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Can't Take Criticism

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"A fool spurns the discipline of his father, but one who heeds reproof becomes clever. "

It's hard to listen to criticism, whether it's being criticized for not doing things correctly or it's being criticized for bad choices. Whatever the case is, it's easy for characters to break down miserably or lash out in anger. This character hates being criticized in every way possible. At best, they often mistake the criticism for a more than Constructive Criticism, or maybe the criticism was too unpleasant and harsh for them to handle. At worst, the character just naturally hates criticism period, and would rather listen to something they want to hear. Even gentle criticism will cause the character to dish out Disproportionate Retribution. Not even a Compassionate Critic or an Honest Advisor can deal with this character.

In moral situations, a character who resents being rebuked for doing something wrong (usually a hero bordering Anti-Hero territory) can make him worse than ever. If the character is a villain, showing displeasure in criticism for his wickedness can demonstrate how they cannot comprehend good; sometimes, the villain might even have a Villainous Breakdown. This can be seen as a character getting revenge on those who had a justifiable reason to criticize them, which makes them petty.

This encompasses narcissistic characters like the Insufferable Genius, Entitled Bastard, and The Prima Donna. It is also the hallmark of a Small Name, Big Ego character. Can easily make the character prone to Wangst.

In extreme examples, criticism itself can be a character's Berserk Button.

Although this character type is often unsympathetic, there are examples where someone has just received legitimately terrible criticism throughout their lives so often from abusive caretakers, incompetent instructors, or various other authorities that it functions more like a legitimate trigger. In these cases it’s not so much that they can’t take criticism as that criticism has become understandably unbearable, due to it being linked to past trauma. In addition, despite seeming like this trope's polar opposite, people suffering from Chronic Self-Deprecation tend to also suffer criticism poorly; they already feel they're worthless to begin with, so any criticism aimed at them just comes off as insult to injury.

Compare Minor Insult Meltdown if it's one single criticism that shakes up a character. Someone who is this may also be Prone to Tears, with the criticism triggering tears instead of rage. Often overlaps into With Due Respect. The trademark method of ensuring a Bad Boss will be set on destroying you is to commit this trope. Can be a response to a complainer who actually is right for once. If someone's constructive criticism ends up being a Fisticuff-Provoking Comment, it's a sure sign that person's attempt has failed. A Straw Critic character or a Take That, Critics! moment might stem from this flaw on part of the author.

While this is unfortunately Truth in Television (and got many messengers shot), the amount of real life examples would flood the page, so we ask not to add them.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Aggretsuko Anai, despite putting up a friendly, eager-to-work exterior, freaks out at any criticism, no matter how light, and uses hostile emails to blackmail the target of his rage and accuse them of "workplace harassment". While at first this is limited to his mentor Retsuko (for giving him advice on answering the phone), soon everyone in the office is terrified of him, even Director Ton. This stems from his insecurities about growing up, and he gets better after Kabae takes him under her wing.
  • Assassination Classroom: Nagisa's mother utterly has this problem when we meet her. She didn't have much of a childhood and sees Nagisa as, in his own words, a New Game Plus to the point she dresses him in girly clothes and hairstyles since she originally wanted a girl. If challenged, she goes absolutely ballistic. During a Parent-Teacher meeting with Koro-sensei, Koro tells her bluntly that she has to ease off Nagisa and let him choose his own way in life rather than trying to control it. Naturally, she raises a major fuss and storms out. Wouldn't have been too bad...until she drugs Nagisa that night, takes him to the E-Class building, and tries to force him to burn it down.
  • Played for Laughs In CLANNAD. Sanae runs out crying when anyone says her bread is bad. It's almost inedible.
  • This is Light Yagami's biggest flaw (springing directly from his overwhelming Pride) in Death Note. Suggesting or outright stating that what he is doing as Kira is wrong or evil is a very good way to wind up with your name in his Death Note. He also walks out on a family meeting where his father is calling Kira nothing but a murderer and later he looks visibly upset when the Kira Taskforce begins to (rightly) doubt his innocence again. In fact, when Lind L. Tailor insulted him on national television, calling what he was doing evil, Light's immediate response was to use the Death Note to kill him on the spot, writing his name extra big in there!
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Springing directly from his pride, Muzan hates being criticized in any way, shape, or form; mocking or even mildly correcting/contradicting him is a very good way to provoke him into brutally killing you on the spot. He murdered two drunks for merely insulting his appearance, and when Kagaya expresses pity and sadness for the life he led, Muzan only interpreted his words as insults and threats.
  • Denjin N: Misaki's idol group is noted to be not very good and she's aware of it. Tadahiro responds to any criticism online towards them, valid or not, with murder.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Frieza nonchalantly mentions that when he was told he'd never be worthy of the Namekian Dragon Balls, he killed the elder who said so. As he puts it, he's never taken bad news well.
    Frieza: Well, as you can imagine, I had quite a difficult time convincing the poor fellow to see me as worthy. I was told flat-out I'd never obtain a single Dragon Ball. And since I've never been one to take bad news well, I'm afraid I killed him.
  • Derek in Dramacon when Linda, a professional OEL Manga artist, tries to give him and his, at the time, girlfriend, Christie, tips on how to improve their skills. While Christie takes it to heart, Derek doesn't respond well to it and later calls her a "stuck up bitch" when out of earshot.
  • Gregory Horror Show: Hell's Chef, the golem-like candle, does not take criticism of his cooking, real or perceived very well. One rude pig patron in The Last Train found this out the hard way, and was served up as the evening's pork dish. Befitting the symbolism of human psychology in the series, Hell's Chef physically embodies this trope in general.
  • Hello! Sandybell: Kitty is a Spoiled Brat who can't fathom the idea that she could ever be in the wrong. In the first episode, she shoots a bird, and is surprised when Sandybell tells her that her actions are cruel and runs away with it, hoping to heal it's injuries. Kitty goes to the school to complain, but they all agree with Sandybell. Leslie suggests that Kitty stop hunting, and she fumes with anger.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: Mocking Yoshikage Kira's ability to keep his identity a secret is a good way to get a fist through the chest. And even if he's not immediately plotting to kill anybody, insulting his special bowling pin nail clippers, will have him stalk someone back home, force them to apologize, and then blow them up.
    • Stone Ocean: Donatello Versus increasingly grows frustrated with Pucci constantly pointing out how Jolyne is finding a way to escape his trap and constantly demanding Pucci to shut up.
  • In Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Commodore Falk has a mental breakdown when Free Planet Alliance Admiral Bewcock calls him out for sitting far behind the frontlines and proposes that the two of them switch places so that Falk can prove that he not just all talk. Said breakdown is so severe that he loses his sight and has to be hospitalized.
  • One Piece: More than a few people on both sides of the law fall victim to this, but the ones who take this the furthest have to be the Celestial Dragons, people "of noble blood" so haughty and full of themselves that they encase themselves in dive suits so they don't have to breathe the same air as normal people. They're also the power behind the World Government. Needless to say, when someone like Luffy comes along and calls them out on their bullshit, they don't take it well.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it is implied that Isabel the Artist Witch was once a magical girl who didn't like criticism. Like what her card description says, "In order to defeat this Witch, remember to bring a critic."
  • Record of Ragnarok: Poseidon gets triggered upon hearing Kojiro remark that his ideal as a God — a being of perfection who has no need for supporters — is "a sad existence". To him, a "small fry" challenging his worldview is unacceptable.
  • Rosario + Vampire: In the anime, during the fight against Kuyou, Inner Moka tells him that he's nothing but a corrupt bastard and has no right to "preach about preserving order and protecting the peace." In response, Kuyou angrily tells her to shut up right before Moka drop-kicks him through the roof.
  • Sailor Moon: It's not easy for Usagi to accept getting called out for making an irresponsible choice. This often leads to a Minor Insult Meltdown on her behalf.
  • Sword Art Online: When Kirito pulls off his Heroic Second Wind and tears him down verbally, declaring he's nothing but a "king of thieves, sitting alone on a stolen throne," Sugou/Oberon is outraged that Kirito dares speak to him in such a manner and tries to summon Excalibur to cut him down with; unfortunately for him, thanks to Kayaba's intervention, Sugou no longer has admin privileges.
    Sugou: You little punk... you dare... you dare talk to me like that?!
  • Voltes V: Played With in the case of Prince Heinel. In the earlier episodes, Heinel would become enraged at his comrades going against him and implying anything less than complete obedience to his orders. However, Heinel mellows out later, and when Katherine alerts him of Zuhl's betrayal, he listens to her advice, and thanks her when it saves his life. At the same time Heinel is extremely sensetive to the idea that the Emperor disapproves of him. It isn't until Zambajil orders his forces to abandon him that Heinel accepts this.

