Frank: Yes, yes I was.
Phoebe: Question two: did that marriage end a) happily, b) medium, or c) in the total abandonment of her and her two children?
Frank: [...] I would have to say C.
Phoebe: [...] Reasons for abandonment: a) top-secret government work, b) amnesia, or c) you're just a selfish, irresponsible, bad, bad man?
Parental Abandonment, by its nature, usually excludes the parent from having much of a role in a character's story. If the backstory involves a child wallowing in angst because of having no parents, to bring them back and treat everything as being hunky-dory sort of dilutes the origin story's dramatic impact.
Sometimes, though, a parent can be brought back through use of a proper excuse. A parent who we have seen or heard nothing of in some time may suddenly re-appear and explain that there was, in fact, a very good reason for the abandonment — but for various reasons, the details could not be revealed until just this moment. This is particularly important if child is going to follow in their parent's footsteps, since we would normally expect them to be bitter if this is the career that caused them to get abandoned in the first place.
Frequently the reason turns out to be Mom never informed Dad of their baby's existence for reasons that can range from not being sure which partner was the father (a My Two Dads scenario), or a desire to raise an infant all by herself either because she felt he would make an unsuitable father or didn't want to burden him with the responsibilities of parenthood.
This trope straddles a thin line — it can come off as extremely contrived unless said excuse is very, very convincing. In order for it to work there must be an explanation as to why no one bothered to bring it up until just the last minute. See also Glorified Sperm Donor for a form this can take when it's handled badly.
Sounds like but has nothing to do with taunting someone about having some real or imagined flaw which leads to the parents not loving them enough. If you're looking for examples of that, try Break Them by Talking.
See also Tell Me About My Father, Turn Out Like His Father, Daddy Didn't Show. Sometimes related to Give Him a Normal Life, and may overlap with Because You Can Cope in certain instances. If the info is specifically withheld to increase tension even though there's no good reason to withhold it, see the Rule of Drama.
- Batman does the exact opposite: rather than abandoning his adopted sons, he tends to be just enough of a Jerkass that they go away themselves. In his mind, it's for their own good—the less attached they are to him, the less painful it will be when he dies, and Batman knows that all it would take is one lucky shot to finish him off. So it's more like Daddy Had a Good Reason To Be An Ass, which makes perfect sense when you think about how he became Batman in the first place.
- Dick Grayson alias Nightwing called him out on this in one issue of The Outsiders after discovering that Bruce has been secretly funding the team through a subsidiary of Wayne Industries.
- Green Lantern: Sinestro left his family to spare them from being associated with an intergalactic criminal. His daughter Soranik Natu eventually learns about their relationship and his reasoning, but it does nothing to lessen her hatred for him.
- Il était une fois en France: Joseph knows that the Nazis could use his family as leverage, thus for most of the war, he keeps away from them. The rest of the time, he doesn't visit his family because he's managing his business.
- Legion of Super-Heroes: The Persuader's father left her mother because she was abusive towards both him and the young Persuader herself. However, her threats to rough herself up and say he did it if he even thought about taking their daughter convinced him that leaving her with that monster was a better alternative to living on the run with him. They eventually get reunited before the Persuader's boss kills her father just for kicks.
- In PS238, Atlas winds up leaving behind his son so that he can try to fix the dystopian empire that he's suddenly the heir to.
- In Spider-Girl, Electro had a daughter who inherited his powers, but through some quirk, the two couldn't touch each other without causing excruciating pain; because of that and his life of crime, the mom asked him not to be involved in her life. Years later she becomes a supervillain herself, and Electro gets Spider-Girl's help to both fix the problem with their powers and stop her from making his mistakes.
- Superman: As reasons go, Jor-El and Lara and Supergirl's parents Zor-El and Alura had a pretty damn good one: the planet was about to blow up, and the only rocket they had was just large enough to safely carry their infant child to Earth.
- The Twelve: After a Rip Van Winkle in the middle of World War 2 Germany, Mister E (real name Victor "Vince'" Jay) attempts to find his wife and family. His now-elderly son is less than happy to see him again, not so much for abandoning them for decades (that part was admittedly out of his control) as for abandoning them before the war: Victor Jay was born Victor Goldstein and changed his name to avoid people finding out he was Jewish to climb the social ladder (the pre-war U.S. was not exactly a land of tolerance). They do reconcile by the end.
