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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!"
Luigi, Super Mario World

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.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • At the very start the story Ichigo's family is attacked by a hollow and they are all badly injured except him since he was talking to/being restrained by Rukia when the hollow first attacked. He is horrified to see his little sisters bleeding out but is at a loss to understand why the hollow didn't devour their souls since Rukia told him that this is what hollows do. When she explains that the hollow is here because it is attracted to him and it is ignoring the others' souls in favor of his, Ichigo instantly blames himself for the situation and starts shouting at the hollow to come after him.
    • The Everything but the Rain flashback arc reveals that when Masaki made the decision to save Isshin's life, her own life was nearly lost in the process, causing Isshin to have to sacrifice his shinigami powers to save her. The event not only completely ruined Ryuuken Ishida's quincy future but left him feeling like everything that had happened was entirely his fault. Although he warned Masaki she was breaking Quincy law, he didn't physically try to stop her or interfere in her fight because he trusted her and her power. He bitterly regretted his decision.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, Chilchuck has this reaction after the battle with the Red Dragon. He mentions that he hadn't stuck with the party the rest might have given up early rather than risking their lives.
  • Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry, when Lavinia indirectly causes Carrisford's death and the revelation of Sara's identity. Maybe next time she shouldn't grab an episode all to herself.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In season 4, Yami Yugi blames himself for using the Seal of Orichalcos trying to defeat Raphael, but ultimately leads to his downfall, making Yugi have the seal take his soul instead of the Pharaoh's. Rebecca and Orichalcos-possessed!Weevil said that it was his fault as well. Arguably, it wasn't all Yami's fault. Raphael provoked him into using the card first after using Yami Yugi's Exchange to deliberately give the Seal of Orichalcos to him in a Batman Gambit to prove that Yami Yugi was evil.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Yami Yugi blames himself for the group's entering the game, and thus tries to take on La Jinn alone.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Jaden completely breaks down, mercilessly blaming himself, when Jesse gets stranded in the Duel Monsters' Spirit World, even though everyone else escapes since they can't even be sure Jesse was still alive. Everyone else also says it's his fault except Jim and Axel. Jerks.
  • In CLANNAD when Nagisa finds out that her parents originally had better careers and stopped pursuing them in order to stay at home with a bakery to care for her sickly character since a nearly-tragic incident. She was not meant to find out the secret as Tomoya and her father even saw it coming that she was going to start blaming herself and Wangst about it.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku blames himself for Krillin's first death during the King Piccolo Saga, since the only reason Krillin went back to the stadium was to retrieve Goku's Power Pole and Dragon Ball, which Goku carelessly left behind because he was exhausted from fighting Tien, where Krillin had the misfortune of running into Tambourine.
    • Later on, Gohan blames himself for his father's second death, when he could've just instantly slaughtered Cell and instead decided to torture him, which led to Cell having a Villainous Breakdown and attempt a Taking You with Me, prompting Goku to step up and sacrifice himself for Earth's sake, which didn't work.
  • In the Mazinger series it's dangerous being impossibly willful and Too Dumb to Live, as well as not listening to good advice and thinking before acting:
    • Mazinger Z: It happened to Yuri -Sayaka's cousin- after she wheeled herself out of Kouji's house in spite of everybody telling her it was dangerous outside due to Mazinger-Z and a Mechanical Beast duking it out. She was kidnapped by several Iron Masks and The Dragon Baron Ashura used her like a hostage. She blamed herself, thinking if she would not have been so stubborn and would have listened to what people told, Kouji would be safe.
    • Great Mazinger: Tetsuya Tsurugi blames himself for his and Jun's adoptive father's death. Given that Kenzo pulled a Heroic Sacrifice to save Tetsuya's life, and Tetsuya was in danger because he behaved like an arrogant and jealous idiot, he is right. During a hospital scene, as he was rambling My God, What Have I Done?, his Love Interest Battle Couple and Not Blood Related adoptive sister Jun listened in silence, trying to be supportive, but she was not gainsaying him. That might suggest she did not want to grieve him, but she did not disagree.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: Duke blamed himself for having been unable to protect his planet and save his people from the Vegan Alien Invasion, and having run away. Actually the main reason of he wages war against the Vegans despite of he hates fight is he does not want the same thing happened to his homeworld happens to Earth, and he would not bear to run cowardly again. Nevertheless, unlike other instances of this trope he is wrong on blaming himself since he could have not done anything back then (other than dying, that is).
    • CB Chara Go Nagai World: Satan blames himself for killing Akira Fudo. Pretty reasonably, since he killed him... again.
    • Shin Mazinger Zero: In the first timeline, we see Mazinger-Z has become an Eldritch Abomination. Earth is now a flaming, barren, lifeless rock, and humanity has been wiped out. Kouji blames himself for it, uttering that same exact sentence and stating if he would not Refused the Call and piloted Mazinger-Z, nothing of this would have happened.
  • In End of Evangelion, Shinji decides that everything is his fault, and thus that everyone would be better off without him. Unfortunately he doesn't recover from his Heroic BSoD, with disastrous results; namely: his inaction, apathy, and wangst ensure that everything that happens in the movie actually becomes his fault.
  • Naruto:
    • Shikamaru says this at the end of a mission that got very nearly two of his friends killed. Neither his boss, his father nor his potential love interest denies that it is, but urge him to instead think of the failure as motivation to do better the next time, rather than run away from responsibility and risk entrusting his friends to someone who might not bring them back alive.
    • In the anime Shikamaru repeatedly says this just before Asuma dies, as it flashes back to a strategy meeting held before the battle.
    • Averted later on, when Pain attacks Konoha looking for Naruto, he never once blames himself.
    • Shippuden filler episode 192 has Hinata saying this after getting kidnapped by two ninjas sent by Orochimaru. Neji reassures her that there is no need to do something like that.
  • The same cannot be said for Negi of Negima! Magister Negi Magi, who blames himself for the attack on his home village. After all, he was looking for trouble so his father could save him, right? Fortunately, Asuna tells him he's wrong.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Madoka blames herself for Mami's death, thinking it was her fault for being too a coward and a liar. This is especially severe when she gets caught by a witch but doesn't try to fight back or even escape, but fully accepts death if not for Sayaka's intervention.
    • Kyoko is a prime example of this, for inadvertently causing the death of her entire family.
    • Homura also has this moment in episode 11, when she acknowledges that her efforts to save Madoka for the past 100+ timelines have been for nothing, and everything she does only makes things worse.
  • Chrono says this during his Heroic BSoD in the anime adaption of Chrono Crusade, essentially implying that everything bad that happened in the story so far had been his fault. In the manga itself he never says this, but he does imply several times that he feels responsible for much of what's happened.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 features this happening in season two's fifth episode to Saji Crossroad, the unluckiest civilian ever.
  • Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. Seeing as how it was his idea to transmute his and Al's mother in the first place and how he got off easy compared to his brother as a result, you can see where he's coming from. But Al did go along with it.
    • If the lyrics to the song Brothers are any indication, Al blames himself even more than Ed does, having said nothing at all to stop the attempt despite his fears of what could (and did) happen.
    • Likewise, Lan Fan blames herself when Ling becomes the second Greed.
  • All over the place in Princess Tutu (Fakir blaming himself for not protecting Mytho, Rue's breakdown after Mytho's transformation into a crow), but the titular character has the most, which is to be expected when the main character is constantly trying to make everyone around her happy. The first major instance is when she overhears Mytho saying he's terrified of her after she returns his feeling of fear and realizes she might have been hurting him all along, and later on, near the end of the series, she tries to drown herself in the Lake of Despair because she believes her inability to remove the pendant has doomed the town and everyone she loves.
  • Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi blames herself for a number of stuff throughout the series: Getting Yui almost raped, having the Seishi have to donate blood to her (from the wrist and the chest, to boot), losing the Universe of the Four Gods scroll, losing the Shinzahou, etc....
  • Baccano!:
    • Maiza Avaro begins to regret bringing immortality into the world almost immediately after doing so (a notion which is only cemented by the fact that it sparked a chain of events which led to his brother's murder). He finally learns to move on when his protege Firo winds up immortal and with the Ghost Memories of both Maiza's brother and his killer...and doesn't blame him one bit for it all.
    • In the same canon, Jacuzzi Splot. After going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge on the Russo family, he's cornered and beaten up in an alleyway by three members of that family. The rest of his gang comes to his rescue, and his girlfriend knifes all three guys in the head, and then blows up the alleyway; but not only does Jacuzzi blame himself, he describes the incident as though he was the one who murdered the guys.