    Comic Books 
  • Irredeemable: Deconstructed by The Plutonian. Back when he was a hero, he had an intense need for affection and to be liked and while he had millions praising him, he could not shake off the thousands of critical comments at him. The deconstruction comes from the fact that his Super-Senses are so powerful he could hear every single one. Even if it is not much criticism, being able to hear it by the thousands is still psychologically damaging. Worse still was when he escaped to the moon for a few minutes of peace and quiet... which led to an outbreak of a fatal disease spread by children screaming. All due to a minor error in judgment he made (trusting a scientist with a small piece of alien tech to study). When Samsara loses faith in Plutonian for this, it's the last straw for him.
  • In the Supergirl storyline Last Daughter of Krypton, Jor-El warned his brother Zor-El that his biological experiments were dangerous and could incur the wrath of the planetary Science Council. Zor-El took great offense and refused to meet or talk to his brother ever again, even though he knew their — and their planet's — days were numbered.
  • Frank from Mini Monsters is prideful with his knowledge and doesn't take critics very well. This is due to his own lack of self-esteem, which tries to hide with a mask of happiness and self-confidence, all for the well-being of the Frank's gang. However, he slowly begins to overcome it.
  • Robin (1993): Dodge reacts to Robin's attempts to tell him that a stolen teleportation belt is not a substitute for training and study when it comes to heroics by jumping into a hostage situation, endangering all the hostages and then having his belt damaged. When the belt malfunctions and he wakes up a month later in the hospital, he decides that it's Robin's fault things went sideways and chooses to become a villain in order to teach Robin a lesson.
  • Megatron from Transformers (2019) proves to be a particularly monstrous version of this trope. His primary goal is to get the Cybertron High Council to overturn the long-standing Nominus Edict, a rule that's caused the planet to become stagnant in his eyes. His means, however, are secretly founding a terrorist group that he controls to carry out acts of violence in order to scare the population, and has effectively taken over the faction of his mentor simply to claim power for his own. Any criticism of his plans, or of his motives, lands the first bot to do so a quick thrashing.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this MonsterVerse fanfiction, Rodan doesn't like being reminded of when Ghidorah dominated and humiliated him in the past, and he has a short temper on top of that. Maia Simmons comments that her father Walter tends to say he's open to constructive criticism and then say in the same breath that you and whatever you've just said are stupid.
  • For His Own Sake: Naru and Motoko really don't take it well when someone calls them out on their flaws or actions, especially when they're true. Case in point: when Shinobu tells them point-blank that they're nothing but bullies who use violence to try to get their way, Motoko responds by slapping Shinobu across the face and standing back to watch as Naru prepares to beat her to a pulp, which does nothing but prove Shinobu right.
  • At the end of Eugenesis, Rodimus Prime asks Ratchet a question deliberately intended to upset him just to stop Ratchet from lecturing him about doing something that would cause debilitating psychological harm to a group of badly traumatised patients.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • In Act III chapter 23, the girls of the group call out Apoch and Astreal for their uncharacteristically harsh treatment of Yukari, stating that they can't just act like that. Apoch and Astreal's response? They scream at the others not to tell them what to do and then blow up Felucia with little-to-no provocation before lying to Ms. Nekonome to get the girls kicked out of class.
    • Fitting her extreme stubbornness, Arial Kuyumaya hates being called out on her Jerkass behavior or Hair-Trigger Temper, responding with extreme annoyance at best and physical violence at worst.. For example, in Act VI chapter 44, after Mizore tells her that she's going to end up driving away all of her friends due to her temper, Arial responds by shooting Mizore in the forehead with an ice shard and screaming at her to "do them all a favor" and shut up.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, the clearing team gets trapped in a boss room by a Game-Breaking Bug and starts complaining to each other about SAO's many glitches. Unbeknownst to them, the game's lead developer has been masquerading as a player, who starts to get really defensive toward the game, which leads to Kirito Spotting the Thread.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3: Final Stand:
    • In New Light chapter 15, when Pith tells Patria that her willingness to torture one of their enemies for information makes her no better than Xehanort or Maleficent, Patria responds by pinning Pith to the wall by the neck and threatening to kill him if he doesn't shut up.
    • In Moons of Fate chapter 6, Rimi gives Minoru a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, telling him point-blank he's a horrible Captain of the Guard and hasn't done anything worthy of praise, unlike Yamato. Minoru's response is to lose his temper and backhand Rimi across the face while chewing her out for her "blatant disrespect"... which immediately bites him in the ass when Ansem, having seen everything, fires him on the spot.
  • Many of the in-story fanfic writers have this trait in Bleach: Fan Works, dismissing anyone who posts a negative review of their work as "flamers," even if said work isn't very good. It doesn't help that many of the reviewers are fairly rude, even if they're right.
  • In New Hope University: Major In Murder, after Saya Wild manages to expose and convict the first culprit, Lucina visits her in her room, and says that while she appreciates what Saya accomplished, she's also concerned about Saya's manipulative tendencies (withholding a crucial piece of evidence, deliberately making mistakes and letting others think they'd come up with things she'd realized). Since this is a Danganronpa fic and a team player in one trial can end up becoming the culprit of the next, Lucina's fears are well-founded. Saya, however, angrily reminds Lucina that she just saved Lucina and everyone else, and asks if Lucina would prefer that Saya let everyone die next time.

