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Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal

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"You meanie! You make Buu mad, Buu make you dead!"
"Why does 50 Cent rough up and insult all of his allies and act surprised when every single one of them betrays him?"

The Big Bad has a loyal minion who has been feeling... somewhat less than loyal recently. Maybe they met the heroes and liked them. Maybe they discovered more than a few reasons to believe that their master wasn't as nice as he seemed. Maybe they're not sure they approve of the current plot. Maybe they just learned what the plan really was. And seeing how The Leader on the other side treats their allies might be the cherry on top. Whatever the reason, they are pondering a difficult dilemma. Remain loyal or betray the boss?

Fortunately, the Big Bad is willing to help them come to a decision. They immediately start doing everything in their power to make the minion feel hurt and miserable, possibly going as far as putting the minion through a Humiliation Conga, thus perfectly solidifying and justifying the inevitable Almost-Any-Face Turn.

Villains who think It's All About Me are particularly prone to this — and particularly prone to being shocked when the minion leaves. Double that if the minion hooks up with the other side (and triple if it is a High-Heel–Face Turn).

Evil Cannot Comprehend Good is often, though not always, an element in their motivations. A particularly Magnetic Hero can usually tip the balance in their favor with a few kind words, or just by showing how they treat their friends. Indeed, when the villain goes for Flaw Exploitation, endangering their minions to force the hero to save them, or just leaving them in danger because they know the hero will save them, the contrast is generally as vivid as it gets.

A rarer variant is when a good, but not nice character mistreats their sidekick, who has enough of being the underdog and becomes a villain. (See Who's Laughing Now? for more.)

Not to be confused with Even Mooks Have Loved Ones, where the minion considers betraying the boss for being cruel to their friends or relatives. Contrast Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand. Watch out for Heel–Face Door-Slam. Cross your fingers for Redemption Earns Life. Compare Rebellious Rebel, where the original discovery of the villain's treachery motivates their defection, and Cornered Rattlesnake, where a character or group is pushed to the breaking point and fights back. See also Defecting for Love. When the villain's words and acts draw the character, see Bring Them Around. If the minion in question ends up betraying and finishing off their former boss without actually defecting to the other side, it is The Dog Bites Back. Contrast with its polar opposite, Because You Were Nice to Me.

SPOILERS for many Heel Face Turns follow.

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Other Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Angel Sanctuary, Abaddon had been imprisoned and chained by Astaroth for eons and tortured for no reason other than Astaroth's lust for sadism. When Kurai enters Hell to become Lucifer's latest bride, and therefore Abaddon's stepmother, she ends up being nice to him and gaining his immediate trust and loyalty. Once Abaddon realizes that Astaroth is planning to 'hurt mama' (Kurai), he chews off his hand to escape his chains and kills Astaroth to save Kurai.
  • In Attack on Titan, several of these feature as significant events.
    • The internal conflicts within the government come to a head when the announcement of an attack on Wall Rose reaches the capital. The commanders of the military begin preparing for a defensive operation, to buy time for as many people to evacuate as possible. Their efforts are interrupted by the nobles, who order that Wall Sina be immediately sealed and the residents of Wall Rose left to die. The military does not take kindly to being ordered to leave their own families to die. It turns out to have been a Secret Test of Character on Erwin's part, creating a false emergency to see what the government would do. Having seen that the government only cares for themselves, the military overthrows them and begins seizing their property to redistribute to the people.
    • The events of the series turn out to have been heavily shaped by one such occurrence in the past. Grisha and Dina Yeager's attempts to mold their son, Zeke, into a Tyke Bomb led him to eventually betray La Résistance to the authorities, having caught wind of the authorities closing in and knowing that it would be the only way to avoid sharing his parents' fate. Their group was rounded up, and executed via being turned into mindless Titans. While Grisha was saved from this fate and entrusted with the Attack Titan's power, his wife was not so fortunate. Dina was transformed after promising they would find each other again. This would lead her mindless Titan to relentlessly stalk the Yeager family, leading to the deaths of Carla Yeager and Hannes when she tried to attack Eren. And as for Zeke, his actions placed him into the good graces of the Marleyan government, allowing him to grow up to become the leader of the Warriors and the bearer of the Beast Titan.
  • Baccano!: After spending her entire life being verbally abused and made an unwilling accomplice to criminal acts by her creator Szilard Quates, Ennis betrays him and aids in his destruction at the hands of the Martillo family after he finally goes that step too far by ordering the deaths of two innocent people who had previously shown kindness to Ennis. What makes this example especially galling is that Szilard admits every homunculi he created before Ennis did the exact same thing; this guy just CANNOT stop abusing his creations, no matter how often it drives them into revolting against him.
  • In Claymore Miria attempts to overthrow the Organization on her own and without killing or seriously hurting any of her former Claymore companions still loyal to the Organization, but is eventually defeated. The other Claymores are expected to execute Miria for being a traitor but then decide to pull a Death Faked for You in Miria's favour and join the rebellion. This change of heart is caused by the Claymores' realization that Miria was the only one who gave any importance to their own lives, as opposed to the Organization's attitude which ranges from "We Have Reserves" to downright "You Have Outlived Your Usefulness".
  • In Code Geass R2, Schneizel manages to convince the Black Knights to oust their leader, Zero, by revealing Zero's identity and the fact that he has mind-control powers, which he kept secret from them, along with other secrets of his that range from questionable to outright horrifying. Schneizel told them that Lelouch could have used his geass power to control them, and they have no way of knowing for sure that he didn't - aside from Lelouch's word. He returned a whole year after abandoning them in the middle of a battle that they ended up losing because of it, and while he had good reasons, he never told them any of it. From then on, he keeps doing things like bringing in special agents - Britannians - who report directly to him, who haven't earned the trust of the Black Knights; and creating missions that are a lot more sinister than what he tells them (like massacring an entire lab of seemingly innocent doctors and test subjects). Because of this, resentment against him had already been building, and by not explaining himself, he leaves quite the opening for Schneizel to come in and do exactly what he did.
  • Fat Buu of Dragon Ball Z was childish and difficult for Babidi to control. Babidi eventually resorted to threats of sealing Buu away unless he obeyed Babidi's orders. When Goku pointed out that it was shameful how Buu was allowing a much weaker being to control him with threats, Buu promptly killed Babidi – choking him out the entire time up to his head getting pulped so Babidi couldn't speak the spell to seal Buu – and decided to build himself a house.
  • Gemini in Fairy Tail cannot kill Lucy after seeing how kind she is and how much she values her spirits. Gemini's former master wasn't quite as bad as other examples of celestial mages, but thought nothing of inflicting non-lethal damage on her own spirits to secure victory. Even what seemed like an inanimate object refused to hit her. In the end, they all join Lucy.
  • Kaoru in Flame of Recca is an example. After Kurei breaks his promise with Kaoru and tortures Yanagi, Kaoru abandons him and joins up with Recca several chapters later. Why? Because Yanagi was nice to him.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Human chimeras Heinkel and Darius join Edward after Kimblee blows up the mine shaft containing all three of them.
    • Greed's original group of chimera allies joined him after being experimented on and denied their essential humanity by the Amestrian military. Greed, who treats them like his cherished friends, gets their Undying Loyalty.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003): Greed was already notably rebellious, but his treatment by Dante and the other homunculi, including being sealed in a chamber for long periods, leads him to hate them so much he willingly tells Ed how to kill them.
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, the final episode has Biam turned into a monster against his will. He reforms after snapping back to normal.
  • Inuyasha: Naraku kept Kagura's heart in his possession at all times as insurance against betrayal. Kagura got so sick of Naraku treating her like a slave she actively colluded with the good guys anyway. Probably remembering the end that Kagura came to, Kanna gave Naraku the metaphorical finger by dying of suicide as ordered, but without taking Inu-Yasha and his True Companions with her. She even gives Kagome advice on Naraku's weakness when one shard hits her eye.
  • Izure Shinwa No Ragnarok: The main antagonist of the first volume, Freyja, used Brunhild as a decoy to fool the other contestants in Ragnarok and later tries to dispose of her minion when she gets placed under a Geas. Unsurprisingly, the minion cuts off her boss's escape when the latter is on the losing end of a fight with the protagonist, who at least protected Brunhild for his own reasons.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind: La Squadra di Esecuzioni, Passione’s fiercest hitmen, were shown to be resentful of their Boss’s treatment of them, seeing their pay as a pittance compared to other higher-ups in the organization. However, they wouldn’t betray the Boss at first. When they attempted to communicate their resentments to the Boss, Diavolo had 2 of their members, Sorbet and Gelato, executed by Cioccolata and Secco for trying to learn his identity. He even had Gelato’s body mailed to his teammates in pieces, to warn them of the punishment for betraying him. After attending a funeral for Sorbet and Gelato, the hitmen decide to overthrow the Boss, partially to avenge their teammates, but also to break free of Diavolo's control, as they’ve realized that their boss is a complete lunatic who will eventually get rid of them regardless of their loyalty.
  • Subverted in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Kaguya thinks Hayasaka could betray her trust because of how she treats her valet sometimes, but it's always just a misunderstanding. The twist is that Hayasaka has been betraying Kaguya from the start, though she did so reluctantly and regrettably.
  • Subverted in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Despite all the horrific stuff Precia does to Fate, the latter is too good of a person to even consider betrayal, even after her mother basically abandons Fate as a useless and ultimately failed experiment. Although Fate does give up her Love Martyrdom and performs a Heel–Face Turn after this event, she never gives up on trying to redeem Precia until the very end.
  • Mazinger Z: Baron Ashura was mostly loyal to Dr. Hell, who felt that he was above of executing his subordinates but not of punishing their failures with strikes, insults or torture. Due to this sometimes he got fed up with being mistreated and mocked and he disobeyed orders or acted on his/her own (the final time was when he stole the fortress Ghoul to make a kamikaze attack on the Institute in order to show all, Dr. Hell and his enemies, who he was. In Gosaku Ota's alternate manga, he went a step beyond that and he decided to betray Dr. Hell and Take Over the World on his/her own because he was "sick of that crazy old man and that headless idiot (Count Brocken) always mocking him" and he intended to give them a lesson to everyone.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, Cima Garahau turns on the Delaz Fleet because their members have been treating her and her fellow Marines like crap for years. In particular, Cima's fleet was denied permission to take refuge at the asteroid base Axis (with the story's main antagonist Anavel Gato casting the deciding vote) and were forced to spend the next four years hiding out from The Federation and barely eking out an existence. (The fact that the Federation offered her amnesty and wads of money didn't hurt either.) It doesn't end well for her, not because of the trope one might expect here, but because Kou Uraki didn't know a blessed word of thisnote  and ends up slaughtering all the Marines before Cima's eyes before impaling her on the Gundam GP03's megacannon and blasting her in half.
  • Naruto:
    • A variant in which the mistreated underlings turn evil happens in one filler episode. Kunihisa's helpers, whom he summons by throwing money (for example, throwing money at something he wants them to retrieve, or paying them to dress up like him in a crude imitation of the Shadow Clone Jutsu) turn on him and assist the people trying to kidnap him when he runs out of money.
    • In canon, Karin gives up on Sasuke after he shoots a Chidori Blade through her to get to Danzo, and abandons her for being weak... but she goes back to faithfully working for him once she meets him afterwards.
  • Now and Then, Here and There. Hamdo's not really helping his own case by continuously abusing his Hyper-Competent Sidekick Abelia, even after the last bastion of La Résistance has been crushed. In the end, she stands by and watches him die without lifting a finger to help.
  • One Piece:
    • Averted with Don Krieg's top fighter Gin. When the starving Gin came to Baratie, the other cooks refused him food since he had no money. Sanji, who himself had experienced starvation as a child, is unable to deny a starving person food and saved Gin's life. He does the same for Don Krieg, who then tries to take over the Baratie and kill everyone. But Gin is unable to finish off the man who saved him and begs Krieg to spare Sanji. Krieg views this as a betrayal, fires off a poison gas bomb, and demands Gin leave his gas mask off and die. At this point, you'd expect Gin to turn against such a horrible boss and side with Sanji. Gin does at least save Sanji from the gas, but still refuses to turn against Krieg.
    • During the Raid of Onigashima, Queen of the Animal Kingdom Pirates unleashes a plague called Ice Oni that turns its victims into ice demons for an hour before killing them. However, even his own grunts (Pleasures and Waiters) get caught up in the plague, but Queen insists that since they're just powerless mooks, the best they can do is spread the virus and take as many of the Straw Hats' allies as possible before dying. Naturally, when Chopper cures the plague, said mooks rally behind him and turn on Queen.
      "You almost killed our brothers! Tanuki-san saved them! We'd rather die protecting our savior than continue serving a crazy boss like you! Isn't that right, boys?!"
      "Count me in!"
      "Thanks, Tanuki!"
      "Drop dead, Queen!"
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Bunbee in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 does two Heel Neutral Turns when he realizes that his employers don't appreciate him, are blocking his dream of advancement, and will likely send him to his death. He finally does a full Heel–Face Turn at the end.
    • Happens again in Suite Pretty Cure ♪. Bassdrum and Baritone are treated so badly by Falsetto that when they get their hands on the Cure Modules, they give them to the Cures only to let them beat up Falsetto. They unfortunately got turned evil again, but they get better.
    • Wolfrun, Akaoni, and Majorina joined the Bad End Kingdom in Smile Pretty Cure! because they were treated badly due to their status as villains. When they are finally given some kindness from Cure Happy, they pull a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Inverted in the Soul Eater manga. After spending their entire life as their mother's personal, human Guinea pig, Crona has effectively gone insane. Then their mother, Medusa, suddenly starts apologizing to them for everything she's done and even hugs them, calling them "her pride." The fact that Crona has never seen Medusa act in a way besides "abusive mother," Crona gets convinced that this is not the real Medusa, and completely butchers her. This turned out to be part of Medusa's Thanatos Gambit in order to push Crona further into madness to the point they become a new Kishin.

