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Identity Breakdown

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Who am I!?
But it'll be okay
Just take who you are
And throw it far away"
The Ghost and Molly McGee, "Identity Crisis"

In works dealing with questions about identity, often the climax will involve the protagonist experiencing a full blown crisis, in which they question the life they lead, the roles in society they fulfill, the relationships they've made, and even the authenticity of their existence. An Identity Breakdown occurs when the sheer weight of these questions becomes too much to bear or the answer they've found challenges their very sense of self.

An Identity Breakdown is a specific kind of Freak Out, Heroic BSoD, Villainous Breakdown, Villainous BSoD, or crossing of the Despair Event Horizon triggered by something/someone reinforcing or creating uncertainty surrounding a character's identity. The character may not have questioned their identity before this moment or this is just the straw that broke the camel's back: either way, they are sent spiraling into paranoia, despair, denial, and existential dread. note 

Plot-wise, the breakdown can be the absolute rock bottom for the character, after which they gain the resolve and clarity to decide upon an identity, accept who and what they are, or forge a new identity for themselves, even going so far as to label their old one as ''dead.'' This is a neutral action and can result in good guys turning bad, bad guys turning good, neutral characters becoming aligned, and everything in between, so long as the end identity is a stable one.

However, a shattered psyche is ripe for Sanity Slippage as the answer to a character's question of "Who am I?" becomes less and less clear or too horrifying to even accept. This often leaves them in an unstable, dissociative state, which can include Mood Swings, Shifting Voice of Madness, Laughing Mad, Suddenly Shouting, and even turning violent...that is, if the breakdown doesn't push them over the edge entirely before all that can manifest.

While any story about identity can include an identity breakdown, this trope is used a lot in Split Personality, Doppelgänger, and Clone stories, since there are alternative versions of the character vying for the position of either dominant or sole identity. Also pops up in Individuality Is Illegal, Assimilation Plot, and Loss of Identity stories, though these assume the character had a stable and known identity to begin with, which may not be the case.

Double Consciousness, Secret-Identity Identity, and Tomato in the Mirror especially tend to lead to this trope. Can be exploited or invoked in a "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight or to Break Them by Talking. See also Shapeshifter Identity Crisis which often overlaps. Subtrope of Personal Horror and Existential Horror.

Not a common presentation of identity issues in Real Life; more common presentations are avoidance or denial, often to the Stiff Upper Lip, Stepford Smiler, or The Stoic levels.