- Ultimate Fantastic Four: Sue and Johnny's mom disappeared to research Lemuria, insisting this was a perfectly good reason for walking out on her husband and children. Sue doesn't agree.
- Ultimate Spider-Man: It looks like there's a case of this going on when Richard Parker reappears, claiming he survived the plane crash that rendered Pete an orphan, but was approached by government agents and forced to play dead for the next decade... except he's not really Richard at all, he's a clone with fake memories. Richard Parker is definitely dead, and the clone follows suit soon afterward.
- In Violine, Violine's father left her with Marushka to go search for her real mother in Zongo, so she could be safe.
- The Wild Storm: Alexandra Fairchild gave up her daughter Caitlin shortly after she was born, explaining to her former C.O. John Lynch that she figured super-strength and a vicious temper were not a good mix with a baby. Then she (probably) dies picking a fight with some mobsters.
- In W.I.T.C.H., Taranee's birth parents were financially ruined when a magical meteor destroyed their house in the process of saving her from evil magical plants, so they gave her up for adoption as a toddler.
- Cyclops's father Corsair has a real interesting story. While the Summers family was riding in their private plane, they accidentally came across an alien spaceship belonging to the Shi'ar Empire that was exploring Earth. The aliens fired upon the plane because they didn't want any witnesses. When their plane was set ablaze from the attacks, the parents strapped their only remaining parachute to their kids and pushed them out of the plane to hopefully get to safety, only to see the parachute catch on fire. Corsair and his wife were beamed up by the aliens and taken to the imperial throneworld, the former was imprisoned while the latter was forced into the Emperor's Royal Harem. Corsair's wife would soon be murdered by the Emperor to spite Corsair, and having no idea that his sons were alive, Corsair became a space pirate to fight against the Shi'ar Empire. Of course, once Corsair ran into Cyclops some fifteen-odd years later, it would have been better for him to admit his identity instead of getting Cyclops' psychic girlfriend to cover for him only for Cyclops to find out mere months later.
- Cyclops himself later tells his father during a particularly vicious row that his example is why he was afraid of being a father. He was also eventually forced to abandon his baby son Nathan in a dystopian future in order to save his life, where he grows up to be Cable. This is a slightly more complicated example than most, since Scott and Jean did manage to raise Cable at least to adolescence as 'Slym' and 'Redd', in clones of their bodies via Mother Askani, a.k.a. a future Rachel Summers pulling her classic mental time travel trick.
- Aladdin and the King of Thieves: Aladdin's Disappeared Dad Cassim shows up and explains that he left to find an ancient treasure and secure a fortune for his wife and son. His refusal to come back emptyhanded meant he kept searching and stealing for years, and by the time he did come back, he could not find his loved ones and was too deep in the criminal underworld to easily back out.
- In Coco, Miguel's family forbids him from playing music and tries to squash his dreams of becoming a musician because his great-grandmother, Mamá Coco, was supposedly abandoned by her father, Héctor, a musician/songwriter who found fame while on tour and never came back. It turns out that on the night Héctor decided to quit show business and go back to raise his family, his best friend and stage partner, Ernesto de la Cruz, poisoned his tequila shot, stole Héctor's music book, and became famous by singing the songs Héctor composed.
- The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration: Littlefoot's father Bron. He tried to look for a new home for his mate and unborn son, but when he returned, the earth shake had come, his mate had died, and Littlefoot was nowhere to be found. After several days of searching without success, Bron came across other abandoned young longnecks. So he raised them as his own. Soon, more longnecks joined Bron, making him the leader of the longneck herd.
- Discussed in Meet the Robinsons — when former Doorstop Baby Lewis is rejected by 100+ adoptive parents, he bitterly complains that even his birth mother didn't want him. Mildred is quick to point out that that might not be true; she probably did want him but couldn't raise him for some reason. Unfortunately, this just makes Lewis obsessed with tracking his birth mother down, since he's now convinced that she's the only one who ever wanted him. Ultimately, while Louis eventually time-travels back to see his mother, his experiences have helped him move past his abandonment issues, and he decides he doesn't need to meet her or find out why she left.
- The Prince of Egypt: Gender-swapped. As in the original story, Yocheved puts her infant son in a basket to float down the Nile to safety, as a mass murder of all male Hebrew babies is happening. She's clearly heartbroken to do so.
- Son Of Bigfoot: Dr. Harrison had gone into hiding due to Eastman wanting to experiment on his DNA. That's why he was forced to leave his son.
