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It's All My Fault

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"They don't have any food stored for the winter! (sob) AND IT'S ALL MY FAAAULT!"

You see characters blaming themselves for major messes fairly often, especially when they're not the only ones who are suffering as a result. It's a universal phrase used in every genre and medium.

Frequent replies:

  • "It's not your fault": A stock reply to an apology, and like the main phrase, it's often followed by why. Often implies the main phrase as well. "There's no way you could have foreseen this" is also popular as is "You Did Everything You Could" when the other failed to prevent bad things from happening.
  • "I am also to blame"/"We're all to blame": As stated above, when the penitent one is neither completely blameless nor solely to blame.
  • "So what are you going to do about it?": This puts the emphasis on fixing the problem rather than assigning blame and offers the character a chance to redeem himself by cleaning up the mess he made.

In the future, it is likely that a Big Bad, The Rival, or an Evil Counterpart will take some opportunity to remind the character of this culpability.

May be the result of failing to make amends. May end up being a Career-Building Blunder. May be uttered by someone laboring under The Chains of Commanding. See also My God, What Have I Done?, in which case it typically is all "my" fault, and "I" have just realized the consequences of "my" actions, and Failure-to-Save Murder. When death ensued, see These Hands Have Killed. If a character has so many It's All My Fault moments that it becomes almost a character trait, it's a Guilt Complex. Characters may irrationally think of this if I Wished You Were Dead. Contrast with Never My Fault. May lead to a Guilt-Induced Nightmare.

Example subpages

Other examples:

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  • "American Honda Presents DC Comics Supergirl": In the first issue of this seat belt safety Public Service Announcement, Steve Gordon -Supergirl's current boyfriend- is driving his little sister to the cinema when his car gets hit by a drunk driver. The man blames himself for driving while drunk and harming kids, Steve blames himself for his sister getting hurt, and Supergirl blames herself for Steve's coma since she was not around to help him (even though she was saving lives endangered by an earthquake, thus justifying her absence).

    Comic Books 
  • Squadron Supreme: Happens to Doctor Spectrum in a limited series after he accidentally kills deranged teammate Nuke.
  • Superman:
    • In Krypton No More, Supergirl undertakes a space mission and wants her cousin to fight alongside her, but Superman decides to sit it out. When he watches a squad of alien warships striking Kara and Krypto down, he blames himself because he didn't go with her.
      Superman: There! I can see Supergirl — and Krypto?! Great Scott, what's he doing there? Supergirl must have summoned him — and now they're fighting those warships against impossible odds! NO! There're hit! They're going down — And it's MY FAULT!
    • A teenage boy felt The Death of Superman was his fault because he inadvertently distracted Superman with his cries for help in a stage where Supes could have possibly finished Doomsday off.
    • In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, Steve Lombard rightfully blames himself when Clark Kent shoves him out of the path of a speeding car and gets struck by the vehicle. Steve is so upset he even rues his bullying ways for a brief instant.
    • In Supergirl (1972) #4 Linda's classmate David Grahm hits his head when he takes a dive in a pool, and Linda -the titular Supergirl- blames herself because she wasn’t there to save him.
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton Guy Gardner blames himself for everything Atrocitus does (driving his friend Rankorr mindlessly mad, ravaging planet Ysmault...) because Guy defeated him, and Atrocitus wants to pay him back.
    • In Many Happy Returns, Kara believes -mistakenly- her X-Ray Vision disrupted a woman's pacemaker. She feels so guilty she lets a villain pummel her only because she wants to be punished.
      Supergirl: A woman collapsed while I was using my X-Ray Vision. I think it disrupted her pacemaker. She suffered and it's... It's my fault.
    • In the finale of Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Supergirl blames herself when Belinda is turned into a crystal statue, even though Belinda's own actions led to it. Kara thinks she should have stopped her... somehow.
      Supergirl: I should have stopped you somehow! I should have saved you! This is all my fault!
    • In Bizarrogirl, Kara blames herself for New Krypton's destruction and her people's genocide schemed by Lex Luthor and General Lane and carried out by her arch-enemy Reactron.
      Kara: "Gifts"? These "gifts" make a target, Lana. They make me dangerous to everyone around me. And as you'll recall, the last time I tried to help someone, I got a planet full of my people blown up —
      Lana Lang: That wasn't your fault and you know it —
      Kara: It doesn't matter whose fault you think it was, Lana! 80,000 people were put in danger because of something I did... and then Supergirl couldn't save any of them.
    • In Crucible, Maxima blames herself for taking Kon to the titular space academy, where he was captured by Korstus. When she apologizes to Kara, though, her friend replies Maxima shouldn't blame herself because she couldn't know what would happen.
    • In The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor, Lex most exceptionally takes responsibility for his actions. At one point, Lex talks about his sister Lena to his cellmate Sam, unaware that Sam holds a grudge against Lena's husband. After learning Sam paid other crooks to gaslight Lena into committing suicide, Lex apologizes to his sister, admitting it was his fault for babbling about her private life to his jailmates.
    • In Escape from the Phantom Zone, Supergirl apologizes to Batgirl and Ben Rubel for being unable to stop them from falling into the Phantom Zone. She is utterly blameless for that mess since villain Magog was the one who wrecked the generator which opened a dimensional vortex, Ben was dragged into the maelstrom, Babs jumped after him and Kara simply flew after her...but Kara blames herself anyway.
    • The Plague of the Antibiotic Man: Believing his old enemy Nam-Ek is responsible for the mysterious plague spreading across Central City, Superman fights him. When he is tricked into believing he has killed Nam-Ek, Superman freaks out because Nam-Ek's antibodies could be used to cure the disease. Now, everybody will die, including Lois, and it will be his fault.
      Superman: "The Flash is critically injured... Lois Lane is dying! Central City will die, too— and then the whole world! It's all my fault— because I've just killed the only being in the universe who can save it!"''
    • Let My People Grow!:
      • When Superman collapses after being battered by a supernova, Supergirl blames herself for not having gone with him...even though it is not clear that she would have achieved other than passing out alongside him, which would have prevented her from catching him when he plummeted towards the ground.
        Supergirl: "Obviously, what we both feared came true— not even a Superman could endure the fury of a supernova— This is all my fault— I knew it would be dangerous— I should have insisted on going with him— If he doesn't recover, I'll never forgive myself."
      • Superman blames himself when Kandor falls apart and turns to dust because he did not test his enlarging ray on inanimate objects.
        Superman: "I should have thought of that— I should have tested for it! Now, because of my incompetence, Kandor has been destroyed! I've failed my people... failed... failed..."
    • Supergirl (1984): Kara blames herself for the loss of the Omegahedron, the matter-transmuting device which keeps her space city's life support systems, even though her mentor Zaltar gets the lion's share of the blame: Zaltar "borrowed" the Omegahedron to satisfy his artistic curiosity. When Kara's mother walked into his chambers, he gave Kara one of his gadgets to keep both her and Alura distracted as he hid the Omegahedron. Unfortunately, Kara playing with his reality-warping device accidentally caused the Omegahedron to be sucked into the vacuum of space.
      Kara: "They'll never understand! It's my fault the Omegahedron ins gone...and it's up to me to get it back!"
  • Fantastic Four: Reed Richards tends to blame himself for a lot of things that happen to his family. Part of it is semi-justified because the accident that gave them their powers and effectively ruined their quiet, ordinary lives really was his fault. However, he also believes that because he is so incredibly intelligent, any misfortune that they can't avoid is automatically his fault for not pulling a brilliant solution out of his ass. Naturally, his Arch-Enemy, Doctor Doom, is not only one of the most rabid adherents of this trope's diametric opposite, he also further aggravates Reed's issues by narrowing his Never My Fault down to Always Reed Richards' Fault.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spidey blames himself for the death of Uncle Ben, as he was jerk looking out just for himself back then, and let a criminal escape... who killed Ben later. His whole super hero career is an attempt to atone for it. In recent times, he blames himself for just about everything that goes wrong to anybody in his life. So much so that it's become something of a joke for the fandom.
    • He even lampshades this several times in New Avengers, as in the first arc he says that the rest of the team can blame the prison break at the Raft on him if they want, seeing as the press is going to.
    • When J Jonah Jameson's wife Marla took a fatal blow for him, Jonah refused to blame Spider-Man (significant given that Jameson is usually the first to blame Spidey for anything and everything) and even came right out and said that it was his fault.
  • At the climax of Siege, Loki actually accepts responsibility for the consequences of his actions namely, the near-destruction of Asgard at the hands of the Sentry/Void, and provides aid to the heroes in an attempt to mitigate the damage and is slain by the Sentry in the process. This absolutely couldn't be a trick or anything... wait a minute.
  • Klara Prast of Runaways blames herself for the death of Old Lace, who took the brunt of an explosion in which they'd both been caught. Unlike most examples of this trope, she was actually encouraged to think this way by teammates Chase and Victor for petty reasons (Chase was understandably upset about the loss of his pet dinosaur, while Victor didn't want anyone to realize that he was responsible for the accident that led to the explosion.)
    • In "It's Not Lupus", a one-shot set before the above-mentioned accident, she assumes that it's her fault that Molly suddenly fell ill, despite the fact that she had nothing to do with Molly's illness.
  • In Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World #1, the Mighty Atom believes he was responsible for the arrival of the Earth-40 villains, citing that their invasion had begun not long after he looked into the cursed comic book Doc Fate warned him not to read.
  • Anderson: Psi-Division: Anderson blames herself for being unable to prevent a nuclear bombing that costs the lives of 500,000 people after receiving a psychic vision.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Wismerhill blames himself for the end of the world after Haazheel Thorn uses his last ounce of magic to cause the Black Moon to crash into the Earth, but the Oracle tells him that every possible path would have led him here.
  • Star Wars: Princess Leia: Beneath the façade of stoic resolve, Leia is struggling with the emotional burden of her homeworld's destruction and her father's death, which she feels is directly due to her open defiance of the Empire. She has no friends to speak of (her relationship with Han, Luke, and Chewie hasn't had time to develop yet), and she has no surviving family to turn to. So she sets out with another Alderaanian rebel to rally the survivors of their homeworld's destruction and find them a new home.
  • PS238: Played for laughs after the tragic "death" of Moon Shadow:
    Poly: Oh, gosh...I helped get him here before they caved it in on top of him. Now I feel bad...
    Tyler: Didn't I—uh, he—tell you to take him here?
    Poly: (cheerfully) Hey, that's right. It's his fault he got squished!
  • X-23 is highly prone to this due to the guilt she carries over all the killings she committed under the Facility's control. Although she does come to accept she's as much a victim as the people she killed, Laura is nonetheless quick to accept blame for her actions.
  • Dynamo5: In Dynamo 5 #17, when Scatterbrain enters Maddie Warner’s unconscious as she lies comatose, it is revealed that she tends to accept a disproportionate amount of responsibility for various unfortunate events in her life and harbors guilt over those incidents. Be it when a supervillain escapes, when Captain Dynamo is unable to save people's lives, or her personal relationships fail, like when her relationship with her former fiance Tom falls apart because of her secret life and the fact that she could not tell him she was an agent of F.L.A.G., a U.S. government organization that deals with threats posed by superhuman beings, though she used the cover of an award-winning investigative journalist. Or when her marriage to Captain Dynamo/William Warner became strained because of his Dynamo's career as a costumed crimefighter often kept him away from home for extended periods of time, and, unknown to her, Dynamo's absences were partially due to the numerous extramarital affairs that he had. It was by Scatterbrain's convincing Warner of her need to move beyond her guilt that he was able to bring her out of the coma.
  • The Ultimates: Betty blames herself for all the destruction that Hulk caused. She thinks that, if she hadn't been so harsh with Bruce, perhaps he wouldn't have injected himself with the Hulk serum.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): Sonic wholeheartedly blames himself for the Metal Virus outbreak, kicking himself for sparing the amnesiac Eggman under the belief that he could do good. Thanks to Starline and Metal Sonic, this led to Eggman regaining his memories and unleashing the Metal Virus on the world, essentially starting a Zombie Apocalypse.
    Sonic: I put my faith in the idea everyone has a little good in them, and Eggman's made me pay for it every day...

