (including brutal beatings and chloroforming, both of which have also been seen during during an iTunes interview), who also had an affair with 2D's girlfriend at the time, and he's gotten addicted to painkillers because of it. Then after the band splits up he's kidnapped by, guess who, Murdoc, who then stops him leaving the island they're on by having a whale guard his room, knowing that 2D is deathly scared of them. Oh, and his his real name is "Stu-Pot". During most of the latest Plastic Beach arc he's ended up as a Type C, curled up in a fetal position in his room and freaking out about the whale just outside.
  • The Music Video for Billy Joel's "She's Right On Time" counts for Joel's character and his date. Played for Laughs.



    Recorded Comedy 
  • Monty Python had "Four Yorkshiremen" on their Live At Drury Lane album. The four men, who were very well off, tried to outdo each other about how they had to suffer through abject poverty and parental abuse as children. Eric Idle tops them all:
    I had to go to sleep at night at 7 o'clock half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulfuric acid, work twenty-nine hours from permission to come to work and when we got home, our mum and our dad would kill us and dance about on our graves singing "hallelujah".

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the God-Emperor of Mankind. Even disregarding the Horus Heresy, in which he got to see his children slaughter each other and come close to undoing everything that he'd ever accomplished, for the past ten thousand years the guy has been stuck on life support watching the universe go further to hell, helpless to do anything but act as a glorified psychic lighthouse against the darkness threatening to extinguish humanity forever.
    • Magnus the Red didn't exactly have it easy either, and was not only essentially forced to participate in aforementioned Heresy because of it, but the very reason he did so—to save his Legion—was make utterly pointless soon afterwards. All Just as Planned for Tzeentch.
      • This is Warhammer 40,000. EVERYONE is on a Trauma Conga Line. And it never ends.
      • Crowning glory has to be the survivors of the First War of Armageddon (though someone should have thought about the implications of naming a planet after an "end of days war" ahead of time). After the typical untold generations of Imperial bureaucratic corruption and negligence, an immense uprising occurs thanks to the worshipers of the Chaos god Khorne being supercharged by a passing Warp Storm. Then in comes a space hulk, carrying Angron, fallen Primarch and Daemon Prince of the Chaos God of blood and carnage. But there was good news! The Space Wolf chapter arrives, along with a gigantic force of Imperial Guardsmen, and the near-legendary Grey Knights, who are in total able to stop the invasions. Unfortunately, where go the Grey Knights, so goes the Inquisition...and since most in the Imperium don't know that most of the fallen Primarchs are still alive and well as Daemon Princes, not to mention knowing much about overall Chaos nastiness, the entire world is quarantined and every civilian and soldier that wasn't a Space Marine was rounded up, sterilized, and put into internment camps while the world was quietly resettled by people who were told only that there was a war and there had been no survivors.
      • There is another Hope Spot when the Space Wolves say "screw you" to the Inquisition and rescue as many survivors as they could...but there's only so many people you can fit aboard a few spaceships, so most of them die anyway.
      • And it doesn't stop there. This defiant gesture sparks a cold war between the Wolves and the Inquisition, including the Grey Knights, later escalating to a full-on war despite the Wolves not firing back at Inquisition ships opening fire on them—all due to the incompetence of the original Inquisitor whose decision it was to have the survivors purged in the first place, then tried to apply street-level tactics to an entire planet and didn't get that Space Marines outrank Puny Humans. It ends with the Inquisition attacking the Space Wolves' homeworld and their milleniary warrior Bjorn Fell-Handed teleporting aboard the ships to get everyone to stand down.

  • Miss Saigon: Parents killed in a military attack. Forced to work as a prostitute in order to support herself (this is how she loses her virginity). There's a brief Hope Spot when she meets a nice soldier who falls in love with her and plans to take her back to America with him—only for them to be separated during the Fall of Saigon. She then has to endure pregnancy and childbirth on her own and in hiding from those who might imprison or even kill her for consorting with the enemy. When her cousin finds her and tries to kill her son, she is forced to shoot him to protect the boy and flee to another country to avoid punishment, where she resumes work as a bar girl. Throughout all this, she hopes and prays and believes that her lover will return for her. But when he does, he's married to another woman and doesn't want to take the boy back to America. So she kills herself to force him to do exactly that.

    Video Games 
  • Setsuko Ohara of Super Robot Wars Z is constantly subjected to this. Among the things that befell on her includes: Seeing her chief get killed, separated with her only teammate, only for him to come back and shortly after get killed, and then shortly after she herself gets physically and psychologically abused while screaming for help and nobody could save her (implied to be raped), then she sees someone impersonating her dead friend just to spite on her, then the Alternate Universe version of her dead friend and chief were manipulated that she was behind all the mess she and the world having...All done by a single person called Asakim Dowen. Depending on the player's choice, she may raise into the type A, or dwindle into type C where she ends up losing her sense of taste and slowly dying.
  • Solid Snake of the Metal Gear series. Ohhh god. A few of the more memorable events that happen to him—getting PTSD from the get-go; having to bloodily murder his best friend, twice; having to murder Big Boss, his father figure and commanding officer, twice; finding out that Big Boss was his father; having the worst family in the history of ever; and then the ever-increasing spiral of horrible that starts with him suddenly being a sickly old man and gets progressively worse. And that's skimping out all the layers of detail which really add color to the events of his life. It's dreadful enough that he goes through Type A, Type B, Type C and Type D, depending on how optimistic Kojima was feeling about life at the time (First C, then B, then A, then an attempted D, and then, finally, A again).
    • And Big Boss before him. Betrayed by his mentor; captured and loses an eye during a torture session; forced to kill his not-really-rogue mentor for political reasons; betrayed by his lover EVA; betrayed by the CIA. Forms a powerful conspiracy to ensure this will never happen again, but its members begin to fight among themselves. Leaves the conspiracy in disgust, fully commits to option B and takes up arms against the United States and its true masters: the Patriots that he helped found.
      • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain continues it by seeing all of the men and women he trained to fight in his army slaughtered by XOF and Cipher, aka the Patriots, losing his arm and spending nine years in a coma. By this point, he's had enough and becomes willing to cross any moral line to get revenge on the two organizations, no matter how despicable, completing his tragic fall to villainy.
    • Don't forget Raiden, previously the laughing stock of the series. Man, his life sucks. He was raised by the man who killed his parents; was a child soldier in a civil war; found out he was manipulated to go on a mission that was just a giant experiment; his girlfriend was to spy on him but then fell in love with him, she then became his fiance, before leaving him for another man; believed his child was miscarried, only to find out it was a cover up. Then he becomes a cyborg against his own, twice. Save for the upper part of his face and spine, his entire body is mechanical.
