The ways of dealing with an abusive situation in fiction vary, to say the least, depending on the author's opinions, the type of abuse portrayed, and even the genders of abuser and victim. Sometimes, it may be played for laughs, shown as not being a big deal, or portrayed as part of a loving relationship, despite the fact that the perpetrator's actions are clearly abusive, at least to the (aware) viewers. Other times, great care will be taken to detail the living hell the protagonist's life has been made by the Abusive Parent, Sadist Teacher, Domestic Abuse, or The Bully.
But sometimes, you'll find out that the character who is notable for behaving abusively toward one or more others has a Dark and Troubled Past themselves. Maybe they were abused at one point in their life, or are presently in an abusive situation. Or else, instead of or in addition to having been the target of an abuser, they saw something as a child they were not meant to see, were bullied and/or raped, Did Not Get the Girl, have a Cynicism Catalyst, or did something that they'll never get past and may even be trying desperately to make up for. The Troubled Abuser is different from other abusers in that he or she has had (or currently has) a hard life themself in addition to making one of these for at least one other person. It may be a result of an Inferiority Superiority Complex or else a form of Being Tortured Makes You Evil.
Compare this phenomenon to Kick the Dog, except that the designated kicker was a Kicked Dog themself, making it Dog Kicks Littler Dog. If a writer really wants to play this up, they can have a whole chain of Dogs kicking down the line in this fashion. If a whole chain of these is used, you can reasonably expect it to be used for An Aesop about how abuse only begets abuse.
Compare the Troubled Sympathetic Bigot, whose bigotry is seldom portrayed as sympathetic due to the ugly reputation bigotry has gained over the years, but is nevertheless a sympathetic person. The Troubled Abuser, given that they are, well, troubled, automatically gains some measure of Woobie status due to their status as troubled being out in the open, but unlike bigotry, abuse is less likely to be portrayed in an unsympathetic light. Sometimes, the Troubled Abuser may also be a Troubled Sympathetic Bigot.
May overlap with Jerkass Woobie due to the common traits of having had a hard life and treating other people in a substandard way. After all, they of all people should know how bad being abused feels. However, abuse is sometimes portrayed in a positive light, so this is not always the case.
Comparable to, and sometimes overlapping with, Freudian Excuse, in which a villain cites a childhood of poor quality as having a role in their evil deeds or is revealed to have had a bad childhood in order to gain Woobie status. However, unlike a villain with a Freudian Excuse, the Troubled Abuser isn't just guilty of any morally questionable act, they are guilty of committing one or more of these acts against someone with whom they have or end up developing an interpersonal relationship. Additionally, the Troubled Abuser can be troubled in ways other than childhood experiences. Sometimes, the Troubled Abuser has a Freudian Excuse, in which case these two tropes overlap, but Freudian Excuse and Troubled Abuser are not exactly the same thing. For example, a serial killer who targets random women he doesn't know and is later revealed to have witnessed his mother attack his father with a knife on a regular basis would go under Freudian Excuse, but would not be a Troubled Abuser because he is committing crimes, but not against people he has a relationship with, or even interacts with on a regular basis. A female character who is the single mother of a child that she verbally abuses on a regular basis, if she even gives the kid any attention at all, but is revealed to be doing so because the kid is a Child by Rape and reminds her of her rapist is a Troubled Abuser without a doubt, but wouldn't fit under Freudian Excuse because the hard part of her life, as far as we know, did not happen in her childhood.
As tempting as it is to add large-scale criminals, such as practitioners of genocide, serial killers, etc. who happen to count as Troubled by virtue of having a Dark and Troubled Past or Freudian Excuse just because you think they are monstrous for their deeds, exercise great caution before you do. Simply doing evil deeds on a large scale does not make one an Abuser, which is the other part of the requirement to be listed here. However, that does not mean that large-scale criminals can't be abusers. Before listing any large-scale criminal, consult our handy Useful Notes page on the topic of abuse, read it thoroughly, and think carefully about whether or not any of the character or person's actions count as abuse. If they don't, then don't add them. If you've done your thinking and one or more of said criminal's actions seem to count as abusive to you, go ahead and add them, but give details on what they do that is abusive in the description.