- We Are the Strange: Rain had his Robot servant take his son to be raised in the Forest because the Big Bad had discovered his giant robot plans and had sent minions to kill him and his family. Unfortunately, the robot died on the way so the son had to grow up in total isolation.
- In Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, Delgado the German shepherd gets to see his sons, who act very distant and aloof towards him, remarking that "he's never watched out for us". But Delgado tells the Chihuahuas this, who later tell this to his sons: When he and the local officers arrested some criminals, the criminals promised to hurt Delgado's puppies. So he takes them over to Los Angeles to make sure they're safe since he couldn't do that anymore. After hearing this, his sons make up with their father, letting him tag along with their police force for a while.
- In The Cobbler, the father left his family in order to protect from from his enemies.
- Inverted in The Journey of Natty Gann: everyone else assumes Natty is an abandoned child. She knows otherwise, and when her father fails to send for her as promised, she strikes out on her own in search of him.
- Carina Smyth in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was left outside of an orphanage when she was a baby with only Galileo Galilei's journal. This convinced her that her father was a brilliant astronomer and made her determined to follow in his footsteps. The Reveal is that her father is Captain Barbossa. After Carina's mother died, he abandoned her hoping she could someday lead a life better than one as a pirate's daughter, and gave her the book figuring she could sell the ruby embedded in it for emergency cash. Barbossa doesn't have the heart to shatter Carina's image of a perfect father, so she figures it out on her own.
- The Schoolgirl's Diary is a North Korean film that has a pretty weird take on this trope. Su-ryeon's father disappears for years at a time, paying brief and very infrequent visits, but it's okay because he's working so hard for the glorious benefit of the State and the Dear General Kim Jong Il. (He's a research scientist at a computer factory.) Su-ryeon eventually learns that she shouldn't be so selfish as to want her father to actually be around and stuff when he's doing important work for the state.
- Deconstructed in SHAZAM! (2019) in the case of Billy's biological mother. Marilyn claimed she loved Billy and only abandoned him because she wanted what was best for him. But she showed her true colors when reunited with Billy for the first time in eleven years, and she coldly refuses to embrace her child and even half-heartedly dodged the question that Billy might've had a tough upbringing because of said abandonment. The fact that she didn't properly hand custody off to the state and ensure that Billy was in a stable environment (and where she could visit him) spoke volumes about how she cared more about unburdening herself from being a parent than his well-being.
- Star Wars:
- Obi-Wan's infamous Metaphorically True statement, leading to the big reveal. But Anakin had no choice but to "abandon" Luke and Leia, because he didn't even know that they were still alive! As soon as he learned otherwise, he planned a nice family bonding experience so that they could get to know each other. And of course, Anakin didn't even know Padmé had twins, so he was surprised to learn that Luke had a twin sister — a sister who was rather acquainted with Vader, and whom Vader even had interrogated with enhanced tactics in A New Hope.
- Subverted in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi: Rey, in a state of denial, convinced herself that her parents were special people who had good reasons for abandoning her and planned to come back. Nothing could be further from the truth; her parents were a pair of selfish junkies who sold her for drinking money and ended up dead in a ditch somewhere on Jakku. They had no justification for their actions and didn’t care in the slightest about finding her again. However, The Rise of Skywalker reveals that they absolutely had a good reason to abandon her. Rey is Palpatine's granddaughter through her father, and her parents sold her off to protect her shortly before being killed by Palpatine's assassins.
- In TRON: Legacy Sam is told that his long-lost dad, Encom CEO Kevin Flynn, never would have abandoned him on purpose. It turns out that his evil counterpart CLU has sealed the portal between the Grid and the real world, trapping him.
- Trouble with the Curve: Gus left Mickey to stay with a distant uncle when she was six and boarding school when she was thirteen. The former was because he lost track of her and found her being molested and realized he couldn't take care of her.
- The Wolfman (2010): He didn't want you to out him about being a werewolf and on inadvertently killing your mommy.
- In the Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue", the dad doesn't explicitly mention just why he left at all. He does, however, justify naming his son Sue:
And he said, "Son, this world is rough/and if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough/and I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along..."
- Manowar's song Defender opens with the reading of a letter explaining this.
- "Father... Father! Father, I look up to youuuuuu!!"