    • There's Otacon as well. Aside from unwittingly designing a nuclear weapon, he ended being seduced by his stepmother and when his father found out, he committed suicide by drowning- nearly taking his step-sister as well. That resulted in a falling out between the two, and when he meets her again, she's dying from blood loss. Aside from that, the only person he really trusts, Solid Snake, is aging rapidly and doesn't much time with him.
    • Not to mention that everyone Otacon loves ends up dying in front of him. Sniper wolf gets shot dead by Snake, Emma bleeds to death in his arms, Naomi commits suicide, and by the end of Metal Gear Solid 4, Snake only has a few months left to live. It's a miracle Sunny survived.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Before the game even starts, Cloud Strife has already: (1) endured a lonely, alienated childhood; (2) been wrongfully held responsible for putting his childhood crush, the mayor's daughter, in a coma by the mayor and everyone in the town (3) been told he's not good enough to become a SOLDIER and gets stuck as a humble grunt trooper; (4) watched his hero Sephiroth destroy his hometown, kill his mother and nearly murder both his childhood crush Tifa and his good friend Zack; (5) suffered over four years of sadistic experimentation by a Mad Scientist which reduces him to a catatonic vegetable; and finally (6) helplessly watched Zack die in a gut-wrenching heroic last stand to protect him. All this results in Cloud suffering his first Heroic BSOD, a very understandable case of Trauma-Induced Amnesia, and identity confusion.
    • THEN, during the game itself, Cloud ends up being mind raped by the Big Bad Sephiroth into: (1) nearly killing his teammate Aerith not just once, but twice; (2) handing over the Artifact of Doom to Sephiroth (again, twice); and (3) questioning not only his memories but his very identity as a real person. He's also forced to stand by and watch Sephiroth murder Aerith while being unable to do anything about it. Cue a second massive Heroic BSOD that requires a Journey to the Center of the Mind to fix.
    • Advent Children throws him back into massive depression and despair by making him and the orphan he's adopted suffer the painful and deadly disease Geostigma. The disease also allows Sephiroth to constantly Troll Cloud's subconscious, thereby making Cloud obsess about the promises he'd failed to keep and the lives he failed to save.
    • Fortunately, Cloud manages to avoid further major physical or emotional trauma in the sequel Dirge of Cerberus. Vincent, however, is not so lucky.
    • All that said, Sephiroth himself suffers from this. At the start of Crisis Core, one of his best friends, Genesis, deserts Shinra. After failing to bring him back, Sephiroth's other best friend, Angeal, also deserts. He is tasked by Shinra to hunt them down and kill them, if necessary. During this, Genesis keeps trolling Sephiroth. Eventually, he learns that he is the result of a science experiment. Afterwards, he plans to leave Shinra because,'s Shinra, but before he can, on his last mission, he finds out that he is part Ancient. The Ancients died in a catastrophic event while the humans survived by hiding. And so begins his life of evil...hard to blame him, really.
    • Aerith also endures a lot of horrible things in her life, though she handles them much better. Her father was murdered when she was just a baby, then she and her mother were taken hostage so that Hojo could experiment on them. Her mother dies, and she spends the majority of her youth fleeing from the Turks. Then she is captured again, where the resident Mad Scientist tries to mate her with Red XIII. Shortly after this, she discovers she's the last remaining Cetra, and then Sephiroth kills her. Despite this, she remains an eternally hopeful Iron Woobie.
  • The tie-in-comic Backstory of Darion Mograine, from World of Warcraft. His brother murders his father, his father gets converted into a Death Knight, Darion tries to save him without knowing what's happened and is too locked up in horror and disbelief to fight effectively while everyone that came with him is killed by the Four Horsemen. After a moment of Type C, the spirit of his father guides him out of the other son, for revenge, but not before the brother tries to beat Darion to death. Eventually, Darion manages to do A, B, and D all at the same time. Those who paid attention to his dialogue in the Death Knight starting chain know what I mean...
    • Darion starts out in life with a mini-trauma conga line as well: he appeared stillborn, but was revived by his father, only to have his mother die from complications during the birth, quickly turning the joy his father felt into grief...
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Xion in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Apparently a Mary-Sue type character, it turns out Xion is an artificial clone of Sora made to eventually kill Roxas and absorb his power, and if she's not up to the task then the Organization plans for Roxas to kill and absorb her instead. Furthermore, because she's a clone constructed out of stray fragments of Sora's memory, her existence is even more tenuous than that of a normal Nobody. As a result, when she dies everyone she ever knew forgets she ever existed. There's also the problem you go into the game knowing she's Doomed by Canon. Certainly the pinnacle of this comes at the end of the game where she battles Roxas, the guy she's heavily implied to be in love with by this point, and dies in his arms while he's struggling to remember her name, his memories of her fading already.
    • Roxas too, for a lot of the same reasons as above actually, and more. The poor guy has no memories, all he knows is that he can use a Keyblade and it's important he kill Heartless. When he asks questions of his allies to try and figure out the things he ought to know but doesn't, they treat him like an idiot for that reason. At least Xion eventually figured out that the Organization was using both of them, Roxas doesn't clue in until practically the end of the game and thus spends most of his single year of life working for people who exploit his abilities and plan to kill him once they're done with him. The only really happy time in his life is the last week, when he's implanted with fake memories and is imprisoned in a virtual reality simulation - and once that week is up, he merges back with Sora.
      • But first the poor kid had to find out it was all a big lie in the worst way possible. I say again, poor kid.
      • In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Sora meets with Roxas in a dream and Roxas transfers his memories into him, meaning Sora experiences the entire Trauma Conga Line at once.
    • The protagonists of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep don't fare much better. Special mention goes to Terra, who is tricked by villains (going so far as being possessed and stealing somebody's heart in his very first world) and the game's big bad at every turn, manipulated into believing his friends have left him, manipulated into letting the darkness in, tricked by the villains some more, has a nice brief stop-off at Destiny Islands with a nice little Heartwarming Moment, then inadvertently causes the death of someone he loves, is smacked around a lot in the first part of the final battle and finally has his body stolen by the big bad at the end of the game, with it being implied he's been fighting for control since the end of Birth by Sleep. Ventus doesn't fare much better, having his Heart ripped in two to create Vanitas before the game even begins and ends the game with his heart being separated from his body after a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy the in-story Infinity+1 Sword, and would have died if not for Sora's intervention, his body little more than an empty shell. Aqua fares a bit better than the other two, but is still forced to fight both of her friends when they're possessed by the game's two villains and eventually falls into the Realm of Darkness after sacrificing herself to save Terra. One thing is certain about Kingdom Hearts 3: Sora has a lot of work to do.