- Fist of the North Star: Once upon a time there was an elderly martial artist called Ougai, the successor of Nanto Hou Ou Ken (South Star Phoenix Fist) adopted an innocent baby boy. Teaching him everything he knew, he gave the orphan with all the warmth and love of his heart, raising him to the the next successor of this mighty battle art. Little did the boy know on his fifteenth birthday, blindfolded for his final test, that the traditions of Nanto Hou Ou Ken deamands one to slay his own master to inherit his title. Driven mad by grief, the innocent boy known as Souther grew up into a heartless tyrant, whom after the world was consumed by nuclear fire, built an Empire on the blood and tears of slave children to renounce of himself of the love that tore his heart apart.
- Akito Sohma from Fruits Basket fits this trope. Ren made Akito's life a living hell, for a reason as petty and stupid as being jealous of her husband's love towards their child. Between that, a somewhat justified god complex, and quite possibly a predisposition toward mental illness (also courtesy of Ren), it's not all that surprising Akito turned out the way he did. Or better said, the way she did.
- In The Familiar of Zero, Tsundere Louise mistreats Saito, often causing him more injury than the main antagonists. Aside of Saito being a Lovable Sex Maniac, it's suggested Louise has had a long history of being bullied by the other students due to her inability to perform spells properly, and used to be on the recieving end of her not - so - tiny Tsundere sister Eleonore's annoyance. (In fact, Eleonore is one of the few persons who scares the shit outta Louise.) Still not an excuse for how far she goes in her abuse of Saito.
- Tsukasa from Hana Yori Dango. Didn't see his father in years, his mother Kaede was an Evil Matriarch who fucked up with his and his sister Tsubaki's lives ever since birth, his well-intentioned but troubled sister disciplined him harshly... and he grew into a MASSIVE bully with huge entitlement problems who pretty much ran Eitoku Academy through fear and could be very less-than-pleasant even to his close friends and his Tsundere love interest.
- If there's a Conflicted type of Bastard Boyfriend in any shoujo or josei manga, they'll almost surely be this: terribly abusive to their girlfriends/boyfriends and with either a Dark and Troubled Past (including things like Abusive Parents, heavy parental neglection, etc) or an extremely dark and trouble present. It certainly explains why they're like that, but it does NOT justify the shit they pull on their "other halves". Some examples are:
- Takumi Ichinose from NANA: ( Alcoholic father, Ill Girl mother, he and his sister raised themselves);
- Sakuya Ookuchi from Sensual Phrase: ( Child by Rape, Broken Bird alcoholic mother who dies, Financial Abuse from his Parental Substitute, bullying and isolation due to his American heritage);
- Uo Hakuron from Haou Airen: (Tyke Bomb raised by The Triads and the Tongs and turned into their top-one Child Soldier, murderous and abusive father, Missing Mom);
- Klaus from Maiden Rose (drug-addicted, with lots of conflicting loyalties, a love interest with his own and strong issues);
- Souma Saiki from Sakura Gari: (Horrifyingly abused by every single person he met ever since he was taken in by his Japanese family... Then he goes on abusing Masataka, the only person he feels that he can relate to.)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion has Asuka, who constantly berates, belittles, and curses Shinji despite sharing an apartment with him and honestly wanting his attention. It's revealed that after an experiment gone wrong, Asuka's mother was driven mad and began treating a doll like it was her child and ignored her real daughter. Meanwhile, Asuka discovers her father is cheating on her mother with her mother's nurse. Asuka then finds her mother hanging from the ceiling, the little daughter doll hanging beside her. Asuka then throws all her desperate affections at Kaji who gently turns her down, but his kindness only feels like pity. She's left trying to pursue Shinji while still trying to keep him from from getting close to her, causing her and him no end of stress.