    Comic Books 
  • Beast Wars: Uprising:
    • The Builders treated the Maximals and Predacons like crap for centuries, so naturally they turn on them.
    • Also happens again in Derailment, when Hot Rod is told by Ratbat to throw his troops into the meat grinder to slow the Resistance down a little. Hot Rod decides to Hell with that and leaves, taking those troops with him.
  • The Dark Knight Strikes Again: The mysterious "Joker" who has been killing old superheroes at the behest of Lex Luthor's puppet government is revealed to be Dick Grayson, the original Robin, in the climax. He claims this is revenge for Batman firing him as Robin and replacing him with Jason Todd, though the exact circumstances of this have never been revealed. Batman's own words on the matter was just mocking Grayson and telling him he was fired for "cowardice and incompetence".
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Korvac was initially a willing convert to the Brotherhood of the Badoon, until one day when he passed out from overwork, and the Badoon cut off his legs and wired him up to a computer bank. Korvac turned on them after that.
  • Immortal Hulk: General Fortean treats his staff, Dr. McGowan in particular, poorly, sneering at them for showing any glimpse of hesitation or empathy, while refusing to take any accountability for making them do these things. The only reason most of them put up with it is a feeling that they owe him, but eventually Dr. McGowan gets so fed up with Fortean's insanity that she seizes command of his operation from him, and lets the Hulk... do his thing.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us: In Year Five, The Flash, who was was having a serious conflict of loyalties, was considering going back in time to stop the events that led to the rise of the Regime. However, after being abandoned by his friends and loved ones, including Iris, he was convinced that the events were something the people deserved. Making this an example of Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal By Inaction.
  • Judge Dredd: Walter The Wobot, Dredd's longtime robot servant, eventually rebels against Dredd's uncaring and callous treatment and starts a second Robot Rebellion as Call-Me-Walter, seeing himself as a successor to Call-Me-Kenneth, the comics first multi-part villain.
  • In the second Missile Mouse book "Rescue on Tankium3", King Bognarsh's assistant, who spent most of the book being treated like the king's slave, wastes no time in helping bring him down when he learns of the uprising.
  • Natacha: When tracking down Natacha and Walter, one of Mahmoud Zarrad's soldiers fell into a torrent. The mahradjah ordered his men to leave him behind and continue the pursuit. The soldier survived and later help our duo escape.
  • Secret Wars (2015): For eight years since the Final Incursion, Doctor Doom locked away the Molecule Man within his realm within Battleworld, rarely visiting him and, when he did, never fed him. When the Peter Parker and Miles Morales Spider-Men show up, Miles gives the Molecule Man a hamburger he had tucked away. During the Final Battle between Doom and Reed Richards, Doom admits that, yes, Reed would have done much better in his shoes and just tries to outright kill him. Pleased with hearing these words, the Molecule Man gives Reed Doom's powers, allowing him to do just that. And as extra thanks, the Molecule Man brought Miles and his friends and family to the mainstream Marvel Universe, resurrecting his mom in the process.
  • Happens in Squadron Supreme; when Hyperion's Evil Twin falls in love with Power Princess, he betrays Master Menace.
  • Superman:
    • In Who is Superwoman?, Thara Ak-Var spends weeks putting up with Alura's cold shoulder treatment and "Step out of line and be fired" threats. Alura's daughter Kara telling Thara to quit if she doesn't like her job is the last straw that makes her turn on her former boss.
    • In Starfire's Revenge, Rodney Marlowe turns against her boss Starfire when she throws him into a death trap while admitting she executed his brother because he knew too much.
    • Supergirl (1984): Selena, who had previously abandoned her mentor Nigel when she found the Omegahedron, asks him help to deal with Linda's interference. As soon as Nigel gives her what she wants, Selena transforms him into an old man out of sheer spite and ditches him once again. Later she decides he may still be useful after all, so she holds him hostage to force Supergirl to back off. By this point, though, Nigel is so thoroughly sick of her antics that he turns on Selena and helps Supergirl beat her.
    • The K-Metal from Krypton: Art critic Daryl Bronson discovers the existence of a map to a gold mine hidden behind a painting, and makes a deal with crimelord "Rocks" Gordon to steal it and split the profits. As soon as he grabs the paiting, though, Gordon tries to get his partner murdered, driving Bronson so mad that he murders Gordon and his entire gang.
    • Revolution in San Monte: Corrupt Corporate Executive Emil Norvell hires a band of mercenaries to take out Superman. Once they (presumably) do just that, Emil decides to stiff them out of paying and even threatens to call the police on them. The next evening, the mercenaries decide to take revenge on Norville for backstabbing them, forcing Superman to save his life.
  • In The Technopriests, Panepha spent years mistreating her daughter Onyx because the girl's father was Ulritch the Red, a pirate who had raped Panepha. This comes back to bite her in the ass when she offers Onyx to a mercenary in exchange for aid in tracking down Ulritch for revenge; the merc realizes that Ulritch will pay quite handsomely for the return of his daughter and betrays Panepha. Onyx is only too happy to play along.
  • The Transformers (IDW): During the finale of Regeneration One, an Underbase-possessed Starscream attacks Jhiaxus, determined to forcibly (and fatally) assimilate him and all his knowledge. Terrified, Jhiaxus screams out for his much-abused lieutenant Rook to help him. Rook hesitates for maybe a second before running away and leaving his asshole boss to die.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • The Ultimates: After so many times being kept prisoner, thrown as a weapon at dangerous foes, and then captured and jailed again, Hulk joined the Maker, Kang, and Quicksilver, becoming openly evil in the process.
    • Ultimate X Men:
      • Magneto's abuse of the twins eventually drives them to defect to the Ultimates, but even before Quicksilver robs Magneto of his helmet in the latter's first fight with the X-Men.
      • Wolverine probably wouldn't have defected Weapon X if they'd treated him with, if not kindness, at least basic professional courtesy. Instead, Weapon X treated him like a dog they liked to abuse, caging up and shooting him just for fun and such.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Eviless plays at betraying the Emperor of Saturn because of how he punishes failures, begging to be let into Reformation Island to learn to be a better person rather than be sent back to the Emperor. This is actually a ploy to try to destroy the Amazons from Reformation Island which doesn't work out.
  • X-Men:
    • A proxy example in the case of X-23: At first, Dr. Sarah Kinney was firmly For Science! in the creation of the Opposite-Sex Clone of Wolverine, but as her immediate superior, Xander Rice's, abuse of the girl mounted (highlights: constant physical and emotional torture, placing her in the care of a psychopathic handler, exposing her to lethal doses of radiation at the age of seven to forcibly activate her Healing Factor, and denying her anesthesia at the same age during the surgery to rip out her claws one by one to bond them with adamantium) combined with the project lead's apathy (if not complicity) in the abuse, she grows increasingly disillusioned with the project and is finally driven to turn X loose on the installation and escape. Considering X herself spent ten minutes beating Rice to death with her bare hands, it was just a tiny bit personal for her, as well.
    • Magneto: As a Bad Boss, one shouldn't be surprised that the majority of times his underlings betray him it is motivated by abuse. The king of mistreatment-induced betrayals where Magneto is concerned is his long-time sycophant the Toad, who Mags used to, in Toad's own words, "Insult me, hit me, order me around like a slave". Unsurprisingly Toad eventually reached a breaking point and more than once turned on Magneto, though tragically his borderline abused housewife mentality leads him to just keep returning to Mags's side. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, who also endured Magneto at his worst, left his side to join the Avengers and never looked back.
  • There is an issue in X-Wing Rogue Squadron involving Sixtus, an elite member of Imperial Special Intelligence. He competed with the Rebels to impress someone so they would hand over a smuggler his superior wanted, and although the Rebels fought valiantly, Sixtus won. But, while they were competing, his superior went behind Sixtus's back, stole the smuggler, and lifted off, abandoning the trooper and thirteen of his companions on Ryloth. Ryloth's laws mean that if they can't get transport, they get sold into slavery. So when the Rebels took them out for a drink and offered a chance to get revenge on that superior, they accepted. They didn't become Rebels themselves right away, but from the novel The Bacta War, we know that they came around eventually.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Alpha and Omega: Shinji joins Aria after his older alternate self points out that everyone in NERV and WILLE treats him like shit despite proving that they can't accomplish anything without him.
    WILLE Bridge Bunny: So you're on their side now!?
    Shinji: Since when were any of you ever on my side?
  • BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant: After Rachel insults Ironwood, Ozpin warns her that her constant admonishing and belittling could spur Ironwood to betray them, reflecting back on past instances where he was betrayed by people who felt they hadn't been given their proper dues.
  • The Dragon and the Butterfly (Encanto & How to Train Your Dragon): Hiccup, after years of bullying and neglect from the people of Berk, finally finds a friend in Toothless the Night Fury. Once the two are discovered, Hiccup directly defies Stoick's orders, frees Toothless from a public execution, and the two fly away. The Vikings see this as a betrayal, as only cowards flee. However, it's made clear that Hiccup had no other choice: he could allow Toothless to die, or the two could run away and try to find a place they could live free.
  • In An Entry with a Bang!, the Buron Cavalry decide to try and get in Clancy-Earth's good graces after they find out that C-Earth has nukes and Vorax did not mention as such beforehand. Aladdin Al Azim does the same after he realises that the Earthers he faces include Muslims and that Mecca is one of Vorax's targets.
  • Fractured (Mass Effect & Star Wars & Borderlands): Evil Shepard insults Lilith one time too many, causing her to both recognize what a wreck she is and the various demerits of working for an Insane Admiral/that admiral's nutty commander. She ends up assisting the heroes in taking over her boss' ship, and ultimately crashes that ship into Pandora's north pole, destroying all Reapers.
  • If Wishes Were Ponies (Harry Potter & My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic): Several Muggleborns were unable to secure magical jobs due to their muggle origins and retreated into the Muggle World to survive. Unfortunately, because they had no provable secondary education, they were forced to take jobs in the military. Needless to say, when Equestria makes First Contact and reveals the existence of magic to the British muggles, most of the Muggleborns are quite eager to help the government out with their findings on the Wizarding World and their defense against them because of how they were treated. When Dolores Umbridge tries to initiate a kidnapping of Ambassador Blueblood within the Prime Ministers' own office, it triggers a stasis trap that ensnares Umbridge and Fudge as the two people responsible for creating the laws that treated Muggleborns like crap are then held at both gunpoint and Wandpoint by British Service Agents.
  • New Stars (The Orville & Star Wars: The Clone Wars): After learning that the Kaminoans put a control chip in his head (and that they likely did the same to all of the other clones), Maxx decides to sever all ties to the Republic and become a Union soldier.
  • Operation: FOSTERS (Codename: Kids Next Door & Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends): This is the reason that Numbuh Two-Hundred-One, AKA Mac, defected from the Kids Next Door and went into hiding. Numbuh Two-Hundred-One was a prominent cadet in both melee combat and 2x4 technology of Sector IF, until his sugar-induced insanity was discovered and the scientists from the Deep Sea Base captured him and experimented on him while hiding it from Two-Hundred-One's sector mates or the higher ups of the Kids Next Door. The treatment broke Two-Hundred-One's faith in the organization as he thought the entire KND was involved, and after he broke free from the scientists he faked his death and returned to his hometown. However, the trope is Deconstructed, as while Numbuh One and the moon base command do sympathize with what Two-Hundred-One went through, he still betrayed the KND by faking his disappearance. Numbuh One even points out that Two-Hundred-One should have told his sector mates or the higher ups about what the scientists did to him.
  • The Prayer Warriors: In "Battle With the Sphinx", William, a Prayer Warrior, gets captured by Carter Kane and is taken to the Egyptian god Horus's base of operations. William tries to get Carter to convert to Christianity, to no avail, but soon, he comes back, angry with Horus for ordering him to go to America instead of the front lines, as he says that bad things happened to him there, but he refuses to elaborate. This time, he's willing to convert, free William and help him defeat Horus.
  • Thousand Shinji: Gendo abandoned his son Shinji when he was four. When summoned to Tokyo-3 by his father ten years later, Shinji has learnt the ways of scheming and plotting, and several useful skills, and he decides to pay his father back. In the process Rei -who had been treated as a tool for Gendo- and Asuka -who had lost her mother and been turned into a Child Soldier cause Nerv and whom Gendo forced to attack her best friend- side with him.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Vladislav abuses, threatens, hits and kills his lackeys to his heart's content until his underlying Robert Platt gets fed up with being mistreated and stakes him.