      Jacuzzi: ...and yesterday, I ended up killing three people.
      Isaac and Miria: Killing?!
      Donny: No! We were the ones that did the killing. Jacuzzi didn't do nothing!
      Jacuzzi: What's the difference, it happened!
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba after defeating Kaigaku, in his near-death vision of the afterlife, Zenitsu talks with his master one last time, blaming himself for his master’s seppuku in atonement for Kaigaku’s betrayal and for the latter’s betraying them in first place; Zenitsu reasons that if he wasn’t such a coward and an incompetent disciple he wouldn’t have brought shame to his master, that if he was as good as Kaigaku their master wouldn’t have felt the need to try to atone for one of his best disciples turning over to the demons; the master however doesn’t agree with Zenitsu, honestly believing Zenitsu has always been his pride and joy, as previous flashbacks shows the master supporting Zenitsu at every turn, even if he tried to run or cry, the master saw through Zenitsu’s layers in that beneath all the apparent fear the boy never actually stopped trying to make through the master’s training regime, all paying off with Zenitsu defeating Kaigaku who was seem as the much stronger disciple by others.
  • Yamaki from Digimon Tamers blames himself for almost everything involving Digimon being in the real world, including the kids biomerging with their Digimon. Using the program that opened a huge portal between the worlds and almost let a whole bunch of Digimon into the world was totally his fault, but little else that he's blamed himself for was.
    • Impmon/Beelzemon spends the last half of the third season being eaten alive by guilt for killing Leomon, thus causing Jeri to cross the Despair Event Horizon and get possessed by the D-Reaper.
    • Let's not forget Kari's reaction to Myotismon's takeover of the city. she starts sobbing about how it's all her fault and then tries to pull off a Heroic Sacrifice (of sorts) to get the big bad to stop.
      • After Kari gives herself up, Matt blames himself for this because he promised Tai that he would look after her.
    • There was also the guilt Tai goes through when remembering the time he took a sick Kari outside to play soccer and she collapsed right in front of him. She was then rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with pneumonia and almost died.
  • Very common in Monster, to the point of being Tenma's driving force. Never mind that his biggest crime was saving a little boy's life. Granted, said boy grew up to become one of the most evil bastards in any media ever. Though he was evil even before he saved him.
  • Suzaku in Code Geass is defined by this trope (and it's opposite) - it's the major reasons for his death wish. In the latter parts of R2, Lelouch also starts thinking like this.
  • In Fruits Basket, Ritsu and his mother fit this trope so well- whenever anything goes wrong, Ritsu starts running around screaming that it's his fault and he's soooooooo sorrrrrrry.
    • Tohru also has some elements of this. When Ritsu and Tohru meet, Hilarity Ensues.
    • Another example is Hatori blaming himself for putting Kana through so much heartbreak and pain.
  • Kaga Ai from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is a parody of this. She will blame herself for anything, at anytime for absolutely no reason.
    • In fact, in the episode where Kaga was introduced, everybody did this.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • In Uncrushing Defeats!, Ash blames himself for the full battle loss against Paul and for the injuries his Pokémon got from it.
    • In Day Three Blockbusters!, Serena feels at fault that Ash got injured when he tried to help her, after she fell when a rock gave in.
    • In A Cellular Connection!, Bonnie believes herself to be at fault for Clemont's Bunnelby injuries when he saved her from falling.
    • In All Hail the Ice Battlefield!, after losing to Wulfric, Ash blames himself for the loss and his Greninja getting hurt, and goes to the Winding Woods alone in shame. In the next episode, Ash's Greninja also feels at fault for the loss because it believes it let its Trainer and teammates down.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, both Ruby and Sapphire blame themselves for screwing the other over as kids. Sweet little Sapphire blames herself for being too weak when she couldn't do anything when Ruby nearly got killed protecting her, therefore resolving to become stronger, while battle-ready Ruby blames himself for being too fierce and thus terrifying Sapphire, therefore resolving to focus on beauty. Both wanted to show their new selves to each other to show how much they changed and that everything would be alright, but the ultimate irony is that when they are finally reunited, they fail to recognize each other, get off on the wrong foot, and berate the other for the attributes they themselves once had.
  • During the "Phantom Lord" arc of Fairy Tail, the Fairy Tail guildhall is destroyed and Lucy, after being kidnapped, learns that it was all so they could get to her, which leads to her Heroic BSoD. Given that she's stuck in a dire situation, Lucy initially plays the trope straight, but then inverts the trope by saying that she still wants to be a member of Fairy Tail as she doesn't want anyone else getting hurt because of her actions.
    • Loke had been going through this for three years after accidentally and indirectly causing the death of Karen Lilica, the cruel and sadistic celestial wizard he'd been contracted to. Luckily, Lucy manages to break him out of it and convince the Celestial Spirit King to let him back into the Spirit World.
  • Used terrifyingly in Soul Eater with Dr. Stein. After the battle to reclaim the Brew fails because Stein is overtaken by insanity and becomes unable to fight, he says this line to try to comfort Marie. The scary part kicks in when he then repeats it amid peals of mad laughter.
  • Angel Beats!: Yuri blames herself for not being able to save her siblings. Needless to say, nobody else does.
    • And perhaps to a lesser extent - Hinata for failing a decisive catch.
    • Yuri again after accidentally sending Kanade into a coma by dumping 100 aggressively violent copies of herself into her mind.
  • Betrayal Knows My Name: Hotsuma blames himself for causing Shuusei's burn scars.
  • Princess Resurrection: Reiri tricks Hiro and bites him. Riza chases after Reiri. When Reiri escaped Riza and Hime told her that Hiro could die, she screamed this phrase.
  • Amasawa of The Weatherman Is My Lover blames himself for his parents' deaths after they ignored his warnings about the oncoming storm. Every time a storm comes thereafter he is scared to go outside because it feels like the wind is blaming him too.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula ZERO, Kurumada blames himself for causing Hayato's accident in the English GP, to the point where he briefly retired from his team.
  • Trigun: Vash the Stampede has a habit of thinking like this, pretty independently of whether things are in that instance actually his fault... probably because he has a massive guilt complex about A) continuing to run around even though so much chaos follows him wherever he goes and B) not having neutralized his Evil Twin yet. Since he is then responsible for all incidental misfortunes and any actions taken by the Big Bad, this trope just kind of happens.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Kenshin tends to this as well, as he is an ultimate The Atoner. Usually only when he's kind of right and the thing is worth angsting over, but the contrast to all the other powerful sword characters is interesting. Except later-stage Aoshi, but he's probably emulating Kenshin.
    • Hey, Aoshi bears the distinction of being the only swordsman from Kenshin's 'generation'—already active during the revolution and left at loose ends by it—who's younger than Kenshin himself. Child Prodigies are unfun, especially when placed in positions of tremendous responsibility in their mid teens.
    • Enishi agrees that it's all Kenshin's fault. Specifically, the thing that totally wasn't and all the nasty shit Enishi is now pulling on everyone Kenshin knows to punish the Battousai.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Ivan/Origami Cyclone guilts himself for his best friend Edward's imprisonment and disbarment as a hero, because Ivan's reluctance to intervene in a hostage situation led Edward to accidentally kill someone. Thus, when Edward breaks out of jail to get revenge on him, Ivan resigns himself to his death in order to atone. Telling him it wasn't his fault has no effect on him, so Kotetsu tries a different approach.
    Ivan: No! He wanted my help back then, but I... If I'd made a move, then he could have actually still become a hero. He would have been a much better one than I am. This is all my fault!
    Kotetsu: ... That's why you need to stop him.
    Ivan: Huh?
    Kotetsu: He committed a crime because of you, right? Are you going to let him commit more?
    Ivan: But I can't do anything!
    Kotetsu: So you're going to repeat the same mistake? Remember that you're a hero now.
  • In Bakuman。, Miura blames himself for Detective Trap being canceled, out of the belief that he failed to notice Mashiro's declining health. This belief leads him to be driven to getting a series going, unfortunately to the extent that he pressures Mashiro and Takagi into immediately going for a gag manga rather than proceeding more carefully and finding something that would become a hit.
  • Girls Saurus: Haruka Nishiharu, who, after spending almost the whole series holding a grudge against Shingo for seemingly rejecting her when she was still a Fat Bitch, has this reaction after learning about his gynophobia and terminal illness and tracing it back to the day she sent him to the hospital. Note that she is one of the few Tsunderes to admit that she was doing harm to her love interest, but it doesn't make it any less heartbreaking: "I'm the cause of all your problems, so it's better if I stay away from you!"
  • Leo of PandoraHearts feels like Elliot's misfortune and death are all his fault.
