- The Bolt Chronicles: In "The Survivor," Mittens's owners' bad behavior is largely explained because of early childhood disorders and abuse for Jack (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, foster home abuse) as well as Emily and Claire (Borderline Personality Disorder and parental abuse, as well as possible Attention Deficit Disorder for the latter).
- In the Housemates universe it's discussed that Thor and his buddies would play "very rough" with Loki when they were kids as in it would be considered abuse among Midgardian children.
- In Origins, we have Jackie Jakobs, subjected to a Trauma Conga Line starting with Parental Abandonment, continuing through Rape as Backstory combined with a life as a Street Urchin. Of course, this isn't all shown right away as initially, all readers see is a Rich Bitch who's more than willing to torture the story's heroes.
- In Project Horizons, a Fallout: Equestria fanfic (a fanfic of a fanfic), most of the villains have these. This is lampshades several times, but the funniest is when Blackjack rejoices upon finding a villain who *doesn't* have one, because she wouldn't feel sorry about the ensuing fight.
- Fates Collide: Cinder Fall reveals that when she was a child, she and her parents were attacked by a Grimm. They were completely helpless, but just when they were about to be killed, a Huntress showed up and killed the Grimm with a single blow. This is the reason why Cinder is so obsessed with acquiring power, so she would never be helpless like that again.
- In My Huntsman Academia, Panchito "Pistoles" Rojo swore bloody vengeance against the Anacondas, a Human gang, for killing his brother in cold blood right in front of him. After single-handedly wiping them out, he extended his hatred towards "Human assholes" in general, joining the White Fang to terrorize Humans into submission.
- This trope is dealt with at least two times in A Triangle in the Stars.
- Discussed and averted with Handsome Jack in Boop the Snoot for Critical Damage!. After learning about Handsome Jack's former occupation (debugging CL4-TP robots), Blake comments that it's no surprise he became a megalomaniac when one learns that he had to spend all his days programming those annoying robots. Angel immediately states under her breath that he was always "an evil piece of scum long before that."
Disney Animated Canon
- The Lion King fans just love using this trope on Scar and Zira. Usually comes in the form of an abusive childhood or the loss of a parent at a young age.
- Vaticus, Ignatius and Riccio have their's revealed during the St. Galleria arc of The Tainted Grimoire.
For Better or for Worse
- In The New Retcons Elly's hatred of motorcycles stemmed from being rejected by her first boyfriend and the father of her first child, who was an avid motorcycle rider. Her obsession with cleanliness was caused by her grandmother calling her unclean after she had a child out of wedlock, a feeling made worse when her first marriage dissolved. That same incident caused her brother Phil to swear that he'd never have kids.
- DEATHmatch, by Shadow Crystal Mage, attempts to justify Nekron's attempt to wipe out all life in Blackest Night by saying the paperwork had been getting him down.
- In Heir Draco Malfoy is regularly tortured by his father via the Cruciatus curse. Also there's Harry himself- in this fic his abusive childhood is played much more seriously and as a direct result he's now a dark lord in training. Then there's Voldemort— as a child Tom Riddle had a psychotic break when the other kids at the orphanage killed his baby snake in front of him.
- The Jaded Eyes Series is another fic where Harry's childhood is played much more seriously as it becomes his Start of Darkness when he snaps and murders the Dursleys. Then he ends up in an Orphanage of Fear where he's regularly bullied by the other kids and has the scars to prove it. It gets worse when Harry discovers that his parents are still alive and have a perfect little family and a little brother who was living a perfect life while he was living in that Hell.
- In Diagnosis Harry expressed his annoyance at this particular trope when telling Hermione about his lessons with Dumbledore sixth year.
...He made a point to mention to her that it was hinted that Riddle had been abused, and that his mum had bewitched his father who was a Muggle, and even that he was more than likely unloved and abused, but that it was no excuse for what he became. The abused aren't predestined to become the abusers, and it always hacked Harry off when people, including the Headmaster made it seem like it was some sort of excuse.