  • The Defeated: After they fail to save Rukia, both Ichigo and Orihime join Aizen out of a desire for revenge on Soul Society for torturing them and killing their friends then refusing to accept they were wrong to do so. That Aizen is willing to spare their families and remaining friends is further incentive.

Code Geass

  • Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion: Clovis tells CC that his experiments on her had Charles' blessing. Needless to say, once she gets free, she immediately throws her support behind Lelouch's rebellion.


  • In Kara of Rokyn, Lex Luthor tricked Parasite into working for him and then turned him into a pile of goo stuck to Superman in order to siphon off his power. As a result of it, Parasite turns against Luthor at the first available opportunity.

Detective Conan

  • Dominoes: After Shinichi's Control Freak father and equally controlling friends refuse to let him help investigate the disappearance of several missing children, Shinichi starts working with the supervillain Kaitou KID instead. Later, even after his temporary alliance with KID has ended, he decides to drop one of his surviliance robots in his father's office.


  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): San, after being severed from Ghidorah and fusing himself to Dr. Vivienne Graham, ultimately opts not to return himself and Vivienne to Ghidorah's side at all, as he sides with defending and nurturing his new sister Vivienne and the things she cares about, which, by extension, puts him on the side of humanity and Godzilla. While Ichi and Ni's (Ghidorah's other two heads') abuse of him isn't the only reason why San makes a Heel–Face Turn and becomes The Atoner, their constant ill treatment of him certainly ensured that San had little to no real loyalty to them or reason to want to go back to them once he found something better, which made San's turn to the good side all the easier.

Harry Potter

  • The plot of Harry Potter: Junior Inquisitor is kicked off by Dumbledore throwing Harry under the bus by both recanting his statements about Voldemort's return and not defending Harry at his trial. As a result, Harry promptly throws Dumbledore under the bus in turn.

The LEGO Movie

  • Played With in A Piece of Rebellion. When they find the Piece of Resistance, Bad Cop makes Good Cop take control because President Business is much harsher on his "good half", so he needs the credit more. Good Cop then accidentally kick-starts the plot by making a mistake that gets them labeled a traitor. Moreover, even after they got the Piece stuck to their back, Good Cop/Bad Cop were perfectly willing to hand it over to President Business like the loyal officer they were. Instead, Business declares them traitors and try to have them executed.

Love Hina

  • For His Own Sake opens with Keitaro growing a spine and deciding to quit his job at the Hinata Inn after years of being abused and mistreated by most of the residents. He also breaks things off with Naru for the same reason, having realized their relationship was All Take and No Give.
    • By the end of the story, Naru has managed to burn every last one of her bridges through her constant cruelty towards others. Even with Granny Hina, who turns upon her after learning that Naru repaid all her years of kindness and coddling by participating in a plot to kidnap and attempt to murder her grandson.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

  • In The War Is Far from Over Now, roughly 75% of the agents burned by Black Widow and Captain America dumping SHIELD's files online stick with Stark Industries and refuse to return to the reformed SHIELD. Their most common tactic when called is summed up as "New phone, who dis?" Some SHIELD agents get the idea and play it off as mistaking them for someone else. Others (very foolishly) try to get insistent.

Marvel Universe

  • Project Riribirth has an unusual example: Riri Williams goes after Tony in part because he was too nice to her, not too mean. As Riri sees it, if Tony hadn't overpraised her and convinced her that she was one of the world's strongest heroes, Riri wouldn't have jumped into a fight way above her weight class and gotten the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that ended her superhero career permanently.


  • In Shadow Dragon8685's Misfiled Dreams Jenny Jr. has already been awed by the friendliness and compassion of Ash and Emily, so what better way for her Manipulative Bitch of a mother to keep her on the side than by verbally abusing and disowning her. Jenny Jr.'s Heel–Face Turn is probably the easiest decision ever made as a result.

Monster Rancher

  • Phoenix's Tear: Reignition: After Avila's pack helps Stone Dragon find the Color Pandora's sanctuary, Stone Dragon gloats about how he's going to roast everyone inside alive... without giving his allies any time to evacuate. In response, Avila deliberately ignores the Searchers as they put together a counterstrike, taking advantage of the chaos to flee with her packmates.

My Hero Academia

  • Apotheosis: Ochako gets wrongfully expelled from U.A. when they decide to use them as a scapegoat for Katsuki's poor decisions. This pushes them right into Izuku's waiting arms, as he offers them a sympathetic ear and helps them realize just how badly they were screwed over.


  • Androgyninja's A Drop of Poison: During the Konoha Crush, the majority of the Suna-nin turn upon their own leader, as the Kazekage's actions have only been making matters worse for their hidden village.
  • Blackkat's Reverse has all of the hidden villages learning the hard way that they shouldn't have treated the jinchuuriki like utter crap. All Kurama has to do is offer them the chance at freedom and the prospect of being around others who treat them like actual human beings and they flock to his side.
  • Blood is Thicker than Bone: Being abandoned and ditched by the others leads to Tayuya joining Konoha in exchange for giving information about Orochimaru's plans and bases.
  • A Case Study in the Sturdiness of the Rookie 9: During the finale, Dosu decides to defect from Sound since Orochimaru had killed both of his teammates.
  • The Last Prayer: Due to both Gaara wanting to demoralize Naruto and Rasa wanting the boy pumped for information Temari is engaged to the boy, with Gaara forcing Temari to insist during the Chunin Exam finals that she never loved Naruto and that he's outright unlovable. When the invasion fails miserably and Suna is forced to pay reparations towards Konoha, Rasa orders Temari to convince Naruto to cancel their engagement. Temari, fed up at being "first treated as a whore then a spoiled child" and genuinely falling for Naruto, outright refuses, stating she plans to insist on going through with their marriage.
  • The Moon Cries in Reverse: Naruto, Sakura and Shikamaru are subjected to Training from Hell at the Sandaime's command, something he "justifies" by claiming their loyalty to Konoha needed to be tested. His fears become a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy when Orochimaru offers them a chance to defect.
  • Son of the Sannin: When Orochimaru decides to leave behind one of his underlings, Hebimaru, due to considering a liability to rescue him, his twin sister Hebiko takes offense. Orochimaru manages to keep her at ease for the time being by telling her that Konoha will most certainly keep him alive (for interrogation) and promising to rescue him. But, since he never intended to fulfill that promise, and once she finally sees that he's planning on discarding them like trash, Hebiko takes things into her own hands and, in order: murders Kabuto Yakushi, takes several of Orochimaru's troops with her, captures Juugo and retrieves the stolen Scroll of Seals, and then shows up at the doorsteps of the Shinobi Alliance's Headquarters, offering Juugo and the scroll as a bargaining chip for her brother's freedom (along with information about Orochimaru's whereabouts and plans).

Neon Genesis Evangelion

  • Advice and Trust: Shinji was abandoned by his father Gendo when he was four, Asuka was also abandoned by her father when she was four and then trained to be a Child Soldier, they have been used like disposable and replaceable weapons for Gendo and then fired when he thought he had a replacement who would not disobey their orders, and in chapter 7 they found that their mothers' deaths were not "accidents"... in summary, they are turning on Nerv.
  • A Crown of Stars: Given everything that Shinji and Asuka endured at the hands of Jinnai and his ex-boss Winthrop (both dictators treated them as pawns in the post-Third Impact wars — and they would have shot Shinji and Asuka without the slightest concern if they thought that the pair of teenagers might be a problem, — and they forced Asuka to be their toy for three years), it is not a wonder that they switched sides instantly when someone made them an offer.
  • The Child of Love: On top of all the abuse Gendo had heaped on his son, his pilots, and all his employees, he used drugs to drive a thirteen-year-old girl to have sex with someone, planning using her baby, who coincidentally is his granddaughter, as a war weapon. And then he threatened dire punishments to whoever learnt about his ploy. The funny part is he was seriously shocked when everyone turned against him.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: When Misato discovers that Gendo and Ritsuko had mistreated, hurt, and treated her pilots as puppets and lab rats again, she decides to finally turn fully against NERV and strike a deal with the American government to protect her kids.
  • Once More with Feeling: Shinji was abandoned by his father when he was four and summoned ten years later because his father needed him to pilot a Humongous Mecha and fight alien monsters. Due to the machinations of his father during the Angel war Shinji got hurt physically and emotionally, and saw his life's love, his sister, his surrogate mother and his friends suffering and dying until he crumbled down and let the world dying. Then he got a second chance, and he revealed the secrets of Nerv to Kaji as soon as he met him.
  • Scar Tissue: Seele raised and tortured a child to turn him into the ultimate soldier, and then they decided to unleash him against their enemies. And then one of their enemies offered him a bigger sum of money for finding and killing the members of Seele. He gleefully took up her offer.
  • The Second Try: Shinji and Asuka lost their mothers, were abandoned by their fathers, were forced to fight a war against Eldritch Abominations and died in combat before they were fifteen, outlived the end of the world and had to survive in the wastes left after the Third Impact. Then they got flung back in time and schemed to ruin the plans of their superiors.