    • Add to the two above that Roxas is pretty heavily implied by Word of God to be kind of an incarnation of Ventus and you get the most screwed up existence in the history of existences. Jesus, Nomura, give the poor kid a break!
    • Repliku's entire life is one. He's a clone of Riku, who is used as the Organization's tool and lives only about two or three days. In those few days, he is defeated in every single fight he gets into, has his memories erased and rewritten against his will (Larxene beats him up and knocks him out when he tries to resist, taunting him the entire time) so he believes he is the real Riku, has his heart shattered by Namine to stop him from killing Sora, then finds out he is a clone and everything he believed was a lie. He does not take it well, and spends what is left of his life trying to find something that makes him not just a copy of Riku, and is manipulated by Axel into killing Zexion to do so. In the end, he confronts Riku and tries to kill him ("As long as you're around...I'll never be anything more than a shadow!"), and ends up killed himself, in his last moments fearing what will happen when he - a fake - dies.
  • Aribeth gets this thrown at her in Neverwinter Nights and the expansions, leading to a Heel-Face Revolving Door and at various points reactions according to Types A, B, and D.
  • The whole game can be considered this to Edea Lee in Bravely Default. The Duchy of Eternia was a doctrine she was benevolent towards to, until she stepped out of her home at the beginning of the game and sees how demented his superiors are to the rest of the world: they kill without remorse (even to their own soldiers), they scam people from their money, they make false accusations towards the vestal, and they all are general douchebags.
  • A small part of the plot of Xenogears goes something like this: Several hundred years ago a very honorable man is scarred by tragedy and becomes result (B). Another man scarred by the same event becomes result (D). In the present tense the protagonist is secretly some sort of Jungian catatonic ball with two personalities, one of whom tries to live out his life in peace (C) and the other who decides to wreak havoc (D again). However, the protagonist eventually overcomes his split personalities, becoming result (A). Pretty much every hero or villain in this game is a crowning example of this trope.
    • Special mention to Billy Lee Black who, in addition to his already tragic backstory, goes through an unbelievable amount of crap in less than 24 in-game hours as summarized here.
  • Rondo of Swords has a type E in one of the playthroughs. After all Serdic goes through he finally breaks after a Friend Or Idol decision that ends up in favor of the idol. Now while Serdic does lose a lot of his of warmth and idealism, his ethics and morals don't really change. At the end of the game he does rediscover love again and has a peaceful, prosperous reign as king.
  • After half a game of staying cheerful and upbeat desipte the numerous atrocities he witnesses, main character Jude of Wild ARMs 4 gets hit with this HARD. First, a traveller he made friends with turns out to be the strongest member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad. Then, almost immediatly after finally finding his captured mother, she dies a horrible death right in front of him. Then Kresnik, a reformed member of the quirky member squad, falls to his death (or does he?). And THEN, he's forced to kill his long lost father after he snaps and becomes an Omnicidal Maniac. Whew...
    • Hell, him becoming a forest ranger in the Epilogue was probably his way of getting away from it all.
  • In Silent Hill, the Trauma Train has pulled out of the station well before any of the player characters got there, so when it steamrolls through everybody it touches (including the bad guys!) gets affected to varying degrees, and how well the protagonists fare from the Conga Line depends on which of the Multiple Endings you get. (Here's a hint: save from the wacky, out of left field joke endings, the best Silent Hill has to offer are Bittersweet Endings.)
  • In Tales of Vesperia, Estelle during Part Two. She finds out, the hard way, that her healing artes causes Entelexia to go insane, then later learns that using her powers could to destroy the world. Then she gets kidnapped by Schwann/Raven and tortured into doing the bidding of Alexei, and sent over the edge by his hand that she begs Yuri to kill her. (Fortunately, he hauls her back). And after all that, She somehow manages to come out Result A! That girl deserves to be a saint!
    • Also Leon Magnus from Tales of Destiny (the remake at least). After a healthy dose of Character Development in part 1, Leon is finally happy and respected...then Part 2 starts and his mother-figure is kidnapped forcing him to destroy his career, help the Big Bad with his plot by the stealing the Eye of Atamoni, and his previous character development is more or less rejected as he reverts back to his childish Ineffectual Loner state and rejects The Power of Friendship to save her alone. Then she attempts suicide hoping to save him, and he loses his will to live until he is told that she is alive (He's not allowed to see her though). But he is still effectively a pawn and now has to fight his friends. The result of all of this is either A or C (or a mix of both) depending on how one views his Heroic Sacrifice.
      • The sequel suggests a Result A, but that may be a bit iffy since it is based on the original PS1 game where Leon was a legit Jerkass in a sad situation rather than a Jerkass Woobie whose thoughts and status as The Chew Toy are revealed over the course of the game.
      • Asbel Lhant from Tales of Graces. Begins as a spoiled and reckless child, loses his brother, his friends, grows up as a depressed and burdened young adult and is later expelled from his hometown by his own brother.
  • God of War has Kratos. Very much a Type D.
  • Fou-lu in Breath of Fire IV is marched down a Type B/Type D Trauma Conga Line by the very empire he was the King in the Mountain for; the increasingly extreme efforts The Empire takes in killing what is their literal founding God Emperor eventually go to the point of the use of a Fantastic Nuke powered by Fou-lu's GIRLFRIEND (said Fantastic Nuke explicitly works on the principle of Love Hurts, the closer the bond, the higher the mega-tonnage), and — when THAT didn't work — having The Emperor run Fou-lu through with a soul-eating sword made from the botched summon of another god (which only resulted in Emperor Soniel literally losing his head). This Trauma Conga Line eventually results in Fou-lu deciding that Humans Are Bastards and the use of Mami as a tactical thermonuclear Country Mouse is arguably the event (in the MIDDLE of the Trauma Conga Line, no less!) that causes him to become a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
    • Oh, and the Vestigial Empire that summoned Fou-lu in the first place buggered up the summoning, resulting in the god being split in twain and each half of the Literal Split Personality ending up on opposite sides of the world and temporally displaced 600 years. It's also outright stated that the Fou Empire and its Vestigial Empire predecessor the Muuru Empire still have not managed how to learn to summon a god in one piece and are involuntarily yanking the entities the world knows as "gods" from their own lives. (Yes, Fou-lu's Trauma Conga Line veritably began from the moment of his existence on that world.)
  • In Mass Effect, depending on how s/he's played Shepard will have gone through this starting years before the games even take place, and that's only the backstory. In-game s/he suffers a continuous Conga Line from all sides, and it's particularly amazing that Shepard getting killed in the second game is not his/her lowest point. Then Mass Effect 3 puts Shepard through the wringer, forced to flee Earth as it gets annihilated by the Reapers, suffers from extreme Survivor Guilt for those who have died in the series thus far aided by nightmares of a little boy s/he failed to save on Earth, and that's the most positive point in the game for him/her.