- Deconstructed in The Very Secret Diary. Ginny is able to deduce Riddle's backstory, but doesn't feel sorry for him at all. She points out that Harry lost his parents and was stuck with the Dursleys, but didn't turn bad, concluding that being an orphan is a shitty excuse for all he's done.
Jackie Chan Adventures
- The Stronger Evil: As Shendu notes, Drago has carried to the present the bitterness he has experienced in his own time in the future, and now he's trying to claim the demon chis to prove something. Before coming to the present, Drago grew up more or less homeless and unable to interact with society because of his draconic visage, he lost his mother when he was just ten years old, and when he finally ended up with his abusive father Shendu, he found nothing he did could impress the old dragon.
Kill la Kill
- In Kill la Kill AU, the reason as to why 8-year old Ryuuko is a delinquent seems to stem from maternal deprivation from being separated from her mother at two-years old and her anger and upset thereof of something she felt sad about, yet didn't know what it is, as well as the fact that no one would tell her.
- From The Outside, from we have mentioned of photos and Shiro's reasonings, the reason Satsuki is agoraphobic and was so overprotective of Ryuuko (to the point of smothering) was because she's been sick a lot her whole life and knew nothing else, especially in light of their parents splitting and their father's death, leaving her to use Ryuuko as something of a Living Emotional Crutch to cope with her situation, as she probably couldn't cope otherwise.
Kung Fu Panda
- Shen vs. Kai: When Evil Collides: Something Shen and Kai have in common. Kai's relationship with Oogway before and up to their falling out gets expanded on. It's also eventually revealed through flashback that Shen was treated distantly by his parents and was regarded as a freak due to his albinism-inducing birth condition when first introduced to peoplenote , which implicitly contributed heavily to both Shen's "Well Done, Son!" Guy and his severe antisocial personality.
The Legendof Korra
- Book 5: Legends give us this for the villain's backstory. Unloved by virtually all except their mother, losing them devastated the villain to the point that they are trying to resurrect them Mary Shelley style. And when that doesn't quite work out the way they hoped, they go full on burn it all down mode. To a lesser extent, the secondary antagonist has a similar excuse, having been shunned and abandoned by their real family and thus developing an unhealthy fixation on their Big Bro Temuji as a result.
The Loud House
Mega Man (Classic)
- Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race subverts this. While Dr. Wily does have an abusive father who colored his outlook on life, the story takes pains to show that Wily himself is a horrible man who deserves punishment.
- Stray discusses this - it's set in the Metal Gear universe, land of villains with unhappy childhoods, and at least two characters (including one of the protagonists) are former Tykebombs. However, Adamska (one of the tykebombs in question) eventually rejects the idea that a person's essential nature can be changed by the actions of other people.
- Played With in Chloe's Lament. Much like in the original reality, Miss Bustier sees Chloe as a deeply troubled girl who keeps lashing out and bullying others in response to her personal problems. But the root of her issues is nothing like what Bustier assumes. Oh, she's certainly unhappy about being a 'mere baker's daughter' while her classmate is the daughter of the Mayor... but Chloe herself is responsible for this state of affairs, since she made a Wish to swap lives with Marinette, expecting to get all the respect and attention Marinette did... along with becoming this world's version of Ladybug. Suffice to say, things didn't work out as she'd anticipated, and she refuses to admit she did this to herself.
- The Karma of Lies: In a case of Like Mother, Unlike Daughter, Mrs. Rossi is revealed to have a very strong code of ethics, spurring her to report a coworker's embezzlement scheme. Unfortunately, said diplomat had several connections which he used to sabotage her career, leading to Lila's father divorcing her in order to protect his own political aspirations. Seeing how much honesty cost her mother left Lila convinced that it's better to protect her own interests first and foremost, spurring her to become a Con Artist.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- In Bride of Discord, Discord reveals the reason he initially overthrew Celestia and turned Equestria into a World Gone Mad, was because his misguided attempts at "helping" pony-kind, lead to Celestia, the only pony to give him a chance in his entire life, getting angry with him. Being the Last of His Kind and being shunned and ridiculed by ponies prior probably didn't help his emotional state.
