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Chronic Backstabbing Disorder

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"I have just one question: When are we betraying?"
"Wait... do you mean, we're not planning any betrayal? Uh... that's new! I've never tried this before..."
King Loth, Kaamelott

Chronic Backstabbing Disorder is when a specific character constantly and successfully betrays their apparent allegiances, only to move on to a new group and repeat the pattern. The character may be doing it for a higher purpose (making them The Chessmaster) or their own selfish betterment (making them a Wild Card), or they could just be Ax-Crazy. Different from the Heel–Face Revolving Door in that it's not always a hero/villain swap, and in fact is usually switching between different groups of antagonists.

Named for Revolver Ocelot's "condition" in The Last Days of Foxhound, which is his proclivity for this deliberately flanderized into a physical compulsion for comedic reasons.

Aesop Amnesia is a frequent symptom of this. Frequently happens when a Magnificent Bastard plays the Enigmatic Minion. Related to The Starscream, except that character type doesn't succeed (most of the time, anyways, and when they do, they usually don't get to revel in it for long) and Deck of Wild Cards (where every single person tries pulling a Starscream). These characters are also commonly Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil, Chaotic Stupid, Stupid Evil, or Stupid Neutral. (Lawful and/or good characters tend to see betrayal as a big no-no, and Neutral Evil characters (probably) won't betray their current allies just for the hell of it.) Often a characteristic of The Starscream who has his own ruling plans but just as often an Opportunistic Bastard who doesn't mind being a follower and living in the shadow of the strongest side. The tendency of spies to do this is why many people believe that Spies Are Despicable.

As a betrayal trope, this is probably going to be spoilicious.


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    Fan Works 
  • During the Grazton arc of The Tainted Grimoire, Barley commits a series of betrayals. First was betraying a good guy to the bad guys, then betraying the bad guys to get help from other good guys to save the good guy he himself betrayed and finally, in a misguided attempt to make sure everyone comes out alive, betrayed the other good guys to the bad guys.
  • In Pages of Harmony, Twilight Sparkle betrays her friends by kidnapping, torturing, and murdering them to extract the Elements of Harmony from them, one by one.
  • In Legionnaire, the Khans seem to be unable to maintain honesty for any longer than it becomes convenient to betray someone, even if it would be a retarded idea, like trying to murder an Equestrian princess in their own quarters in a fort full of troops.
  • Eggman and Rouge in Sonic X: Dark Chaos:
    • Eggman saves Sonic's life, then he betrays Sonic, then he teams up with and betrays Sonic again, then he saves several of Sonic's friends from Beelzebub, he briefly joins with Maledict, and then he attempts to betray Maledict and gets himself captured in the process before once more teaming up with Sonic in the final episodes
    • Rouge originally helps Eggman, then she betrays him to serve Maledict for jewel payments, then she helps Sonic and friends before betraying them and giving the Chaos Emeralds to Maledict, then she betrays Maledict and joins with Eggman again, before finally teaming up with Sonic. Rouge flat out says she doesn't care what side she's on, as long as she gets something out of it
  • In Game of Touhou, Ser Tewi Inaba has betrayed Ichirin Kumoi, Unzan, Eiki Shiki, Miko Shotoku, Komachi Onozuka, Seiga Kaku, Yuyuko Saigyouji, Marisa Kirisame, and Yorihime Luna. And everything to save the realm.
  • The Sith all suffer from this in Shinobi of the Old Republic. This is consistent with the source material. Naruto, however, manages to out-backstab any of them who try it on him.
  • In Fist of the Moon this appears to be a trait of having negative energy, and the more you have the worse it gets. Rubeus to the Four Sisters, who also do it to each other, and Esmeraude to Rubeus...the only exceptions are Saphir and Dimande to each other.
  • In The Stars Ascendant, Luna is not surprised that Discord betrayed Equestria, merely that he betrayed Equestria to someone even less trustworthy than himself who then immediately (to the surprise of absolutely no one other than Discord) stabbed Discord in the back.
  • In the Avengers of the Ring story Return of the Avengers, when Thor and Aragorn learn that their enemies are Saruman’s spirit — now 'living' in the palantir network — and the still-living Malekith, Thor ‘warns’ the two that they will inevitably betray each other, which proves true when Malekith ‘sacrifices’ Saruman to turn the palantir hosting his spirit into a weapon against the Avengers.
  • The main "aesop" of the Fallout fan video "Friendship!"
  • Tech Infantry has Andrea Treschi, who starts out as a Federation officer, retires and joins a criminal gang, kills the leader of the criminal gang and takes over, gets drafted back into military service, and promptly assassinates his former commanding officer. Then he contacts the biggest group of rebels currently fighting the Federation and agrees to find and retrieve a disgraced former politician and bring him back to launch a political coup. He succeeds, but the politician gets assassinated by a rival faction and the coup fizzles. So Treschi flees to a neighboring star nation and offers his services, and helps them set up The Plan that leads to their conquest of the Federation after a civil war followed by alien invasion severely weakens it. Treschi becomes the right-hand man of the new Emperor, then orchestrates some elaborate court intrigue to ensure his puppet prince takes over when the Emperor dies, and Treschi becomes the true power behind the throne.
  • Barry in Resident Evil Abridged. His backstabbing gets so bad, that when Jill runs into him just before the climax, she would rather walk back the opposite direction rather than escape to freedom.
  • Prince Jewelius in Loved and Lost. He first convinces Queen Chrysalis to take over Equestria with him on Shining Armor and Princess Cadance's wedding day. However, after meeting Twilight Sparkle, he breaks his alliance with the Changelings and helps Twilight in saving the day, immediately afterwards pinning the blame for the invasion on the other heroes, banishing them and making himself Equestria's king. He afterwards continues lying to Twilight and Canterlot's citizens about the dishonored heroes, betraying his promises of a better era by gradually letting his true monstrous nature show and doing nothing for the escaped Changeling army. He convinces Twilight to agree to marry him so that she'd bear him powerful continuers of legacy, but he confesses that if he'd happen to meet a more powerful unicorn mare, he might get rid of Twilight before marrying the other mare. As Jewelius himself admits to the imprisoned heroes, there's a reason his cutie mark is a gold-hilted dagger. Like with Scar below, his double-crossing of Chrysalis is one he pays dearly for in the end.
  • Raven Branwen in the Ruby and Nora series has a bad case of it. "Never trust bandits" is kind of her Catchphrase whenever she makes a deal with someone. She always manages to turn her back on someone when she can get away with it. Deconstructed since it comes back to bite her in the ass when asking Summer for undeserved mercy after betraying her for the last time. It appears that even Summer has her limits to what she'll put up with from her.
  • In So We'd Both Be Free, Azula's brother Zuko and her former best friend Mai are both due to be executed for treason. One night, Azula has a random desire to free them so she helps them escape. The next morning, she reveals their location to her father and has them captured again.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. Used for an Overly-Long Gag in "Chapter IX: The Muppet Masters" when Mad Scientist Dr. Zarkendorf and alien invader D'Ork of the Thorkoth are trying to murder each other, only to keep failing because the other has anticipated their treachery in advance.
    "But fortunately I anticipated your anticipation of my anticipation of your anticipation of my anticipation of your anticipation of my treachery!" cried Zarkendorf.
  • According to Natasha Romanov in If They Haven't Learned Your Name, this is SOP for the particular circles she moved in between escaping from the Red Room and Clint Barton recruiting her for SHIELD- betray or hurt someone if it's convenient for you, because they'll do it to you eventually. Even years later, post-Insight, it's still her first instinct to hoard secrets in case she needs them later for leverage, even when it would be expedient to not keep them. Early on, she withholds intel from Steve Rogers that would have aided in an op, and it rightfully pisses him off. That, combined with how much she liked the feeling of having someone's trust and being trusted in return that ultimately got her to defect to SHIELD in the first place, are what convince her that she needs to stop and make a change.
  • In The Masks We Wear (Teen Titans), John Grayson is backstabbed by Samantha Vanaver who reneged on his deal to take his son's place as an assassin, causing him to betray her and escape The Court of Owls and take the identity of Slade, bringing him into conflict with the Teen Titans.
  • In The Weaver Option, the forces of Chaos are as usual prone to this, with things only getting worse after Malal's return leads to even more infighting. The Word Bearers however are the worst about this trope. Over the course of theFifth Black Crusade, they betray every single one of their allies for a wide range of reasons. A Word Bearer eventually realizes the Legion has likely doomed itself due to this, as they've effectively made enemies of every major faction in the Eye of Terror.
  • In Three Strikes, McKinsey is a triple agent providing Osean intel to Erusea. He didn't hesitate to imply that Matthews was a traitor in his call with Pixy. After he escapes from his MP escort, he goes to an Erusean base comprised of defected Oseans and gives Mimic Squadron all the information he has on the former Spares. He betrays Clemens by telling Mimic to go after Strider during their next operation despite Clemens’s orders not to, hoping that Clemens will be caught red-handed and forced on the run. He even goes as far as to sabotage one of the Mimic twins' ejection seats.

