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Personal Hate Before Common Goals

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Hulk: Okay. You talked me into it.
The Stalker: I never doubted I could. Wh—? Wait! Not me, you fool!
Hulk: Yeah, you. 'Cause I don't care about that guy. I didn't even care about the girl much. But I don't... like... YOU!!

These are two or more characters that could be perfect allies, taking into account that they have almost identical mindsets and goals. But there is a hate between them too big to overcome. Normally, this results in the hated one being attacked by the other, after the first one made an offer to work together.

This more often occurs when a villain tries to recruit a former hero to their cause after the moral alignment of the latter has changed. It's important to note that the attacker wasn't pretending. They agreed with almost everything the villain said, maybe even wanting to go further than them. But because either Evil is Petty, and they simply dislike this bad guy's personality, or because for them It's Personal, since the bad guy provoked the death of a loved one, they don't want to join the villain. The first thing they want to do is kill them, entering many times into Revenge Before Reason.

It doesn't have to exclusively be from good guy to bad guy either. A villain can still acknowledge that now they agree with their old enemy's beliefs, but still hate them too much to join them, even if now they would fight for the same cause. The same can be said for two villains or two heroes that while having similar mindsets and objectives, can't overlook the hate they still feel for the other. Especially with villains, because they are more willing to hold grudges, and because they are Stupid Evil, they will ruin a perfect alliance out of personal hate. This is also the case for characters that are actually working together for the same cause or faction, but that hate each other so much that they would sabotage the other, even if that meant harming their goal.

Compare this to Heel–Face Turn and Face–Heel Turn, where the change of side tends to be completely successful. And with Realpolitik or I Can Rule Alone, where the motivation for said betrayal is ambition instead of hate and Contempt Crossfire. Compare also with Teeth-Clenched Teamwork, where these two sides will work together, or at least momentarily. Contrast with Enemy Mine and Rivals Team Up. This could lead to an Enemy Civil War or We ARE Struggling Together. See Right Hand Vs Left Hand for cases where the two warring sides are officially supposed to be working together.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Durarara!!: It's noted that Izaya and Aoba both have similar personalities, being devious, lying, G.I.R.L., manipulative bastards who use the gangs of Ikebukuro to further their own plots, and Aoba is even able to decipher Izaya's Xanatos Gambit against Shizuo without much context because it's what he would do. However, Aoba admits it would be impossible for them to get along or work together simply because people like them hate their own kind.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory: The series eventually reveals that Cima Garahou, one of the primary antagonists of the anime, was actually The Mole and had been sabotaging Zeon all along, and was trying to prevent their Colony Drop. That doesn't stop Kou from killing them on the battlefield despite orders to cooperate with them, him being unable to forgive them for what they've done and those he's lost as part of their machinations.
  • Pokémon: The Series: This is often the formula whenever the Team Rocket trio meets with other members of the organization in early episodes of the anime. Although all of them wish to steal Pokémon to appease Giovanni, the trio has an appalling reputation as washouts that make Team Rocket look like laughingstocks, most other more competent units snub them and even make them collateral damage in their schemes out of spite. This often leads to the trio forming an Enemy Mine with Ash to take revenge on them, leaving both factions empty-handed. This is especially the case with Butch and Cassidy, who have a Sitcom Arch-Nemesis background with Jessie and James.
  • Shaman King: Both the protagonists and the X-Laws want the same thing: preventing Big Bad Hao from winning the Shaman Fight and becoming the Shaman King (which is essentially God). The problem however is that the latter have this "My Way or the Highway" mentality and anyone who won't join them, be it because they're not interested, are fearful of Hao, know they're not powerful enough, or (rather justifiably) see the X-Laws as a bit too zealous in their actions, are deemed as "evil" because they won't rise up against evil and must be killed. Which is why they deem Yoh's group enemies because they won't follow their lead when Yoh rather rightfully tells them their actions aren't any better than Hao's group. And even more so when they find out Yoh is Hao's twin brother and apparently evil by relation despite Yoh clearly proving otherwise.

