Why Did You Make Me Hit You?
"Sorry, baby! Why you make me do that?"
Some people just don't play fair.
Picture a scene such a mother arguing with her teenaged daughter. The cause might be trivial; maybe the kid was slightly late coming home. Usually, the mother wins these arguments, if only by virtue of You Are Grounded
. But her daughter's not backing down this time and she may actually have the upper hand in the argument (i.e., she was late because she needed to stop for gas). The argument escalates until the mother realizes that she can't win this one, or the daughter makes a comment that hits a little too close to home.
Quick as a flash, the mother's hand slams across her daughter's cheek. There's a pause while the girl registers that she's been hurt.
And that's when mother plays her trump card. Before her daughter can get over the shock... her mother bursts into tears. Normally, the person who now sports a bright red hand print across her face will begin apologizing profusely or start crying as well, usually hugging the one that just hit her. Somehow, the victim
is now convinced that she
was to blame... and the slapper "wins" the argument by default.
The victim of Why Did You Make Me Hit You?
can be anyone, but the two most common characters who are subject to being the victim are close relative or friend, usually a child or surrogate child, or a romantic partner/spouse. Thanks to the Double Standard
, if a man
should employ this trope, it's a given that not only is domestic violence on the horizon, it's mixed in with Manipulative Bastard
traits too. For example, the violent husband who knows how to play on his wife's soft-heartedness. These characters are almost invariably written as pure evil
. In the case of a woman slapping her boyfriend, the chances are that the trope will be recognized as an emotionally manipulative ploy, but it's much less likely to be a sign of a Domestic Abuse
plot; if it's a daughter or friend being slapped, the attacker will probably get away with it, they will reconcile and everything will have been forgotten two scenes later; however, as the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse are becoming more publicized (and stories of emotionally abusive women are featured more often in Real Life
news stories) this portrayal is beginning to change.
Occasionally this is a one-off event that isn't indicative of an abusive relationship, just an argument gone bad, or just Played for Laughs
, especially if the person hit isn't very hurt or recovers immediately. The character who does the hitting won't have done it before, and probably won't do it again. In the case of children, particularly if the child has worried the parents and is now acting like a mouthy brat, it will be seen as a natural reaction toward the scare, a result of combined worry, anger, and relief. Sometimes, too, a manipulative child will deliberately goad an otherwise reasonable parent into striking him, knowing that he will be able to milk the parent's guilt to his advantage for weeks afterwards.
It's also pretty much a given in any show between the Stalker with a Crush
and the object of their very twisted "affection".
Compare Sorry I Fell on Your Fist
(from the victim's side) or Armor-Piercing Slap
(for cases when the hitter usually does NOT burst into tears) and Get Ahold Of Yourself Man
(in which the hitter really did have no choice but to hit the hitee, due to the latter being a hysterical mess).
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- It's incredibly common for villains, at varying levels of desperation and hostage-have, to try and invoke this trope when they're threatening to do something really nasty. It usually doesn't work except with the Draco in Leather Pants crowd, but they're trying and that's what counts.
- Psychologist Andra Coudriet wrote in her book "The Psychology of Abusive Relationships" that "Look what you made me do to you" is a frequent justifying statement used by abusers against their victims.
Anime and Manga
- This is often how Domestic Abuser Ryoki acts in regards to his
slave girlfriend Hatsumi in Hot Gimmick.
- Zero no Tsukaima: In regards to Louise's and Saito's relationship Louise tends to do this to Saito a lot.
- Peach Girl: Sae tries to make people think that Momo is doing this to her and succeeds for a while, when it's really the other way around.
- Black Cat: Creed, Train's Stalker with a Crush, smashes Train into a wall and tells him the following:
"This is all your fault, Train! It's your fault for making me mad! Time and time again, I come to get your cooperation so it wouldn't come to this. But despite that... all those attempts were futile. All of them!"