    Films — Animation 
  • From Beauty and the Beast, Belle says this after she's comforting the dying Beast.
  • In Brave, finally admitting their own roles in everything that went wrong is an essential bit of Character Development for both Merida and Elinor.
  • This is essentially the plot point of Finding Nemo. Marlin's overprotectiveness leads to Nemo rebelling and disobeying him by swimming out to a boat, which leads to Nemo getting captured by humans and Marlin driven to do everything to get back his son.
  • In The Lion King (1994), Simba spends most of the movie believing that he killed his father mostly due to his Uncle's manipulations and tries to hide from the rest of the pride in shame.
  • Aladdin does this on occasion, in both the series and films. In the first film, Jasmine says "It's all my fault" after Aladdin is taken captive. It's actually Jafar's fault since he'd have needed Aladdin and had the guards capture him whether Jasmine got involved or not. Then Aladdin says it after Jafar steals the lamp and takes over Agrabah, which partly IS Aladdin's fault for not setting Genie free.
  • In Murderess, the protagonist Lu seems to think little of herself and blame herself thoroughly even when killing in self-defence.
  • Angry declaration: Quasimodo, upon seeing Esmeralda being put on a stake in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
    • Also inverted during the song "Hellfire," where Frollo keeps telling himself it's not his fault for being obsessed with Esmeralda while singing about her burning in hell and the red-robed choir representing his conscience contradicts him.
      "It's not my fault!" (mea culpa ("Through my fault"))
      "I'm not to blame!" (mea culpa("Through my fault"))
      "It is the Gypsy girl, the witch who set this flame!" (mea maxima culpa ("Through my most grevious fault"))
      "It's not my fault!" (mea culpa ("Through my fault"))
      "If in God's plan!" (mea culpa ("Through my fault"))
      "He made the devil so much stronger than a man!" (mea maxima culpa ("Through my most grevious fault"))
  • In Snoopy, Come Home, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, and Peppermint Patty all blame themselves for Snoopy's leaving.
  • In The Tigger Movie, Tigger starts feeling lonely that he's "the only one", so his friends write a letter to make him feel better, but it backfires spectacularly when he believes that it's from his real family, and that they're visiting him the next day. After several attempts to tell Tigger the truth about the letter fail, the others decide to pose as Tiggers so as not to upset him. However, Roo's disguise falls off and Tigger realizes he has been duped. He does not take this well, and still clings onto the letter as legitimate proof his family exists, going as far running off into a dangerous blizzard to go find them. While everyone feels awful about unintentionally hurting Tigger's feelings, it's Roo in particular who blames himself the most, as he begs Pooh to help find Tigger.
    Roo: (tearfully) You've gotta help me find Tigger! It's all my fault! He never would've left if it wasn't 'cause of me! I didn't mean to make him feel bad... I just... I just wanted him to be my big brother...
  • Implied in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. Bruce Wayne (the original Batman) felt guilty for causing Tim Drake (Robin at the time) to suffer Mind Rape at the hands of the Joker. After the incident, in which the Joker is presumably killed, Tim went through a year in rehabilitation and was ordered to turn over his Robin suit, only because Bruce didn't want Tim or any other accomplice to ever suffer again. This is also the reason Bruce refuses to let Terry (the current Batman at the time) find the Joker, as he didn't want Terry to suffer Tim's fate and lace him with even more guilt.
  • The Incredibles. With his entire family taken prisoner by Syndrome, Bob Parr apologizes to everyone for getting them into this mess, in an attempt to relive his glory days instead of treasuring his family. As Helen Parr agrees entirely with this assessment, she tries to hush the kids who meanwhile are working on freeing them.
  • In Frozen II, Elsa feels immense guilt when she, Anna, and Olaf discover their parents' shipwreck near the Dark Sea, and find out that they died trying to find a way to help Elsa.
  • In The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, Surly quotes this completely when Buddy is lifelessly laid out on a slab in the ruined remains of the nut shop after falling from the balcony of the evil mayor's house.
  • In Loving Vincent, Dr. Gachet and his daughter Marguerite blame themselves for Vincent van Gogh's suicide: Marguerite for following her father's advice to stop distracting Vincent from painting (and depriving him of friendship in doing so), and Dr. Gachet for a bitter argument in which he said that Vincent was probably hastening Theo van Gogh's death through stress.
  • Subverted in The Magic Roundabout (2005), where Dougal doesn't take responsibility for releasing Zeebad, until near the end:
    Florence: Don't blame yourself, Dougal.
    Ermintrude: Let us do that for you.
    and shortly afterwards:
    Brian: Now, Dougal, you mustn't feel guilty, just because it's all your fault.
  • Happy Heroes: The Stones: Careless S. feels guilty after he considers the Supermen losing their abilities to be his fault (with an invention he built being involved with the problem), causing him to run away from the Supermen's house some time before Happy S. arrives 10 years into the future.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2016) Ratchet blames himself for falling for Qwark's betrayal which prompts Clank to say "Taking blame isn't the same thing as taking responsibility.''. So Ratchet sets out to confront Qwark once more and save the galaxy from Drek.
  • In Turning Red, Ming blames herself for scarring her mother which is valid but believes that incident reflects on her as a person and makes her unworthy of love from anyone.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bethany: Claire says this after finding Bethany's dead body. One winter, Claire asked her mom if they could go ice skating, to which she complied. They spent the next eight days in a cabin ice skating and having fun, inadvertently leaving Bethany to starve to death in the cold dark walls, all because she didn't know Bethany was a real person, not her imaginary friend.
  • The Blair Witch Project: During the famous apology scene, Heather blames herself for dragging Josh and Mike into the woods with her, breaking down and sobbing about how they're all going to die just because she wanted to make a documentary.
  • The Blind Side: Michael feels this way after he is involved in a car accident which injures SJ. It was partially his fault for not paying enough attention while driving, but on the other hand, Michael also saves SJ from suffering more serious injuries or being killed during the accident.
  • Parodied in Scary Movie 4.
    Cindy: I blame myself.
    Tom: As well you should.
  • Used in Monsters Unleashed where the Velma, Daphne, and Fred find increasingly ridiculous reasons to blame themselves for something that was clearly Shaggy and Scooby's fault.
  • In Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker breaks down and confesses the indirect role he played in Uncle Ben's death to Aunt May. May is initially unable to deal with it and walks off, leaving Peter alone, but she later tells him: "You made a brave move in telling me the truth, and I'm proud of you, and I thank you, and I love you, Peter, so very, very much." Later on in the film, J. Jonah Jameson repeats this phrase word for word, believing that the slander he put into his newspapers was what made Spider-Man quit.
  • Nathan in Repo! The Genetic Opera has this a lot, helped along by guilt trips from the Genterns and Marni's ghost.
  • In Gettysburg, there is a scene where Lee removes his hat as he looks out upon the survivors of Pickett's Charge, and he actually says this. The men of course try to convince him it wasn't, and some even urge another attempt. This is historically true but apparently Pickett himself disagreed and thought it was mostly or completely Lee's fault that his division was obliterated. Both he and Lee were right.
  • The Keeping Hours: On the surface, divorcees Mark and Elizabeth blame each other for the car accident that killed their son Jacob, but it's an obvious thin veil for their guilt over their contributions to the accident (Mark swerving to avoid hitting a dog while it was rainy, Elizabeth second-guessing if she secured Jacob's seatbelt). It was neither of their faults; Jacob took off his seatbelt.
  • Back to the Future Part II: Marty, after realizing he was responsible for Biff changing history.
    Doc: It's all in the past...
    Marty: You mean the future!
    • This turns up a number of times in the Trilogy where Marty realizes how he changed the timeline and starts to panic with Doc realizing that there's no point in getting caught up on what happened.
  • The TV movie Rent A Kid (used to be on Disney or ABC Family sometimes) had a rather creepy dream sequence where a young orphan saw her whole family chanting, "It's all your fault... it's all your fault" at her until she eventually joined in with "It's all my fault."
  • In Star Trek (2009), Spock Prime blames himself for being too late to save Romulus, leading to Nero's actions during the film.
    "All of this, Jim, because of me. Because I failed."
    • In the novelisation, we find that the approaching disaster he was trying to prevent unexpectedly accelerated, thus making the fact of his failure not his entire responsibility (except in Nero's eyes).
  • The "it's not your fault" variation was used in an emotionally climactic scene of Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams' character is finally able to crack through Will's last emotional wall and get him to confront his feelings about the abuse he suffered as a kid by just repeating the phrase over and over with a sincere and forgiving tone. Will recognizes what he's doing right away, but eventually breaks down and admits that he HAS been blaming himself.
  • Practically every member of The Brady Bunch goes through this in A Very Brady Sequel: After a smuggler kidnaps Carol and ties the children and Alice to the staircase, Bobby, Cindy, Cindy's doll, Peter, Greg, Alice, and Jan each consider something they could have done to foil his scheme, then think "This is all my fault." Marcia actually averted this, and instead thought, "This is all Jan's fault."
  • Chris in Mrs. Doubtfire blames himself after his parents decide to split up following the secret birthday party his father Daniel threw for him, which led to Miranda saying she had had enough and wanted a divorce. Daniel of course reassures that Chris did nothing wrong and this was probably going to happen sooner or later.
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral: The protagonist's brother David (who is deaf) interrupts Charles' wedding because he knows the groom loves someone else. Afterwards:
    David: [signing] I blame myself.
    Rest of the cast: No, no, it wasn't your fault, you did nothing wrong, etc.
    Charles: [signing] They all blame you too.
  • Star Wars:
    • Subverted in A New Hope. C-3PO thinks he's responsible for Luke and the others dying in the Death Star's trash compactor.
      C-3PO: Listen to them! They're dying, R2! Curse my metal body! I wasn't fast enough! It's all my fault! My poor master!
      Luke: 3PO, we're all right! We're all right!
    • In The Force Awakens, it's explained that Luke restarted the Jedi Order in the years following Return of the Jedi, but it ended when his student and nephew Ben Solo had the Jedi wiped out once again. Luke felt so guilty about what happened that he went into hiding.
    • The Last Jedi shows what actually happened. Luke sensed The Dark Side building in Ben Solo and prepared to kill him in his sleep, but immediately regretted the impulse. Ben then woke up to see his uncle and master standing over him with an active lightsaber and reacted out of fear, destroying Luke's temple and fully turning to the darkness. Luke blames himself for not seeing the darkness until it was too late and for his one moment of Killing Intent pushing Ben into his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Parodied in Ghostbusters, during their first call:
    Ray: You know, it just occurred to me that we really haven't had a successful test of this equipment.
    Egon: I blame myself.
    Peter: So do I.
  • In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Bright Eyes tells his father Caesar (through sign language) that it the current situation was his fault because he helped assist Koba take the human city, but Caesar (through speech) tells him that it was his fault for trusting Koba in the first place and concludes that humans and apes aren't so different.
  • At the end of A Face in the Crowd, Marcia breaks down and says to Mel, "It was my fault—if I'd only left him in that jail in Pickett."
  • After the Nürburgring accident in Rush, James Hunt blames himself because he convinced the other drivers to go on with the race when Niki tried to get them to cancel due to the dangerous track conditions. Niki agrees with this assessment, but he also says that James was equally responsible for his recovery (because he hated seeing him win the intervening races on the hospital TV).
  • In Independence Day, President Whitmore blames himself for not preparing for the possibility that the aliens were hostile, leaving millions of people in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington as they were incinerated.
    "We could have evacuated the cities hours ago. That's the advantage of being a fighter pilot. In the Gulf War, we knew what we had to do. It's just... not simple anymore. A lot of people died today. How many didn't have to?"
  • In The Martian, when a storm at the beginning causes a heavy object to knock Mark Watney away, out of sight, Commander Lewis tries to find him but reluctantly decides he's dead and acts to save the rest of her crew. Later, when she hears Watney survived, she blames herself, even though the rest of the crew tries to talk her out of this (and Watney, as it turns out, doesn't blame her). After all, they were following her orders; she left Watney behind.
  • In Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love, Suzie blames herself for Raun's autism. When she was pregnant with her daughters she prayed for healthy children, but when she was pregnant with Raun she only prayed for a boy.
  • When Aslan asks how Edmund could have joined the White Witch, in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Peter's reply is to say, "It was my fault. I was too hard on him." Surprisingly, Susan - who up to this point has been pretty much blaming Peter for everything - puts her hand on his arm and says, "We all were."
  • Michael from Cries from the Heart has spent years blaming himself for his parents' divorce, because he broke a car window the night Roger left. Later, Roger blames himself for Michael's molestation because he was so insistent on having him institutionalized.
  • It takes awhile, but William from The VVitch does finally acknowledge what had been fairly obvious to Thomasin (and the audience) from the start: he caused this whole mess with his pride. It got him and his family kicked out of their commonwealth, and his refusal to put his ego aside and go back to ask for help made the situation much worse. Now, they're all stranded in the middle of nowhere with no food, winter on its way, and a witch terrorizing them. He says this in a prayer briefly before he dies, begging God to spare his children (or at least not condemn them to Hell), but do what He wants with him.
  • Drive, He Said: When Hector punches a member of the Opposing Sports Team, Coach Bullion decides that it's his fault for being too easy on Hector, when he would only understand toughness.
  • Endless: Riley blames herself for Chris's death, thinking she distracted him.
  • A flashback scene in Penguin Bloom shows how Sam Bloom became paralyzed from the chest down; during a family vacation in Thailand, she leaned against a faulty balcony railing that gave way, and the resulting fall left her with a broken back. Her young son Noah blames himself for the accident because he had encouraged her to come up on the balcony with him and admire the view. He keeps these feelings to himself for most of the film; when his parents eventually find out how he feels, they're shocked and they assure him that the accident was in no way his fault.
  • In When Taekwondo Strikes, Zhengzhi blames himself for Huang's mother's murder, as his attempts at investigating the kidnapping of Korean women for use as comfort women drew the attention of the Bansan Karate School. Huang tells him, "I don't blame you. The Japanese have always been a menace to society. I will seek their comeuppance."
  • Sunburn (1979): Thoren's daughter Joanna blames herself for her father's suicide because the night before he died, he asked her to help him get the yacht in, but she was busy.
  • In The Innocent (1994), caseworker Pamela blames herself for the autistic boy Gregory getting caught in a mass shooting because while she was out with him, she looked away for a minute to make a phone call, allowing him to wander off into the convenience store where the shooting occurred.
  • In Jason's Lyric, the main protagonist, Jason, spends almost the entire film blaming himself for (accidentally) murdering his abusive father that he also feels responsible for indirectly causes his brother, Joshua, to grow up as a volatile and criminal-minded man as the latter watched his father died at his hand. Jason even almost unwillingly gives up on Lyric, out of brotherly/familial love. But, after Lyric convinces him that it wasn't all his fault as well as earning his mom's blessing for their relationship, Jason eventually come to terms that he decides to leave his past behind and moves on with his girlfriend.
  • Freshman Year: CJ's father blames himself after CJ gets his girlfriend pregnant, saying he's failed as a parent and should never have let him go to a secular university where so many temptations exist. In reply CJ's mother notes that girls at Christian universities also get pregnant, and CJ made the choice to attend it (plus have sex with her).
  • In Leo the Last, Leo buys food and drink for the Madis, a poor immigrant family, and watches them eat through his spy-glass. But after dinner, Mr. Madi has a heart attack and dies while Leo watches. Leo blames himself for the death and has an emotional breakdown at his and Margaret's wedding rehearsal, to the irritation of his entourage.
  • The Horse Whisperer: At the beginning of the film, Grace and her best friend Judith go horseback riding, but their horses slip and fall onto the road, and a truck ends up running into them, killing Judith and her horse, and crippling Grace and her horse. Throughout the rest of the movie, Grace is angry and upset, but it isn't until she finally opens up to Tom about the accident late in the movie that she reveals the main reason for that is she thinks it's her fault Judith and her horse died, and that she could have saved them.
  • A Simple Favor: Stephanie tearfully says this after recounting how her husband and half-brother died in a car accident while driving together, because they had driven off fighting about her. Emily assures her that's untrue, and she can't blame herself.
  • In Against a Crooked Sky, Sam blames himself for his sister Charlotte's kidnapping by a mysterious Indian tribe because while they were running away, he went back for his pet calf, Callie. His mother is furious at him when she finds out.
  • A Perfect World has a particularly heartbreaking example, as Red Garnett is upset with himself after excaped convict Butch Haynes gets shot by FBI Agent Bobby Lee just as Garnett thought he'd defused the situation and gotten Butch to give himself up:
    Sally: You know you did everything you could.
    Garnett: (voice breaking) I don't know nothing. Not a damn thing.
  • The Holy Office: When Luis is taken to confession, Fray Hernando flogs himself while yelling "Adonai!! Why have you abandoned me!?"