Because this trope typically involves reveals about a character's identity which are likely to be significant to the plot or their character development, be cautious of spoilers below.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: In flashbacks, it is revealed that Reiner is suffering from one long identity breakdown due to being a double agent for Marley. The bonds he made with the other recruits of the Survey Corps, particularly those with Marco, were strong enough that when he has to drop the facade to kill Marco for overhearing him, Annie, and Bertholdt discuss their secret plans, he exhibits clear disassociative behavior, killing the titan that had just killed Marco in a rage, despite setting Marco up to be eaten in the first place. This does not let up even when he's older as the guilt he felt for betraying the Survey Corps, mixed with the growing realization that the people within the walls may not be the Devils he was raised to believe them to be, has turned him into a Death Seeker as he seeks absolution for his deeds.
  • Bungo Stray Dogs:
    • As a clone with an artificially programmed personality, Verlaine was plagued by the notion that he wasn't a real person, but was kept stable by Rimbaud's support. Unfortunately, he was forced to betray his friend to save a young Chuuya, and without Rimbaud his sanity sharply declined. By Storm Bringer he completely snaps and obsesses around Chuuya, intent on murdering everyone the boy cares about out of a belief that as a (possible) fellow clone Chuuya is the only one in the world who can understand him.
    • Subverted with Chuuya, who questioned his identity as a teenager, as his lack of memories from the first seven years of his life and connection to Arahabaki made him believe he wasn't human, and he severely injures a man for asking where he was born. However, unlike Verlaine, Chuuya stays sane and is able to move past his identity issues due to having friends to support him, though he fully believes he would have turned out the same had he been in Verlaine's position.
  • Al from Fullmetal Alchemist experiences a short one after his encounter with Barry the Chopper, who attempts Break Them by Talking by insinuating that Al has never been real and is just an artificial soul created by Ed, bounded to a suit of armor, and given Fake Memories to hide that truth. He uncharacteristically blows up at Ed and accuses him of lying to him. Ed is so shaken by the exchange he has to leave the room. Luckily, Winry was witness to the entire exchange and sets Al straight right then and there and Al talks it out with Ed.
  • Kill la Kill: Ryuko suffers a big one after she is told the Awful Truth by Big Bad Ragyo Kiryuin in episode 19: she is the Artificial Hybrid daughter of Ragyo and Life Fibers. Her resulting Freak Out is only stopped by Satsuki choosing that moment to blow up the entire school. When she gains consciousness at the end of the episode, though she accepts her new identity, doing so has clearly broken her as Ryuko suffers a Sanity Slippage that lasts through the following episode and only ends when she becomes Brainwashed and Crazy by Ragyo.
  • Mega Man Megamix's "The Greatest Enemy in History" features an unexpectedly cavalier Mega Man who — after genuinely attempting to murder Dr. Wily — declares war on humanity and has to be stopped by the rest of his former friends and family. Two-thirds into the story, it's revealed that this version of Mega Man is a Copy Robot created by Wily that went rogue due to preserving most of the real Mega Man's original memories and motivations, just corrupted by Wily's "Evil Chip". The Copy Mega Man — having believed all this time to be the real deal, morals and allis horribly disturbed by this discovery and left questioning if he's just an evil robot doomed to be incapable of anything except destroying the world, or if he's merely an ideal of the real Mega Man corrupted by outside influence. In the end, he defies outside initiatives and decides to out himself as a fake in order to absolve the original, newly-repaired Mega Man, and when Bass attempts to kill both of them, he sacrifices himself to save the original's life.
  • My Hero Academia: This is the backstory of the villain Twice, who has the power to create less-durable duplicates of things. He used to be a fairly normal (if lonely) man who fell on hard times. He used his Quirk to duplicate himself many times over, but then each clone became convinced they were the real one and started attacking each other. The Twice we see isn't sure if he's the original one or just a clone; the experience deeply traumatized him and gave him multiple voices in his head and prone to Suddenly Shouting.
  • Naruto: Kabuto Yakushi's entire character revolves around a huge identity crisis that begins when he was orphaned and suffers a head injury that robbed him of his memories at a young age. He was later taken in by a kind orphanage matron where he was named Kabuto. Soon after Danzo employs him as a spy, which meant adopting new cover identities on a regular basis. When an assassin comes for him during a mission, he is horrified to find out it was the orphanage matron who doesn't even recognize him. This triggers a full-blown identity crisis that is resolved with Orochimaru telling him that Danzo had manipulated the matron with fake pictures and suggesting that Kabuto should find his own identity in life. Kabuto thus reorients his entire life and identity in service of Orochimaru. Orochimaru's death later on leaves Kabuto adrift once again until he eventually decides to focus on attaining power surpassing any other ninja in an attempt to bring meaning to his nameless existence.
  • Identity and memory are central themes in PandoraHearts and several characters are on their own Quest for Identity. In his search, Amnesiac Hero Oz Vessalius suffers a breakdown after the one-two punch he gets when Jack tells him 1) he's neither a legitimate Vessalius nor even a human being, but the ''real'' Chain B-Rabbit who ended up possessing the body of Jack, his contractor, and 2) that Jack is Evil All Along and has been manipulating him the entire time.
  • Perfect Blue: Mima is a pop star turned actress struggling with the intense demands that come with her new role and how it fits with her previous image as an idol. She begins to lose her sense of self and her grasp on reality after she stumbles across a hate message online ridiculing her new persona change that is supposedly posted by her. "Who are you?" and "I'm the real Mima" become Arc Words over the course of the film as Mima becomes more and more unsure of herself and she naturally freaks out several times in the film because of this.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: While she is certainly suffering from a lot of issues by her eventual crack, it's learning the Awful Truth about magical girls that pushes Sayaka over the edge, in part because it makes her season-long attempt to become a heroic ideal futile. Her eventual acceptance of this truth hurts more than it helps and the resulting Sanity Slippage, which includes Laughing Mad and becoming Ax-Crazy, quickly brings her to the Despair Event Horizon, at which point she turns into a witch and has to be put down by the other girls.
  • The titular Lain from Serial Experiments Lain spends a lot of time wondering about who she is and the nature of her own existence, spurred on in part by her having three different personalities: an introverted loner one in the "real world", an assertive persona she adopts in The Wired, and an evil version that seems to exist as a separate entity in The Wired. Then in episode 8, she is picked up by The Men in Black and is interrogated, during which they ask her "Who are you? Are your parents really your parents?" These questions, along with the silent confirmation from her parents when Lain brings this up with them, causes Lain to spiral for the next couple of episodes, peaking with The Reveal that her digital self is her true self, causing a Heroic BSoD. She manages to overcome it by realizing that though she may not be human, she is essentially the Physical God of The Wired. She ends up abandoning her physical form, merging with her evil virtual self, and resets the entire world.
  • Wandering Son: Takatsuki undergoes an identity breakdown when they struggle to decide whether to transition into living as a boy or continue to identify as a girl. It culminates in Takatsuki, albeit reluctantly, deciding to continue living as a girl.