- In Elfen Lied Mayu's stepfather sexually abuses her whenever Mayu's mother is not home. When Mayu tries to tell her mother what's been happening to her, she immediately gets a slap across the face. Her mother yells at her "It's you who isn't wanted! As long as you're here that person...", which implies that her mother hit Mayu because she is jealous of her, and that she is trying to convince Mayu that she is the one who is in the wrong.
- Fruits Basket has a particularly vicious example in the form of Akito, who attacks Hatori with what looks like a vase, blinding him in one eye, and immediately starts asking the maimed doctor "Hatori, what's wrong?" before accusing Kana, Hatori's innocent would-be fiancee, of being responsible for Hatori's pain. Kana ends up agreeing, and the whole situation goes downhill from there. This is only the most dramatic example — there are other instances where various Zodiac members are hurt by Akito and reprimanded for "forcing" it to happen. She has an excuse for her behavior, but it's pretty vile all the same.
- Outlaw Star: Harry hits Melfina quite a few times, angry at her for refusing to leave with him when he "came all this way just to pick you up."
Harry: "I didn't mean to do that, Melfina! I'm sorry, I promise I'm not going to hurt you!" *backhands her to the floor roughly 40 seconds later* "Why won't you let me understand?!"
- In Paprika, the eponymous character's Stalker with a Crush slaps her across the face when she says something that offends him.
Osanai: "Didn't I tell you, not to say anything that would make me get rough with you?"
- Peacemaker Kurogane: In episode 19, Susumu wraps his hands around Tetsunosuke's throat and makes an attempt to strangle him while saying, "Did you come to piss me off again? Do you think I like being pissed off? I wouldn't be feeling this way if you weren't here!" All this coupled with the fact that Tetsunosuke is crying and staring at him sadly, makes for a very Foe Yay/ Ho Yay-tastic scene between the two.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, Bulgaria uses this as his reason to beat up and bully North Italy despite being allies.
Bulgaria: I... I just got the sudden urge to hit him when I looked at his face.
- In the manga version of Fushigi Yuugi, Mrs. Yuuki reads Miaka's diary and therefore learns of her crush on Tamahome. Miaka feels hurt and upset that, aside from her mother reading her diary, she is being forbidden from even thinking about him when Mrs. Yuuki is dating someone after having a divorce two years ago... and SLAP!
- Psyren: Kyotada Inui reacts like this whenever he beats up his brother, Saburou.
- Hayate the Combat Butler played with this in the 'End of the World Arc'. Hayate wants Athena to join his family outside the RG and she can't bring herself to ask him to risk himself to allow her to, they fight (lethally), and then Hayate unknowingly triggers her Berserk Button of her not having parents, to which she then 'slaps' him by ordering him to leave (so she doesn't kill him?), before she's able to break down, he does so, thinking he's failed her. Afterward she breaks down crying for having to resort to ordering him away to protect him. He does try to return to apologise, but finds he's unable to.
- In Bitter Virgin when Hinako is discovered to have miscarriage, her mother demands to know the name of the man she has been sleeping with. Hinako immediately replies it is her stepfather (as he has been repeatedly raping her), to which the mother slaps her across the face as she believes Hinako is lying to protect the real man. It isn't until Hinako is pregnant again and the doctor suggests from the bruises all over Hinako that she isn't a willing participant, does her mother believe her.
- Shaman King: Jeanne takes it Up to Eleven. If you don't accept her Last-Second Chance, she WILL kill you, then weep Tender Tears for your sad fate.
- In Escaflowne, Dilandau torches half of Palas, and Van calls him out for it. Dilandau replies, "It's your fault. The city is burning because of you. My cheek is burning because of you! So now you must die!" Then again, it's Dilandau.
- Some readers interpreted Iron Man's attitude towards the anti-registration side in Civil War as this. In this case, it's more "Why did you make me lock you in an extradimensional hell prison without trial?"
- After he had Jen dosed with a serum which stopped her from being able to turn into She-Hulk, because she found out that he shot her cousin into space.
- And again in the third volume of New Avengers. He wonders why Steve always has to be like this before the Illuminati wipe Steve's memory. Steve's crime? Being unwilling to repeatedly destroy planets, and quite possibly living beings on them, to save their own.