- Kyouichi Saionji from Revolutionary Girl Utena, in spades. He's a wannabe Bastard Boyfriend who treats Anthy like absolute shit, scoffs at Wakaba's love letter and is pretty much the Butt-Monkey of the Student Council — and also a dude who wasn't THAT bad as a pre-teen, but now has intense self-loathing and issues towards his best friend Touga, who exploits it for his own purposes.
- Mr. Legend's gradual power loss in Tiger & Bunny forced him into and unwanted early retirement and left him feeling useless and terrible. Said feelings of worthlessness led to him self-medicating with alcohol. Alcoholism led to arguments with his wife. Arguments while drunk lead to physical violence... And to his own death at the hands of his barely teenaged son, who'd become Yuri Petrov aka Lunatic.
- Yuno Gasai's mother Saika in Future Diary.
- Ritsuka's abusive and mentally unstable mother Misaki in Loveless is implied to be a former abuse victim.
- Kousei's mother in Your Lie in April is eventually revealed to be this - the reason she was such a stickler for playing the music as-written was due to her illness giving her only so much time to spend with him, and wanting to make sure he could provide for himself when she was gone.
- Yuri's mother in Eternal Sabbath was beaten by her drunkard father and grows up to abuse her own daughter. Additionally, her own mother was too cowardly to do anything to protect her from her father's violence other than voice quiet token protests, making her think her mother didn't love her and leading her to believe she couldn't love Yuri either.
- Preica Testarossa from Lyrical Nanoha was horrifically abusive to her daughter Fate due to having been driven insane from the death of her real daughter Alicia (whom Fate was cloned from to serve as a Replacement Goldfish). Defied by Fate herself when she grows up, as she makes a conscious effort to break the cycle of abuse and be as good a parent as possible for her adoptive children.
- The eponymous V of V for Vendetta by Alan Moore definitely counts. If kidnapping your protegee and intentionally putting her through the cruel ordeal of the life of a concentration camp inmate that you went through yourself doesn't count as abuse, then what does? However, V is portrayed as a Type III Anti-Villain and/or Nominal Hero who has good intentions, but repeatedly does things that are obviously immoral, and what he puts Evey through is given this same portrayal. His actions compared to those of the oppressive Norsefire government are meant to be morally ambiguous and the only reason that we are meant to sympathize with V is because, no matter how bad his actions are, even when it comes to what he did to Evey, we first see him saving Evey from being raped and murdered by the government's secret police.
- In the Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner's father, Brian, beat his son out of envy for his wife Rebecca's attention, and the fear that his son was a monster. He later directs this abuse to his wife, and eventually kills her, which leads to him being institutionalized. He later is released under his son's custody, and reveals that his own father abused him, and considers him a "monster". He later tries to kill Bruce to put an end to the "monster gene". It worked about as well as you'd expect.
- In The Maxx, big bad Mr. Gone is an evil sorcerer and serial rapist who, as a child, was repeatedly raped and humiliated by his aunt.
- As we find out later in Cellar Secrets, Ragyo is this. You see, she had some sort of mental illness and didn't get help. Because of said mental illness, Souichiro would have left and taken custody of their daughters had he not have died. To add to this, Ryuuko was conceived as her marriage failed and got worst of her abuse.
- In Crimson And Emerald, Endeavor is eventually revealed to be this. His own father, Ryu Todoroki, was abusive to his wife and young Enji, to the point that Enji grew up to believe that such treatment of one's family was normal. This, combined with his issues over being Always Second Best, turned someone who Used to Be a Sweet Kid into the Jerkass Abusive Parent of the current day.
- The Wachowskis' film version of V for Vendetta has V put Evey through an ordeal much like the one he suffered in a concentration camp, just as in the original comics. However, the Wachowskis gave V a more sympathetic portrayal than Alan Moore did and had Evey fall in love with V even after all that he put her through. Even though what she went through is meant to be horrifying to the audience as well as her, her falling in love with V still seems uncomfortably like Stockholm Syndrome.