    • Tali has this happen in full force during her loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2. After all that happens, it's a wonder that Tali is even still functioning, much less sane.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords BEGINS with the protagonist, the Exile, finally starting to uncurl from their previous position as the figurative curled-up ball mentioned in Type C. After a decade or so. The game proper consists of several factions being out for the Exile's blood, some other factions trying to exploit the Exile for their own convenience and other assorted, otherwise mostly unrelated misfortunes. All of this comes up to a head with a Tomato in the Mirror revelation of potentially universe ending implications. The alignment system really is all about the player choosing which fabulous new effect all of this will have on the Exile: Light Side would be either A or E, Dark Side would be B or D.
  • Faize Sheifa Beleth from Star Ocean The Last Hope ends up a Type B after the ruthless destruction of his planet and the annihilation of his people (the latter which happens right in front of his eyes) cause him to snap and attempt to destroy the universe so that no one has to feel pain any longer. In his defense, he was being controlled at least somewhat by the Grigori. Though, it's never revealed just how much his actions then stem from it, and he showed plenty of signs of instability beforehand...
  • In Assassin's Creed I, everything that happens to Subject Sixteen/Clay Kaczmarek is part of a Trauma Conga Line. Everything. Emotionally abusive father, neglectful mother, captured by an evil corporation, betrayed by his only ally, abandoned by the Assassins, tortured and driven insane, committed suicide, uploaded his brain to help his successor, trapped in the program, mind deleted after performing a Heroic Sacrifice...the poor guy can't catch a break.
    • The "Kenway Family Saga" is essentially one continuous Trauma Conga Line for three consecutive generations of the Kenway patrilineal line, and the Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag novelization extends this even further back to the prior generation too!
  • The entirety of Spec Ops: The Line is a trauma conga line on the protagonist, Walker, as he's subject to atrocity after atrocity while committing a few of his own. By the end of the game, he is a broken man
  • In Skyrim's backstory, Ulfric Stormcloak—Rebel Leader and Big Bad/Big Good of the Civil War questline, depending on which side you pick—endures a pretty vicious conga line. Raised to be a Greybeard, he gave up their pacifist philosophy to join the Imperial army when his conscience refused to let him sit out the Great War with the Aldmeri Dominion. He was subsequently traumatized by the deaths of untold numbers of friends and countrymen, captured by the enemy, tortured until he broke, manipulated into believing that the information he divulged was directly responsible for the fall of the capital city (it wasn't), and then sent home believing that all of it was for nothing after the Empire signed a treaty that capitulated to the Dominon's demands (which included banning his people’s most revered god). A spectacularly ill-thought-out attempt to regain freedom of worship then landed him in prison, and while he was still locked up his father died and he was forced to deliver the eulogy via a letter smuggled out of jail. All of this seems to have happened by the time he was roughly 25. It's no wonder the man is kind of bitter.
  • Pretty much everything that happens to the Princess—the protagonist of the Neverwinter Nights fanmade module A Dance with Rogues. Even the very beginning of the game has her whole family and everyone she's ever known killed by an invading army, her rescuer rapes her and leaves her no choice but to hide with a criminal guild. Then the criminal guild teaches her how to be a rogue, but will force her out of her hometown if she doesn't want to join them, or kill her if she betrays them. Then there's all the other things that regularly happen throughout the whole game—just when the Princess thinks she's found a new home with the Family criminal guild, most of them are killed or taken away; she's regularly lusted after by men and some even try to molest or outright rape her; some of her companions may turn on her or get killed; she's made a slave and has to escape, and so on, and so forth. Really, pretty much the entire game cements her as a Woobie due to all the trauma and humiliation she lives through and has to struggle with to repair her broken life. Fortunately, at least some of the endings make things work out for her...but it requires some hard work and good decision making.
  • Dragon Quest V has an extreme Result A case of a protagonist with a very tragic life who restlessly pushes on until he finally earns his happy ending. When he was a child, he witnesses his father's death by the bad guys and is made a slave for many years. After being freed, he Walk the Earth with a sole purpose in life: to find his long lost mother. Soon he gets married to a beautiful woman, but then his wife gets kidnapped. The bad guys petrify both him and his woman into statues, which then are sold and separated in an auction. The Hero is stuck as a statue for years until his children free him. After rescuing his wife and continue travelling, he finally reunions with his mother he has been looking for his whole life, but then the mother is killed off right in front of him. Despite everything, the angst is kept at an absolute minimum. It helps that The Hero is a Heroic Mime who won't complain with anything that happens and his comrades won't say anything either if they aren't asked.
  • Live A Live has this happen to Oersted, a Knight in Shining Armor who is sent out to Save the Princess with his intrepid party. First one of his teammates gets killed by a monster, then his best friend gets flattened by falling rocks, then when he comes home (without the princess), a vision tricks him into committing regicide and gets him labeled the Demon King and thrown into a dungeon, then his last friend sacrifices himself so he can escape, then he drags himself back to the mountain in a last-ditch effort to save the princess (and himself), then he finds out his best friend faked his own death and set the whole thing up to ruin his life because of jealousy, then when he kills him, the princess shows up, declares her love for the best friend who just betrayed him, and promptly commits suicide. Oersted reacts the same way most normal, rational people would—he goes completely batshit crazy, proclaims himself to be the next Demon King, and declares war on all of humanity.

    Visual Novels 
  • Houjou Satoko, of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, is pretty much the ultimate Woobie. Not only did she lose both of her parents by accidentally pushing them off a cliff in a fit of Hinamizawa Syndrome-induced madness, have her brother Satoshi vanish without warning, and become hated by almost the entire town for supposedly being "cursed," but depending on the scenario, also goes through several other traumatic events:
    • In Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen, she is tortured to death by Sonozaki Shion, who is now under the Hate Plague effects as well, after finding out that Shion has also killed both leaders of the village, Satoko's best friend Rika, and is going to torture Satoko's other friends to death (including Shion's twin sister Mion).
    • In Tatarigoroshi-hen, she is brutally abused by her uncle Teppei, and is too scared of the very-real threat of him killing her to call child services. She also sees her best friend Rika's bloody, mutilated corpse being eaten by crows and finally cracks, pushing Keiichi off a bridge.
    • In Minagoroshi-hen, she is again abused by her uncle, but is also shot in the face by the Big Bad after nearly overcoming all the hardships in her life. The same Big Bad makes sure she watches the murder all her friends in quick succession, with the knowledge that Rika will be tortured to death afterwards.
