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Conditioned to Accept Horror

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No one ever said parenthood was easy.

"You get used to it."
The Priestess, Goblin Slayer

A character who is conditioned to accept a rather horrible, disturbing fate in life does so with a smile on their face. Why must they engage in this Senseless Waste of Human Life? As it turns out, they've been conditioned for it. Literally. Their life, memories, and personal experiences have all been deliberately designed so that they genuinely enjoy, understand, and accept the macabre world they've been placed in, even as people from a different context are terrified just observing them.

This is a very cerebral trope, as the ability of a person to accept such gruesomeness as commonplace and accept their fate without thinking about it raises a lot of questions about the human condition. Don't be surprised if some authors try to sidestep the issue entirely by having the heroes "educate" the conditioned target as to the right way of thinking.


For specific character types, the Barrier Maiden is sometimes trained this way to get them to accept their job. The Apocalypse Maiden might be told they need to be sacrificed so that they don't, y'know, bring about the apocalypse. Sometimes overlaps with Face Death with Dignity, this person often seems to be a Martyr Without a Cause until the reasons are explained (and sometimes even after).

A common component of Training from Hell and The Spartan Way. Overlaps with Let's Meet the Meat when the horror part comes from a food source being sapient. Can be part of a Crapsaccharine World. Compare with Epiphanic Prison and Safety in Indifference.

See also Blank Slate, Nurture over Nature, Misery Builds Character, More Than Mind Control, Rousseau Was Right, Stockholm Syndrome, Dissonant Serenity, Then Let Me Be Evil, Freudian Excuse Denial and Too Broken to Break. A sister trope to Seen It All.


Compare and contrast with Weirdness Censor and Perception Filter, where the mental impression of horror is diminished, but the emotional reaction to said horror is unchanged.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Code Geass, Emperor Charles invokes the trope, believing the people will accept what they are forced into when given enough time. Lelouch defies this trope, saying that time will never happen and proves it.
  • DARLING in the FRANXX: Zero Two has been a prized military asset of APE and sent to fight on the front lines for so long that she has no regard for human life or her own, since they all exist to fight and die and become a statistic anyway. Heck, even when her beloved is dying, perhaps the one person she unambiguously cares about, she hardly bats an eye at it because, to her, it's just a fact of life that everyone dies.
  • Gunslinger Girl used this as an early conceit. The girls are very sweet and can pass for normal in public, but they cannot comprehend the idea that there's anything morose or negative in the fact that they must kill people on command, most of the time without knowing why. This is best summed up in an early story where Rico realizes she must kill a busboy she befriended earlier because he's a witness. At first it seems like she's hesitating for human reasons, but it turns out that she was trying to remember the words "I'm sorry". That she had to kill him was never a doubt in her mind.
  • Rei in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Her character relationship arc with Shinji is based largely on how he questions why she feels this is necessary. Mostly it's the fault of Shinji's dad.
  • Hansel and Gretel of Black Lagoon end up as Creepy Twins due to this trope.
  • The main character of PandoraHearts can accept anything life throws at him — death, being thrown into an extra-dimensional hell/prison, stuff like that. Most disturbingly, he actually conditioned himself into this as opposed to the usual premise of it having been performed by morally dubious characters. Naturally, this creeps the heck out of his friends.
  • Fate Testarossa in the first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha seemed to genuinely believe that her mother's abuse of her was a good enough substitute for parental affection, because she has never actually experienced the latter (other than in Alicia's memories). So much, she even defended her mother's actions to her familiar Arf. It takes many years for Lindy to "decondition" her to accept real tenderness without tensing up.
  • Hibiki from Bloody Monday Season 2 is perfectly understanding about the possibility of dying and being replaced because not only has she been trained to be a perfect agent since childhood, she also has seven identical clones and all of them were specifically bred for spying.
  • The "normal" people from Miyu's homeworld in Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA. Illya comes to this realization when she realizes both of them automatically go "people can't fly" despite the magic they've seen. "The Ainsworths have taken their wings."
  • In Endride, assassins like Mischa are kidnapped as children, emotionally broken and then brainwashed in order to become more effective killers for their owners.
  • InuYasha: All of the protagonists, sans Kagome, count to varying degrees. Miroku and Sango are so used to the mass destruction of their era that, while they're sympathetic to the loss of entire villages, they're also pragmatic about not being able to do much about it. Inuyasha takes the cake, considering that, in Episode 9, he thought nothing of stopping for a meal break in the middle of a corpse-strewn battlefield.
  • The main characters and most of the community in Made in Abyss. The value, both financial and military, of objects found in the titular Eldritch Location results in the society on its fringes training orphans to mine its shallower depths. The community accepts this, despite the fact that many of the children are orphans because of the Abyss. By the time children are old enough to reach the deeper layers, they're supposed to be able to deal with the horrors and insanity that exist in the dark below.
  • Overlord (2012):
    • Victim, the eight floor guardian is a weird critter resembling a floating fetus with a halo and a cutesy voice, whose shtick is that when he dies (and he's purposefully easy to kill), the invaders are hit with all sorts of horrible status debuffs. This was all well and good when he was just an NPC, but now that he's an actual sentient being he's downright eager to be killed in defense of Nazarick, no matter how much Ainz apologizes and promises to resurrect him afterwards.
    • Tsuare was forced to work as a prostitute in a brothel that throws the girls out when they're used up and caters to clients who like getting violent. When Sebas rescues her despite orders not to get noticed, Ainz decides to ensure that Sebas' loyalty is unchanged and orders him to kill her. She's so happy that he rescued her from that hellhole that she smiles at him and shows no resistance as he prepares to kill her in a single punch. Fortunately Cocytus blocks the punch, allowing him to determine that Sebas had every intention of killing Tsuare as ordered. This reassures the other guardians that Sebas isn't going rogue, and the matter is dropped and Tsuare is allowed to live at Nazarick as a maid.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, several of the witches, their barriers and imagery are rather creepy. However, veteran Puella Magi enter barriers day after day, and are unfazed by this. A good example is Yachiyo Nanami, a veteran from Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story. Special shoutout goes to Homura, who - after Sayaka and Madoka cowered before the sight of Mami dying gruesomely, - defeats Charlotte like she was just another conquered castle. Explanation: Homura is a Time Master, who's Save Scumming here.
  • Played for Laughs in Mission: Yozakura Family. The Yozakuras are so hard on Taiyo that he's desensitized to most everyday thrills. For instance, when he and Mutsumi ride a roller coaster, he ends up falling asleep because it's relaxing compared to his daily training and frequent missions.
  • In Episode 5 of SHWD, Koga is stunned to learn that a SHWD employee went berserk during a disposal and killed 5 of his teammates after forgetting to take his suppression drug. What horrifies her more is how nonchalant her fellow employees are about the matter, with one even mentioning that cases like this used to be a lot more common.

    Comic Books 
  • In X-Men, Bella Donna Boudreaux was raised to be a professional hitwoman, from at least the time she was eight years old, and possibly younger. As a result she has no qualms about committing murder.
  • Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass, has no qualms about vigilante murder and even killing mooks for money. She has been trained by her father to be a killing machine because he wanted a more exciting life.
  • Frank Castle, AKA The Punisher; a dark vigilante who derives a macabre thrill from gunning down scores of criminals. During his military service in the Vietnam War, Frank came to thrive in the bloodshed and chaos surrounding him; he craved combat. While the war was a traumatic nightmare for many who fought in it, Frank actually misses his time in Vietnam, and part of the reason he kills criminals is to continue waging a war that he should've ended long ago.
  • Batman:
    • The hitman Cain has raised his daughter Cassandra from an early age to be nothing but a killing machine. In fact, it was his intention that violence and martial arts be the only language in which she is fluent, and she is, for all intents and purposes, mute. While successful at making her into a nigh-unstoppable fighting machine, Cain's regimen actually backfired massively when it came to conditioning Cass psychologically. The first time she killed someone her abilities meant she could "read" all the target's emotions as he died, making the experience even more traumatizing than it would be for a regular six-year-old. She converted to Thou Shalt Not Kill on the spot.
    • Batman's own son Damian, who was raised by the League of Assassins and conditioned to not only kill but to enjoy killing.
    • Batman himself is a milder example. While he does fight for a better world and never embraces its ugly side, his parents' death spurs him to understand how that ugly side operates so he can face it without fear.
    • The Joker apparently has a clinical version of this. In Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, one of the doctors discusses how the Joker is wired to accept the harshness of reality better than most normal people can. Since he lives in a hellholle like Gotham, this "super sanity" as they call it manifests as laughing at death, pain and fear.
    • During her Batwoman training, Kate Kane lived for two weeks in a room covered in grisly crime scene photos and spent a majority of that time watching torture and murder videos to help completely desensitize her to the sorts of horrors she'd likely see as a vigilante. Prior to this, her military training at West Point would have had a similar, though less extreme, affect.
  • Raven of the Teen Titans is an Apocalypse Maiden who, since birth, was trained to seal away her emotions, despite the fact that she was an empath who thrived off other people's emotions.
  • Carl Grimes from The Walking Dead has been forced into this in order to cope with death in the comics, though more in the form of Safety in Indifference then being cheerful about it. A good example is his reaction to Tyreese's death. It eventually causes Troubling Unchildlike Behavior.
  • Huntress is a peculiar example, because while she witnessed the murder of her family when she was eight years old, and was then raised by assassins who trained her to fight and kill, those same assassins also loved and cared for her and showed her real affection. They certainly did condition her to accept horror, but not out of cruelty.
  • Bruce Banner, better known as the Incredible Hulk, forces himself not to react to the dangerous situations he finds himself in out of fear of Hulking Out, justified since as the Hulk he's Nigh-Invulnerable so the only thing he's really worried about is what's gonna happen to the enemy. This trait is carried over to his TV and film counterparts.
  • Mega Man: Rock grows increasingly disturbed by how most of the Robot Masters are totally accepting of their place in society as basically slaves, as well as the fact that they'll eventually be forcibly decommissioned. They were programmed to not see themselves as being alive, only lifelike, so they're all totally conditioned to the idea that they have no say in anything. However, hints are dropped that many Masters are starting to Grow Beyond Their Programming and defy this.
  • Sameal of Birthright uses magic to invoke Primal Fear in a police SWAT team (reassuring his allies that it cost no more than five years of the victims' lives). The same magic is useless against anyone from Terrenos because the constant, bloody warfare has raised the threshold for horror across the population.