    Films — Animation 
  • Commander Rourke from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Towards the end, while he's trying to get away with the Heart of Atlantis, his zeppelin isn't going very high, so he decides to throw Helga, the only specialist still supporting him by this point, off. After hitting the ground, she uses her flare gun to shoot the main balloon, making it sink and helping Milo stop him.
  • Scar from The Lion King is a classic case of this. He has his own brother killed, tricks his own trusting nephew into blaming himself, tries to have that nephew killed, drives the hyenas (who helped him kill his brother) nearly to starvation, and then when confronted by his previously self-blaming nephew, (who finally saw Scar for the backstabber he is) Scar tries to blame everything on the hyenas to save his own hide. Even though all this lying and backstabbing is what got him into the situation he is in, to begin with. The last backstab proves to be the final straw for the now enraged and starving hyenas.

  • Lone Wolf: The Darklords, full stop. Although it's only implied in the gamebooks, the novelizations expand on how the Darklords spend more energy plotting against each other, in the hope of becoming the new Archlord of the Darklands, than against the rest of the world (which they were explicitly created by their dark god to conquer in the first place). Only when an iron-fisted Archlord emerges and keeps the others in check do they focus their efforts on conquering Magnamund — and even though this does generally set the Darklords in place to curbstomp all opposition, the backstabbing doesn't stop, it just gets more discreet. Every time the current Archlord is offed by Lone Wolf, it always results in a civil war between the various Darkland factions. Best demonstrating this is the fact that most Darklords' personal weapons are Weapons of Darklord-Slaying. Being otherwise Nigh-Invulnerable, they are more worried about facing their rivals than any hypothetical hero reaching them and turning their own weapons against them.

  • In the Headstones Tiny Teddy the eponymous character is described as willing to sell out everyone, and he proves it by strapping timed explosives to his follower and sending him into the mansion belonging to the guy whose money he gambled and snorted away in an attempt to escape the debt.
  • "Chururira Chururira Daddadda!" by Takeakui Wada is about an unabashed snitch who's determined to rat out her classmates for any possible misdeed and get them all knocked off until she's "the last one left."
  • Pink Floyd's song "Dogs", from Animals: "You have to be trusted/By the people that you lie to/So that, when they turn their backs on you/You'll get the chance to put the knife in."
  • "Wernher von Braun" by Tom Lehrer paints Von Braun in this way.
    Gather 'round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun
    A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience

  • HAL Laboratory's Roller Ball for the Nintendo Entertainment System features "Match Game", where two players compete on a symmetrical playfield. Hitting targets would transfer points from one player to another, and the game ends when one player's score is eliminated.
  • Tony from WHO dunnit (1995) has a recurring tendency to betray his business partners. At the start of the game, he's already eliminated Walter and Tex and is living comfortably on the high life as a result.