- To a much lesser extent, Fluttershy reveals to him, part of the reason she has a hard time opening up to everypony and why she was very reluctant in trying to pursue a romantic relationship, is because as a filly, a colt told her she was beautiful and asked her out on a date, only to reveal it was cruel trick to mess with her.
- Meimu Uchiha from Reincarnation Roulette by Silver Queen has some great reasons for being the cold hearted villain she is. Namely, she's a self-insert born into the Uchiha clan, and realized she'd have a miserable life if she became a ninja. Unfortunately, her new parents won't take no for an answer, and proceed to literally beat ninja training into her. Her Jounin sensei ends up being Orochimaru, forcing her to be on the lookout for having a Sharingan, lest she end up as one of his host bodies. She succeeds in hiding it by killing anyone who ever found out, but is forced to make herself useful to him in other ways. She gains a younger brother in the form of Obito, and wonders if she'll have it in her to murder him and avert the future. She does, complete with Itachi's "foolish little brother" line. What makes her most disturbingly chilling is the fact that, as Silver Queen's self-insert, she used to be the same person as the protagonist of her most famous fic. The contrast between Meimu Uchiha and Shikako Nara effectively makes the former the latter's Mirror Universe Evil Counterpart.
- Parodied in Oh, Did You Have a Sob Story Too, Sasuke?. Since every vilain (almost) have a Freudian Excuse in the manga, Naruto has trouble remembering them, or rather which is whose, leading him to list all of them to Sasuke until he get it right.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
- A Crown of Stars: Gendo abandoned his son because he was just as afraid of Shinji as Shinji was of him. He did not know how dealing with other people or relating to them, and his wifes loss broke him completely. After hearing about it Shinji did not think it was good enough of an excuse
until he realized he was just like his father.
- Advice and Trust: Chapter 8 examines how Gendo does everything he does because he is a broken man, utterly afraid of other people, that was completely obsessed with getting his deceased wife back.
- Once More with Feeling: Chihiro Tanaka's aggressiveness, vindictiveness and rude behaviour is later explained as the result of growing up without a mother.
- The One I Love Is...: Most of the story is narrated from Shinji's point of view, so Gendo is treated very unsympathetically most of time. The "Let the World Burn/One Dream at a Time" side-story explores his personality and motivations. Gendo is depicted as a pathetic, broken shell of a man always felt lonely and frightened of other people, thought nobody would ever love him because he was not worth it and fell utterly apart after his wife's death, sending his only son away because he was scared of Shinji and of hurting him.
- Beyond the Winding Road: Edith beats the crap out of kids in her class, blatantly disrespects teachers and other authority figures, and throws other people's emotional baggage into arguments when she's losing control of them. But she's also suffering from some extreme Parental Neglect and it's heavily implied she was both ostracized from the community due to her mother's previous scandalous actions and sexually harassed by the boys in her school (in her introductory chapter, some boys fill her locker with condoms, though the author never outright states what they are). Worse, those same teachers and authority figures were predisposed to find fault in her whenever she came to them due to her mother's reputation.
Pokémon: The Series
- An interesting case where the hero has the excuse, Pokemon: Shadow of Time establishes that the reason Ash never pursued a romantic relationship with any of his female travelling companions was because he was afraid of turning out like his father, who left his mother and him when he was younger and never came back, Ash choosing to avoid relationships so he'd never hurt his partner like that.
The Rising of the Shield Hero
- Ambition of the Red Princess: When Malty was a child, she overheard her mother declaring she was useless as an heir, insisting on having another child, suggesting Malty be married off to King Faubley. Given Malty's and Melty's respective ages, the princess was less than ten years old when her mother wrote her off. As a result, Malty becomes solely devoted to proving she's a better heir than her younger sister, with all of her actions geared towards becoming queen rather than engaging in petty sadism.