    • In Yoigoshi-hen, the Alternate Universe plotline, she is killed along with the rest of her classmates when Rena goes insane and blows up the school.
    • In Yakusamashi-hen and Tsumihoroboshi-hen, she is killed along with the rest of the town when the Big Bad sets off the gas and murders the entire village.
      • Actually, in Yakusamashi-hen, Satoko suspects for the whole arc that there is something wrong with Rika, and eventually she sees her being taken away and sees her gutted corpse again. Then she is chased away, and eventually falls from the same bridge she pushed Keiichi from, ending up catatonic. Then she is assassinated in hospital before Ooishi can help her. Oh, and the reason why she was catatonic? She saw all of her friends' corpses (except Rena's) after the gas killed them all.
    • It is revealed in Satoko's backstory that she was also beaten an inch from death by Shion disguised as Mion, with Rena, Rika and Satoshi barely managing to save her. Since this happened before the main plot and thus Shion was having a NOT Hate Plague induced Yandere fit, it means this applies to every arc. In Saikoroshi-hen, another Alternate Universe, the one who beats her is Rika, who as mentioned above is her best friend in the normal universe.
    • It is no surprise that most of the Tear Jerker moments in the series come from Satoko.
    • In all versions of Natsumi's story, Natsumi gets dealt a really rough hand. She finds out that her hometown was exterminated in a giant gas disaster, her grandmother starts going crazy and drowning puppies in the bathtub (no, literally), people start suspecting everyone from her hometown is secretly an Ax-Crazy murderer (potentially including her if anyone finds out she's from there), her new boyfriend sees some of her grandmother's crazy antics, her grandmother is killed by her mother (who then forces Natsumi to take part and help her hide the remains), and her mother then kills her father and attempts to kill her and Akira. Granted, Natsumi is actually the guilty party for some of the last items on this list. The visual novel, however, evidently decided that she didn't go through enough in the previous manga version and throws in her finding out that all of her classmates are going to one college, but due to her middling grades, she will go to another, as well as her making friends with a fellow Hinamizawan at a retirement center, only for him to go on a murderous rampage throughout the nursing home after the gas disaster. You know, because she just wasn't quite traumatized enough in the previous version.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni:
    • Battler gets all of the garbage that both the real world and the meta-world can possibly heap on him. From the real world, we have entire family murdered (with his father and stepmom, depending on the arc, having faces torn off, or intestines stuffed with candy), watching younger cousin turn from a cute little girl into a Cute and Psycho Creepy Child overnight, shot by his own aunt in one arc, figuring out that three people banished under suspicion of being the murderer were sent to their own deaths by having THEIR faces torn off, and that's just the beginning. The meta-world does everything to him from melting his cousins into unrecognizable piles of flesh to feeding him alive to goat-headed butlers. And then he finds out his late mother wasn't his real mom, putting him in such a bad Heroic BSOD that his brain shuts down and he physically vanishes for awhile. Only to be brought back by his sister! Yay! ...Who he finds out is his sister only as the universe is turning her into a delicious hamburger. Then EP6 he is one of the first six victims of the FIRST TWILIGHT. Sure he survived but how LONG was he STUCK in that room is horrifying. And the crazy part about it? HE PLANNED IT!
    • Natsuhi seems to have a day from hell in the 5th game.
    • And then when get a whole line for Beatrice/Shannon/Kanon/Yasu whose trauma conga line is the whole reason for the events on Rokkenjima.
  • The Terra route of Rewrite has Kotarou. After joining Guardian, he goes into the battlefield and becomes one of the few surviving members of his group. Later, he tries helping Kagari in saving the world because he is sick of how Guardian works. This forces him to betray and kill his own comrades along with his mentor to protect her. He tries to prevent the ritual in Gaia's headquarters, but people still die in the process. Finally, after all his efforts, he is the one who personally delivers the fatal blow to his love Kagari because it is the only option left. It is no wonder that he mentally breaks down and asks if he is cursed.
  • The Bad Boys Love route of Hatoful Boyfriend is one giant Trauma Conga Line for all characters in general, but its main victim is Ryouta. Ryouta, the sweet and adorable childhood friend of the female protagonist, who finds her severed head in a box, is constantly harrassed by a terrifying scarecrow mecha as he tries to find out who killed her, only to learn that he is the one who unintentionally killed her after being infected with a human-killing virus by the resident evil doctor who plans to use him as a weapon to exterminate the entire human race, all due to a well-intentioned wish that Ryouta made when he was a fledgling that the doctor proceeded to twist and warp beyond recognition. Oh, and that scarecrow mecha that Ryouta managed to kill with a stungun? Its head contained the brain of his supposedly dead childhood friend, which is now effectively damaged beyond medical repair thanks to being fried with Ryouta's stungun. Is it any wonder why he comes this close to crossing the Despair Event Horizon after all of this?
  • In Muv-Luv Alternative, Takeru is on one for the entire course of the game. But between all the suffering he goes through thanks to the game gleefully deploying Kill 'em All, the most notable part is from the XM3 Trials until he meets the 00-unit. He loses it fighting BETA thanks to his deaths in his previous loops giving him PTSD, and after getting his ass kicked, his mentor, Marimo gives him a pep-talk, only to have her head CHOMP'd off by a Soldier-class. He promptly loses it even worse, and attempts to rape Meiya. Afterward, he attempts to flee back to his peaceful former world, which he does—he meets Marimo, who's notably Alive, and all of his friends, including Sumika...only for Marimo to die again—by having her head shoved into a meat grinder. But it doesn't stop there. Takeru comes to the realization that HE'S responsible for her dying in his world—as he brought the information for her death with him when he fled. Done? Nope. Next he finds that his friends and loved ones are forgetting him, because their memories are being sucked into the world of Alternative. Realizing he'll have to spend his life alone forever, he attempts suicide by sleeping unprotected in the snow—doesn't work because Sumika warms him up. Resolved that Sumika won't forget him, he goes to school for one last day—only for Sumika to have completely forgotten him in the morning. Then she's crushed by a falling basketball hoop, which, once again, is his fault for bringing the information from the world of Alternative. When this occurs, he is seriously Driven to Suicide, only to be stopped by Yuuko, and later returned to the world of Alternative.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Archer. Having once been an idealistic crusader with a credo to save everyone, Archer lost everything in the process of trying to save the people around him, while gaining nothing but scorn from his fellow humans and losing his friends, his lover and everything. In the end, after having sold his existence to Earth for a miracle that would save a few dozen people, he lost his life by being betrayed by someone he saved and ended up a Counter Guardian — one of Earth's "garbagemen", used to ruthlessly exterminate anyone who would threaten the safety of mankind by whatever means possible and no matter the collateral damage. By the time the game rolls around, Archer has become a broken, bitter person, consigned to his fate as one who saves people only at the cost of killing others.