    Fan Works 
  • In Aeon Entelechy Evangelion Asuka was desensitized to sanity losing situations Acquired Poison Immunity-style as a part of her pilot training.
  • In And If That Don't Work? Asuka is subjected to operant conditioning to keep her functional after being burned by acid down to a "screaming potato" and then rebuilt as a cybernetic human-Evangelion hybrid. She happily notes that she doesn't get nightmares about it, ever. The alternative was admittedly a lot worse, however.
  • In The Butcher Bird, Six is so completely broken by his experiences as a member of the Necromonger Pirates that he barely reacts to even the most horrific situations.
  • In The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13, Link claims to have had the fear beaten out of him by his horrific lifestyle. He also admits that while such "mundane" things as pitch black pits and waves of blood don't scare him, the thought of losing his loved ones most certainly does.
    • He invokes this effect by basically torturing a small group of knights into fearing nothing but him, to make sure they wouldn't give up or freak out in a life or death situation.
    • The goddesses themselves also invoke this trope Up to Eleven by putting Link's mind through the Ocarina of Time adventure 98,000 times during his four seven-year sleeps. It's borderline And I Must Scream, in a way.
  • Light in NoHoper. His mother was killed gruesomely in a vampyre attack right in front of him when he was very young and then this is reinforced at the testing facility with the staff's casual attitude when most of the test subjects die.
  • Child of the Storm has most of the younger characters develop shades of this, being more or less unfazed by absolutely horrifying situations, which get little response beyond Casual Danger Dialog at most. Both adults and more normal young people find it distinctly disturbing, and it's explicitly stated to be a coping mechanism.
    • Maddie Pryor a.k.a. Rachel Grey is a textbook example in the sequel, having been raised to believe that she was an Artificial Human created solely to be a Living Weapon, and through a steady process of dehumanisation from infancy (she was stolen the night she was born, and replaced with a dead infant, faking a case of SIDS), to accept it without question. More Than Mind Control doesn't even begin to describe it, and it takes all the persuasive powers and concerted effort of Gambit, over a period of months, to get her to even begin asserting some form of individuality, a process accelerated by Harry and, strangely enough, Mjolnir. Even after her Heel–Face Turn, it's noted as being somewhat disturbing how nonchalant she is about horror, but how even being treated with basic kindness can leave her in baffled tears.
  • In the Umineko: When They Cry Affectionate Parody Silly Hat Productions, Battler notes early on that he's gotten used to Beatrice's games. He then goes on to claim they're not as effective anymore. His laid-back approach to the games bites him in the ass when Lambdadelta decides that he needs more motivation to take things seriously.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl story The Vampire of Steel, Buffy and Supergirl find two dead demons looking for a Kryptonian vampire. Kara is sickened but Buffy goes about investigating the bodies in a calm, professional manner, and is even able to make jokes. The Slayer explains this is how she stays sane.
    Buffy took a deep breath as the Maid of Might flew them in for a swift landing. They touched ground by the doughnuted demons. The sight didn’t agree with Kara. She noticed that Buffy took it in a more businesslike manner.
    “Sorry,” said Buffy. “In my line of work, you see this stuff more often.”
    “I’m glad I don’t have your line of work,” said Supergirl. “Most of the time, that is.”
  • In To Lead The Way, Serena is consistently raped by her father, and believes his actions to be acceptable because, quite frankly, she hasn't had the chance to learn otherwise.
  • From Gensokyo 20XX, we have this with an age-regressed Reimu and she is a downplayed and played with example, in that, while she is mentally conditioned, she's conditioned herself to accept something a child wouldn't otherwise be able to as something may not be changed, i.e, mental illness, declining health, and the death from the result thereof Note . Along with the aforementioned and if some of her other behavior and willingness to accept cruelty is to go by, it would be a safe assumption that cruelty is half of what she knows. Of course, seeing their kind of setting and what she's been exposed to since age-regression, she probably doesn't have any other choice, except to be. Needless to say, it does cause her misery, something she had learned to endure.
  • Dante mentions he is pushing sixty in Dante's Night at Freddy's, and that a lifetime of killing demons and losing family members has made him extremely jaded to the likes of the Freddy Fazbear characters.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: In Act V chapter 23, the other members of the group are left dumbfounded that in the aftermath of Tsukune's bloodlust-fueled rampage through Yokai Academy's festival, which has left the school grounds covered with corpses, Rin's only concern is that the fireworks show has been cancelled. In response, Ran explains that she, Rin, and Ren have seen so many horrible things while enslaved to Babylon that the recent events don't even faze them.
  • In Neon Metathesis Evangelion as in canon, Rei sees no problem whatsoever with how she's treated by NERV. Rei I's influence changes this after the reintegration of her soul; she will lash out violently if sufficiently provoked.
  • Shaggy in Scooby Doo and the House of Monsters has spent four years as the gym teacher at the Ghoul School and grown so used to monsters that he barely blinks at things that freak out Velma, who spent the same time looking for the supernatural all over the world.
  • In The Hobbit fanfic Girls just want to have fun, the female protagonist casually asks if the guy she went home with raped her while she was passed out from drinking too much alcohol. It is quite subtle and easy to miss as she uses the word "sex" and he just confusedly repeats that she passed out before they could do anything of the sort.
  • A lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer stories have the Scoobies, or even just normal Sunnydale residents, prove to be far more accepting of stressful situations than normal people.
    • Xander in Storage Space lives in an evil/possessed hotel where each floor causes worse existential dread than the one below it, with Kylie commenting that she couldn't even make it up the stairs to the fifth floor, commenting that it was like standing at the gates of hell. Xander only has mild trouble sleeping on the fifth floor and has traveled all the way to the twentieth floor without being terribly bothered.
    • An unusually high number of soldiers at Stargate Command in I Still Say it Looks Like a Nail are from Sunnydale as surviving on the Hellmouth has left them mentally flexible enough to deal with aliens and potential world ending situations with more ease than anyone else.
  • Twice in Bloodstained Heroes of Humanity:
    • Downplayed but after a childhood of Izuku snacking on the blood of his cuts and scratches, Katsuki finds Izuku feeding on him calming and nostalgic.
    • Played straight with Izuku as growing up with Kurogiri and Shiragaki blinded him to the villainous parts of their personalities and dismissed them as personality quirks until their differing ideologies lead to cause Izuku great trauma.
  • This is how Clan cats are in Warriors Redux. Cats die all the time, so they quickly learn to accept tragedy. Almost all of Firepaw's similarly-aged peers are orphans, despite not even being year olds. It takes a while for the former-kittypet to learn how to deal with death. Spottedleaf's sudden drowning (later confirmed to be a murder) stuns him and sends him into grief (and he barely knew her).
  • In Lost Causes, it's shown that Jessica was "born" into a terrible life and realized from a young age that her life wasn't important because she's a Toon. She spent all of her life dealing with abuse until Roger saved her.
    It was one week into the show business before the girl knew anything more than flickering lights, body aches and pleasures, and the hand that led her home; two weeks before she began to string coherent sentences together beyond her script, moans, and the occasional murmuring of some other person's name; three weeks before she noticed the difference in texture between the people filming her and the people filming with her; four weeks before she realized that was a problem; and five weeks before she understood that she was a Toon, created simply for entertainment, and had no choice in the matter.
  • In The Speck, Wyatt has lived in Townsville for so long (especially during the "The Tag Incident" and "Day of the Monkies") that he just made it a habit of getting around the city and learning to avoid and/or defend himself from the various villains and monsters.
  • In Paradise, Earth ponies during Celestia and Luna's foalhoods learned to be this way at a young age. Seeing your loved ones die just comes with being a prey animal.
  • In Blood! Rusty AU, most city cats understand that death always follows them and that they could die any moment of any day. They quickly get used this way of life. They also become used to killing other cats.
  • In Never Had a Friend Like Me, this is the reason why Amanda doesn't have fairies. She has long accepted her parents' words that she is a waste of time and money and thus believes she doesn't deserve to be miserable about it. The fact that Norm, a being without sympathy toward humans, is genuinely disturbed and angered by this, speaks volumes.
  • Inko in The Worm That Dorks is introduced being sacrificed by cultists and thinking to herself that she's glad they're professional cultists this time, who don't use dirty sacrificial daggers or stutter while speaking Black Speech. After they successfully summon a baby Eldritch Abomination, Inko adopts it as her son and names it Izuku. When Principal Nezu visits, he notices dozens of photos of Pro Heroes posing with Inko, said photos implied to be taken shortly after she was rescued again. While all the heroes look uncomfortable to some degree while Inko smiles cheerfully.
  • In Death Need Not Apply, anyone who spent enough time in The Zone has zero fear of death along with an insane pain tolerance, as The Zone is an area where no one can die and all injuries eventually heal (including severed limbs and destroyed organs). While the rest of the class is horrified by Izuku, Bakugou, and Todoroki (who grew up in The Zone) casually dealing lethal injuries to their classmates, Izuku needs some time to understand what the problem is. During their first exercise, Izuku helpfully dispenses advice while killing his classmates, such as impaling Shoji while warning him about how painful stomach injuries are.
  • In The Stalking Zuko Series, Yugoda, Katara's healing mentor from the Northern Water Tribe, is all too used to the Water Tribes' patriarchal attitudes, and doesn't believe that they will change in Katara's lifetime. As such, she believes that the best thing Katara can do is marry a good husband.
  • This is used as a sad gag in Solarhood when Sonic gets spooked by a scary video game. When he questions why Elise isn't frightened, she happily says that she's become immune to all emotions that involve tears.
  • After the Sports Festival in Deku? I think he's some pro..., Izuku is told flat-out by some heartless civilians that he doesn't deserve his place in U.A. because he's Quirkless, and that they hope he dies so his position can be taken by somebody who deserves it. When he casually mentions this later at school, he's honestly surprised by his classmates' horrified reactions.
  • Erased Potential: Izuku and Mei are stunned upon realizing that Denki doesn't think anything of the fact that his Quirk is capable of short-circuiting his brain. That's just a thing that happens sometimes; there's no way of preventing it... right? Naturally, Mei immediately declares that finding a way to prevent that is her new pet project.
  • Raised by Jägers: Minor example, Played for Laughs.
    Footnote: The seneschal Gyula von Mekkhan had had some peculiar views on children, also shared by his brother, who served as the first Schoolmaster. They were both convinced that children found skeletons extremely jolly, and had thus decided to cover every surface of the school in them. While in any other town, this would have revealed itself to be a horrendously bad decision leading to countless traumatized children, the children of Mechanicsburg were usually quite inured to the aesthetics of their home town by the time they reached school age, and if they felt anything at all about the school's choice of decoration, it was merely a mild puzzlement about why it was so overdone.
  • Twenty Years Late: When interviewed by the Resistance, Adam the Thin Man is oblivious to their horror when she mentions that the Ethereals keep the Vipers under reproductive restrictions, as the Vipers have essentially deified the Ethereals for uplifting them into a sapient, star-faring race.
    Dr. Vahlen: This parthenogenesis, is it forced?
    Adam: We cannot control our baser natures without the Elder's input. We require a leash until we can master ourselves.
    What little color Barney could see in Dr. Vahlen's cheeks fled. The vortigaunt paused typing for a moment.
    Dr. Vahlen: I see.
    Adam: We serve the Elder Ones loyally, in hopes of achieving enlightenment. We were base beasts once, crawling through the dirt on our bellies. Now we travel through the stars in ships of light and crystal. I hope you will know this as well, one day.
  • XSGCOM: XCOM's personnel tend to end up like this after a few months, understandably so given that it's considered a good mission result if they only lose two or three squad members out of ten, and when the story starts the alien invasion has escalated to the point where they're deploying practically every day. Anyone not running on some level of Heroic Safe Mode (for a certain definition of 'heroic') has left the organisation, one way or another.
  • Hysterical: Izuku's Quirk gives him Resurrective Immortality and causes him to Feel No Pain. Inko spent countless nights crying herself to sleep over killing Izuku to heal his injuries but eventually reached the point of just being mildly annoyed by the glitter his Quirk produces.
  • Miraculous Ladybug fanfic Forged: Chloe's mother is a horrible, emotionally abusive woman who can largely be blamed with literally everything wrong with her daughter. Chloe sees nothing wrong with her mother's behavior (which is part of the problem, as she tries to emulate her), and her classmates only begin to realize how screwed up their relationship is when Chloe mentions that her mother remembered her name twice in the past month as if this is a huge stride forward.
  • This is pretty much every clones' attitude toward in Commander Fox Is Completely Fine, but Fox especially. One scene has him explain to Senator Chuchi that the Clone Troopers are essentially Child Soldiers, and when she's horrified by this, he "reassures" her by explaining that they're pumped full of growth hormones by the Kaminoans so they rapidly age into adulthood. He's then utterly bewildered when this horrifies her more.
  • Orchestrating The Silence: After fighting alien horrors, getting mind-raped, killed off... Asuka has does not feel particularly horrified or even surprised when she hears the red streak across the sky is made of souls which came spraying out of Rei's neck.
    "Hey," I begin, nodding up at the sky. "What's that red thing?"
    He takes another swallow of water from his bottle, following my gaze. Then he makes a sad face. "Souls," he answers quietly. "Human souls. They… uh, came spraying out of Rei's neck during Instrumentality."
    I nod silently. It seems like this should shock or horrify me, but now that just kind of seems… par for the course.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Metropolis: One of the machines in the lower city overheats and releases deadly clouds of boiling-hot steam that kill several workers, but once the chaos is over the survivors stop only to solemnly clear away the dead bodies, while new workers take their place. This is driven home by Freder, who is seeing these horrors for the first time, imagining the machine as a shrine to a God of Evil, where the black-robed workers willingly walk into its fiery jaws (in contrast to a chain of struggling, cowering slaves who are man-handled into the jaws of Moloch).
  • Rambo in First Blood is particularly notable in that he realizes he's so conditioned to accept horror that he doesn't actually have any idea what he's supposed to do with his life now that the war's over. The entire premise of the movie is pretty much him demanding an answer to this question and not getting one. Later movies "solved" this problem by tossing Rambo into typical action movie plots against Always Chaotic Evil nemeses. The original book, by contrast, ended with Rambo killed as a result of his inability to adapt.
  • The first half of Full Metal Jacket. Some might say that Stanley Kubrick depicted this trope a bit too well.
  • Downfall (2004): After days of fighting the Russians, most of the Berlin defenders treat the death and chaos around them as rote. As Koller and a group of soldiers and staff leave the bunker for good, a man eating his gun in front of everyone gets nothing more than mild exasperation in response.
  • The Hunted (2003) featured a character who was trained to be proficient in close-quarters knife assault tactics. This type of assassination is very emotionally taxing, and combat training includes with it conditioning to help make close-range murder easier on the psyche. The main conflict in the movie comes when the main character, having gone through this training, is utterly unable to relinquish violence and reintegrate into the world.
  • In Soldier the Super Soldier squad is forced to watch a pack of dogs attacking a wild boar as children during their training, among other things (and it's implied that it's a regular occurrence, not just a one time thing). The main character is then completely unable to exist as anything except a soldier in later life, and has no qualms about killing a hostage to kill an enemy. He rediscovers his humanity when he is ruthlessly "decommissioned" and accepted by a community of castaways, though he remains a soldier first and foremost.
  • Similarly, Child Soldiers in Blood Diamond are mercilessly drilled (and sometimes drugged) in order to teach them how to kill.
  • Downplayed in 12 Years a Slave. We see slaves on the Epps' plantation quietly working together as the screams of fellow slaves being whipped fills the air-there's no delight in hearing such sounds, there's just acceptance, and the knowledge that if any of them so much as move to give water, they'll be next under the lash.
  • Hot Fuzz has all the townsfolk of Sanford unfazed by all the grisly deaths going on, treating them all as minor inconveniences. Part of the reason that Sanford citizens are okay with this is that the typical citizen actually doesn't see it. Most deaths are attributed to accidents by the police and the conspiracy arranges the deaths to look they resulted from foibles of the victim or the environment of the town (a town drunk is killed in a gas stove explosion, which was attributed to his midnight snacking, a overly-dramatic citizen was found in a car wreck after he engaged in multiple attempts to bribe the police to ignore his speeding, and another victim was killed by debris falling from a church tower in dis-repair, while the at a feit to specifically raise funds to repair the church tower). Other victims are just people who disappear without the residents really knowing or missing them. Among the cops, only one is in on the conspiracy, and the rest view him as a good boss who encourages a positive work environment and the only cops who suspect a thing are seen as crazy from the tedium of police work in an idyllic community long before they "leave" the force. Given the number of bodies and the various states of decay when the conspiracy's work is revealed, it's implied that they prefer letting their targets look like they left town instead of succumbing to accidents. It helps that the cops regularly point out that they haven't had a documented murder in 30 years, so the police won't suspect foul play immediately AND all the members of the conspiracy are upstanding and outgoing members of the community who are rather generous with their efforts to help the greater good.
  • In Suffragette, the protagonist, Maude, at first refuses to say anything against her boss, stating that he is a good employer. Then, when she has been convinced to just give a statement of what her job is like (as the suffragettes want to prove that women work just as hard as men) she calmly describes the gruesome deaths of colleagues in work accidents, how the chemicals they have to work with decrease their lifespan, and how they put their babies in baskets under the kettles with boiling water, which their employer thinks is completely okay, as he wants them to return to work early. What she does not tell, but is later revealed is that the man also routinely rapes the young teenaged girls who work for him, and it is implied he did this to Maud, too. The reason why Maud has to tell all those things is that the colleague, who originally offered to speak, has been beaten up by her husband and they fear that the men in power will not listen to a woman who isn't pretty. No one thinks this particularly remarkable, nor does anyone suggest to take the fact she's been beaten up so badly as evidence why women need votes.
  • Your Neighbour's Son is a documentary on the conversion of Military Police recruits into torturers for the Greek Junta. The recruits are beaten and abused in recruit camp, then they inflict the same as senior recruits on the junior recruits, then they witness torture as guards, then inflict torture under orders, then graduate to torturers themselves.
  • Just remember all the good The Purge does.
  • Played for Laughs in Clue, as the guests become less and less concerned for the care of the corpses as the movie goes on and the murders stack up. When the cook dies, they take great care not to aggravate the deadly injury. By they time they get to the singing telegram girl, they simply drop her face-first on the floor from waist-height. And by the time they find Yvette's body, they simply walk into the room, stare for a few seconds at the body, then leave without so much as a word.