  • Deconstructed in the ×××HOLiC tie-in novel ANOTHERHOLiC. A customer of the week blames herself for her friend's accidental death (the friend had fallen and hit her head at a train station because she had been running late to a meeting with the customer and was in too much of a hurry to follow safety regulations) and has developed a mantra of "I must be punished," which isn't helped by the daily text messages her friend's vengeful spirit seems to be sending her from beyond the grave. But as Yuuko ultimately points out, the responsibility for the accident falls squarely on the victim's shoulders for choosing to act so carelessly. By constantly blaming herself and by secretly writing the phantom text messages just to give people a reason to keep talking about the accident, the customer turned the tragedy of her friend's death into "a tragic little farce, written by and starring herself."
  • Amuro Ray goes through this a number of times in his appearances in Mobile Suit Gundam. He blames himself easily for the deaths of, amongst others, Matilda Ajan, Lalah Sune and, in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, Kayra Su. Granted, while Matilda's death was unavoidable, Lalah was killed because of his rivalry with Char and Kayra was killed because the Nu Gundam was still sensitive and reacted to his anger.
  • She didn't speak it out, but this is how Haruka of Kotoura-san thinks about the events in the latter half of episode 3, when Hiyori sent dojo members/cult thugs to attack Manabe, causing Manabe to be hospitalized and Hiyori having a My God, What Have I Done? moment. This line of thinking, however, came from all the Break the Cutie that came from her telepathic powers, eventually causing her to think she will eventually cause the downfall of anyone she cares about.
  • Blood+:
    • This is Saya's word for word reaction to remembering that it was her who set loose Diva. This is one of the major reasons Saya is the only person allowed to kill Diva, along with the fact she's the only one who has Diva's Kryptonite, and the major motive behind her Death Seeker status.
    • Kai has the same reaction when Riku is first attacked by Diva, and then later killed by her. If he hadn't dragged his younger brother off with him into some very dangerous situations he would still be alive. However, he doesn't dwell too long on it and instead uses it to fuel his later actions.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-'s Fai D. Flourite has it bad. He blames himself for the death of his twin, the annihilation of Valeria's people, the murder of Celes' people and the "death" of Sakura who is like a daughter to him. The poor guy is so messed up that he's waiting for someone or something to end it all but just can't do it himself. Then there is Kurogane who won't let him die.
  • In Captain Tsubasa, Stefan Levin feels this way about his beloved girlfriend Karen's death — she was hit by a truck (and it happened when she was on her way to his final soccer match in Sweden) which led to his mind and soul being completely corrupted. And he channels this through his signature "Levin Shot" as a way to injure his rivals, which includes Wakabayashi, Müller and Akai.
  • Subaru blames herself on multiple occasions during the manga's run. Particularly blames herself for not seeing Kazuma or Isuzu before they die due to being "busy with ballet".
  • Slam Dunk: After Shohoku loses to Kainan, Sakuragi and Rukawa have a fistfight over whose fault it was (that's right, each blaming himself instead of the other).
  • In Seraph of the End Mikeala blames himself for the death of his "family" as it was his naive plan that ended up getting them all killed. Alternatively Yuu also blames himself for the same incident, though not to as much extent.
  • Brave10: Isanami comes to this conclusion after the second fight with Hanzo and briefly gives up, and again when captured by Date. She's later goaded by Hanzo during the fight against the Iga Grotesque Five into another breakdown that pulls out her Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Attack on Titan: Chapter 100 has Reiner Braun confessing to Eren Yeager that he's responsible for all of the latter's suffering, including the death of Eren's mother. It turns out that Annie and Bertolt wanted to give up on their mission after Marcel's death, but Reiner insisted they stuck with it. He ends up asking Eren to kill him because he can no longer handle all his guilt. Eren, however, is already aware that it's because of Reiner, so the apology doesn't do anything for him, and instead of killing Reiner, he decides to psychologically torture him for a while longer — until he transforms into a Titan and goes along with his plan of revenge anyway.
  • Sayaka from Tonari no Kashiwagi-san blames herself for her parents having to put up a Happy Marriage Charade for as long as they did (they were waiting until after she finished middle school to get divorced so as to not disrupt her studies).
  • My Hero Academia: After the Provisional Hero exams, Bakugo ends up challenging Midoriya to a fight. In the middle of the scuffle, he reveals that he blames himself for causing All Might losing his powers and having to retire, as he allowed himself to be kidnapped by the League of Villains.
  • Doraemon: Occurs in "Soap Bubbles". People might say this phrase after they are hit with the Soap Bubble Straw and feel remorseful.
  • A Silent Voice: Both Ishida and Nishimiya blame themselves (not each other, though) for all of the difficulties in the lives around them. Ishida arguably is right about at least some of it (at least, the parts that stem from the results of his bullying years ago), although he actively blames his actions to the present if they're not perfect.
  • Asteroid in Love: Both Mira and Mai gets this in the twenty-third chapter (animated in the seventh episode), when they heard that Ao gets sick. At first Mira get this since she thinks Ao gets sick because of their stargazing the previous night when the weather gets unusually cold. Upon hearing this, Mai gets this as well, since, as the club president, she think she's responsible for one of its members falling sick from a club-related activity (despite it's more Mira and Ao's own activity rather than the club's). The irony is that neither of them are at fault for this. Ao gets sick because she gets a Heroic BSoD the night before after she heard that the family's going to move again, and stayed in the bath for 3 hours.
  • Tamagotchi: The Movie: Mametchi blames himself when Sunnytchi leaves Tamagotchi Planet after he invents his own personal sun. Sunnytchi did not leave because of the personal sun, however.

    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 Vol 1 #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..."
  • 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...

    Fan Works 
  • BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant:
    • Ruby blames herself for when Noel ran away and suffered her identity crisis, feeling that, due to maintaining Noel and Penny's secret, she allowed things to spiral out of control.
    • Part of why Yang became more temperamental after learning the truth about her mother was due to self-loathing, as she blames herself for almost getting Ruby killed in her hunt for answers years ago, and now that she has those answers, she feels like she risked her sister's life for nothing.
  • Eleutherophobia:
    • Tom blames himself for wandering into the back of a Sharing meeting and getting infested in The Day the Earth Stood Still, though he later learns to not victim-blame himself.
    • In Ghost in the Shell, Tobias blames himself for Rachel's death, because he thinks that refusing to stay human was what caused her to have nothing left to live for. Tom talks him out of it.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Kanashī, Wütend, Desolato, a What If? for Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Italy blamed himself and himself only for the ostracization and ridicule Germany and Japan faced because he was the one to reveal their relationship to the world. His immense guilt led him to want to kill himself. He only failed because it is nearly impossible to kill the countries' personifications.
  • A Crown of Stars: When he is not blaming people like his father, Winthrop or Jinnai, Shinji blames himself for the state of the post-apocalyptic world -since he chose to end it- and for all what happened to Asuka and how messed up she was because he was not there to help her, support her and protect her.
  • The Child of Love: In the epilogue that happens several years after the end of the story, Asuka blames herself for her daughter Teri having Psychic Powers, even though Teri has powers because Gendo altered her DNA. It is true Ritsuko prescribed her pills to nullify Gendo's modifications and Asuka blames herself because she stopped taking them, but the doctor never warned her about the consequences.
  • Common Sense: Whenever Team Rocket succeeds in their schemes, Ash will be quick to blame himself for not stopping them, since he feels it's because of him they're growing stronger every time.
  • Doing It Right This Time: As Asuka notes, Shinji blames himself for all what happened in the original timeline, including messes were not his doing or he had no control about.
    Asuka: Yes, I remember everything. So do Rei and Shinji, who's probably hiding because he blames himself for what happened to you; in fact, come to think of it he blames himself for pretty much all of it.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Shinji blames himself for Third Impact. Asuka tells him he shouldn't blame himself for what Rei did, even if he asked her to.
    Asuka: He still feels he's responsible for Third Impact, for the chaos the followed, and for the current state of world affairs. No matter what happens he feels it's all his fault, since he set it all in motion.
  • In Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, Kara blames herself for everything her evil clone does.
    Supergirl: Okay. I'm ready to intercept her. If she's killed 318 people already... that means I'm responsible for it, in a sense.
  • Last Child of Krypton:
    • In chapter 1 Touji blames himself because his little sister had the suicidal impulse to see a giant robot closely and he was unable to catch her in time and get her back into the shelter before the battle.
      He pulled her into the arch of one of the low buildings that ringed the outskirts of the city, not far from the school, and cursed himself. This was his fault, it was all his fault.