    Film — Animated 
  • Balto: When Steele hears his musher remark that he's starting to lose his edge, the malamute’s pompous smile slowly melts and is replaced by an angry scowl and he snarls.
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: Terry McGinnis exploits this mercilessly against the Joker to break the clown mentally in a manner Batman couldn't do, pointing out that beneath his Smug Snake façade lies a stupid Manchild who failed to break Bruce despite his efforts, disses his motives for villainy, and snidely calls his jokes lame. Joker explodes in anger, leaving only the monster from that point on. For his part, Joker thought Terry was a Bat-fake, but the final fight proves him wrong: Terry is OK with fighting dirty and turning the Joker's mind games back at him.
    Terry: You make me laugh... But only because I think you're kinda pathetic. [mocking laughter]
    The Joker: Stop that!
    Terry: So you fell in a tank of acid, got your skin bleached, and decided to become a super villain. What, you couldn't get work as a rodeo clown? [continues laughing]
    The Joker: Don't you dare laugh at me...
    Terry: Why? I thought the Joker always wanted to make Batman laugh!
    The Joker: YOU'RE NOT BATMAN!
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Prince John from Disney's Robin Hood (1973) definitely qualifies for this. For example, when Hiss is going off on an "I warned you" rant after he's robbed by a Disguised in Drag Robin and Little John, he responds by angrily smashing a mirror over Hiss's head.
    • The Lion King (1994): Whenever someone compares him to his dead brother Mufasa or criticizes the damage his ineffectual rule has caused to the Pride Lands, Scar promptly explodes in anger. This is probably because deep down, he knows that it's true. He can't stand hearing Mufasa's name to the point of making a law against saying it in his presence.
    • Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame gets extremely furious whenever his views are critiqued.
    • Dinosaur: Kron. He's so convinced that his way is the right way that he won't tolerate anyone suggesting otherwise. Even Bruton is curtly cut off when he suggests having the herd rest at a more sheltered spot than the one Kron has chosen. He's especially caustic towards Aladar's objections to his treatment of the weaker members of the herd. This stubborn attitude is ultimately his undoing when his refusal to listen to Aladar's warnings costs him his leadership and eventually his life.
  • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: The Big Bad Morgana, sister of the first film's villain Ursula, flies into a rage when criticized, mostly because her and Ursula's mother criticized her a lot and favored Ursula better.
  • In The Lorax (2012), when the forest is nearly wiped out, the Lorax asks the Once-ler if the sight of him makes him feel guilty or reminds him of "the man you used to be?" The Once-ler responds by aggressively driving him back down a staircase and snarling at him that he's done nothing wrong.
  • In Ratatouille, Supreme Chef Auguste Gusteau died after receiving one bad review from Caustic Critic Anton Ego. Gusteau was a No Celebrities Were Harmed reference to real-life chef Bernard Loiseau, who was Driven to Suicide by clinical depression that was exacerbated by a bad review, debt, and media speculation over his possible future loss of a Michelin star.
  • Sausage Party: As Frank sees the hard way, critiquing people’s beliefs can piss them off.
  • The Secret of Kells: Abbott Cellach has this mentality whenever someone questions or doubts him regarding building the wall to protect Kells. He either shuts up his dissenters or throws his nephew to the brig for outwardly doubting him. He soon regrets and sees that his naysayers were right when his single-minded focus on building his wall actually led to Kells and some of the citizens being destroyed.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • Ladies, be warned: A man who wants a virgin for his wife is a man who can't handle criticism.