  • In The Adventure Zone, the party cuts a deal with a hostile goblin to murder his Bad Boss in exchange for a hostage. As soon as they're out of the goblin's earshot, they resolve to see if they can cut a better deal with his boss. Magnus and Taako also aren't above surreptitiously looting the corpses of Merle's family members behind his back.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • On a national and international promotional level, the NWA suffered from this to the point of ruination, with any member whose popularity had grown ending up leaving and competing against them. The major organizations that defected - there were many more minor ones - were the AWA, the WWWF, JCP, WCW, ECW, and TNA. Ironically, its international members who defect tend to be the ones who ended up being the most amicable about it, CMLL, All Japan and New Japan maintaining working relationships while Pro Wrestling ZERO1 came back.
  • According to Lou Thesz, his great rival Buddy Rogers was a backstage schemer for most of his career and was fond of saying in private "Screw your friends and be nice to your enemies, so your enemies will become your friends, and then you can screw them too." By all accounts, Rogers did become much less of a schemer as he aged.
  • Unlike his baby face predecessors, masked Dominican wrestler Astroman III was known for constantly changing sides, earning him the nickname "Betrayer".
  • Thanks to the Breakup Breakout of Shawn Michaels, it's rare to find a successful tag team in the continental United States that doesn't break up for petty reasons, and in fact it has become more common for long-lasting tag teams to be formed out of rivals who have feuded with each other so long that it has gotten old, or have put aside their differences to show how much these particular tag team title belts are really worth.
  • Let's count the number of people Triple H had betrayed over the last 20 years. X-Pac, Billy Gunn, his own wife, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, Batista (attempted), Ric Flair, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins.
  • Bret Hart had this during his entire tenure with World Championship Wrestling, but especially in the first couple of years or so, where it seemed sometimes even the writers were confused as to whether he was a good guy or a bad guy at any given time. In late 1999, he got the biggest push of his WCW career, winning the World Heavyweight Title as a face— only to, within a month or so, turn on former partner and friend Goldberg and re-form the New World Order.
  • Carlito Colón has betrayed his own family multiple times, starting when he left WWC for OVW and claimed he had no brother, Ray González when they teamed up against La Artilleria Pesada (though Ray had betrayed Carly first), Ric Flair who he was seemingly becoming friends with after a spat, Torrie Wilson who he started seeing after Trish Stratus's retirement, Chris Masters in the Royal Rumble, "The Manager of Champions" Rico Casanova for inadvertently costing him the Ecuadoran War title belt, and probably many more. Jim Ross started calling his finishing move, a lung blower/back cracker, "the backstabber".
  • Shawn Michaels was teaming up with John Cena to become a championship tag team. Given that they were slated to compete at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship, the team seemed shaky, but HBK was determined to keep Cena at 100% for WrestleMania. Cena was consistently worried that HBK would turn on him as he had done with every single person and team he had ever worked with. Inevitably, yes, HBK turned on Cena. Shawn even lampshaded it during the 2013 Slammy Awards when he won the Double-Cross of the Year award, finding it strange that despite the number of times he's betrayed someone over his storied career, only three years after retirement does he actually win an award for it.
  • Starting with Kane's debut, Paul Bearer switched allegiances between him and The Undertaker for the rest of Bearer's time in WWE. It actually started when Bearer abandoned Undertaker for Mankind after six years of managing The Undertaker.
    • Much like his father Paul Bearer, Kane has his share of betrayals as well. The Undertaker is his prime victim, as Taker puts up with him and always accepts him back more than anyone else. In 97, Kane is under command of Paul Bearer and wants revenge on Taker for killing their parents. They do everything to provoke him into a fight, and nothing works until Kane literally sets Taker on fire. They feud afterwards but iron out their differences until Taker betrays Kane at Judgement Day 98 during his Ministry period. This is the only time Taker betrayed Kane. All of their subsequent feuds were started by Kane.
      • During his Ministry period, Taker wanted Kane to join him but Kane was unwavering. Eventually Kane started gravitating toward Taker which caused friction with X-Pac, with whom he'd formed a bond. X-Pac demanded Kane chose between them and Taker said he'd never make Kane chose. With that, Kane joined Taker but eventually betrayed him with a chokeslam when he attacked X-Pac.
      • When Taker returned as The American Badass in 2000, he & Kane had a strained relationship, especially with both going after the WWF title. However, Taker did offer Kane advice before matches & watched out for him a bit. It came to an end when Kane chokeslammed him through the ring, injuring his ribs. Taker returned the following night to confront Kane who refused to give him an explanation. Kane went to leave the ring as Taker yelled at him and relented in frustration, but as soon as Taker's back was turned, Kane ambushed & brutalized him. They feud into SummerSlam where Taker unmasked Kane causing him to run from the arena.
      • Eventually all is forgiven and they form a tag-team as The Brothers of Destruction in 2001 with their bond being stronger than ever. Though the brand split separated them, a small scene in 2002 showed they were still on good terms despite being on different brands. This ended in 2003 when Kane attacked Taker at Survivor Series and helped Vince bury him alive. Kane later says Taker had become too human & was a shell of his former self, a fake. This leads to their feud in 2004 when Taker returned as The Deadman once again and defeated Kane at WrestleMania.
      • Once again by 2006, all was forgiven with Taker and Kane occasionally teaming up and helping each other until 2009 when Taker is put in a vegetated state from an unknown attacker that is revealed to be Kane. Once again, Kane says Taker is still weak and a shell of his old self whom he'd put out of his misery. It lead to another feud between the two when Taker returned in 2010. However, this would be their last feud before Taker's feud with HHH in 2011. Taker didn't interact with Kane until he showed on the 1000th episode of RAW in 2012 to help Kane fight off numerous attackers. Again, Taker has apparently forgiven Kane and the latter has not betrayed him since then.
  • Christian turned on every partner he's ever had, until AJ Styles & Tomko turned on him to join the Angle Alliance and Christian underwent a Heel–Face Turn, which carried over to his second WWE run. Lampshaded early in his TNA run, as Jeff Jarrett pointed out to Sting that Christian couldn't be trusted, and Christian retorted that Edge & Chris Jericho would vouch for his loyalty; before immediately remembering that he did betray them and remarking that calling them wouldn't be a good idea. Subverted at WrestleMania XXVII in a Meta Twist: everyone and their mother was expecting Christian to turn on Edge (who had been Those Two Guys all their careers) during the match with Alberto Del Rio and yet amazingly, this wasn't even hinted at during the match. Christian never turned and everyone was rather surprised and happy. When Edge retired days later to a legit injury, it meant that instead of having Edge's last match be a loss due to the betrayal of his best friend, it meant he went out and retired as the champ. And then this would come back in All Elite Wrestling where after weeks of managing Jurassic Express and siding with them to help them win the tag titles, once they lost the titles to The Young Bucks their partnership didn't end with a pat on the back but rather a Killswitch and Con-Chair-To to Jungle Boy, right in front of his family.
  • Paul Heyman, thanks to his I Fight for the Strongest Side! mentality. To the point that CM Punk, the "best friend" he betrayed, started beating himself up for grabbing the Idiot Ball and not seeing it coming. Paul E. would sell out his own mother if he saw the writing on the wall, won't even deny it and will in fact gleefully scream it out for all to hear.
  • The Miz. He was tag team partners with John Morrison and then became one of his biggest rivals. He had Alex Riley as an apprentice but made another enemy after berating him too often. He formed a team with R-Truth in the latter part of 2011 only to turn on him before the year was over. Did the same thing with Kofi Kingston in 2013 after constant frustration due to losing his matches. If you want to join up with him, expect a Skull Crushing Finale in your future. Ironically, it was Big Show who turned on Miz to end their run as a tag team.
  • Matt Morgan in TNA, for a while. He turned on Abyss, he turned on Hernandez, he turned on Immortal... it took until 2012 for Crimson to turn on him. It seems only a matter of when he and Joey Ryan will break up.
  • In Puerto Rico's EWO, Sweet Nancy's red baron is "La Traidora". She openly admits to preferring to wrestle as a tecnica but states betrayal is the nature of pro wrestling and that she has no allies because of it (except perhaps Sensacional Carlitos, on account of marriage and all).
  • Paige has turned on every ally she's ever had. It was lampshaded on RAW when she asked the other Divas for help on taking on the Bella Twins. They rejected her on the grounds that she'd eventually turn on them. So she calls on NXT Divas Charlotte and Becky Lynch. She ended up turning on them when the former won the Divas Championship, apologized a few weeks later, then turned on them again the next night. Bottom line, if Paige asks you for help, run!
  • The Young Bucks show it's possible to stab someone in the back by kicking them in the front. They betrayed the original frontman of Bullet Club, Prince Devitt. They betrayed the second frontman, AJ Styles, and installed their friend Kenny Omega. Then after gathering their friends from Ring of Honor and other promotions for their event All In, they betrayed the promotion that helped them put it on to form their own promotion, AEW. Then they betrayed the ideals of Bullet Club, and were subsequently finally kicked out by remaining Bullet Club original member Tama Tonga and his cohort. Prior to Nick's paternity leave for his third child, they were even feuding with their fellow Elite members Omega and Hangman Page over the AEW tag belts.
  • There's a reason one of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's nicknames is "The Rattlesnake". Expect a stunner from him whenever invites you into the ring to share a beer. As he says "DTA! Don't Trust Anybody!".

