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  • Firefly in Ace Combat: The Equestrian War. Her parents were brutally killed by a griffin solider and due to a misunderstanding, she believed he was mocking her pain the last time they were face to face. She was so overcome with grief she completely broke down and it takes most of the story to recover.
  • Every. Single. Character after the Fall of Beacon in Ruby and Nora.
  • Raz, in the D. Gray Man fanfic Wanderers in the Dark. She is found by the protagonist, Allen, and is a member of the villains of the manga, a Clan settled in destroying the human race and like them, she has proved herself to be able to be quite dangerous and frightening (if you mess with someone she cares about, anyway)... However, this is a girl who has no memories of her past, has cried upon recalling people she killed (which was, by the way, the first memory she remembered, along with her best friends who are both dead). Against all odds, she decides to stay by Allen's side no matter what, even when the chance to go back home and remember her life is offered to her. The way she is written gives her a hauntingly innocence at times that is just heartbreaking.
    • And what she is the Noah of? Loneliness.
      Raz:''It seems useless, doesn't it? To cry when no one bothers to see your tears... To speak, when no one really cares to listen... It feels useless and senseless... But... I am your friend. So, I'll see your tears. Even if you don't cry them...
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  • Advice and Trust: In chapter 1 Shinji and Asuka open up and talk about their pasts (their mothers' demises, their fathers' abandonment, their lack of friends, their feelings of insolation and loneliness, their self-worth and trust issues...) and realize that they were more alike than they thought:
    Asuka: What Sensei?
    Shinji: The one my father abandoned me with after my mother died in an accident with the Eva! Not that you'd understand that,
    Asuka: Me too. [...] My mother... There was an accident with Unit-02... She... died, eventually. My father... didn't mourn very long. [...] So yes, Third Child, I know exactly what that felt like!
    Shinji: Your father abandoned you after your mother was gone,
    Asuka: You have nightmares all the time about it. The memory keeps coming after you when you try to sleep,
    Shinji (nodding): It's hard to sleep. You feel lonely and cold at night, because no one ever held you after that,
    Asuka: You never had many friends before you came here. No on ever wanted to just talk to you for you.
    Shinji: Your father never explained or apologized for why he just left you.
    Asuka: No one even tried to understand your pain. No one cared.
    Shinji: You miss her every day, but don't even have any pictures, barely any memories. No one tells you about her.
    Asuka: And there was never any point in talking about it to anyone, because there was no one in the world who could understand what being an Evangelion Pilot was like,
    Shinji/Asuka (in unison): You're just like me.
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  • In Power Girl story A Force of Four, Kara had two options when she landed on Earth and was told her "life" had been a lie and her family -but her cousin- was gone: breaking down or making herself stronger. She chose the latter.
    But she had to be tough. Finding out that so many years of her life were a pre-programmed lie, coming to a strange world, finding only one man of Krypton and then losing him, turning from innocence into grim experience on a planet she never made... she had to be tough, or break.
  • All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird reveals Cassandra to be this, given how many loved ones she has lost and how much testing her faith has endured.
  • The Aladdin fanfic Antiphony portrays recurring villain Mozenrath as one; he used to be a sweet, excitable child who just wanted to help people and had a strong devotion to his god. Fast-forward fourteen years of what was essentially slavery and emotional-psychological torture, and he's become a sarcastic Social Darwinist who scorns any form of faith and seeks power for himself.
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  • Bait and Switch (STO): Recurring Orion character Captain Meromi Riyal of the IKS HoSbatlh had her parents murdered by a Syndicate boss and was given as a Sex Slave to a Klingon nobleman. After escaping, she became a gangster and Arms Dealer, but was eventually captured and forced to become an Indentured Slave Mook for the Klingon Defense Force. Her current boss, General Brokosh, freed her after his wife became the head of her house, but by now Meromi is bitter and bloodthirsty and seems to take pleasure only in killing enemies. She's also got a Slasher Smile that sends chills down the spine of Brokosh, a battle-hardened mercenary himself.
  • The Child of Love: Asuka lost her mother when she was four, got ditched by her father, got trained to fight giant monsters despite being just a kid, got pregnant when she was fourteen... and she always tried to overcome her troubles and becoming stronger and more self-reliant.