- Arthurian Legend: This is a major theme in literary treatments, where the young Arthur is given away by his father Uther Pendragon to be raised either by Merlin or Sir Ector. The reason for this varies depending on the version of the Arthur myth — often it is because prophetic Merlin tells Uther he has to do this. Part of it depends on when Arthur was conceived. In Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth, his conception occurs before his parents married, with Uther magically assuming the shape of Igraine's first husband Gorlois. In this case, Arthur would have appeared to the world to be Gorlois' son, calling his legitimacy as Uther's heir into question. On the other hand, Thomas Malory was obsessed with legitimacy and therefore stresses that Arthur was only conceived after the death of Gorlois and the wedding of Uther Pendragon and Igraine, necessitating a different rationale to explain why Arthur's claim to the throne had to be established by pulling the Sword from the Stone (and anvil). In The Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart, Uther knows that Arthur is his son but sends him away on Merlin's advice for Arthur's own safety and the security of future legitimate heirs (who are never born).
- The Odyssey: Odysseus had to abandon his infant son Telemachus because he was compelled by oath to help Menelaus regain his wife Helen (a cousin of Telemachus' mother Penelope). This kept him busy for ten years in the Trojan War, while on his return journey to Ithaca Odysseus was held up for another ten years by a number of often supernatural factors.
- Warhammer 40,000: The Primarchs all suffered some degree of Parental Abandonment, leading half of the survivors (two became erased from history before the great betrayal) to become the daemon primarchs. In this instance, the Emperor didn't really have a choice whether or not to abandon them, given that they were scattered across space as infants when the laboratory was breached by the Warp. However, it's later revealed the Emperor never thought of them as his sons in the first place, only as tools to be used in his conquest of the galaxy. Roboute Guilliman suffers a minor Heroic BSoD over this, but comes out resolved to fix the imperium as best he can. It's also questionable as to whether he really only saw them as tools (at least the ones he by all accounts genuinely liked) as Guilliman only hears the Emperor say this while the latter is suffering ten thousands years and counting of And I Must Scream while on the Golden Throne, so it may just have been what Guilliman needed to hear to get out of his justifiable funk and get to work.
- Inverted in Annie: optimist heroine Annie assumes that her parents abandoned her for a very good reason and they will one day be reunited, even if it has been ten years. Unfortunately, it turns out her parents did indeed die, and whether they ever intended to come back for her isn't clear.
- In Ever17, Tsugumi had a good reason for abandoning her son and daughter: if she didn't, they'd be captured and researched upon in the hopes of finding a way to immortality, or at the very least would never be able to attend school or have friends due to constantly being on the run. It didn't really work out, but they did get more normal lives out of it. Oddly enough, she's the only one who really has a problem over it. The kids don't care in the slightest.
- Their father also had a good reason, namely doing a Heroic Sacrifice to save their mother and spending several years in cryostasis after that.
- In the backstory of Fate/stay night, Kiritsugu had very good reasons for abandoning his Illya. It's also not completely his choice: his father-in-law got really pissed off that he destroyed the Holy Grail in the Fourth War, and forcibly cut off all contact between him and his daughter. All of his efforts to retrieve her failed, and he eventually dies a broken man, his only comfort being his adopted son Shirou. It's not completely clear how much Illya knows about his motivations — the Illya path which would have focused on her was cut out of the final game, but she's still a lot less naive than she appears — but she angrily spent the ten years after he left plotting revenge. Irritatingly, Kiritsugu was dead by the time of the Fifth War, so she focuses her attentions on the adopted Shirou, whom she hates for getting Kiritsugu in her stead. Shirou, though, being the involuntary Chick Magnet that he is, turns out to actually be pretty likable once they actually meet properly, which deflects her motivations from "torture him for the remainder of his natural/extended life" to "be rather friendly and spend time with him in the park". This is not good news for Shirou though, as Illya tends to make people she likes into her "Servants"; which generally involves sticking their souls into inanimate dolls so they can never ever leave her. Ever. Fortunately, in the "Heaven's Feel" route, she learns from Taiga about her father's attempts at trying to come back for her, which causes her to let go of her grudge against him and Shirou, thus solidifying her Heel–Face Turn. In the endings, she ends up performing a Heroic Sacrifice to protect Shirou from Sakura and is forced to turn him into one of her dolls to save his life.