  • In A Brother's Price, Ren has such a moment when Jerin is kidnapped, not long after he sent her a message asking her to come and talk to him. She blames herself for not doing as he asked immediately, but manages to decipher a message Jerin left on the door, which conveys the information he had for her.
  • In The Alice Network, The former spy Eve Gardiner believes she betrayed her comrade to the Germans while under the influence of opium. She is tortured with guilt for many years, and another comrade, who agrees that it's All Her Fault, refuses to speak to her.
  • In K.A. Applegate's Animorphs, Jake feels this about every single thing that goes wrong.
  • In the Katherine Paterson novel Bridge to Terabithia, Jesse is invited by his music teacher to the museum. She invites him to bring his friend Leslie as well, but, wanting to spend more time with his teacher, he doesn't tell Leslie. Later, Leslie is found dead after the rope swing they used to get to their favorite play spot snaps and she drowns in the river. Knowing this all happened because of his adolescent feelings for his teacher hits Jesse very hard.
  • Cakes In Space: Astra says this when she learns that Nom-O-Tron, the ship's food replicator, has used up so much of the ship's processing power on her request for "the ultimate dessert", that the ship has veered off course, and is infested with sentient, hostile cake monsters.
  • Codex Alera: Tavi wishes that he could have saved his dead troops when he becomes Captain by necessity. Max assures him he could have done nothing, and is an excellent captain.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Fall of Gondolin: As his city is being sacked and burned to the ground by Morgoth's troops, a saddened Turgon admit that he is to blame: Ulmo warned him repeatedly that his people couldn't remain hidden forever because Morgoth would find the hidden city before long. And yet, he refused to listen and evacuate Gondolin.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Straight Silver, Raglon tells Gaunt that the loss of half his troopers (on his first mission as a sergeant) was his fault. Gaunt tries to reassurance, recounting how his first mission had had seventy percent casualties, deduces that Raglon is hiding something, and warns him that his own problem will be if he omitted anything or lied. Raglon still tries to put him off — "I was in command, sir" — before admitting that Costin had caused the problem, being drunk.
  • "El Inquisidor De Mexico": The old woman, Sara's adoptive mother, blames herself for not telling the inquisitors about Jacobo Ribeiro teaching her the ways of Moses before.
  • The characters in Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit insist that either they aren't to blame or that nobody is to blame. (The novel was initially titled Nobody's Fault.) It's a great moral breakthrough when Arthur Clennam and Mr. Pancks both accept their sole culpability after things go haywire.
  • X-Wing Series:
    • Over the three books, Kell, Face, Donos, Tyria, and Wedge (at least) get told that, in fact, is isn't their fault, or that there were extenuating circumstances. Probably the most notable is Phanan's last message for Face, in which he posthumously tells Face it's all his (that is, Phanan's) fault, though he knows Face'll blame himself.
    Phanan: There are exactly two people to blame for my death. One's me, for not being quite the superior flyer I needed to be. Some unnamed Zsinj pilot is the other, and you killed him. Which I also appreciate, in case I don't tell you. There's no room for a third party to blame, so butt out.
    • And indeed, by the time Face leads a mission without Wedge being there, and manages to get out with everyone burned but alive and carrying a captured scientist despite the whole thing being a trap, he doesn't beat himself up.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel False Gods, Horus blames himself for Temda's fall, having left him behind despite his pleas.
  • (Book Of a thousand Days) Lady Saren has one of these moments after asking Dashti to kill her.
    " All those bodies... because of me! because i wouldn't marry Lord Khasar."
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry tends to blame himself whenever someone he likes gets hurt or killed, causing him to say I Work Alone many times. Ron and Hermione often struggle to convince him that he needs their help.
    • Dumbledore randomly blurts this out almost word for word and starts sobbing while taking a potion during the climax of Harry Potter And The Halfblood Prince. While Harry is freaked out by it, he doesn't have time to dwell on what it actually means. It's not until almost a year later that Harry finds out that he'd blamed himself for a century for the death of his sister as a teenager.
  • Honor Harrington's Heroic BSODs tend to take this form.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Foxleap does this in Sign of the Moon when his plan to save the rogue cats gets a Tribe cat killed.
    • Mousefur also goes through this when Longtail dies in Fading Echoes. She believes that if she hadn't stopped to complain about her missing meal, Longtail would not have run off and went to fetch it. This sends her into depression.
    • Firestar also blames himself for making Squirrelpaw run away in Midnight because of an omen.
  • In The Savannah Reid Mysteries, Tammy blames herself when her abusive ex-boyfriend shoots Savannah.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Lydia blames herself for her mother's death and the trauma this causes her allows Abyss leverage to break her psychologically.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Isabelle believes Max's death to be her fault, as she was in charge of him at the time.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society,
    • In Villains Rising, Alex blames himself for what happened to the Rangers. Amp takes the time to confide that it was something Amp did that probably triggered the attack.
    • In Fall of Heroes, Alex's attack accidentally killed Phantom. Lone Star tells him that if it's anyone's fault, it's his because it was his plan that put Alex there. Later, at the end of the novel, when Lone Star puts Shade in the Gloom, he immediately tell Alex that he's not to blame, because Lone Star did it.
  • In Midnight’s Children, Saleem believes that the events of his life are metaphorically linked to the nation of India. As he lives during a tumultuous time in the nation's history, he blames himself for just about everything.
  • The Dresden Files
    • Harry Dresden, the hero, has this in spades. In several instances, he will assume full blame for the choices of others, even through less than logical reasoning, such as failing to inform his girlfriend fully led to her breaking into a vampire party uninvited, becoming a half-vampire, and her eventual death, or failing his friend Michael because he couldn't save Michael from becoming crippled, or some person he didn't know but failed to save from an undeserved death. Michael outright calls him on this level of pride in his belief in his own high standards and failing to meet them.
    • This is, in fact, exploited by one of the Fallen Angels (probably Lasciel) to drive him to suicide, as shown in Ghost Story.
    • In Cold Days Queen Mab takes the full blame for failing to stop, and if need be, kill her insane daughter Maeve, and the crimes Maeve committed, such as the murder of the Summer Lady.
  • Gale Hawthorne from The Hunger Games. He helped create the bombs that killed Prim, which leads him and Katniss to feel guilty about it. This is likely the biggest cause of the shattering of his already fractured relationship with Katniss, as neither feels they could face each other with what happen to Prim.
  • Clay from Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy decides to set up a smoke signal in order to get back to the mountain he escaped from to save his friends. Instead, Dune (one of their guardians) gets killed, and Clay and his friends are captured. All this time as it happens, Clay blames himself for setting up the smoke signal in the first place.
  • Pride and Prejudice has an interesting example; after Lydia runs away to cohabit with Mr Wickham, and Mr Darcy arranges a Shotgun Wedding, pretty much every heroic character blames themselves for letting it happen, while the people who actually did it seem quite unconcerned.
  • In the Novelization of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda sees the destruction of the Jedi as his fault, as they stagnated under his watch and became easy pickings for the Sith.
  • The Shahnameh: Rostam feels this way about Sohrab's death — he is somewhat right. Losing his son like that is why he's so attached to Siavash and why he goes on a rampage when he is killed.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • Kaladin blames himself entirely for his brother Tien's death, since he had promised his parents he would protect them. This is especially notable because it's one of the few things he doesn't blame Amaram for. Amaram promised to keep Tien in a non-combat role for a few years, but tossed him into a spearsquad after just a few months. But Kaladin ignores that, even after he realizes how corrupt Amaram really is, because he's too busy blaming himself.
    • A very dark version with Odium. He often influences people, inspiring bloodlust across entire continents and causing horrible crimes. When he appears to people personally, he does so as a kindly old grandfather, always willing to forgive people for everything, reminding them that nothing is their fault, it's all his fault. This means that they don't have to feel guilt for their crimes, and—most importantly—they don't have to stop committing those crimes.
  • Mickey Haller goes through this in a couple of his books, playing into his self-hate.
    • The Lincoln Lawyer: Mickey blames himself for the murder of Raul Levin, especially since he missed a call from him right before he died. He also beats himself up pretty hard for not noticing that Jesus Martinez was innocent, and took it hard when he found out that even though he was finally allowed to go free, he left the jail HIV positive.
    • The Gods of Guilt: Mickey finds out he has a tracker on his car, likely planted by the real murderer. Mickey decides to keep it on as a way to show off his confidence... which leads to the killer (or an associate) intentionally crashing into the Lincoln, killing his dear driver Earl Briggs.
  • Wentworth blames himself for Louisa Musgrove's near-fatal fall in Persuasion, believing that he overindulged her impetuous nature by his attentions—which were mainly a way to amuse himself while ashore and have a go at Anne by constantly praising Louisa's firmness of decision. (He's mortified equally when he realizes everyone is expecting him to marry Louisa, meaning he's been flippant with her heart as well.) Later, he takes a share of the blame in his own heartbreak by admitting that he could have renewed his addresses to Anne after he struck his fortune, but he chose to be bitter and resentful instead.
  • Minecraft: The Crash has Bianca blame herself for getting into a car crash, and her best friend Lonnie's condition, because she talked Lonnie into going with her.
  • Mitch Tobin: Tobin suffers from severe, and somewhat justified, mental anguish over his partners death when he wasn't there to help him with an arrest.
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Alia has a moment like this when she realizes that all the fights and arguments that broke out in her presence - including the one her parents were having before the car crash that killed them - were a result of her Warbringer heritage.
  • Shadow of the Conqueror:
    • Daylen, regarding his past crimes and the Dawn Empire in general, in contrast to how he used to be.
    • Lyrah, when she realizes that Hamenday Island is about to crash headlong into Highdawn and kill hundreds of thousands or millions of innocent people, all because she abandoned the others for the chance to kill Daylen. Daylen immediately tells her she's not to blame and would've likely died if things had been otherwise, but she isn't convinced.
  • Asperger Adventures: In Lisa and the Lacemaker, Hannah blames herself for causing the fatal heart attack of Gwyneth, the senior maid and the titular lacemaker. Gwyneth broke up Hannah's Forbidden Romance with the son of her employers, and Hannah was so angry that she stole a beautiful, intricate lace pattern that Gwyneth had worked incredibly hard on. Gwyneth died that night. Now most of the people involved have been dead for decades, so Hannah has no way of setting things right.
  • Ben from Shtum has blamed himself for his son Jonah's severe autism ever since a consultant incorrectly told him that a father's alcoholism can cause autism in a zygote.note 
  • Eye of a Fly: After Warren's suicide, his emotionally abusive father tearfully discusses how he should have supported him and not mocked his learning difficulties.
  • General Hicks of Grent's Fall is A Father to His Men, so he blames himself when his wing is almost completely wiped out.
  • Matthew from The Goldfish Boy blames himself for the death of his newborn brother Callum when he was seven. He had chicken pox and vomited on Mum. The baby was born and died shortly afterwards. This causes him to be Terrified of Germs, which eventually develops into severe OCD that leaves him housebound for weeks.
  • Pilgrennon's Children: In The Emerald Forge, Dana releases a bunch of experimented-on animals, meaning to save them from abuse. The animals travel to the mental hospital where their master Gamma was once abused and set it on fire, killing dozens. Dana blames herself for the attack, but Jananin tells her that the animals were programmed to do it, and were probably going to be released soon anyway.
  • Elliott & Win: Win blames himself for Heather's brutal gang rape because he took her to the blockhouse at night, which his ma always warned against, and because he didn't fight back against the rapists. Elliott tells him that he made a simple error in judgment and that he couldn't have defended Heather from four men, and suggests that he see a counselor.
  • In Almost Perfect, Tammi blames herself for her sister Sage's Trans Tribulations, including being emotionally abused by their parents and beaten up by a transphobic boy, because she encouraged Sage to come out years ago, knowing their parents would blow up. She admits in hindsight that although she did care for Sage, she also wanted to look good to their parents by comparison. While Sage was having regular screaming fights with her parents, Tammi was given much more freedom than other girls her age because her desires were "normal." Logan tells Tammi not to blame herself for anything because even though she wasn't perfect, she supported Sage for years when no one else did, and because if Sage hadn't come out and started living as a girl she probably would have killed herself.
  • Discussed in My Best Friend's Exorcism: After the titular exorcism, Gretchen goes through a period of suicidal depression and at one point is actually preparing to take her own life, before stopping short at the realisation that Abby will blame herself, because that's what she always does.
  • In The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly, the Asylum kids have all asked Brona to Ret-Gone them in order to undo some harm they blame themselves for. Sometimes it's something serious, like Jonathon accidentally setting his brother on fire. Sometimes it's something that wasn't their fault at all, like a girl who blames herself for her grandfather's death because he had a heart attack while he was arguing with her.
  • Catherine from On the Spectrum is a ballerina who has been teaching her daughter Clara to obsess over her weight since early childhood. After Catherine develops osteoporosis from decades of inadequate eating and obsessive exercise, and after Clara is diagnosed with orthorexia because a teacher saw her surreptitiously weighing apple slices in class, Catherine takes her to an Italian restaurant, where they are both completely unable to eat any of the food they ordered. Catherine whispers, "I'm sorry. It's all my fault." She tells Clara that she never knew any other way of being, since thinness is everything in ballet.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Nightmares II: In Blackwater Dreams, Aaron's been blaming himself for the death of his friend Donnie, who drowned in the titular lake a year ago. Donnie finally returns as a spirit to tell Aaron that he's never blamed Aaron for failing to save him, saying it was just "a stupid accident".
  • In Twelve Days, an elderly widow with terminal cancer wonders if the impending apocalypse is her fault, because she prayed to God not to let her die alone. She thinks God misunderstood and decided to kill everyone along with her.