  • Children of an Elder God: In order to try to get over her mother going crazy and killing herself, and her father abandoning her shortly after, Asuka trained to become the best war mecha pilot ever. Thanks to find a decent mother figure she did not become as hostile to and frightened of other people as her canon self, but she still tried to be self-reliant. Through the war she lost friends, her own humanity and worse, but her reaction to each tragedy was trying becoming more badass and more independent.
  • Beth Lestrade gets this twice in Children of Time:
    • Having to watch the man you love slide down the slippery slope, then running for your life for nine months, then finding out that said love interest has done a Face–Heel Turn, then committing a Heroic Suicide... will do that to you. The timeline in which most of the above happened is retconned into never having happened, but the main players, Beth included, still retain the memories. She later tells Sherlock that she was considering shooting herself.
    • The beginning of the next season seems to imply that Season 2 might ultimately be about her Character Development, just as Season 1 was ultimately about Sherlock's. Initially after Sherlock's rejuvenation, she seems okay, but future episodes prove that she's not to the point where even Professor Moriarty was concerned about her. (She spent a year thinking that her husband was irretrievably dead and became a Death Seeker.)
  • Satsuki's portrayal in The Crimson Garment paints her as one of these. The fic attempts to delve into the adverse affects of childhood sexual abuse through several tweaks in her character. From what we see so far, she despises physical contact and seems to see it as indication of dominance. It's also implied that her desire to control and be stronger than others is to compensate for her insecurities.
  • A Crown of Stars: The preface makes a good work summarizing how badly broken Shinji and Asuka were before the beginning of the story. To make a long story short: Their mothers died and their fathers abandoned them when they four. At the age of fourteen they were forced to fight alien monsters. Their pain, their inability to reach out to each other and the war broke them down, and then they died when the world ended. Shinji gave the humanity the possibility to return and they were reborn... into a wrecked world populated with warlords, bandits and starving masses. They were turned into the tools of bloody dictators for three years, and Asuka was turned into a plaything during that time. They went through another conflict where they got shot and nearly murdered, and at the end they stuck together because they felt that no one else in the world could understand their pain, but they were so soul-weary and broken that Asuka was afraid of loving Shinji and they had no hopes of developing a real relationship.
  • Miko in Dirty Little Secrets is definitely one; she's just good at covering it up. It's a wonder she's not worse then she is; she was born from a long line of prostitutes and raised to join the 'family business', starting when she was 12... and both children she became pregnant with were aborted against her will, with the second incident rendering her barren. To make matters worse, she was happy to get pregnant the first time and spent the time up to the abortion begging to be allowed to keep her baby. Additionally, due to her valuable status, one of her boss' favorite punishments when she acted up was making her watch him beat other less productive girls. And even once she manages to escape into protective custody in the States, she's legitimately terrified that if Jack and Raf's parents found out about her past, they'd forbid the boys from seeing her ever again. Her confused relief when June tells her that she'd never dream of doing that and that she doesn't think any less of Miko is heartbreaking.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Asuka and Rei. Their reaction to a decade of abuse and mental trauma culminating with their deaths is striving to become more badass after being sent back to the past. Shinji also counts, although he is much more messed up in the head than either of the girls.
  • Evangelion 303:
    • Asuka. Prior to the beginning of the story she had been traumatized (it is implied that she tried to commit suicide at one point), and her performance -which her self-image depended hugely on- was slipping due to her past personal issues making her falling apart. She recovered... and then the experimental jet fighter that she was testing crashed, and her best friend died in the accident. She spent several months in a coma, and when she woke up she was a neurotic, short-tempered mess who blamed herself for the failure of the mission and her friend's death and hated herself for being a failure and hurting Shinji due to her out-of-control temper.
    • Rei. She was piloting a war plane and it crashed in the middle of sea. She survived, but she suffered brain damage and she spent several months in a coma. When she woke up, she had become cold and emotionless. She recovered, but she never became her former cheerful self again.