    • Basically Sakura Matou has been a broken girl after her father gave her to the Matou family. She has only known cruelty from the Matou's like Shinji raping her or Zouken implanting worms to her body. She resented the Matou's, her father and her sister Rin but still she managed to keep her sanity. That is, until Heaven's Feel when Sakura finally snaps and becomes a Type B as Dark Sakura.
  • Phoenix is a type F in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. After being tricked into using fake evidence and framed for it, thus losing his badge and his reputation, also getting his disappeared client's little girl dumped in his arms but having no idea how to take care of her and not having a source of income anymore, plus, of course, all the stuff that happened in the previous games, like losing his mentor...he just Took a Level in Badass and became a bit bitter and cynical, but he never seems to have broken down at all.
  • Super Dangan Ronpa 2: Nagito Komaeda. And how. While he throws some shade on whether he's making it all up or not, game hints and additional materials indicate he's fully telling the truth about the hellish cycle of bad luck and good luck that's been his life. His family decides to go on vacation, only for the plane to be hijacked. Then a meteor kills the hijackers, saving most of the passengers, but also crushes his parents in front of him, which leaves him alone with a huge inheritance. Then he gets kidnapped by a serial killer, and is found hiding in the trash...which includes a winning lottery ticket. THEN he's diagnosed with malignant lymphoma and concurrent frontotemporal dementia, just before winning the lottery to be accepted into Hope's Peak Academy, where he becomes a patient of their SHSL Neurologist. And this is all before he ever even crosses paths with Junko Enoshima. Little wonder he's burnt out on life in general and a Stepford Smiler at best.

  • Oh God, Scootaloo in Motherly Scootaloo. The story starts off with her pregnant. Then we find out that her mom died several years back, and she ended up being taken care of by a friend of her mother who promised her Scootaloo would go to a good home, causing her to act because of an unconscious hope that that would cause her to return. We also find out that the father of her child left her when he found out (not to mention that there was a lot of teasing, mainly by Diamond Tiara) and Sandy (the previously mentioned foster mom), put her unborn child up for adoption, despite Scootaloo wanting to keep the foal. Then Scootaloo has an argument with Apple Bloom, and smashes her head into a mirror (luckily, Rainbow Dash agreed to watch her along with Fluttershy, giving her and Apple Bloom a chance to make up). Then, during "The Birthing", she gets a MAJOR Kick the Dog from Jet Set and Upper Crust, who Sandy had been thinking of as adoptive parents for Scootaloo's newborn son, Lightning Blitz, causing her to take Lightning from the hospital just so she can be with him, which causes her C-section wounds to rupture, nearly killing her (and according to Word of God, she would have if rescue hadn't come when it did). Thankfully, when the Jerk Ass couple says to Sandy that Scootaloo would be better off dead, she has a My God, What Have I Done? moment (after giving the couple a Shut Up, Hannibal! speech) about this, which leads to Lightning being taken into a sort-of foster home by a friend (since they don't have the money to take of him at the moment) and Scootaloo gets clearance to visit him relatively quickly (following a subversion of There Are No Therapists), and Sandy officially adopts Scootaloo, and their relationship has seriously improved, causing the story to take a turn for the better.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures : What HASN'T freaking happened to Abel in his life? His best friend from childhood killed herself, he watched several people die in a single day, including an old enemy that he was reconciling with and ended up listening to his dying thoughts, his father turned out to be a succubus who killed his mother's husband years ago and proceeded to terrorize and shame May, murder his other childhood friend, and kidnap Abel away to SAIA. And that's just part one!
  • Homestuck: Poor, poor Tavros.
    • It seems every almost every update from 1/24/11 onward is dedicated to crushing Karkat: He's watched his friends get murdered (by each other), his plans fail horrifically, and his romantic inhibitions get crushed.
    • Let's just say everyone who isn't a permanant resident of the dreambubbles, Jack Noir, or LORD ENGLISH is having one really bad day/week/million-billion years.
      • And now the dreambubble residents have had their day spoilt too, and Jack Noir is currently being chased by a vengeance-fueled postwoman who is really, really pissed off.
    • That's not to mention WV. He gets his innocent farm burned down dozens of times, begins a rebellion and watches helplessly as Jack Noir slaughters every single one of his soldiers. Then, after he parts ways with John, Jack blows up a ship he happens to be riding in, sending him to a post-apocalyptic Earth, that's merely a gigantic desolate desert. He's not done yet. As things FINALLY begin to look up for him when he meets the other exiles, he watches at John gets killed in front of his eyes, gets trapped in a capsule, dreams that he's become Noir - his worst nightmare - only to wake up and realize the embodiment is in front of him. Jack then proceeds to rip a chunk of uranium out of his stomach, nearly killing him. It's yet to be seen whether the conga line will continue.
  • Great: "Lousy" doesn't even begin to describe the main character's introduction. It appears that he gets better.
  • Vaarsuvius from The Order of the Stick since the end of the Azure City arc. First, he/shenote  feels guilty that the battle is lost and the party is split, trying desperately to contact them, failing every time. He is haunted by bad dreams because of his failure to save Azure City. Then he gets his family threatened, which results in a Deal with the Devil, and him going over the top when saving them, casting Familicide on the dragon, which again results in his mate filing a divorce. Type A, so far. But when he sees the result of the Familicide he had cast earlier, it turns into a Type C (spoiler warning!). And let's not forget that as a result of the Deal with the Devil, the fiends will take over his soul for a time.
  • Girl Genius: Airman Third Class Axel Higgs, full stop. Higgs is basically Type F:
    Dr. Sun: When they found your father he was severely injured. They set out for the hospital immediately, even though the fight was still raging. They were hit by some kind of cannon. The alarms woke Airman Third Class Axel Higgs. He reported for emergency duty, he found the main cabin in flames—and the crew dead.
    Dr. Sun: Then he saw the monsters. Some kind of biological weapon, I'm betting. Higgs could see that there was no help to be had from the rest of the fleet— [in flames, through the window] —and the monsters were between him and the evacuation gig. Things were actually going fairly well, until he found your father.
    Dr. Sun: While he was dragging him to the gig, he encountered Captain Dupree, who was delirious. She broke his arm. He knocked her out, but broke her jaw in the process. He got them both into the gig and shoved off just as the ship went down. He's not rated as a pilot or navigator, but he set the ship controls toward Mechanicsburg and rigged a crude automatic pilot. He then began to apply first aid to your father—which is when he was again attacked by Captain Dupree.