- Superboy-Prime uses this trope in Infinite Crisis in the most horrifying way imaginable.
- Given that Deadpool is a professional assassin who has killed hundreds, it's interesting that no one is really outraged up until #13 of his solo series where he beats his best friend unconscious and throws his hostage/mother figure Blind Al into a room full of sharp objects, asking her "Why did you have to make me do this? why?"
- Supergirl was given a beat down by her boyfriend Powerboy out of nowhere, who kept ordering her to calm down, and begging her to let him help her. It was clear that the bastard was nuts. Or was he?
Films — Animation
- In Tangled, when Mother Gothel stabs Flynn mortally in front of Rapunzel, being fully aware that they love each other, she then —taking even less blame than normal — says to Rapunzel "Now look what you've done."
- In The LEGO Movie, Lord Business' use of projection in his punishment of GCBC enables him to lay all fault on his lieutenant for not doing his job, considering how even the slightest imperfection can ruin his temper. This trope is used when GCBC is forced to Kragle his own parents, because he is made to effectively take it out on the people he loves for his own failure at his job. It is reinforced because of how much Lord Business refuses failure as an option.
Films — Live-Action
- The title character of Chopper yells "look what you made me do!" after beating his girlfriend.
- The Addams Family: Fester's "mother" slaps him and blames the title characters: "See what they made me do? Hit my own son."
- Empire Records: After a fair amount of provocation from his foster son Lucas, Joe drags him into the office and beats him up, then brings him an icepack and says, "You know you deserved that, right?"
- The Night of the Hunter: "Oh, look, you made me lose my temper." Then again, by this point in the film, the audience already knows that Pearl did not deserve to be slapped, and that Harry is one of the most Ax-Crazy psychopaths in anything ever.
- Caledon Hockley in Titanic does this on occasion to his fiance Rose throughout the movie as he becomes increasingly possessive over her and jealous of her relationship with Jack.
- House of Flying Daggers has a variant, this one from a jilted lover in a Love Triangle: "You made me kill you!"
- Nathan Wallace in Repo! The Genetic Opera does this to Shilo after she sings about how he can't control her — after he slaps her, she sits there stunned for a second, rubbing her face. Horrified, he says he's sorry and the camera blacks out.
- Women Talking Dirty almost plays this for laughs. In the heat of an argument a man slaps his girlfriend in the face and then says, "Oh, look what you made me do." She then slaps him in the face, repeats the same line, and storms off.
- Misery (see the entry in Literature).
- In A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, the husband/boyfriend of a client that Gigolo Joe has been sleeping with murders his lover when he finds out, and sets Joe up for the crime. His reasoning is that "she killed me first".
- In the film version of Dolores Claiborne (not sure about the novel by Stephen King), the protagonist's husband hits her across the kidneys with a piece of firewood, then says "Why did you make me do it?" It doesn't end well.
- In the movie Cruising, the serial killer whispers "You made me do that" after stabbing one of his victims.
- Children's and teenage literature often see quite a bit of this trope.
- Occurs in the first book in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events in which the Baudelaires are forced to cook dinner for their horrible guardian Count Olaf and his entire theater troupe. Once they finish, Count Olaf yells at them for forgetting to cook roast beef, and out of spite he and his troupe don't eat the food that the children worked hard to prepare. He then tells them to clean up the kitchen and go to bed. At this, Klaus yells, "You have only provided us with one bed!" which, in turn, rouses Count Olaf's temper and he says they should buy another bed. Klaus tells him that the only money they have is the Baudelaire fortune, which is not to be used until Violet is of age. In response, Count Olaf grows red with anger and he suddenly strikes Klaus across the face. His theater troupe applauds and laughs at Klaus as they leave with Count Olaf, which firmly implies that they are proud of Count Olaf for hitting Klaus and that Count Olaf felt like Klaus definitely deserved it.
- His actions towards the Baudelaires throughout the course of the rest of the book and the rest of the series plays out in a very similar and cruel fashion. Oddly enough, he never physically strikes any of them again.