    Comic Books 
  • Invincible: The ending has Invincible agreeing with his former Fallen Hero ally Robot and his progress with taking over the world because of all the good it's done for the planet and the Viltrumites, but still cannot forgive the harm he's caused to Invincible and his loved ones. He takes a Third Option and simply kills Robot and keeps him as a Brain in a Jar to help guide the world under the leadership of The Immortal, one of Invincible's allies.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Incredible Hulk: In The Incredible Hulk (1968) #335, this happens to the Hulk. The dark side of a man who presents himself in a Mr. Hyde manner called the Stalker tries to convince the Hulk that they are the same and that like him, he should try to also experience the joy of tearing apart those weaker than them. When the Stalker tries this first with a teenage girl, Hulk refuses. Later, when he tries the same with a bunch of criminals that had eluded punishment for their crimes, the Stalker seems to have convinced him — only for the grey goliath to turn on him, saying the Stalker is the one he wants to tear apart. Not because he cared about the thugs. Not even because he cared about the girl. He cared little to nothing about them. No. He is going to do it simply because he doesn't like him.
      Hulk: Okay. You talked me into it.
      The Stalker: I never doubted I could. Wh—? Wait! Not me, you fool!
      Hulk: Yeah, you. 'Cause I don't care about that guy. I didn't even care about the girl much. But I don't... like... YOU!!
    • Ultimate Spider-Man: At the start of the "Warriors" story arc, the criminal boss Silvermane has called Hammerhead for a meeting. Taking into account Kingpin's late legal problems, he tries to convince him that this is the chance for them to work together, and take a chunk of Fisk's criminal empire. Silvermane then proceeds to compliment Hammerhead, saying that even when they were at odds, he respected his talents and way of work. And that with a little more of head, he could go very far. When he concludes, Hammerhead says that he likes a lot of what Silvermane said, except for one thing. When he asks what, Hammerhead grabs his head and snaps his neck. Only then answering that he took offense to his commentary of him lacking head.
    • X-Men:
      • In one arc, Magneto and Red Skull apparently joined forces to take over the world, which concerns everybody because their combined might is extremely dangerous... but then The Reveal happens: Magneto utterly loathes Red Skull because the latter is a Nazi and Magneto is a Holocaust survivor, and he pulled off this "alliance" charade so he would get close to the Skull and unleash his full fury on the guy by bringing down a whole mountain complex on his head.
      • During the Acts of Vengeance Magneto and Red Skull, among other major villains, are convinced by Loki to work together and use other supercriminals to interchange their common enemies and attack them, hoping that the unfamiliarity of the superheroes with the villains will work in their favour. Both of them initially agree to collaborate, even while having their tensions, due to Loki's mental manipulation. However, this alliance also comes apart when Magneto captures the Red Skull and puts him in a subterranean vault, leaving him with no means of escape and only a few gallons of water and hoping to make him suffer as much as others have at his hands.