  • Used to a Narmful degree by Tim Owens in Iced Earth's Gettysburg 1863. Granted, it is General Lee's fault, but is it really necessary?
  • Dr. Light in The Protomen's rock opera Father of Death, says this trope word for word.
  • Taylor Swift:
    • "Afterglow" from Lover by is her apology after having a pointless fight with someone she loves and hurting them.
      Why'd I have to break what I love so much?
      It's on your face, and I'm to blame, I need to say
      Hey, it's all me, in my head
      I'm the one who burned us down
    • "the 1" from folklore (2020) uses a variation:
      In my defense, I have none
      For digging up the grave another time
    • In "betty," James admits:
      The worst thing that I ever did
      Was what I did to you
  • The song "My Bad" by Brian Woodbury is about someone who compulsively apologizes any time something bad happens.


  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • One persistent effect of Zia's depression is that it leads her to blame herself for problems that aren't her fault- and, if they are, then she blows them out of proportion. She's been trying to fight against it, but her recovery has been slow.
    • Harriet's parents died in a car accident, but she blames herself for it since she argued with them before they left. This has shot her self-esteem to pieces and left her believing that she doesn't deserve to live.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS gives us Guilt Complex. Characters with this disadvantage will always try to hoist the blame onto themselves, and if something bad really does happen, they risk suffering the debilitating Chronic Depression for some time.
  • In Ravenloft, having a Heel Realization and admitting the Act of Ultimate Darkness that landed them in Ravenloft was their fault is the only way for a Darklord to escape their Ironic Hell. However, it has been consistently stated that people who could admit their faults wouldn't have become Darklords in the first place, with Lord Soth being the only Darklord who ever managed to get himself thrown out of Ravenloft by the Dark Powers.
  • The Warhammer Fantasy character Durthu is a millennia-old tree man haunted by his own failures to protect the world's forests. Because he's an immensely old and powerful being, his own feelings of shame and self-blame have gained a life of their own and now haunt him day and night, endlessly repeating every thing he's ever blamed himself for into his mind. In-game, Durthu can direct these feelings, called the "Lamentations of Despair", at others and inflict an instant Death by Despair.

  • In Cactus Flower, Julian reacts this way when he finds out that Toni really did try to kill herself over him and the letter she sent wasn't just a ploy:
    Julian: I'm a bastard. The biggest bastard in the whole world.
    Toni: Julian, please, you're starting to make it sound like bragging. (She rises and stands directly behind him) It wasn't really your fault. I knew what I was getting into. You've always told me the truth.
    Julian: I should have kept my mouth shut.
  • In Jasper in Deadland, Agnes and Jasper both blame themselves for getting the other stuck in Deadland.
  • In Moriarty: A New Sherlock Holmes Adventure, Sherlock Holmes blames himself for "letting" Professor Moriarty disappear from university, years ago, once he knew that Moriarty was a criminal. Whether or not his evidence would have been enough to convince the police to arrest the professor, however, is anyone's guess.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Ann feels it was her fault for the incident when her Entanglelitis caused her to lose control and attacked her brother Ryan, causing the loss of his eye. Despite the rest of her family assuring her it was only an accident, Ann is troubled by what her condition had done, and secretly fears it's something more dangerous.
  • Seere says this often in Drakengard. He and the Big Bad are twins, and the main reason the Big Bad is crazy is that their mother doted on him and ignored her completely. He keeps the party from killing the Big Bad and then tries to reason with her. Needless to say, this fails. Leonard from the same game probably qualifies as well since he blames himself for the death of his family, and this is the only possible reason he agreed to a pact with that damn fairy.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IX has Princess Garnet / Dagger give herself a good chiding after a particularly long stretch of terrible events. From finding out that she was adopted to watching her adopted mother slowly slip into insanity only to snap out of it just as she dies, becoming queen of Alexandria, then watching her entire capital city get blown to bits by Garland. After all that, not only does Dagger blame herself for the things that have happened, she temporarily goes mute in grief. Dagger does snap out of it, but only after an Important Haircut and every other hero reassuring Dagger that she couldn't possibly be blamed for all the tragedy.
    • Final Fantasy XIII practically makes a theme of this. The only playable character who doesn't blame him/herself over something that's not his/her fault is Hope; Hope, rather, blames Snow for something that wasn't his fault. The things being blamed include Serrah and Dajh becoming l'Cie, Serrah being taken captive and turned to crystal, and Hope's mother volunteering to join Snow's defensive force and getting herself killed.
    • In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, while Lightning tries to figure out what is going on with all of the chaos in the temple in the Wildlands, the Yeuls blames themselves for it. One Yeul explains that they are the source of the chaos and it was made from their combined hopes of living forever with Caius. She isn't happy about this and asks Lightning to fix it by killing Caius and saving his soul. Lightning can't do anything but agree.
    • In Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Jusqua blames himself when Aire is cursed to be a cat right after he ditches her for being insufferably selfish. He probably couldn't have done anything to stop her from opening the "treasure" that did it, but he spends the next portion of the game trying to find a cure for her. Except the cat he brings with him is actually just a stray... Aire finds a cure through other means.
  • Kingdom Hearts II:
    • Hercules declares this because he failed to defeat the Hydra and falls into a depression that lasts until you defeat Hades late in the game. Even though it wasn't really his fault.
    • After Axel kidnaps Kairi, Sora starts to cry inside the Gummi Ship as his friends try to cheer him up. When Goofy tells him that "he's the key that connects everything", Sora mutters "So it's all my fault". Goofy takes back his words in shock, not wanting Sora to enter another Heroic BSoD.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails:
    • Trails to Azure: Lloyd admittedly feels how he failed to notice Kea was constantly troubled without having to consult her beforehand, which is after she willingly goes along with the villains in an effort to keep the SSS safe.
    • Trails of Cold Steel: Whenever things go wrong with Rean present, chances are that he'll likely blame himself for it. Best seen when he blames himself for failing in his battle against Crow at Trista despite the fact that he had no real way winning said duel at all.
  • Persona:
    • In Persona 4, Teddie blames himself so hard for Nanako's death that he nearly Heroic BSODed himself out of existence.
    • In Persona 5, Futaba blames herself for her mother's death thanks to a fake suicide note written by an opposition conspiracy who killed her mother for sensitive research and blamed her for all of it; This results in her becoming into a Hikkikomori with near-suicidal depression and the depression and crippling self-hatred manifested itself as a Palace taking the form of an Egyptian tomb. The Phantom Thieves performed a heist on it in order to prevent themselves from being targeted by a "Menjed Hacking Attack" by enlisting her help, and the crippling hatred became into a resolve to find her mother's real killer as her shadow transforms into the persona Necronomicon.
    • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth's main OC Hikari fits this to a T. When the party tries to talk to her she just blames herself for things that she shouldn't do so she wouldn't receive the pain she is suffering now...And it's revealed in the fourth labyrinth that she suffered from a series of emotional traumas since elementary school that convinced her that individual think is worthless and caused her to end up with catatonic depression and the delusion that everyone hated her, including her father whom she only believed he did because of a Trauma Button phrase he used to cheer her up.
  • Fail a mission in Katamari Damacy? Don't worry, it is not your fault. It is our fault for believing in you. Like THAT'S going to make The Prince feel any better.
  • Oichi in Sengoku Basara. It's practically the only thing she ever says.
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, Oghren himself will make this statement if he's brought to the Gauntlet, stating that he believes that if he had been a better husband, Branka might not have dragged their clan to their deaths in her mad search for the Anvil.
      • Also in Origins, near the end of the Sacred Ashes quest, one of the "tests of faith" involves reflecting on the origin of the Player Character. The PC can answer that they feel guilt for not being fast enough, strong enough, smart enough, or whatever to make a difference. While it's a rather heartwrenching part of the game no matter which origin is present, it's especially poignant in the Human Noble and City Elf origins.
    • Depending on dialogue, Hawke in Dragon Age II will beat him/herself up after his/her mother's murder saying that s/he wasn't fast enough and didn't watch over his/her mother closely enough.
    • Varric seems to take this attitude in Dragon Age: Inquisition, though not without reason. He and his brother were the ones who led the expedition down to the Ancient Dwarven Thaig, discovering the Red Lyrium Idol and more or less kicking off the events that led to Meredith going crazy and sparking the Mage Rebellion. Depending on player choices, this can also have been the quest which resulted in the death of Hawke's only surviving sibling, for which Varric outright tells Cassandra that he blames himself. Varric is also the one who took Hawke to the Warden Fortress where Corypheus was held, which resulted in the party accidentally unleashing him upon Thedas and causing the events of Inquisition. And then in the same game he gets Hawke involved again and if you don't play your cards right, Hawke can end up being trapped in the Fade, possibly for eternity. The worst part is that for the most part, all these events start with Varric just trying to help.
  • SLAMMED!: The PC never really talks about it, but it's clear they blame themselves heavily for the car accident that seriously wounded JJ.
  • In the Sly Cooper series, Murray blames himself for Bentley being permanently crippled at the end of the second game, saying he "just wasn't strong enough" to save him. Bentley repeatedly makes it clear that he doesn't blame Murray in the slightest, but still takes a lot of Walking the Earth before Murray stops blaming himself.
  • In Touch Detective 2, Colleen blames herself for the accident that broke Silver's voice, as she accidentally caused it while listening to him sing.
  • Bain in PAYDAY: The Heist will usually blame himself or says how he underestimated the cops whenever you fail a heist. He apologizes and even starts working on bailing you out of jail. While the player characters have no reaction to this (being in jail obviously), it makes many players see Bain as quite a nice guy despite the fact that he's the mastermind behind all the heists.
  • In Dead Rising 3, Annie/Katey Greene blames herself for her father, Chuck, becoming a crime lord because she has to take Zombrex for every 24 hours, so she went off on her own.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard takes this attitude after the Fall of Thessia. Shepard states that as the commanding officer, it was his/her responsibility to find every variable and know how to overcome each of them, which s/he failed to do. This sends him/her into a brief but noticeable Heroic BSoD and very nearly over the Despair Event Horizon.
