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Did You Think I Can't Feel?

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"Forgot about the past? Don't be stupid! You don't know how much Basara still suffers and keeps having nightmares, so don't spout such nonsense… There's no way he could forget what you guys can't! Or are you thinking you guys are the only ones suffering!?"

Alice is an all-around nice girl: she's quiet and maybe a bit of a pushover, but every so often she hints at having some deep Hidden Depths. She's sure to do whatever Bob asks her, not just because of her loyalty but because she "doesn't seem to mind". She may even have a crush on Bob, who seldom notices, dates everyone else but her, and asks her for dating advice. Over the course of the story Bob will go on adventures and drag Alice along with him, putting her through progressively more embarrassing, painful, and emotionally hurtful situations while ignoring her feelings. She won't complain, and will likely offer advice and help however she can.

Until she says "No". Bob will be blown away and fail to understand why: "How can you be so selfish? I've always treated you right!"

At this point Alice lets loose a simple yet powerful question: "Did you think I can't feel?"

Turns out that Alice may be Stoic or even an Extreme Doormat, and that she'll tolerate heaps of emotional torture just to be next to Bob even if she can't date him... but he's finally crossed the line, not because of his schemes, but for both failing to consider she has feelings and that he was badly hurting them. Alice will then painfully lay out just what it is he's put her through and leave. If Alice is especially nice, you can expect at least some violence to follow. If Alice is very shy she may run away instead, leaving it up to another character to enlighten Bob on his carelessness.

Knocked out of his egocentric worldview, Bob now has to find a way to patch up their friendship or pursue a romance. In a kid's show, this is usually accompanied with An Aesop about considering other people's feelings.

Alice can be of any gender, but as a character, there are a lot of types that fit: The Nice Guy, The Stoic, Extreme Doormat, The Cutie, Cloud Cuckoo Lander (though they may be Bob if they are very inconsiderate). Bob may be Hot-Blooded, Horrible Judge of Character, or Oblivious to Love. One common variant is for Alice to be an outsider other kids pick on, dehumanizing her until she snaps with the above.

Alice may be motivated by I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy and realize she's not at all happy, grow angry that All Love Is Unrequited, or that Bob never notices (or sends mixed signals) to her advances. A spin on the trope is possible involving Alice and Bob being Twice Shy, so Bob could then snap about something along the lines of "I didn't think I could make you feel".

If this happens at the beginning of the story, this may lead to Madden Into Misanthropy as Alice changes her character radically. Compare Not So Stoic, where a Stoic is pushed past their limits. Also compare Stoic Woobie.

Contrast Drama Queen. Compare Offending the Fool for the intelligence/sanity-based version of this trope.

Not to be confused with "Don't Think, Feel."


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    Comic Books 
  • Scott Pilgrim in the last book has Scott reunite with his ex-girlfriend Envy Adams. During their brief reunion, she herself brings about how the breakup wasn't entirely her fault and how she felt (how honest she is being here is hard to tell. While Scott may be a bit of an Unreliable Narrator, Wallace certainly is not and his vitriolic reaction toward Envy for what she did to Scott along with everyone else's thoughts heavily imply from an objective standpoint, it is Envy's fault.) It's revealed that the breakup happened as a result of a big fight Scott and Envy had at a New Years' party. Scott doesn't remember he got into a fight. However, Stephen Stills does mention Scott drank. Scott denies this, given he does not drink, (though it could've been alcoholic punch and thus, he unknowingly got drunk). While Scott did instigate the fight, a lot of prior events beforehand showed Envy's growing Jerkass behaviors, such as usurping control of their band along with potentially cheating on Scott (and her general disinterest in their relationship) was the reasons the fight ever came about in the first place. Despite how Scott did suffer much more from the pain of the relationship, Envy did also feel hurt from the end.
  • Watchmen: Ozymandias talks about how easy it was to push Dr. Manhattan over the edge:
    "Most humans wouldn't be able to tell, but from where I sit he might as well have been weeping."
    • Also, the bit between Dan and Rorschach. Dan finally snaps from all the bullshit, and Rorschach actually seems to feel bad.
  • X23: When Laura rejects Julian's confession of love, he lashes out verbally, accusing her of being the emotionless robot that everyone says she is. In response, Laura reminds him that he is not entitled to her affection because she is a person capable of making her own choices.
    Laura: No, Julian. I feel...I want. I just do not want you.