    Dr. Sun: This time, she broke his leg. But he finally managed to subdue her. He tried to find some way to restrain her, which is when she bit him. That's infected, by the way. She also got in a good, solid kick at the gig's controls. He did his best to fix the damage, and then tried to set his own arm—and apparently, blacked out from the pain. Only to awaken as the gig was crashing into a farmer's pond. He dragged your father and Dupree ashore, where he encountered a nesting goose—which broke his other arm.
    Dr. Sun: The farmhouse was some distance away, but, as fortune would have it, there were troops there. They had been hearing strange reports coming from Sturmhalten, so they were already jumpy when they saw Higgs coming. They thought he was a revenant, and shot him in the leg. Afterwards, they were very sorry. They saw to your father and Dupree, called for emergency transport, and gave Higgs some rum. Lots of rum. Before he passed out, he told them everything.
    • Those are merely physical injuries, not emotional trauma. And there's no indication from Higgs that he found it at all traumatic. There are, however, an increasing number of hints in the comic that Bosun Higgs is in fact a Jägermonster. (Given the great variety of forms the transformed soldiers have taken on becoming Jägermonsters, why shouldn't there be one that didn't change outwardly and still looks human? After all, we've already seen that the claim that no female Jägermonster exists turned out to be false.) Higgs is treated with respect by all Jägers we've met so far, he talks about events in the past as if he'd been there and in general shows a surprising knowledge of Heterodyne history and Van Rijn's Mechanical Muses for a mere Boatswain. The artificial intelligence of Castle Heterodyne recognized him. And he has demonstrated greater speed, endurance and strength than normal humans on several occasionsnote .
  • Commander Badass (a.k.a. D39-9E-B52), a time traveling Navy SEAL single dad from the nonspecific space future and central character of Manly Men Doing Manly Things, suffered a weeping emotional breakdown when, during his days as a Space Marine, he was told that his entire family of in-vitro Space Marine brothers and sisters had been killed...quite to the disappointment of his idiot general who had invented the whole story out of the mistaken hope this would turn the Commander into a Rambo-style one-man army and send him on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Instead it only showed the man's complete misunderstanding of the human psyche, probably fueled by too many action movie clichés. When the Commander found out he'd been lied to...he sued his boss and won. (Just as cloned Space Marines had previously fought for the right to not have army surgeons graft laser cannons into their soldiers' chests whenever the army felt like it, and instead be treated like people.

    Web Original 
  • Shandala of Broken Saints fame, whose biography reads like something off of the From Bad to Worse page. Washed ashore on a Fijian island and adopted by the tribe, her childhood was peaceful and idyllic until her adoptive mother was viciously murdered and mutilated by white strangers under the command of (and possibly personally led by) the Big Bad. Then, as an adult, she reluctantly leaves her home and family and all that she loves to find the truth about her biological parents. Then, her adoptive brother Tui is accidentally killed due to an big scary empathic rage thing on her part. Then, she is washed off the ship in a giant storm and found and brought to the lair of the Shadow Men to be tortured and sealed away in the back of a sleazy strip club. Then, after being rescued, she ends up falling back to her Superpowered Evil Side briefly, deciding to go back home, and ends up confronted by The Dragon, who murders and mutilates her Empathy Pet Bula the same way her adoptive mother was, and then kidnaps her. Then, in the Grand Finale, she is turned into an instrument of mass suffering via her empathic powers by her Big Bad father, only saved by her friends in time for her to commit a Heroic Sacrifice and save the world. And yet throughout it all, she retains her purity of heart.
  • Ayla Goodkind (Phase) of the Whateley Universe. In a massive Break the Haughty event, Phase goes from an incredibly wealthy heir to the biggest fortune on the planet to a despised mutant intersexed freak who is turned over to a Mad Scientist by his own parents and on getting out ends up living in a basement. On going to Whateley Academy he is hated for being from the best-known mutant-hating family around. those don't even touch on highlights like getting trapped in a sewer and attacked by zombies. Or nearly being eaten by an unkillable demon. Or...
  • Part of what makes The Nostalgia Critic so fun to watch is this mixed in with Misery Builds Character. The guy's life is shit, and it's sadistic fun to see how he'll react to the next horrible thing happening to him.

    Western Animation 
  • Frank Grimes from The Simpsons.
  • Butters Stotch from South Park seems to be perpetually going through one.
    • In later seasons, this has been increasingly the case with Kyle. Namely "Human Centi Pad" and "Ginger Cow".
  • Robot Chicken: The Worst Halloween
  • Peanuts: Depending on the episode, Charlie-you-poor-sucker-Brown.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Zuko, and how! First, his mother leaves him (to save him no less), then he gets challenged to an Agni Kai as a thirteen-year-old, by his own father who brutally scars and then banishes him, then he gets sent on a Snipe Hunt after the Avatar. During said quest how much happens to our poor banished prince? (Read: Too much to list here.) And then when he finally gives up that quest he has to fight his little sister in the show’s only real deathmatch and take a lightning bolt in the chest to save a friend's life. He lives through it, but barely. The next day he has to start ruling his country, which he is effectively going to have to force through a Heel-Face Turn, after they’ve been at war with everyone else for a century. He was even destined to take on all that trauma from birth, being a direct descendant of both the Fire Lord who started the war and the Avatar who opposed him. His destiny was basically to take on all the horrible influences from his father and co. and all the positive influences from his uncle and the Avatar, and come out of it with the understanding necessary to make the right decisions and have the right credentials to be the Fire Lord the world needed to rule the Fire Nation in the wake of the Avatar’s defeat of Ozai. In a way all this trauma molds him into a much more complex character than the Avatar and allows him to fill a role that Aang could not, which ends up being almost as important or maybe even as important as Aang's own role in the story. It also makes him the thoroughly-adored Woobie of the series.
  • The Legend of Korra: The titular character herself. First, she faught against the leader and Big Bad of the Equalists and got her bending taken away, resulting in a Result A. Then, she fought her Evil Uncle who nearly destroyed the world, resulting in a Result G. Then, she fought an evil anarchist, which probably took her closest to the Despair Event Horizon and was one of the saddest scenes to have yet been animated in Western Media. Then she went against an evil dictator and was repeatedly convinced that she was no longer needed in the world. In short, Korra has arguably been through more than Zuko.
  • Beast Wars: Poor Waspinator! Almost every episode, he is blown to bits, killed, or badly injured, just to come back the next one.
