Follow TV Tropes


Why Did You Make Me Hit You?

Go To

"Sorry, baby! Why did you make me do that?"
— Description of the "Double Slap" weapon from Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories

Some people just don't play fair.

Picture a scene such as a mother arguing with her teenage daughter. The cause might be trivial; maybe the kid was slightly late coming home. Usually, the mother wins these arguments, if only by virtue of You Are Grounded!. But her daughter's not backing down this time and she may actually have the upper hand in the argument (i.e., she was late because she needed to stop for gas). The argument escalates until the mother realizes that she can't win this one, or the daughter makes a comment that hits a little too close to home.


Quick as a flash, the mother's hand slams across her daughter's cheek. There's a pause while the girl registers that she's been hurt.

And that's when mother plays her trump card. Before her daughter can get over the shock... her mother bursts into tears. Normally, the person who now sports a bright red handprint across her face will begin apologizing profusely or start crying as well, usually hugging the one that just hit her. Somehow, the victim is now convinced that she was to blame... and the slapper "wins" the argument by default.

The victim of Why Did You Make Me Hit You? could be anyone, but the two most common characters who are subject to being the victim are a close relative or friend, usually a child (actual or surrogate), or a romantic partner or spouse. Thanks to the Double Standard, if a man should employ this trope, it's a given that not only is Domestic Abuse on the horizon, it's mixed in with Manipulative Bastard traits too. For example, the violent husband who knows how to play on his wife's soft-heartedness. These characters are almost invariably written as pure evil. In the case of a woman slapping her boyfriend, the chances are that the trope will be recognized as an emotionally manipulative ploy, but it's much less likely to be a sign of a Domestic Abuse plot; if it's a daughter or friend being slapped, the attacker will probably get away with it, they will reconcile and everything will have been forgotten two scenes later; however, as the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse by and towards both men and women are becoming more publicized (and stories of emotionally abusive women are featured more often in Real Life news stories) this portrayal is finally beginning to change.

Occasionally this is a one-off event that isn't indicative of an abusive relationship, just an argument gone bad, or just Played for Laughs, especially if the person hit isn't very hurt or recovers immediately. The character who does the hitting won't have done it before, and probably won't do it again. In the case of children, particularly if the child has worried the parents and is now acting like a mouthy brat, it will be seen as a natural reaction toward the scare, a result of combined worry, anger, and relief. Sometimes, too, a manipulative child will deliberately goad an otherwise reasonable parent into striking him, knowing that he will be able to milk the parent's guilt to his advantage for weeks afterwards.

A sub-trope of Blaming the Victim.

Compare Sorry I Fell on Your Fist (from the victim's side) or Bitch Slap (for cases when the hitter usually does NOT burst into tears) and Get A Hold Of Yourself Man (in which the hitter really did have no choice but to hit the victim, due to the latter being a hysterical mess). Related is Stop Hitting Yourself, where you instead use the victim's own limb to hit them while taunting them.

See also our Useful Notes page on Victim-Blaming for serious Real Life explanations.


    open/close all folders 

    East Asian Comics 
  • In The Monstrous Duke's Adopted Daughter, the entire Speràdo household does this to little Leslie her whole life, since she was old enough to walk and talk on her own. They would make up crimes and acts of "insubordination" so they could have an excuse to beat her down, deny her meals, and break her down, mentally and emotionally, because when the time for the ritual was right, they were planning to make her a Human Sacrifice so her elder sister, Eli, would "awaken" the ability to use Dark Magic, by stealing hers. This is something the family has done for at least a 1000 years.

    Audio Play 
  • This sometimes happens in Yandere Heaven. If the protagonist refuses to do what the guy wants her/him to do, he will either yell at her/him or get physically violent. When he calms down, he'll blame the listener for provoking such a reaction.