    • Later Kaji blamed Shinji for the failure to take over NERV and Maya missing a limb. Despite it being due to Gendo’s actions Shinji blamed himself.
  • Loved and Lost:
    • For a good part of the story, the Mane Five, Spike, Princess Celestia, and Shining Armor all consider themselves failures for refusing to listen to Twilight's warnings about the false Cadance and abandoning her at the wedding rehearsal, as well as allowing the invasion of Canterlot to occur. This, along with the Jerkass Realization they have when Princess Cadance tells them the story of how Twilight helped her and Shining Armor get together, motivates them to return to Canterlot in order to restore their friendship with Twilight and correct their mistakes. When the heroes are captured again in the 11th chapter, they proceed to verbally demonstrate this.
      Applejack: Sorry, Princess. We let ya' down again.
      Shining Armor: No, I did this. I was supposed to make sure Canterlot was safe. But I let Chrysalis impersonate Cadance and trick me with her obvious lies. I even let her turn me against my own sister. Twilight was right.
      Celestia: No, Captain. I'm supposed to be the wise high ruler of Equestria with thousands of years of experience. But I couldn't even tell the difference between my own niece and an obvious imposter. I failed as a ruler, I failed as an aunt, and I failed as a teacher. I'm an absolute failure.
      Pinkie Pie: Hey, don't take all the credit. We helped too.
      Fluttershy: We turned our backs on our best friend when she needed us the most.
      Rarity: All for the chance to participate in a stupid wedding that was doomed to failure.
      Rainbow Dash: Some friends we turned out to be.
    • In the 12th chapter, when Princess Celestia is sentenced to be hanged, she feels so guilty about the pain and suffering her nephew Prince Jewelius, the true mastermind behind the Changeling invasion, caused for Canterlot's citizens that she delivers them as well as Twilight a heartwrenching apology and accepts her fate, believing that she could have prevented the disaster from happening had she been wiser about who to trust. Ironically, admitting these feelings of regret is exactly what it takes for everypony to start forgiving Celestia and demand her to be spared.
    • Further amplifying the heroes' guilt is the reveal that Jewelius has been punishing the town of Ponyville for the actions of the Mane Five out of spite.
    • Twilight has one of her own later on when she discovers that the loved ones she has rejected were right about how evil Jewelius truly is and how he caused the invasion.
  • In the MLP:FiM fan-made song called Lullaby for a Princess, Celestia blames no-one other than herself for her little sister's Face–Heel Turn and subsequent misdeeds.
  • In the Star Wars fic My Mother, when Padme is found frozen in carbonite by Leia and revived years after the destruction of the second Death Star, Padme blames herself for both her husband’s fall to the Dark Side and Palpatine becoming Chancellor in the first place as she learns about Vader's dark reputation.
  • The One I Love Is...: When Shinji found out that his friend Touji had become a pilot because NERV promised to take care of his sister (who had been accidentally hurt during Shinji's first battle), he blamed himself for his wounds, despite Rei trying to convince him that he was not responsible:
    "It's my fault... I failed to take control of the EVA... Father... my hands... he used me to harm Touji. And now... you say he piloted because of his sister? It's... it's all my fault! If I hadn't hurt his sister in the first place, none of this would have happened! Touji wouldn't have piloted! IT'S ALL MY FAULT!"
  • In the opening chapter of The Legend of Zelda: Twisted Fates, Link is captured by the Ghost Ship and presumed dead; Tetra, having pushed him into boarding the ship instead of her, blames herself and spends the next five years mourning his loss.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: Lily blames herself for what happens on Harry's thirteenth birthday, when Harry's newly matured magic leaves her overwhelmed, feeling like she's on fire, and unable to control her power. It wasn't really anything Lily did, though; that overwhelming level of power was inherited. Changing baby Harry's eye colour was Lily's doing, but not really her fault either; it wasn't a proper decision, just a passing whim that her wild magic carried out.
  • Thousand Shinji: Rei blamed herself for all what happened after chapter 13 Shinji and Asuka falling into the Sea of Dirac, Asuka getting forced to kill Hikari, Unit 01 absorbing Shinji... It was not a misplaced feeling, since she was so jealous of Asuka and angry at Shinji that she was downright useless in battle, and due to her attachment to the Commander, Shinji and Asuka could not act against Gendo after Hikari's death, forcing Shinji to leave for a while and showed up too late to fight Zeruel.
  • Pichi from A Pikachu in Love feels this way when her playful antics cause her and Pikachu to crash into an Ursarings den, and nearly gets Pikachu killed trying to protect them both.
    Pichi began to softly cry, and she moved close to Pikachu and hugged him. She rested her little head upon him, listening to his weak heartbeat and she prayed for him to be all right. She could never forgive herself if he were to die. If not for her fooling around then they would not have been in danger at all. Pikachu could have died because of it.
  • Used A LOT in Firefly Maliver fan fics, where something bad always happens (Alliance finds them, she gets raped, she has traumatic flashbacks, all of the above, and more), Mal always blames himself.
  • Luso had a period of this in The Tainted Grimoire due to being completely helpless and only being able to watch Sir Loin burn to death, despite being the one to defeat Vaticus Finch. Thankfully, Judgemaster Cid was able to talk him out of it by going over how flawed that line of thinking is.
  • This is almost a stock phrase of Rainbow Dash shortly before and during her Heroic BSoD in Ace Combat: The Equestrian War.
  • In Oyuban Naruto (after joining the Yakuza) feels like this about his short stint as the leader of a gang in The Land Of the Waves who all got killed by him (inadvertently) starting a gang war. The senior members of the Yakuza (who know about it) agree with him but encourage him to learn from it.
  • Spitfire from the Reading Rainbowverse apparently blames her father's death on herself. Whether this is accurate or not isn't entirely clear, but it has ruined her relationship with her daughter.
  • In Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, the Kamen Rider Club put the blame on themselves for not saving Gentaro from Ryusei's Deal with the Devil and becoming the Serpent-bearer to Ophiuchus with each of them giving specific reasons as to why they weren't helpful. This ranges from Shun not taking a step forward in the Power Dizer, JK not getting intel on Ryusei sooner, Yuki only screaming "Stop!" but otherwise not rushing toward her friend's side, etc.
    • In SplitxEnd, Yayoi blames herself for not saving Haruto from a sword that killed him and then being forced to be resurrected as a Creepy Doll by Damballa.
  • Celestia towards the end of The God Empress of Ponykind blames herself for Luna's fall and the Horus Heresy, saying that if she had stopped for a moment and just talked with Luna and Horus there might have been a different outcome. Horus forgives her, and says he also deserves some of the blame because he willingly chose to rebel instead of seeking a better alternative.
  • In the Saki doujin, Tennmimuhou, Koromo blames herself for taking Kana to exactly 0 points rather than putting her below it, resulting in the game continuing and her team being defeated. Thankfully, her teammates don't mind.
  • In the Gensokyo 20XX series tie in, the Gensokyo Diaries, in Sanae's second diary entry, she thinks she's misbehaved, ergo, for said misbehavior, she deserves to be slapped, the implications of which surrounding may be that she hasn't done anything. Actually, she seems to think she has done something that would warrant any sort of punishment when it is likely she didn't.
  • Land Before Time Retold: Aylene blames herself for the death of Littlefoot's mother, remembering that she had a bow and arrows and could have shot Sharptooth or done something before he killed her.
  • Spider-Man, from I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC. From this episode:
    Batman: Don't you know, Spider-Man blames himself for Marvel losing the Transformers?
    Hulk: But why?
    Batman: I don't know, he blames himself for everything!
  • Dark Oak from Sonic X: Dark Chaos holds himself responsible for the destruction of his race at the hands of Tsali... which led to him starting a brutal galactic war so he could take revenge on his wayward creation and find a way to rebuild his race no matter the cost.
  • In The Saga of Avatar Korra, Asami Sato says this during Chapter Fourteen after the Red Lotus kidnap Korra and Asami realizes that Korra is the Avatar. She realizes that if she told other people she saw Korra use two elements at once when they were children, she could have helped save Korra from her fate years ago.
    Asami: I never wanted to be right. If I was right, then I never told anyone, and then... all this would be my fault. So, I guess it really is my fault in the end. I could have stopped it years ago.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Shinji blames himself for Asuka's breakdown:
    This was his fault: he should have helped her when the Fifteenth Angel broke into her mind; should have done something other than sit in his Eva, hearing her scream as her psyche was torn to pieces. And afterwards, he should have been there to comfort her, to let her know that she was not useless and need not be alone.