  • In A Brother's Price, when they find the body of a man who was raped, and then killed by having his tongue cut off, Ren is shocked at the lack of reaction from the soldiers who accompany her. It's not unreasonable to assume that they have seen worse, it comes with the job, and there seems to have been a bandit problem for a long time. And her lieutenant points out that unlike Ren, who knew and loved her father, most soldiers are conceived from drugged prisoners in military brothels.
  • In Dragon Bones, Oreg has been a slave for so long that what would constitute horror to others is his baseline normal. When talking to his master about things that may annoy him, he moves to keep a piece of furniture between them. Ward (who inherited him at the start of the novel) notices this, and concludes that Oreg must be used to people whose reaction to things that annoy them is violence. Ward has some experience with this, as his father (Oreg's former owner) was abusive. Ward, however, refuses to acknowledge this as normal. His brother Tosten, on the other hand, is a bit more sensitive, and when Ward seeks him out for a family reunion, thinks that Ward has come to kill him in order to get him out of the way as potential heir. He accepts this and only asks Ward to make it quick and painless. Ward is horrified when he finally understands what Tosten is talking about.
  • 1984. The whole world has fallen below the Despair Event Horizon yet the people have been conditioned to accept the fact and just live their drab lives worshiping Big Brother or not giving a shit about politics despite trying to survive in such a suicide-encouraging hellhole plagued by constant and immutable war, poverty and paranoia, with the Party members getting the worst of it thanks to the corrupt Big Brother Is Watching regime. Also, if a Party member even thinks of going against the will of Big Brother, he is even more conditioned to accept horror via Room 101. O'Brien even openly admitted that only pure power is what keeps the Dystopia alive and the future is pretty much "a boot stamping on a human face forever". Winston is subjected to a little piece of personal horror when he recalls how he walked through a district that had just been hit by a bomb, and casually kicked a severed human arm into the gutter as though it were a stone or a piece of debris.
  • Never Let Me Go has this as the central tragic plot point. As terrifying as the fate of the Hailsham students is when it's finally revealed to the reader, it's not particularly remarkable to Kathy, who mentions it casually while talking about something else. It genuinely doesn't even occur to anyone that they could do something else with their lives.
  • Brave New World has an entire society of people who don't engage in any meaningful intellectual thought, or for that matter, much of anything. A part of this conditioning is taking small children to the hospital of dying, and giving them cookies every time someone dies. Aside from the few characters intelligent enough to realize how blithe all this is, everyone seems to enjoy it. And those few characters are shipped off to remote islands or made World Controllers to keep them from spoiling everyone else's fun.
  • Discussed in The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbits wonder why the horses of the Ringwraiths don't exhibit the nerve-racking dread that all other living things that encounter them do. The answer is that the horses were raised in Mordor, and quite simply are used to it. The movies give them Red Eyes, Take Warning, implying a more supernatural explanation there.
  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe features food that's been conditioned bred to want to be eaten. Arthur Dent, being a normal human from Earth rather unused to this, is a little disturbed.
  • Bethan, the sacrificial maiden from The Light Fantastic. Although that depends on your definition of "horror"—her belief that she would get to drink tea with the moon goddess after being sacrificed might have been correct, considering that there are real goddesses in that universe.
  • The Giver:
    • People who work with the very young or the old are conditioned to accept euthanasia as a fact of life, starting from their early adolescence. This includes Jonas's father, who nonchalantly euthanizes a baby.
    • Like most people in his community, Jonas takes things that would be downright horrifying to many people as normal — although once he receives memories of better times, he realizes how horrible the Community is to make its residents live this way.
  • In The Sparrow, the Runa are conditioned to serve the Jana'ata. In every sense of the word. Including the Twilight Zone sense of the word.
    • After some jarring injustices, one of the humans teaches the Runa the old Earth adage of "We are many, they are few". The Jana'ata that are there to hear this being chanted, understandably, flip out and try to pull a Total Party Kill-their entire civilization hinged on the Runa never making that connection (the Runa outnumber the Jana'ata population something like 10:1 at least, even if they are pacifist herbivores).
    • In the sequel Children of God, the Jana'ata's fears are proven exactly right and they are almost hunted to extinction by the Runa.
  • Stephen King:
    • The Big Bad ins Desperation tries to scare Johnny Marinville by showing him his blood-dripping penis, but it doesn't work because he saw far more disturbing things in Vietnam.
    • Many of the Calla from The Dark Tower series have come to accept how the Wolves take away one twin from each pair, and return them in a mentally and physically damaged condition. Granted, this is more likely to be true among those Calla whose own children are too young or old to be taken.
  • In a more short-term manner, Basini in The Confusions of Young Törless regards what his classmates do to him with a childish acceptance. It isn't clear whether this is due to real innocence, because he is genuinely complicit in it, because the way in which they frame their advances and "experiments" has eased him into accepting them as okay... or because he has been abused before.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's book Mirror Dance, the clone Lily Jr. knows and agrees with the notion of being killed to give "my lady" a full body transplant.
  • Cowslip's warren in Watership Down is managed by a human. In return for a daily delivery of garden scraps and the shooting of predators, the rabbits all pretend not to know that the area is full of snares and have convinced themselves that rabbits must await death with dignity and stoicism. The protagonists escape, taking a Defector from Decadence along with them.
  • In The Hunger Games, an entire subculture exists of people who select, groom, and train the "tributes" for the eponymous games. In the first book the main character's team is nothing but friendly professionalism. In the second, they start to break down...
  • In the Delirium Series, youth are conditioned to believe that love is a deadly disease, and the only cure is brain surgery to remove the part of the brain that causes love. After the surgery, most people have a Lack of Empathy, and in extreme cases hate or kill their children because they can't feel love.
  • The Wheel of Time treats horses enough like minor characters that it's important if they've been trained to not panic in fights against Trollocs and Myrddraal.
    • To a lesser extent, recruits and even soldiers occasionally break before those horrors.
    • The main characters themselves. In their first encounter with an enemy, Perrin and Egwene hid in a hole. By the end of the series, they were known to charge Eldritch Abominations and armies on their own. Rand panics the first time he ever sees Trollocs, and by the end of the series he's annihilated armies of them on his lonesome, killed Forsaken, and fought the Dark One himself. Mat hates fighting throughout, but he secretly enjoys commanding some of the largest battles at the end of the series.
    • The Borderlanders and the Aiel-lifetimes of wars do that to you.
    • Aes Sedai have this as a professional requirement and a product of their membership tests. Some of them do it much better than others. Egwene Sedai and Cadsuane Sedai are known for having absurd control of themselves. Others such as Nynaeve Sedai are known to have poor emotional control even though they're highly capable.
  • In World War Z, dogs that were alive at the time the Zombie Apocalypse kicked off are terrified and enraged by the scent of the undead, and freak out in the presence of zombies or the infected. Those dogs born after it started are "born smelling the dead", and are sufficiently acclimated to this aroma that they can be trained to work with humans and each other to lure zombies into kill-zones and traps.
  • In Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery," the Town with a Dark Secret operates on this trope. This is a unique example in that there's not really a conscious effort by anyone to groom the citizens or harden their hearts to the horror - in this case, the trope is self-perpetuating. Everyone grows up witnessing a Human Sacrifice ritual every year, and as they get used to this ritual, they continue it without any second thoughts. The tradition gets passed down from generation to generation in a vicious cycle, and if anyone has doubts, they can rationalize those doubts away by saying "Culture Justifies Anything" or "Nobody Ever Complained Before."
  • Subverted in Ancillary Justice: The protagonist is an artificial intelligence, built to serve in the military, and obey every command without question. On several occasions, she is told to kill innocent people. She does so, seemingly without emotion, but the reader learns that she feels regret, and the novel is about her quest for revenge on her "owner".
  • The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin has the darklings, who are desensitized to trauma by constant exposure. The highest echelons of them, like the protagonist, are made this way through cycles of brutal reincarnation.
  • Played every way, but especially memorably when straight in A Song of Ice and Fire. The nature of the Crapsack World is such that wide sections of the populations on two continents are culturally inured to such things as widespread rape, bigotry of many kinds from classism to sexism via racism and worse, indentured servitude of various descriptions and hellacious training, working or living conditions. To the point that, when a relatively reasonable Death-Cult springs up in the form of those who worship the Many-Faced God, it makes sense that offering either assassination (of those who have wronged you) or euthanasia (for when you hurt too much either physically or mentally to recover) as part of the regular (and regulated) service gets participants and, unlike many others, it lasts. Its cultural impact spreads widely as a weirdly gruesome form of checks-and-balances, thanks to their strict code of ethics making them... acceptable, if feared. Valar morghulis; valar dohaeris — "all men must die; all men must serve".
    • Speaking of serving, we get the Unsullied, the Essossi, eunuch warrior-slaves whose Training from Hell in Astapor puts Sparta, Persia and the Ottoman Empire to shame. They go so far as to have had both fear and self-preservation trained out of them by horrific means. As it turns out, the "Good Masters" didn't manage to train a sense of self-worth out of them, as, given a chance to fight for their own reasons as free men, they almost all jumped at the chance. They're all still as hard as nails, but... Subverted Trope. They couldn't be trained to be completely inhumanly submissive, however hard the Astorpuri slave-masters tried.
    • The Cleganes pretty much decided to turn their own sons into Westerosi Unsullied to get ahead. Minus gelding them, of course — or technically turning them into slaves, first (although, being a minor House sworn to lords who treat you like dirt isn't as great a step up as it looks on paper). It led to much dysfunction on both sides by producing a Straw Nihilist as one and a trigger-happy Serial Killer as the other, as well as contributed to derailing many of their liege-lord's plans and the probable end of their own family lineage. So, not a great success, then.
  • Tofu and Olson from Super Minion. Both spent time as test subjects for horrific experiments, and in Tofu's case those were his first experience in life, so even horrifying things rarely faze either of them.
  • In The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant, humans are mostly forced to accept their eventual fate of ending up being eaten by the dragon, with the humans even trying to rationalize why being eaten by the dragon is a good thing. This is an allegory to our relationship with death, and why we should end it.
  • In Touch (2017), Caspar, who is The Empath, senses someone having sex with someone who seems simply bored. After a moment, he realizes that the latter is actually a child who has endured this enough that they're no longer horrified by it. Possibly played with, however, since Father's More Than Mind Control is involved.
    • Caleb never fully accepted his position as an enslaved Child Soldier, but he shrugs off Hideyoshi's attempts to intimidate him, with the narration commenting "He almost wished the threat of harm still meant something to him."
  • Project Tau: Tau. Justified in that he's never known anything else.
  • The Scholomance: Students get so resigned to the titular Wizarding School's inescapable dangers that it doesn't disrupt the lunch hour to have a mortally wounded senior bleed out at a cafeteria table. Most show no interest in the lives of people outside their own clique, but they'll quickly turn on anyone who actively preys on the others through Black Magic or other means.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Connor from season 4 of Angel grew up on a demon world, so he's used to all the horrors. Specifically, when Jasmine showed up everybody saw her as beautiful, until they were exposed to her blood at which point they saw her true form (NOTE: Squicky in an OK for TV sort of way), which Connor still described as beautiful. Mind you, that may be because he considers her to be his daughter (it's complicated) rather than because he actually likes her appearance.
  • The jadedness with which Dr. Brennan and her team respond to extreme gore and decomp gets thrown into sharp relief on Bones, each time someone unaccustomed to such things, like Sweets or a guest star, walks in on a forensic examination in progress. Early on, Brennan's own clinical detachment when discussing violent murder occasionally invoked this trope even for her own colleagues.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Sunnydale, California is a town where the valedictorian(ish) can declare, "I am proud to announce that the class of '99 has the lowest mortality rate in Sunnydale history!" and get unironic cheers. Buffy also lampshades this as it becomes more and more absurd over the years.
  • The characters in Criminal Minds are as conditioned to the horrifying depths of a depraved individual's mind as any character in a forensic show is to blood and gore... although they have to deal with that as well. There was an episode in which a murder took place on a Native American reservation and the Sheriff was initially a suspect. Gideon ruled him out after watching him give his own take on the crime scene. Like the killer, the sheriff was unfazed by the gruesome scene, but if he were the killer, he would have feigned disgust. The episode "Uncanny Valley" delves into this trope. The UnSub of the week is a Psychopathic Womanchild who is kidnapping adult women to turn them into life-sized dolls for a tea party, perpetually frozen in place but still completely aware of their surroundings. When the team investigates, they discover that her father, a psychiatrist, molested her and used electroshock therapy when she got out of line, to the point where even decades later, the merest suggestion that he might be doing something wrong prompts her to robotically recite a mantra that he's a good father who never hurt her (which he clearly taught her to say if anyone ever asked her questions about him). This turns out to be the woman's Freudian Excuse: she became so used to living a hellish life with her father that she saw the dolls he gave her as rewards for good behavior as the only escape from her nightmarish existence, and so desperately tried to recreate them once her father took them from her and gave them to other little girls (who it's all but stated he's continued to sexually abuse).
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Army of Ghosts": By the time the Doctor learns about them, the people of Earth have gotten used to the "ghosts" that appear at regular intervals every day, and have done so for months. How used to them? There are ads for ghost polish on TV, ghosts on daytime talk shows, and even on EastEnders.
    • "World Enough and Time": When Bill ends up stuck in the hospital on the bottom floor of the colony ship for a decade thanks to Time Dilation, this happens to her, as well as the residents of the city. People undergo a mysterious treatment to withstand the horrible pollution, but everyone slowly grows used to it as being necessary for survival. Bill, being an outsider, is initially upset, but becomes resigned to the special patients as time goes on.
  • Played for Laughs somewhat in Friends, when Chandler goes to Joey's tailor, who he's been going to his entire life. The tailor feels him up while measuring him, and when Chandler tells Joey, Joey claims that that's how tailors get the correct measurements. It never occurred to him that tailors weren't supposed to borderline molest you when they took your measurements.
  • Implied to be the case with most of the main cast of Fringe, to the point that it's been lampshaded by the characters at least twice.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • This is such an integral part of the Unsullied's Training from Hell that their final test is to murder an infant in front of its mother.
    • Missandei also shows signs of being conditioned to the horrors of slavery when she hardly bats an eye at her master mutilating an Unsullied to make a point.
  • Grimm: seeing the Game Face of the Wesen - especially the nastier ones like Blutbaden or Hexen/Zauberbiests - tends to drive normal humans insane. But one can build up a tolerance to it, as testified by Hank, Juliet, and Wu. Similarly, Wesen in Game Face looking at Grimms are almost always scared shitless but working alongside Nick and other reasonable Grimms (that is, Grimms whose first reaction to Wesen is not Off with His Head!) tends to alleviate this.
  • The detectives on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit occasionally encounter victims who have become this due to prolonged abuse.
    • The most heartbreaking is probably a young mother who was brutally sexually abused by her stepfather. She represses the specific memories, but they've clearly shaped her world view; she refuses to leave her own daughter (who's about the same age she was when the abuse started) alone with an adult male, even when the alternative is leaving the eight-year-old home alone for multiple days straight, because she's convinced any man will rape her daughter if given the chance — in her mind, that's just the way things are, and the only way to protect said daughter is to never put her in that situation. She's also been through a string of abusive relationships, which she sees as normal.
    • In the episode based on the Ariel Castro case, the first girl he kidnapped has become this, to the point where she doesn't immediately see anything wrong with his actions towards her or the other girls.
    • A few other episodes involve situations where predators groom children or young adolescents into believing that sexual abuse is an expression of love. In some cases, the victim even sees themselves as being in a relationship with the abuser. One former victim, abused at 15 and now pushing 40, is devastated to find that the older man she believed was the love of her life no longer cares about her because she's too old.
  • The entire populace of Camden County on My Name Is Earl are this. Earl's reaction to a suicidal man jumping into a pool is simply "I'll get the hook." No one is concerned that both the richest and most powerful man in town and his successor are total maniacs. The whole reason that Ernie the owner of the Crab Shack went missing was because nobody thought a doorstop that looked like a nose was unusual, so nobody realized it belonged to Ernie's dead body buried under the cement.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Future War" reveals Tom Servo as this. During a drug test, his point of view looks like a Disney Acid Sequence with Mike and Crow as monsters. Servo chuckles and explains it's not a hallucination, but what he sees everyday.
  • This is one of the major themes of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The protagonist is made a slave in the first episode, and is slowly conditioned to accept his situation, to the point where he doesn't even bat an eye when used as a Sex Slave in a later episode. When he is finally able to break the conditioning, he then has the difficult task of breaking it on the rest of the slaves to get them to rebel. It remains a factor he has to deal with through the rest of the series, as even after freeing themselves, the ex-slaves mostly have no drive other than to kill all Romans, and getting them to see any other goal is monumentally difficult. Even one of Spartacus' closest friends, Agron, admits privately that he has been a soldier and slave for so long that he cannot imagine a life outside of blood and battle.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "A Taste Of Armageddon", the entire planets of Eminiar VII and Vendikar are like this. To wit: The planets have been at war with each other for over five hundred years using computers to calculate supposed attacks on each other. The people calculated to have "died" in these attacks are given twenty-four hours to report to what are essentially Suicide Booths, leading to thousands of people all the time willfully committing suicide en masse! Even worse? When Kirk tells them this is wrong, the leader of Eminar VII says he's the barbarian, offering the argument that a real war would kill more people and destroy civilization generally. Kirk's reply is basically "Yup, and that kind of destruction usually forces people to END a war before it goes on for 500 years".
  • Word of Honor: As a child Wen Kexing lost his parents, ended up in the Ghost Valley, and was personally trained by the former Master of Ghost Valley. Because of this he's indifferent to violence and bloodshed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted: While the Abyssal sourcebook is full of horrifying things, The Dowager of the Irreverent Vulgate in Unrent Veils takes the cake for invoking this trope. She raises children to be her Abyssal Exalted. She teach them "the pointlessness of existence and hatred for the cruelty of life". The place she raises them, the Mound of Forsaken Seeds? No normal animal nor Fair Folk will get near it without magical compulsion.
  • In Paranoia, this happens with some citizens of Alpha Complex. Work as a janitor mopping up in the Internal Security Information-Extraction chambers, and after a while you've seen it all.
  • The 'Jaded' Trait in Dark Heresy indicates a character whose life has been so dark and crappy that they've become entirely immune to fear and Sanity Meter hits from 'mundane' horrors that have a natural explanation (such as, say, a very grisly murder scene; seeing an Eldritch Abomination in the flesh will still hurt your psyche). There are several character backgrounds that makes your character start with this trait, from being Mind-Wiped to hailing from Volg Hive, a place so violent, dirty and low-down that it basically serves as a garbage pit you throw people too savage to live in a Wretched Hive in.
    • By extension, Deathwatch invokes this trope due to the player characters being Imperial Space Marines. Part of their training and indoctrination is being conditioned to horror (the Emperor specifically said "and they shall know no fear"), so that even though the mechanic still exists, the Game Master is encouraged to only make the players check sanity for the highest levels of cosmic horrors.
  • In GURPS, having the Callous disadvantage along with the Unfazeable or multiple levels of the Fearlessness advantage, and no disadvantages like Pacifism, Phobia or Squeamish, makes a character fitting this trope.
  • Call of Cthulhu player characters, non-player characters, friends, and foes all alike can, and probably will, become this trope if they didn't already start like this for one reason or another.
    • When integrating antagonists and mechanics from the d20 version of the game into the more common Dungeons & Dragons or D20 modern settings, the manual recommends either dramatically reducing or leaving out the sanity-erosion mechanic entirely because of this trope. Fantasy adventurers accept weird things beyond their comprehension all the time because it's their job (literally their job for classes like clerics and warlocks).
  • Characters exposed to repeated and increasingly traumatic events in Unknown Armies will either become gibbering messes, or completely immune to the traumatic stimuli. The latter is noted as being just as much a form of insanity as the former.
  • Almost the entire population of Amonkhet in Magic: The Gathering. Amonkhet is a Daylight Horror take on Fantasy Ancient Egypt where death is not just accepted, it's actively sought after in difficult trials, with the worthy supposedly going to a bountiful afterlife; since the God-Pharaoh is Nicol Bolas this is somewhat unlikely. Oashra Cultivator, for example, is a smiling gardener surrounded by flowers, who is casually talking about being "harvested". In Hour of Devastation, everyone gets a wake-up call as Bolas' agents and army essentially commit genocide.
    • Tarkir's Atarka Brood is outright stated to be this. Being a clan whose basically glorified waiters to a perpetually hungry and paranoid dragon should drive most people to despair, but they take it in stride.