    Comic Books 
  • Ant-Man: Back in 2016, Ultron and Hank Pym were forcibly merged, and since then the Avengers have had difficulty fighting Ultron because there might be some of Hank still in there. By the time of Ant-Man (2022), Scott Lang is very insistent Hank is dead and gone. When confronted with an Ultron with godlike powers, he asks why then, if Hank's supposedly still in there, he's never used those powers to try and free himself from Ultron, causing Ultron to have a momentary breakdown, uncertain whether he is Hank or not (not helping is Ultron's brain patterns are made from Hank's to begin with). Of course, being Ultron, he then recovers and goes right back to trying to kill everyone.
  • Superman: In the Silver Age stories "The Day There Was No Jimmy Olsen" and "The Day Lois Lane Vanished" (the latter is a Recycled Script of the former), Jimmy and Lois return from vacation to find their coworkers claiming not to know them and every story they've written under someone else's name. They even find that their identification has a different name on it. Finding out that they seemingly imagined a large portion of their lives sends them into Heroic BSODs. However, the explanation (which both eventually manipulate the others into admitting) is that the Daily Planet wanted to test their potential as foreign correspondents. Perry claims that enemies would resort to even worse things to discredit them.
  • Venom: In Venom (2021), during the events of Dark Web, Chasm uses his powers to remove all of Eddie Brock's Character Development, resetting him right back to how he was when he first appeared as Venom. Problem is, he doesn't have the Venom symbiote, and having no idea where it's got to has a freak out over his "other" being missing. Due to a split in time, this goes two ways; Eddie turns into the violent berserker Bedlam, or Eddie gets destroyed by Darkoth and winds up outside of space and time, where he starts regaining his memories.
  • X-Men:
    • Rogue frequently suffers this in the comics as her mutation gives her the ability to drain essential qualities—from other superpowers to memories to life energy itself—from whoever she touches. It's ultimately revealed that if Rogue is in contact with someone for too long, the things she absorbs become a permanent part of her psyche, leaving her fractured and confused; for example, her Combo Platter Powers of flight and super-strength only arose because she spent too much time holding onto Ms. Marvel. While this does generate a form of Psychic Static—Rogue's mind is so cluttered with other people's thoughts that it's hard for telepaths to get a read on her—it also causes her a great deal of stress and existential pain.
    • One of the running themes of X-Men is the continued attempt to "cure" mutations, and whether or not such a cure would be a blessing or a curse. Most of the X-Men protest that there's nothing wrong with them and thus they don't need curing, but others struggle with the choice. Rogue, as mentioned above, can never touch other people without risking their very lives. Similarly, Beast's advanced mutation has left him with the body of a blue-furred monster which generally terrifies everyone he meets; he was also originally human and struggles with the memory of not being hated for his appearance (Astonishing X-Men centers on his struggle with another iteration of a mutant cure). Whenever the question of a cure arises, many of the X-Men are left debating if they should take it, what message it sends to younger mutants, and if they would truly be themselves if it weren't for their X-genes.
    • New X-Men: In the "Planet X" arc, Xorn reveals himself to be Magneto in disguise. Later on, he starts hallucinating due to inhaling too much of the Kick drug, which causes him to question what his true identity is. The X-Men exploit this during the final battle, calling him Xorn to throw him off balance and leave himself vulnerable to their attacks.
  • Young Avengers: In the 2014 run of the series, Kid Loki suggests to Hulkling that his boyfriend Wiccan, who is a Reality Warper, subconsciously willed him in to existence as a perfect fantasy. The idea shakes him so badly that he takes a break from the relationship, the team, and began seeing a therapist.