  • White Sheep: Downplayed. Emerald is the Butt-Monkey for most of the early fic, and in particular, her boss Cinder keeps getting mad at her for things that are only partly her fault. So when Cinder abandons her after the Battle of Beacon, Emerald doesn't lose any sleep over allying with Weiss instead. Ruby later tells Cinder that Emerald would probably still be working for her if she was just a bit nicer.

A Song of Ice and Fire

  • In Chasing Dragons, the slave revolts that the Sunset Company inspires across Essos essentially boil down to this, as the slaves take revenge for lifetimes of abuse by their masters.

Star Wars

  • Force of Destiny begins with Darth Vader suffering an injury while testing a prototype TIE fighter that reveals that a chip was placed on him years ago that deliberately handicapped his ability to heal after the attack that forced him to be placed in his life support suit (in this continuity Anakin's fight with Obi-Wan did not cost him his remaining limbs). Faced with this evidence of the Emperor's brutal treatment of the man meant to be his closest subject, the majority of the crew of Vader's Super Star Destroyer, the Executor, openly defect to the Rebel Alliance while Vader departs for Tatooine to assist in rescuing Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt.
  • Treachery: Just before Anakin kills him, Count Dooku realizes Palpatine has betrayed him and uses his final moments to out Palpatine as Darth Sidious.

Steven Universe

  • Rose Redemption AU: Fire Agate was a loyal member of Pink Diamond's court that fought valiantly for her diamond against the rebel army, unaware that Pink Diamond was also the leader of that army Rose Quartz. When she believed that her diamond was shattered, Agate was devastated, having been given Fire Pearl as something of a companion to help her stay together. When she discovered the truth, she vowed revenge on Pink on behalf of herself and the many loyal gems that were shattered in the war.

Teen Titans


  • Flowey is Not a Good Life Coach: Papyrus endures a lot of abuse from his False Friend Flowey; however, the last straw comes when he tries to convince the skeleton to kill an innocent Snowdrake. Realizing that Flower will never stop asking for more, he turns upon the flower and starts fighting back.



  • In XCOM: The Hades Contingency, the UN was going to execute the Commander's men despite their assurances to the contrary. The Atlas Protocol reveals that EXALT managed to save several of them, who promptly joined them as a result.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Iago does this right at the start of the film after having been bullied by Jafar one time too many. It's not a Heel–Face Turn right at the outset, and in fact, Iago does wind up unwillingly working with Jafar again, but it provides the spark, with the kindness of Aladdin and his friends eventually providing the rest of the motive for Iago to fully change sides.
    Iago: (seeing Jafar gloatingly trying to torture Aladdin) HEY, JAFAR — SHUT UUUUUUUPPPPPPP!!!
  • Colonel Cutter in Antz seems to start turning when General Mandible seems more intent on taking over, but is otherwise totally and completely loyal. Until the end of the film, that is, when he does finally turn.
  • Helga from Atlantis: The Lost Empire, as a result of Rourke throwing her off a blimp at a very great height, nearly killing her in the process. Her response?
    Helga: Nothing personal. (fires her gun)
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Kronk, Yzma's Dumb Muscle, is treated like dirt throughout the entire film without seeming to be overly bothered by it. Towards the end, after taking a moment to consult (out loud) with his shoulder morality companions, Yzma finally snaps and starts into a particularly vicious tirade. The clincher is claiming to have never liked his spinach puffs.
  • An Extremely Goofy Movie: Bradley leaves his right-hand man Tank to die in the burning X games logo just so he can finish the race. Max and Goofy manage to help Tank escape and Max wins the race. Tank then turns on Bradley for betraying him and then slingshots him towards the X-Games zeppelin flying overhead.
  • In The Incredibles, when Mr. Incredible grabs Mirage and threatens her life, Syndrome calls his bluff, knowing Mr. Incredible couldn't hurt a helpless woman. While he was spot on about Mr. Incredible, he completely failed to realize that Mirage would be upset at being treated as expendable, and might admire Mr. Incredible for his concern. She already had doubts after Syndrome ordered missiles launched at a plane with children in it, but gambling with her life is far too personal for her to let slide.
  • In Kung Fu Panda 2, the captain of Lord Shen's wolves refuses to fire a cannon that would kill his own men. Lord Shen kills him immediately and fires the cannon himself.
  • The Lion King:
    • At the end of the original film, Scar's plea for mercy from Simba wasn't very convincing or effective, but his Karmic Death could have been averted if he hadn't slagged off the hyenas at the same time.
    • In the sequel, the Outsiders from Simba's Pride's main reason for defecting to Simba's Kingdom essentially amounted to disgust towards Zira after she made the mistake of threatening her own daughter, Vitani with death if she didn't obey her command.
  • Bad Cop from The LEGO Movie. Being forced to Kragle his parents pushed him close, but flat-out being abandoned for really no reason at all by Lord Business is what pushes him over the edge.
  • In The LEGO Ninjago Movie, Lord Garmadon fires his generals that let him down by shooting them out of his volcano. When Garmadon and the ninjas encounter the generals that were fired in the jungle, they find that the generals are covered in magma and have gone insane, and they try to get revenge on their former boss and the ninjas that always foiled their plans.
  • In Leroy & Stitch, Hämsterviel is dumb enough to tell Gantu that he'll be fired as soon as he's finished locking up Lilo and Reuben. Naturally, Gantu decides that he's got nothing to lose, and releases them.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): In the climax, the Storm King reveals that he had no intention of restoring Tempest Shadow's broken horn. This, along with Twilight saving Tempest from being sucked into a tornado, convinces Tempest to switch sides, even Taking the Bullet for Twilight when she's about to be turned to stone, doing so at point-blank range results in the Storm King being turned to stone along with her, and while Twilight saves Tempest, the Storm King is left to shatter into pieces.
  • Lawrence from The Princess and the Frog does a Face–Heel Turn over being mistreated by a good guy. He is Prince Naveen's mistreated servant/valet, who initially tries to be the Straight Man and the voice of reason to his Royal Brat master. However, when Dr. Facilier offers him a deal to betray the prince so that he won't be pushed around anymore, Lawrence doesn't hesitate for a moment to accept the deal.
  • Bladebeak in Quest for Camelot was never a true villain (and mistreated when he was on their side), instead he switches to the heroes' side because Kayley raised him and she was in trouble.
  • Dr. Nefarious in Ratchet & Clank (2016) used to be a weapons engineer and tactician for the Galactic Rangers and by all appearances a Nice Guy, but his Attention Whore boss taking credit for everything he did, cutting his budget constantly, mocking him for being a nerd, and otherwise mistreating him led him to become evil. By the time we meet him, he's working on blowing up planets for revenge.
  • In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, after having enough of Saddam Hussein's abuse towards him, Satan throws him back to hell where he gets impaled by a stalagmite.
    Saddam: Come on, you wig-stupid cum bucket. Save me!
    Satan: THAT'S! IT! I have had enough of you!
  • Superman/Batman: Public Enemies: Miss Waller is loyal to Lex Luthor right up until she realizes he's gone bat-shit crazy. Mind you, he doesn't mistreat her, he hits on her in the mistaken belief this will somehow cement her loyalty, instead of creeping her the hell out. Being high and insane is not actually that good for your charisma.
  • Luthor's deeply creepy treatment of his brainwashed replacement Superman in the Superman: Doomsday movie. It's a disturbing cross of Abusive Parent and Foe Romance Subtext, and his eventual "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it" both inspires the betrayal and gives Cloneboy the hint to look inside his own skull for a lead-wrapped Kryptonite bomb, and carve it out. Mind you, you can't say Cloney Heel Face Turns; Lex's whole threat-inducing problem with him is how fast he's careening into Knight Templar Beware the Superman territory. He just turns on Lex, and then slaughters the whole clone army while they're still in their pods, because there aren't going to be any evil Supermen on his watch, nuh-uh. Just a terrifying one. And while he'd killed a murderer he only threatened the old woman with the cat, and blew up the guns of cops trying to arrest him... Anyone familiar with the character of Post-Crisis Superboy, Conner Kent, finds this especially freaky since it's like his origin story gone all wrong. Well, wronger than it was to begin with.
  • Toy Story 3 sees Big Baby's Heel–Face Turn triggered by getting fed up with Lotso's abuse when Woody returns to Sunnyside with the tag from "Daisy" which Lotso tore from Big Baby when she'd forgotten them and learns Lotso lied to him, with the breaking point being Lotso smashing the tag — and results in Big Baby tossing Lotso into a dumpster.
  • Up: Dug decides that Carl is his master after being repeatedly mistreated by Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Omega.
  • It is implied that the mistreatment of Dawn Bellwether in Zootopia by her boss was one of the reasons for her decision to cause a city-wide panic over fear of predators so she can remain in power.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Addams Family: Gordon decides he's had enough after being belittled one too many times by his mother, Abigail, and sides with Gomez and Morticia against her. He prevents Gomez from using the book that leads to the family's vault and instead grabs a book that unleashes a violent storm, taking out Abigail and Alford, and also results in Gordon recovering his real memories as Fester Addams.
  • Near the end of Around the World in 80 Days (2004), Inspector Fix pulls a Heel–Face Turn after having been abused by Lord Kelvin one time too many, specifically by being thrown out a window, and tells the public that Kelvin tried to stop Fogg from winning his bet in any way possible.
  • At the end of Cannibal Girls, after discovering that Cliff has sold her out to the Reverend, Gloria beats Cliff to death with a mace.
  • In Four Brothers gang leader Victor Sweet treats his followers so badly that they refuse to come to his defense against Bobby Mercer when he fights Sweet for murdering the Mercer brothers' adoptive mother.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014):
    • Carina, after being threatened with being rendered part of his collection by The Collector, takes the opportunity to seize the Infinity Stone rather than live as his slave, knowing that it will destroy her, and in the process destroys a huge chunk of his collection and denies him the second stone.
    • Both Gamora and Nebula seem to hate Thanos for (in Gamora's case that we know of, possibly Nebula's too) killing her family, and being reshaped into weapons to serve him. Gamora betrays him to keep the orb away from him, and Nebula sides with the genocidal Ronan because he's going to use his new power against Thanos next.
  • General Hux, who had spent most of the Star Wars sequel trilogy as Kylo Ren's personal Butt-Monkey, finally gets fed up and leaks information to the Resistance in The Rise of Skywalker. This isn't a Heel–Face Turn, he just really wants payback.
    Hux: I don't care if you win. I just want Kylo Ren to lose.
  • In Jurassic Park (1993), Dennis Nedry tells Dodgson that the reason he's selling out the titular park and Ingen to their rival Biosyn is that Hammond grossly underpaid him for his work on writing all the systems of the park.
    Nedry: Don't get cheap on me, Dodgson. That was Hammond's mistake.
  • In Labyrinth, if Jareth had settled on just giving Hoggle orders then there would have been no problem, especially since Hoggle is a dyed-in-the-wool misanthrope. However, Jareth just can't seem to stop insulting Hoggle, belittling him, physically mistreating him, and issuing dire threats (it was probably his threat to dump Hoggle into the Bog Of Eternal Stench that finally tipped the scales). The manga reveals that Jareth makes good on his threat.
  • The Ladykillers (2004): Pancake tries to steal the money from his partners largely out of bitterness that none of them besides Lump voted to give him an extra share after he lost a finger handling the explosives.