  • In The Dresden Files Winter Queen Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness is this in a public forum. If Harry criticized and called her out for her machinations while holding a gun to her head with people present, she would have killed him without hesitation. In private, she will accept Harry's suggestions and arguments, but if they delve into any moral judgment, she will smack him hard enough to dent an elevator's wall.
  • Oona Out of Order: Edward's restaurant gets bad reviews and few customers. Oona makes suggestions to increase business like improving the website and getting help with search engine optimization instead of just direct mail. He responds by getting sarcastic. The same happens when she points out the food is too fussy and too expensive.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, Daylen hates having his flaws pointed out, which he admits is a problem in a conversation with Ahrek.
  • The Silmarillion: This is Feänor's Fatal Flaw. While he is a genuine genius, he is also arrogant and hot-headed, can't accept that he might be in the wrong, considers even the most carefully couched criticism to be a personal insult, and responds in kind.
  • Sorry, Bro: Nareh thinks this of herself, saying her response is either shutting down and then profusely apologizing or hitting back if criticized.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock:
    • Jack is very reluctant to ever admit he is wrong, though he has no problem with doling out criticism to others. When he does admit he is wrong, he will often have some excuse for it.
    • Jenna often outright refuses to hear comments about her that aren't about how pretty or talented she is. Other times, she breaks down into hysterics over something not going her way, threatening to harm herself or others.
  • America Unearthed has Scott Wolter who fits this trope in spades and demonizes anyone that does criticize him.
  • In American Horror Story: Coven, Madison was criticized by her director for her performance of a music video, which resulted in her killing the director.
  • Arrested Development: Lucille Bluth refuses to acknowledge any criticism of her parenting, and in the rare instances she does, it's to guilt trip her children into recanting their complaints.
    Michael: I just haven't met anybody who's not self-absorbed and impossible to have a conversation with.
    Lucille: If that's a veiled criticism about me, I won't hear it, and I won't respond to it.
  • The Big Bang Theory: This is often Played for Laughs. A lot of the cast have moments of this to some degree, but Sheldon Cooper absolutely cannot abide it. When Stephen Hawking corrects his work, it's like a Logic Bomb: as he can't accept that he made an elementary mistake, but he can't contradict the great Stephen Hawking... so he faints.
    Stephen Hawking: "Great... another fainter!"
  • Big Brother 16 has a variant with Zach. He spent much of the season insulting people and zinging them (Including calling Nicole a "Fruit Loop Dingus") When Kathy Griffin entered and gave him a zing, what was his response? Sit down, put his hands over his head, and talk about how that hurt him in the diary room.
  • Breaking Bad: In "Say My Name", Mike Ehrmantraut massively chews out Walter White for his Pride and ego getting in the way of the meth business. Walt's response? He gets pissed off and shoots the hitman inside the latter's car.
    • In the spin-off show Better Call Saul, Chuck, the brother of Jimmy McGill (the future Saul Goodman), becomes enraged beyond belief when a potential client tells him that he got a simple fact wrong. This was mostly due to Jimmy manipulating the situation, yet Chuck's self-righteousness and inability to admit that he's incorrect does make him fall into this trope.
  • Cheers: Diane. Depending on who the one criticizing her is, she'll either pout, sulk, ignore them or, if it's Sam Malone, tell him how he's the worst person to ever live.
  • Susan Mayer of Desperate Housewives is an exceedingly immature person and so reacts to criticism like a petulant child, to the point she's endangered her own life rather than accept she isn't perfect and not everybody likes her. In Season Three when Susan goes chasing after Mike up a mountain, she spends the hike complaining to the trail guide about her relationship issues. The guide eventually gets sick of this and calls Susan out on being a Drama Queen who actively creates her own problems. Susan responds to this by throwing a hissy fit and storming off on her own, leaving a post-it note telling the guide she "doesn't need advice from you". It's only thanks to Mike overhearing the trail guide complaining about some stupid ditz to her colleagues that he manages to find Susan, who has predictably gotten lost and twisted her ankle. She learns nothing from the experience.
  • Frasier: Frasier himself tends to be incredibly thin-skinned, often obsessing over criticism, whether warranted or not, for days, if not longer. Somewhat ironic, given one of his earliest appearances in Cheers has him trying to tell Diane to take a joke.
    • His former sister-in-law Maris is even worse as whenever she’s reprimanded, she throws a huge tantrum. Frasier even recalled that she was sulking in her golf cart when he harmlessly questioned her serving veal’s political correctness. During her marriage counselling with Niles, she fired any therapist who dared suggest the marriage's problems might've been her fault.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Whenever Ramsay Bolton is resisted or challenged, he reacts with poorly-suppressed rage.
    • Joffrey Baratheon hates having his authority challenged, and will often punish someone cruelly if they do so. When someone beyond his power to punish undermines his authority, however, it typically results in a temper tantrum.
    • Any attempt to call Cersei Lannister out on her poor decisions or dysfunctional plans will result in her brushing it off or entering a state of cold rage.
      Cersei: I've done nothing.
      Tyrion: Quite right, you did nothing...when your son called for Lord Stark's head!
      Cersei: I tried to stop him...
      Tyrion: Did you? You failed! That bit of theatre will haunt our family for a generation! Now the entire North has risen up against us...
      Cersei: Robb Stark is a child...
      Tyrion: Who's won every battle he's fought!
  • Rory Gilmore of Gilmore Girls. Her mother, grandparents, and basically the entire town of Stars Hollow talk about Rory as though she's the physical embodiment of pure perfection. She genuinely is very intelligent, capable and generally well-liked, but she also has no idea how to handle someone who doesn't think she's perfect. She's got quite a few obvious flaws like being incredibly spoiled and sheltered, not being nearly as good of a writer as she believes, and generally being pretty terrible to her boyfriends, but has a meltdown anytime any of those things are pointed out, either throwing a fit or shutting down completely. It's so bad that even her friends and family dont't deal well with her being criticised. Anyone suggesting she's less than perfect while they're in earshot will most likely get shouted down for even suggesting that Rory did something wrong or isn't as perfect as everyone thinks.
  • Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is a proud and unyielding She-Elf who never likes her decisions to be questioned because she believes she knows better than everyone around her. Halbrand simply tries to advise her on how to get under Miriel's skin and she takes it like a personal attack.
  • The Mighty Boosh: Howard Moon is so bad at handling criticism that he punches Mrs. Gideon when she begins criticising his book. He can only be calmed down with a photo of some kittens in a barrel.
  • My World… and Welcome to It: John is normally very thin-skinned when others criticize his work. Examples:
    • "The Ghost and Mr. Monroe" sees John temporarily quit his magazine job when managing editor Hamilton Greeley critiques one of his cartoons.
    • When John submits two of his cartoons to his daughter's school newspaper in "The Fourth Estate," he is very upset to find that the student who serves as managing editor rejected them as unacceptable. John is sufficiently irked that he goes over to the boy's house to confront him about it.
  • Oz: Incompetent guard Clayton Hughes refuses to accept any sort of criticism in spite of the numerous times his attempts to gain respect from the inmates blow up in his face. It ultimately gets him fired, and he subsequently descends into unhinged radicalism, culminating in him trying to assassinate Governor Devlin.
  • Power Rangers S.P.D.: Doggie Kruger, while dealing with his nightmares about his Dark and Troubled Past, has this problem. Every time it happens, he finds himself in a very bad mood and lashes out at others at the nearest sight. If challenged, he goes ballistic. When Kat, who knows about his situation, confronts him about his Refusal of the Call when an old enemy of his comes to attack, he just makes a fuss.
  • Power Rangers Dino Fury: Ollie is often an insufferable know-it-all. When one of his old teachers pointed out how no-one wanted to work with him because of this, Ollie simply deflects by claiming they couldn't stand how right he was. Even after this incident causes Ollie to realize he has this attitude, it still doesn't go away.
  • Revolution: General Monroe (episode 12, episode 16, and episode 17) and Tom Neville (episode 2, episode 5, episode 11, episode 13, and episode 16) have shown more than once that they respond very poorly to criticism. The sort of response that involves death threats, attacking or killing the critic.
  • Akashia, Shannel, and Sharon Needles of RuPaul's Drag Race:
    • Akashia would always argue with the judges when they said anything negative about her. However, she matured a bit between her elimination and the reunion episode, where she surprisingly became the voice of reason when the other queens were taking the judges to task for criticizing them, reminding the girls that it's a competition and critiques are bound to happen.
    • Shannel didn't like criticism so much that she decided to leave the competition for it.
    • While she was performing, Sharon argued with producer Max Mutchnick and professional dancer Candis Cayne, much to the horror of the other queens.
  • Supernatural: Lucifer didn't like it when Gabriel, his brother, told him that he was acting like a whiny, spoiled child and that he needed to grow up. In response, Lucifer killed him.


