So, you've got The Atoner, he has done some bad things and regrets them. He works hard to be redeemed and you think he's going to get support, right?
Wrong. There is a character, a very vindictive person who wants nothing better than to force the Atoner to wallow in his guilt.
Perhaps The Atoner was once The Dragon, and his master wants him to feel that redemption is impossible. Perhaps it was someone who was hurt by The Atoner and doesn't want them to be redeemed, because what they did to them is something they cannot forgive. The former often overlaps with Evil Cannot Comprehend Good and the latter case usually overlaps with He Who Fights Monsters. In some cases, this is because the person who refuses to forgive The Atoner believes that he is only faking his remorse. Sometimes, the accuser may become the sole reason why the Atoner decides to become evil again. The refusing, vindictive person might be called out by the others, for holding grudges.
A sibling to Rejected Apology, where one character refuses to accept an apology from another character. Compare to Never Accepted In His Home Town, Inspector Javert, Reformed, but Rejected, No Sympathy For Grudge Holders, and He Who Fights Monsters. See Dislikes the New Guy when the same scenario happens not with an atoner but a new member on a team. Contrast with Karma Houdini and also Easily Forgiven. If the accuser is right all along but no one believes him, it overlaps with Cassandra Truth.
- Dragon Ball:
- Dragon Ball: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans: Dr. Raichi doesn't care that Goku is apologetic for what the Saiyans did to his people, and says that he will never forgive the Saiyans for their crimes against the Tuffles, even if the gods themselves do.
- Dragon Ball GT: Baby, a Tuffle like Dr. Raichi, is much the same. When told that the Saiyans who actually wiped out the Tuffles are long-dead and his grudge is pointless, Baby flat-out says he doesn't care.
- In one episode of Kino's Journey, a man who was once a ruthless killer tries to atone by accompanying a woman whose husband he had murdered. However, not long after their expedition, the woman shoots him several times, unable to forgive what he had done.
- My Hero Academia: Endeavor starts the series as the Number Two hero in Japan, second only to All Might, who he is obsessed with surpassing. This obsession reaches the point of trying to create children who can surpass All Might when he realizes he can't do it himself and leads to the death of his eldest son, his wife being institutionalized, and his remaining three children stuck in varying degrees of resentment or outright hatred towards him. When All Might's retirement thrusts Endeavor into the position of Number One hero, he gets a taste of what that really means and begins to realize just how much harm he's done. He tries to make amends with his remaining family, acknowledges that they have no obligation to forgive him, and even realizes the best thing he can do for all their sakes is go away and stay away. However, a ghost from his past turns up in the form of one of the members of the League of Villains. Dabi is his not-quite-dead eldest son, Toya, all grown up, filled with murderous rage, and ecstatic at the chance to take revenge on Endeavor. He reveals his true identity to Endeavor and his youngest brother, Shoto, in person while he's also broadcasting his life story, including a rundown of all of Endeavor's misdeeds alongside his own. As he says to a shocked Endeavor:
"You must've thought, 'as long as I can face the future, I can be better!' I can tell you're at a loss for words, so here's the answer! The past never dies! Get it, yet?! Y'reap what you sow! So let's tango, you and me — Enji Todoroki!!
- Dave Chappelle has a hilarious double-subversion in a skit in which he exacts revenge on several people who wronged him in the past. However, the last person seems to truly feel bad for what he's done (banning him from his club) after things have gone downhill. At first, he seems to have forgiven him...before pushing him down a flight of stairs in his wheelchair and still setting the whole club ablaze.
- In Astonishing X-Men, Kitty Pryde's reaction to Emma Frost as a teacher at the X-Academy is less than enthusiastic. It subsequently turned out that Emma deliberately arranged for Kitty to join the staff, because she needed to have someone around who would notice if she started turning evil again and wouldn't make excuses for her.
- In Teen Titans Cassandra Sandsmark / Wonder Girl has a very antagonistic relationship with Rose Wilson/Ravager, and the two young women frequently argue. Cassandra was the one to think the worst of Rose Wilson, believing that Rose didn't belong on the team. Even when it looks like she is making peace with Rose, she reveals that she still dislikes her and considers her a one-eyed sociopath, stating that she is a murderer who is homicidal and warped beyond words and that she both cannot be helped and does not want to be helped.
- Wonder Woman (Rebirth): When Barbara repents and reveals how horrific being Cheetah has been for her and that she was essentially tricked into it both Diana and Etta forgive her and accept her back. Steve does not, especially since the trick only worked because Barbara didn't believe in Diana.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act VI: Talon Ryashen makes it clear that even if the members of Fairy Tale who actually experimented on him and turned him into a Half-Human Hybrid are long dead, he doesn't care; as far as he's concerned, everyone who was ever a member of Fairy Tale for any reason is responsible and irredeemably evil in his eyes, and he won't stop until they're all dead. This includes Dark, Akua, and Kahlua, who voluntarily left the organization when they realized what Fairy Tale was really after, and were instrumental in saving the world from Alucard.