- J. K. Rowling seems to be a big fan of this trope, given how many characters in the Harry Potter series are these.
- Severus Snape is notable for his being a Sadist Teacher who favors Slytherins over those from other Houses and dishing out cruelty, insults, and strictness to the latter. However, starting from Prisoner of Azkaban, the reader discovers that he is one of these. He was bullied throughout his school years by the Marauders (though it's unclear whether he or they instigated their antagonistic relationship), hinted to have had an abusive or at least neglectful father and neglectful mother, and lost any chance of being with his one true love, Lily Evans, when he called her a Fantastic Slur and joined a hate group. Then he had to watch her date and marry one of his bullies (who, unlike Snape, has learned his lessons and stopped being a Jerkass) and have a child with him. Finally, she ended up dying for that child, despite his attempts to make a deal with Voldemort to save her life. He then spends the next sixteen years trying to make up for what he's done and playing a vital role as Dumbledore's double agent...while in a parallel bullying Neville to the point of traumatizing him, psychologically abusing Harry due to his heritage, verbally abusing Hermione when she's crying over having been humiliated by Draco, (note that these are all children) etc.
- Sirius subjects his house-elf, Kreacher, to a barrage of verbal and physical abuse in Order of the Phoenix because he goes out of his way to be a reminder of Sirius' rotten childhood caused by his status as The Un-Favourite in the eyes of his parents, who unsubtly liked his brother Regulus better than him while they are stuck in the same house for a year due to Sirius being under a Dumbledore imposed house arrest. Even after he left his Abusive Parents, he couldn't catch a break. His best friends were betrayed by someone they thought was their friend, resulting in the deaths of two of them orphaning their son, Sirius' godson. To top it all off, he was blamed for every crime that said false friend committed and sent to Azkaban, where he was subjected to enough Mind Rape to make him Younger Than They Look. Kreacher in turn hates him and does everything he can to annoy Sirius. Dumbledore notes that Sirius was nice to house-elves for the most part, but Kreacher was a living reminder of the home and family he hated, and Sirius took his frustrations out on the house-elf. Harry, who is Nice to the Waiter and doesn't have Sirius' past with Kreacher, quickly gains the elf's loyalty.
- Merope, Voldemort's mother, was subjected to a barrage of verbal and physical abuse by both her brother and her father, some of it for the reason that she was a Stalker with a Crush on Tom Riddle Sr., a Muggle. Then when both of them were locked away in Azkaban, she slipped Tom Riddle, Sr. a Love Potion, using the induced infatuation to get him to marry her and do the nasty with her enough times to conceive Tom Riddle, Jr., who later comes to be known as Voldemort.
- Harry's Aunt Petunia is notorious for being one of Harry Potter's Abusive Muggle Foster Parents, but then we find out that she was jealous of her sister Lily's turning out to be a witch. She not only begged to be able to go to Hogwarts, but she felt overshadowed by her sister in the eyes of their parents (Which wasn't exactly Lily's fault, though, and does NOT justify her horrible treatment of Harry).
- So many works by Stephen King feature at least one of these
- In It, Beverly's abusive husband is revealed in the narration to have had a physically abusive father.
- The novel Rage focuses on a school shooting in which Charlie Decker, the Villain Protagonist, kills multiple people and holds several students hostage. The narration reveals that Charlie Decker has suffered multiple incidents of physical abuse at the hands of his father, including one where Charlie Decker was hit so hard with a belt that it required a trip to the emergency room, where Charlie gave a Cut Himself Shaving excuse to explain his injuries.
- In another Stephen King novel, Carrie, the eponymous character is regularly subjected to loads of abuse by her widowed Christian fundamentalist mother, Margaret White. We later find out that Carrie is a Child by Rape. At one point, Carrie's parents were so hard-line fundamentalist that they were remaining celibate and then Mr. White changed his mind and forced himself on Margaret in a combination of "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization and Marital Rape License. She is so ashamed of having "sinned" and so unwilling to think of her experience as rape that she refuses to believe that she's pregnant when she is, calling it "a cancer of the womanly parts."