  • In Disgaea Dimension 2, upon hearing that Sicily was born in Celestia as a Demon Angel because of their mother's sacrifice and that her status made her an outcast, Laharl recognized that it was his fault for everything Sicily went through and even tells Sicily that she should be angry at him. He does this to also deflect any resentment Sicily might have against their mother for her sacrifice. Luckily, Sicily doesn't resent her mother at all and is happy that her brother lives.
  • Hometown Story:
    • There is a shared one between Carl and his old friend the village sentient scarecrow. While they were engaged, Carl's wife Aisha went on a walk when Carl took his time to show up for a date and got injured. Since then, Carl has become a Creature of Habit. The scarecrow blames himself because the couple's meeting spot was his location, but his conversation was not interesting enough to keep Aisha entertained.
    • Anna gets a period of this after her younger brother Harvey's death, due to having encouraged him to take care of things himself and rely on others as little as possible.
  • Used as a very gut-wrenching plot twist in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The Harry Mason you been playing as this whole time? Dead All Along. He's just Cheryl's memories. Harry had gotten a divorce with Dahlia and Cheryl was disturbed enough to think that her parents didn't love her anymore. Right after the divorce, Harry dies in a car crash, which has Cheryl blaming herself for the divorce and her father's death. She spends the majority of her teenage years lashing out against her mother, causing trouble at school and shoplifting. All the therapy sessions done in the game are actually from Chery's perspective where Dr. Kauffman tries to convince her that she is not to blame for Harry's divorce and death. Whether or not Cheryl gets over her issues depends on the player's responses and choices in the therapy sessions.
  • Tales Series:
    • In Tales of the Abyss, after a bought Never My Fault after the Wham Episode, this defines Luke fon Fabre after he Took a Level in Kindness and did an Important Haircut to prove it. It's a terrible deconstruction, especially as there was no way Luke could have avoided destroying Akzeriuth due to the Big Bad having groomed and raised him as an Unwitting Pawn, not to mention hypnotized him into doing the final deed and the fact Luke is actually seven. The result is not pretty and his friends spend the majority of the plot trying to convince Luke otherwise without much luck.
    • In one of the campfire skits in Tales of Arise, Rinwell reveals that a part of her blames herself for the death of her parents because she cast magic when they had told her not to and this may have revealed them to Almeidrea. Alphen snaps her out of this by telling her that he thinks that her parents likely knew that something like this might happen, but chose to teach her anyway. They would have felt it was better to give her a fighting chance because of the possibility that they might get discovered, rather than her be left defenseless and on her own if that did happen.
  • Tarnum of Heroes of Might and Magic Chronicles was in his first life the Barbarian Tyrant who united the Barbarian tribes into one kingdom via brutal conquest. He is all too aware that this brutality tainted the spirit of his people. When the Ax-Crazy Kilgor becomes king, Tarnum blames himself for it.
    Tarnum: The example I set for my people when I was the brutal Barbarian Tyrant has come to its final fruition today. A man named Kilgor now rules my people, and he's turned them into the blood thirstiest bunch of savages in all the land.
  • To show what significant changes Kratos in God of War (PS4) goes through since his early days, he blames himself for all the havoc he caused back in Greece. Within the game itself, he takes full blame for Atreus becoming ill. Quite the change from the man who would never accept blame for his own actions.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: One of Link's memories shows that after he and Zelda fled from Hyrule Castle in the wake of Calamity Ganon's return, she broke down sobbing in Link's arms because, despite all their preparations, everything had gone wrong, leading to the deaths of her father and the Champions, and the destruction of most of the kingdom. The kicker? She was supposed to be the one to seal Calamity Ganon away, but she utterly failed in unlocking her power to do so. As far as Zelda was aware, the destruction of her home and the death of nearly everyone she ever knew was due to her own incompetence.
    Zelda: It's all my fault! Our only hope for defeating Ganon is lost all because I couldn't harness this cursed power! Everything — Everything I've done up until now... It was all for nothing...! So I really am just a failure! All my friends... the entire kingdom... my father most of all... I tried, and I failed them all... I've left them... all to die.
  • Farnham Fables: Winona Edison has a bad habit of blaming herself when things go wrong, which is due to her suffering from depression. In Episode 2, she somehow feels like the farm's gate breaking (which causes a cow to escape) is her fault, even though she really had nothing to do with it. Thankfully, her Cool Big Sis Wendy is able to cheer her up.
  • Spirits of Anglerwood Forest: When Daniel gets captured by the spirits, Cyrus blames himself because he dragged him to Hatchet's Point against his wishes. Happens again toward the end of the game when Daniel turns into a tree.
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked: Ratchet claims to be responsible for Big Al being shot after managing to hack the Dealock collars. Clank shots this down quickly, stating that Ace Hardlight did it, and Gleaman Vox gave the order.
  • Saints Row (2022): After the events of "The Peter Principle", Kevin feels the Boss getting fired from Marshall Defense Industries and Neenah's standing in Los Panteros becoming shaky are both his fault, because both events happen due to the Idols stealing the Hummingbird Codex, something both Marshall and Los Panteros wanted for themselves. Kevin did not find out the Idols' plan until it was too late, and feels if he had warned the Boss and Neenah about it sooner, none of that would have happened.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, Regina Berry says this when she realizes she was responsible for the accident that sent Bat into a coma, and thus partly responsible for Acro killing Regina's father in an attempt to get revenge on her.
    • Quercus Alba from Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth does this a lot. It's to prop up his facade of being a frail old man when in reality he's the Big Bad.
    • Miles Edgeworth falls into this for about half a case during the finale of the first game (not counting the Bonus Case), until Phoenix manages to break him out of it. With Evidence.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: When Taka asks to speak to Alter Ego in Chapter 3, it becomes very obvious that this trope is at least part of the reason behind his total breakdown following the deaths of Chihiro and Mondo. The trope is somewhat Averted in that he really isn't to blame, since the only thing he can come up with to place the responsibility on himself is that he wasn't present to prevent what happened, even though logically there was no reason why he should have been. (His questions for Alter Ego are "Do you hate Mondo?" and "Since I couldn't stop him, do you hate me?") Considering that he's meant to be the "Ultimate Moral Compass" and Mondo's closest friend, though, as well as being quite domineering with a tendency to try to take leadership over the whole group, it is very in-character for him to blame himself regardless.
  • The protagonist of Double Homework blames himself for the incident that killed 12 people. The media all seem to agree, while his friends, who don’t have all the facts, tell him that it’s all fine, even when he confesses his role in it to one of them. Both Tamara and Dennis (when he finds out) attempt to manipulate his guilt for their own purposes.
  • Galaxy Angel: On the third chapter of Eternal Lovers, Tact is forced to shoot down his girlfriend when her Emblem Frame goes out of control, severely injuring her. It didn't help that right before this happened they had an argument which heavily strained their relationship, and he spends hours in the infirmary waiting for her to wake up as he blames himself for hurting her.
  • Little Busters!: Said word for word by Kyousuke early on in Refrain in reference to the way Rin's social anxiety had hit critical levels to the point where she can't function normally in society anymore. Though in this case, it's mixed with I Did What I Had to Do, and while the consequences are certainly regrettable the reason behind the actions in the first place are more real now than ever.
  • In Magical Diary, during Damien's path, the player character blames herself for the injuries Damien caused her. Virginia is quick to dismiss this, but it doesn't comfort the PC much.
    Virginia: Don't say that! It is not your fault, it's his! No one saw this coming! He's dated lots of girls and broken all their hearts, you're not the first!
    Mary Sue: No, I'm just the only one stupid enough to agree to give him my soul.
  • Minotaur Hotel: Asterion feels this way about himself towards the supposed mistakes he made in his life, despite the fact that he was young when he made them. He also feels ashamed of himself for thinking that he could give the hotel a purpose after Clement sabotages it. Obviously, you tell him that it's not his fault.
  • In Mystic Messenger, we have V who has endured years of Domestic Abuse at the hands of his ex-fiance Rika to the point where he even blames himself for the eye injury that would eventually turn him blind and cause him to give up his career as a photographer. He blames himself completely for all of the bad things that've happened in his and Rika's life, including her deteriorating mental health even though it was Rika herself who decided to stop her own treatment and V was the one who tried (and failed) to persuade her to keep to it for her sake.
  • While he does recognize that, ultimately, Kakuya is to blame for everything, Akira from Spirit Hunter: NG feels a tremendous amount of guilt for getting his companions involved with spirits after Maruhashi is killed by one. It takes a pep talk from one of said companions, where they insist that they hold responsibility for their own actions, for him to get over it.
  • Super Robot Wars V: Tetsuya Tsurugi briefly considers himself the primary reason ZERO awakens and almost dooms the world, knowing that him and Great Mazinger are one of the primary triggers for ZERO's arrival.
  • Theresia: Dear Emile gives us two doctors, Maylee and an unnamed man, the protagonist of Dear Martel. He blames himself for creating Epicari. Maylee comments that she has no intention of blaming him, and would rather create a solution. By the end of the game, it's revealed Maylee actually did blame herself.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: A running gag in Season 11 involves various members of the Blood Gulch Crew, when confronted with certain questions or statements about their crashed ship, blame themselves for the ship's crashing. Rather than saying aloud that it's their fault, each person has a flashback to something they did on the ship that appears to be the cause of flashing red warning lights, then cuts back to the present where they either cite a Suspiciously Specific Denial or just dodge the topic. As a result, none of them know about the mistakes the others made. Subverted when it's eventually revealed that the only reason their ship survived a lethal tractor beam trap that was desiged to crash ships and kill everyone on board is because all the individual mistakes the crew caused resulted in the ship fighting itself to the point where it was even trying to go in different directions and different speeds all at the same time; the ship's contradictory behaviour countered the trap just enough to save their lives. In other words, while each disaster individually could have crashed the ship in normal circumstances, the combination of disasters ended up saving their lives instead.
  • In Sodor: Dark Times, a Darker and Edgier fan video series of Thomas & Friends, Gordon and the Fat Controller blame themselves for Alfred (who had murdered Henry earlier) blowing up Knapford Station, resulting in the deaths of Thomas, Edward, James, and Percy, causing the latter to resign as controller.