    Newspaper Comics 
  • From the Dilbert series:
    Catbert: So you want a job here, Tubby.
    Recruit: It's Toby.
    Catbert: Did you just correct me?
    Recruit: Er...
    Catbert: I ALONE WILL DETERMINE YOUR NAME!!! ...Now what is your name?
    Recruit: Tubby.

  • Old Harry's Game:
    • As might be expected, neither Satan or God tend to take well to being criticized. Usually, both of them respond by inflicting some cruel punishment on Thomas, though God has been known to also make Satan's life harder while He's at it just because. Satan still insists The Fall was a case of this on God's end.
    • Edith. She destroys a manuscript simply because someone noted she made one spelling error, when she'd been outright demanding someone find something about it to criticize. Judging by her rant, this attitude stems from an overly-critical and demanding father.

  • The Bible:
    • The Book of Proverbs contains plenty of verses that imply that those who resent reproof and correction are labeled as fools, in contrast to those who are wise (see page quote above). It also insists that we should avoid this trope and just take heed to the criticism.
    • The Book of Ecclesiastes says better a young and wise person than an old and foolish king that won't be admonished anymore.
    • Isaiah 30:9-11 speaks of those in Israel who refuse to hear the Word of the Lord.
      ...for it is a rebellious people, faithless children, children who refused to heed the instruction of the LORD; who said to the seers, "Do not see," to the prophets, "Do not prophesy truth to us; speak to us falsehoods, prophesy delusions. Leave the way! Get off the path! Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel!"
    • From Jeremiah 6:10 of the NET Bible:
      I answered, "Who would listen if I spoke to them and warned them? Their ears are so closed that they cannot hear! Indeed, what the Lord says is offensive to them. They do not like it at all."
    • In Micah 2:6-7:
      "Stop preaching!" they preach. "That's no way to preach; shame shall not overtake [us]. Is the House of Jacob condemned? Is the LORD’s patience short? Is such His practice?"
    • Near the end of his second epistle to Timothy, Paul tells Timothy to "preach the Word" and to "be instant in season and out of season" in doing so because a time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but will after their own lusts heap up teachers to themselves, "having itching ears", and will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to myths and fables.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook on the Nine Hells mentions an ice devil who spends its free time working on an art project of sorts, a monument on the layer of Stygia made out of the frozen heads of its victims. The devil can't resist asking any passersby what they think of its work but flies into a murderous rage at any crude or dismissive response. It is open to constructive suggestions on how to make the structure more grandiose and intimidating, however... in that it offers such critics the choice of whether to die by its claws or spear.