    Because, despite everything, they had shared a close bond through their Evas. He was supposed to understand her just as he had here come hoping she would do the same for him.
    This was his fault ... because he had done nothing.
  • Spots Off: Both Marinette and Alya insist on blaming themselves for the former being publicly unmasked: Marinette for not finding a better hiding place to change back, and Alya for having followed Ladybug into an alley with her camera phone running. Adrien is equally insistent on blaming neither of them, but it's hard to deny that they both made avoidable mistakes.
  • In This Bites!, when Cross manages to speak with Merry's Klabautermann directly, she has this mentality for being too weak to carry her crew through the Grand Line. She even asks Cross why he isn't blaming her for being too weak.
  • Alucard provides a humorous example in Hellsing Ultimate Abridged Episode 7.
    Alucard: Oh, so this is my fault then.
    Police Girl: N-NO!!!
    Alucard: Everything is my fault, apparently. Ate the last spotted dick pudding in the fridge... my fault. Crashed a car into the world's first British Dairy Queen... my fault. Unknowingly shot Archduke Ferdinand and blamed it on some other guy? AH, MY FAULT!
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Ash discovers the graves of Brock's parents he begins to blame himself for killing them even though he never actually did anything to cause their deaths, forcing Pikachu to snap him out of it.
  • In A Colder War series, Steve goes through this in “Arctic Front” when he learns that Hank Pym has died on a mission that Peggy was going to ask him to take, but Tony and Janet each assure Steve that he isn’t responsible for what happened to Hank when he couldn’t have known the consequences of his refusal.
  • In the DuckTales (2017) fic "LOST", Webby has spent the last three years blaming herself for Dewey abandoning the rest of the group; she had been dating his roommate and Dewey left because he was in love with her himself, Webby only realising after he gave her a parting kiss and vanished how much it must have hurt him to see her with Max for months and feel like he couldn't tell anyone else about his feelings for fear of ruining the group dynamic.
  • En Tempus Veritas starts because Clark blamed himself for Lana's apparent death around the time of his fight with Bizarro and Kara's arrival. After meeting the meteor freak Tyme, who has the ability to show people visions of their lives if a key event turned out differently, Clark's vision of a life with Lois helps him move past this to recognise that he isn't responsible for other peoples' actions, particularly since Lana still ended up 'dead' even without explicitly seeing his powers because of his mistakes.
  • Shadow of Her Own: While talking to Lena, Scrooge McDuck revealed that he blames himself because Magica De Spell created Lena to use against him and abuse her because he accidentally turned Magica's brother Poe De Spell into a non-sapient crow and did nothing to help him. In tears, he hugs and apologizes to her for all the abuse she suffered under Magica because of his pride in refusing to see what his villains could do. Lena assured Scrooge that the abuse she suffered under Magica was not his fault and thanked him for all he did to help her.
  • In Ruined With You, Marinette blames herself for (she believes) ruining Adrien's life by arresting his father, leading her to give up on pursuing her crush on him, and at one point wishes she and Chat could have just continued fighting the akumas instead of going after Hawkmoth. However, when Alya brings this up with Adrien, he unwittingly tells her otherwise. "Ladybug and Chat Noir, they did what they were supposed to do. Sure, I mean it sucks my dad’s a shit person, but, why would I hold it against them? If I was Chat Noir or Ladybug… I would do the same. I just kind of wish I had the opportunity to thank them, you know."
  • In The Return-Remixed, Kelly Kelly blames herself for Eve Torres winding up in the hospital after being power-bombed on the concrete floor by Victoria, as Eve volunteered to replace her in the match after Kelly quit the Diva Army. Eve assures Kelly she doesn't blame her and wouldn't want them to trade places. This scene leads Kelly to end her 10-Minute Retirement and rejoin the Diva Army's fight against DEAR.
  • In The Outside, this is Ryuuko's reaction to finding out Satsuki is sick, as the latter's health took a left turn shortly after she was taken away. Shiro, however, reassures her that her sister being sick isn't anything she caused and that she would have gotten sick anyway.
  • In the Cuphead fan comic from DeviantArt, "Cagney Is a Carnation" by fuyuflowga, Cagney Carnation has brought his unconscious adopted flower children out of the casino after having signed the Soul Contract in exchange for their lives in his Deal with the Devil, but believes that it's all his fault and that if he hadn't hesitated, they would not have been tortured by the Devil in the first place. Cagney decides to leave quietly but needs to find someone else responsible to take care of the flower children. Unfortunately, things start going From Bad to Worse...
  • In Unexpected Surprise, Marinette keeps crying and apologizing after The Reveal about the mess that came from the Two-Person Love Triangle. Adrien keeps trying to reassure her neither of them is more at fault than the other, and once that fails, simply resorts to a "Shut Up" Kiss.
  • In Jerk in Sheep's Clothing, Adrien blames himself for Marinette being in a toxic relationship with Henri LeRoi. This is because Marinette told him (as Chat Noir) that the reason she always takes Henri’s side over her friends’ and automatically believes that they bully him instead of the other way around (which is what’s really happening), is because she lost faith in her friends after Lila got her claws into them. She also tells him she left out certain details about Lila’s true nature, like how she threatened Marinette in the bathroom, when talking to Adrien because of all the times he defended Chloe’s bullying in the past, so she didn’t think he’d take action should he know everything about Lila. Adrien believes that he could have nipped this whole thing in the bud if he had been more proactive in stopping Chloé. Then Marinette would have trusted him more, and they could have exposed Lila, meaning Henri would have never gotten the chance to sink his claws into her.
  • Ruby and Blake blame themselves for Jaune's death during Initiation in From Beyond (RWBY) as they each heard his scream and decided not to check on it as they thought he was weak and didn't want to partner with him. Ruby feels especially bad as Jaune had been her first friend in Beacon. For Blake, she did eventually choose to go help him (after mentally comparing herself to Adam), only to find Jaune already dead and being eaten by a Grimm.
  • Jaune blames himself for his family's deaths (not without justification) in Tending to the Soul. The night Jaune ran away from home to become a Huntsman, a pack of Grimm attacked his family and because Jaune had taken Crocea Mors, his father was forced to fight them unarmed. While Jaune did run back to try to help, he had initially hidden himself and only got back in time to see his mother get killed in front of him.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening fanfic Golden Threads Tie Us, Severa blames herself for her sister joining the enemy, reasoning that she should have stopped her from leaving when Morgan declared she was going to look for their father... ignoring the fact that she tried to stop Morgan, and her sister knocked her out with a sleep spell.
    Lucina peered at her for a moment, then turned away. It seemed like she decided not to press the issue – Lucina would understand her, Severa realized, because she was a big sister, too. I wonder what Lucina would do if something happened to Cynthia. No, Lucina never would let Cynthia come to harm. Not like Severa, who had let her own younger sister go right before her eyes, and now she was – it was all Severa's fault -
  • Fallout: Equestria: There were a lot of things that caused the war and a lot of things that made it worse, but one of the big ones was the massacre at Crescent Moon Canyon, where every pony (including the children) at Luna's school was killed over a misunderstanding with the nearby zebras. Celestia, Luna's sister, blamed herself for putting the school there in the first place. It was part of the reason she eventually stepped down.
    Celestia: I chose the site for Luna's school. There were three sites equally suitable, but I chose Crescent Moon Canyon because it amused Me. Because I wanted to see My Sister's face when I told Her I was sending Her students to the moon…
  • In Mastermind: Strategist for Hire, Tsukauchi blames himself for All Might's death during the attack at the USJ.
  • In The Portal, Cynder blames herself for the creation of the Dark Ones.
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread: A consistent and rather troubling side effect of Gwen's relationship with Duncan is the development of this. Due to the nature of their relationship it's not exactly surprising.
  • Much as in canon, Varric feels this way about many of the events of Beyond Heroes: Of Sunshine and Red Lyrium. Pretty much the only thing for which he doesn't blame himself is the fact that Bethany is now the Inquisitor, and that's mainly because he's just glad she survived the explosion.
  • In the DC Animated Universe fic "Mercy", Diana is attacked by a Black Mercy that traps her in a world where Wonder Woman is Gotham's defender, married to District Attorney Bruce Wayne and enjoying a close relationship with a still-living Thomas and Martha Wayne. When Batman learns the nature of Diana's fantasy, he blames himself for the fact that Diana is basically living his heart's desire rather than her own, prompting Superman to ask if Bruce even knows how to feel anything but guilty for things he couldn't be expected to control.
  • Discussed in the Infinity Crisis spin-off In Hand and Foot when Matt Murdock starts talking about how he sees himself as responsible for those Fisk has killed, only for Splinter (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) to inform Matt that the heroes aren't responsible for the people Shredder and Fisk have killed because they chose not to kill their foes.