  • Metalocalypse: While pretty much every band member has their share of trauma, special recognition must go to rhythm guitarist Toki Wartooth. He spent most of his childhood in Lillehammer being forced into manual labor and punished with physical abuse by his deeply religious father, to the point where Toki goes catatonic upon seeing him. Even within Dethklok he is one of the bigger Butt Monkeys of the band, constantly being the victim of horrible things and being forced into the background by lead guitarist Skwisgaar. Everyone that he loves is cursed to die in a horrible way, including his cancer-stricken father with whom Toki had just reconciled...moments before dropping him down an icy mountain and falling into a frozen river where he drowned before Toki's eyes. And in the fourth season, Toki meets the guitarist he replaced, Magnus Hammersmith, who at first seems intimidating and like he may be planning a scheme. Instead he saves Toki's life from a bully's exploits that nearly killed him, and they end up becoming friends, only for Magnus to reveal himself as a member of the Revengencers and take Toki hostage as part of the group's attack at the end of the season. But not before stabbing him in the stomach. The only consolation at this point is that he's probably not dead.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
    • An alternate Peter Parker lost both Uncle Ben and Aunt May at an early stage. He then presumably went through much of the same crap that our Peter did. Including losing Mary Jane went she wound up in another dimension, getting her back and marrying her, only to learn that she was clone who then died. Then he learned that he had a clone named named Ben Reilly, and later learned that he might actually be the clone. He wound being tragically broken and crazy, and was then bonded with the Carnage symbiote and swears to destroy all of reality.
    • For that matter Ben Reilly himself, who went through the same shit (except for being bonded with Carnage.) Even he isn't sure which one of them is the clone. However not only is he still a hero, he's actually still a nice guy in spite of all it. Making him a textbook example of the Iron Woobie.

    Real Life 
  • The surviving crew of the USS Indanapolis (CA-35). You'd think things would be bad enough, with only 317 of the ship's nearly 1,200 crew surviving getting sunk by a Japanese submarine, then spending four days in shark-infested seas. Things got worse for the survivors when they found out that, at the very least, most of those who made it off the ship alive could've been saved. First, they were sent out of Guam without destroyer escort (which was standard procedure for the area). Then the ship's officers weren't informed that there were Japanese subs in the area (which had already claimed at least one Allied ship). Then when the ship sank, its distress call was dismissed by Allied command as a Japanese trap. Then when the Indianapolis failed to join the rest of the fleet in the Philippines, the ship was marked as "late" instead of "missing", so no search party was sent out. The survivors were found by a scout plane that happened to spot the oil slick from the Indianapolis' wreckage.

    And just to polish things off, when people started demanding to know why the ship went missing for so long without being looked for, the Navy made a scapegoat of the ship's C.O., Capt. Charles McVay; court-martialing and convicting him of putting his ship "in harm's way" via his failure to maintain a "zig-zag" sail pattern. They even went so far as to call the Japanese sub commander that sank him as a witness (Who pretty much called the "zig-zag" pattern useless). McVay was the only ship's captain in the U.S. Fleet to lose a ship and be court-martialed for it. (He committed suicide in 1968).
  • Jackson C. Frank's story. A major Tear Jerker indeed.
  • Speaking of natural disasters, New Orleans. First the levees break during Hurricane Katrina killing over a thousand people and leaving countless others homeless and suffering from physical and mental ailments, then the government's response is worse than that of the Boxing Day Tsunami and the Haiti earthquake, then speculators use the destruction to get rid of homes and schools for the displaced poor black community, then they win the Super Bowl, and then the BP oil disaster kills 11 people and craters the fishing industry, then after that Hope Spot occurred, the team that won the Super Bowl was vilified for a bounty scandal.
    Various survivors: We're just a rich Haiti. Who did we kill 300 years ago to deserve this? We sold our souls for the Super Bowl!!
  • One of the survivors of the Deepwater Horizon oil drill disaster made an escape that sounds almost fictional: The initial explosion sent a three-inch thick metal fire door slamming into him, and as soon as he was able to free himself another explosion sent another door straight into him, pinning him to the wall again. By that point he was starting to get angry. After watching all their fire drills go to waste by everyone panicking, he plunged two or three stories into the ocean which allowed him time to think about the fact that he had jumped from a place that wasn't on fire into the ocean, which was. When he got over being stunned by hitting the water, hard, he realized he wasn't dead because he felt a burning sensation all over his body; fortunately he wasn't on fire.
  • Wilmer McLean was the owner of the farm that the Civil War battle know as The First Battle of Bull Run took place on. After the Confederates commandeered his house for a headquarters his kitchen was destroyed by a Union cannon ball. After the battle Wilmer decided to move to protect his family and because the proximity of the Union Army was making business difficult for him. He moved near the Appatomattox court house. Robert E. Lee officially surrendered to union general Ulysses S. Grant in Wilmer's parlor. After the signing of the surrender, members of the Army looted all his furniture for souvenirs.
  • On August 6th, 1945, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was staying in Hiroshima for a business trip. The first bomb fell no more than 3 km away from where he stood, but the next day he returned to his home in Nagasaki for medical treatment. According to his account, he was describing the devastation at Hiroshima to a disbelieving doctor...and then the second bomb fell and destroyed Nagasaki. He lived until 2010 at age 93.
  • In 2008, a sixteen-year-old cheerleader from Silsbee High in Texas was sexually assaulted by a football star at the school. While the attacker was initially charged, he admitted to misdemeanor assault and served no jail time, instead ending up with a fine, community service and mandatory anger management classes. Silsbee did not suspend or expel him, even continued to allow him to play on the team, whilst telling the girl that she should keep a low profile and avoid attending school-related social events. After being advised by her counselors not to give up on activities she loved, she continued to cheer. At a game in 2009, she remained silent during his free throw, understandably refusing to gleefully chant "put it in!" at her attacker...which got her kicked off the squad. She and her family sued the school for violating her free speech rights, a case which was denied earlier this year on the grounds of being a frivolous lawsuit. Her family is now being ordered to pay $45,000 in legal fees.
  • You live in San Bernardino during the late '80s. A runaway train crashes into your neighbourhood at 100 mph and ravages every home except yours, killing several people. The rubble is cleaned up and life goes on. Two weeks later you get blown up by a fuel line that was damaged during the cleanup.
  • Kelsey Grammer's life has been ridiculously tragic. His father was shot dead in 1968. His sister was abducted, raped, and murdered in 1975. His younger twin half-brothers were killed in a freak accident in 1980. And his friend and Frasier producer David Angell was on American Airlines Flight 11 when it crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11.
  • A British couple named Jason and Jenny Cairns-Lawrence went vacationing in New York City during September 11th, 2001, when the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history occurred. In London, they experienced another terrorist attack on July 7, 2005, at the London Underground subway system. And during their vacation three years later on November 26 in Mumbai, India, guess what happened? Yep, yet another terrorist attack! However, just like Clark Griswold, Jason and Jenny were determined to enjoy their trip regardless.
  • Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning 7 times and killed himself at 71 over an unrequited love.