    Video Games 
  • It shouldn't surprise anybody that this is a goal in Dwarf Fortress, what with it being the veritable poster child for Videogame Cruelty Potential. Unhappy dwarves are prone to fits of violence, and nothing makes a dwarf unhappier than seeing loved ones and treasured pets die. The solution? Drip feed them a steady stream of deaths until they acquire the coveted "doesn't really care about anything anymore" trait. All in the name of progress of course!
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus, the Tsviets of Deepground are like this. Special mentions go to the team-killing Azul and bloodthirsty Rosso.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, most of the playable characters are Special Forces qualified teenaged mercenaries who've been in training since before they reached puberty. Rinoa, as their client, is shocked and upset to hear Squall tell her - with full agreement from Selphie and Zell - that they will follow her orders no matter how hopeless they think her plans are, even if it gets them killed. Squall, in turn, is confused and frustrated by her reaction; he thinks they're simply being professional.
    • Summoners in Final Fantasy X are like this, raised from a young age to accept that someday, they'll march off to battle an Eldritch Abomination named Sin and die in battle to give their world a few years' off from its horrific bombardment and maybe a chance that this time Sin won't return (you know, if humanity has fully repented for ever using technology). (Everybody besides from the player and the protagonist are aware of this, to them there's no other option: either give the world temporary peace or no peace at all. Yuna, a daughter trying to live up to her father's legacy as a Summoner who defeated Sin, decides to find another way when she learns that not only is a second sacrifice is needed (always someone dear to the Summoner), but the whole Summoner vs. Sin system is an endless cycle which actually provides the means for Sin to return over and over while misleading the people of world with just enough hope to keep them in line).
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood has the territories occupied by the Garlean Empire: the fallen nations of Ala Mhigo and Doma. Over two decades of living under the oppressive bootheel of the Empire, combined with failed rebellions, have led to the average citizens accepting that their sad lot in life is all they have to aspire to. The very thought of rebellion is unfathomable; accepting Imperial rule means things can't get any worse, but taking up arms against their conquerors would mean harsh reprisals. The players are thus tasked with helping the Ala Mhigans and Domans build up the confidence needed to shake off the Empire's oppressive yoke and retake their freedom.
  • Similarly, in Tales of Symphonia, The Chosen One is raised to believe that they are responsible for sacrificing their life to save the world. Some accept this better than others, although it leaves both the ones we see with serious self-esteem issues. Colette believes that her life only has value as long as she can have the strength to become a sacrifice, and is all right with the idea because it will allow her friends to live long and happy lives in a carefree world. Zelos, although he hides it, is far more bitter about the entire system.
  • Tales of the Abyss not only has Ion go to his death with a smile because he can't grasp that his individual life has any meaning besides what he can do with it, like trying to stop a war, find a way for Luke to win and save Tear's life and instead of resenting it, he is honestly happy that betraying him and causing his death helped The Mole. While he's an extreme example, the entire population of Auldrant qualifies.
    • Nephry breaks up with Peony because the scorer said she'd marry someone else, and not only does neither of them fight it, they don't try to renew the relationship even after the Score is rejected and they have the option.
    • Luke's own father and uncle are willing to send him to die both to set off a war they'll win and because the Score says so: it's not until fairly late in the game that they seem to realize that this was a cruel thing to do to Luke and Natalia and it would have been not just ok, but good for them to not want to do it.
    • Grand Maestro Mohs sees nothing wrong with a genocidal war, since the Score was made to bring prosperity to Auldrant, so it's obviously for the best. While Mohs is hated by fans because of Ion's death, he actually doesn't even qualify as a Well-Intentioned Extremist on Auldrant. His is the moderate faction, containing the normal, sensible members of the Order who just want the best for Auldrant, like Tear. In a different era of Auldrant's history, he'd probably be a good guy, just not when the Score is currently counting down to Auldrant's demise and he's dealing with replicas. Since the Score, written for the benefit of everyone, doesn't regard replicas as worth a mention he's actually fully justified in considering them not people, given the Order's doctrine about Lorelei. He's actually completely right that Lorelei cares about everyone, he just overestimated Lorelei's ability to make the Score turn out that way.
    • Almost everyone reacts with shock and horror to the idea of revealing a Score of death, even when, or especially because, doing so would save someone's life and go against the Score, and since the Score was written to create the most prosperity and happiness for Auldrant's people, obviously Lorelei wouldn't have had them die then if it wasn't for the best.
    • The best example, even more than Van is the Big Bad. When Luke asks him if he cares about Luke at all other than as a living weapon he honestly doesn't understand the question, mistaking it for an existential one. The Big Bad was brought into the world as a Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb, in accordance with the Score with parents who were aware of this the entire time and only thought about him in terms of that function just like how he regards Luke. Oh, and as a babysitter for their 'real' child. The people who used him to destroy his homeland and as an excuse for performing deadly experiments on civilians who were going to die anyway considered themselves fully justified, between the Score and using him as a scapegoat. When that's the ethical framework in which he was raised, is it that odd that he doesn't see anything wrong with creating replicas or destroying Auldrant? After all, it was ok to hook him into a machine and destroy Hod for the greater good, and he's doing this to allow humanity to survive the Scored end of the world. In the context of Van's childhood, his interactions with Luke in the early game become a massive Pet the Dog. He gives Luke the childhood he wishes he could have had: a comfortable life with parental figures who at least seem to love him instead of being constantly told thousands will die because he's a monster and subjecting him to brutal experiments. He just can't grasp that Luke feels he has a right to resent what was done to him because Van himself was repeatedly told that he didn't and internalized the idea.
    • The Start of Darkness for most of the loyal god-generals was when they ran into a horror that they could not accept. Largo's daughter was kidnapped, causing his wife to kill herself and he could not have justice. Legretta suddenly fell in love with someone she went after in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and the knowledge that this was likely Scored makes her skin crawl. Sync, like Ion believes that he can't have value other than as a tool and hates this.
  • Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly's Crimson Sacrifice ritual involves one twin strangling another to pacify the gate to Hell. All sets of twins in the village know of the ritual and accept it as necessary. Some, like Sae (though not her twin), even look forward to it.
  • The Little Sisters, as shown in BioShock 2.
  • In Suikoden III, Yun of Alma Kinan is fully aware she's going to be sacrificed as part of a ritual to continue hiding the sealed True Water Rune. Though the party that meets her protests this and tries to stop the ceremony, she calmly insists on its necessity, and the ritual goes as planned.
  • The initial protagonist of Theresia: Dear Emile was raised by a Torture Technician, and displays a lot of sadomasochistic tendencies (sometimes at the same time as more normal reactions.) In particular, she's comforted by the smell of blood.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect 2 Jack is this trope, full stop. At first she seems to just enjoy killing, but it's not until you do her loyalty mission that you find out she was put into life-or-death combat matches with other biotics as a child. When she won, she got a dose of drugs. As she says, she "still gets a rush" when she kills someone.
    • Javik in Mass Effect 3 is this as well, but for different reasons. Having been born when the Reaper War in his cycle had already been well underway has caused him to simply accept war and atrocities as a fact of life. This is explicitly called attention to while talking to him after Sanctuary, if you talk to him before talking to Tali, you hear them have a conversation about what happened at the Cerberus facility being pretty typical in his cycle.
  • Heather in Silent Hill 3 becomes increasingly inured to the blood and gore all around her as time goes on, but even at the beginning she's surprisingly blase about, for example, finding a roasted dog in in a cafe. Some speculate being raised by the Properly Paranoid Harry Mason or having the memories of torture-magnet Alessa had something to do with it. However, at the end of the game, she finally gives in to everything she's experienced, most notably finally being able to grieve the death of her father. She collapses after the final boss and allows herself to cry it all out. Examine Heather's knife in her inventory and she'll comment that she started carrying it for self defense, but now feels comforted and excited by having it.
  • All the inhabitants of Vella's world in Broken Age (bar Vella herself and her grandfather) find the idea of sacrificing young maidens to a giant monster to be not only acceptable, but to be celebrated. Young girls will go out of their way to be chosen, the villages to dress them up in themed costumes and those not chosen are shamed and their family disgraced.
  • Metal Gear: Aside from the Training from Hell he received from The Boss, on top of what he went through to become a Green Beret, Big Boss's many painful experiences have made him cynical about his flirtation with horror. He's come to accept that he's destined to live in the heat of battle as long as he lives. In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, when Paz asks Big Boss about his thoughts on peace he says flat out that he doesn't know what peace looks like, and in an odd way the battlefield itself brings him a type of peace that "real peace" could never satisfy. By the time he fights Snake in Zanzibar Land, his stance has become progressively worse as he claims that it's his fate to die bitterly like a dog on the battlefield. He goes so far as to say that nothing else matters to him; not money, not power, not even lust — only war.
  • In the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado Shin Megami Tensei IV, there are two classes of individuals: Casualries and Luxurors. Between both, there are brutal forms of classism and discrimination (pretty much locking both into their lot in life), and generally a massive gap of influence, wealth, and power. But they believe God decrees the station everyone's meant to hold and can change it anyway with the Gauntlet Rite. However, a certain woman in black called the Black Samurai starts popping up, distributing mysterious books containing political commentary and social theories. These have the effect of breaking the illusion that the gap is necessary or even desirable, maddening the Casualries reading them, and leaving them prime targets for Demonic Possession...
  • The Phone Guy in Five Nights at Freddy's (the worker who sends you messages every night) is unnaturally calm about his job, which is the same as yours: defending yourself from killer robots.
  • One of the major themes of Persona 5 is just how endemic this trope is to contemporary Japanese society, as people would rather keep their heads down and ignore corruption and abuse from those in power. As such, the game has quite a few examples:
    • The Shujin Academy volleyball teams (and honestly, the entire school) are so used to Kamoshida owning the place that they're in complete denial about his physical abuse of the students. They call it "training". While not everyone was in the know, the principal and enough of the parents were more than willing to hush everything up so that Kamoshida could keep bringing glory to the school.
    • Madarame also conditioned his pupils - particularly Yusuke, who he'd taken in as a foster son - to accept his plagiarism of their work, framing it as them "lending him their ideas". Yusuke had put up with the plagiarism and implied neglect for so many years that, despite secretly wanting to leave Madarame's care (while feeling that he couldn't), he denies all of the abuse when confronted by the party about it and emphasizes that he owes Madarame for taking him in. Finally accepting that Madarame is a criminal is what pushes Yusuke to awaken his Persona and become a phantom thief. Lampshaded later, as Haru wonders how the workers at Okumura Foods could accept their treatment, with Yusuke describing how people, when oppressed, can welcome said oppression after a while.
    • In an example approaching Gallows Humor, if you let the deadline for Kaneshiro's Palace get too close, Makoto will remind you to get it done ASAP, mentioning that Kaneshiro has been sending her his own "friendly reminders" via texts. When asked if she's okay, she will reply that she's gotten used to it.
    • Yaldabaoth, can be seen as an embodiment of this trope. As a manifestation of humanity's subconscious desire for order, he has secretly been manipulating everyone to create a version of reality where nobody thinks for themselves, instead blindly following the status quo without any regard for the individuals that get ground up or tossed aside to maintain it. This gets taken Up to Eleven at the end of the game, when he manages to merge the twisted labyrinth of Mementos with the real world; only the protagonist and the allies he's made along the way notice that anything's off until Yaldabaoth's minions start falling.
  • Fitting as a Persona 5 spinoff, Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth plays with this as well. Nagi, or more accurately Enlil, curates a complex of theaters in the collective unconscious that draw hapless souls of people being torn and denied by the very fabric of society into them and only display negative memories of people turning into emotional wrecks with all positive things from them cut out, portraying them as failures and living garbage, with the main OC Hikari being one of those wards that are convinced that being unique is worthless and ended up with Trauma-Induced Amnesia as a result.
  • Fire Emblem Fates:
    • Played with in regards to Camilla. Out of all the Nohrian siblings, she's widely seen as the most well-adjusted to death and violence, switching between battlefields and home-life with striking ease. However, Camilla actually seems a bit less well-adjusted to such things than Leo is, given that she expresses unease with Keaton's collection of human bones from a burial ground, whereas Leo seems to be very much at ease with graves, if his choosing one as a battlefield in Birthright is any indication. She also isn't entirely beyond being stunned, given the shock she expressed at how brutally Hans executed Scarlet off-screen in Conquest.
    • Leo is even more of this trope; unlike Camilla, he has no qualms against executing his enemies in cold blood, rather than in the heat of battle. Also, while Camilla is creeped out by the fact that Keaton stole human bones from a burial ground for his collection, Leo is perfectly fine spending time in burial grounds, even choosing one as a battleground in Birthright.
  • Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire has the current state of the Elonian people. Their nations were enslaved centuries ago by the lich Palawa Joko who now rules them as a god-emperor. The humans are allowed to live mainly to provide a constant supply of fresh bodies for Joko's army, but they have been so heavily indoctrinated that they worship Joko as a god and consider being raised into undeath as a great honor.
  • Resident Evil has the protagonists with their first encounter with zombies and other monsters made by the Umbrella corporation. They freak out a bit over what they're up against, but they press on in order to survive and escape from the mansion. In the sequels, Jill and Chris face many more monstrosities, but now they are no longer phased by them and are willing to face them head on. Likewise, Leon and Claire from Resident Evil 2 try to hold it together with their first encounters of Umbrella's creations and are more or less used to it by the sequels.