    Fan Works 
  • I Against I, Me Against You:
    • After discovering he's an AI, Church becomes even more irritable than usual and goes into insane levels of denial, but he eventually comes to terms with it and decides that he's human in all the ways that matter.
    • Twilight becomes increasingly depressed after finding out she's an MI, though this is partially the result of having undergone a session of relentless psychological torture to realize it. She begins to believe that her identity is a mere fabrication, but Church reassures her that she's still Twilight Sparkle no matter what.

    Film—Live Action 
  • Black Swan depicts one long Sanity Slippage when professional ballet dancer Nina has the chance to play the star role in her troupe's production of Swan Lake. Nina clearly suffers from a whole host of issues before this, but preparing and competing for the dual role (and realizing her Shrinking Violet personality is unsuited for the Darker and Edgier Black Swan part), pushes her over the edge, as she struggles to reconcile her personality with the demands of the role, eventually becoming paranoid to the point of hallucinating an Evil Counterpart that is the manifestation of the Black Swan persona she both seeks and represses. This reaches its climax at the end when Nina embraces the Black Swan persona and performs the role, until she collapses mid-performance as she is bleeding out from a self-inflicted stab wound she gave herself while hallucinating.
  • Fight Club:
    • The big reveal that Tyler is the Split Personality idealized version of Jack, and thus Tyler has never existed as a separate person in the film leads Jack to have a Heroic BSoD and confront Tyler to try to stop Project Mayhem's terrorist plot of shutting down the global financial system. And in the end Jack ends up reasserting himself against Tyler and "kills" the Tyler personality.
    • The existence of the Tyler personality also means that Jack had an Identity Breakdown before the start of the film due to the dissatisfaction and disempowerment he felt regarding his life. Tyler was the solution to that breakdown.
  • High School Musical:
    • Troy Bolton's plot in every film is about his identity struggles of being both a star basketball player and a guy who's really into musical theatre, with each film ramping up the pressure it's putting on him.
    • Troy's solo song "Bet On It" in High School Musical 2 downplays the trope since despite lines like "It's no good at all to see yourself and not recognize your face," Troy is defiant about letting anyone define him but himself throughout the song.
    • Come High School Musical 3: Senior Year however, with his girlfriend Gabriella choosing to go to Stanford early (essentially breaking up with him over the phone) and his family and best friend Chad Danforth pressuring him to take a basketball scholarship at a school in their hometown of Albuquerque with a good program, Troy snaps. His song "Scream" features him running around the empty halls of his school at night, singing about how lost he feels, the voices of others inside his head telling him what to do, repeating different Madness Mantras (or Survival Mantras depending on how far gone you think he is) and, fittingly, closing with a Cathartic Scream. Lucky for him, Psychologist Teacher Darbus witnessed the entire thing and offers him some words of advice.
  • The film I ♡ Huckabees is all about this trope; the main characters are "existential detectives" who help people when they have these kind of identity crises. The plot kicks off when a man is faced with the Armor-Piercing Question "How am I not myself?", which sends him spiraling and leads him to call the detectives to help him.
  • In Thor, Loki is not the most mentally stable person to begin with. Discovering that he's really a Jotunn, a sworn enemy of the Asgardians, who was adopted by Odin primarily for political reasons and raised as one of Odin's biological sons/potential heir to the Asgardian throne when he's anything but, sends him down the path to full-on villainy.