- Jack Torrance, who suffered horrific physical abuse at the hands of his father and watched him brutalize his mother and siblings, abuses and attempts to murder his wife and his son in The Shining.
- In the novel Starfish, one of the characters is a pedophile named Gerry. At some points the narration follows his point-of-view, and it's revealed that he himself was molested as a child.
- Edward Cullen in Twilight was orphaned by the Spanish flu as a teenager and is trying to make up for a period of time in which he killed humans and drank their blood. Also, from how his family describes his behavior just before he met Bella, he seems to have met the criteria for clinical depression. Despite being Bella's love interest, that hasn't stopped the multitude of pieces published on the Internet on why he is a domestic abuser. For one thing, he sabotaged Bella's truck when she was about to go out to see her friend Jacob. Controlling where a partner can or can't go or who they can or can't have contact with, as well as damaging their personal property, is abusive behavior and is noted as such in resources on dealing with abuse.
- In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Warren, one of the Scary Black Man attendants who are downright abusive toward the patients of the mental hospital they work in, is said to have seen his mother being raped by a white man as a child.
- AM's sole female victim, Ellen, is subjected to abuse by Gorrister and (At the very least an emotional level, although it may have gone further seeing his status as an Unreliable Narrator) Ted, who AM has also been torturing nonstop for 109 years. The other two victims are either too insane to possibly do anything or apathetic to the whole thing.
- Though far more and extreme and far less understandable, AM itself. It was built as a war machine, but was hated and feared by its creators for doing its job — originally named "Allied Mastercomputer", they quickly started bemoaning it as "Aggressive Machine". 109 years after it takes over the world, AM is just as trapped as its victims, with complete control over its captives but unable to better itself in any way, howling in rage at its own powerlessness.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Aunt Helen was molested as a young girl, which is why she herself molested Charlie.
- The End of Alice by A.M. Homes features a pedophile who was sexually abused by his mother as a child. Both the sexual abuse he inflicted on a young girl before killing her as well as that he received are described in graphic detail that certainly qualifies as High Octane Nightmare Fuel.
- In Mercedes Lackey's When the Bough Breaks, the rich and successful father horrifically sexually abuses his preteen daughter. When he's brought to the elven version of justice, it's shown that his father physically and psychologically abused him as a child.
- Done heartbreakingly well in Chronicles of the Kencyrath. Ganth, the main characters' father was incredibly abusive, throwing out his 7-year-old daughter into the Haunted Lands when he found out she was magical. In the first few books, he seems one-dimensionally evil. Several books in, you learn that Ganth was abused by his own father, and that his hatred and fear of magic stems from the fact that his brother used magic to rape him when they were young. All of the women in his family—including his grandma and sister who he loved—were killed by assassins. He lead his people to war and suffered a shocking defeat. He became a exile and ended up living in the Haunted Lands. The woman who he truly believed was his One True Love—his children's mother—became his consort, but then she left him without any explanation. His daughter turned out to magic, just like the rapist brother. Ganth was beaten and broken again and again by his Trauma Conga Line life, and by the time his children were born—near the end of his life—he taught them "Destruction begins with love." because that's really what he believed. Trishien lampshades this in The Sea of Time:
Trishien: You always did hide behind your anger, Ganth. When you couldn't have what you wanted, you tried to tear down everything, at whatever cost to anyone else. You were hurt, by your brother, by your father, by life, so you hurt others.
- Wuthering Heights is full of these: Heathcliff is abused by his adoptive brother Hindley (who is also a mild example because of his status as The Unfavorite and his deterioration after his wife dies), who becomes his guardian after the death of his adoptive/Hindley's biological father, and as a result is abusive towards his wife, nephew, daughter-in-law, and son (who also becomes this trope after moving in with his father).