    Films — Animation 
  • Kung Fu Panda has two instances:
    • In the first film, Po attempts to leave the Jade Palace after Tai Lung escapes despite him not quitting until now. Shifu tries to stop him but Po isn't having any of it; he knew the whole time that the master was doing anything he can to get him out of the palace through his insults and harsh training but didn't say anything about it because he thought Shifu would be able to shape him into a legitimate hero. Shifu is so shocked about Po revealing just how insecure he is and harsh his attitude was he remains almost completely silent after he practically begs for how he plans to train him. Thankfully, he finds a way best suited for him.
    • Po himself would fall into this trope in Kung Fu Panda 2. Tigress reveals that part of her kung fu training involved punching ironwood trees, so now she "feels nothing." Po is awed and calls this "hardcore." He immediately assumes that she can't feel emotional pain either, which shocks her, but she's interrupted before she can correct him. Later in the movie, when Po persists in trying to confront Lord Shen despite his freezing up when facing him, Tigress angrily tells him to stay behind. Po finally caves in and explains why he wants to go: he remembers that Lord Shen was there when Po's birth parents died, and Po wants answers about what happened that day since he was a baby at the time.
      Po: I have to know. The Hardcore can't understand.
      [Cue Tigress lunging... with a Cooldown Hug, to Po's and the rest of the Furious Five's shock]
      Tigress: The Hardcore do understand... but I can't watch my friend be killed.
  • Hinted at in Megamind, though more to do with sorrow than anger. When Megamind's lies to Roxanne are exposed, she storms off, furious with him for, on top of everything, apparently playing with her heart. When she asks him what his plan was, he can only give her an utterly heartbroken look. Horrified, she asks (in a noticeably earnest manner, without anger), if he really thought she'd ever be with him. One Little "No" later, she leaves him to sulk on his own.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In Bowling for Columbine, Marilyn Manson states that this is what he believes is the reason the Columbine massacre happened. He believes that the killers behind the tragedy did what they did because they felt marginalized and no one would listen. The same also holds for his case whether he knows it or not, since Moral Guardians saw him as an angry and hateful man who promoted violence. He proved to be anything but.
  • A variation; in Carrie, it's Miss Collins who does this for the title character after the shower prank, giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to her gym class.
    Miss Collins: Did any of you ever stop to think that Carrie White has feelings? Do any of you ever stop to think? No, I guess you're too busy thinking about your dates, and the prom.
    "Doesn't anybody ever get it right?! Doesn't anybody think that I hear?!"
  • The most iconic scene in The Elephant Man is combines this trope with Shaming the Mob.
    I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am... a man.
  • Used as a Call-Back in Forrest Gump. When Jenny asks him why he dragged her out of the strip club, he answers that he did it because he loves her, to which she responds that he doesn't know what love is. Years later, after she grows tired of her hard-partying lifestyle he happily welcomes her to stay in his house:
    Forrest: ...But you won't marry me.
    Jenny:: You don't wanna marry me.
    Forrest: Why don't you love me, Jenny? I'm not a smart man... but I know what love is.
  • In Gosford Park, Commander Meredith was eating jam preserves and sulking when Dorothy, a maid, walks in on him, he starts saying that his life sucks when she jumps in with a heart-wrenching speech about how loving, even if it's unrequited, makes life worthwhile and worth living. It helps to mention that Dorothy was in love with the butler Jennings, and though she often hinted to him she was interested, he was always too afraid to start anything. Not expecting anywhere near that emotional wisdom, he goes back upstairs and passionately kisses his loving wife.
  • Rizzo's There Are Worse Things I Could Do song in Grease explains, "I can feel and I can cry. A fact I'll bet you never knew. But to cry in front of you. That's the worst thing I could do".
  • In The Odd Way Home, James Richards says of Duncan, who is autistic, "He doesn't feel! He doesn't know any better! Quit fooling yourself!" Maya snarls, "You have no idea what you're talking about."
  • This kicks off the plot of Scooby-Doo—Fred, who in this interpretation is a self-centered jerk, yet again takes the credit for Mystery Incorporated's latest success. Velma, who has been actually solving the mysteries the group faces for years without any recognition, finally breaks and snaps that she's sick of being ignored. Daphne joins in, only she's fed up with being considered The Ditz who doesn't contribute to the team. The resulting fight breaks the group apart and influences a good deal of their interactions when they're called to Spooky Island to investigate strange happenings—they're so busy in-fighting that they fail to work as a group, which makes them vulnerable. Notably, at the end of the movie, Fred tells reporters that Velma deserves the glory for this particular case, and she positively glows as she finally gets her chance to be the face of the team.
  • Sense and Sensibility paraphrases Elinor's speech (since some events were changed in the adaptation) when Marianne is angry at her for being so resigned to Edward's marrying Lucy Steele. Elinor finally snaps and says that if Marianne wasn't so bound up in her own self-indulgent heartbreak, she might have noticed. (And then she has to comfort Marianne again when the latter breaks down in Tears of Remorse.)
    "Had I not been bound to silence, I could have produced proof enough of a broken heart, even for you."
  • Played with in Star Trek (2009). Kirk knows that Spock is in intense pain after the destruction of Vulcan and the death of his mother, having heard as much from Spock Prime, and manages to break through Spock's stoic facade by accusing him of feeling nothing at all. After beating the crap out of Kirk, Spock realises he is emotionally compromised and relinquishes his status as captain (which was Kirk's plan).