  • Fallout: Equestria - Empty Quiver: Despite being one of the much more optimistic stories set in the FoE universe, it's later learned that Crash Dive's blunt and extremely bitter qualities stem from this. Her first and last mission as a true soldier of the Enclave ended in disaster after her platoon is seemingly wiped out and she is left stranded in the wasteland. A lucky attack by a raider badly damages both wings to the point where they're little more than a charred useless mess, and the constant mental and physical agony drives her into a severe Med-X addiction. Combined with the Enclave's propaganda, this incident causes her to become so paranoid she isolates herself from the wasteland and almost forces her to commit suicide. Even after meeting up with the heroes, she's so overly protective of Night Strike - the only other Pegasus she has seen in decades - that she almost murders another member of the group over some light teasing. To make matters worse, just as Crash Dive starts to genuinely recover from this, Night Strike begins to gradually slide down this slope herself.
  • In Gensokyo 20XX, we have this with Yukari, who is the most noticeable than the others and became bitter towards her experiences during the course of the series.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: After Third Impact, Asuka struggles to overcome her traumas and become stronger and keeping on living in spite of her daily nightmares, PTDS and getting raped again.
  • A Growing Affection has Hanabi become one after Madara's attempt to Body Surf into her.
  • HERZ: Asuka. Let's see: she lost her mother and got ditched by her father before being four. She was turned into a weapon and a tool and trained hard for ten long years to become the best as a way to validate her existence. When the time came to prove her skill she got overshadowed by a boy that -as far as she knew- was a rookie with no training. She got repeatedly defeated, humiliated and mind-raped by the enemy. She managed rising from her ashes only to be impaled, mutilated and eaten alive. And still she survived even after her heart stopped for a short while, she became a fine soldier and she even delivered a healthy child.
    Asuka leaned into the kiss. She had lost much and suffered terribly, but from the ashes, she had risen anew.
  • Higher Learning: When they got together Shinji learnt that Asuka's aggressive, stubborn and fearless behaviour had its origin in her childhood's tragedies -which mirror his own- and her desire and need to overcome them. When she got a severe breakdown he tried to reassure her by reminding her that she taught him to fight back when you are hurt.
  • From Kill la Kill AU, we have this Ryuuko, who is a bit young for one, however, she seems to have a rather cynical view of the world, especially when it comes to her poor health, having been in and out of the hospital, along with the fact that she was separated from her mother when she was two, meeting her again fairly recently. Apparently, due to the aforementioned poor health, she counts how much time she might have to live, considering death to be a release.
  • In Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox, Tenten is shown to be this. After all, losing both of your parents during a year-long rampage by the Kyuushingai, having no other living relatives to take you in after the fact, bouncing about from place to place without a stable home for a long time following said orphaning, and being driven to learn how to fight just so you can take revenge on the people responsible for said orphaning can't be good for one's psyche.
  • Last Child of Krypton: Asuka devoted herself to train to become the best Humongous Mecha pilot and prepare to fight giant alien invaders to overcome being an orphan kid abandoned by her surviving parent. When the war finally broke out, nothing was going how she thought it should: her enemies beat her, the Commander berated her for anything and an interloper come from nowhere was hogging the credit. However she kept fighting and found a worthier cause to devote herself to.
  • Cinder Fall is given this interpretation in The Makings of Team CRME. She was abused as a child and lost her father because her Evil Matriarch drove him to suicide for money. Her past continues to have an effect on her as she starts assembling Team CRME. She has become a damaged sociopath and an emotionally-stunted Psychopathic Womanchild who thinks that taking her anger out on the world is acceptable. While she isn't an entirely sympathetic example, it is clear that Cinder is deeply broken due to her experiences. Her strangling Melanie Black is because she reminded Cinder of her abusive mother, showing that she hasn't moved on from her past. And her desire to be powerful is due to her resentment of her past.
  • The Kamen Rider/Metroid crossover fic, Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations has a recovering example in Mitsuzane Kureshima. And yes, Micchy has fell into Despair Event Horizon thrice in the TV series. From being an Unwitting Pawn by the likes of Sid, Redyue, and Ryoma Sengoku that he thought he had been manipulating to "killing" Kouta and let Mai die right before his very eyes are the worse for him. Since then, he has a well-hidden self-animosity and guilt over his past actions to the point he becomes more distant, he more often hides it by just making snarky remarks, or by just being normally cheerful and carefree. As the story progresses, he reaches out to Samus; who is in fact a Broken Bird herself, deciding to follow her throughout her journeys and the bounty hunter herself becomes Micchy's Second Love.