  • On many Internet roleplay sites, especially forum roleplaying, characters and even players can become infamous for being untrustworthy due precisely to this trope. Whether due to difficulty determining their characterization, or simply a desire to side with the strongest, this behavior is especially common among new role-players.
  • Cale from Darwin's Soldiers has played for more factions than any other character. At different times, he's sided with the Psi-Experiments, Terrorists, Counter-terrorists, Anti-Dragonstorm, Dragonstorm, and Dragonstorm Experiments. In the end, he abandons all factions and runs away to become a civilian.
  • Darth Apparatus in The Gungan Council has betrayed every faction he's been a part of at least once in some way. Bonus points for people still wanting to be his ally at times.
  • Red from What Happened In Edmonton and What Happened In Oregon is a yandere who gets around, often by killing her previous love interests. Born and raised in Miami, she's backstabbed her way across America before making her way to Canada. Her level of involvement in the deaths of numerous High Epics has varied from watching potentially deadly encounters go down, such as in the case of Nighthound to using her powers to choke Crimson and Gem from inside their stomach when she feels they've disappointed her.
  • World of Dragonball: Souls, a longrunning DBZ Forum Roleplay, was home to a Saiyan character named Arias who became infamous for betraying quite literally every character she encountered save one after less than two months of existing. This eventually came back to bite her after a fourth heel-face-turn was rejected by numerous people on both sides, leading to conflict over who got to deal with the backstabbing Sayianess.

  • A Very Potter Musical: "I'm Snape, the traitor. And I'm about to betray someone... right... now!"
  • George, Duke of Clarence, in the Henry VI plays. He's one of the sons of the Duke of York battling the Lancastrians for the English throne... until he gets fed up with brother Edward not listening to him, so he jumps over to the Lancasters. Prior to the Final Battle, Edward makes an emotional plea to win him back, and George rejoins them. But this is why, in Richard III, Edward misinterprets the prophecy about a traitor whose name begins with G as referring to George rather than Richard of Gloucester.