    Fan Works 
  • Karma Overbalance has this lead directly to Lila's downfall. Returning to Paris after the events of The Karma of Lies, she attempts to convince Adrien to help her bring down Marinette, banking on the notion that he despises his former partner just as much as she does since she didn't cater to his entitlement. Unfortunately for her, while Adrien does blame Marinette for not helping him escape the consequences of his actions, he hates Lila even more, since it was HER misplaced karma that brought him down. So instead of allying with her, he murders Lila outright.
  • Legendarily Popular: During Spell Of The Unknown, Hoopa summons the real Kyogre and Groudon to face off against the copies created by the Unown. Instead, both pairs start fighting each other, as both sets decide their grudges against each other matter more than dealing with their counterparts. Upon witnessing this, the Real Rayquaza informs their Unown copy that "You know what? You're me now. Good luck with these idiots. I'm off for a drink."
  • Star Wars vs Warhammer 40K: It quickly becomes apparent by the end of Season 1 that both the Galactic Republic and the CIS face an existential threat from the Imperium of Man, and that neither will survive if they engage in a Mêlée à Trois. Palpatine (acting on Echo and Obi-Wan's advice) tries to arrange for a temporary alliance between the Republic and CIS with Dooku's help. However, these attempts quickly hit two massive roadblocks in the form of the Galactic Senate and the Separatist Parliament, whose mutual disdain has grown to the point where they pointedly refuse to have anything to do with each other that doesn't involve threats and violence.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Hux has this attitude towards Kylo Ren. Even though he is fanatically loyal to the First Order and its cause, he is willing to be a spy for the resistance, only because he hates Kylo Ren and wants to see him fail as leader. Even if that failure could completely jeopardize the war effort, or end up provoking the destruction of the First Order as a whole.
  • X-Men: First Class: At the end, Sebastian Shaw is still trying to convince Magneto that they are on the same side, even while their climactic battle is taking place. Magneto finally admits that he agrees with Shaw's philosophies. That the experiences he put him through as a kid made him stronger, and that he made him the man that he is today. And that his idea of mutants taking the initiative, attacking the humans before they could try to wipe mutants out, is the right one. But just as Magneto takes the initiative of the fight, he reveals his one problem: Shaw still killed his mother. Cue Magneto putting a coin through Shaw's head.