  • Miraculous! Rewrite: This marks a critical turning point for Adrien during the "Syren" arc. Master Fu calls him out for his actions, namely not treating battles seriously and spitefully threatening to quit over being Locked Out of the Loop, and punishes him by revoking the Ring. Rather than blaming the Guardian for this, Adrien recognizes that he was right, accepting responsibilty for his own actions and striving to make amends.
  • Sasha and the Frogs: Sasha blames herself for getting she and her friends transported into another world.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: After a huge argument and Chloe leaving the Cerise Lab then subsequently being taken into the Infinty Train, Goh realizes that it's all his fault for ignoring her and never caring once about her feelings. He ends up heavily blaming himself for her disappearance.
  • In Maybe the Last Archie Story, Archie comes up with a plan to fee Sabrina and her family from Mad Doctor Doom. Unfortunately, the gang is unable to rescue Sabrina, and Moose gets stabbed by Doom's henchman as releasing Sabrina's aunts. As making his way to the hospital, Archie blames himself for Moose getting wounded.
  • Kingdom Hearts Ψ: The Seeker of Darkness: In Land of Oblivion, Aqua spends quite a while blaming herself for her choices in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep as she's forced to relive them in Castle Oblivion, especially when it becomes apparent that a lot of those choices helped set in motion the events of the original games (sparing Maleficent in Enchanted Dominion, allowing her to manipulate Riku years later, and saving Terra-Xehanort from the Realm of Darkness, allowing him to become Ansem's apprentice). Kairi and Naminé become increasingly insistent on telling her otherwise, pointing out that Terra and Ventus were hardly blameless in their argument in Radiant Garden, and arguing that showing mercy is never a bad thing, nor was saving her friend.
    Kairi: None of what happened here was your fault. Could things have been different if you had stopped the conversation to explain things fully? Maybe! But would Terra and Ventus have actually listened to you? Maybe not! There's no way to know, and it's pointless to beat yourself up over the "could have happeneds" It's not helpful.
  • In Ultimate DCU Headverse, Kara blames herself for Barbara's paralyzed legs only because she was not around to stop the Joker from shooting her friend.
  • In The Demon Awakens, Emily's fireman has this reaction upon returning to work after the events that lead to Thomas brutally killing a truck, believing that if he hadn't insisted on Working Through the Cold, he wouldn't have knocked both himself and the driver out, Emily wouldn't have been injured and Thomas wouldn't have committed murder. The Fat Controller comforts him, telling him that he may have caused Emily's accident, but he didn't cause the truck's death.
  • In The Brother's Grimm, Bernard (Emily's brother) has this reaction when he learns about Seymour Murphy's crime, believing that none of it would have happened if he hadn't accidentally killed Murphy's father.
  • Underneath the Sakura Tree: Tang Shen feels responsible for Miwa's death because the place she hid her while the Foot Clan attacked burned down before she could get to her.
  • In What Tomorrow Brings, Menderash blames himself for getting everyone sent back in time, because it was his idea to go searching for Ax, which ultimately got Jake et al killed.
  • Inverted twice in A Frozen Flower.
    • A short while after Oz decides to train Orchid, Oprah finds out about it and confronts Oz by saying it's his fault that it'll be the end of the world. Oz takes part of the blame, but he also shoulders some on Oprah for locking Orchid up in her dinosaur room forever instead of trying to unlock the true potential of her powers.
      Oprah: This is all your fault. If you hadn't helped her, if you hadn't been so idiotically stupid, none of this would have happened!
      Oz: I won't deny that it was my "fault", as you say, Ms. O, but I let her try because I thought that she was capable enough to control herself. Whereas you were just planning to keep her locked up forever. And I was right, and you were wrong. No offense, Ms. O.
      Oprah: Plenty taken, Oz.
    • Later on in the story, after Till finds out that Oz is dead and thinks that Orchid killed him, Orchid snaps back by saying that it's actually Till's fault Oz is dead. It only escalates from there, until Orchid kills Till by way of mental torture.
      Till: [crying] He's dead! He's dead and you killed him!
      Orchid: [crying] You abandoned him, Till! He thought you died and he lost control and used all his power there in Tunguska and then he shelled out and it's ALL YOUR FAULT! Oz is dead, Till!
  • In Olive's Last Partner, Oprah takes full responsibility for the Boiler Room incident, stating that the entire ordeal was her fault because she failed to realize how dangerous Blobisites are, she failed to send Olive and Otto with more backup than just Oscar, and she failed to tell Oscar about Owen removing the lock on the Boiler Room door just before the trio went downstairs to resolve the issue. Later on, she kicks herself further for failing to realize just how dangerous of a workplace Odd Squad is and for nearly causing the premature deaths of three of her employees.
  • Read the Fine Print (Evangelion): When Shinji wants to apologize to Touji for getting his little sister hurt, both Asuka and Rei point out that he should not apologize for anything: he was brought in because Rei got injured, blackmailed into riding a war machine which he had never seen, and pushed in front of a giant monster. It is Nerv who is to blame, not him.

    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.
    • This instance from "The Spice is Right" is probably the best example:
    Aladdin: I'm gonna lose her, Genie, and it's all my fault!
    Genie: You're right, kid. All your fault.
    Aladdin: Huh?
    Genie: You know, the situation: Mingle with zombies, pay the price. You have every right to feel like a creep... creep!
    Aladdin: Now, wait a minute here! How was I supposed to know giving Jasmine a gift was going to unleash that guy?!
  • 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.
  • 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 Movie of The Magic Roundabout, 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • In many of the works by Jim Butcher, this is demonstrated. In 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It happens rather a lot to the Wraiths.
    • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Inverted and subverted in the Angel episode "Underneath". In exchange for being given legal knowledge, Gunn allows an item to pass through customs, which eventually leads to the death of Fred. Naturally he feels guilty about it, and is even stabbed by Wesley after he finds out. Later, Angel visits him in his hospital bed and tells him:
    Angel: Listen, Gunn. I know you feel bad about your part what happened to Fred. And you should. For the rest of your life, it should wake you up in the middle of the night. And it will. Because you're a good man. You signed a piece of paper. That's all.
  • Arrow. Oliver Queen does this so often that John Diggle jokes he should call himself the "Guilt Arrow" instead of the "Green Arrow".
  • Murdock blames himself when Face is shot in The A-Team episode "Without Reservations":
    "He's getting weaker. I can't believe I'm responsible for all of this."
  • Babylon 5: G'kar has an appropriate quote re: Ivanova:
    "It is as though her heart has been pierced, and her spirit has poured out through the wound. She blames herself. It is foolish. It is destructive. ...It is human."
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Gaius Baltar gets a taste of this after realizing it was his lover Caprica-Six who frakked up the colonies' defense systems through his gullibility and — let's face it — horniness. He deals with it by blaming the rest of the universe, and ultimately God.
  • Blake's 7. Roj Blake has a tendency to do this when things go badly wrong, causing Kerr Avon to immediately snark back, "We know."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Andrew takes the fact that Simone turned evil while he was her Watcher very hard, and is determined to find and stop her.
    • In "Innocence", Buffy felt this way after she had sex with Angel and he lost his soul, becoming his sadistically evil alter ego. Though as Giles is quick to point out, they didn't do anything wrong, and they had no way of knowing what would happen.
    • In season six's "Two to Go", Xander blames himself for the entire Dark Willow scenario, since he saw the gun in Warren's hand before he even raised it, but was simply frozen with fear and did nothing to stop him from shooting Buffy and Tara.
  • Criminal Minds
    • In "Ominvore", Hotch believes it's all his fault for one of his actions. What does Rossi do? Offers his gun.
      Rossi: So you think this is your fault?
      Hotch: (voice tight) It is.
      Rossi: Well, here, use mine. (offers Hotch his gun) No, really, you've convinced me. You hung up on him, practically killed them yourself. Go on, get it over with. Don't worry about us, we'll get this guy without you.
      Hotch: Dave, I had ten years to do something about this!
      Rossi: Shaughnessy made the deal. The killing stopped, he closed the case and sent the BAU away. For ten years you worked on other cases, active cases-
      Hotch: But I kept coming back to this profile.
      Rossi: Hey, I was retired! Should I blame myself for every victim that got killed when I was on my book tour? Look, if you wanna end up like Shaughnessy, like Gideon, blaming yourself for everything, you go ahead. But that voice in your head? It's not your conscience, it's your ego. This isn't about us, Aaron, it's about the bad guys. That's why we profile them, it's their fault. We're just guys doing a job, and when we stop doing it, someone else will. Trust me, I know.