- The people of Melromarc are suspicious of the Shield Hero on principle partially because a previous Shield Hero became king of Siltvelt and was such a monstrous tyrant that the world knew him as the "King of Rape".
Super Mario Bros.
- In Strengths Of The Heart And Mind, the Dark Bonneters (dark versions of the hat spirits from Super Mario Odyssey), had been hunted to near extinction, were forced into a treaty that prevented them from cap-turing humans, and often got killed just for going outside the Cap Kingdom. This is because they led a brutal empire way back in the past. This treatment likely contributed to the Dark Bonneter Conicus cap-turing Mario and trying to destroy the Mushroom Kingdom.
- Subverted in Kara of Rokyn. Albeit Lex Luthor sees himself as the victim of an alien who betrayed him and ruined his life when they were teenagers, leading to being branded as a criminal and being kicked out of home by his father, an analysis of his life's story shows he just blamed Superboy for all of his own self-caused problems.
Tales of Arcadia
- The Wizard and the Huntress: Douxie has a genuine fear of the trolls in Heartstone Trollmarket because Morgana's actions have branded wizards as inherently untrustworthy to Troll-kind, this being why he tried to keep Jim from involving himself in Trollhunter-business. It is not until he is convinced into going are his fears proven irrational, Vendal recognizing him as Merlin's apprentice.
- Cast Swap: Staci wants to impress people, so she lies about her family in order to do so. Dawn figures this out, and tells her that she doesn't need to lie.
- Change of Plans: The Flashbacks establish that Ezekiel was desperate to prove himself as more than "some hick kid from the prairie," which helps explain his desire to stay in the game and resulting Sanity Slippage.
- Love Ain't Easy, It's Ezzy: Duncan's underlying reason for his harshness toward Bridgette and her relationship with Geoff is so deep-seated that he isn't consciously aware of it until Izzy deduces it: Duncan once had a girlfriend in his hometown who resembled Bridgette in both appearance and attitudes, but she betrayed him by calling the police on him and making a crime he committed sound much worse than it actually was. Right after he was thrown in jail, she started dating his best friend.
- My Ridonculous Race: Leo mentions the reason he doesn't try to pursue romance is because he saw his parents relationship crumble before his eyes as a young child. June also reveals that the reason she is so pushy comes from lingering habits passed down by her mother.
- Total Alternate Island: Gwen from her cold behavior towards Duncan whenever he tried to hit on Leshawna due to an ex-middle school teacher whom Gwen was taken in by, but he turned out to be a crazy Stalker with a Crush who tried to kidnap her to run away together with, until he got thwarted by Gwen's older brother. Leshawna towards Heather due to a death of a friend in the past where a queen bee-type caused her friend to be driven to suicide. Finally Duncan to Harold with the nerd looking like a friend who betrayed him and caused him to be locked up in juvie.
- Total Drama Chris:
- Harold dislikes Lindsay because he once dated a girl like her named Autumn. The date ended poorly, and afterward he was subjected to even more torment and teasing, convincing him that Autumn was in on the whole thing and that all dumb blondes are evil.
- Leshawna's used to be friends with a nice girl named Madison. Unfortunately, Madison's parents were racist bastards who promptly falsely accused her from stealing from them and filed a restraining order against her. Leshawna was ten at the time. Years later, they happened to attend the same high school; by that point, however, Madison had become the Alpha Bitch, and immediately began picking on Leshawna, aided by racist teachers. Girl's got one hell of a chip on her shoulder for a reason.
- Total Drama: Cody's Redemption: It's eventually revealed that Gwen hates Cody because a lot of geeks hit on her, and none had good intentions.