    Comic Books 
  • All-New Ultimates: One of the cops driving Scourge to the prison was actually a member of the watchdogs, who disarmed and cuffed his partner. When that partner tried to counter-attack, he was shot.
  • Given that Deadpool is a professional assassin who has killed hundreds, it's interesting that no one is really outraged up until #13 of his solo series where he beats his best friend unconscious and throws his hostage/mother figure Blind Al into a room full of sharp objects, asking her "Why did you have to make me do this? why?"
  • New Avengers: In the third volume, Iron Man wonders why Steve always has to be like this before the Illuminati wipe Steve's memory. Steve's crime? Being unwilling to repeatedly destroy planets, and quite possibly living beings on them, to save their own.
  • Superman:
    • Supergirl (2005): In Identity/Breaking the Chain, after Supergirl is brutally beaten up by Powerboy, including having her face dragged down the side of a skyscraper, she wakes up in a bed next to a Stalker Shrine devoted to her, bound in powerful, alien-tech restraints. Powerboy says a big speech about how much he loves her, that he knows best, and that the beating was her fault for making him angry. Supergirl replies by delivering a brutal beating combined with a Shut Up, Hannibal! speech.
      Powerboy: Look, I'm just going to lay it all out because honesty is important in a strong relationship... I was born on Apokolips. Taken from the Armagetto Slums to serve You-Know-Who... He made me strong, trained me in the ways of the Earth so I could come here as a "hero" and... Well, it doesn't really matter anymore, because it changed the day you came to Apokolips. The most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Ever felt. From that moment, I knew I had found my "Missing Half". I knew we would be together. And then you left... I couldn't eat. Sleep. Think. I knew that my true destiny wasn't with Darkseid and his stupid plans... So I followed you across the universe. I watched you try so hard to fit in, to find your way. All I wanted to do was hold you. Tell you how beautiful you were. But I knew you weren't ready to hear it... Sometimes we have to fall all the way down before someone can lift us up. You could be something so special, Kara... But you're lost. You're lost and you're too weak to find your way alone. Whenever you try... the monster in you comes out. Is this what you what to be? (cups her face) You need someone to take care of you, Kara. Someone who loves you to build to up... To make you into something you can be proud of. I love you, Kara. We can be perfect together, if you'll just let me fix you.
      Supergirl: (destroys her restraints and burns his hand with heat vision) We need to break up.
      Powerboy: Aaaaaigh! What did you do?!
      Supergirl: You hit me. You said you loved me... And you hit me. (punches him through a wall to the outside)
      Powerboy: Y-You made me hit you! Because you don't listen, like now! Kara! I'm warning you! Stop it or I'll do it again! I'll hurt you again!
    • Infinite Crisis: When Superboy-Prime is ganged up by the Teen Titans, he beheads one of them by accident, and then screams he did not mean it and it was their fault for attacking him.
  • Comic Book:My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic IDW: The Knights of Order collectively have a habit of blaming others for 'making' them harm them and telling them its their fault. For exact examples:
    • Ceridwen blames the heroes for both her attempted destruction of Orinithia and the coming threat to Equestria.
    • Danu and the other Knights put the blame of their attack on Canterlot squarely on the heroes for their 'crime' of activating the other Element sets. When Danu goes One-Winged Angel and attempts to destroy Canterlot, he flat out starts screaming its the heroes' fault.
  • Wonder Woman (2006): When Zeus shows up to inform Milohai that since the Greek Pantheon is back on earth Milohai can just release his champion Diana back to him (despite Diana never having been his champion and helping his daughter overthrow him) Milohai tells Zeus that Diana's loyalties are not his to command and if Zeus wants her as his champion he needs to talk to her about it. In response, Zeus attacks him while talking about how Milohai forced him to by not listening, and ends up murdering the Polynesian deity, which he is implied to have intended all along.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo pulls this on Quasimodo after Frollo figures out that Quasi helped Esmeralda escape from the cathedral.
    Frollo: Now all of Paris is burning because of you!
  • In The LEGO Movie, Lord Business' use of projection in his punishment of GCBC enables him to lay all fault on his lieutenant for not doing his job, considering how even the slightest imperfection can ruin his temper. This trope is used when GCBC is forced to Kragle his own parents because he is made to effectively take it out on the people he loves for his own failure at his job. It is reinforced because of how much Lord Business refuses failure as an option.
  • In Tangled, this is one of Mother Gothel's favorite tactics, facetiously lamenting that Rapunzel's made her "the bad guy" after refusing to let the girl leave the tower. In the end, when she mortally stabs the man Rapunzel loves, she turns to Rapunzel and says, "Now look what you've done."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Addams Family: Fester's "mother" slaps him and then instantly blames the title characters: "See what they've driven me to? Raised a hand to my child, my reason for living."
  • In A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, the husband/boyfriend of a client that Gigolo Joe has been sleeping with murders his lover when he finds out and sets Joe up for the crime. His reasoning is that "she killed me first".
  • The title character of Chopper yells "look what you made me do!" after beating his girlfriend.
  • In the movie Cruising, the serial killer whispers "You made me do that" after stabbing one of his victims.
  • In the film version of Dolores Claiborne (not sure about the novel by Stephen King), the protagonist's husband hits her across the kidneys with a piece of firewood, then says "Why did you make me do it?" It doesn't end well.
  • Empire Records: After a fair amount of provocation from his foster son Lucas, Joe drags him into the office and beats him up, then brings him an icepack and says, "You know you deserved that, right?"
  • In the Extended Edition of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Kumar's daydream has him doing this to a bag of weed.
    Kumar: "I'm sorry! You made me hit you! Why'd you make me do that?!"
  • House of Flying Daggers has a variant, this one from a jilted lover in a Love Triangle: "You made me kill you!"
  • Misery (see the entry in Literature).
  • The Night of the Hunter: "Oh, look, you made me lose my temper." Then again, by this point in the film, the audience already knows that Pearl did not deserve to be slapped and that Harry is one of the most Ax-Crazy psychopaths in anything ever.
  • In The Odd Way Home, Maya's abusive boyfriend snarls "Look what you made me do to you!" while beating her.
  • The Piano: Alisdair, enraged at Ada’s infidelity, violently pushes her against the wall demanding, “Why do you make me hurt you?”
  • Nathan Wallace in Repo! The Genetic Opera does this to Shilo after she sings about how he can't control her — after he slaps her, she sits there stunned for a second, rubbing her face. Horrified, he says he's sorry and the camera blacks out.
  • Caledon Hockley in Titanic (1997) does this on occasion to his fiancée Rose throughout the movie as he becomes increasingly possessive over her and jealous of her relationship with Jack.
  • Women Talking Dirty almost plays this for laughs. In the heat of an argument, a man slaps his girlfriend in the face and then says, "Oh, look what you made me do." She then slaps him in the face, repeats the same line, and storms off.