  • Animorphs:
    • Inverted during the David Trilogy. The Animorphs think they're saving David from infestation, a Fate Worse than Death, by making him their new Sixth Ranger, but as this happens in rather desperate circumstances that means he's more or less forcibly recruited, kidnapped, and thrust into a battle he wants no part of, thrown into the deep end in a way they weren't and separated from his family. He tries making the best of it for a little while, but after team leader Jake threatens to kill him for breaking into a hotel room he has enough. As soon as the Big Bad offers to give him his family back he goes Sixth Ranger Traitor on them. In context, though, Jake disliked David long before the "hotel room" incident. It was more like Jake snapped because of a series of minor infractions on David's part, such as when David kills a crow for the fun of it while in morph and then lying about having lost control of his morph.
    • In the endgame of the series, the unnamed Yeerk infesting Jake's brother Tom head a faction that turns on Visser One (formerly Visser Three), the head of the Yeerk invasion of Earth. Visser One is a textbook Bad Boss prone to You Have Failed Me and who's burned through all his friends and allies over the course of the series; Tom's Yeerk can put two and two together and sees that loyal Yeerks won't flourish on a conquered Earth, so he throws in with the Animorphs for long enough to steal a ship and leave for somewhere else.
  • Odile in The Black Swan (Mercedes Lackey's retelling of Swan Lake) turns on her father after he uses her as a People Puppet to deceive Siegfried.
  • The Book of Mormon mentions how Morianton very nearly led away a large group of Nephites to settle the "land northward", which would likely have compromised the Nephites' defensive line against Lamanite invaders (plus, the reason Morianton wanted to run was that his people had tried to cheat one of their neighbours, and he knew the civil government would rule against him). Before he can leave, though, he makes the mistake of beating up one of his servants in a fit of temper; she runs straight to Chief Captain Moroni and spills everything, allowing him to intercept and stop the runaways.
  • In The Box Of Delights, Punch-Clock Villain Joe is feeling uncomfortable with Abner Brown's plans but is still trying to talk him around. Then Abner locks him in a cell and leaves him to die. When Joe is released, he rescues most of Abner's prisoners and ultimately contributes to his Karmic Death.
  • Mentioned in A Brother's Price: Ren, after seducing the Whistler family's son, Jerin, on the kitchen floor, fears the Whistlers will lure her into a trap. They don't, in fact, the family doesn't know about it, yet. Ren is not a villain but sometimes acts like a jerk, as the spoilered incident proves.
  • Chillin' in Another World with Level 2 Super Cheat Powers: Discussed. The First Princess discovers Flio was Banaza, the rejected hero candidate whom her father sent to die. Combined with the knowledge that the Golden-Haired Hero tried to press-gang him into service and he has some unspecified connection to the demons, she fears that Flio might outright join the demons and the humans would only have themselves to blame.
  • In Destroyermen, the entire crew of the German sub U-112 ends up surrendering to the Alliance after being essentially written off by the League of Tripoli. In addition, they know that the French and Italians are already working to marginalize the German contingent of the League.
  • Dragon Age: In Last Flight, the Tevinter Imperium closes its borders and refuses to supply military aid to the southern nations battling against the darkspawn of the Fourth Blight because those same nations spent the last 70 years trying to subjugate Tevinter in a series of religious wars at the Chantry's behest.
  • In Dragon Bones, the Big Bad murders one of the minor villains because said minor villain mistreated the people he was intended to rule, and the main villain knows that this could lead to betrayal, which would be inconvenient. The villain himself is more of the Affably Evil sort.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In Blood Rites Lara Raith has been abused, mentally and sexually, by her father for decades. Her mind is very eager to turn against him but fear of his terrifying power kept her from acting. When Harry gets him to confess that he has no power or means of replenishing it until the descendants of the woman who cursed him are killed, namely Harry, and even Lara can be replaced if she proves to be an inconvenience to him, it is enough for her to break free and take him down.
    • White Night has a unique version with guaranteed mistreatment to come causes the betrayal when Harry gets Lash, the shadow of a Fallen Angel in his head, to admit if Harry does take up the Coin of Lasciel, she will effectively be killed by being reabsorbed into the true Fallen. As she has existed in Harry's head for years, she is more than just the simple copy of the ageless Fallen. This was one step in the many that would lead Lash to choose to fully separate herself from the Fallen Angel and become something different.
  • In Harry Potter, a couple of Voldemort's lieutenants go this way. A big deal is made of Voldemort's inability to comprehend human emotion and how he doesn't trust (or even particularly like) his underlings.
    • Severus Snape defected from the Death Eaters and became a spy for Dumbledore after Voldemort decided to kill the Potters, endangering his childhood love, Lily Evans (now Potter, yes as Harry's mother). Granted, it was a bit more complicated; Voldemort did make some effort in sparing Lily, but she refused to move out the way and let Harry die and Snape joining was also for him being The Atoner. The only reason Voldemort went after the Potters in the first place was because of a prophecy that Snape overheard and told Voldemort himself.
    • In a Face–Heel Turn variation, this is what causes Kreacher to betray Sirius to the Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Sirius was justifiably upset at being forced to live in a house he hates with a painting that constantly hurls verbal abuse at him and a house elf that does the same. But Sirius's mistake was that he took out his anger on Kreacher, who was working for the hated Black family but had not actually caused Sirius harm in any way. Well, not caused Sirius harm before the "betrayal" part, anyway. It was Harry realizing this and extending his hand to Kreacher that causes the house-elf to truly become an ally to Harry.
    • A mild Face–Heel Turn version: Percy Weasley is constantly pranked, insulted, and mocked by his siblings, particularly his twin brothers, while Harry Potter is quickly welcomed into the Burrow as practically an adopted son. Percy never directly witnesses any of Harry's heroics in the first four books (well, outside of saving his brother in Book 4), so it's not that surprising that when he is given a promotion at the Ministry of Magic, a promotion which his father Arthur Weasley flat out says he didn't earn and that his boss only wants to use Percy to spy on the Order, etc, he shuns all contact with his family, determined to prove that he is not the sort of man who blindly follows Dumbledore like all the other Weasleys supposedly do. Unfortunately, Dumbledore turned out to be right, and Arthur probably wasn't far off the mark either. (Even if he was less than tactful about it in the heat of the moment.)
  • In Heralds of Valdemar, Nyara hasn't known friendship or kindness since she was younger. She and her siblings were used as a Guinea Pig Family for her Abusive Dad, Mornelithe Falconsbane, as he tested mutations he wanted to use on himself on them. Only Nyara survived, as he killed the "failures". He also installed a Villain Override on her, enjoying that she loved and needed and despised him. She runs away early in Winds of Fate, helping his enemies out of spite and Enlightened Self-Interest, and immediatley doubles down on resisting him when he calls her back so he can use what she's learned to hurt the very people who took her in and were good to her. Nyara goes as far as attacking him after he hurts Skif.
  • The Hero Who Seeks Revenge Shall Exterminate With Darkness: Victoria was such a Bad Boss, most of her servants do not come to her aid when she screams for help.
  • Honor Harrington: In Field of Dishonor, Pavel Young compels his (female) security chief to become his lover. This leads her to give Honor Harrington's allies evidence that implicates Young in the murder of Honor's lover, Paul Tankersley, ultimately leading to Honor killing Young in a duel. She even notes how stupid he is to abuse his security chief this way.
  • John Carter of Mars: In Edgar Rice Burroughs's Chessman of Mars, I-Gos greatly admires courage and comes to see how Tara and Turan show such courage as he has not seen in centuries. And then his jeddak calls him "doddering fool"—a point he repeats to Turan in explaining that he wants to help him now.
  • In Jurassic Park (1990), Nedry chooses to sell Ingen's secrets to its competitors in large part because Hammond was such a cheapskate and Bad Boss, having forced Nedry to program the park's entire computer network by himself (instead of hiring a full team of programmers) while paying him low wages and keeping him on the island for long periods of time. So much for sparing no expense.
  • In the Modesty Blaise novel A Taste for Death, Modesty and Willie invoke this trope, persuading one of the villain's underlings to help them by manufacturing evidence that the villain plans to dispose of him along with the prisoners when their usefulness is at an end.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Luke and numerous other demigods join the Titans because they're sick of their godly parents mistreating and neglecting them all their lives and leaving their mortal parent to fend for themselves. The gods also outright forget to claim their children after they arrive at Camp Half-Blood, leaving them wondering who their divine parent even is. The good guys even acknowledge that while the Olympians may be overall better than the villains they are fighting against, they sure aren't what they would call good.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Cersei spends the whole of A Feast for Crows in her capacity as regent for King Tommen insulting and ignoring the advice of her brother Jaime, her uncle Kevan and Grand Maester Pycelle (as well as periodically threatening the latter with imprisonment and/or death), both alienating them and running Westeros into the ground. When the (thanks to Cersei) newly empowered Faith Militant imprison Cersei on charges of treason and adultery, Jaime ignores her pleading request to be her champion in a Trial by Combat, while Kevan and Pycelle leave her in jail, strip her sycophants of power and get to work trying to fix the mess Cersei made.
    • A historical example from Fire & Blood: after defeating and executing his half-sister Rhaenyra, King Aegon II imposes heavy fines on the lords of the Crownlands to punish them for supporting Rhaenyra's claim to the Iron Throne. When an enemy army fighting to depose him and put Rhaenyra's son on the throne moves to attack King's Landing, Aegon commands the same lords to provide soldiers to reinforce his loyalists...and in the battle that follows, they either abandon Aegon's loyalists to be massacred or assist in the enemy victory, leaving Aegon left with no forces to defend the city against three enemy armies who want his head on a spike. When he threatens one of his remaining commanders to either stop the enemy or see his granddaughter executed as punishment, the man quickly joins a conspiracy to assassinate Aegon before the end of the day.
  • In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On the Razor's Edge, the Radiant Name orders his men to stay put, though he has armor and a teleport device, and they don't, right before one assassinates him.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Mara Jade was once Emperor's Hand, sort of a secret agent doing The Emperor's bidding. After his death, she left The Empire and basically bounced from one neutral smuggling group to another as her Force Sensitivity fluctuated, hating the Rebellion but finding no one in the Empire that commanded her allegiance. Her last smuggling group was also her best, with a boss she respected and who respected her in turn. The newest and greatest Imperial leader, Grand Admiral Thrawn, was impressive, knew who and what Mara was, and requested that she get some information from her boss and bring it to him in a few days. Thrawn then put a tracking device on her, followed her back to the rendezvous, and kidnapped her boss. His lie was what drove her permanently away from the Empire, and thus reluctantly towards the New Republic.
    • Likewise in the Thrawn Trilogy, Thrawn's Noghri assassin Rukh stabs him in revenge after the Empire's manipulation of the Noghri race is exposed.
    • There are several of these in the X-Wing Series.
    • The captain of an Imperial Interdictor Cruiser protested when some of her crew were transferred out as punishment for a nonexistent offense (supposedly the squadron leader of the ship's TIE fighters had blundered by killing a Rebel pilot they'd been assigned to capture alive, but Director Isard stubbornly refused to believe the truth that the X-wing had blown up on its own, despite the fact that sensor records would have confirmed the Interdictor and its fighters had never shot it), the protest was ignored, and she and her entire crew went over to the Rebellion.
    • Inyri Forge, who'd become the lover of a criminal who hated the Rogues, killed him when he threatened one of them, because while he'd respected her and forced others and herself to do the same, he hadn't risked himself to save her or shown concern over her welfare like the Rogues had, and she knew that he was not the kind of person she was raised to respect.
  • Sword of Truth:
    • The D'harans have an en-masse version of this with the new Lord Rahl. Even though it was after Darken Rahl died, there were still all sorts of ways they could have helped him, including when he briefly came back from the dead.
    • Altur'Rang has an en-masse one of these, deserting the Imperial Order to throw their lot in with Richard.
  • In The Vampire Chronicles Khayman had My Master, Right or Wrong attitude towards Akasha and Enkil. What made him finally switch sides, was Akasha forcibly turning him into a vampire just to test her new abilities. Khayman then freed Maharet and Mekare from prison and started a rebellion against his former sovereigns.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Babylon 5, Ulkesh's physically and emotionally abusive behaviour toward his aide Lyta strongly contributes to her defecting to Sheridan and collaborating in Ulkesh's murder.
  • In the second season of Boardwalk Empire Prosecutor Esther Randolph questions Dirty Cop Halloran in an attempt to get him to testify against his boss Eli and Eli's brother, Nucky. Halloran doesn't say anything, but Eli knows that Halloran met with Randolph and suspects Halloran is getting ready to be her Stool Pigeon, so Eli orders a crippling No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Halloran. Within seconds of realizing that Eli ordered the attack, Halloran calls Randolph and starts giving her all the information she needs to go after Eli.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Angelus' continual insults to Spike, as well as him taking Dru's affections, lead to Spike siding with Buffy in the Season 2 finale.
    • This is part of Faith's reason for going to the Mayor in Season 3.
    • The entire cast kicks Buffy out of her own house in Season 7. Buffy lets "The Chosen One, 'general' of the Slayer Army" role get to her head and becomes The Neidermeyer, essentially keeping on hitting everybody over the head with how much of a sorry bunch of Red Shirts they are compared to her. They would have gleefully kept her out hadn't the next episode showcased that, when it comes to being a badass, Buffy pretty much has Vetinari Job Security.
    • For another jerkass Slayer example Kennedy, whose actions were so reviled she was not really forgiven for them, and even into the comics, the rest of the cast basically turn on her. Then there are the fans: most none will ever forgive her for, just one example, tormenting Molly into being Driven to Suicide.
  • In Cobra Kai, Mitch's, a.k.a. "Penis Breath's," main justification for secretly betraying Eagle Fang to be a spy for Cobra Kai is that his former Cobra Kai allies at least treated him a lot better.
    Bert: Penis Breath! How could you!
    Mitch: Gee I don't know. Maybe because they don't call me Penis Breath. You know, you guys have been dead seat on taking down Cobra Kai. I didn't want to leave in the first place. I mean, look around. They got snacks, swag, smoothies! Our dojo doesn't have roof or like any chicks. No offense, Sam.
  • Conan the Adventurer: Otli is a dwarf who works for the evil wizard Yara. After years of being Yara's punching bag, he joins forces with Conan.
  • The season finale of Crime Story had mobster Ray Luca on top of the world running his organization's Vegas operation. This was somewhat boring for the career criminal so he ended up sleeping with a fellow mobster's wife and then raping his sidekick's girlfriend. This last act causes the sidekick to testify against him.
  • Doctor Who: In "Rise of the Cybermen"/"The Age of Steel", Mr. Crane turns against Corrupt Corporate Executive John Lumic and sabotages his life support after narrowly escaping the activation of his earpods and realizing that Lumic doesn't intend to spare him from being Cyberconverted despite his loyalty to him.
  • In Earth: Final Conflict, Agent Sandoval served the Taelons for years, but began scheming behind their backs for several reasons: the CVI he allowed them to put in his brain turned him into an amoral bastard, and the constant beratement and threats he suffered at the hands of his boss Zo'or.
  • In Elementary, Shinwell Johnson was a drug dealer and member of the street gang SBK, until one of the gang’s leaders convinced Shinwell that his best friend was betraying the gang and ordered him to be the one to carry out the hit since his friend wouldn't see him coming. Shinwell later learned that his friend was innocent. He just happened to be seeing a girl that was the ex of a rival gang leader. The gang leader wanted his ex's new man killed as part of a truce between him and SBK.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The History and Lore videos cite this as Tywin's reason for betraying Aerys, largely due to the King refusing to allow Prince Rhaegar to marry Cersei, thus spurning the man who was running the kingdom for Aerys and insulting a vassal of one of the oldest houses of the kingdom, to say nothing of ordering Jaime into the Kingsguard to block him from being Tywin's heir. Tywin even lampshades this, stating that if Aerys had been nicer to him and accepted his match, he would have remained loyal to the Crown.
    • And then of course there's Tyrion, who despite the impossibility of the thing went far and beyond for the sake of House Lannister in order to please his father... up until Tywin pushes him over the edge by seducing the love of his life into falsely testifying against Tyrion in a trial for the murder of Joffrey, all while Tywin used his authority to be the trial's judge, causing Tyrion to snap and leave King's Landing and his dysfunctional family behind... after shooting Tywin in the crotch, while he was busy on the toilet.
    • He was lucky for this not to happen years ago! Tywin played a cruel joke that included a working girl posing as a damsel in distress for Tyrion to "save", the same bandits being sent by Tywin, and paying the guards to take the girl back and make sure his son is Forced to Watch as they did to her things so vile it dare not be repeated here, all an act to be cruel.note  Tyrion, of course, would spend the series tormenting his family.
    • Having been constantly belittled, insulted, and even threatened with death by Littlefinger in his efforts to stop the former seizing power in the Vale, when all of Littlefinger's crimes come back to haunt him in a trial orchestrated by the children of House Stark, and Littlefinger demands Royce take him back to the safety of the Vale, Lord Yohn Royce gleefully throws Littlefinger to the wolves.