- A Tale Of...: The Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs forces Snow White to work and dress as a servant in her own residence and even tries to have her murdered. In her A Tale of... novel, the Queen, named Grimhilde, is revealed to have been made insecure about her appearance by her emotionally and physically abusive father who blames her for her mother dying in childbirth. Grimhilde tried to be a good step-mother to Snow but she snapped after her husband, the King, died in war. Grimhilde became grief-stricken and began obsessing over the Man in the Mirror. This is due to the Mirror containing the soul of her father, who Grimhilde desperately wants approval from after years of abuse. Eventually this obsession leads to Grimhilde neglecting Snow White for years and then eventually becoming jealous of her daughter once she grows more beautiful than her.
- Game of Thrones: Cersei Lannister. Between her experiences with her abusive husband, controlling, emotionally abusive father and uncontrollable, psychopathic son, Cersei takes it out on whom she has a chance at the moment. Sometimes it's Tyrion (though it tends to backfire on her). More often it's Sansa.
- Veronica Mars:
- Aaron Echolls, who abuses his son. We learn later that his father was also an abusive alcoholic who beat his mother in front of him and put out cigarettes in his hands.
- The abused child in question, Logan Echolls torments Veronica, provides the drugs that are used in her rape, and arranges such deranged activities as "bum fights." Despite being one of her biggest tormenters, he eventually became Veronica's boyfriend. He became woobified, as large portions of the audience chose to excuse his actions on the basis of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father.
- Lionel Luthor on Smallville is an Archnemesis Dad who abuses his son Lex financially and emotionally in an attempt at making him stronger. He is absolutely ruthless in his desire to make Lex into a worthy heir for his corporate empire, and easily deserves the title of "Worst Father Ever." In Season 3, however, we learn that Lionel's own parents were a pair of alcoholic washouts who beat him regularly and went out of their way to sabotage his success; if Lionel can be trusted, they actually wanted him to end up just like them. He eventually killed them, then fabricated a new past for the family, claiming descent from Scottish nobility. Not only does this explain Lionel's drive for success, it also helps to demonstrate why he seems to be unaware that he is abusing Lex: in Lionel's mind, abuse is physical; he sees himself as an involved parent and nothing worse.
- In most incarnations of Blackadder, the title character heavily abuses Baldrick, often in frustration at his mistreatment at the hands of his own higher power (often a monarch). His lampshading of this "Dog Kicks Littler Dog" scenario in the third installment is the page quote.
- The eponymous character of House was abused by his father when he was a child and grows up to be a Jerkass who goes to illegal lengths to coerce or force people into unwanted medical procedures that are sometimes painful, and when his girlfriend Cuddy leaves him, he vandalizes her house in a fit of rage via Car Fu.
- Sam Puckett commits Domestic Abuse to her boyfriend Freddie on iCarly. One episode reveals that her father walked out on her whole family.
- Discussed in the Eric Bogle song "Daniel Smiling".
"That brutalised children become adults who then brutalize."
- As well as the Tool song "Prison Sex".
"I do unto others, what has been done to me. Do unto others, what has been done to you."
- "Family Tree" by Megadeth is about familial abuse, heavily implied to be sexual abuse. This line in the song suggests that the abuser was also abused by their family:
"I know they were doin' it to you, but don't try doin' it to me."
- Mystery Case Files: Escape From Ravenhearst — Charles Dalimar claims to be this. (Well, technically, he never admits to the "Abuser" part, just the "Troubled".)
- If you consider the relationship tree of the Metal Gear series, about half of them are abusive connections. Forgive the liberalness with which relationships are interpreted. Troubled Abuser always listed first. It helps that everyone has a Darkand Troubled Past.
- Liquid Snake to Solid Snake: Abusive brother to brother.
- Solid Snake to Liquid Snake: It may be entirely necessary, but it's still an abusive relationship.
- Sniper Wolf to Otacon: Emotional abuse. Uses his affections to try and manipulate Snake, to a small degree.
- The Colonel and Naomi Hunter to Solid Snake: Hard to interpret the relationship into friend or familial terms, but they're both using Snake for variously selfish ends.