  • In the musical adaptation of Carrie, the titular character wails "Doesn't anybody think that I hear?!" at the end of her Villain Song, "The Destruction".
  • Older Than Steam: William Shakespeare brings us The Merchant of Venice and Shylock's "Hath not a Jew eyes?" speech to the court. While Shylock isn't a nice guy, the thrust of the speech is still the same: "I've got feelings, too." Made even more poignant because he has earlier talked about how he has been mistreated and mocked by many simply for being a Jew despite being one of the city's richest men.
    Shylock: He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew.
    Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is?
    If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.

    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening: During their A Support, Tiki approaches Say'ri and urges her to express some emotion over Yen'fay's demise rather than insist that "what's done is done," asking if their bond was so feeble that just a few weeks would be enough for her to just erase him from her heart. Say'ri snaps and corrects Tiki very quickly.
    Say'ri: Enough! What could you possibly ken of the bond I shared with him?! Forget? Erase him from my heart?! 'Twould be easier to erase the heart entire! He was my brother. My only flesh and blood.
  • God of War (PS4): Kratos may be quiet and doing his best not to talk about her much, but when Atreus accuses him of not actually caring about his mom dying, he corrects him very quickly.
    Kratos: Mind your tongue, boy! Until our journey is over, one of us must remain focused. Do not mistake my silence for lack of grief. Mourn how you wish, leave me to my own.
    Atreus: ...I'm sorry. I didn't know-
    Kratos: No... How could you? You do not know my ways.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time: Bentley spends most of the game worried about his girlfriend Penelope when she suddenly vanishes without a trace. Eventually, he finds her in early 14th century Englandspecifically , working for the Big Bad because she thinks Bentley is wasting his skills on his best friends when he could use them to "change the world". When he finally confronts her, Bentley tells Penelope that she never considered his feelings even once; Sly and Murray are the only family he ever had after his mother died, and he would never think of betraying them, especially for money. Penelope's only response is to attack him, showing that she's nothing but a sociopathic Gold Digger who never loved or cared about Bentley.

    Web Comics 
  • In El Goonish Shive, despite her normally stoic demeanour, Charlotte reacts to Diane's outburst, "Have you ever even been on a date?" with a genuinely hurt look and retreats into silence, testily rebuffing Diane's attempt to apologize.
  • This crops up a few times in Homestuck:
    • Jane gives a rage-filled "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Jake after Jake calls her up on her birthday (which he forgot and makes lame excuses for) to ramble one-sidedly about how the boy he hooked up with instead of her is self-absorbed and kind of smothers him without letting him ever get in a word edgewise. Which is exactly what Jake does to Jane in between neglecting her for weeks on end when they're two of the last four humans alive. And then he misinterprets her frustrated almost confession of having had feelings for him as feelings for Dirk.
    • Happens with Dirk as well. "You act like I don't have feelings, like I'm some kind of robot. Well, you're wrong, I do."
    • Dirk's Auto-Responder, an AI based on a scan of his brain, gets tired of Jake treating him like he's just a computer program and bluntly tells him "I do have feelings. And you're shitting on them. It sucks." Later, when Dirk almost destroys him in a moment of displaced self-loathing, he drops the emotionless AI facade he had adopted to admit that he's scared of dying.

    Web Original 

Alternative Title(s): Even The Stoic Has Feelings, Do You Think I Cant Feel


Principal Peter Prickly

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