  • Inverted in Fly by Night: The song "What you do to me" is about how thrilled Joey Storms is to finally hear actual criticism in regards to his work.
  • Heather Chandler in Heathers The Musical can't stand anyone disobeying or disagreeing with her. If you dare cross her, she will make it her mission to ruin your life.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock: In the middle of the Fort Frolic mission, Sander Cohen decides that you are a doubter (you said nothing to him), and launches a four-wave splicer assault on you set to a Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky.
    • Andrew Ryan isn't any better. Once Rapture started falling apart from his rigid "self sustaining" system, he refused to address any complaints to him, thinking the people of the city just weren't working hard enough when it's fairly obvious he didn't bother to make concessions for all the unseen problems he didn't take into account. By the time things have gotten so bad with advent of plasmids and the people becoming hooked on them, plunging the city into an ugly civil war, he's turned on people he once called friends because they didn't "believe" in him when in reality they were trying to stop the war from escalating any further in the most non-violent way possible. He had most of them killed and pinned to walls with the words "doubter" on them. When Jack gets closer to this stronghold, Andrew goes on a rant about how Rapture will live again once he's killed him, truly believing he can salvage the city when it's pretty obvious it's beyond all hope of saving.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us: After his Face–Heel Turn, Regime Superman would kill anyone who dares to criticize him or if they bring up his dead wife Lois Lane in a poor manner. He even unleashes his military when people notice him kill Lex Luthor live on television while ranting about how others are ungrateful for his "peace." Also, anything related to The Joker will certainly draw his attention.
  • If you play Quiplash—either the original standalone version or either sequel in The Jackbox Party Packs—and get the prompt "The World's Most Boring Video Game", it's possible to answer "Quiplash". Schmitty does not take it well:
    Schmitty: This game. Really. You know what? F**k you. F**k you, and f**k your mother, f**k your father... if you even have a f**kin' mother and father. You know how hard we worked on this f**king game? Piece of sh*t. You don't even know. You have noooo f**king idea. 'Oh, this game, ehh Quiplash euhhh it's boring' F**K YOU. What're you doing playing here, then?! And you wanna know what else? It isn't even f**king original. Somebody else answered the same g**damn thing yesterday. Ungrateful piece of sh*t.
  • The Walking Dead: Kenny gets pissed at criticism of his plan to find a boat, even when they find there's not a single boat in the Savannah Dock and expects anyone who agrees with him to continue agreeing with him, no matter how bad the idea was.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: In Chapter 22: Scorched Feathers, Dark Pit blatantly tells Palutena and Viridi that they and their "stupid wars" are just as responsible for throwing the world off-balance as Hades is; Viridi is just pissed that a "little nothing" like him would dare speak to her like that, whereas Palutena actually has the guts to admit that Dark Pit isn't wrong.
  • Caesar from Fallout: New Vegas puts on a show of being patient and listening to your opinions when you finally confront him. In truth, he's set in his beliefs and if you even slightly criticize him or refuse to join the Legion, he throws a massive temper tantrum, complete with name-calling.
  • Me (2017) takes this rather literally. "Idea" platforms and "Me" die when "Criticism" touches them. "Happiness" platforms block them, though.

    Web Animation 
  • Everything Is Broken: In part 8 an unseen character criticizes how Luna Game is a boring game and not scary. LG Creepybloom takes this as offensive and beats them up.
  • Played for Laughs in Helluva Boss episode 3 when Blitzo asks for feedback after he has outlined his mildly incoherrent plan to get revenge on his ex-girlfriend for having stolen his parking spot. Moxxie points out that the plan is nonsense and cannot charitably be called a plan. Blitzo replies that the plan was a flawless presentation of what they should do aaand cue the situation going south.
    Blitzo: It's not my fault you got a smooth little brain upstairs.
    Moxxie: A what now?
    Blitzo: I'm callin' ya slow, Moxxie. God, why don't you learn to take criticism, you talentless, baby-dicked troll?!
    Moxxie: Well, why don't you take an art class?
  • RWBY:
    • In "Argus Limited", Adam Taurus returns to the headquarters of the White Fang only to find the Faunus blocking his access to the throne. They refuse to step aside when he commands because they've heard how he abandoned his people at Haven Academy and ran away. While he keeps calm through most of the perceived disrespect, he can't handle his people criticizing his inability to deal with Blake. When they suggest she has more control over him than he wants to admit, he loses his temper and slaughters every single one of them. When he reminisces over that claim, he loses control again and destroys his throne.
    • Going hand-in-hand with his Never My Fault personality, James Ironwood hates anyone bringing up how his ways don't work, with extreme annoyance being the best reaction possible. It doesn't matter if someone is simply stating the objective tangible negatives of his actions, he will not hear it. He gets into a shouting match with Nora when she calls him out on how much damage he's doing to Mantle and only stops when she points out his proposed solution to deal with the current unrest (martial law) is just going to cause far worse problems if he goes through with it. At the end of Volume 7, when Oscar tries to reason with him and points out his recent actions make him no better than Salem, Ironwood's response is to shoot him. Then, at the start of Volume 8, Ironwood murders Councilor Sleet in cold blood just for sensibly demanding some answers.

  • Gabe from Penny Arcade doesn't handle criticism in the most graceful manner. During one playtest of his game Thornwatch, one person admitted that he didn't fully understand how initiative works. Gabe pounces on him and accuses him of being illiterate.
  • Tecmo from Consolers can't handle anyone saying anything less-than-positive about his DoA series, and swears revenge against Namco after he said it was "just ok".
    • Digital Homicide is also terrible regarding criticism, to the point where he thinks his game getting bad reviews is a bug.