- And of course, Solid Snake to the Genome Soldiers: In the most fucked up way possible, abusive brother to brother.
- Double-Subverted with Venom Snake and Liquid Snake; the former tries to be a somewhat competent parent-figure to the latter, but the latter is too broken to recognize it as anything other than abusive contempt.
- Cid in Final Fantasy VII is not exactly a bad person but he is verbally abusive to his housemate Shera, but in his case he's deeply depressed about having his dreams crushed. He knows Shinra was responsible for doing it and even cites financial reasons, but blames Shera for it anyway since she was in danger and Cid forfeited his dreams so she wouldn't die. When it turns out Shera did have a very good point that wasn't related to Shinra, Cid goes "My God, What Have I Done?" mode and apologizes to her for what he put her through.
- Umineko: When They Cry has both Rosa Ushiromiya and her father Kinzo.
- Rosa was abused by Kinzo, tormented by her brothers and sister (which Rudolf acknowledges at some point), and is a single mother where the father of her daughter Maria left her without marrying her and while she was pregnant. All in all, her life's a train wreck. Is it any wonder that she winds up taking so much of it out on Maria, as much as poor Maria doesn't deserve it?
- As for Kinzo, he's manipulated as the heir to the Ushiromiya family, seeks his own death, is sent off to World War II, and meets his love, Beatrice Castiglioni, only to have her and later her daughter both die. He winds up half-insane, is abusive to most of his children (specially to Eva, by denying her the right to be the heir purely for her gender despite being more talented in business than her eldest brother Krauss) and has a child with his illegitimate daughter, Beatrice Ushiromiya, through implied rape. All in all, he had a terrible past - but he IS the one who made the Ushiromiyas the Big, Screwed-Up Family they are.
- Makihisa Toono from Tsukihime suffers from a constant risk of being take over by his family's demon blood and his only guaranteed method is keeping his mind under control is forcing an 8 years-old Kohaku into sexual intercourse. The same situation later happens to his children SHIKI and Akiha. That said, the Toono family can be considered one of the most sympathetic example of this trope, as even their victim acknowledges that they did what they because they had no other choice.
- Toki. She starts out like this and abuses her friends and then Frailine. Her reasons for any of this: She's mentally ill and cannot always discern right from wrong, and another is that she was abused and almost died of leukemia as a result of her caregiver's neglect (something she can't let go and that drove her insane, thus making her ticking time bomb all through high school, in which she was borderline insane) and now wanted to be the one in control and the one to hurt. Her reasons for abusing Frailine is because its more like revenge and a slap to the face to her deceased adopted (technically foster) mother for abusing her after Frailine was born, Irrational Hatred, and Misplaced Retribution. Sad thing about that, she wasn't always like this and was once very sweet, making her sort of a Jerkass Woobie and her past a Break the Cutie.
- Light example from The Simpsons, Homer Simpson frequently physically abuses Bart, it is often revealed in flashbacks that his own father Abe was rather aloof and emotionally abusive to him as well. Abe was in some cases even seen strangling Homer in the same manner the latter does to Bart today.
Homer: He said I was an accident, he didn't wanna have me.
Marge: You didn't want to have Bart.
Homer: Yeah but you're not supposed to tell the child.
Marge: You tell Bart all the time, you told him this morning.
Homer: *flustered* But when I do it it's cute!
- Dr Robotnik of Sonic Sat AM who is incredibly abusive to his nephew Snively, was revealed in "The Void" to have initially been a surbordinate to wizard Naugus, who used his magic to torture and intimidate Robotnik. The fact Snively thought his treatment was Actually Pretty Funny probably only furthered Robotnik's spite towards him however. In the planned third season Naugus would have returned, actually reducing Robotnik to a cowering toady similar to Snively.
- On Moral Orel, Clay Puppington abuses his son (both physically and psychologically) and was all but ignored by his father after inadvertently causing his mother's death.
