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Misery Trigger

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These characters tend to be pretty upbeat most of the time they appear onscreen. While they may get angry on occasion, they still remain active. That is until you find the very thing that hits them in the feelings the hardest.

Whether it's a word, an action, or anything else, these characters will fall apart when this button of theirs is pushed. Effects of pushing this button include but are not limited to crying, moping, loss of focus on their task, going into a corner to pout, etc.

These characters may even trigger their own button unintentionally. Whenever the button is pushed, it often takes the effort of other characters to get them moving again. Alternatively, they may get over it after a certain amount of time, but they will still collapse in sadness if the switch is pushed again even if they got over it seconds earlier.

If everything makes the character sad, then they are more than likely to be The Eeyore. Compare Trauma Button, when the trigger is past trauma. Compare to Brown Note, where something can induce sorrow just from exposure. Compare Emotion Bomb, which inflicts sadness on anybody. Compare and contrast Berserk Button which is an action that sends a character into a state of rage when pushed. See also Made Myself Sad for self-inflicted versions.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Bakuman。, Nakai is still stuck as an assistant, despite being in his 30s and not only older than his fellow assistants Fukuda and Mashiro, but also his boss Nizuma (who, in all fairness, made waves by debuting as a teenager). As such, Nakai tends to become depressed when Fukuda points out that Nizuma's editor Aida doesn't have much faith in Nakai's potential as a manga artist.
  • According to Whis in Dragon Ball Super, Magetta's metalman race are quite sensitive. Throwing an insult at them is enough to reduce them to a crying mess. This is after Vegeta calls Magetta a piece of junk, which caused the metalman to lose his will to fight.
  • My Hero Academia: Momo Yaoyorozu's ability, Creation, allows her to make just about anything depending on how much mass it requires and how much food she's eaten. As she herself puts it, the more she eats, the more she makes. When another student compares this to poop, Yaoyorozu becomes instantly depressed.
  • One Piece:
    • Foxy the Silver Fox tends to be pretty full of himself, but he has a really hard time taking insults as he becomes extremely mopey whenever somebody says something to offend him. In the anime, Nami and Usopp take advantage of this by constantly pushing this button and also his pride in an effort to keep him from firing his slow-slow beam.
    • Brook frequently makes jokes at his own expense, but he gets pretty sad when somebody steals his punchlines.
  • Pokémon: The Original Series: When Brock rejoins the team after staying at Professor Ivy's lab for the duration of the Orange Islands arc, any reference to Ivy is met with him curling up in a fetal position and muttering, "Don't mention that name."
  • Parodied in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, where pretty much any aspect of the modern society can trigger the main character's very theatrical despair phases — and usually does Once per Episode.
  • Sgt. Frog: Being left alone or ignored tends to activate Dororo's "Trauma Switch" and send him to the Corner of Woe.
  • Soul Eater: Lack of symmetry is more often than not a Berserk Button for Death the Kid. However, pointing out that Kid himself isn't symmetrical because of his hair is enough to turn him into a Nervous Wreck. This also extends to when he unintentionally ruins something symmetrical. When he accidentally destroys a symmetrical tomb, he feels he has committed a crime against humanity.

    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput: In "Origins", during their years in school, Slim Doc does a malevolent beckoning motion to Fat Doc whenever he finds him, and they both later use that motion on another student. They end up having this turned against them and scream in horror as Mr. Moustache, the student they were bullying, does the same thing in the present day.

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Unless you are Goku, proving to Vegeta exactly how much you outclass him is enough to make him start crying like a bitch. Freeza and Cell both manage to push this button, while Cell also pushes Vegeta's berserk buttons at the same time just because he felt like adding insult to injury.

    Film — Animated 

  • In the Discworld, this is the reaction of cowardly Wizzard Rincewind whenever he is plucked away from a blissful life of dullness and obscurity to save the world - again. His reaction to being forced into the hero role is invariably one of existential misery and angst.
  • Lyrah is this for Daylen in Shadow of the Conqueror, enough that it takes a lot of effort on his part before he can even look at her without collapsing in misery. During one of their early conversations, the sight of her causes his legs to give out and him to stumble, prompting her to ask him if he's injured. Daylen's extreme reactions to just seeing her puzzle Ahrek, who knows that it's out of the ordinary even by Daylen's standards, but he doesn't learn the real reason for it until Cueseg gives him The Reveal and a Cerebus Callback.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Friends: In a season two episode, every time Ben is being held or even moved close to Monica, he instantly starts crying. This, in turn, pushes Monica's button, causing her to start worrying about her maternal abilities.
  • Eleanor in The Good Place has minor breakdowns when she runs into family-related stuff, at one point bursting into tears over a family pack of toothbrushes, as a Trauma Button courtesy her almost sarcastically neglectful parents.
  • Horrible Histories: In the Proms special, the mere mention of her late husband's name causes Queen Victoria to burst into tears.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, Johanna, who is very upbeat for the entire story thus far, becomes downright miserable when she walks in on the protagonist and Tamara when they’re about to have sex.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: Whenever Homestar sees a picture of Li'l Brudder, he ends up being reduced to a crying mess. In Li'l Brudder's debut, it's downplayed as his appearance is capable of making anybody cry. Played a bit more straight in later appearances, in which Homestar is the only one shown to have a reaction to him.

    Web Novel 
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: When Frank mentions the possibility that Jamie might become his apprentice at the car repair shop, Jamie is reminded of what he had to do to make a living and breaks out crying.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Son of Stimpy

Stimpy gets upset at the word "stinky" because that's the name of his beloved, now-lost fart child.

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Main / MiseryTrigger

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