Clarissa, glaring at herself: We all know whose fault this is ...
  • Chadam says this word-for-word when he fails to save a young boy, named Palco, from the Pallids and must confront the boy's mother and brother. Simkin tries to convince everyone that it wasn't Chadam's fault, but they aren't having it.
  • It's All My Fault: Dongtae blames himself for Byungchul's death, who might not have died and kickstarted the story had Dongtae not ignored the quest X gave him that particular night.
  • Dr. Frost: It’s revealed that this is how Professor Song feels about her sister Seol's suicide, and that her blaming Frost is a defense mechanism.
  • In El Goonish Shive, this is the last thing that goes through Grace's mind before she goes berserk and attacks Damien.
  • Karl of Emergency Exit say this when he finds out about Eddie and Jason's plan to fix his face by trading an artifact, despite the fact he was unaware of the plan while it was in progress.
  • In a less serious example than most Itto of Girl Genius tries to invoke this when he realizes the Baron isn't buying his story of sneaking into the labs alone though he still doesn't give up the names of any other students involved.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court:
    • Probably owing to her (almost) complete self-reliance through most of her childhood, Antimony blames herself for her father's disappearance and for failing to help the Ghost with the Sword (even though their meeting lasted less than a minute, most of which the Ghost spent trying to cut Annie's face off). Both times, Kat tells Annie she's being ridiculous.
    • Another example is Diego, who was in love with Jeanne (The Ghost with the Sword mentioned above) while she was alive. Any of the court robots (the originals were built by Diego) will respond to "Jeanne" with "She died and we did nothing." It was eventually revealed that Diego set Jeanne up to her fate because she didn't love him back, it really is his fault. Averted. Even on his deathbed he pins all of the blame on the other members of the Court involved in Jeanne's death.
    • Annie later blames herself for Coyote's death when Ysengrin turned on him after Coyote gave him his powers and the destruction Ysengrin inflicted on the Court. Probably because Coyote gave Ysengrin his power due to supposedly being impressed by Ysengrin's bonding with Annie. And because she helped free Jeanne from her curse, which while a good deed also removed the one power keeping Coyote (and by extension Ysengrin) from outright attacking the Court.
    • And still later, Annie blames herself for Loup destroying Reynardine's real body, in retaliation for his part in a failed capture attempt. They had no way of knowing the attempt was doomed from the start because of Jerrick being a part of the plan. Jerrick is actually an aspect of Loup in disguise.
  • Homestuck:
    • When a deceased doomed alternate timeline version of Dave finds out that his Bro died, his first question is "what did i do wrong". At the time the event occurred, Dave was psychically unconscious on a different planet, and could not have possibly done a thing to help (of course, he is a time traveller who revisited that point of the timeline several times, so he could theoretically have gone to help, but another alternate version of him was already helping and he still failed).
    • Also, WV. When he led the black and white pawns to battle, Jack Noir went and killed every single one of them. He blames himself for all of their deaths, and leads to a Harsher in Hindsight moment during [S] WV: Lead your men to victory! He's commanding a chess army.
    • And Karkat. While he may try to push the blame on his past selves for little things, like trolling Jade for most of her life, he always blames himself when things get really serious. Like failing to get Sollux into the Medium in time, not preventing Eridan from killing Kanaya and Feferi, not keeping an eye on Gamzee to prevent him from going Ax-Crazy, accidentally giving the kids' universe cancer... He's complex enough that this isn't exactly his defining trait, but it's damn close.
  • The "it's not your fault" variation is darkly twisted near the end of It's Walky!, when the Head Alien uses it to make Sal feel helpless.
  • In Motherly Scootaloo, this is one of Scootaloo's main flaws, blaming herself for things that couldn't possibly be her fault.
  • In Oglaf the ghostly Lizard of Guilt pesters Ivan into lashing out and yelling insults... in the middle of his trial for treason against the Mistress. In the last panel, the guards are posting a new "Apprentice Wanted" sign, and the Lizard of Guilt has a screaming guilt trip.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Vaarsuvius blames him/herself for not having enough magical power to change the outcome of the Azure City battle and, since then, for failing to locate a missing friend who got separated during the battle. V's self-blame is anything but objective, since his/her friend is blocked from scrying by an abjuration that can only be broken with Epic-level magic, and V's contributions during the battle far outweighed his eventual limitations, but intellectually acknowledging this does little to stop the anguish.
    • And poor V plays this even straighter — and with more cause — upon realizing that it was V's own spell that wiped out the Draketooth family and every other bloodline they'd ever reproduced with.
      Vaarsuvius: My fault.
      Blackwing: Vaarsuvius?
      Vaarsuvius: I am the cause. It sprang from my brow.
    • Trying to avert this trope is partially Redcloak's motivation for his deeds, as expanded on in Start Of Darkness. While he has other reasons, another part is avoiding the guilt he feels for every goblin that died under his command. As his brother Right-Eye put it best...
      Right-Eye: It's all about whose fault it is... If I kill Xykon now, then it was all a waste. You ordered goblins to their deaths believing in the Plan- so if we abandon it now, then you were wrong. You let them die for nothing. You're willing to throw good lives after bad so that you don't have to admit that we were wrong to work with Xykon in the first place, much less help him cheat death.
  • Sleepless Domain:
    • Low self-esteem and Survivor Guilt combine to cause this in Undine. Her old team was wiped out after a monster attack, with Undine surviving only because Tessa sacrificed her power to save her. Between this and the possibility that the one behind the incident has a personal grudge against Undine, she fears it all happened because of her. An encounter with that person later leaves Undine unable to take pleasure from saving a civilian family from a monster because she fears it was her presence that brought about the attack in the first place. That Heartful Punch was very nearly killed as well only makes it worse.
    • Tessa also feels responsible for the fate of Team Alchemical. It was an argument with them over who should be leader that caused Tessa to sit out the night of the attack and arrive too late to help anyone but Undine. The reason she was so quick to give up her power for Undine was because, at that moment, she felt that any one of them deserved to live more than she did.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Torg blames himself for failing to save Alt-Zoe. In fact, he blames himself more than he blames the guy who actually killed her.
    • Riff blames himself for Zoe getting horribly burned, mistakenly believing it was one of his malfunctioning inventions that started the fire.
  • Tapiseri Soujourn: Soujourn blames herself for Caleb burning down the entire village in order to find her.
  • In Undead Friend Mahalah feels guilty for accidentally trapping her and Orrick in the game.'
  • unOrdinary: Arlo refuses to retake the "king" position after his attack on John to force him to show his true power level and ranking caused John to retaliate by attacking just about anyone who ticks him off, wreaking the school's "royalty" and putting several people in the hospital. Even after this Arlo is still having a hard time breaking with his stringent belief in the hierarchy or admitting the full extent of what he did to John, making his apologies land flat, but he fully admits the ensuing chaos and damage is his fault for not leaving someone alone just for refusing to participate in society's tier system.
  • Something of a character flaw for Ben from Weak Hero; though he can handle it when he's the one taking a beating, he can't stand the people around him getting hurt, and feels responsible for it even when it isn't this fault. In middle school, Alex keeps silent about fighting for Ben's honour, knowing that Ben would blame himself for it if he found out.