  • El-P invokes this trope at the end of the song "Stepfather Factory". There's the line towards the end of the song that says:
    And in a few unsubstantiated clinical trials, this condition
    Has led to simulated feelings of resentment and worthlessness
    Manifested in the highly unlikely, but still possible, act
    Of physical aggression towards you and your loved ones' fleshy surfaces
    • Then via a bone-chilling robotic basso profundo voice, the stepfather-bot from the song eerily intones at the very end: "Why are you making me hurt you? I love you."
  • Coheed and Cambria's character "Al the Killer" does this in the comic and the songs. Then again, he is a psychopath.
  • Shades of this in P!nk's "Please Don't Leave Me." It's about an abusive relationship, and the song's narrator claims that she's not usually like this, but there's just something about the guy that makes her want to abuse him... and she kind of hates him for it.
  • Taylor Swift's Look What You Made Me Do doesn't make it clear whether she's quoting what the person she's addressing would tell her after mistreating her, or if she's getting back at them for abusing her in the first place and telling them that they forced her hand. Her video makes it clear it's the latter, especially since she'd identified herself as a snake in a self-declared Face–Heel Turn; in the album, she notes she's putting someone on a Nixon-esque "list" and underlined it twice.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Eddie Guerrero claimed Rey Mysterio Jr. somehow made Eddie beat the hell out of him when the Smackdown feud started.
    • In a tremendous Call-Back to the feud eighteen years later, Rey says these exact same words to his son Dominik (whose heel character is something of an Eddie Guerrero-expy) after striking him in the face. In his case, it's a rare justified example — Dominik had long since made a Face–Heel Turn and had been spending months antagonizing his father and trying to provoke him into fighting him. Rey bore through it all, not wanting to fight his son, but when Dominik went as far as to start disrespecting his mother, Rey's wife Angie, too, Rey finally hit his Rage Breaking Point and attacked him, before accepting his challenge for a match between them at WrestleMania.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted: One of the nastiest things about Desus is that his social charms retain their full effect even against his victims. Since you know Desus is a great guy, your mind is forced to find a way to rationalize whatever he does to you as being your own fault.