  • Mako becomes one in A Minor Miscalculation after Nui kills her brother at the Naturals Election, losing much of her sense of humor and getting more hostile toward enemies. It takes the intervention of the Fighting Club remnants for her to find any joy in life again, and the battle with Ryuketsu to swing fully back around to her former self. Sadly, she relapses during the events of Consequences after she finds one of Isshin's confession tapes.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide:
    • After losing her mother, being abandoned by her father, being treated like crap by NERV, used like cannon fodder against giant monsters, being mind-raped and abandoned... Asuka wakes up after spending several months in a coma and starts to get better.
    "We make our own lives, not the lives others want for us." Stop, a part of Asuka screamed as she spoke. Just stop now. Please stop. "If you depend on others, then you are weak, because you can't live for yourself. It's always what others want and what they impose on you. Even if it's your own mother."
    • Shinji also starts to recover from his past issues after the war.
  • Once More with Feeling:
    • After going through the Angel War and the end of the world, Shinji is trying to grow a spine and be more determined and braver to not let his second chance go to waste.
    • As she is arguing with Asuka about the latter's desire to go to Okinawa, Misato reminds herself Asuka suffered terribly and lost a lot since she was three, but she always tried to become stronger and more determined.
    • After fighting Sandalphon Misato tells Asuka about her childhood, her troubles with her own father and how she tried to overcome it.
  • The One I Love Is: In chapter 6 Asuka shows Shinji she has been very, very badly hurt but she has always tried to overcome it and be a strong-willed, self-reliant girl.
    Asuka: Don't worry Shinji. So far, I've lived on my own, by my own, only for me, only for my own values and my own satisfaction. I don't need you, or anyone else for that matter. I... I don't want to be lonely anymore. If I could... I'd rather be with you then be alone. But it's too late now. And besides... half of your heart is not enough. If I can't have you all to myself, then I'd rather not have you at all...
    Shinji: Asuka...
    Asuka: It's okay. I can manage on my own.
  • In Origin Story, Alex Harris' conversation/therapy session with Doc Samson reveals just how much psychological trauma she's experienced over her young life. Alex's partner Louise also qualifies. The pair of them use their relationship to help each other heal.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, we are given O.C. Stand-in Athena who is tricked into killing the only people she considers family, causing her to fly into an Unstoppable Rage whose brutality haunts her. From the same galaxy, a Rich Bitch named Jackie Jakobs is set up quite unsympathetically, but is revealed to have had reasons to act out in the ways she does.
  • Misty in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines becomes very cynical as a result of her terrible childhood. To sum it up: she was her parents' least favorite child, her sisters kicked her out of their house as soon as they could, and on top of that, she's had to deal with anti-bloodliner prejudice. Thankfully, she begins to grow out of it thanks to Ash's positive influence.
  • Quicken:
    • Emma was an average, carefree teenager... then she was assaulted and nearly raped. From that point on, she's determined to survive not matter what and doing whatever it takes because no one else will help her.
    • When she finally meets her best friend, it's implied that Taylor became this as well after losing her mother and Emma in a very short lapse of time. She looks more adult, grimmer and more physically fit.
  • Racer and the Geek features Sunny Breeze, a stallion who knows nothing but war, isolation, violence, and betrayal. He's suitably messed up to match, having problems with both post-traumatic stress disorder and severe alcoholism. Even worse is that, despite his vague age, it's readily apparent that he's so young most ponies see him as a colt. His own inability to see the good in himself is his tragic flaw. It's evident in every chapter, although chapters three and four showcase it best.
  • The pro wrestling story A Ring Of Their Own portrays Molly Holly as one of these, that getting her head shaved at WrestleMania 20 and her subsequent losing streak caused her to lose all confidence in herself and retire from wrestling.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: During a heart-to-heart talk Asuka tells Shinji she strove to be strong-willed and excel at everything because after her mother went insane and died and her father abandoned her -making her realizing that he never loved her- she thought nobody would care about her unless she was the best.
  • In The Second Try, Asuka's life history is an endless cycle in which she loses something or someone dear to her, and she tries to get over her pain. In "Repeat" she was shattered because her daughter had disappeared, but after a while she managed to recover her fighting spirit.