    Web Original 
  • In the web-novel Fragile, this appears in one of the story's more poignant scenes. Severin apologizes to Page for going insane because of how it hurts him (Page, that is, not Severin). An emotional episode ensues, in which Page assures Severin that not only is it not his fault, there wasn't anything he could do at all to prevent it.
  • In the Whateley Universe, Phase blames herself for what has happened to her own body. Word of God says that isn't true.
    • It took a long time for Tennyo to get over her guilt about the Star Stalker's actions before it merged with her, despite the fact that most of it took place before the Earth even existed. In some ways, she never has fully come to grips with it, in fact.
  • In one of the Muppet Viral Videos, two pumpkins unwittingly goad the Swedish Chef into using a bazooka on them.
    Pumpkin 1: Sorry 'bout that.
    Pumpkin 2: Neh, I blame myself.
  • The Nostalgia Critic tortures himself over Ma-Ti's death in Suburban Knights, realizing that even though he proved his friendship in the end, it was still partly his treatment of Ma-Ti that drove him to Heroic Suicide in the first place. He spends a year getting sadder and more obsessed with responsibility, and then in To Boldly Flee — to put it in simple terms — atones, apologizes and makes his own Heroic Suicide too.
  • In Entry #66 of Marble Hornets, Tim admits to Jay that he feels everything that happened to the cast of Marble Hornets is his fault because his exposure to the Operator as a child may have been what lured it to them in the first place.
  • EXO Next Door:
    • D.O. blames himself for only talking about himself and not realizing anything was wrong when Suho calls him after running away after leaving the hospital.
    • Chanyeol blames himself for Suho getting hurt in the first place, but as he was the one who knocked over the water bottle Suho tripped on, he's not entirely blameless.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd says this when he reviews a bunch of games based on himself, and realizes that many of these games deliberately include some of the bad/frustrating game elements that he commonly complains about in his videos, such as arcing projectiles that are difficult to hit enemies with and nonsensical enemy design. When he sees the hypothetical overkill death trap he described in his Super Pitfall review made real, it's enough for him to subvert his catch phrase, "What were they thinking?!", into, "What was I thinking?!"