- Jacqueline Wilson's Lola Rose: Lola's mother is due to go to the hospital for an operation. The night before, she drinks heavily while her daughter tries to stop her. After being ignored, Lola accidentally-on-purpose drops the bottle of alcohol. Her mother belts her across the face, then they both burst out crying. May well be justified in this case, since the operation is for breast cancer, putting everyone in the family under extreme stress.
- Jacqueline Wilson's The Suitcase Kid: Andy is extremely late coming home from school after she decides that she can't stand her dysfunctional family life. Her mother slaps her when she finally does come home, bursts into tears, and lays an enormous guilt trip on Andy, despite the fact that her mother's emotional manipulation, Parental Favoritism towards her new boyfriend's children and general lack of concern over Andy's best interests go a long way towards explaining why Andy didn't want to come home in the first place.
- In Fault Line, Kip tries to grab Becky during an argument, but he instead ripped out one of her earrings out. His response? "Look what you made me do!"
- Occurs in the movie/book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where Harry is in detention with Umbridge and she makes him write "I must not tell lies" over and over again with an enchanted quill which carves the phrase into the back of Harry's hand as he writes, simultaneously using his own blood as ink. Harry stares at this in disbelief as she asks him with a warning tone, "Yes?". He backs down and says, "Nothing." to which she replies, "That's right, because you know that deep down, you deserve to be punished, don't you, Mr. Potter?" Jeez, not one for subtlety, is she?
- Oddly, she's sort of correct—he knows damn well she doesn't have any right to punish him, especially not for the reasons she cites, and doesn't particularly think this is correct or that just plain suffering is a good idea, but between his abusive childhood and his experiences being expected to be The Hero, he only seems to have positive self-esteem when he's going through something hellish for day-saving reasons— otherwise he's pretty insecure. Which is probably why he doesn't try harder to get some other authority figure to intervene—that and his justified conviction that no one ever comes to save him from abuse.
- In the Stephen King book Misery, Annie Wilkes pulls this on protagonist Paul Sheldon. Just replace "hit" with "chop off foot with axe and cauterize the wound with a blowtorch".
- Generally, this is one of Stephen King's favorite tropes. For example, IT has Beverly's abusive husband, who violently punishes her for smoking next to him. Later on in their relationship, as he prepares to beat her he talks about how he has to give her a "whuppin'" for her (perfectly normal) behaviour, saying "sorry about that, Bev". This has been so ingrained into her that when she finally (and violently) leaves him and talks to her friend about the fight they had, Beverly starts to say how it was her fault only for her friend to immediately call her out on it and demand that she stop blaming herself for her husband's abuse.
- In the S.E. Hinton book The Outsiders After Ponyboy yells "YOU DON'T YELL AT HIM!" at Darry for yelling at Soda, Darry inadvertly slaps Pony against the door. Darry looks at his hand, then looks at Ponyboy. All three brothers are shocked. Darry then says, "Ponyboy!" And as Pony is charging out the door, Darry yells in a desperate attempt to get him back inside the house, "Ponyboy, I didn't mean to—" and the youngest one disappears.
- In The Twilight Saga Emily refuses to return Sam's affection. He eventually loses his temper, becomes a wolf, and claws half her face off. He then feels so bad about what he did that she decides to accept his love. Christ, those books are messed up...
- And let's not go into all the emotional abuse between Edward and Bella. "Do you want to start a war" indeed.
- In A Brother's Price, Keifer caused a lot of damage to his young wife Trini before his oldest wife came in and interrupted. He'd charmed her thoroughly and she loved him, so when he turned up the sweetness on Eldest and said he was sorry and didn't really mean it, she believed him, and cleaned up Trini and half convinced her it was all her fault before their mothers saw her.
- Alec D'Urberville is not above playing this card. Except he plays it as "Why did you make me lust after you?"