  • In Supergirl (2015) story Survivors, Kara and Kal crash-land on Earth at the same time. Kara is essentially a homeless teen mother whose family regarded her as a means to an end and has been stranded in an alien, unfamiliar country with no money, food or clothes... and it's still better than her barren, sterile home. Even so she refuses to give up, manages to survive and find help and becomes the world's premier hero.
  • Tales of the Undiscovered Swords: This is what Sasanoyuki turns out to be. He reveals in his final kiwame letter that after singlehandedly emerging victorious from his tameshigiri, which essentially proved him an Absurdly Sharp Blade, he came to loathe himself for being such an overly deadly weapon that took countless lives because of said sharpness until he told himself to accept his fate as a sword and repressed his feelings, turning himself into a cold, emotionless killer.
  • Zelda in Their Bond became a Child Soldier at age 12 and was forced to become queen in her late teens after her father's sudden death. Her main trauma stems from years of extreme torture, mental manipulation, and sexual abuse by Ganondorf stemming back to 12. It left her with terrible self-esteem, severe self-hatred, and a warped view of the world (especially romance). Still, she doesn't tell her caretaker and girlfriend Impa about Ganondorf's abuse until after she almost dies of suicide.
  • Thousand Shinji: When Asuka was four her mother went crazy and hang herself (and her daughter was the one found her corpse). Shortly after her father remarried and virtually abandoned her. In response to it she tried to become stronger, tougher and fully self-reliant. Shinji discusses it at one point:
    "Passing the favour forward? Yeah. I've been helping Rei since I got here, she was far worse than she is now socially, and then you came along. You were the kid, the one in a million, who chose to become strong instead of break in response to such monumental adversity. But I could see it in your eyes, the tone of your voice in sheltered moments that you still carried the wounds, that you were more fragile than you seemed," Shinji explains.
  • The Naruto Continuation Fic White Rain has one in Lucia Van Alstyne. She witnessed her mother's murder as a child, and married into an abusive relationship. The readers can easily tell how broken she is when she regards both Ino's friendship with Sakura and Hinata's genuine love for Naruto with curiosity.
  • Evelyn in the Dragon Age: Inquisition fanfic Walking in Circles has become this trope by the time canon events starts in the story. The trauma she suffered before and during the Circles uprising plus her two years as a Tranquil has made her into a much more cynical and ruthless person to the point that she actually supports Solas' goal. Yet at the same time, she still retains her kind and caring attitude.
  • The Pokémon fic The Final Battle: Ash, due to the deaths of Pikachu and his friends. And, later revealed, Delia, who was kept as a sex slave by Team Rocket.
  • Escape From the Moon: In the sequel The Mare From the Moon, having learned empathy from her time in Equestria, Spliced's breakdown is shown for the first time when she realizes the consequences of what she did with her viral creations, and then again during her trial, getting worse as time passes in chapter 30. Over the years, as she's lost all her friends to age or dimensional barriers, she reaches the point where the emotivers call her emotionally dead - her sorrow has bottomed out and they doubt she can feel any actual emotions anymore. She can still get depressed or seem pleased, but nothing is really there.
  • Katara in Cabin Fever. Her mother gets killed in a Fire Nation raid, she's captured by the Fire Nation in the same raid and spends the next 3 years in a waterbender prison - with inhumane living conditions. It takes seven years following her escape just for her to start climbing back up the morale ladder.
  • Carol Danvers from A Prize For Three Empires has been through seven kinds of hell. She has lost lovers, friends and family. She has been almost murdered several times. She has been raped once. The trauma she suffered causes her jerkassery and cynicism to go several levels up for a while, and she develops a drinking problem without realizing it, but fortunately she gets better.
  • Kara Of Rokyn has Jara. Born into a poor family, she tried to make some money by starring in erotic films until she managed to join a wrestling circuit. No wonder that she's a bitter, mean-spirited jerkass as well as a dangerous fighter.
  • Hellsister Trilogy has Kara, who lost her parents and her whole civilization when she was fifteen, and spent the next decade and one half fighting super-villains and cosmic beings. She is rather bitter about her unability to live a normal life or form any lasting relationships due to the ceaseless conflict, but she still helps to fight evil whenever she is needed.
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