- Asuka refuses to forgive Ritsuko for all the horrible things she did to Rei in the Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic Advice and Trust, even after Rei herself forgives her. However, she never makes her contempt known directly.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Forgotten Friendship has the villain erase everyone's memories of Sunset Shimmer's HeelFace Turn due to Sunset's insensitivity making them think she hadn't truly reformed. And they're jealous of Sunset being so popular everyone's seemingly forgotten about their past misdeeds while she's just forgotten and ignored.
- In Army of Frankensteins, Virginia's sister Maggie doesn't believe that the Frankensteins are on their side, and ends up stabbing the leader in the middle of a battle against the Confederates. Walton has her Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
- Benchwarmers: One of the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits turns out to be a former bully who regrets his past actions. The other Benchwarmers and their fans feel betrayed and kick him out when they find out because he had hidden this from them and pretended to have been bullied instead. They forgive him when his former victim intercedes on his behalf after receiving an apology.
- The League of Shadows are basically this in The Dark Knight Rises. Years after their first attempt to destroy Gotham in Batman Begins, they try again, even though their job is to destroy cities filled with corruption. So they try to reinstate their plan to destroy the city after eight years of peace in Gotham. Gets worse when you realize that 90% of the new crime wave in Gotham was their fault (not such a surprise given that a large part of the reason Gotham became such a Wretched Hive in the first place was because of their manipulations).
- The league justifies this by pointing out that street crime is down, but that the rich are basically above the law, which is another flavour of corruption.
- Played around with in Ringu 0. The journalist Akiko Miyaji was determined to find out about and get revenge on Sadako, knowing that she was responsible for her fiancé's death. However, we see that Sadako isn't really evil and malicious as the former believes. But when Akiko reveals Sadako's past traumas to the entire theater group and audience, it leads to an inevitable yet depressing Downer Ending.
- In The Boys (2019), Hughie spends most of the second season being this towards Butcher after he Took a Level in Kindness, and is the only team member who doesn't trust him after his return. However, he comes around after Butcher saves his life once more.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- The gypsies who gave Angel his soul, in retaliation for the murder of one of their own, in an effort to make him suffer eternal guilt. Generations later, the gypsies would still try to make sure Angel never finds happiness. Justified as him having a moment of perfect happiness would trigger the Curse Escape Clause and unleash his soulless self Angelus, although that clause would have been less of a problem if they had actually told him about it.
- Likewise, the spinoff Angel has Daniel Holtz, Season 3's Big Bad, whose vendetta towards Angel runs so deep, he actually goes as far as to erase Angel's heroic acts from recorded history, and his Evil Plan was to keep Angel from truly redeeming himself.
- In House of Payne, CJ becomes this when Blue, a drug dealer and Big Bad of the story arc of Janine's crack addiction, seeks repentance in a church as he was dying of AIDS. When Janine and Ella work to help take care of him and pray for him, CJ doesn't support him and gets mad at Janine for helping him. At one point, he goes to the church and simply says "I don't know what you're trying to prove — that man is beyond your prayers." and walks out. He gets better when Ella gives him a What the Hell, Hero? speech about being a true Christian, and at Blue's last moments, CJ goes to pray for Blue's repentance at Blue's bedside.
- The Trope Namer, Satan, is called this. It is said when a sinner seeks repentance, that Satan would fill their hearts with guilty feelings to make them feel separated from God and force them over the Despair Event Horizon. Not only that but one of the words Satan's very name translates to "Accuser"note and Jesus had called the accusing Pharisees "Sons of the devil". Albeit those particular accusations were in a different context, but even so, there's a reason why Jesus places No Sympathy For Grudge Holders in his teachings on forgiveness.
- In 1991, arch-rivals CMLL and Lucha Libre Internacional put aside around twenty years of animosity and started co-promoting shows at semi-regular intervals. This lead to, among other things, perennial UWA World Heavyweight Champion El Canek becoming one half of CMLL's first World Tag Team\Pareja Champions with Dr. Wagner Junior and popular CMLL star Vampiro defeating Canek to win said UWA belt. Unfortunately, LLI/UWA fans hated Vampiro as much as CMLL's love him, to the point giving him the belt permanently drove away large swaths of the LLI fan base. This caused El Canek to vacate the CMLL pareja belts in 1994 and go back to working for LLI full time in an attempt to salvage the company. He failed and returned to CMLL in 2004, graciously welcomed back by almost every luchador after his ten-year absence, accept for Dr. Wagner Junior, who never forgave Canek for leaving when CMLL itself was facing some hardship in from the dual front of a recession and the emergence of AAA. Dr. Wagner Junior was even more upset still that Canek's departure forced him to vacate a belt as well.