  • From BIONICLE:
    Vezon:It's all a trick, you see. They want me to pretend to betray them. They want you to concentrate your forces here against an attack that won't come. But I decided: Why pretend to betray them when actually doing it would be so much more fun?
    • The Piraka, since they double-crossed each other several times in the 2006 storyline. Sometimes while they were fighting the heroes.
    • Roodaka, especially because she betrayed BOTH SIDES in the Makuta/Dark Hunters war. Her name has actually become Matoran slang for betrayal.
    • The Makuta. Teridax and his followers betrayed the then leader of the Brotherhood of Makuta Miserix and took over, Icarax teamed up with Krika to do the same against old Terry, (arguably, Icarax was probably going to kill Krika, or vice versa, seeing as they had different views), and then Teridax betrayed his remaining followers upon taking over Mata Nui's body to prevent any of them from getting ideas about betraying him.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night, Unlimited Blade Works route, Archer switches sides and then betrays his new allies. Everyone naturally expects him to be a Fake Defector, but he then attacks his original side. It's all part of his plan to cause a Temporal Paradox... but only sort of, since he actually exists outside of time, apparently as a plot device specifically meant to prevent such a paradox. It's also inverted at the same time, as we discover from Archer's memories that he had been betrayed by everything while pursuing his ideal, by the people he saved, etc, etc, to the point where he was even betrayed by his own ideal.
  • This actually costs Matt Engarde his case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All. Having arranged for an assassin to kill his rival and frame his own manager for it, Engarde just can't resist filming the crime as backup blackmail against the assassin. Problem: the assassin has a very strong sense of honor, valuing the trust between himself and his clients above all else. When Phoenix informs him that he was betrayed, he calls off his contract with Engarde and vows to hunt him to the ends of the earth to enact his revenge. Engarde, who thought he was totally untouchable until now, begs to be sent to prison on the off chance that the high-security might provide a little more safety against attack.
    • And, in Investigations, this costs Manny Coachen his life. If he'd never tried to usurp Alba and take control of the smuggling ring, Alba would have had no reason to kill him.
    • Also in Investigations, there is Calisto Yew. She herself acknowledges this in her own words, "I was destined to betray everyone from the very beginning." She betrays her own Yatagarasu members because she was a mole, Shi-Long Lang by revealing that she is a mole in Interpol as Shih-na, and while being taken away to be arrested she drops a valuable clue to betray her OWN BOSS.
    • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Dahlia Hawthorne steals a two million dollar gem from her father, frames the guy who was in love with her (twice!) kills her stepsister, puts her cousin's mentor in a coma via poisoning, kills her second boyfriend, tries to kill her third boyfriend, tries to kill her other cousin, inadvertently causes the death of her aunt in the process, and locks her twin sister in a freezing and unstable cave to steal her identity and commit perjury in her name. She almost qualifies solely through the sheer number of times she betrayed Terry Fawles. The ways she betrayed him consisted of: convincing him to commit extortion and then letting him get arrested for it, possibly lying to him about who was in on the plot, probably pretending to love him back, being involved in getting him shot, letting him get blamed for kidnapping when it was consensual, framing him for murder twice and hiding the information that could get his death sentence cancelled, letting him mourn her when she was still alive, cheating him out of his cut of what they stole (or intending to), perjuring against him, (presumably) falsely accusing him of trying to kill her, giving him poison and instructions to drink it if a likely situation occurred (possibly without him knowing it was poison), and watching him drink it.

    Web Animation 
  • The Blue Falcon in The Damn Few. His very name is military slang for "betrayer of friends" (or something like that).
  • The Final Fantasy II Emperor's reason for betraying Chaos in this ''Dissidia parody is as follows: "I thought I'd just have a nice, friendly betrayal, to make us feel more comfortable here." He continues to pointlessly betray people over the course of the animation, occasionally in self-sabotaging ways.
  • In The History of Europe, thinking the nation that just helped you in the last war is your true friend is a sure recipe for an untimely death, especially notable is Persia for invading Thrace after the latter asked him for help.
  • Apparently a problem in Puffin Forest. His players suffered 8 back-to-back betrayals.
  • Agent South of Red vs. Blue is revealed to suffer from this. It's apparently a survival reflex. Agent Washington suffers from an inversion: Almost everyone he's ever worked with, including South, have betrayed him at some point, the sole exception being the Reds and the Blues.
  • RWBY:
    • While he demands complete loyalty from others, Ironwood has repeatedly betrayed the trust of others in the name of what he believes is the greater good. If someone is an obstacle to accomplishing what he believes is necessary, he will unapologetically use political or even military power to enforce his will. This includes reporting Ozpin to the Vale and Atlesian Councils when they disagree on how best to defend Vale, which gains him control over Vytal Festival security and puts Ozpin's job on the line, and abandoning Mantle to the Grimm in favour of saving only Atlas, betraying his promise to protect Mantle and seeking the arrest of the heroes for objecting.
    • Cinder is only willing to work with someone for as long as they benefit her, even willingly sabotaging Salem's plans in her pursuit of power. This leads to her being ostracised after the villains failure at Haven is caused by her desire to get Ruby killed and obtain the Spring Maiden's power. In Volume 8, she traps Watts in a burning Central Command, drops Neo to her death in Ambrosius' Central Location, and then lies to Salem about Ruby's apparent death, using the Lamp's last question and that her use of the Staff was about killing Watts.