      Littlefinger: (panicking) I am the Lord Protector of the Vale and I command you to escort me safely back to the Eyrie!
      Lord Yohn Royce: (smugly) I think not.
  • It appears that this trope is being set up in General Hospital with FBI Agent Leeds and her hard-ass boss Raynor, especially with all the attention she's giving Spinelli. (Of course, the mobsters are the heroes in this story...)
  • In C-drama The Holy Pearl, Shi You Ming induces this starting from the first episode, leading his Bastard Understudy to outright revolution by episode ten.
  • In the series House, Chase is willing to feed information to the new Hospital board member and owner-in-all-but-name Vogler in exchange for favors after House is particularly rude and disrespectful to him (just before Vogler's arrival, House was abstaining from Vicodin for a week and actually hit Chase in the face while going through withdrawal). Interestingly, Chase isn't portrayed as particularly unsympathetic for doing this, save for House giving him tedious job assignments for a while as payback. By House's own admission he's an ass, and the other reason the other members of the team didn't turn against him as well is that Foreman didn't trust Vogler and Cameron has a deeply misguided crush on House.
  • Justified: Boyd Crowder's total inability to treat his cousin Johnny with any respect is what ultimately turns him into The Starscream. First Boyd got him crippled courtesy of Bo (though Boyd was legitimately regretful about that, at least for a time, and it was partially Johnny's own fault for trying to play being a two-timing The Starscream out of resentment against Bo still preferring Boyd over himself). Then he repeatedly sidelined Johnny, taking advice from Ava (his girlfriend who has no criminal experience), Arlo (a senile old man), and Colt (a drug addict) over Johnny. In "Raw Deal", we learn that Boyd stole Johnny's girlfriend in high school, suggesting that Boyd's mistreatment of Johnny goes back years. Johnny's betrayal is ultimately not that surprising and ends up devastating Boyd's entire organisation though not enough to put him out of business, and certainly not enough to save him from Boyd putting a hole through his skull when all is said and done.
  • In the Knight Rider episode "White Bird", the secretary Stevie has been picked up as a witness for crimes attributed to her lawyer boss Cole. Rather than use his lawyer power to spring her out of jail and shut her up, he chooses to pin all his crimes onto her. This convinces her to testify against him.
  • This is the theme of the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Egg McGuffin", running through all three plots. It's why the assistant of the egomaniac explorer stole the egg; it's Sara's theory as to who the killer is in the book she's reading; and it's why Gary decides he's had enough of being the Butt-Monkey and sides with Neron.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: After Morgoth's defeat, the Orcs followed Sauron believing they are going to be threated better. Sauron instead used them as lab rats to convey the power of the Seen and Unseen World. He sacrificed countless lives using Dark and blood magic, until one of them, Adar got tired of the mistreat and killed him. Since then, the Orcs follow Adar, who genuinely cares for them.
  • Lost:
    • In the few months before Ben sent Juliet to infiltrate the main cast, he got her lover killed, dared Jack to kill her, and reneged on a promise to send her home. One wonders why he thought she'd remain faithful.
    • After Mikhail shoots Bonnie and Greta, Charlie convinces Bonnie to give him the code to unblock transmissions to the island as a way of flipping Ben the bird.
  • In the second season The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Arabian Affair", Solo persuades a THRUSH minion on the verge of retirement to work for U.N.C.L.E. by providing the minion with evidence that THRUSH liquidates its retirees to ensure they don't reveal any secrets.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Luke Cage (2016): Hernan "Shades" Alvarez is absolutely loyal to whoever he's working for and won't snitch. But if it's clear his employer is losing it, he will find a new employer. He won't cross them, but if they cross him, he's not holding back. When he falls out of favor with Diamondback, Diamondback sends Zip to kill him off. Shades kills Zip and his men, and then he and Mariah try to form a truce with Luke Cage to get rid of Diamondback. In season 2, he has a falling out with Mariah after she massacres a restaurant of innocent people to smoke out Bushmaster, and ultimately turns himself in to Misty and agrees to work with the police to recover a gun Mariah used at said massacre (and which Shades himself had used a year ago to kill Candace).
    • Iron Fist (2017): Ward Meachum's constant use as his resurrected father's puppet eventually leads him to turn against Harold and begin actively working with Danny.
  • In the 1998 Merlin series, Lord Ardent changes sides when King Vortigern tries to have his daughter sacrificed and Frik changes sides when Mab kills the woman he loves. This also applies to Merlin himself, who had no need to join Uther before Vortigern's attempt to have him and his Love Interest sacrificed to a dragon.
  • On an episode of Mission: Impossible, a mook played by Rafer Johnson shoots the main villain (Christopher George) once he realizes that the terrorist plot will result in his own death (as well as that of George, who has a terminal disease and thus doesn't care).
  • A major plot point in Season 3 of Narcos. Jorge Salcedo is a security expert who worked for the Cali Cartel for many years. After learning of their plan to go legit in six months, he plans to retire and start his own legit security business. However, Miguel Rodriguez, one of the leaders of the Cartel forces him to stay on, throwing a wrench into his plans. It's also revealed that despite his expertise, and providing solid security for the Cartel for years, he isn't respected by many members of the Cartel because he refuses to get blood on his hands, including David Rodriguez who constantly looks for an excuse to kill him, but is stopped by his father Miguel. After seeing his best friend and fellow security head tortured and murdered by David along with his wife for the arrest of Gilberto Rodriguez, which wasn't his fault, Salcedo realized he's expendable despite his loyalty and contacts the two DEA agents in Cali. He makes a deal in exchange for him and his family getting out and put into witness protection.
  • In Only Murders in the Building, Mabel recognizes how badly Cinda is treating her Beleaguered Assistant Poppy, and urges Poppy to stand up for herself. After Cinda not only refuses to give her a promotion, but outright says she'll never promote her, Poppy calls Mabel and offers to give her any dirt on Cinda she wants.
  • In To Play The King (sequel to House of Cards), Prime Minister Francis Urquhart implicitly reneges on his promise to appoint his hatchet man Tim Stamper to his cabinet. Stamper tries to expose Urquhart as a murderer, in revenge, but Urquhart has him killed first.
  • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: While Trakeena's early alliances with her father's generals are self-serving, she keeps her ends of their bargains until she's given a personal reason not to. She only starts conspiring to frame Treacheron for treason after he forcefully teleports her home during the middle of a battle where she was trying to help and then tells her father about how she wanted to disobey her father's orders after they'd earlier agreed to cover for each other.
  • Zigzagged in the second season of Primeval. Helen Cutter and Oliver Leek are more of a Villain Team-Up, but Helen clearly calls the shots and spends most of the time smugly threatening or toying with him. After Leek finally makes their power play, he makes it quite clear he isn't playing the abused underling of their partnership anymore. Helen however refuses to take the position as well and pulls an Enemy Mine in turn.
  • Proven Innocent: Just as it looks like Sarah Bukhari is going to lose her appeal, the deputy prosecutor in her case suddenly announces that she'll accept a plea to a lesser crime and offer a sentence for time served. The deputy prosecutor does this after getting tired of the sexist, condescending judge talking over her there for the whole trial.
  • Sleepy Hollow: Henry is loyal to Moloch since Moloch saved him and took him under his wing after he was abandoned by his parents, though they had good excuses. This lasts until the season 2 fall finale when Moloch repeatedly states that Henry is disposable and makes it clear that Moloch does not care about anyone other than himself. This inspires Henry to kill Moloch to save the protagonists.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Richard Woolsey started off as an Obstructive Bureaucrat on the series. Then he realized that he was working for the bad guys when Robert Kinsey, firmly clutching his Villain Ball, basically told him.
    • Also how Teal'c — and Bra'tac, for that matter — are introduced, as First Primes looking to undermine the Goa'uld.
      • In Continuum Teal'c is loyal to Ba'al — precisely because Ba'al realized the other System Lords were being idiots and that by supporting the free Jaffa he could get an effective and loyal army from within their ranks, without having to worry about being betrayed by them. It worked.
      • At the same time, when Qetesh is threatening Ba'al's life, instead of doing everything he can to save him, Teal'c writes off Ba'al as dead (which is true, as Qetesh never intended to let him go) and opts to go to Ba'al's time machine.
    • Also happens in a Stargate Atlantis episode where an IOA investigator comes to review Woolsey's performance. Woolsey, himself being a former IOA lapdog, quickly realizes that the "review" is basically an excuse to replace him with someone more loyal to the IOA party line, like the investigator herself. An alien being fakes a transmission to the investigator from the IOA informing her that they have decided to go with someone else as a replacement for Woolsey. Angry at this backstab, she officially notes Woolsey's performance as satisfactory in order to ruin the IOA's plans.
  • This is how Damar eventually turns against the Dominion in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine after the Dominion kept using his people as expendable meatshields whilst trading away their planets to new allies.
    • Eventually, the rest of the Cardassian military follows suit, after the female Changeling orders one of Cardassia's most populous cities to be reduced to rubble in retribution for Damar's revolution, doing so right in the middle of the Federation, Klingon Empire, and Romulan Empire's joint push against towards Cardassia. Note to all would-be conquerors: it's probably not a good idea to announce you're wiping out millions of the people who joined you for protection, especially when your enemy is right on your doorstep.
  • Featured twice in the pilot episode of W.E.I.R.D. World:
    • After seducing yet another one of Dr Noah Lane's assistants, the psychopathic Dr Bledsoe reacts with open disgust when he uncovers evidence that Diane is actually a robot (she's actually a cyborg), insulting her and accidentally revealing that he was using her all along. As such, when Noah finally turns the tables on him, Bledsoe finds no help from his ex-lover, who coldly leaves him to die from his own virus.
    • Dr Abby O’Reardon's subplot features her being routinely humiliated by her smarmy, gaslighting research partner Dr Mayhew, who steals the credit for her discoveries while barely doing any real work. Abby tolerates this (barely) because Mayhew has promised to provide her with children as payment for their partnership... but it eventually turns out that Mayhew got a vasectomy many years ago and never had any intention of fulfilling his part of the bargain. This proves to be the final straw for Abby, who doses him with her youth serum, then takes great delight in humiliating Mayhew when he turns up as a child and making it abundantly clear that she's going to be calling the shots from now on. In the finale, it's revealed that Mayhew regressed all the way to infancy and was adopted by Abby as her son.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In World Class Championship Wrestling, Kerry Von Erich wrestled Ric Flair for the NWA World Championship in a Steel Cage match with two of his allies Michael "PS" Hayes and Terry Gordy of the Fabulous Freebirds serving as special guest referee and enforcer respectively. A confrontation between Flair and Hayes led to the latter knocking out the former as Hayes then coerced Kerry to take the fall but he refused, stating that he didn't want to win the title that way. This lead to an argument between them which lead to Gordy suggesting that they just leave him. As Hayes left the cage, Flair pushed Von Erich from behind into Hayes. Believing that Von Erich deliberately pushed his partner, Gordy slammed the cage door into Von Erich as Hayes then count the fall for Flair, leading him to retain the title and starting one of the biggest feuds in the company between the Von Erichs and Freebirds.
  • One of WWE's best Heel Face Turns of the early 90s was that of Virgil, Ted DiBiase's bodyguard and Beleaguered Assistant. In 1990, DiBiase began taking Virgil for granted and abusing his services, to the point of boasting about it in interviews, knowing Virgil would just take it because he needed the money. Come Royal Rumble 1991, DiBiase berated him after a match for a mistake and demanded he put the Million Dollar Championship around his waist. He got the belt all right - right in the face, to the biggest pop of Virgil's career.
  • This is Doug Furnas' justification for joining Team Canada in the build for the Survivor Series match against Team USA. When he and Phil Lafon got into a car accident, he stated that they've received get-well-soon wishes from people throughout the world except those in his home country America. This embarrassment was enough reason for him to turn against America and side with Team Canada.
  • While Dalton Castle wasn't the best boss The Boys could ask for, they only left him after he lost a wager to Silas Young in Ring of Honor. After spending four months doing everything they could to appease Young though, they left him for Castle at "Final Battle", even though that wasn't a stipulation of the match.
  • During the infamous InVasion angle, the WWE wrestlers attacked Test due to him being seen talking to the Alliance wrestlers, suspecting him to be a traitor. Only to realize he wasn't. However, despite trying to apologize (which he didn't accept), this would lead him to defect to the Alliance for real.
  • This was how the IPW invasion ended in Defiant Wrestling. After losing the "Winner Takes It All" 5-on-5 elimination at the Chain Reaction PPV, then-Defiant World Champion Austin Aries berated his teammates in his "Weakest Link" promo, which prompted three of them (Aussie Open and Mark Haskins) to join the Defiant ranks after GM Stu Bennett gave them contracts, while the remaining one ("No Fun" Damian Dunne) had second thoughts about staying at Aries's side.
  • Discussed on WWE Raw before that Montreal Promo from Shawn Michaels, who was in a feud with Hulk Hogan. Announcer Jerry Lawler, who usually sympathized with the Heels, stated that he was on the receiving end of a Superkick from Michaels the previous week. Because of that, he was now "Hogan's biggest fan."
  • On Smackdown, 2K24 Royal Rumble winner Bayley is believed to be challenging Rhea Ripley for the Women's World Championship at WrestleMania as her fellow Damage CTRL stablemate IYO SKY held he WWE Women's Championship. But after the latter's mistreatment of the former ever since Asuka and Kairi Sane joined the group, which eventually leads to them betraying her after being called out for it, she ultimately decides to challange IYO instead.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Movie: Doc Hopper's henchman Max, when he realizes Hopper plans to kill Kermit.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech:
    • The Clan Smoke Jaguar warrior, Trent, suffered grievous wounds in the Battle of Tukayyid, which his Clan lost to ComStar and was subsequently forced into a ceasefire. After his lancemates claimed to have saved his life - a sign of weakness - his battlemech was sabotaged in a trial to earn his Bloodname, his being repeatedly Reassigned to Antarctica, and countless lies and backstabs by his superior officers, he snapped and betrayed the Clans. He was contacted by a ComStar deep agent and gave them the coordinates of the Clan's homeworld in exchange for the right to lead a battlemech lance in combat against his former allies.
    • The Draconis Combine has a long history of mistreating and blackmailing mercenaries under their employ, the Eridani Light Horse and the Wolf's Dragoons suffered this when their dependents were held hostage and killed by their employers, prompting the units to turn on them and leave. When the Combine reinforcements sent to deal with the Light Horse learned what had been done to the mercenaries' families, they were so appalled that they disregarded their orders and left the surviving mercs in peace.
    • The 21st Centauri Lancers were formerly part of the Cappellan Confederations armies, but when their commander hadn't paid them in 9 months, the unit mutinied and went on to work as mercenaries for the other Successor States.
    • This is really something of a recurring theme in BattleTech fiction. Sure, mercenaries expect to be treated as expendable to some extent since it's mutually understood that their loyalty is for pay, but pushing things into "actively abusing or trying to cheat them" territory is by the same token pretty much never a good idea.
  • Mage: The Ascension: The Technocracy triggered this in an entire faction. Twice. They drove the Sons of Ether into the arms of their enemies by removing their pet theory from the consensus, and they did the same with the Virtual Adepts by killing Alan Turing.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Horus Heresy was helped along in its beginning due to the fact that a lot of the Primarchs were bitter towards the Emperor for one reason or another. While some were at first manipulated by the Chaos Gods (Horus and Fulgrim) or joined out of their own reasons (Mortarion was loyal to Horus due to feeling more comfortable around him than the other primarchs, Alpharius and Omegon were doing it in an effort to save the galaxy from Chaos) others joined Horus because of ways that the Emperor had angered them, such as Lorgar being desperate for an object of worship after the Emperor humiliated him and his Legion, or Perturabo (the Iron Warriors had constantly been used as a besieging force, causing year after year of hellish attrition warfare) or Kelbor Hal, the Fabricator General of Mars that was annoyed that he had to share the fruits of Mars' labor with the Imperium. Perturabo would later pull it again, this time to the traitor forces, when after basically leaving him to run the Siege of Terra by himself while the other Primarchs messed around or pursued their own objectives, Horus ordered the Iron Warriors to disperse among the other Legions while their prepared positions would be given to Mortarion; sick of facing the same lack of respect from the traitors as he did from the Imperium, Perturabo gathered the Iron Warriors onto their transports and left Horus to his own devices.
    • Commander Farsight split from the Tau Empire and formed the Farsight Enclave when he found out that the Ethereals have been using some form of mind control to subjugate all of the other Tau castes.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The vampire lord Konrad von Carstein's downfall was the result of this. Because of his ineptitude at magic, he was forced to employ necromancers to animate his troops, but resented their talent, murdered those who commented on it, and executed a number of them in a fit of paranoia. During his final battle, the necromancers deserted him en masse, causing most of his army to literally fall apart and costing him what little sanity he had as he tried and failed to hold it together by himself.

  • Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto has a semi-reversed example. Draghignazzo has been Giovanni de'Medici's faithful sidekick for as long as he can remember, but when Giovanni gives an important position to the newcomer Angelo, who has the expertise but hasn't put in his years of sucking up, that provokes Draghignazzo's betrayal. Giovanni is not a villain, just a naive, sheltered rich kid, and later, he expresses regrets that he never tried to understand Draghignazzo's feelings. The incident gives him the character development he needed.
  • The Duke of Buckingham in Richard III is a classic example: he helps Richard to the throne with the understanding that he'll get land and another title in return. When he goes to Richard to remind him of this promise, Richard first ignores him, then yells at him, at which point Buckingham promptly defects to the side of the rebels. Or tries to; he's found out pretty darn quickly and killed. Lord Stanley, on the other hand, gains nothing at all, is treated as a Butt-Monkey servant, and defects successfully.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, the best ending is obtained by having the assassin Shelly de Killer betray Matt Engarde by revealing the latter was planning to blackmail the former.
  • Downplayed with the fake sea captain in Double Homework. Faced with the threat of physical violence from the protagonist and Morgan, he surrenders the ship, tells everybody who his employer is, and gives away the location of the server that supposedly contains everyone’s compromising photos. His reason? He isn’t being paid well enough.