- The first book of Codex Alera refers to this with the abusive father Kord. When he gets called out on beating his son by someone else, he says "I get mad. He understands". We never see the son's opinion of this, but since he openly admits that he only obeys his father out of fear, it's unlikely there's been much emotional manipulation. However, in a possible subversion of this trope, Kord doesn't even try to justify his other crimes; unlike most examples of this trope, his treatment of his son is a comparatively minor thing, as he is an out-an-out murderer, rapist and slaver, and though he does put extra effort into tormenting those he feels have wronged him in some way he doesn't have the intelligence to construct any sort of argument justifying himself (even as flimsy a one as this trope), nor does he try to.
Live Action TV
- In All My Children, when Maggie confronts Jonathan after the latter hides the fact that Bianca is in a coma, Jonathan smacks her across the face. He then acts shocked by his actions, making it seem like Maggie had somehow forced him to do it against his will. Subsequent scenes with Maggie reveal her constantly having bruises, but when Bianca confronts her about it she blames herself for "making Jonathan angry".
- Ray pulls this on Daisy in the second season of Dead Like Me.
- Somewhat subverted in Desperate Housewives: in season four, Katherine slaps her daughter Dylan for asking about her father, but is not played for sympathy as Katherine is made out, at least in the first few episodes, to be an unsympathetic character.
- Occurs again near the end of season 4, with Lynnet slapping her adopted daughter Kayla after she makes an indirect threat to her own daughter.
- Does that really count? Threatening someone's children seems like a legitimate reason to retaliate.
- In the season 2 finale of Heroes, Sylar "accidentally" shoots Maya in a struggle and quips, "Now look what you made me do!" half-sarcastically.
- When Peter absorbs Sylar's primordial ability, he beats the latter up and blames it on him.
- Later, Sylar traps HRG, Claire, Angela and Meredith in Primatech and forces them into a Saw-like deadly game. All the while he angsts about how they made him evil.
- Both might actually qualify as subversions. In both cases, it is to a very great extent the "fault" of the victim. In the former, Peter is only beating the crap out of Sylar because of the ability he (Peter) unwittingly took from him (Sylar). In the latter, Primatech DEFINITELY had a hand in making Sylar the bastard he was.
- Happens numerous times in the TV movie No One Would Tell. In one scene, Bobby throws his girlfriend Stacy against a wall when she says something that annoys him and stares at her indifferently saying, "Great. You happy now?"
- Occurs between Beecher and Keller in Oz on a few separate occasions. In one scene Keller knocks Beecher out when he tries to go against his wishes. In another scene Beecher annoys Keller when he continually asks what he did to make him angry with him, and he shoves Beecher so hard he falls and slides a few feet across the floor.
- A bit of context for both incidents: the first was a case of Percussive Prevention, since Keller was about to confess to arranging the murder of the son of Vern Schillinger, when said murder was actually arranged by Beecher. (Since Schillinger previously had his son kidnap both of Beecher's kids and kill one of them, it's difficult to blame him.) Beecher wanted to take responsibility for what he'd done rather than having Keller turn himself into a target to save him, and Keller decided to knock him out before he could confess to the crime himself. Then Keller ran off and took the rap for it. The second case mentioned here happened earlier in the series, before Keller's Heel-Face Turn. (Or perhaps, considering all that Keller would go on to do later, while he was still on the Heel side of the Heel-Face Revolving Door.) At that time, Keller was working for Schillinger and was under orders to gain Beecher's trust, get Beecher to fall in love with him, and then torment him emotionally as part of Schillinger's revenge scheme. Suddenly switching gears—going from acting like he loved Beecher more than anything to acting like he hated Beecher more than anything—was part of the plan.
- Rescue Me: Sheila's lesbian lover pulls this on her in Season 2. After beating the shit out of her in a fit of jealousy, she is seen tenderly dabbing at Sheila's wounds, saying, "I'm sorry I was so rough with you, but sometimes you just make me so angry."
- Parodied in Friends, where a scene from a Soap Opera has a character slap her daughter and tearfully hug her immediately after, giving the daughter no time to react.
- Often happened on Robin Hood between Guy and Marian. Marian would infuriate Guy. Guy would lash out. Marian would get blamed. Eventually, he stabs her to death. Naturally it was the most popular ship on the show.