  • Harry Potter: Severus Snape is revealed in the final book to have been one of Dumbledore's strongest allies since the night Harry's parents were killed. Unfortunately, Snape continuously trashes any trust he might have been able to earn from his other allies because he lets his pride and schoolyard grudges define his relationships with everyone, meaning that Harry, Sirius, and the Order as a whole never give him an ounce of trust.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Tywin Lannister's most competent underling by far is his son, Tyrion, who is also desperate for his approval and just as firmly committed to securing the Lannister family's legacy and power as his father. Rather than recognise Tyrion's talents, give him an important position at his right hand and name him his heir, as he obviously deserves, Tywin uses Tyrion's skills only when absolutely necessary and constantly undermines and belittles him, even going so far as to allow him to be convicted and sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit, all because he hates Tyrion for being a dwarf and causing his late wife's death in childbirth. This eventually drives Tyrion to murder him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: In the episode "Convictions", Londo Mollari and G'kar get trapped in an elevator running out of air during a major fire onboard. Having recently being given a few million very good reasons to hate Mollari and forbidden to do direct harm to him under the terms of a vicious unconditional surrender by his people, G'kar gleefully tells Londo an Enemy Mine is off the table and he's perfectly happy to stay in the elevator and die of asphyxiation if it means Mollari dies with him.
    Londo: This is insane! We must work together!
    G'kar: (laughing) No. As the humans say: "Up yours! Die!"
  • Cobra Kai:
    • In season 3's "The Good, The Bad and the Badass," with the city of Los Angeles deciding to scrap the All-Valley Under-18 Karate Championships due to not wanting to foster a culture of violence after the school fight at the end of season 2, the three senseis' whose dojo students were involved in the fight go to a town hall meeting to make appeals. It would be in Daniel LaRusso's, Johnny Lawrence's, and John Kreese's best interests to call a temporary truce or at least not go out of their way to badmouth each other while presenting their cases. Instead, they openly bicker and blame each other for the violence between their students, vindicating the officials' stance for canceling the tournament, and it's only thanks to an impromptu speech by Miguel Diaz (with help from Daniel's daughter Samantha) where he focuses on how karate improved his life (and does without pointing fingers at anyone) that the officials are persuaded to let the tournament resume. As a result of this and many later events, Daniel and Johnny are finally convinced to finish putting aside their differences and have all their students train together for the tournament.
    • This trope rears its head again in Season 4. Despite knowing how much is at stake with the tournament, Johnny and Daniel refuse to compromise any of their preferred karate teachings and philosophies and expect the other to abandon theirs so they can teach the students their way. Ultimately, they end their partnership and attempt to deal with Cobra Kai on their own with only their students.
  • The Good Wife: In Season 2, during the power struggle between the three named partners at Lockhart, Gardner & Bond, Julius Cain has many good reasons to side with Bond as he attempts to oust Diane and take control of the firm. He's grown increasingly frustrated with Will and Diane delaying their promised increase in diversity hiring, which Bond, as a fellow black man, would presumably be happy to accommodate, and Bond clearly sees Julius as a potentially trusted Number Two and even promotes him to head of litigation in exchange for his vote. However, Julius still betrays Bond and votes with Will and Diane to kick him out of the firm. His stated reason for doing so?
    Julius: I don't like you.
  • Halt and Catch Fire: In season 3, Cameron and Donna allow their game company and their relationship to fall apart because neither of them can stand the other's vision for how to run the company. At the end of season 4, after competing with each other to put out the best search engine (and ultimately losing to Yahoo!), they finally reconcile.
  • Lost: As a Con Man, Sawyer has the reasons and skillset to make everyone on the Island like him and potentially become one of the most useful survivors of the crash. However, because he instead chooses to be a massive Jerkass, everyone on the Island hates his guts, which causes a lot more problems for everyone than it solves.
  • Sons of Anarchy: Kozik is a biker from another charter who seeks to transfer his membership to SAMCRO, but is constantly vetoed by SAMCRO Sgt-At-Arms Tig Traeger. Tig refuses to change his mind even though Kozik is both on good terms with the other members and proves to be a handy asset against the Lobos Sonoras Cartel. Eventually it is revealed that Kozik is responsible for the death of a female character they both loved (who turns out to be Tig's dog, Candy). When Kozik is patched in while Tig serves a brief prison term, Tig accepts it since he didn't have to make the decision.
  • Supergirl (2015): In season 5, Lex Luthor's hatred of Supergirl keeps getting in the way of his and Brainiac's efforts to infiltrate and destroy Leviathan by needlessly antagonizing Supergirl and making her suspicious of Luthor's true intentions.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Inevitably, any Enemy Mine tag team will fall apart for this reason, as the heel will usually be so petty and Stupid Evil that they will stab their face partner in the back out of anger or jealousy or just abandon them to face their opponents alone, even though they would technically be costing themselves the match by doing so. Similarly, heel stables will usually fall apart due to infighting resulting in a Heel–Face Turn, even if the stable has been completely dominant and seems unbeatable as long as they stay together.
  • During the invasion angle in WWE, the final showdown elimination tag team match between Team WWF and Team Alliance at Survivor Series 2001 had rivals The Rock and Chris Jericho as the final two members of Team WWF facing off against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for Team Alliance. After Jericho's elimination, he turned on Rock and beat him up out of frustration at not being able to claim the glory of the win for himself, despite the fact that losing the match would mean the WWF, the company that had made Jericho a star, would be taken over by WCW, who had treated Jericho as a midcarder during his time there, not to mention given him several beatings during the angle itself.
  • Jericho was involved in another example at Summerslam 2010. When he and Edge, who had formed an Enemy Mine with John Cena to fight the Nexus, were eliminated from the match, they proceeded to attack Cena and Daniel Bryan, despite the fact that the Nexus had been targeting both Edge and Jericho for beatings for weeks and were very likely to continue doing so if they won the match.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer: This trope basically defines the Chaos God Malal/Malice and its followers. Even if they share the same goals of conquest and destruction as the rest of their fellow Chaos forces against Order and anything in between... they also aim this goal towards Chaos itself. Because Malal represents hate, and the self-defeating and autodestructive aspects of Chaos, its primary goal above anything else is destroying any plan and any force put in motion by the rest of Chaos Gods. So while Malal's followers do share the same hate against the concept of Order as the rest of the forces of Chaos, their hate of Chaos itself is also so great that they would never purposefully join another Chaos faction in order to fulfill it.