    Web Original 
  • Jim Sterling has this to say about the notion of not taking criticism:
    “When they (critics) insult you, and they become the straw that broke the camels back and you snap at them or just defend yourself, the first thing they’ll say is “I thought you had a thick skin, you should learn to take criticism,” after they insulted you and your family. And they don’t realize they are comment number 1,000 out of a 1,000 comments that week. A thick skin is just that: Thick. It’s not impervious. It’s not invulnerable. And it’s not infinite. It gets ground down, worn away, and eroded. It needs to heal to grow back in time, and if you’re getting a constant stream of abuse you’re gonna snap, you’re gonna be sensitive, and you’re gonna get raw.”
    • By the same token, as a professional critic themself Jim takes a very, very dim view on creators who attempt to censor criticism of their work through such dishonest methods as false DMCA strikes on YouTube reviews. Digital Homicide tried to take them to court to sue them for $15 million because of "damage" their criticisms of their shitty games had supposedly done to their business. In the following year, Digital Homicide would proceed to attempt to sue one hundred customers for bad reviews (which got Digital Homicide kicked off of Steam), but they continued to try to sue Jim until Jim's lawyer convinced them that they would never win the court case.
  • The Cry of Mann:
    • Jack couldn't handle his family not appreciating his art show, becoming utterly enraged with each of them for not liking his work; he even temporarily turned against "Palmer" due to one caller not expressing support for his art.
    • Sam Weiner only wanted praise while on "Tanking Mann". Any bit of criticism would make him angry, even if it was his own fellow cast-member stating that his antics bothered her and everyone else on the set.
    • Becca and Rebecca seemed unwilling to listen to criticisms of their show, either ignoring the arguments or cutting the show short during unwanted calls.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-2835 is a VHS tape that appears to contain a lost episode of The Adventures of Paddy the Pelican. The cartoon is always interrupted by Paddy asking the viewer what they think of the cartoon. If Paddy senses even the slightest form of criticism, he gets irrationally angry and starts to threaten and cuss out the viewer, telling them to "reap what you sow". Testing on SCP-2835 was suspended after an incident where Paddy revealed he knew where the test subject's family lived.
  • Bob Chipman: In his three-part video "The Apu Trilogy", he took The Simpsons creator Matt Groening and the show's writers and producers to task for their petty responses to the criticisms raised by the documentary The Problem With Apu during the season 29 episode "No Good Read Goes Unpunished", saying that they were so used to being "the good guys" as a relatively progressive show for so long that actual legitimate criticism from "their own side" was a complete shock. Thus, their response was unnecessarily defensive, and only proceeded to put even more of a spotlight on the issue.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • Stan Smith, particularly in early episodes, is extremely averse to the idea he isn't all-knowing. He pulls off an elaborate cover-up scheme for a hook-up gone wrong involving framing Francine for murder just so he doesn't have to listen to her pull an I Warned You on him. In another episode, Stan temporarily dies, and his attempts to be approved for reviving in the afterlife are hindered greatly by his hubris, up to pointing a gun at God's head after the latter implies he doesn't know everything. And in another episode, Stan deports his neighborhood (including his own family) because he heard them criticizing him.
    • Another had Roger Smith trying to kill the Smiths for roasting him, something which he wanted them to do (though he didn't seem aware what a "roast" actually was).
  • In one episode of Ben 10: Alien Force, Cash wants to humiliate Ben by beating the crap out of him. How? By stealing an adaptable suit of armor and going crazy with power. All because Ben called him and JT out for acting so immaturely after all these years and telling them to grow up.
  • Bob's Burgers: Linda Belcher has forbidden her family from criticizing her sister for anything she does due to how fragile she is. If even the slightest hint of criticism is picked up, she nearly breaks down. Even when she asks for an honest opinion, she still adds in that she hates criticism.
    • Linda herself can get overly sensitive when criticized, as shown in the episodes Bed and Breakfast and P.T.A It Ain't So.
  • Bojack Horseman, BoJack's father Butterscotch spent his life writing a novel which he truly believed would become a bestselling American classic. When he finally finished it, no stores wanted to carry it and the only newspaper that covered it gave it a mockingly scathing review. Butterscotch was enraged and challenged any critics to a Duel to the Death, which ultimately led to his demise before the series began when a crazy person accepted the challenge (he tripped on an exposed root and bashed his head open on a rock during the ten paces). It's not even clear if the person who challenged him actually read his book or just wanted to duel.
  • The title character of the ChalkZone episode "Vincent Van NoGo" exploded with rage whenever people pointed out flaws in his artwork, no matter how minor they were.
  • Chowder: An episode revealed that an ex-student of Mung's, Gumbo, disowned and vowed vengeance against him all because Mung simply said that a dish he made could use a little more spice.
  • Craig of the Creek: In "Kelsey The Author", Kelsey finally finishes writing her book "Robyn And The Snow Sword", and decides to publish it. For them, that's making multiple physical copies and smuggling them into the library's network. At first, she's excited to hear what others think of her book, only to hear a couple of kids mock it. That's all it takes for her to decide to take back her book.
  • The reason the main character was put in charge of the company's new project in the Dilbert Animated Adaptation is because he dared to suggest the Pointy-Haired Boss got the steps to making it mixed up on the slideshow (whether or not he did is undetermined, but either way he is vehement the name is the first and most important part of the project...until two episodes later, where he has no recollection of his diatribe).
  • Family Guy: Brian Griffin is so pretentious and self-righteous that any criticism that is thrown his away, you can expect him to be annoyed by it and not take it into consideration.
  • Glitch Techs: A side effect of Ridley Freudian Excuse of being bullied for being "weird" results in Ridley taking any criticism of anything she does, including her moral choices, as 'proof' that whoever is doing it is just another bully, even if they were her friend a moment ago. It's this perception of hers of everyone as a potential enemy that drives many of her more hostile and antagonistic moments. Sadly, it's also Truth in Television - bullied children tend to see bullies everywhere, even where there are none, because they learn to expect the abuse.