    Visual Novels 
  • Shirou in Fate/stay night. It's hinted at in Fate route with how quickly he adapts to the situation and more or less stated outright at the beginning of UBW. Why did he stay calm when Shinji tried to melt everyone in the school? Because he's used to seeing corpses, which lets him tell them apart from people who are just injured! Isn't it obvious? To explain why he was used to seeing corpses at 18ish, as a child, he was at ground zero of a magical version of Hiroshima, and the trauma of the explosion meant his first memories were of walking past literally hundreds of burning, melting, screaming very-soon-to-be-corpses.
  • Ayumi comments on this in Corpse Party D2: Depths of Despair. After finding herself back in the cursed schoolhouse, she notes that she hardly feels anything when examining corpses anymore.
  • Due to being born underneath the guillotine and having been surrounded by death all her life due to her curse, Marie from Dies Irae sees nothing wrong with decapitating people left and right as it is as natural as breathing to her. Even at her own execution she saw nothing wrong with it and calmly let let herself be killed. And while she never quite loses this mindset, she at the very least starts to understand why people have a problem with it as she herself wants to save what is precious to her.
  • Throughout the course of Spirit Hunter: NG, Akira grows rather disturbingly accustomed to the spirits haunting him and threatening his life.
    Akira: Yeah, a bunch of weird things have happened. I almost died once, too.
    Rosé: And yet you seem pretty unfazed.
    Akira: Well, obviously, I didn't die.