- In the sequel, Fate/hollow ataraxia, we learn that Kirei also did this to his long-lost daughter, Caren. Albeit it's a little complicated, at least emotionally for Kirei. After Claudia's suicide in an attempt to prove to Kirei that he is capable of love, only for Kirei realizing he couldn't because he didn't feel grief over his wife's death — instead, he grieved over the fact that he wasn't the one to kill her. When that and trying to be a husband and father still left him empty, he left a baby Caren in the care of his in-laws and the two would never see each other again due to his death in Fate/stay night. While Kirei ditching Caren indicates that he's a deadbeat, it's also possible that he was scared of what he would do to her after he realized how he truly felt about Claudia. It also turns out that part of why Kirei bought Rin (his goddaughter) clothes that she hated was because he had his own daughter in mind while buying them. Regardless of whatever was going on in Kirei's mind, Caren has no feelings towards him, especially not after the events of Fate/stay night.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice: Apollo lost both biological parents when he was merely an infant, but in their stead he was raised by Dhurke Sahdmadhi in the Kingdom of Khurain. When Apollo was still a kid, however, Dhurke took Apollo to America and left him there, since Dhurke is a Rebel Leader and he doesn't want Apollo to get in danger because of his revolution (and Dhurke said that being a wanted criminal prevented him from going back overseas). According to Apollo himself, Dhurke only showed up to his foster son after over ten years, but then by this point Dhurke was Dead All Along.
- In the webcomic Bizarre Uprising, Mitsu's father (secretly a vampire) abandons him and his mother when he was young. He did this beause He's the vampire Messiah and if the other vamps found out he was still alive, they'd try and drag him back, almost certainly killing Mistu and Biana in the process. He stayed in Mitsu's life as "The Pig", the school mascot, turned Mitsu's mentor in the ways of vampireness.
- In Drowtales, Ariel comes to see her mother Quain'tana as this. She is quite aloof towards her children, leaving them for months or even years at a time at boarding schools or under the care of a slave or older sibling. Quil'yate explains to Ariel that this is not because the drow are evil, but because the clan believes that it is best for young nobles to learn to prove themselves, so that they can be strong leaders. This however should be taken with a grain of salt, since it also turns out that Quain isn't really Ariel's mother, but rather her grandmother; Ariel is the daughter of her 'crazy sister' Mel'arnach, and Zhor, an elf magically turned into a spider; Quain forced the unlikely couple to give up Ariel (including an apparent attempt to kill Zhor while they were at it), thinking the two could not provide a proper environment for a future clan matriarch and wanting to take the credit for herself. Quain is also unable to have children, and it's strongly implied that the desire to have a suitable heir is part of her motivation as well.
- El Goonish Shive has long had Noriko Verres as Tedd's Missing Mom - in 2021, a possible reason for this was shown, coupling with It's Not You, It's My Enemies.
- Ennui GO!: Ally's mother was forced to abandon her when she hatched because her status as a chimera made raising her herself pretty much impossible (normal fishgirls can only survive out of water for a few hours at a time, while chimeras aren't able to breath underwater due to a genetic defect). Even then, her mother did everything in her power to make sure she would be safe and was openly weeping the entire time.
- In Girl Genius, Gilgamesh Wulfenbach was raised as though he were just another of Baron Klaus Wulfenbach's royal hostages from the conquest of Europe. The most obvious reason for this is that if word had gotten out that Baron Wulfenbach had a son, Gil would have been up to his ears in assassins. A possible secondary reason is that he would be in an ideal position to befriend his peers among the conquered royalty, hopefully smoothing relations when he succeeded Klaus.
- Gunnerkrigg Court has an unusual variation, where someone else makes this excuse on the Disappeared Dad's behalf: No one besides Anthony Carver knows why he disappeared, but his daughter Antimony says that he "must have his reasons".
- Except in the last panel of the same comic, she says, "Perhaps I did something to displease him... or he wants nothing more to do with me." Both of which are definitely not valid excuses for basically orphaning your only daughter soon after her mother died in a hospital.
- Chapter 31 reveals that Antimony's mother literally gave her "fire" (A.K.A. life force) to her, and wasted away after the birth, ever so slowly, while Annie grew up. Reynardine implies even her soul "vanished". Not only that, but EVERY adult near Annie knew it would happen, if Surma ever had a child, and the same thing would happen to Annie. While not confirmed, it's speculated that he left to find a cure for this.
- Chapter 53 reveals his apparent (possibly faked) reasons: Anthony never found out exactly why Surma died, so he travelled the world trying to find some closure. The main reason why he abandoned his daughter is because he felt that she didn't deserve to live with the man who murdered her mother. He had enough resolve to literally carve out his right hand to create a spiritual antenna... then almost starved himself under a blazing sun when he realized that he was killing Antimony.