  • All My Sins Remembered: This is the problem facing Otto McGavin, and indeed all Prime Operators employed by the Confederacion, by the end of the book. A long career of having his real identity subsumed by false or stolen personalities has caused him to suffer an identity breakdown as his mind tries to reconcile his true memories with the various Fake Memories used to shield him from detection on missions. He's ultimately left howling in madness as his handlers lament his fate due to him being one of their best agents and they retire him by permanently locking him in suspended animation.
  • In Animorphs, Tobias struggles with his identity as a human stuck as a hawk. He confesses to Rachel that he feels like he's losing himself, and her ardent assurances that his body doesn't matter and he is human don't sit right with him as the bird part of him is just too prominent. The first time that he kills and starts to eat an animal, he freaks out and tries to kill himself, then abandons everything to try to live as an animal, but that doesn't sit right with him either as the human part just won't sleep for long enough. Eventually he manages to settle into considering himself as both human and bird.
  • The Villain Protagonist Talman in Henry Kuttner's short story "Camouflage" tries to exploit this trope when he attempts to convince his friend Quentin (a once fully human, now a "Transplant" serving as control for the ship Talmun's gang wants to steal) that said friend is no longer a human and no one considers him such, not even (and especially) his wife who stayed with Quentin after he became a Transplant. Quentin tries to deny this but is quickly driven to despair and almost allows Talman and his crew to take over the ship... until Talman slips and says he never would have tried to kill Quentin had he still been his old friend. Since a machine cannot be ''killed'', Quentin snaps out of it, realizing Talman's bluffing and really does still see him as an equal despite his new form, and proceeds to defeat him.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: When he is captured by Ramsay Bolton, Theon Greyjoy is horrifically tortured with the express purpose of stripping him of any aspect of humanity and his past self, leaving only "Reek," the identity he is forced to assume. His body, mind, spirit sufficiently broken, his chapter titles no longer even use his name, instead alternating between "Reek" and "The Ghost of Winterfell" depending on his mental state. His struggle to reassert his identity (and even remember what it was) becomes central to his character development, reaching a climax when he finally manages to escape the Boltons, motivated by his desire to save Jeyne Poole. The resolution of his breakdown is punctuated by his final chapter in A Dance With Dragons being titled "Theon."
  • Gara Petothel in the X-Wing Series is an Imperial agent who at a young age was trained to be able to create new identities with their own backstories and personalities and convincingly inhabit them, forming close connections and then betraying them in pursuit of her masters' goals. Then she'd return to her handler and have all those connections and any emotional baggage neatly wiped, letting her start anew. After her handler was killed she tried to carry on, but soon found that she actually had her own priorities and that Good Feels Good, so she underwent a Heel–Face Turn and tried to live as if she was only her latest identity, Lara Notsil. Then Warlord Zsinj sniffed out her old role. He contacted her with doctored childhood photos of "her" which sent her into a psychotic breakdown, unsure if maybe she really was Lara - she wasn't, but she wasn't able to inhabit that role and being revealed was disastrous. In the end she latches on to the first role she played, Kirney Slane, whose only purpose as an identity was to practice being someone else and who she desperately hoped could be happy, and took that as her name.
    "All the furniture that made up the way I'd thought and felt about things all my life started coming loose in my head. Nowadays it slides around and breaks into pieces and I have no idea what parts of it are real and what aren't. It hurts, and a lot of the time I don't know who I am anymore."

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003) a number of characters suffer identity crises and breakdowns. The Eights get the worst of this: Boomer almost shoots herself because she 'doesn't know who she is anymore.' She and other 'sleeper' Cylons have serious identity crises when they discover that they've been Cylons the entire time and that all their memories from before their placement are falsehoods implanted by Cavil or other Cylons.
  • Discussed on an episode of The Big Bang Theory:
    Howard: Sheldon, if you were a robot, and I knew and you didn't, would you want me to tell you?
    Sheldon: That depends. When I learn that I'm a robot, will I be able to handle it?
    Howard: Maybe, although the history of science fiction is not on your side.
  • Heroes: Many of the Villainous Breakdowns Sylar goes through during the series overlap with this trope as resolving issues surrounding his identity due to massive Parental Issues and finding meaning in his near Story-Breaker Power are some of his main drivers (before Motive Decay at least). One example occurs after he gains the power of Voluntary Shapeshifting and suffers a Shapeshifter Identity Crisis as he switches between his normal appearance and that of his mother and starts to talk to himself using her voice by imagining what she would say. This eventually leads him to write "I AM SYLAR" in blood at his next murder scene as he desperately tries to hang onto his own identity. It's a fairly clear example of Sanity Slippage only undermined by the fact that Sylar was psychotic to begin with and had only gotten crazier since.
  • Ocean Girl: Neri discovers she has a long-lost sister. Jason and Brett track her down, finding that Mera never had a good time in any of the foster homes she lived in, as her alien instinct to constantly seek out water nearly got her institutionalized. They rescue her from being locked in a lab by amoral scientists and reunite her with Neri. Happy ending? Turns out that after growing up in human society, Mera has a hard time adjusting to Neri's semi-feral lifestyle. She has a breakdown about not belonging to either world in front of Brett, who manages to direct her to his mother, who in turn gets Neri to realize that Mera is not going to magically be okay with suddenly living on an island with no shelter from rain or mosquitoes and having to forage for food. Dianne also reminds Mera that even if living with Neri doesn't work out, she can always live in ORCA with her and the boys. Mera gets better as Neri actually teaches her how their species lives, rather than assuming she'll take to it like a fish to water.
  • Power Rangers Zeo: In "King for a Day (Part 2)", the Monster of the Week Altor is implanted with a copy of Tommy's memories, allowing him to perfectly replicate his combat style. Realizing this, Jason appeals to the stolen memories within Altor, causing him to doubt himself. Altor ultimately reasserts his own identity - meaning he no longer has access to Tommy's combat knowledge, which allows Jason to defeat him.
  • Red Dwarf: Virtual Ghost Rimmer has a bit of a Heroic BSoD and almost lets his battery run down in "The Promised Land" after The Cat tells him that the real Rimmer is long dead and that he is just a computer acting on what the real Rimmer would think. Luckily, Lister is able to snap him out of it.
  • Played for Laughs in the season 1 episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, "Poor Little Rich Girl." Zack and Cody watch a baby video of theirs in which their parents accidentally mix the two up. Despite their mom pointing out that all babies kind of look alike anyways, the two spend the rest of the episode questioning their own identities and adopting the traits of the other. They demand their mom find their birth certificates so they can prove once and for all they are who they thought they were.
  • Supernatural: A Season 4 episode features Dean catching a ghost sickness that makes him fearful of everything. This causes him to question his entire life's profession by asking why anyone would spend their lives hunting monsters because doing so means running toward danger and is therefore insane. Dean recovers and is quite embarrassed by his cowardice.

