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Stoic Woobie

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His life sucks. But he will never complain.

"They'll realize that beneath your unfeeling exterior is a heart that's breaking. Silently, and in more pain than any of us can possibly understand because that's what it is to be Vulcan!"
Star Trek: Voyager, "Muse"

These characters need a hug. Badly. But don't expect them to ask for one. A subtrope of The Stoic, unlike other woobie characters, they won't cry, angst, or outwardly show how much they're suffering at all. (Internally is another story). They don't want your pity, and in a great number of cases, will deny having emotions at all. Don't be fooled. The plot has heaped complication after complication on them, and silently, internally, they're suffering. They may inadvertently show their suffering for a moment, in which case they are Not So Stoic, or they may just have Past Experience Nightmares. If they are lucky they will find a Manic Pixie Dream Girl to comfort them and live happily ever after as a reward for their stoicism.

See also Jerkass Woobie and Iron Woobie. This character is often a Tin Man, Sugar-and-Ice Personality, Broken Bird, Emotionless Girl, Shell-Shocked Veteran, or Defrosting Ice Queen.

The polar opposite of Wangst, where a character overemotes at the most minor suffering. Compare Did You Think I Can't Feel? Also compare Mangst.


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    Comic Books 
  • Cyclops, leader of the X-Men. Even though some think he acts like a Knight Templar dick, you have to pity this guy. Starters he lost his family in a plane crash where he and his brother were the only known survivors; said brother would then be adopted and taken away from him, leaving him alone in a Crapsack of an orphanage where he was bullied by other children and tortured/experimented on by Mister Sinister. He canít control his powers. His first two wives turned crazy and evil with one of them resurrecting and dying again. He's been Mind Raped a number of times. Yet he never complains, ever.
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron:
  • X-23. For all the hell she's put through, Laura seldom actually talks about it. This is mainly because her emotionally-abusive upbringing left her with a poor understanding of how to deal with her feelings. As a result, her main form of expression over the pain in her past is cutting herself with her claws, and when she does break down, she's prone to bouts of severe if not suicidal depression.

    Fan Works 
  • Monster X is portrayed this way in The Bridge. He may be an antagonist, but isn't an amoral character who's at worst a Punch-Clock Villain. Yet it seems like everything that could go wrong with his early life did, and is coming back to haunt him.
  • Mercury from the Inheritance Cycle fanfic series "A Dance of Shadow and Light" by Ocadioan is a definite case of this. Traumatic, cruel and hellish childhood? Check. Repeated being used as the universe's chew toy? Check. Losing his few friends and loved ones one by one? Check. It is telling that as the story continues and the author's physical abuse of him lessens, the mental abuse just keeps escalating. At the end, Mercury have been wishing for and planning his own death for 400 years.
  • In the Turning Red fanfic The Panda Chronicles, Aaron Z is this when he deals with his boyfriend having pneumonia and in "Surface Pressure" when he has low self esteem. However he remains calm through it all.
  • Inkopolis Chaos: Jade Grady is suffering a lot on the inside, and has a guilt complex. Regardless, her cold and serious attitude keeps her from opening up often. As Agent 3, she used to hate octolings due to being raised to think they were all evil, and losing her mother to one, and acted lethal towards them, but once she realised they were brainwashed, she felt immense guilt, believing herself to be a murderer and a monster. Then, she lives with the guilt of Ruby having died so she can live, which shocked her and briefly made her feel that she should have died instead.

  • The protagonist in Assemblage 23s song "Light". Most of the lyrics talk about how he is going through hell, but the chorus is about how he's still gonna tough it out.
    "To the ones who want me on my knees,"
    "You cannot control my destiny,"
    "There is light that flows within my veins,"
    "There is darkness for the ones who bring me pain."
  • The unnamed narrator from "I Am a Rock" by Simon & Garfunkel admits in an Ode to Apathy that they've found solace in being a complete shut-in, and has relinquished all emotion and relationships in favor of isolating themselves. However, it appears as though they've only reached this point due to a prior negative experience, due to their recounts of "friendship causes pain", and the reason why they prefer this state of a complete lack of caring is that, "a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries."
  • The subject in "Shadows Of The Night" by Pat Benatar. He's someone in a lot of pain who tries to keep it hidden. in response she tells him she's there for him and it's ok for him to cry and the like.
  • The person sung about in "Trouble Me" by 10,000 Maniacs seems to be someone like this. One of the protagonist's lines is "Why are you building this thick, thick wall to defend me?"