- Total Drama Comeback Series:
- Turns out Courtney gets her obsession with being perfect from her parents constantly pressuring her to be so. They had No Sympathy for the circumstances behind her losing the first season. Also, the fact that her school life became miserable after she got the boot (being insulted with names like Crazy In Training) and being beaten for the Student Council President by a guy who's rebuttal was essentially a giant poster of her being dragged down the dock of shame screaming.
- Heather reason for being so mean is that, in her tween years she had pimples all over her face, wore braces and was extremely fat, and thus she was bullied and teased by her classmates. After losing weight and getting rid of the braces and pimples, she decided that it was better to be the agressor than the victim.
- Total Drama Letterz:
- Apparently, Chris Maclain had a tumor in his brain that caused him to act sadistic. This is revealed to be a lie in the Prologue of Letter Starz.
- Fifi Cleopatra became a man hater due to being mistreated by a lot of people due to being female.
- Tabitha Barrington parents taught her bad morals and beat her and hospitalized her every time she failed at something. All these years of abuse made Tabitha become lonely and VERY insecure. Tabitha even admits she was jealous of Uzuri.
- Apparently everything Kim Rosefelt does throughout the season is due to severe depression, and it's implied that something happened in her past intense enough to cause it. She also had no pills for the duration of Letterama as a result of her contract, and based on her reactions in the bonus chapter, her pills clearly help her a lot.
- Lankston Gallows parents neglected him as a child and nearly caused him to die.
- Nina Dumpster stays dirty because she fears taking a bath due to a near death experience when she was a kid.
- Total Drama Nations:
- Makoto's actions are due to his poor mental state and home life.
- Although in a rare inversion, it's actually used to explain why Hans Von Böse's not even more ruthless than he already is. After he and his brother nearly kill their abusive father, he vowed never to be as cruel again. Pushing Emma into the campfire triggered memories of this and made him realize he was awfully close to doing so.
- Total Drama Revenge of the Forever Mine: All of the characters' backstories are this. Especially for Jo and Mike.
- Total Drama Stranded: Calvin explains his high school had a social hierarchy where showing weakness leads to getting crushed. He uses this as his excuse or wanting to have power over others.
- Total Highschool Drama: It is revealed that the reason why Amy is mean to Sammy is because she believes she's responsible for their father's death.
- Total Loud Island:
- Unbreakable Red Silken Thread:
- Heather's actions, especially during TDI, cemented her as a manipulative, scheming and conniving bitch that has little regard for the well-being of others. Chapter 4 makes it quite clear this is due to her parents treating everyone, including each other, exactly the same if not worse.
- Chapter 31 revealed that the reason Gwen believes All Men Are Perverts is because when she was going through puberty during high school, she got unwanted attention from guys. Suffering from frequent harassment, she tried to keep herself covered with sweaters and eventually attempting to fight back when neither of those things worked. It only encouraged the guys to harass her harder. She eventually just gave up and stopped caring altogether and became an antisocial goth. Her mother had three failed relationships with Gwen's father, abandoning her mother when she revealed she was pregnant with Gwen. Her brother, Patrick's father, was the same as Gwen's father. He, too, ran off when Gwen's mother got pregnant the second time. The third guy, Derek, seemed to be perfect, an old friend of her mother's from back when she had been in school, and they'd reconnected while she'd been hunting for a new job. He was smart, handsome, ran his own business, spent time with Gwen and her brother Patrick and, of course, showered their mother with gifts and affection. Then, a few months after the marriage and moving in without a hint of trouble by accident, Patrick tripped and dumped his entire milk-filled bowl of cereal on Gwen's report she had to do for school that morning. Gwen wouldn't have needed to reprint it. So she quickly borrowed Derek's laptop and, to her horror, discovered pictures of her naked, making sure her brother caught the bus before calling her mother. The two of them then called the police. Derek was the final incident that convinced Gwen all men were perverts.