  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Applies to both Nan and Kyle. Kyle never actually does this onstage, but when he tries to protest against being turned into bear-bait by his abused wife, Nan tells him that he made her do it — and it's made pretty clear that she's directly quoting one of his catchphrases.
    NAN: (A la Kyle) "Look what you made me do. You know how I get. You made me."
  • In Henry V, Henry threatens Harfleur with a brutal sack... and tells them that if it happens it'll be all their fault for not surrendering. They surrender.

    Video Games 
  • BattleTech: Sir Raju has a well-justified moment with this trope when he is forced to turn his guns on former comrades-in-arms who chose to rebel against his daughter-in-all-but-name Kamea.
    Raju: Damn you for making me do that, son. Damn you.
  • In a non-malicious example, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls has Toko slap Komaru out of her despair-induced funk in Chapter 5, only for her to demand Komaru hit her back after feeling disgusted with herself.
    Toko: This is the first time I've ever slapped someone in the face! See what you made me do? Now come on... Hit me back.
  • In God of War, as Zeus kills Kratos with the Blade of Olympus, he tells his son it didn't have to end this way and that this path was of his choosing. This is in spite of Zeus betraying Kratos and not having given him a relief from his nightmares, the one thing Kratos had asked from the Gods.
    • This is seen again in God of War Ragnarök, when Odin is ordering Thor to kill Kratos. Thor, who has finally realized how manipulative and self-serving his father really is, finally decides to go against him and refuses to do what Odin says. His immediate response is to stab Thor with Gugnir. As his son is dying, Odin tells his son, "I didn't want this. I did not want this." Even as Atreus berates Odin for killing his own son, Odin insists that Atreus and Kratos are responsible for turning Thor against him and that he had no choice. This demonstrates how Odin is so narcissistic, he's incapable of accepting responsibility for his own actions and will always find a way to pin the blame on someone else, even when it's crystal clear the fault lies with him.
  • In the midst of his Villainous Breakdown in Just Cause 3, Di Ravello begins attacking one of his own men. After he is done beating him (presumably to death), he screams "LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!"
  • David Madsen in Life Is Strange, if he hits Chloe in his first major scene. He gets better, but from the start of the game, he's an abusive, paranoid asshole who can't stand anything not being under his control and angrily blames everything but himself for his actions.
  • Happens in Samurai Warriors; Kunoichi has a cutscene where she asks Mitsuhide why he had made her fight him when the bad guy was Nobunaga all along and triggered a thought that eventually made Mitsuhide turn on Nobunaga.
  • A variant occurs in We Happy Few. An article "Breeder Riot" details how a pregnant woman was brutally attacked because she caused the outbreak of violence for having the "audacity" for showing off her pregnant stomach. Instead of attributing the blame to the Joy-high addicts who assaulted her simply for being pregnant. This is justified and made all the more tragic when you realize that the writers of this article were also Joy addicts, and common sense is far removed for their lot.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: Jamie's Abusive Parents used to claim that he was an unwanted child and that he was supposed to pay them back for feeding him.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Freeza does a little bit of Stop Hitting Yourself towards Vegeta by punching him in the back. When Vegeta whines out that he's doing that wrong, Freeza coldly replies "Au contrare, Vegeta. You brought this upon yourself."
  • In the Dream SMP, after finding Tommy's secret stash of items (which Dream never explicitly said he couldn't have, and at that point only consisted of innocuous things like loose diamonds, emeralds and ender pearls) during his exile, Dream blows up the entirety of Logstedshire, bars Tommy from the Nether and forbids him from having any visitors. He then scolds Tommy for betraying him, saying things like "I thought you were my friend", with Tommy frantically apologizing the entire time.
  • RWBY:
    • In the episode "Heroes and Monsters", Adam Taurus tells Blake "Why must you hurt me, Blake?" mere moments before he attempts to decapitate her. He also nearly killed another Beacon student, beat Blake within an inch of her life, declared that he's going to destroy everything she holds dear and cut off Yang's arm when she tried to rescue her. Given how Word of God stated that Adam was an abusive boyfriend to Blake in the past, and the fact that many abusive boyfriends in real life will blame their partner for provoking the abuse, it's incredibly disturbing.
      • In the episode "Stealing From the Elderly," Adam demands to know why she came into his life and ruined everything. Blake points out that he stalked her across the entire continent.
    • Many of the songs from Salem and Cinder's point of view have chastised Ozpin like this, shaming him for gathering countless people to defeat Salem and therefore sending them to their inevitable demise since he knows he can never hope to win, as Salem is immortal. It's occasionally treated as though Ozpin himself is murdering people rather than Salem and her forces.
    Have you no shame? Signing them up for your war!
  • Played for laughs in Strong Bad Email #86, when Strong Bad throws a cake in Strong Sad's face and says "look what you made me do."