    Web Comics 
  • Very nearly everyone who lives long enough to develop a discernible personality in Gone with the Blastwave, but unlike most of the examples on this page, this is not a result of some kind of supervillain scheme or Government Conspiracy. (Well, not as far as we know.) It's just that they've been fighting this apparently endless war that's long past the point of being winnable -by any of the participants- for so long and seen so much death and mutilation and human misery in all its myriad forms that they've become completely desensitised to it all. The more normal squaddies seem to be operating on a mild form of Heroic Safe Mode, whilst a couple have descended into outright Comedic Sociopathy, and all but the sniper (the closest thing the comic has to an Only Sane Man) have a highly-developed death wish. War Is Hell.
  • Homestuck:
    • The trolls live in a brutally Social Darwinist Crapsack World where, had SGRUB not taken place and destroyed the planet, most of them would've probably been culled for being disabled like Terezi and Tavros or low-blooded mutants like Karkat. Daylight brings rainbow (blood)-drinkers and the undead, while they sleep in a tub of tranquilizers to make sure they don't get nightmares from the Eldritch Abominations that live in the sea.
    • In "[S] Jade Wake Up", Jade meets Feferi and they both meet, essentially, the "relative" (after passing through a tunnel of similar creatures) of Feferi's lusus. Jade is disturbed while Feferi thinks they're nothing to be scared of since the creature that is effectively her foster mother is essentially a small version of the one they encounter. Feferi's lusus is also the one who killed all the rest of the entire troll species after unleashing a Brown Note of galactic proportions.
  • In Goblins, Biscuit's orc tribe conditions its young to stoically cope with loss by deliberately confiscating each orc child's favorite plaything and destroying it while the child watches. Their conditioning methods seem to be effective, as Biscuit endures untold years of demonic torture, followed by the loss of his leg without complaint or even disappointment. Note that this mindset also compels him to help someone driven insane by her crippled deformity by crippling her even further and telling her to get over losing everything. This just makes her insanity worse, even though he genuinely thought he was healing her mind.
  • Benni from Forest Hill was raised by his abusive father to think that Parental Incest and child prostitution was normal. What he did not accept was being forced to rape other children, and the physical abuse he took from trying to refuse to do so.
  • In Sleepless Domain a nameless City of Adventure is protected at night by teenage Magical Girl Warriors who are frequently injured or killed in the line of duty. At least one outside observer is appalled by the residents' "business as usual" attitude towards casualties among their adolescent protectors. Undine also expresses sadness at how quickly everyone got over the deaths (or loss of powers, in one case) of her friends, with her staring in wide eyed horror at a sign proudly touting that all the Team Alchemical merchandise was now half off.
  • Fern Green of Awful Hospital is a veritable valedictorian of the Laurie Strode School of Character Development.
    Fern: [upon seeing a dead clone of herself] ...Fine. Whatever.
  • Erma: Having grown used to the various horrifying things that Erma either does or attracts, either causally or as part of pranks, most of the recurring cast shrug off the many unnatural things that occur with slight shock or annoyance at best unless the actual threat of death is involved. This is even used as a plot point in one story arc, where the principal points this out to a society of rat people that live underneath the school as a sign that the world may be ready to accept them. The page image comes from an early strip, with Erma trying to spook her human father, who has naturally gotten used to such antics thanks to his experience raising the little monster with his Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl wife.
  • True Villains: Six-year-old Mia's Orphan's Ordeal background is Played for Laughs as she happily joins the Villain Protagonist, and she's a cheerful Pollyanna on his team, but hints of the horrors she's endured come through when she murders a woman with the same childlike satisfaction she'd find in winning a board game.
    Villager: You killed the Chosen One!
    Mia: [Confused] Yeah? So what? People die all the time.
  • Unsounded: In the Gefendur religion twins are taken from their parents, placed in service to a temple and, when they turn 22, one of them is ritually killed and cannibalised. The twins not only know this is going to happen but are fully aware which one of them is going to get the chop, and they regard it as a great honour. However the practice of 'kept twins' does creep out certain otherwise devout believers, such as Sette, Matty and Jivi.
  • Atshi of Anecdote of Error suffers from a recurring nightmare of a fiery demon dismembering a girl who looks just like her, and even has these visions while awake, but this has gone on for so long that they no longer affect her anymore.
  • I Don't Want This Kind of Hero: It becomes clear that Raptor has a rather different standard of what's acceptable and what isn't, especially relating to her own experiences. For one, she doesn't consider her past as a Child Soldier or her master's abuse to be traumatizing, simply because she has no real understanding of anything else/as far as she's concerned, it could've been worse—to which Haze points out that even if she wasn't leashed, she was still treated as subhuman.