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Played with when Katara's theft of a Waterbending scroll has gotten them all captured by pirates and Zuko:
      Katara: Aang, this is all my fault.
      Aang: No, Katara, it isn't.
      Iroh: Yeah, it kind of is...
    • A more serious example is Sokka's attitude in the first half of "The Boiling Rock".
    • Inverted in the episode "The Desert" when Sandbenders steal Appa. Aang blames Toph for saving him, Katara and Sokka instead of Appa.
    • Zuko feels this way about being banished, that he did something dishonorable by speaking out against the senseless sacrifice of novice troops and subsequently displaying filial piety in the Agni Kai arena. This is pretty common for child abuse survivors in real life. He finally realized he wasn't to blame, just that his father is "a monster, and the worst father in the history of fathers".
  • In Batman: The Animated Series Batman blames himself for the death of his parents, despite having no logical reason to do so.
  • In the Batman Beyond episode "Curse of the Kobra" after Zander kidnaps Max.
    Terry: I never should've introduced him to Max.
    Bruce: Don't blame yourself.
    Terry: Why not? It's my fault.
    Bruce: I know, but blaming's not productive.
  • Used in Ben 10 when Ben thinks that Gwen has died.
  • Camp Candy: In "Dear Mom and Dad", everyone does something foolish when it comes to fire safety. When the mess hall burns down, everybody takes all the blame and plans on leaving. As it turns out, the mess hall was destroyed by a meteor.
  • In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "Oneupsman Chip", Chip's joke on Dale backfires when it leads the latter out of safety and right into the hands of archenemy Fat Cat's men. A dejected Chip says "This is all my fault", and the other Rangers console him... until Gadget blurts out that "although basically, you did trick him into going there." Great consolation, Gadget. Chip bonks himself on the head and resolves to rescue his friend.
  • Variation in Danny Phantom, after Valerie's been hurt during Pariah Dark's invasion:
    Tucker: You can't blame yourself for this. It's not your fault.
    Danny: Maybe not. But it is my responsibility.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In "Have Plane, Will Travel", Dastardly feels the pangs of guilt when he thinks Klunk has flipped his lid in trying to use clouds as a means of chasing Yankee Doodle Pigeon.
    Dastardly: It's all my fault. I've been too hard on the poor nincompoop.
  • Donald Duck: In the war short "The Old Army Game", Sergeant Pete yells this when he thinks Donald got cut in half after he threw him (in a box) onto some razor wire.
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Hero for Hire", Scrooge believes that his firing Launchpad drove him to becoming a bank robber and he is devastated when the pilot seemingly crashes and kills himself.
  • Race to the Edge: "Darkest Night" has an exchange:
    Hiccup: It doesn't matter if we stayed or left!
    Tuffnut: I thought that was the game. You know, what would've happened if we never left?
    Hiccup: It's not a game, Tuffnut! It's not a dream, it's not a way of life, it's reality. It actually happened— we trained the dragons, we left Berk, and now my father is on his deathbed because of it. Because of me. None of [the events of the series, especially Stoick's injury] would have happened, and I mean none of it, if I had never shot down Toothless in the first place! You know it. I know it. Berk knows it. Everyone knows it. [...] Even [Toothless] knows it. (storms out)
  • Said word for word by Eddy in Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show after a particularly cruel quicksand prank pulled by him and Ed on Double-D enrages the latter to the point of preferring to be beaten within an inch of his life by the Cul-de-sac kids than hang around with Ed and Eddy any longer.
    Eddy: FINE! GO HOME! I don't blame ya!! Because everything WAS my fault! (beat, then cue sobbing) Yeah, you heard me! A foul-up wannabe loser! (breaks down even more)
  • In the Family Guy episode Mother Tucker, Peter says this before running up the stairs sobbing when his mother leaves Tom Tucker and needs to be consoled.
    • Subverted in another episode after Peter ran over Brian with his car (it was entirely Peter's fault): "I can't help but think this is somehow Meg's fault."
  • In the Futurama episode "The Sting", Leela blames herself for Fry's death by space bee sting. The professor tries to comfort her by telling her it isn't her fault - then ruins it by (loudly) telling Bender, "I'm lying to make her feel better!"
    • Subverted in the first film. Bender believes he's killed Fry, and Amy tries to tell him not to blame himself. Bender says that he in fact blames all of them for what he did. He sees his ability to do so as proof of how great he is.
  • In Garfield and Friends episode 16, "Scrambled Eggs", a turtle mama mistakes Sheldon for her baby, and the turtle baby (who, indeed, is still mostly inside his shell, except for his legs) is led back to the barn by Booker, because they both have vision problems, apparently. Roy, too, is afflicted, as he tries out his sneezing powder on "Sheldon", and hides. It's effective mainly because it wouldn't be funny if it just bounced off. The turtle sneezes, breaking him out. He leaves before Roy looks around the corner. When the dust clears... all that's left is a shell! Roy walks around dejected for a while, thinking he's sneezed himself into nothingness, until a couple of seconds after he realizes he's just said hello to him.
  • In the Godzilla: The Series episode "S.C.A.L.E., while being held hostage by Alexandra Springer, Audrey saids this to Nick because she unwittingly lead S.C.A.L.E. to Monster Island.
  • The Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "The Rainmakers" has the two having a picnic in the rain. Jeckle wishes on a wishbone that it would stop raining forever, and sure enough it does. But now there's the mother of all droughts and it's on the TV news.
    Jeckle: I you think I caused all this?
    TV Reporter: (coming out from the TV and in Jeckle's face) Yes!! And what are you going to do about it?!
  • In the Hercules: The Animated Series episode "Hercules and the Big Lie", this is played straight when Herc realizes that said lie caused Icarus to put himself in danger. Subverted a minute later when he adds that it's also partly Cassandra's fault for urging him to do it.
  • Helga Pataki says it twice in the same scene of Hey Arnold!, "Phoebe Breaks A Leg".
    • Arnold also says this after he somehow caused Helga to go blind, which turns out not to be the case, but he doesn't know that. Matters are not made better by Grandpa, who keeps prattling on how Helga will somehow get by, somehow, even after what Arnold did to her. Of course Helga plays this up enormously, as it keeps Arnold completely at her back and call.
  • In the Jem episode "The Music Awards Part 1", Jerrica says this when Deidre, Ba Nee, and Krissie run away after she kept ignoring Deidre for her work for the music awards. Kimber, Aja, and Shana also blame themselves.
    Jerrica: Oh, it's all my fault, if I'd just stop to listen! (starts to cry quietly)
    Aja: We're all to blame.
    Kimber: We should have given them more attention too!
    Shana: We were all too busy when they needed us!
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 214, Stumpy repeatedly complains to his sister Lavanade that her supernatural powers are weird and he wishes she could be normal. This sparks an argument between Stumpy and Quack-Quack, because not only is Quack-Quack appalled by Stumpy's treatment of Lavanade, but Quack-Quack has superpowers too and every insult Stumpy says to Lavanade hurts him too. Lavanade being the subject of the argument, she blames herself for upsetting the two of them and starts crying about how it was all her fault.
  • King of the Hill: Peggy blames herself for the problems of Hank's co-workernote , uttering the "It's all my fault." Hank tries and fails to reassure her. "No it's not...OK, it is."
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: "Shifu's Back" has this exchange:
    Po: Oh, this is all my fault!
    (Shifu pats Po reassuringly on the back, then glares at him)
    Shifu: Yes, it is.
  • The Owl House: Luz is horrified upon realizing her meddling in the past helped Belos came into power.
  • Skipper in The Penguins of Madagascar does this twice in a matter of about 12 episodes. The first time he poked a hole in Julien's bouncy house causing him to lose his crown and that was his fault in fairness, but the second, when one of the chimps causes him and the penguins to spin out and lose a race to the lemurs and by default their car also he accepts full responsibility despite the fact he did nothing that caused it. He even said they would have resignation in the morning because of his shame and guilt.
  • The Brain, of Pinky and the Brain, after he accidentally pushes Pinky off the countertop they are standing on: "It's all my fault! This obsession with taking over the world is causing me to hurt the ones I... tolerate."
  • Punky Brewster: Punky goes through this in the debut episode when she talks Henry into taking a skydiving photography assignment in Florida where he gets lost in a swamp and she (and the others) think a swamp monster has him. As she sits on a log, head cradled in her hands and arms propped on knees:
    Punky: We'll never find Henry, and it's all my fault. (sniffling, tears streaming down her cheeks) I guess I just wasn't meant to have a family.
  • In the Recess episode 'The Lost Leader' TJ blames himself when Gus gets injured during a Zany Scheme...because TJ forgot a teacher had fishstick stuck in their teeth. (Complicated plan.) Plus it was mostly Gus's fault for panicking. But TJ goes into Heroic BSoD for the rest of the episode and even resigns as leader until the other five pull him out of it.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Dog of Death": Bart, on his dog running away, says this phrase, following it with "I called him a dumb dog". The rest of the family blame themselves as well.
    • Also, Marge says that Homer getting thrown into a U.K. jail is "partially my fault" in "The Regina Monologues".
    • This was also done in "Bart the Lover", where Bart said "I can't help but feel partly responsible." when he was entirely responsible for Mrs Krabapple's hurt feelings.
    • Another one: When Maude Flanders gets Killed Off for Real after being hit by cannon-launched T-shirts while getting hot dogs, Ned worries it's all his fault, for not getting them himself.
      Homer: Don't blame yourself, Ned. After all, it was me who insisted we go to the game. It was me who provoked the lethal barrage of T-shirts. It was me who parked in the ambulance zone, negating any possibility of resuscitation... But let's not play the blame game!
    • Furthermore, when Homer drove Ned into moving away, he lamented "It's all somebody's fault!"
    • In "Homer Simpson: Kidney Trouble", after Homer refuses to pull over and let Grandpa go to the bathroom, Grandpa's kidneys burst. Homer's response? "I blame myself!" Marge's response? "We all blame you."
    • In "Bart vs. Thanksgiving", Bart hears Lisa blaming herself for Bart running away on Thanksgiving. Homer and Marge also feel bad for being too harsh on Bart during dinner.
      Marge: Homer, this is a terrible thing that's happened, but we can't blame ourselves.
      Homer: We can, and we will!
    • Another Marge example come from "Lemon of Troy" when she finds out that her lesson to Bart on pride for his town worked too well and turned him into an outright xenophobe.
  • South Park:
    • Parodied after Stan's parents split up:
      Stan: Oh no! This is all my fault, isn't it?
      Sharon: ...yeah, kinda.
      Stan: Dude, you're not supposed to say that!
    • Also when Terrance and Philip reconcile:
      Philip: Terrance, I—
      Terrance: No. No, Phillip, don't say it. I'm an asshole, and this is mostly my fault.
      Philip: That's what I was gonna say: You're an asshole, and this is mostly your fault.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "We'll Always Have Tom Paris", Rutherford's memories might be spotty, but he does remember how Shaxs died in a Heroic Sacrifice to save him and blames himself for it. Shaxs assures him that it is not his fault, and that it was his duty to do as he did.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "Zero Hour", although he doesn't say anything, the look on Kallus' face when he realizes Thrawn played him into giving away the location of Chopper Base, and later when Commander Sato dies in a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy Admiral Konstantine's Interdictor, says everything.
  • Steven Universe: Future: In "I Am My Monster" features a deconstruction of this trope. Steven has a complete mental breakdown, which causes his powers to go absolutely ballistic, turning him into a massive, pink Kaiju, lashing out in fear and rage. His father, the Crystal Gems, the Diamonds and Spinel all start proclaiming how it was their fault that Steven is like this, because they didn't support him enough (Greg), never asked if he was okay when it looked like there was something wrong, (Amethyst) or actively tried to kill him (the Diamonds and Spinel). Enter Connie.
    Connie: YES IT IS! YES, you hurt him, but this isn't the time to make this all about YOU! That is NOT helping! Maybe Steven would care how sad you are, because he ALWAYS puts everyone else's feelings first! But he can't do that for you right now, because he needs US this time!
  • In the Super Mario World cartoon, Luigi blames himself for the cave people's crops being stolen.
    Mario: Now wait, Luigi! The cave people can go back to picking berries.
    Luigi: Aw, no they can't! Oh, Mario, I was so sure that we'd have a great crop, that I told the cave people they didn't have to save berries anymore, and they didn't. They don't have any food stored for the winter! (sob) AND IT'S ALL MY FAAAULT!
  • This happens to Robin in the Teen Titans (2003) episode "X". After the Red-X costume and equipment is stolen, he blames himself for creating the thing in the first place. (And no-one really argues with him about it, especially when he tells them that he used xenothium to power the suit, an unstable element that is so dangerous, even superheroes aren't legally allowed to buy it.)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) sure have these moments:
    • The episode "The Way of Invisibility" has Casey blaming himself for getting Raphael captured by the Foot for experimentation.
    • "Fallen Angel" has the eponymous character of the episode blaming herself for getting Casey captured by Hun and his gang, the Purple Dragons.
  • Quoted on multiple occasions in later episodes of Thomas & Friends when an engine causes some dilemma or can't complete a task.
  • Inversion: In the Woody Woodpecker cartoon "Shanghai Woody," Woody is shanghaied by a ship's captain who immediately blames his first mate (who was told to do so in the first place) after Woody pecks the ship full of holes.
  • Inversion: Whenever Dick Dastardly's plans on Yogi's Treasure Hunt backfired, he'd shout "This is all your fault, Muttley!"

    Real Life 
  • By giving and insisting on a crazy order, Vice Admiral Tryon caused the Victoria-Camperdown collision in 1893 and ultimately the loss of more than 300 lives. He chose to stay on the sinking ship Victoria. His last recorded words were exactly this: "It was all my fault".note 
  • Czarina Alexandra of Russia blamed herself for her son Alexis being born a hemophiliac in 1904. It ran in her family and had killed her brother and uncle. Medical science at the time had no real way of helping himnote , and to assuage her guilt, she turned to mysticism to help him to disastrous results.
  • As the troops were planning to disembark for the Normandy landings in World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote two letters, the first one commending the troops for their efforts in securing the beaches and the liberation of France. He also wrote a second one in case the beach landings failed (which was a real possibility due to the bad weather, massively complex scheme, and stout German defenses), in which he diverted blame upon himself and not the troops ("It is mine alone"). When the invasion proved successful, Eisenhower was going to toss the second letter away, but a junior officer read it and insisted it be preserved for historical value.
  • An absolutely epic example by Flight Director Gene Kranz after the Apollo 1 fire:
    "Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up. It could have been in design, build, or test. Whatever it was, we should have caught it. We were too gung ho about the schedule and we locked out all of the problems we saw each day in our work. Every element of the program was in trouble and so were we. The simulators were not working, Mission Control was behind in virtually every area, and the flight and test procedures changed daily. Nothing we did had any shelf life. Not one of us stood up and said, 'Dammit, stop!' I don't know what Thompson's committee will find as the cause, but I know what I find. We are the cause! We were not ready! We did not do our job. We were rolling the dice, hoping that things would come together by launch day, when in our hearts we knew it would take a miracle. We were pushing the schedule and betting that the Cape would slip before we did. From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: 'Tough and Competent'. Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for. Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write 'Tough and Competent' on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control."
  • In the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee felt this and said as much after he lost the Battle of Gettysburg after his ill-conceived Pickett's Charge was repulsed. No doubt, part of that is that he was kicking himself for ignoring General Longstreet's advice to first manoeuvre around the Union Army to get between it and Washington DC, and then disregarding his warning that Pickett's Charge would be a costly debacle.


Video Example(s):


Blu Regrets Arguing With Jewel

When is Blu is informed by Pedro and Nico that Nigel has captured Jewel he blames himself due to having pushed her away in a earlier argument they had as he had believed he was not good enough for her. Because of this he then decides to go rescue her with the help of Rafael, Pedro, Nico, and Luiz.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ItsAllMyFault

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