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Black Mage, an Ax-Crazy Sociopathic Hero and member of the Light Warriors, suffers from both metaphorical and literal Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Or rather, everyone around him suffers. Usually from a knife to the head. He betrays his allies whenever a chance opens up, usually only to enjoy making them suffer. It usually backfires on him soon afterwards as it did when he sucked up to the dragon Muffin. Black Mage is not minion material and will object violently to the suggestion.
      Drizz'l: [self-proclaimed new leader of the New Dark Warriors] What do you think you're doing?
      Black Mage: I'd say I was joining the winning team, but that'd imply there existed a time when I wasn't on Team Evil.
    • Thief is screwing his teammates over even more regularly than Black Mage is, he just rarely joins another team in the process. When he and D'rizzl form an alliance of convenience to eliminate both of their own teams, he's only prevented from backstabbing D'rizzl because D'rizzl backstabs him first.
  • Angel Moxie: Tsutsumu tries to recruit the girls as allies to defeat Yzin, then tries to turn on them once he's exploited them, and finally, after they defeat him, arranges for them to inherit control of his company.
  • Wrecking Paul from Everyday Heroes always works with female sidekicks since he's a serial killer who prefers women as his victims. If for some reason his preferred target doesn't show up, he'll turn on his teammate. This eventually leads to Iron Jane's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Fate/Gamers Only: As Lu Bu is very well-known for this, Rikku makes certain to tell him she's no lord, they're not allies, she has no treasure, and she would be a disappointment for him to kill. Mash thinks it's harsh, but Rikku's not taking any chances.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Tarvek, in his attempts to play Chessmaster, though he eventually settled into a very rapid Heel–Face Revolving Door equilibrium.
      Gil: You're up to something.
      Tarvek: What makes you think I'm—
      Gil: You're breathing.
    • In fact this seems to be the hat of the entire Stormvoraus family. And their cousins the Blitzengards. And possibly all of the other interrelated families that make up the Knights of Jove as well.
    • And "iz-no-longer-a-Jäger" Vole, who tried to kill one of his old masters and changed teams later.
  • Smug Snake supreme Vriska Serket of Homestuck has a pretty severe case of this. The other trolls have wisely learned to stay well away from her schemes. To put it in perspective; trolls are a species of violent jerks with an Evil Empire and still she's considered their Token Evil Teammate.
  • Dr. Ginny Smith, from Irregular Webcomic!'s Cliffhangers storyline. A secret agent from Russia who works for both the Nazis and the heroes depending on what suits her, and plays on the affections of both Indiana Jones stand-in Montana Jones and Nazi lackey Erwin. Although she usually comes through for the heroes, she has handed over incredibly powerful artifacts to all three sides, or at least tried, in the past. In the words of Monty himself, "She's a Russian triple agent working for the Nazis. You expect her to be consistent?"
  • As mentioned above, the trope namer is from The Last Days of Foxhound, a Metal Gear Solid-based webcomic.
    • In it, Ocelot's betrayal habit is played for laughs, explaining that he has an actual disease called Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and needs an inhaler-like device to suppress it temporarily. In the meantime, woe betide anyone who bends down to pick up a penny in his presence (as Liquid Snake found out).
    • It appears that the Defense Secretary, Jim Houseman suffers it too.
      "Is there a federal hiring quota for you people or what?"
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • It's starting to look like Nale of has a case of backstabbing disorder. The jury's still out on whether he works for the fiends, Xykon, his father, or himself. Oh, he definitely works for himself. He only works for Xykon and Tarquin when it's convenient (and when it keeps him alive), and as for the Fiends, he doesn't even know about them — he's being manipulated by them, via Sabine and Qarr.
    • Tarquin is definitely this. Be the power behind the throne, when people hate the power, start a revolution, aided by other kingdoms secretly run by his buddies, become the power behind the new throne, rinse and repeat for all three involved kingdoms! All that matters is Tarquin is in charge, even if it's just as The Man Behind the Man.
      • This one is at least a rare example of pragmatism on Tarquin's part, since keeping the area in a power struggle and working behind the scenes keeps the much larger kingdoms nearby from considering them a threat.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Dr. Schlock switches between helping the main characters, helping Hereti Corp, and just looking out for himself over half a dozen times. It gets to the point where Riff insists that Schlock roleplay betraying the gang, just to get it out of his system.
    • Also Dr. Marcus Chen, which is again lampshaded in the comic.
  • Quite common in Survivor: Fan Characters, being based off Survivor. Baxter from Season 3 is the most prominent example of this trope, having gone mad with power and then backstabbed approximately five people, some in direct succession, in order to get to the finals. Unfortunately, four of the people he backstabbed happen to have been on the jury, and three of them vote for someone else who didn't backstab them, Montana, ultimately losing him the game.
  • Anthem, from The Water Phoenix King, in the Torture Lord's temple, having lost her sword again, uses Vish! as a weapon against the monsters and proclaims herself this:
    Anthem: Never let it be said cowardice and betrayal ever led me wrong.

    Web Original 
  • Sahar, of the Whateley Universe. She started out backstabbing as an orphan in Beirut, and then got superpowers and was recruited by the CIA as a trainee. While her main ability was mentally impressing a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Doom on an opponent, she also had a talent for copying the psi powers of those she was intimate with. At Whateley Academy she went from clique to clique, picking a target, seducing them, getting a copy of said target's powers, backstabbing them, and then moving on. Even the Alphas fear her. She doesn't betray a target to join with the new one. She just betrays a target so she can start over, finding a new power to copy! Best one was when she pulled this trick to a guy and his girlfriend! Ironically, she pulled a heel face turn before the series started, and attempts to redeem herself.
  • Javelin Whitetail on M3, having defected from numerous factions over the years. It took a while for some characters to clue in on the notion that she should not be trusted. Repeated betrayals is a staple of the MUSH.

    Web Videos 
  • Ryan in Achievement Hunter's Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V series, especially in the Heist videos. He even foreshadowed it in two of the heists (specifically Geoff's and his own; Ray was ready for it the latter time).
  • Mahu: In "Second Chance" the Yaanari are the living, breathing representation of this trope. It is one of the many reasons why they are one of the most loathed races in the galaxy.
  • In SMPEarth, Tommy is an inverted example — he just can't seem to stop getting betrayed, with his ally Wisp leaving him for the Antarctic Empire, and other potential allies betraying him at the first chance they get.
  • Wario's loyalty in There Will Be Brawl is to money, power, and survival, and he is willing to backstab and use anyone to get and/or keep it. This is a guy that used his mentally challenged brother to kill a kid because said kid was a Pokémon trainer.
  • I Made 100 Players Simulate Medieval Civilization In Minecraft saw the youtuber set up a server where 100 players are divided into Dwarves, Giants, and Elves. The Elves and Giants run into constant backstabbing of each other, leading to their elections for leadership seeing multiple backstabs and assassinations. This blows up in their face, as the Dwarves Subverted this and got along well, and by the endgame had more surviving members than both the other races combined.