    Web Original 
  • The Cinema Snob:
    • Played for laughs. At this point, when he shuts his eyes and thinks of something happy, he sees the village-burning scene from Cannibal Holocaust — not because it cheers him up, but because he's seen so many disturbing films that it's his baseline. (The scene also comes to him unbidden when he listens to beautiful music.)
    • In the Atop the Fourth Wall movie, he brings Salo to Linkara's movie watching party and is clearly having the time of his life while everyone else is horrified beyond words.
  • How to Survive Camping: Kate has been prepared to take over the campsite her whole life, which, combined with the monstrous beings and occasional casualties she has to deal with on a regular basis, has left her mostly unfazed by most of the horrors occurring around her. Even having to commit murder herself appears to be an unfortunate necessity at worse for her.
    • This actually plays out in her favor when facing the master of the vanishing house, after it has assumed the form of a monstrous, mutilated human-deer hybrid, with a gaping, slimy mouth splitting its body:
      The master: Do you fear me now?
      Kate: Buddy, you are asking the wrong person. I have a dead girl knocking on my window every single night and every morning I get to listen to her be dragged off by a monstrous beast. And that’s probably among the least of the horrific things I’ve witnessed.
  • Agents in LISDEAD are conditioned right down to their exact personality and while some like Dramatic Detective don't entirely seem to like it, they at least put up with it because it's useful
  • The Nostalgia Critic's Dark and Troubled Past has caused him to be biased in this way, like when he's telling off the boy in North for having a panic attack because apparently every set of parents violently argue at the dinner table.
  • Pidanayana Buddhism in the dystopian science fiction work Ad Astra Per Aspera is a corrupted form of Buddhism that teaches that suffering is the key to Enlightenment.
  • Welcome to Night Vale:
    • Night Vale's citizens are totally aware of and undisturbed by the maniacal City Council, the possibly demonic mayor, the Sheriff's Secret Police, the vague, yet menacing government agencies, the sinister Hooded Figures, the Alien Geometries of the dog park and radio station, and countless other vaguely Lovecraftian horrors. If you see something, say nothing and drink to forget.
    • Two-parter episode The Sandstorm reveals that Night Vale's seemingly pleasant and cheerful rival city Desert Bluffs is actually even worse, both in terms of horror and in terms of their acceptance of it.
  • The protagonists of Twig are artificially created children who hunt mad scientists in order to help maintain the information monopoly of an Academy of Evil, and so they are often deceptively cheerful in going about their business. They're having fun, challenging themselves, and fulfilling their intended purposes, after all - why wouldn't they be happy?
  • Not Always Right: This kid was way too calm considering his mother went psychotic earlier.
    Writer: Little boy, how are you just so calm in all this?
    Customer's Son: This isn’t the first time this has happened. Last time, she kicked someone where it hurts a lot, ’cause he fell over crying and stuff.
  • Daisy Brown's first video shows her casually illustrating how she feeds Alan, a Body Horror monstrosity made by her father. Her third video has her explain she didn't realize that monsters weren't exactly commonplace, hence her calm demeanor around Alan. For the most part, his weirdness doesn't really affect her. Well, until he starts growing, at least.
  • The Music Video Show had some spades of this. In Episode 3, the host was scared of the stop motion, smaller version of Soulja Boy due to its Uncanny Valley attributes. Cut to the Big Bad Wolf episode and the Nightmare Fuel in the music video. Averted in the Final Thoughts...maybe
    "So this is what a midlife crisis feels like..."