- It was implied and later confirmed that the real reason Gwen never gave Cody a chance and the reason their friendship failed was that Gwen was projecting her negative feelings she had towards her stepfather onto Cody because of a few similarities they shared. In chapter 17, Gwen believed that Heather was manipulating Cody, sleeping with him to control both him and his money. As Gwen wondered if maybe their lives would not have gotten so bad if she gave Cody a chance, she suddenly got angry at the idea, picturing Cody into her head; he slowly morphed into an older man that was somewhat similar although slightly different. Her angry thoughts that Cody can go to Hell! He looks and acts too much like
and I'll be damned if I'm going to make the same mistake my mother did!' With the revelation in chapter 31 that Gwen's mother, after two failed relationships, married Derek, who at first seemed to be nice and then turned out to be a pedaphile, similar to Cody originally being someone Gwen thought to be nice, only to be revealed in World Tour that he took a picture of Gwen while she was sleeping. It is also shown that Derek has the same type of smile as Cody. Obviously, the "him" Gwen mentioned in chapter 17 was Derek and his similarity to Cody cause Gwen to distrust the geek.
- In Gensokyo 20XX, we have a odd example in Yukari, in that it be a fairly safe assumption some of her issues she's had, especially wanting to have a child to such an extent that it tears her up inside and some issues with attachment (either would be described as "something to love, something to hold, occasionally scold, and something that would take away an intense pain"), seem to stem from being abandoned by her parents, to whom she referred to as "two large shitbags", when she was two.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Forever, several villainous characters have a Freudian Excuse for why they turned to the dark side. 1) Jan Shimizu, the Black Sheep of his family, recounts late in the story that his father, Ryou Bakura, frequently treated him with subtle contempt because Jan's appearance reminded Ryou too much of the abusive spirit of the Millennium Ring. It led Jan to leave home and change his last name, to distance himself from the family, and led Ryou to declare I Have No Son! concerning him. 2) Michael Bronte, a member of the JUDAS organization's Quirky Miniboss Squad, explains that the reason he joined the group was initially to exact revenge on his parents—specifically, his stepfather used to physically abuse him as a child, while his mother turned a blind eye. Present-day Michael is an Ax-Crazy Slasher Smiler who enjoys perpetuating Cold-Blooded Torture on his victims. 3) Angel Snow, a member of the Zodiac terrorist group, grew up with a drunken and physically abusive adopted father. The Dragon then liberated her from that home situation, and she jumped at the chance to give him her loyalty. 4) James Truesdale, another Zodiac member, has a particularly painful one that he hides behind a mask of stoicism and thinly-disguised contempt for his sister and father: his mother died giving birth to his sister, and his father made him keep his grief hidden for the sake of the little girl. He blows up spectacularly when he finally reveals his past and his repressed anger.
- X-Men: The Early Years: Scott can't stand Bruno, a high-school bully he meets in "Boy Scouts, Sex, and Other Mysterious Things". Scott's parole officer explains Bruno's father was abusive, and Bruno needs to be taught how to behave.
Carol: Good, now that we're alone. I'm asking you to try to be a little nicer to Bruno, okay? I know it's not an easy task and he's not the most pleasant person you'll ever meet. Bruno's not a bad kid Scott. Yes, I know he's a bully, but he's only acting out what he knows. What his father taught him.
Scott: So? That makes it okay for him to threaten to hurt Bobby? That makes it okay for him to threaten to hurt someone younger than he is?
Carol: No, of course not. But Bruno has only threatened, and he actually hasn't made a move to hurt Bobby. That leaves a lot of room for you to let it slide off your back and compromise until he actually tries something. If Bruno tries to hurt Bobby, you won't be the first one to trounce him. Trust me.
Scott: Compromise, in my experience, has always been another word for lose.
Carol: You are so wrong, Scott. Compromise most times is the only way everyone wins. Bruno is acting out the lessons that his drunken, abusive father taught him. Don't act out the lessons that Jack taught you. Don't let Jack win like that.