- Chapter 23 of Head over Heels reveals that Woohyun's father was cheating on his mother with his secretary, and after divorcing her he married her and moved to the USA for work purposes. He comes back later on, only interested in him as a potential successor for his business. His abandonment could explain why Woohyun became The Sociopath he is today.
- Gender inverted in Jackie Rose, it's the mother who did the abandoning due to a dangerous criminal nearly killing her when was taking a taxi ride and not wanting to put her family in danger. Turns out said mother, Elizabeth, is the one to the heroine, Jackie.
- Averted in The Order of the Stick, where Eugene chooses not to follow a credible lead on Xykon, whom he's sworn to destroy, because doing so would most likely mean abandoning his family and dying at best, and having Xykon hunt them down for revenge at worst. He did, however, continue to be a neglectful Jerkass to his oldest son, and specifically claimed that he would have abandoned the family for his quest if given a chance.
- Lampshaded in the case of Elan and his father General Tarquin, Tarquin and Elan and Nale's mother divorced when they babies due to irreconcilable personality differences due to thier mother being a chaotic good tavern waitress while their father is a lawful evil warlord. When they meet, both Elan and Tarquin agree that the drama of meeting like this was completely worth the trauma Elan suffered as a child without a father figure in his life.
- In Selkie, Amanda's biological parents, Todd and Andi had different reasons. The former was told that she was stillborn, and the latter was convinced by her mother to give Amanda up for adoption, as the couple were just teenagers at the time and thus not ready for the responsibility of raising a child. Suffice to say, Andi learning that Amanda had been abused by her foster family went... poorly.
- One of the major driving questions in Chasing Seconds is why Junior's dad left his family to jump through the Einstein-Rosen bridge. Turns out he was saving the human race from a deadly plague.
- In The Gamer's Alliance, when Omaroch is reunited with his son Refan, he explains to him why he has been absent for so many years and wasn't around to save Refan's mother from death. He had in fact been kidnapped and imprisoned by demons and was thus unable to help his family when they needed him the most. Although he claims that he managed to flee from demons, the truth ends up being much more horrific: he was actually tortured and brainwashed to become a servant of the dark god Mardük and was ordered to return to the world of mortals to make sure his sons would fulfill an ancient prophecy which would result in Mardük's resurrection and a full-scale demon invasion. He eventually breaks free from the god's taint but at that point it's too late because his actions end up causing the Cataclysm as well as turning his son into a bitter person. He does his best trying to set things straight and regain his sons' trust.
- In the Paradise setting, in which people get turned into anthropomorphic animals, this is addressed. In the early days, a man gets turned into a polar bear, but doesn't realize it's happened to others (Since he lives out in the frozen boonies of Canada) and tries to live a normal life... until while on a Seal Hunting trip he ends up mauling a seal with his bear hands, at which point he becomes terrified of what he's become and runs out into the frozen tundra to live as the beast he has become, leaving his wife and two sons behind. Years later, one of his sons changes into a wolf, realizes what happened, and goes looking for him.
- In Worm, it's revealed by Marquis that he is the superhero Panacea's father, and gave her up to be raised by his enemies in New Wave in order to protect her from Allfather after his murder of Iron Rain.
- When Tommy's mother comes to pick him up from the Nanny's daycare in The New Narnia, Charlie realizes that he might be Tommy and Katylnn's father, having had sex with their mother right before the Nanny turned him into a baby afterwards. Even if he knew that he had gotten her pregnant, he wouldn't have been able to do anything about it since his life was warped beyond recognition so that he couldn't.
- RWBY: Qrow Branwen plays with this trope. He’s still present in his nieces' lives, who adore him, but it's rare for him to show up in person. When it's revealed he's been protecting one of them from afar on a continental journey, the very reasonable question of why he didn’t just join them is raised. Qrow is forced to reveal that his Semblance makes him a Walking Disaster Area, and so he has a policy of keeping his distance from loved ones unless they’re in a very protected area.
- Vision of Escaflowne Abridged: Allen Schezar's deceased father's ghost tries to invoke this, along with a literal case of Death Equals Redemption. Subverted when it doesn't.
Allen's father: Can you forgive me, son?
Allen: Hell no! You're a horrible person who abandoned his family to hook up with an underage girl. Just because you went and got your idiot self killed right after doesn't change that.