    Western Animation 
  • Roger from American Dad!, mostly For The Lulz, but also due to his Bizarre Alien Biology, he has a biological need to be a total asshole, otherwise it will build up and kill him.
  • Dodie Bishop in As Told by Ginger may as well be considered the Caucasian version of Dijonay Jones mentioned below. Whenever she wants to gain popularity of some sort, she'll see it as an opportunity to stab Ginger and Macie in the back each and every time. You know you're considered a bad friend when even arguably the most popular girl in school treats your friend much better than you do.
  • Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender is considered this. Her father is no exception either. He was willing to do whatever he had to when he wanted something, including disposing of his own family by either killing them, banishing them or setting their own needs aside and replacing them with his own. What's there to say? Ruthlessness and steadfast ambition run in the family.
  • Vilgax in the Ben 10 franchise. Practically every time he's formed an alliance with someone, he betrays them.
  • Darkseid is just as untrustworthy in the DC Animated Universe as he is in the comics, which he demonstrates in one episode. First, he convinces the Justice League to help him fight off Brainiac's invasion of Apokolips. Then he betrays Superman to Brainiac in exchange for Apokolips' safety. Then Darkseid betrays Brainiac by using a Mother Box to take control of him in a bid to discover the Anti-Life Equation and rewrite the universe. This left an impression on Brainiac — in a later episode, Brainiac was reluctant to make a mutually beneficial deal with Lex Luthor because his experiences with Darkseid taught him that organic beings couldn't be trusted.
    Brainiac: You deceived me, Darkseid. Used me.
    Darkseid: It's What I Do.
  • Croc from Dofus: Kerub's Bazaar has this as a literal disorder. He is incapable of not betraying anyone he works with even when it harms him too. He does not mean it, and apologizes afterwards, which is probably why Croc's friends do not hold it against him. Also, his betrayals often end up helping his friends inadvertently in the end.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: All three of The Eds are this to each other in some degree.
    • Ed is more downplayed, as episodes have shown him joining the other kids to laugh at either Edd or Eddy's humiliation, and more often than not has he helped Eddy play cruel pranks on Edd ("My Fair Ed" being the most blatant example as the two deliberately got Edd in trouble with the other kids while shrugging it off as a joke). Of course, this is just more out of Ed being too stupid to know any better and/or Eddy's parrot than deliberate disloyalty.
    • Edd also has his moments of this, particularly in the season where they go to school. He was willing to betray his friends through following school regulations, such as hand-delivering his friends' report cards to their parents (sure Eddy deserved it for not doing his work, but Edd failed to take notice on how dim Ed is to function in school and therefore needs counseling since his parents are no help). Of course, it's mostly when he is either blinded by authority or when Eddy really pushes him over the limit, thus causing Edd to teach him a lesson the hard way.
    • Eddy is easily the biggest backstabber of the three, as more often than not he is willing to succeed at the expense of his friends (with "Pick an Ed" being the most egregious example of them all).
  • Bender from Futurama will switch sides whenever he feels like it if there is something in it for him, that is. In the DVD movie Into the Wild Green Yonder, he helps Zapp Brannigan capture Leela because her eco-terrorism is threatening to overtake his crime track record. After helping to send her to prison, he busts her out, committing 15 felonies in the process thus retaining his title.
  • Shendu in Jackie Chan Adventures. Where to begin? His siblings, Valmont, his siblings again, and Daolan Wong.
  • King of the Hill: Dale Gribble is a paranoid, gun-toting idiot who only trusts a handful of people, and even those people get the shit-end of the stick from his behavior quite often. It's difficult to count the number of times he has sold out his friends for personal gain or even threatened/attempted (horribly) to kill them at various points. How anyone puts up with him is a mystery.
  • In The Legend of Korra:
    • Unalaq is revealed to be this. He betrays his brother to become Chief of the Water Tribes, he betrays his niece Korra after she refuses to open the other spirit portal, especially after screwing over his brother a second time, and he betrays his kids by treating them as mere stooges and destroying the world they inhabit. In Season 3 it is also revealed that he was a member of the Red Lotus and orchestrated a plan to kidnap a young Korra when he found out she was the Avatar, but when the Red Lotus was foiled, he betrayed them and even helped construct one of their prisons in order to continue his goal in becoming the Dark Avatar. Of course, the only being he doesn't betray is Vaatu.
    • Varrick is a repeat offender of this trope. Varrick allied with Team Avatar against Unalaq, but he went behind their backs and endangered a peace march by Southern Water Tribe sympathizers, bankrupted Asami's company and seized control of it, then framed Mako. He backed Raiko during the first election, only for him to attack him months later. All that was part of his plan to start a war and make money off of it. Varrick later betrays Suyin Beifong by joining Kuvira, who went against the latter's wishes. After Varrick finds out how evil Kuvira really is, he's done betraying others altogether and pulls a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Suyin herself has this problem with abusing and betraying the trust of those she claims to care for, even as she herself complains about people abusing her trust. She betrayed the trust of her older half-sister Lin by letting Korra go out to investigate the Zaheer against Lin's orders and proceeded to laugh off Lin's criticisms as if it were no big deal. However, Suyin has disobeyed her sister a lot in the past, so it's no surprise she'd do it again. In Season 4, she betrays Korra's trust by only pretending to agree to let her go hammer out a peace treaty with Kuvira but then goes behind Korra's back to assassinate Kuvira while she's distracted. This results in Korra suffering a humiliating No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Kuvira and lands Suyin in jail with most of her family and results in her city being conquered.
  • Deuce from the second season of Loonatics Unleashed. There isn't a single alliance he makes that isn't simply one of convenience and broken as soon as he has what he wants from it.
  • The Owl House:
    • Emperor Belos seems incapable of making a deal without betraying his allies the instant he gets what he wants. Over the course of the series, he has betrayed his brother, his subordinates, every single witch and demon on the Boiling Isles, and even The Collector.
    • Interestingly, this gets Inverted against Belos by Luz, once he's chronologically aware of her true identity as another human. Twice he attempts to make a deal for her aid and cooperation in enacting his plans, and actually sincerely seems to be willing to uphold his end, even if it inconveniences him, and both times, Luz is the one to ultimately 'betray' him and renege on her end of the deal, causing him significant trouble. In both occasions, it seems to be a combination of Belos's perception of Luz as a mere child and inability to accept that a human would turn against him to protect monsters that blinds him to her intentions.
  • Turns into a running gag in The Proud Family with Penny's so-called friends ditching her whenever she's really in a pickle (yes, including Zoey). The worst of them all, however, is easily Dijonay, who was once even willing to sell out Penny to the Gross Sisters.
  • ReBoot's Megabyte suffered from CBD and was brave enough to admit it. "I double-cross whomever I please." Good for you, Megabyte. You know, the first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem.