      Hotch: (gesturing to the gun) You can put that away now.
      Rossi: You sure?
      Hotch: Yeah, it was a little dramatic, don't you think?
      Rossi: My wife always said I had a flair for the dramatic.
      Hotch: Which one?
      Rossi: All of 'em.
      Hotch: Thanks.
      Rossi: Anytime.
    • This is the cause of some unsubs' actions, the most obvious example being "Hanley Waters", in which a woman goes on a killing spree exactly one year after her son's death in a car accident because she cannot bear anymore the sense of guilt caused by constantly blaming herself along with her ex-husband.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: After the Skeksis General kills her mother and Seladon blames her, Brea blames herself for the rest of the season.
  • In Dead Set, when Angel is bit by a zombie, the character who is responsible says "it's all my fault."
  • Dexter has killed dozens of people and felt no remorse, but when he finds his wife, Rita, dead, his shocked response as police arrive is to blurt out "It was me."
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor blames himself in many of his incarnations due to all the crap that tends to happen around him, the Sadistic Choices he's forced to make, the fact that everyone who meets him feels compelled to perform a Heroic Sacrifice... he blames himself for all of it. The Tenth Doctor is particularly prone to this, but the Twelfth Doctor takes it to tragic levels in the final episodes of Series 9, when his guilt, anguish, and rage over the death of his beloved companion Clara, compounded by torture that's resulted in him being Driven to Madness, turn him into The Unfettered, an Anti-Villain risking the safety of the entire universe on a Tragic Dream to bring her back from the dead, even as he's assured that he was not truly responsible for what happened; rather, that it was Clara, for making foolish-if-noble choices in trying to be like him.
      • A particularly keen example of this is in the Time War; many sources have the Doctor — in his Eighth and War incarnations — feel personally responsible for the conflict between the Time Lords and the Daleks in this war, as he could have prevented the conflict if his fourth incarnation had just destroyed the Daleks in "Genesis of the Daleks" rather than delaying their evolution.
      • The Ninth Doctor hardly gets through an episode without blaming himself and/or apologising to someone for getting them killed, failing to save somebody else, or just snapping at someone he likes. And since he expects the same kind of owning up to mistakes from his Companions and will give them the Death Glare until they do...
    • "42": Captain McDonnell eventually admits to her possessed husband that the decision to mine the living sun for fuel, resulting in its attack, was her fault. However, she points out that she had no way of knowing the sun was alive to begin with.
  • On The Flight Attendant, Cassandra "Cassie" Bowden blames herself for the crash that killed her father because she was his "drinking buddy," even though it was his drunk-driving that caused the crash.
  • Full House:
    • A twist but still played straight in " The Miracle of Thanksgiving". While Danny says this verbatim when he accidentally burns the turkey after putting it back in the oven to defrost it more and lying about it being fine, it's DJ who invokes the trope by saying she was in charge of making the turkey and had she defrosted it properly in the first place Danny wouldn't have needed to put it back in the oven.
    • In "Cutting it Close", Steph blames herself for causing Jessie's accident, all because she accidentally cut his hair in her pretend haircut game.
    Steph: I only scalped him, crashed his bike, and broke his arm. No wonder he's mad at me.
    • In "Comet's Excellent Adventure", Jesse is about to confess to Danny about his role in Comet going missing.
    Jesse: Uh, before I say anything, I just want you to know upfront this whole thing was my fault.
  • Game of Thrones: Catelyn Stark feels that the various tragedies her family has endured are her own fault. When Jon Snow was a child, he came down with the Pox, and it looked like he would not survive. Catelyn, seeing Jon practically dying and finally feeling some remorse for her treatment of him, made a promise to the Seven to love the child like he was her own if he managed to live. Jon managed to survive the night and regain his health, but Catelyn refused to honor her promise, and now she believes she's responsible for the downfalls the Stark family has faced.
  • Rose in The Golden Girls becomes devastated when her boyfriend at the time dies of a heart attack while they were having sex. She feels that it's her fault he died since she had sex with him and also blames herself for her late husband's death, who had also died the same way. It takes said boyfriend's former wife to remind Rose that it wasn't her fault.
  • House's response to this? Yes, it is. And now you won't do it again.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Alain of Kamen Rider Ghost considered himself The Load, which is justified and partially true following his Heel–Face Turn. He thought it's his fault even if the events that moved him to this position has been completely outside his reach the same as most option that would change his position for better.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid presents a twisted version of this. Breaking down in tears, Hiiro Kagami reveals that he thinks this about Saki's death. He spent most of the story up until then pinning the blame on Taiga Hanaya, her doctor. The twist is that both would want this to be the case, but in reality neither of them is at fault.
      • The titular Ex-Aid can also be an example of this at times, putting blame on himself as a medical intern for any deaths caused by game disease, despite the fact that he really isn’t at fault for his patients being murdered by bioterrorists.
  • In one episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, SVU newcomer Mike Dodds initially doesn't think a missing teenager's case is anything to worry about, figuring she was just out partying with friends or something. When the girl turns up dead, he blames himself for not taking the case seriously enough and wasting time. Benson tells him it's not his fault, and the details of the suspect's confession confirm that there was no way they could have saved her no matter how fast they acted on the report, but he still seems uneasy about it at the end of the episode.
  • The Mentalist has Jane blaming himself for the deaths of his wife and daughter. He did technically cause it to happen, but really all he did was get overconfident and piss off the wrong person; he had no way of knowing what Red John was going to do.
  • In Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Phryne Fisher blames herself for the disappearance and possible (later confirmed) death of her younger sister, because they were alone together at the time and she was distracted. At the end of season 1, she gets her answers and revenge on the killer.
  • The Murders:
    • Kate, after her partner Mike's killed by a suspect, blames herself as he was aiding her. This occurred because she'd left her gun in her car unlocked, which was stolen and used in a murder, with Mike covering that up after, leading them into the situation. She tearfully confesses the fact to her psychiatrist much later after she's finally opened up about it.
    • In "Never Kissed A Girl" the father of a murder victim has blamed himself ever since her death. He'd locked her out when she missed curfew, leading her to the killer. After hearing this, Kate expresses her sympathy and she empathizes due to her own past.
    • "In My Feelings" has Kate's mother (rather than use the sympathy votes she garnered) decide to drop out of the race after being held hostage, as her campaign manager David died at the hostage-taker's hands, feeling that she doesn't deserve it since this was revenge against her. Kate convinces her to stay in the race however, saying David would want that.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Red Zone Cuba, Frank finds himself owing a large amount of money to the mob, then he tricks the mob enforcer into thinking that Dr. Forrester is him. As Forrester is getting beaten senseless, Frank says to Mike and the bots, "You know, I can't help but feel somewhat responsible."
  • NUMB3RS: Don Eppes has a habit of falling into the mentality that he's responsible for things that happen around him, even if they're out of his control.
    • In "Trust Metric", he tells Megan that he feels responsible for Colby Granger (who is at that point thought to be a traitor). He doesn't specify his reason, but it's almost certainly to do with how long Colby was under his command.
    • In the series finale, Don loses his gun during an arrest. Even though he couldn't have prevented the loss, he still feels that he would be responsible for any action committed with the lost gun.
  • Odd Squad:
    • In "Rookie Night", Olympia and Otis attempt to find and take part in the eponymous event, but by the time they get there by way of going through all the rooms in Precinct 13579's Headquarters, they're too late and Rookie Night has ended. Otis begins to apologize to Olympia and claims how missing the event was his fault, and Olympia seems to agree before pulling a Berate and Switch and telling him that it's his fault for making the day the best Rookie Night ever.
    • At the end of "Oscar Strikes Back", when President Obbs ends up getting fired and has to turn in his badge, Oscar says that the entire ordeal with Obbs brainwashing almost all of the Scientists was his fault because had he come to Lab-Con sooner (having not done so in the past due to being too nervous to leave his lab), he would have seen what Obbs was doing and stopped his plan before it even had a chance to be put into motion. O'Terry, Odelia and Odie are quick to tell him that it wasn't his fault at all.
    • In "New Jacket Required", Mr. Lightning ends up destroying the guidebook to Otis's new jacket as a result of Olympia holding up the book to taunt the villain with and him zapping it. As Olympia and Otis duck behind a plant to protect themselves, Olympia apologizes to Otis and places the blame on her for pressuring him to use his new jacket too much, but Otis tells her that she had a point with her doing so and deduces that if he pushes more buttons on his jacket, he'll defeat Mr. Lightning — and that he does.