- Lucifer spent a season of Supernatural tooling around waiting for the big finale, and pulled this a couple of times, because he likes to claim he's the good guy. Most notably, right before he killed Gabriel:
Lucifer: Brother, don't make me do this...
Gabriel: No one makes us do anything.
Lucifer: I know you think you're doing the right thing, Gabriel, but I know where your heart truly lies... [Stab.] Here.
- On Justified Delroy does this to Ellen May after he beats her up to punish her for failing to buy drugs for him. Both times she is stopped by a gun battle erupting and multiple people getting killed yet Delroy acts like she purposely disrespected him.
- Almost Played for Laughs, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Ted Baxter spanks his son who has been blatantly disrespectful and disobedient. Being a show from The Seventies, when spanking was still routine, Values Dissonance doesn't portray it as abuse. The spanking itself is mild, followed by Ted, but not his son, then bursting into tears and begging, "Don't ever make me do that again." The scene ends with son comforting father and promising to behave.
- Irish soap opera Fair City featured a Domestic Abuse storyline between Suzanne and Damien Halpin. In one scene, Damien is quiet and tearful after Suzanne has violently attacked him; leading her to start beating him again while screaming "Stop making me do this!"
- El-P invokes this trope at the end of the song "Stepfather Factory". There's the line towards the end of the song that says:
And in a few unsubstantiated clinical trials, this condition
Has led to simulated feelings of resentment and worthlessness
Manifested in the highly unlikely, but still possible, act
- Then via a bone-chilling robotic basso profundo voice, the stepfather-bot from the song eerily intones at the very end: "Why are you making me hurt you? I love you."
- Coheed and Cambria's character "Al the Killer" does this in the comic and the songs. Then again, he is a psychopath.
- Shades of this in P!nk's "Please Don't Leave Me." It's about an abusive relationship, and the song's narrator claims that she's not usually like this, but there's just something about the guy that makes her want to abuse him...and she kind of hates him for it.
- Happens in Samurai Warriors; Kunoichi has a cutscene where she asks Mitsuhide why he had made her fight him when the bad guy was Nobunaga all along and triggered a thought that eventually made Mitsuhide turn on Nobunaga.
- Played chillingly for drama in South Park when Jimmy takes steroids to give him an edge in the Special Olympics. His girlfriend tries to talk him out of continuing his steroid abuse, which causes him to fly into a rage and savagely beat her while screaming, "Why are you doing this? Why are you making me do this?"
- In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo pulls this on Quasimodo after Frollo figures out that Quasi helped Esmerelda escape from Notre Dame.
Frollo: Now all of Paris is burning because of you!
- Also done in Batman: The Animated Series with the episode "Mad Love", where Harley Quinn is tossed out of a third-story window by The Joker, and whispers "My fault... I didn't get the joke.", quietly asserting Battered Spouse Syndrome.
- Attempted by a tree witch in the "To Cut a Woman's Hair" episode of Adventure Time, when she lets Jake out of her so-called "bottomless bottom" and immediately starts crying about her inner and outer ugliness, seemingly provoked by a "The Reason You Suck" Speech Finn had given her just before.
- Often done by Nelson Muntz, a bully on The Simpsons.
Nelson: Hey, butler. Stop butling yourself. (hits the butler with the butler's own fist)
Butler: Would that I could, sir. (Nelson hits him some more)
- Used once by Dick Dastardly as a justification for his dirty tricks.
- Played for laughs in an episode of Family Guy where Stewie gets angry and strikes his stuffed bear Rupert.
Stewie: Now why did you make me do that? Do you think I like hitting you? ...Well, as a matter of fact I do. In fact, I like it so much that I'm going to do it again!
- In the premier episode of Black Dynamite:
Michael Jackson: "Now Cream Corn, why did you make me do that to you? I'm not mad at you. But if you make me do it again, I'll kill you."
- If this happens in real life it's called gaslighting, and it's a form of emotional abuse. It's very shocking to go onto abuse survivor communities and find out exactly how many people have suffered from this without even knowing.