    Western Animation 
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Ghost Host", the Flying Dutchman makes a habit of scaring SpongeBob while he stays with him while his ship gets repaired. Over time, SpongeBob gets less scared of the Dutchman's antics to the point where he becomes unfazed at even his most elaborate horrors.
  • In Billy & Mandy's Big Boogie Adventure, Grim manages to obtain Horror's Hand, which requires someone to face their greatest fears, because he faces his worst fears every day: being around Billy and Mandy.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Pearl likes to wax lyrical about Gem culture, despite it psychologically oppressing her people and causing her inferiority complex. Much of her character arc is about Pearl bridging the dissonance between what she actually feels and what Gem society says she "should" feel.
    • Steven himself shows signs of this in a few episodes, bouncing back from encountering all sorts of dangerous things as he gains more experience adventuring with the Crystal Gems. In "Space Race", Pearl apologizes for dragging him along on a test flight in a home-made spaceship and nearly getting the both of them killed, and Steven shrugs it off with "I'm used to it." Other episodes, however, show that Steven's not dealing with things as well as he lets on. It comes to a head in Steven Universe: Future, where the dangers of normalizing trauma are shown in full force.
  • Rick from Rick and Morty, as a result of his genius and experiencing all kinds of fucked up scenarios man was not meant to know, has become detached and very cynical about pretty much everything. Later on, Morty and the other Smiths become more numb to the horrors of the multiverse as such things become more habitual.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: Word of God states that this is the reason the Ghostbusters were able to look at Cthulhu (or rather, Cathulu) without going insane. Their job has already forced them to come to terms with the existence of countless other Eldritch Abominations — to them, Cathulhu is just another deity to bust, if one so powerful that their proton packs barely scratch it and it takes 100 gigavolts of lightning just to put it back to sleep.
  • Played for Laughs in Milo Murphy's Law: the title character was Born Unlucky, and has come to cheerfully accept the weird and dangerous things that are going to happen to him every day. His family and friends also fall into this trope, due to having to cope with every disaster alongside him. This is most evident in Zack, a Logical Latecomer who becomes Milo's friend in the first episode:
    Zack: AAAGGGHHH—wait, why aren't you screaming?!
    Milo: I find it doesn't help. Just hurts the larynx.
  • Though it's an example of Black Comedy to us, can we take a moment to consider how society in Futurama got to the point where suicide is so widespread that they even found a way to capitalize on it with Suicide Booths and that no-one in the setting calls attention to them?
  • On Disenchantment the population of Dreamland is disturbingly indifferent to the widespread plague in their city. The "Plague Patrol" that picks up corpses to be dumped in a pit and burned is treated as just another worker on the streets. Bunty even cheerfully talks about cleaning up one of her children before having him thrown in the pit, along with his little friends.
  • Most veteran adventurers, villains, and henchmen in The Venture Bros. are generally unphased by horrible death and dismemberment, shrugging it off as little more than an occupational hazard. Specific example when Rusty is mind-controlled and forced to attempt suicide repeatedly for hours. While the isolation and powerlessness would be enough to break an average person's will, Rusty explains that his childhood trauma has inured him to such mental anguish.
  • The citizens of Apokolips in Superman: The Animated Series have been so thoroughly crushed by Darkseid's tyranny that when Superman defeats him and tells them to Do with Him as You Will, they immediately rush to Darkseid's side to help him get medical treatment rather than comprehend life without him.
  • In the final season of Samurai Jack, the Daughters of Aku have been raised and trained from birth to hold the Samurai’s death more important than anything else, including their own and each other’s lives.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: The original version of Harley Quinn seems to have a case of this (mixed with a fair amount of Stockholm Syndrome), as she even has a musical number in one episode where she talks about the various ways the Joker abuses her and how she can't bring herself to leave him so has decided to just put up with it.
  • In South Park, every parent in town except Sharon Marsh regarding school shootings.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, this is how the citizens of Equestria feel about most random monster attacks. Slice of Life has them feeling mildly inconvenienced at worst by a bugbear attack.
    Matilda: Come on! We better get to the salon before that monster flattens it!
    Bon Bon: What was that?
    Lyra: There's some monster attacking Ponyville or something.
    Bon Bon: What is it this time? A creature from the Everfree Forest?

    Real Life 
  • As a general rule, this can apply to anything from an abusive childhood to residents in a war-torn area dealing with bombings. Not accepting it in this manner would likely lead to some serious Sanity Slippage.
  • In the US, many people seem to have been desensitized to mass shootings, enough that every time one happens, The Onion can repost the article "'No Way To Prevent This', Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens" and only have to change the location and number of victims.
  • Professionals as well rely on this as a coping mechanism. Soldiers, police officers, paramedics, firefighters, you name it, often fall into this either by jokingly evoking it to poke fun at crappy taskings or exercises, or seriously relying on it to deal with actual horrors they experience.
  • From the 17th to the 19th century, sailors that were Press-Ganged or willingly accepted a position aboard a slave ship out of sheer need, reported that on their first voyage to Africa, they felt incredibly guilty over the fact that they were being forced to chain up and cram as many horrified people into the cargo hold as possible, watch as the higher ranking crewmen beat the captives mercilessly or raped them. However, as the voyage went on, the new sailors began to accept that capturing people and selling them as cattle was just another part of the job, and didn't even flinch when the captives were severely flogged by their superiors, or when they did it themselves. Some even joined in future enslaving expeditions.
  • There are quite a few horrific things that our ancestors did that most people at the time just accepted as "the way it is" (be it slavery, public executions, burning people at the stake, etc). Thankfully many of those things have either been abolished or at least made morally unacceptable enough that they are illegal in most places. It's also highly likely that our descendants will regard some things we consider normal and acceptable with the same degree of visceral horror most people today have for things like slavery or burning people alive.


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