    Video Games 
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: Gunvolt and Copen have pretty much identical goals regarding Sumeragi and Eden, but Copen is so blinded by his hatred of Adepts (which Gunvolt is part of) that he refuses to do anything but be another obstacle in Gunvolt's way.
  • During the course of Fallout: New Vegas, you may breach the inner sanctum of of Mr House and confront him directly, killing him if you choose. When asked why you want to ruin his glorious, centuries in the making plans for the region, you can simply say "Because I don't like you". He's absolutely baffled by your pettiness.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: At one point, a priestess named Zhjaeve joins your party and you can ask her why her people, the Githzerai, aren't taking a more active role in the war against The King of Shadows. She responds that while her people recognise the King as a threat, their arch-enemies the Githyanki are already fighting against the King and that the two races hate each other so much that the Githyanki would happily ignore the King and let him grow in power unopposed if it meant a chance to destroy the Githzerai.
  • Persona 5: The one who betrays the Phantom Thieves isn't technically opposed to what the Phantom Thieves are doing. In fact, when the traitor is finally fought, both the traitor and the thieves are after Masayoshi Shido. The problem is that the traitor has a personal reason to be after the target and has no interest in allowing anyone else to interfere, even if it would benefit Shido. But maybe even more so, because the traitor suffers from an inferiority complex with respect to the Phantom Thieves, that makes them hate them too much. Even after the traitor agrees that they are in the right.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Galeem and Dharkon, the two Eldritch Abominations that have taken over the world and threaten to destroy it, are ultimately possible to defeat only because they hate each other's guts. The last segment of World of Light requires the player to systematically take down their last remaining puppets, making sure never to tip the balance far enough that one of them can overwhelm the other and move on to the rest of the world. Only after all that will the two team up to fight the player together, and even then, they're not Friendly Fireproof, and in fact, if one gets stunned, the other will actively attack them.

    Western Animation 
  • Dexter's Laboratory: This is pretty much the crux of the episode "Let's Save The World, You Jerk". Dexter and Mandark both see a meteor heading for Earth and want to use their smarts to save the planet. Having a common goal, they agree to put aside their differences, cobble together a mech from both their parts and destroy the meteor. Naturally however it doesn't take long for their egos to start flaring up and it soon devolves into them focusing their attention on each another that their mechs end up destroyed (save for the head parts) as well as Earth because their hate for each other is too strong to achieve their main priority. The episode even ends with them still fighting despite everything.
  • The Dreamstone was a rare heroic case, with the Noops usually spurning any moments of truce from the Urpneys. Especially apparent in "The Statue Collection" where, after the Urpneys tried to turn Pildit to stone, the Noops and Albert are perfectly willing to watch an invading monster attack them. Even when it turns its attention to them as well, and the Urpneys attempt an Enemy Mine, the heroes sabotage it, preferring to stop it themselves (granted this might be just as much due to the hap-hazardous approach of said Enemy Mine).
  • Among the six principal characters of Josie and the Pussycats, Alexandra Cabot is the Token Evil Teammate. She is seethingly jealous of Josie's musical talent, and that Josie has Alan's affections. Alexandra will routinely jeopardize the Pussycats' efforts to escape from the villain or to thwart the Evil Plan just to humiliate Josie or to grandstand for Alan's attention. Naturally, this results in Laser-Guided Karma biting Alexandra on her butt.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In the Annihilation Earth two-parter, the Earth is in danger of being destroyed due to the Triceratons deeming Earth "contaminated" due to the Kraang having set up a base there. The Turtles end up pulling an Enemy Mine with Shredder and his forces in other to save the planet, with Splinter convincing Shredder to do so for the sake of his daughter, Karai. But at a critical moment in the battle, Shredder stabs Splinter from behind and kills him, citing he doesn't even care if the Earth is destroyed long as he has the pleasure of personally killing his sworn foe. And indeed this action ends up dooming the Earth with the Turtles, April and Casey barely surviving thanks to the Fugitoid beaming them to his spaceship and setting in motion the space arc for next season to undo the damage.


Video Example(s):


You Still Killed My Mother

During the final showdown with Sebastian Shaw, young Magneto reveals how much he agrees with the villain's philosophy and his actions. But that still doesn't let him overlook the fact that Shaw killed his mother.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / PersonalHateBeforeCommonGoals

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