- In 1994, Tammy Lynn Sytch tried her hand at wrestling alongside Chris Candido in Smokey Mountain Wrestling. Deciding it wasn't for her, she went back to being a full-time valet in 1995, stating that women shouldn't be wrestlers, period, which just so happened to coincide with women wrestlers disappearing from the national pro wrestling scene almost entirely until 2002. By the late 2000s, Sytch had changed her mind and became more supportive of her peers who wanted to be wrestlers, which went over well enough in WSU, but got her chewed out by The Lovely Lacey in Ring of Honor for being the reason women had such a hard time making it as wrestlers.
- In 2004, Ring of Honor lost one of its founders and its DVD distributor to the RF Video scandal, was facing the very real prospect of going out of business and their premier Tag Team The Briscoes weren't there to lean on due to Mark being injured in a motorcycle accident and Jay not taking any bookings anywhere, refusing to continue on a pro wrestler without his brother. They returned to ROH in 2005 and with praise for Generation Next for keeping things going in their absence but one member, Roderick Strong, was not reciprocal, refusing to acknowledge that Jay was anything but a Tag Team wrestler and or Mark as anything other than "baby Briscoe" for eleven years.
- Jeff Hardy showing up unfit to defend the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Victory Road caused fan and critic alike to call it the worst pay per view of 2011. Six months later in August, Hardy would return to TNA for the purpose of making up for the embarrassment he caused the company and found himself hounded by TNA founder Jeff Jarrett the whole way, for causing an embarrassment to the company.
- In 2008, Ring of Honor got some welcome publicity when it was used for the climax of the critically acclaimed The Wrestler. Unfortunately, Austin Aries found the film so depressing he declined to return to ROH, EVOLVE, or Dragon Gate, with intent to give up pro wrestling until he was convinced to return... to TNA, the company that in the past had fired him for appearing at an ROH show. ROH fans were pleased to see Aries return in 2015; Kyle O'Reilly, on the other hand, wanted to hit him in the face for leaving in the first place.
- This is part of the backstory for the iconic Slayer Zadim in Pathfinder. Sent to kill a Taldan noble who persecuted followers of Sarenae, he tracks him down but ultimately finds a Paladin who is actively working to atone for his past transgressions. He finds himself torn between becoming this or letting him find his forgiveness.
- Alistair Smythe is this to Curt Connors in The Amazing Spider-Man. Ever since the Lizard's rampage, Smythe was made the head of Oscorp's science experiments and always blamed Connors for the continuation of the Cross Species experiments. When the virus breaks out and Connors develops a cure, he kidnaps Connors, and later reveals the reason he did so was that he didn't want the city to be saved with the solution Connors created, rather than the nanobot cocktail Smythe created.
- The Greek Gods of the God of War series are more or less this, given that Athena tells Kratos that while they will forgive him for killing his family, they will never let him forget. However, Athena also notes even the Gods couldn't forget what he did, so it's less intentional than others.
- A heroic example with the Phantom Thieves from Persona 5. While they cause Heel Face Turns in their Targets by stealing hearts, forgiveness and redemption is never part of the equation; the express purpose of inducing such crushing guilt in people like Kamoshida and letting them live with it as pariahs rather than killing them is because they think it's a far worse fate for them.
- In Tomodachi Life, your Miis can potentially become this if they reject an apology after an argument. This calms them down as well, but it sends the apologizing Mii into a Despair Event Horizon where they cannot stop thinking about them.
- Cecilia from Daughter for Dessert is determined to destroy the protagonist, since she holds him responsible for Lainies death - and legally, he did steal from her bank account.
- Double Homework:
- It seems that a part of Dennis motivation for behavior toward the protagonist comes from a resentment from how the protagonist, a jock, behaved in the past toward him, a nerd.
- Another character with the same sentiment appears after the protagonist enrolls in the regular summer school program.
- Zig-Zagged by Diane in Bojack Horseman. She's Bojack's foil and the closest thing he has to a best friend, but while she supports his efforts to change and become a better person she refuses to acknowledge their similarities and considers herself better than him. This comes to a head in Season 5 when their relationship is irreparably damaged by Diane writing Bojack's dirty laundry into the show they were working on together out of spite before giving him a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech over his past actions, despite her being guilty of similar ones herself. They eventually make up, but things are awkward for a while.
- In the Family Guy episode, "And I'm Joyce Kinney", the title character tries to ruin Lois' reputation by revealing that she was in a porno movie, as payback for when Lois humiliated her in high school. When Lois is forgiven, Joyce gets angry.