  • Aku from Samurai Jack loves to spread misery and pain, and what better way than to betray a close ally at an inopportune moment? A standout example is "Jack and the Ultra-Robots"; Aku forces a scientist to build a new line of killbots in exchange for the safety of his village, but as soon as they are finished he orders the Ultra-Robots to destroy the village as a "test run". This comes back to screw him over when said scientist helps Jack defeat the Ultra-Robots.
  • Trevor from Sidekick, because he prefers to be evil rather than a hero. To be fair, his friends aren't so much better than him...
  • The Hobgoblin in Spider-Man: The Animated Series would often enter into an alliance with another character, then betray them in short order. In his first appearance he was hired by Norman Osborn to kill the Kingpin, but failed to do so and was fired, though he kept his glider and other equipment. He then started to work for Kingpin, who ordered that Harry be kidnapped and used to blackmail Norman. Hobgoblin then made a deal with Osborn to get rid of Kingpin and rescue Harry. Hobgoblin ousted Kingpin from his command center and briefly took command of the New York underworld, inheriting the kidnapped Harry in the process. He then went back on his deal with Osborn, saying he will return Harry in exchange for control of Oscorp. Odds are he would have double-crossed Norman again, but Spider-Man rescued Harry and defeated the Hobgoblin, forcing him to abandon his new command center.
  • Total Drama:
    • While not as bad as Heather, Courtney too has her fair share of betrayals throughout the series, ranging from friends, enemies and even love interests:
      • In the special for Island, Courtney briefly teams with Duncan but after she manages to retrieve the money and Duncan is injured, she instantly abandons him without missing a beat.
      • Near the end of All-Stars, Courtney plans to betray Gwen some way along the way despite their promise to go the finale together. Instead, she plans to bring her new boyfriend, Scott, with her, believing that he will throw the match for her. Unfortunately for her, Mal reveals her plan to the others before she could carry it out. What makes her horrible is that after giving all sorts of crap to Gwen for her own betrayal two seasons ago, Courtney was all too happy to do the same.
    • This was the only way Heather got to the final rounds more than once. However, it's also been known to backfire on her and has done so twice. Lindsay and Beth, two victims of Heather's abuse still won't associate with her after Island. She also failed this in World Tour, having her hands on the money for all of three seconds before losing it and ending up with nothing.
    • In Revenge of the Island, Scott constantly sabotages his team, so he can eliminate any possible threats and lull the other team into a false sense of security. Halfway through the season, Chris, who is the host puts him on the other team... and he starts sabotaging his new team's efforts instead.
  • A very common issue with the Decepticon/Predacon faction over the Transformers mythos. Since the faction is founded on Social Darwinism principles, leaders are constantly facing down ambitious underlings looking to gain a foothold for themselves. The 'Cons prefer it this way because they consider successful betrayals to show cunning and strength and see any leader unable to keep their followers in line with power and fear to be unworthy of respect. Certain 'Cons take this further than others:
    • Starscream of Transformers: Generation 1 was so treacherous that his name is synonymous with scheming betrayal. Megatron, the Decepiticons as a whole, the Autobots, even Unicron himself all ended up on the wrong side of his power plays. Not even death stopped his backstabbing as his disembodied spark managed to end up scamming the Predacons of the sequel series. It's hard to say what's more impressive: his determination or the fact that he somehow manages to convince Megatron to spare his life every time.
    • The Predacons of Beast Wars were treacherous to an impressive degree despite being such a small crew. Almost all of them made moves to betray Megatron for their own power at some point, especially Trantulas and Blackarachnia. Megatron outright states that he tolerates treachery as long as it's done competently. Mostly because he's brilliant enough to use betrayals to his advantage.
      Lil Formers Megatron: I managed to keep two of my troops from betraying me! Two! Pretty good I'd say!
    • Starscream in Animated tried. Unfortunately, Megatron is more than strong and skilled enough to handle his schemes.
    • Prime provides an interesting twist: 'Scream only gets stabby if he thinks he can get away with it — if he thinks Megaton won't ever find out. The rest of the time ...
    • Airachnid, on the other hand, is a bit more brazen in her betrayals. Her arrogance costs her dearly.
  • This is Monstroso's M.O. on The Venture Bros. He, being a supervillain lawyer, is also known as the "king of the doublecross." This doublecrossing is actually encouraged by the Guild of Calamitous Intent. In his debut episode, he works with The Monarch to torment Dr. Venture by using litigation and paperwork to seize Dr. Venture's estate, fully planning to backstab the Monarch and seize his estate as well.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender:
    • Lotor has thus far betrayed his father, by going behind his back to proceed with his secret plans and later killing him, and his generals by straight-up murdering one of them.
    • His generals aren't much better. First they basically betray the empire by helping Lotor, then they betray Lotor due to the abovementioned straight-up murder, then they betray Haggar to help Lotor again, then they betray Lotor, AGAIN, when he turns psycho, and when the empire is scattered and they are sovereign warlords Acxa betrays the other two for good measure.
  • On Wacky Races, Muttley was known to bite the hand that feeds him (a.k.a. Dick Dastardly), but in "Race to Racine" he pulls a doozy. In a sabotage attempt, Dastardly plants him among the Ant Hill Mob, who take him as one of their own (Smiley O'Toole). Clyde instructs him to take Dastardly out, of which Muttley first surprised says "Who, me??" But then he gets a shit-eating grin on his face, snickers, runs atop the Mob car and fires a hand grenade at the Mean Machine.
    Dastardly: [emerging from the smoldering wreckage] And after giving him the worst years of my life... where did I go wrong??
  • Xiaolin Showdown:
    • Wuya was once demoted to minion; her Chessmaster boss considered her so reliably untrustworthy he incorporated her inevitable betrayal into his plans. In fact the entire reason Chase Young resurrected her with only a fraction of her true power was because he fully expected her to instantly backstab him if he didn't. Wuya acknowledges it was probably a good idea on his part.
    • Raimundo. Due to being constantly ignored, belittled, and unappreciated, he eventually betrayed the Xiaolin monks to help Wuya (who, ironically enough, fully kept up her side of the bargain). He eventually turns on Wuya to save his former comrades and reduces Wuya back to a spirit. Then in a much later episode, Raimundo pretends to betray the monks again to side with Hannibal Bean as part of a Batman Gambit so he could bet Bean's Shen Gong Wu, raise the ante, then backstab Bean by throwing the match so the Xiaolin monks would get what was best.
  • Apocalypse from X-Men: The Animated Series has a habit of making promises to people and then breaking them at the worst possible moment. He promised Deathbird he would kill her sister, only to kidnap one of Lilandra's telepaths instead; when Deathbird reminded Apocalypse he said he would destroy Lilandra, he simply replied "I Lied". He tricked the Friends of Humanity into helping and dispersing a plague for him, then planned to discard them as soon their usefulness had ended. He lied to Magneto about his intentions in regards to creating a reality where mutants ruled over humans, instead planning to destroy all of reality and remaking it in his image, though Magneto saw this betrayal coming.


Video Example(s):



There isn't a single ally Neyla doesn't betray at some point.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChronicBackstabbingDisorder

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