    Western Animation 
  • Attempted by a tree witch in the "To Cut a Woman's Hair" episode of Adventure Time, when she lets Jake out of her so-called "bottomless bottom" and immediately starts crying about her inner and outer ugliness, seemingly provoked by a "The Reason You Suck" Speech Finn had given her just before.
  • In the second season finale of Amphibia, King Andrias runs Marcy through with his sword from behind, and the first words out of his mouth afterwards are "Now look what you made me do."
  • Also done in Batman: The Animated Series with the episode "Mad Love", where Harley Quinn is tossed out of a third-story window by The Joker, and whispers "My fault... I didn't get the joke.", quietly asserting Battered Spouse Syndrome.
  • In the premier episode of Black Dynamite:
    Michael Jackson: "Now Cream Corn, why did you make me do that to you? I'm not mad at you. But if you make me do it again, I'll kill you."
  • Played for laughs in an episode of Family Guy where Stewie gets angry and strikes his stuffed bear Rupert.
    Stewie: Now why did you make me do that? Do you think I like hitting you? ...Well, as a matter of fact, I do. In fact, I like it so much that I'm going to do it again!
  • Done memetically in the Season 1 finale of Invincible (2021), at the culmination of Omni-Man's brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of the titular character.
    Omni-Man: Why did you make me do this?! You're fighting so you can watch everyone around you die! Think, Mark!
  • Often done by Nelson Muntz, a bully on The Simpsons.
    Nelson: Hey, butler. Stop butling yourself. (hits the butler with the butler's own fist)
    Butler: Would that I could, sir. (Nelson hits him some more)
  • Played chillingly for drama in South Park when Jimmy takes steroids to give him an edge in the Special Olympics. His girlfriend tries to talk him out of continuing his steroid abuse, which causes him to fly into a rage and savagely beat her while screaming, "Why are you doing this? Why are you making me do this?"
  • Wacky Races: Used once by Dick Dastardly as a justification for his dirty tricks.