    • After Oprah and Otis get fired and exiled from Odd Squad in "Odds and Ends", Olympia is quick to blame herself for them being gone. This is despite the fact that while she is partially to blame due to lack of belief in Heel-Face Turns, the X's also forced her to tell the truth by way of a truth helmet that they place on her as she takes her place at the witnesses' stand, so they both share the blame (not that the X's care).
    • In the second half of the Season 3 premiere, "Odd Beginnings: Part 2", as Orla's Headquarters begins to crumble, Opal kicks herself for dragging Oswald, Orla and Omar into her adventure to find and save the 44-leaf clover and apologizes to them for doing so. Omar, being The Pollyanna, tells her not to shoulder the blame because they're surrounded by each other as good friends and are also trapped in cinnamon buns which is good food.
    • The climax of "It's Not Easy Being Chill" has the creature that the Mobile Unit is transporting break free from its cage and escape from the van due to Omar's negligence in babysitting Orpita and his Mellow Fellow personality trait becoming a Fatal Flaw. He explains to his teammates that he was too laid-back when he shouldn't have been, and because of it, they failed to take care of the creature adequately. Opal is the only one that's seen chastising him for his actions while Orla gives a shake of her head in disapproval, and Oswald realizes that Omar can make up for his mistake by feeding the creature two whole cookies. However, Orpita's the one that helps Omar out by showing the group that a whole cookie can be made by combining a half-size cookie and two quarter-size cookies, and Opal and Orla feed the cookies to the creature.
  • Ordinary Joe: Joe blames himself for his father's death on 9/11, because he decided to stay in New York to practice with his school band instead of going to a football game in Denver like his father wanted, meaning his father was in the city and died with other first responders when the towers collapsed.
  • Party of Five: In the first season episode "Thanksgiving", the Salingers find out, to their anger, that Walter Alcott, the drunk driver who killed their parents in a car accident, is out on parole for good behavior. Bailey, Claudia and Julia all end up visiting him, despite saying they wouldn't, and confronting him. Finally, Charlie, who had long resisted, visits, and reveals why he had resisted - the night his parents were killed, he was supposed to babysit his siblings, but he didn't want to and was late getting there, so he feels if he hadn't gotten there late, his parents wouldn't have been in a rush to leave, and they wouldn't have been killed, so it's really his fault. Walter has to tell him otherwise ("You're the hero in this story").
  • Person of Interest. Harold Finch has a lot of guilt for inventing the Machine, and later ignoring a prediction from the Artificial Intelligence that his Only Friend Nathan Ingram was about to become the next Victim of the Week. The trope is lampshaded during a flashback scene where Finch is seeing a therapist.
    Finch: Survivor's guilt. I'm familiar.
    Therapist: Well, then you're also familiar with what I'm about to say next: that you think your friend's death was your fault. Otherwise, you'd have to face a very painful truth. That you are not God. You don't control who lives or dies. That powerlessness also means that your friend's death is not your fault. I assure you, in time, the guilt you feel will pass.
    Finch: Let me ask you a question then. Does survivor's guilt pass when everything that has happened actually is, in fact, your fault?
  • From Power Rangers RPM: It is revealed that the Rangers' mentor figure, Dr. K, was actually behind the creation and (accidental) release of the Venjix computer virus which has devastated the entire world. The bad guys have placed that same virus inside of Dillon, the Half-Human Hybrid of the team, and is taking over his body. Before he falls fully under Venjix's control, Dr. K is forced to upload the base code for the virus to slow its growth. What she says next shocks her team:
    Dr. K: [Flatly] What just happened was that I entered the base code for the Venjix virus. I know it because I wrote it. I'm the one who released it. Everything that's happened, everything you've all been through—it's all my fault.
  • Clark Kent in Smallville is like this almost to a neurotic degree, to the point that it has been Lampshaded by Chloe in Season 8. Witness the misery (a compilation of the times Clark implies, says or worries about this in dream sequences):
    • Chloe does this a lot too in later seasons.
  • Averted in Stargate SG-1. Daniel's grandfather tries to comfort him over the loss of his parents years ago, telling him it wasn't his fault. Daniel's reply? "Of course it wasn't my fault!"
  • A blunt statement of the "command responsibility" version from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Metamorphosis":
    McCoy: It isn't your fault.
    Kirk: I'm in command, Bones. That makes it my fault.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager
    • Chakotay started blaming himself after he learned that his former lover Seska had betrayed the titular ship to an enemy species; she turned out to be a Cardassian spy dolled up to be a Bajoran to infiltrate the Maquis, and Chakotay felt responsible for not catching on to her as the leader of the cell she infiltrated, especially after he learned later that he had missed other spies among his ranks (including science officer Tuvok). It was only when Tuvok admitted that Seska had deceived him while they were in the cell, as well, that Chakotay got over it.
    • Neelix has the same response in "Basics" when his actions get a Red Shirt killed. The irony is it's actually true!
    • Future Harry Kim blames himself for the destruction of the ship in Timeless. “They trusted me, and I killed them!” Arguable, considering he was just an ensign and not even an engineer.
  • Invoked rather cruelly, and quite often, for Dean Winchester in Supernatural:
    • In "Faith", Dean gets electrocuted and is about to die from heart damage. He seems to be accepting it but Sam takes him to a faith healer and Dean makes a full recovery. But then they find out that it's a life for a life and he feels guilty (and almost suicidal) for the entire episode.
    • While Dean lays in a coma during "In My Time Of Dying", his father makes a deal with the Yellow-Eyed Demon to save Dean's life. Over the course of the season, he is slowly broken down because of this, until Sam dies and he makes a deal of his own, still thinking that he should have stayed dead and if he does this then at least something good will come out of his life.
    • In the fourth season episode "On the Head of a Pin", Dean is told he is completely to blame for the upcoming apocalypse because he was driven to torture souls in Hell. His father was meant to be the first seal but he never broke, proving that John Winchester has the unique talent of making Dean feel worthless long after he's dead. Of course, as it turns out Sam is also to blame, because, while Dean broke the first seal by drawing blood in Hell, Sam broke the last when he killed Lilith.
  • Taken: In the final episode "Taken", John admits to his great-granddaughter Allie Keys that, as a result of his newly discovered sense of morality, he deeply regrets the pain and suffering that he has caused people in the pursuit of the aliens' Super Breeding Program. He says that he would never do it again.
  • Uchu Sentai Kyuranger: Kotaro tells other Kyurangers that he thinks this is the case with Stinger after the events of Space 16.
  • Brilliantly parodied in the Swedish comedy series Varan TV. While hunting a man wearing a deer cap, one of the hunters accidentally shoots a REAL deer (no, seriously!) who of course dies. While he is overcome with guilt, his buddies try to cheer him up, which leads to the following dialogue:
    "You can't blame yourself for this, it's not your fault."
    "It's all my fault! I shot him!" (being un-sarcastic and fully serious) "Well... Yeah, you're right! It is actually all your fault!"
  • In season 3 of Veronica Mars, Dick, of all people, falls into this trope while dealing with his brother killing a dozen people, then committing suicide. When his father shows up, Dick has something of a breakdown and admits he thinks it's their fault.
  • In an episode of What I Like About You, it's used as a followup/admission by a character who has previously denied responsibility.
  • The Wheel of Time: Lan tries to help Stepin recover after losing his Aes Sedai, but Stepin commits suicide anyway. He's devastated afterward, and blames himself because he didn't see it coming.

  • 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.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • This is practically the Catchphrase of post-Important Haircut Luke in Tales of the Abyss, to which the most common reply is a Don't Say Such Stupid Things! variant from Tear.
  • 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.
  • In 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.
    • In the same game, 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.
  • 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 us 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Tales of the Abyss after a bought of 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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 is recently 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.
  • 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.
  • In Undead Friend Mahalah feels guilty for accidentally trapping her and Orrick in the game.'
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • In the Super Mario World cartoon, Luigi blames himself for the cave people's crops being stolen. (This scene has, needless to say, been memetically mutated in YouTube Poop and nicknamed "Emo Luigi".)
    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: Whenever Dick Dastardly's plans on Yogi's Treasure Hunt backfired, he'd shout "This is all your fault, Muttley!"
  • The Steven Universe: Future-episode "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!

    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):


Linda Regrets Going To Rio

Linda blames herself for Blu getting stolen by the smugglers and Tulio tries to comfort Linda by telling her it is not her fault, she agrees then blames Tulio for the incident by going on a short rant directed towards him and finishes it off by cursing at him in bird noises though she apologizes almost immediately for it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ItsAllMyFault

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