    Video Games 
  • Overwatch: The New Blood story arc deals with Cole Cassidy experiencing one when he realizes that his criminal alias has essentially took over and ruined his life. It ends with Cassidy disavowing his past self and finding inner peace through going back to his birth name.note 
  • Rudy Roughnight from Wild ARMs suffers from this after he severs his arm to escape from Zeikfried and therefore discovers he's made out of the same metal as the demons Zeikfried leads. The shock pushes him into an Angst Coma until Cecilia enters his dreams to try and snap him out of it.

    Visual Novels 

    Western Animation 
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Parodied in "Missing Identity", where SpongeBob loses his nametag and treats it as if he's lost his identity. He hyperventilates and passes out when he is reminded of the loss. Turns out he had it on the whole time, he had just worn his shirt backwards.
    • In the season 10 episode, "Mimic Madness", Spongebob develops a case of "Mocking Mimicry Madness" when he transforms his upper half to do over 80,000 near perfect impressions of people after learning about the Sincerest Form of Flattery. Sandy, Mr. Krabs, Patrick, Squidward, and Plankton stage an intervention to get him to stop after they become annoyed by it which forces Spongebob to realize he no longer remembers what his true personality is. He calls himself a freak before fleeing and running off to a cave where he begins to exhibit Sanity Slippage. The gang finds him and is able to remind him of who he is by impersonating him back...only to develop "Mocking Mimicry Madness" themselves.
  • In the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus", Boimler suffers this as he finds out that his perfect transporter-created duplicate was killed in a random freak gas leak accident. His depression, frustration and anger causes him to hijack his own movie to hunt down The Meaning of Life in a sudden B-Plot where he ends up having a dehydration-caused vision where he meets Captain Hikaru Sulu, who tells him that moments like that balance out the joys of life. Unbeknown to everyone, his duplicate is alive and well, having his Death Faked for You and now joined Section 31.
  • Steven Universe: Future: Steven struggles with a Loss of Identity as helping people has become central to his identity and the resolution of the main conflict has allowed everyone to move forward with their lives, leaving Steven purposeless and incredibly lonely. Trying to repress these feelings only makes him spiral further. Thus begins a season long Sanity Slippage that includes him accidentally imprisoning his friends, talking to the plants in his garden as replacements for his friends, and attempting to shatter White Diamond as he places the blame for all of his problems on her. The final bad guy to fight in the entire series comes from Steven having a full blown meltdown and manifesting a Superpowered Evil Side that embodies all of Steven's bottled up resentment and anger. He does get better though and rare for the trope, decides to see a psychiatrist regularly to deal with his issues.
  • In the X-Men: Evolution episode "Self Possessed," Rogue's Energy Absorption powers are revealed to not only take the abilities of others, but permanently store them inside of her. The personalities of all the people she's absorbed abilities from begin to overwhelm her and threaten a Split-Personality Takeover, which over the course of the episode drives her to the brink of madness as she struggles to maintain her sense of self. Xavier has to intervene, erasing the personalities from her mind, in order to save her.