    Visual Novels 
  • Miles Edgeworth from the Ace Attorney series was trapped with his father in an elevator by an earthquake as a young child. After hours in the dark, he was rescued, but his father was found dead of a gunshot wound, the third man with them was falsely accused, and Edgeworth secretly blamed himself. He was taken in by the man who actually committed the murder, who raised him to be a heartless prosecutor. His adult persona is the very picture of refined self-control, but earthquakes completely wreck him — he panics, often faints, and kicks himself afterward for being so 'weak.' You just want to pat him on the back and tell him it's not his fault.
  • Henri Lambert from Piofiore: Fated Memories. As a child, his sister was driven insane and likely murdered by the mafia, after which he was sent away to a branch mafia family and repeatedly physically abused. He was not given enough food and would have died, but was helped by an older girl in the manor who demanded sexual acts in return. If he did a good job pleasing her, he would get some food and ultimately developed a severe aversion to touching people or eating food. In 1926, he is even taunted by the villain that it is his fault that he was sexually abused because he is too beautiful. Despite all this, he shows little anger or sadness to others, and is noted as someone who has exceeding control over his emotions.
  • Ange Ushiromiya from Umineko: When They Cry. The poor girl grew up in a Bad Future where one entire side of her family (including the half-brother she hero-worshipped) died, with the exception of a now Ax-Crazy aunt, who loathes and resents her for still being alive while her child died on Rokkenjima (And later it turns out it's not true, and the truth that her "crazy" aunt hid from her is FAR worse). She got sent Off to Boarding School, where she was bullied and treated like a freak, and her only remaining relative on the other side of the family is an even more Ax-Crazy aunt who actively tried to kill her. And as icing on the angst-cake, Bernkastel manipulated all of these events specifically so she could bring Ange back in time with the false hope of fixing her world and then kill her, purely to torment the aforementioned brother, himself an Iron Woobie. You wouldn't know any of this from talking to her, though; she's a Deadpan Snarker who keeps to herself and rarely shows any expression except for a vague frown.
  • Yomogi Seiji from Remember11. This 35-year-old athlete is responsible without complaint for the survival of a small group of people in extreme cold conditions after a terrible plane crash, while being insulted and threatened by a mentally unstable young woman whom he saved from freezing. As the game progresses, you can learn about his phenomenally tragic family experience which his beloved wife couldn't endure in her right mind. The player's task is not to let this strong phlegmatic man break down under the burden of responsibility in the face of mortal danger. By the way, the main female character, a student psychologist, manages to feel his hidden pain soon after meeting him, and she immediately gives him a hug in the manner of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Unaccustomed to such compassion, he asks in great confusion to stop.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Lie Ren. Despite being very calm and polite most of the time, his backstory is easily among the most traumatizing of the main characters: during one night, a devastatingly powerful Grimm invaded his village; during said invasion, his mother died before his eyes and his father died attempting to give him time to survive; the trauma awoke his Semblance in time for him to save himself and Nora, which leaves them as the two sole survivors of the entire village. Volume 4 makes it clear that the same Grimm that killed his father and destroyed his village is back and just a few meters ahead of him. His bottling of emotions and trauma become a problem in the Atlas Arc, as he struggles with the overwhelming truth that Salem cannot be killed; in Volume 8, his unbottling leads to a Semblance evolution and a much better mindset; now he is The Empath, able to discuss his and others' emotions in a healthier way.


    Web Original 
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared: Red Guy, by virtue of the fact that he's the show's Only Sane Man, is extremely pitiable. From the outset, he always puts his friends' needs first, but only does so in vain as they get swept up in a "lesson" of the day, causing his friends severe psychological trauma. Come DHMIS 4, and he manages to find a way out of the simulation and into the real world, but ends up leaving his friends behind as a result. He spends the entirety of DHMIS 5 trying to call them in order to help them escape, but this ends up resulting in Duck Guy being murdered, and he ends up being unsuccessful in trying to free them. DHMIS 6 shows Red Guy feeling nostalgic for his time in the nightmare world, if only because he misses his friends, causing him to be outcasted by the world filled with emotionless people like him, and once he sees for himself what's become of his friends, he tries once and for all to end their suffering by pulling the plug on the simulation. Red Guy never once complains or raises his voice towards any of the disturbing occurrences surrounding him, and yet he ultimately lives a sad, empathetic life.
  • In the Neopets "Tale of Woe" plot, Bruno is a handsome, if gangly, young Gelert. When Mr. Krawley offers him a potion that will make him stronger, he accepts it because he is desperate to impress his love interest. Unfortunately, he was tricked as the potion came with the side effect of turning him into a grotesque monster. At the end, when an antidote is found, it does not work on him. It is assumed that this is because he's been under the effects of the potion for too long. He accepts his fate, saying that he is used to the way he looks now.