  • Principal Wartz from Hey Arnold! flies off the handle in one episode when his competence as a Principal is called into question by the school Superintendent and he resigns and makes Mr. Simmons the Principal.
  • Rose from Hip-Hip and Hurra is usually the calmest character on the show, but she gets hysterical (if not paranoid) by the mere thought of the art critic (the Peacock) not liking her art, to the point of having nightmares about it.
  • Kaeloo: Kaeloo, despite having tons of character flaws, refuses to accept criticism and sometimes even goes as far as yelling at or beating up the person who pointed out one of her flaws.
    Kaeloo: I didn't ask for your opinion, Mr. Cat!
    Mr. Cat: You can never take criticism, can you?
  • King of the Hill: Criticism to Peggy Hill is something she never considers or contemplates in later seasons, being too much of a Know-Nothing Know-It-All to even consider her faults. If anything it just makes her more determined to prove her arguments are right. This is because her mother constantly criticized her a whole lot and never saw any good in what she did, so whenever she's criticized, her determination to prove her naysayers wrong stems from her mother issues.
    • Hank too seems to suffer from this. Whenever something he adores (such as propane) is crapped on, he flies into an ass-kicking rage.
  • The Legend of Korra: Whenever someone questions Kuvira's actions or gives her criticism, she reacts by quickly losing her temper, giving them cruel threats in return, which she often acts on. As a result, it only makes her actions less justifiable.
  • The The Loud House:
    • In "Face the Music with the Casagrandes", Sergio THREATENED to scratch Bobby with his talons after he told him he was "too sharp."
    • In "Force of Habits" the three oldest Loud siblings criticize their romantic partners' habits, in the hope they would stop them. They did, but when the three of them returned the favour and criticized the Louds' habits, they did not take the criticism well.
  • Applejack from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has shown on a couple of occasions that she is very defensive when criticized, whether the criticism is constructive or harsh.
    • For the constructive side, in Applebuck Season, when Twilight and Big Macintosh express doubt she can single-handedly harvest apples through her family's forest-sized orchard, she acts as though she's been insulted.
    • For the harsh side, in Honest Apple, she is utterly enraged when somepony badmouths apples.
    • Rarity has shades of this too when it comes to her love of fashion as she breaks down in tears in the episode Inspiration Manifestation when a client lambasts a puppet theater she made for him due to how useless it is. In the same episode, when being corrupted by the titular curse, she reacts very threatening to Spike whenever he starts expressing doubt of her creations due to how they're hurting others. She suffers another Heroic BSoD in Fame and Misfortune when she overhears some ponies badmouth her.
  • The Owl House: No matter how many times he's told that he's the evil one or that he's plain wrong, Belos dismisses everyone's arguments as crazy talk — even from fellow human Luz, who tells him that the inhabitants of the Boiling Isles aren't a threat to humanity; he responds to this by trying to kill her on the spot.
  • Rick and Morty:
    • In episode "Look Who's Purging Now", the pair need help from a lighthouse keeper who insists on reading Morty his ridiculously clichéd screenplay, then demands honest feedback. After quite a bit of coaxing, Morty reluctantly offers some very mild and constructive criticism, saying that he wasn't a fan of the story's How We Got Here device, he thinks stories generally work better when they start at their actual beginning. This, however, is enough to enrage the lighthouse keeper, who treats the not-particularily biting criticism as an unforgivable insult, and he attempt to throw Rick and Morty out of the lighthouse. Things go downhill from there.
    • Rick Sanchez is almost incapable of handling critiques of what he creates and becomes extremely defensive when he faces some, no matter how insignificant and/or petty the criticism is.
      • He throws an outright tantrum when his business partners in the Anatomy Park project point out that the concept behind "The Pirates of the Pancreas" is kind of hard to understand.
      • He gets extremely grumpy when Beth discusses how silly the name of "Froopy Land" is (Froopy Land being the child-friendly wonderland he made for his daughter so she would stop terrorizing the neighborhood with her nascent sociopathic tendencies. Possibly elements of Ungrateful Bastard in play here though he did use it as an alternative to actually parent her.)
      • One of Rick's more ridiculous and convoluted inventions is a fake vat of acid that he uses to fake his and Morty's deaths to a group of gangsters, even though he was perfectly capable of simply killing said gangsters with far less effort; as such, Morty is understandably unimpressed, and also frustrated that Rick will invent things like that while dismissing all of Morty's ideas. Rick is pissed but decides to use one of Morty's ideas. However, it's actually part of a long plan that ends with Morty having to fake his death to escape the angry mob chasing him with Rick's fake acid trap (and having to kiss it no less.) Despite the convoluted plan, it goes relatively flawlessly due to Rick knowing his grandson well.
  • Painter Smurf in The Smurfs (1981) is this way, particularly from Brainy when it comes to his work. In one episode, Painter can't take that Brainy won't make any criticisms concerning his work when Brainy's essence has been sapped away.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Algae's Always Greener", Plankton, having switched lives with Mr. Krabs, tells SpongeBob SquarePants that he's using too much sauce on the Krabby Patties. SpongeBob, despite having begged Plankton to give him constructive criticism of his work, is reduced to a sobbing, whimpering wreck.
  • Pearl from Steven Universe likes being the The Smart Guy of the team and is normally right, but her tendency to ignore advice and raise hell if she's ever actually accused of being wrong has got her in hot water on numerous occasions.
  • Inverted in one episode of The Simpsons where Marge takes art classes. Her instructor heaps praise on anything and everything but lashes out angrily when he himself is praised.
  • Tangled: The Series: Cassandra, mostly due to her Inferiority Superiority Complex, gets upset when she's criticized.



Played for laughs when Scarlemagne asks for feedback on his self portrait.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CantTakeCriticism

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