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Playing With: Abusive Parents
Basic Trope: A character's parents were not good to them.
  • Straight: Carl's mom forgets to feed him while his dad whips him every other day.
  • Exaggerated: Offing the Offspring
  • Downplayed: Carl's parents verbally abuse him, insulting him and demeaning him every chance they get, but other than that, treat him well.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Carl's parents seem to be abusive towards their son at first, but when he is in actual danger through outside forces, it turns into a Papa Wolf and Mama Bear team up.
    • Or, Carl's parents seem neglectful at first only because they are Hippies, and as the story progresses, it becomes obvious that they all love each other very much.
    • Carl claims he is brutally abused by his parents, but it's all a lie for attention.
    • Carl is an Enfant Terrible who abuses his parents, with the threat that he'll call social services and lie about being abused if they don't do what he wants. Finally, his parents snap and start disciplining him in ways that might seem abusive, but after the way we've seen Carl torment his parents, it comes across more as Kick the Son of a Bitch. At that point, the parents reason that going to jail is preferable to another minute of being tortured by the little psychopath.
    • Carl's parents are trying to discipline him, but his constant and escalating antics finally push them too far and they resort to more drastic measures.
    • It is found out that Carl's parents were giving him Tough Love, and it made him a stronger and well-behaved child.
    • Carl's parents were having a bad day and soon mellowed out at the next.
  • Double Subverted:
  • Parodied: Carl's parents are stated to deliberately abuse him to make him grow up to be an angsty superhero. Carl kills them and becomes a villain.
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Neither Carl nor the audience can tell which days his parents will abuse him and which days they won't.
    • Due to Values Dissonance, Carl's parents' treatment can either be interpreted as either harsh discipline or simply crude abuse.
  • Averted: Carl's parents are at least competent and fair.
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: "Man, your parents suck, Carl." "I know. Though it's kinda funny, in a way."
  • Invoked: "HIT ME!"
  • Exploited: Carl is a masochist. He does his best to make his parents mad so that they can hurt him as much as possible.
  • Defied:
    • Carl solves his problem by calling child protective services
    • Carl solves the problem by murdering his parents.
  • Discussed: "That villain must have been abused as a child."
  • Conversed: "What is with all this stuff? If they did that to their son in Real Life, they'd be locked up!"
  • Deconstructed:
    • The constant abuse from his parents leads Carl to believe that society is meaningless and he is either Driven to Suicide or grows up to be the Big Bad of the current story. His parents end up being portrayed more sympathetically: they had a more depressing backstory and were just too critical and both were a bit of a Knight Templar towards their son, making them much stronger and better persons.
    • Alternately, Carl's bruises just couldn't not be noticed by someone else, and abusive parents were quickly deprived of parental rights, before even causing anything he considers really severe.
    • The abuse drives the child to become a better person than he would have been, and makes him happier and more independant. It was his parents's plan all along.
  • Reconstructed:
    • However, neither Carl nor his parents are responsible for what they bore. So, none of them is more sympathetic in the end, and Carl is still a woobie.
    • It still made him think that it was normal for him to be hit.
    • It also makes them struggle with controlling their bad memories and their reaction to them resurfacing.
    • Alternatively... He instead grows up to try to be different from his abusive parents and becomes a loving and caring father, raising/becoming the next hero.
  • Played For Laughs: Hilariously Abusive Childhood
  • Played For Drama:
    • One or both of Carl's parents were abused as children themselves, spurring them to abuse Carl in turn.
    • Carl's Panicky Expectant Father antics take a turn for the dramatic when he voices concerns about hurting his child like his parents hurt him.
    • Carl does end up being as bad a father as his parents.
  • Plot Foundation:

No! Please don't hit me! I'm sorry...

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