- In Hey Arnold!, the eponymous character has a Stalker with a Crush named Helga who is also eager to hide the fact that she has a crush on Arnold... by subjecting him to relentless bullying and harassment that includes physical and verbal abuse. She also has Abusive Parents who favor her older sister over her and barely pay attention to her (and said sister doesn't have it much better).
- Pacifica Northwest from Gravity Falls is introduced as a stuck-up classist bully. Later, it is revealed that not only is there constant pressure put on her by her stuck-up classist parents, but that she is also the victim of some unnerving psychological abuse that makes her comply with them and the way they want her to be.
- In The Dreamstone, Elite Mooks Urpgor and Sgt Blob are often shown ordering about and abusing lower Urpneys, something that makes some sense given they are most often at the brunt of Zordrak's horrible temper.
- The South Park episode "Cartman Sucks" has a subplot where Butters gets sent to a "straight camp" that very Anviliciously shows how ineffective, pointless, and wrong it is to attempt to Cure Your Gays. One example is one of the staff members, who cheerfully tells the campers that being gay and bisexual is abnormal and encourages them to "pray the gay away" from the inside of a Transparent Closet. To inspire them, he tells about how he was once gay, but not no longer because he turned straight by way of praying to God to make him straight, which he was obviously encouraged to do when he was younger by one or more homophobic authority figures.
- Mister Ruckus from The Boondocks was continuously abused from both his mother Nelly and white men, leading him to be abusive towards his son Uncle.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The episode "One Bad Apple" gives us this trope when the Cutie Mark Crusaders learn that Babs Seed, who had been fiercely bullying them for days now, had only come to Ponyville to get away from the heartache and bullying she had been experiencing back home. The Crusaders realize that this is what prompted her to join with the local Alpha Bitches rather than stand up to them.
- Another episodes reveals that the bullying Alpha Bitch Diamond Tiara has a horrible home life where she's abused by her mother and it's revealed she's secretly jealous of the true friendship the Cutie Mark Crusaders have. They're able to convince her to make a HeelFace Turn.
- Kaeloo: Mr. Cat regularly abuses Quack Quack, and sometimes Stumpy, for no apparent reason. He also had an abusive and neglectful family.
- BoJack Horseman's childhood was terrible, especially when he had to contend with Beatrice, his crappy mother but, when we see her childhood, we find out that it wasn't sunshine and rainbows either, adding to this is that her lobotomized mother, Honey, told "Promise me you won't love anyone like I loved CrackerJack".
- Steven Universe: Lapis suffers from trauma caused by being trapped in a mirror for hundreds of years. As a result, she's distant and standoffish to even her closest friends. Lapis took off much of her anger on Jasper by forcing them into an unstable fusion underneath the ocean for several months.
- If statistics are right, 30% of all Abusive Parents were mistreated by theirs.
- Joseph Frizl described his relationship with his mother as physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive. As an adult, he kept his mother imprisoned in the attic for 20 years before her death and infamously took his 18 year old daughter Elisabeth and imprisoned her in the cellar, meanwhile raping her enough times that she gave birth to seven children, three of whom never saw the light of day until one of them had a seizure requiring medical attention, enabling their release, at which time Elisabeth was 42 years old.
- Chris Brown, who infamously physically abused his girlfriend Rihanna, spoke about having watched his mother being beaten by his stepfather from the ages of 7 to 13.
- Richard A. Cohen is an "ex-gay" "therapist" who works to "cure" others of being gay by telling them that it's wrong to be gay and to try as hard as they can to be straight, even if that means going against themselves, which is an emotionally and psychologically abusive thing to do. He had an abusive home life that he states caused his homosexuality, which he says he has since healed from.
- Josef Stalin had an abusive father and later abused his son, even going so far to mock him when he failed to kill himself.
- Victor Salva was subjected to physical abuse by his often-drunk stepfather in his childhood. When Salva was directing Clownhouse years later, he molested a 12 year old who was working as one of the film's actors.
- It was revealed in 2017 and 2018 that former actress Allison Mack was the second in command of a sex cult within NXIVM, after she herself was victim of said sex cult.