    Web Animation 

  • Parodied in 8-Bit Theater. Black Mage is fully and truly Chaotic Evil, yet the noble (and dense) Fighter believes him to be a true hero who's just misunderstood. This despite the fact that Black Mage constantly kills innocent civilians in the most gruesome ways possible, betrays his own team and even stabs Fighter in the head whenever he can. In fact, Fighter doesn't turn against Black Mage until the latter — on a power trip fueled by Hell itself and power absorbed from his own clone — inadvertently stabs White Mage through the chest with a spiky black tentacle thing while showing off. They then prepare to battle... but get interrupted and go back to being on the same team five minutes later. The conflict has not been mentioned since.
  • The Bloody Nipple Saga (a Campaign Comic adaptation of the first Conan the Barbarian movie), Tom (the player who initially was playing Valeria) is eventually so disgusted by Chris (Conan) and Michael (Subutai) lack of subtlety and roleplay that he eventually requests (which the DM accepts!) to end the campaign by playing Thulsa Doom (yes, the Big Bad of the story).
  • Iron Jane in Everyday Heroes turns against her team leader after she watches him kill her best friend.
  • In Experience Boost, Orhan loses practically all of the Order of Swords membership this way. His treatment of Theron and xMurderBanex directly leads to Theron exposing his collaboration with the Legion and Blackmail of Vedrana, causing half the guild to leave. The other half quits en masse after he explodes on his guildmates following a series of failed raids in a personal vendetta against Vedrana's raid progress.
  • Beausoleil of Girl Genius claims his reason for turning against the Master was because the man was so stingy about sharing his technology secrets, which could have been used to improve his clank-bodies.
  • Kevin & Kell:
    • Edgar Carnassial, a male lion, has been on both sides of this trope:
      • His first girlfriend, tigress Rhonda, had growing issues with his normal male lion characterization of not hunting. As a result, she took an online relationship on Ninth Life. When it turned out that the relationship was with hedgehog Quinn Rabelai, the betrothed partner of Lindesfarne Dewclaw, she was willing to elope with him to break up the betrothal and permit Lindesfarne to marry her fiancé, Fenton Fuscus. Edgar tried to hunt Quinn's adoptive parents, a pair of rabbits, as revenge but was beaten up by Rhonda, not only taking out her frustration over his traits but proving herself an ideal wife for Quinn.
      • This went the other way with his second girlfriend, lioness Leona Mangle. Being the daughter of a widowed male lion, she helped Edgar with hunting and being a better boyfriend. But when they graduated Caliban Academy and went off to Beige University, Leona joined a sorority and began to neglect her relationship with Edgar. This drove him into the arms of a rabbit, Miranda Hutch, and led to a messy breakup.
    • Marty left Herd Thinners for Dewclaw's Fine Meats because he noticed "polar bear" (his species) on the menu for a Christmas celebration. Of course, it could've been a Red Herring, as when Angelique notified R.L. of Marty's defection, R.L. defied his usual Super-Persistent Predator characterization and let him go, reasoning he was no longer carrying his weight, but also wasn't even worth the effort to retaliate against.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • In the prequel Start of Darkness, Right-Eye is this in regards to Xykon's irresponsibility to the lives of his partners/subordinates. While his brother Redcloak was willing to suffer in silence if it meant staying in Xykon's good graces and having his help with The Plan, Right-Eye soon decided enough was enough and tried to, in order; 1) Get a wizard with a Blood Oath of Vengeance to kill Xykon for him, 2) Run away from The Plan entirely and start a family, and 3) kill Xykon himself. It ultimately doesn't end well for Right-Eye.
      Right-Eye: I'm what you would call your classic, "disgruntled employee".
    • A double invocation when Haley points out to Golem Crystal that it would have been much cheaper for Bozzok to resurrect Crystal than go through all the trouble of creating a flesh golem that could feel pain and have all the memories and emotions of Crystal. She then attacks Bozzok saying that he made her this way. When Bozzok asks Grubwiggler for help, he refuses, given that Bozzok had interfered with his work too many times to help him out (thus invoking the trope for the second time). Things don't end well for Bozzok.
    • When V dominates Yukyuk to fight against Zz'dtri, he initially tries to resist V's commands to shoot Zz'dtri, but when Zz'dtri tries to use an instant-kill spell to eliminate him, he obeys V's mental orders much more readily.

    Web Original 
  • The Fire Never Dies:
    • President Wilson banning blacks from serving in the US military triggers the Great Mutiny in the US Navy, as black sailors choose to defect to the Reds, with many of their white comrades joining them.

    Real Life 
  • Japanese warrior Akechi Mitsuhide has been traditionally depicted as an honorable samurai, albeit a usual victim of his Bad Boss Oda Nobunaga's not-so-pleasant demeanor. Apparently, things came to a head when Mitsuhide's mother was involved in a tight hostage situation which ended with her getting killed, inadvertently caused by Nobunaga's tactics. This apparently paved the way for him to turn on Nobunaga at the Incident on Honnoji, leading to the latter's death.
  • If you've read history books, or even watch enough tv and movies, they always portray Benedict Arnold as a Jerkass who betrayed his colony after it rebelled seemingly for the hell of it. But according to Arnold himself, colonial command had not acknowledged his role in any early American successes in the war, including Saratoga, which was the battle that convinced France to enter the war on behalf of the Americans and was won almost entirely by Arnold; at the time this was the highest insult to an officer. Then, when he was military governor of Philadelphia, his political opponents charged him with corruption (accusations that were not baseless, it must be said), and he was officially reprimanded for it. Also, he was an extremely jealous man who thought he deserved all the promotions other officers were obtaining. So, he offered to betray the Americans in return for a hefty sum of money and a generalship in the British army. In return, he offered them West Point (which at the time was named Fort Arnold, for him). Days afterward, Washington offered him command of approximately half the Continental Army. He refused, citing a leg injury he received at Saratoga, and asked for West Point instead. His plan would have succeeded, except his contact in the British Army was captured the night Arnold gave him the information (on paper) about the fort that the British would have used to take it.
  • During The American Civil War, escaped slaves were more than happy to provide assistance and information to the Union Army, for obvious reasons. Things only got worse for their former masters when the Union Army started accepting black enlistees.
  • This was one of the reasons why Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick and the original Kingmaker, deserted Edward IV of England and restored Henry VI to the throne (apart from Edward finally demonstrating he was not Warwick's puppet). Warwick had bled for the Yorkist cause at Towton and was in the middle of negotiating a marriage for Edward to a princess of France when he got word that the king had already married. The woman he married, at the time, was completely unsuitable, being the widow of a Lancastrian commander, a commoner, and something of a parvenu who secured all the best positions at court for her relatives, who, until a few months before, had been sworn enemies to the Yorkists. Warwick was also left in the embarrassing position of having to explain to the King of France why his daughter had been jilted. It's no wonder that Warwick defected and brought a significant portion of Edward's support with him.
  • Played straight throughout the ages on armies based on conscription. Conscripts are more prone to desert, surrender or set up a mutiny than professional soldiers since they have personally little else on stake but their own personal survival while subjugated to harsh conditions and discipline, constant fear of death, and few amenities. The Exaggerated variant of this trope was the Vlasov Army.
  • In the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Costa Rica team was performing way beyond their pay grade and everything seemed to be going fine; cue their elimination and trip back home, where they were received as heroes. Some days later, coach Jorge Luis Pinto was dismissed from the national team on the players' accounts of him being one of the most overbearing and accosting people they've ever had to work with; the accusations included the coach showing up at the players' homes when they called in sick to verify that they were actually sick, endless hounding of the players and the support staff, and being a remarkably rude person as a whole. Though Costa Rica was thoroughly grateful for his work in the team, they soundly asked him to never, ever come back. If they had bothered to ask why Pinto was ousted from the Colombia National Team, they would have found that a coach like him demands too much patience and that Pinto left few friends at the Colombian Federation, leaving with a reputation of being a remarkably caustic man; granted, he is an incredibly talented coach if you don't mind being stripped of your privacy and dignity. In hindsight, and after reviewing the video evidence, it was noted by the media that none of the players or the support staff in Costa Rica ever celebrated scoring with their coach. When Pinto sought support on the eve of his ouster, he found no friends in his staff.
  • Sima Qian, the great Chinese historian, described this trope as the reason for the first major rebellion (the Dazexiang Uprising) against the Qin dynasty, who relied on extremely heavy punishments for even minor offenses to maintain order. This led to a situation where a military unit found itself late and realized that since the penalties for lateness and rebellion were both death, they might as well rebel and die fighting.
  • The Schofield Quote that every West Point cadet is expected to memorize, actually warns against being cruel to your subordinates so that this exact consequence is prevented.
  • This is why Patty Jenkins and James Gunn left the Marvel Cinematic Universe and joined the rival DC Extended Universe. Jenkins was originally tapped to direct Thor: The Dark World but left due to Creative Differences with the Marvel executives. She would end up directing Wonder Woman (2017), which not only became a critical and box office hit but also ensured that she would get rehired for the sequel with a lucrative pay raise. Gunn, the director of the Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and its sequel, was fired by Disney in 2018 over several raunchy jokes he made on Twitter a decade before; although Gunn apologized for those tweets repeatedly and the Guardians cast and fans campaigned to get him back on, Disney refused to rehire him until March 2019. In the interim, Gunn was hired to write and direct a sequel to Suicide Squad, which he will complete first before resuming work on the third Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • According to The Other Wiki, one of the motives for people becoming spies is "disaffection and grudges" towards a country. According to the article, people may give secrets to an enemy if they feel they have not been given sufficient recognition or feel they have been mistreated.
    • This is the reason KGB agent Vladimir Ippolitovich Vetrov (AKA "Farewell") gave many classified documents (usually related to Soviet Union's industrial espionnage) to a French intelligence agency during the early 1980s. He resented his transfer to the KGB archives, feeling it has a sanction; he choose to communicate documents to France (instead of any other West country) because he genuinely loved the country and his culture.
  • Mark Felt became an anonymous informant known as "Deep Throat" to two Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, spilling the beans on the Watergate scandal, ending up with President Nixon resigning. All because Felt was passed over to head the FBI after J. Edgar Hoover died.
  • Many members of the Manhattan Project were Jewish scientists who were forced to emigrate to America thanks to Nazi Germany's crackdown on non-Aryan citizens within their border.
    • Same thing applied to the secret listeners who listened in on German POWs being held in England transcribing every conversation they had and piecing together intelligence on how the Nazi war machine worked. The listeners were mainly Jews of German origin, who had fled to avoid persecution.
  • David French, New York Times columnist and political commentator, was once considered a solid figure of the conservative movement in the United States. He used to write for National Review, a solidly conservative source, and The Dispatch, which is also clearly a right of center source. He had been part of the right since the days of Reagan, but in 2016 he came out in opposition to Donald Trump, and many folks on the right started treating him with all sorts of nastiness, some of them even sent viciously racist attacks towards him and his family because of his adopted black daughter from Ethiopia. As he urged conservatives to consider the moral hypocrisy of supporting Donald Trump while condemning Bill Clinton for having horrible character traits back in 1998, the attacks got worse and worse, and he got horribly maligned, misrepresented even by other mainstream figures in conservative media, and the racist attacks against his family and his daughter continued on. His family got endlessly harassed and threatened by many folks on the right, and in turn when he showed even the slightest bit of friendliness towards those on the left he was greeted with not necessarily equal friendliness but something much better than the horrific mistreatment him and his family endured by the right, that has caused him to go on a drift leftward (from where he previously was, that is) to the point where he endorsed Biden for the 2024 election, he went from solid Republican and conservative to urging non-Trump supporting Republicans to vote for Biden over the span of about ten years, all because he was horribly mistreated by many of those on the right and didn't encounter that same level of malice from the left.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Help Face Turn


Joker Scout join the RED Team

Joker Scout join the RED Team after being mistreated by the BLU Team. BLU Medic, who is watching the event from the CCTV can only scream in absolute pure rage from the outcome.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / MistreatmentInducedBetrayal

Media sources: