Don't You Dare Pity Me!

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"Every fuckin' one of them... They have the gall to take pity on me...and they don't even know...how much they're hurtin' me by doin' it. I don't do mercy. Strong, weak, infant, monster... I just smash 'em all to pieces... I don't give 'em a chance to get up a second time. I don't..."
Nnoitra Gilga, Bleach

An injured or suffering character is approached by another, eager to help, but the injured party is offended. This reaction of humiliation and resentment may be spoken, acted upon, or merely felt, but it is some variation on "I don't want your pity," or "Don't You Dare Pity Me". This may be used as actual Stock Phrases, but the reaction does not have to be verbalized.

The more serious the problem, the more likely this is to cause conflict. Temporary situations can invoke it for a time, as when Manly Tears or worse Sand in My Eyes causes another to try to comfort the weeping character.

This is most likely to come from a character who doesn't deal well with sympathy, even in the best of times. The Broken Bird, Troubled but Cute, The Tsundere, the Jerk with a Heart of Gold and the Ice Queen are particularly likely to react this way. Indeed, it may develop that their touchy character stems from this and can be resolved if it is. The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask doubly so, since anything for which she can be pitied is a weakness and danger. The Stoic Woobie is often this trope embodied. Getting them to fess up about it, much less confront it, can be a difficult prospect.

There is a range of possibilities of interaction. At one extreme, an injured character tries to avoid insensitive or demonstrative "sympathy" that rubs salt in the wound. They might accuse others of having Come to Gawk. They might fear that any response to their problem will break them down, when they can not afford to break down. Or the pity may be effusive for a trivial problem, or something that the character doesn't consider as such. The Handicapped Badass is managing just fine, thank you.

At the other extreme, the sufferer rejects sorely needed and selflessly offered help and suffers all the more for it. They might inflict suffering on others in the process.

Genuine pity is often portrayed as an affront to the dignity of the pitied, though there is also the popular Aesop that too much Pride is foolish and shallow. The injured character may hide from others to preempt pity. For any such character, mentioning his problem may hit a Berserk Button. The character can wallow in self-pity, but that's different.

The effect is more dramatic if the characters knew each other before the injury or if the problem is invisible. The pitying character may change after The Reveal. If the other person is in any way responsible for the injury, things can get very ugly indeed.

A hero sympathising with a villain's backstory may also incite this response.

Compare Think Nothing of It, for when a character wants to avoid praise for admirable behavior, Leave Me Alone, a common pharase also said by characters of this type, and Bad Dreams, where the character's suffering is not displayed at all while he's conscious.

Examples of Don't You Dare Pity Me! include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Elfen Lied has Kouta finding Yuka on a beach as she is reflecting on her Unrequited Love. Her exact line to him as he offers to take her home was along the lines of "Stop wasting your sympathy!" His response? A slap to the face for not considering how worried he was about her.
    • This was also Lucy's response to Kouta mentioning how sad she looked during her childhood.
  • In Fruits Basket, Kyo himself invokes the trope when Tohru sees his true form for the first time, lashing out at her in fear of rejection.
    • Akito invokes this when Tohru offers her her friendship towards the end of the manga. She slaps Tohru and screams "Do NOT talk to me like you understand! Do you pity me? You can't deceive me! We can't reconcile... I'm... I'm dirty!" Tohru cries at this and says she's not perfect as well, that she also is in pain, and Akito panics and has a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Asuka. So, SO much.
  • Mai Tokiha in My-HiME, especially in the manga.
    • Also Natsuki in the manga. When she is fighting her mother, Saeko, she gets a Hannibal Lecture saying that as Yuuichi has kissed and effectively chosen Mai, he is only helping her out of pity. Yuuichi then admits that he kissed Mai but asks if Natsuki has any objections to him helping her, causing her to punch him and accuse him of pitying him before kissing him and, her feelings settled, summoning her Child to fight.
  • In One Piece, Chopper goes over to treat Usopp after he loses his duel against Luffy, saying crewmember or not, he needs medical help, but Sanji tells him that Usopp knew what would happen, and it would be even more painful to be pitied after his loss. Chopper opts for just leaving medical supplies for Usopp to tend to his own wounds.
    • Chopper's done this a few times as well, but it's played for humor.
    • Zoro, after literally taking all of Luffy's pain, when Sanji asked him what's going on, he simply answered "Nothing happened"
    • In a stranger take on the trope, after Brook is beaten within an inch of his un-life by his own shadow in the form of Ryuuma, it is Ryuuma (who both is and is not a part of him) who scolds the rescuers for "interacting with the defeated." Brook himself, however, eagerly accepts help in taking his shadow back.
  • In Bleach, many of Nnoitra's decisions are based on his desire not to be pitied, as he is deeply hurt by then-Espada Neliel Tu Odelschwanck following him around to keep him alive because he is weaker than she is, and at one point after losing to Nel angrily thrusts his weapon at his fraccion Tesla when he asks if he is all right, warning him not to pity him. After being defeated by Kenpachi, he gets up even when Kenpachi believes the fight is finished, angered by being dismissed, and charges him again, but is killed.
  • Inuyasha: When Sesshoumaru's only arm is badly injured by Magatsuhi, Inuyasha becomes visibly guilt-stricken over the extent of his wounds, blames himself for what's just happened, and promptly tells him that a fight is no place for an injured person. All it does is trigger Sesshoumaru's Berserk Button for precisely this trope's reason.
  • In Ranma ½, after a fight with a stronger and faster Ranma, Ryoga has been twisted into a human knot. Akane is trying to untie him, and explains how Ranma is stronger and faster due to his training/fighting with Cologne (Shampoo's great-grandmother). Ryoga doesn't "want to see pity in those eyes," so he runs away... on his hands.
    • This could also be seen as the reason why Ranma & Akane basically fail as a Battle Couple. Both practice Supernatural Martial Arts, but while Akane is good, Ranma is better. Couple this with his own desire to avoid seeing Akane get hurt, as well as her Tsundere nature and Ranma's having No Social Skills, and the result is Akane gets ticked off by his insistence that he needs to "look after her".
    • In the moxibustion arc, Akane tries to cheer Ranma up. When he responds negatively to her encouragement by walking away, she says:

Akane: You fool! Snap out of it!
Ranma: Stop it... I don't want your pity...

  • Toris aka Lithuania from Axis Powers Hetalia doesn't have a good life since he works for Russia and is in a very weird and tragicomic Love Triangle with his boss and said boss's little sister, but hates telling others (even his old friend Feliks aka Poland) about his problems. In fact, Poland learns about Lithuania's woes only by accident, when he gets ready to sneak behind Lithuania when he's in the bath tub and happens to see the massive scars on his back.
  • May Wong from Kaleido Star invokes this trope on Sora Naegino twice. First, after her Break the Haughty episode, when she thinks Sora will mock her for being abandoned by Leon and tells her to go away, when in reality Sora wanted to tell her that she flunked Leon's last test. Second, when Katie asks a punished Sora (meaning, she's not allowed to perform for almost dropping out of the Stage) to challenge her during rehearsals, but Sora refuses and May even slaps her in the middle of her upcoming Heroic BSOD.
  • Sailor Moon: Used big time by Queen Nehelenia. After finding out about her past, the sailor soldiers start to pity her, causing her to fly off the handle. "Those eyes again... DON'T LOOK AT ME WITH SUCH EYES!" She then attacks them. They keep it up as she breaks down and gives up.
  • Claire from Planetes.
  • Through the entire run of Airmaster, Sakiyama Kaori had been caught in a Can't Catch Up dynamic with the titular street-fighter, Maki. No matter how strong she got—quickly going from being a joke to taking down championship-level wrestlers with a single attack—she still couldn't reach Maki's level, and every fight they had ended with Kaori unconscious or even near death. In the final episode, as Maki is on her way to face her final challenge against 'The Strongest Man,' Kaori challenges her one last time. She is at the peak of her power, even embracing a rage-powered near-Super Mode, and yet Maki and the viewers know that she doesn't have a prayer. But when Maki says "I'm sorry, but... it'll take only one minute," Kaori literally explodes in fury, not at Maki's confidence in her own skills, which is well-founded, but in the pity inherent in the first part of the statement. Taken aback, Maki apologizes and recants. "One minute." (It takes barely ten seconds, but Kaori is smiling as she goes down.)
  • Cyborg 009 has Phil, the Hot-Blooded Anti-Villain of the Psychic Assassins arc, push his soft-spoken and kindhearted teammate Lina away whenever she worries because of his ailing health

Phil: "Shut up, Lina! You're not my mother!"

  • Mahou Sensei Negima did this during Negi's fight with Rakan. Jack patronizingly tells Negi that while he's impressed with his progress, he should just give up because he really has no chance to win. Negi doesn't take it well. Of course, knowing Jack, he probably said it just to get Negi to fight harder.
    • Fate's minion Homura pulls this on Rakan as well, when he briefly reads her mind and finds out she's a war orphan taken in by Fate.
  • Revy of Black Lagoon gets at least two of these during the series.
    • One particular scene stands out:

Revy: Hm... so that's how you see it, huh? All right... Hell, I can't think of any better place for a little story that you ought to hear. I'll share a little secret with you, Rock. Question time. What are these two objects?
Rock: ... A medal... and a skull...
Revy: Wrong. They're both things, Rock. When you get down to it, that's all they are. Just things. So how do you measure a thing's worth? Nostalgia and memories don't mean shit. Value is determined by a universally accepted unit. Money. Any other measures of value ain't nothing more than sentimental bullshit.
Rock So money is...God?
Revy: No, it's power. And it's way the fuck more useful. Rock... So tell me... what's more important than money? God? Love? Don't make me laugh. Back when I was a snot-nosed kid crawling through the gutter, for some strange reason, God and Love always seemed to be sold out and out of reach. Since I was too small to figure out how things worked, I wasted my time crying and asking God for help that'd never come. Of course, that stopped after the night some cops ganged up on me, and I almost got killed for a crime I didn't commit. Their only reason was that I was living in the slums. What's a little Chink bitch with no power and no God gonna turn to? Money and guns — that's what. When you've got both, it's smooth sailing.
Rock: I'm sorry I brought this up... Look, I —
Revy: Shut it. If I wanted sympathy, I would've spiced things up more. I'm sayin' you gotta know what it all boils down to in life's meat-grinder. Rock, in real life, no one gets off doin' it in the missionary position. And another thing... I don't need you to give me the same bullshit as those goddamned hypocrites. Rich fucks living on palm-tree lined streets and dizzy blondes who think their purpose in life is to paint themselves pretty. The last thing I need is for my friends and people I work with to start treatin' me like some whore. So, you start mouthin' off about doin' things in the nice and proper missionary position, then you're no longer on my side. And that's when I take out my gun... and kill you.

  • Pumpkin Doryu of Rave Master says this when the heroes begin to feel sorry for him upon learning his Start of Darkness.
  • Tatsumasa Oda from Slam Dunk is the poster-boy for this trope.
  • Shadow Link holds this attitude toward Princess Zelda at one point, in the manga adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures.
  • Jun Misugi is an uber version of this. To the point that he'd rather put his life in risk (he's an Ill Boy with a weak heart) than abandon his team in their hour of need.
  • Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist will NOT let anyone pity him. So much so that in the manga, Envy commits suicide because of it, specifically because Ed, the one he hates the most, is showing it to him.
    • Averted in the manga when Miles, in a Secret Test of Character, reveals his Ishbalan ancestry to Ed and accuses him of the crimes the Amestrians committed to the Ishbalans. Ed, who was a child during the war and is only half-Amestrian, counters that Ishbalans burnt his hometown and killed Winry's parents, which surprises Miles, who said he usually did get pity as an answer to that question.
  • As shown in the above picture, even Yotsuba&! has one, though played for laughs; the title character's failure at the Goldfish Scooping Game inspiring the event.
  • Sara from Samurai Champloo is very definite about not wanting to be felt sorry for even though she's blind. It turns out she does just fine.
  • At one point in Code Geass Lelouch tells Euphemia "STOP IT! STOP GIVING ME YOUR PITY! SPARE ME YOUR CHARITY! THIS IS SOMETHING I HAVE TO ACHIEVE ON MY OWN! AND SO FOR THAT, I SHALL STAIN YOUR HANDS WITH BLOOD, EUPHEMIA LI BRITANNIA!"
  • Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru: Uzuki does not like it when Yuki pities him.
  • Mariko of Oniisama e....
  • Omamori Himari: Being a warrior who respects honor, Himari occasionally takes offense to Yuuto's kindness when something bad happens to her.
  • Welcome to The NHK: Elena in the Manga when Yamazaki tries to give him money so he can get a sex change operation.
  • Claes from Gunslinger Girl does not tolerate sympathy from anyone concerning her situation within the Agency (handler is dead, is confined as a tech tester). In an inverse, she doesn't give sympathy to the girls or even tolerate their angsting, as seen when Angelica becomes self-deprecating after her blunders in the mission in the mountains.
  • Sakura from Naruto refuses to have Ino hold back during their fight in the Chuunin exams. She resorts to deliberately hitting Ino's two Berserk Buttons (having her crush on Sasuke mocked/challenged and being called "Ino-pig") in public to force her into attacking at full strength; Naruto is shocked when he does that, and Kakashi's explanation goes by this trope.

Kakashi: "Sakura isn't the kind of person who mocks someone out of pure cruelty. But she also dislikes the idea of Ino taking pity on her".

  • The reason for Kazuma and Fumino's marriage in Faster Than a Kiss. In the extremely brief backstory, she originally refuses his offer to take her and her little brother into his home, not wanting to receive "vague sympathy". Only when he agrees to marry her instead does she accept. Then Hilarity Ensues.
  • Naoki Shinjyo from Future GPX Cyber Formula invokes this on Hayato when his car got stuck in the mud during the first half of the African GP. Hayato tries to help Shinjyo to get out of the mud, but he said:

Shinjyo: "Weren't you satisfied enough just to laugh at me? I'd rather drop out than have to take your pity!"

  • Vegeta from Dragonball Z hates it when Goku and the others show him pity. He thinks it's a sign of weakness.
    • Frieza takes it a step further, and uses Goku's pity in a last-ditch attempt to kill him.
  • Tsubaki's brother in Soul Eater gives this word for word suring their fight; Tsubaki continues to pity him even as he's stabbing her in half a dozen places.
  • Romeo X Juliet: As he lay dying, Leontes Montague tells Juliet that he'll not have her pity.
  • Don't treat Ayase from Guilty Crown differently just because she happens to be wheelchair-bound. She will surely kick your ass if you do.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - Chihaya shuns anyone who dares to come close to her during her Heroic BSOD.
  • In Gundam Seed, Flay takes it really bad when she feels Kira is spending time with her rather than his parents because he pity her as an orphan. Previously, she was the one acting as Kira's only moral support.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • After DC Comics's Damage is seriously scarred in battle, he is resentful, bitter, belligerent, and unwilling to join any other heroes. The Justice Society of America manages to slowly integrate him into their team. Then his character takes a sudden turn for the sunnier when his scars are healed.
    • Sunnier nothing, his step-brother Atom-Smasher derides Damage for essentially being "Vanity Smurf with superpowers". Damage's face was healed by Gog, so Damage spread Gog's message, all the while showing off his "perfect face". This leads to a Kick the Dog moment when Damage destroys Atom-Smasher's (originally Damage' and A.S.'s father's) house full of priceless memories because he didn't want to be "linked to a dwarf". When Gog dies, Damage's face gets re-scarred and is this all over again.
  • DC's The Ray foolishly caused his father to go into respiratory arrest and saved him with mouth-to-mouth. The father immediately berated him for his stupidity, but the Ray ignored him in his relief that he was alive, which was so great that he started to cry. His father realized it, stopped the scolding, and tried to put his arm about him. Ray angrily shrugged it off. (A second attempt was more successful.)
  • In Marvel's "Age of Apocalypse" alternate history, Quicksilver learned that his father had been kidnapped by his worst enemy, his half brother had vanished, and a virtual stranger had also been captured. He had to decide to rescue the stranger. When his girlfriend Storm tried to sympathize, he refused to talk with her because if he thought of what he was doing, he would not be able to do it.
  • Star Wars: Obsession: Asajj Ventress tells this to Obi-Wan as she battles him, and notes that he no longer has pity in his eyes as she dies. (Or does she?)
  • Ultimate Spider-Man. The trope can be applied to the main character with his discussion with Nick Fury after the Clone Saga. Although its either a subversion or a Justified Trope. Or both as the case may be.
  • Another example courtesy The DCU: In issue 13 of the '80s Batman and the Outsiders, Katana (who actually Is Just Better, by the way) is tracking a poisoned and delusional Batman. She stops to save a civilian's life and thus, loses Bats. So she expresses her regret to substitute commander Black Lightning, prompting the following conversation:

Black Lightning: Don't go committin' Hara-Kiri or anything over it, Katana! You've been through a lot lately!
Katana: Don't pity me because of the death of my husband, Lightning! I won't have that!
Black Lightning: Sorry! But any of us would have done the same thing!

Slo-Bo: First person who pities me, I kill. Not frag. Kill.

  • The one thing Beast Boy can't stand is when people pity him.
  • In the short lived Warrior comic, when the title character returns from the hospital, his butler gives him his wheelchair in order to help him relax. Warrior flips out at this and tosses the wheelchair into the stratosphere.
  • Orpheus says this to the Griffin gate guard of his father's kingdom after his wife dies.
  • In Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment, Doom takes advantage of a contest to put Strange in his debt and get his assistance in rescuing his mother's soul from Hell. While they are successful, Cynthia von Doom witnesses her son being a Manipulative Bastard, dresses him down, and escapes to Heaven without any chance of reconciliation. Strange, moved by pity, reaches out to Doom, but Doom coldly rebuffs him.
  • In All Fall Down, the de-powered Portia defiantly bears this for most of the story.
  • In Archie's Sonic Universe, could be Scourge the Hedgehog in issue 29. The pitiers sing "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" and state that they're only doing this because they feel bad that they're happy he's getting hurt, not them.


Films -- Animated[edit | hide]


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

Gillespie: Don't you ever get just... a little lonely?
Tibbs: No lonelier than you, man.
Gillespie: Oh, now, don't get smart, black boy. I don't need it. No pity, thank you. No, thank you!

  • In Chocolat (2000), Armande (Judi Dench) turns out to be hiding the fact that she's diabetic from Vianne, the chocolate shop owner. After Armande's daughter reveals this, chews Vianne out for giving her sweets, and leaves in a huff, Vianne asks the old woman why she did not let her know. But Armande won't let anyone boss her around about how she lives her life, and as she leaves, says "Don't you dare pity me!" She dies the night after a sweets-filled birthday party Vianne caters for her, but this is seen by the film as preferable to living out her life in a nursing home.
  • In Disney's less-popular 1992 musical Newsies, Crutchy states, "I don't want nobody carryin' me. Never, ya hear?" when Jack and David go to break him out of the Refuge.
  • The blind woman and the serial killer in Red Dragon.

Woman: If there's anything worse than pity, it's fake pity. Especially from a walking hard-on like Ralph Mandy.
Killer: I have no pity.

  • In Young Man With a Horn, Amy (Lauren Bacall) slaps Rick (Kirk Douglas) and says this as they're breaking up.
  • Subverted in The Road Warrior : Max is clearly suffering from a traumatic loss, and could probably do with a little pity and understanding. Papagallo deliberately tries to re-open his old wounds.

Papagallo Tell me your story, Max. C'mon, tell me your story. What burned you out, huh? Kill one man to many? See too many people die? Lose some family? Oh, so that's it. You lost your family. That makes you something special, does it?"

You have exactly ten seconds to replace that look of disgusting pity with one of enormous respect.

  • In When Harry Met Sally..., Sally's reaction to Harry's explanation for why he had sex with her is... less than favorable.

Harry: But you looked up at me with these big sad eyes; "Don't leave, Harry," "Hold me a little longer, Harry..." I mean, what was I supposed to do?!
Sally: What are you saying, you took PITY on me?! Fuck you! *SLAP*

  • In The Crossing Guard, Jack Nicholson's character falls into a spiral of despair and anger after his daughter gets killed by a drunk driver while crossing the street. He delivers this to his wife when she expresses her pity for him.
  • Parodied in the second Scary Movie with Dwight, a wheelchair-bound cripple, who gets offended every time someone offers to help him with anything. He does this even when it makes no sense or is ridiculously hard to do by himself, such as giving himself a blowjob and going up two flights of stairs.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • There's a variant in one of the later Campion novels by Margery Allingham. Campion conceals the fact he has amnesia and that one of his few memories is of how much he loves Amanda because he can't bear the thought of her choosing him out of pity.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers' Harriet Vane found it difficult to accept Lord Peter Wimsey because he had fallen in love with her after she had been arrested for murder and was in serious danger of execution.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Crooked Man" a soldier had been betrayed to the enemy by his rival in love and suffered horrific tortures. He had avoided his old love for fear of inspiring her pity for many years.
  • In Sorcery and Cecelia, at the beginning of her Season, Kate has no partners at her first dance except for one who seemed rather distracted during the dance and immediately afterward claimed his dance with her sister, making the sister's magniminity a little too blatant for Kate.
  • In Robert Asprin's Hit or Myth, Aahz makes or breaks heavy promises to his family in order to rejoin his apprentice Skeeve and finds out that Skeeve is evidently coping just fine without him. Skeeve quickly realizes how crushing this is, but other characters happily burble about how well Skeeve is doing before coming to belated awareness. Panic-stricken, they look to Skeeve to convince Aahz that he really is still needed, and they aren't saying so out of pity.
  • In John Barnes's One for the Morning Glory, Amatus's behavior is so erratic after Gorlias's death that people worry that he doesn't sit about spurning sympathy despite his otherwise melancholy behavior.
  • Ender's Shadow: Achilles doesn't want your pity, and in fact will kill you if he detects even a hint of it in any of your interactions. Of course, he may just kill you anyway. He's like that.
  • In Animorphs, Marco presents the facade of aloofness because he hates feeling pitied, which ultimately fails when his teammates find out that his mother is Visser One, leader of the Yeerk Invasion. Likewise, teammate Tobias eventually becomes accustomed to being a hawk, but still tries to avoid the feelings of pity from his friends. That said, he is Emohawk, so he spends most of the time wangsting.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Mirror Dance, Mark Vorkosigan says as much to Elena, stating, "Don't you dare pity me."
  • Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind is an example. She cannot stand being pitied. At one point in the novel, Rhett claims that she cannot stand pity and sympathy because she sees them as a sign of weakness.
  • Belle in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol breaks up with Scrooge when she realizes that his personality has changed and his love of wealth now overshadows any feelings he has for her. When Scrooge points out that he has never asked to break off their engagement, she rejects it as pity or a sense of obligation.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel The Armour of Contempt, Dalin Criid feels and knows he dares not express a deep pity for Merrt after the Ghost ends up in RIP with him.
  • Eowyn, in JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, says this to Faramir with the line, "I desire no man's pity." (Faramir responds with a rare defense of pity: "Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart.")
  • Jayfeather of Warrior Cats is not the happiest cat around, mostly due to how much he's pitied because of his blindness. Don't be too nice to him, or he'll think you're pitying him. And don't mention his blindness, but then again, don't seem like you're trying to avoid it, either.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 novel Space Wolf, when Strybjorn is injured, he snarls at Ragnar, "I don't need your help," but gets only to his knees before he starts to topple. Ragnar helps him up and to walk.
    • In Wolfblade, Ragnar at one point thinks of helping Haegr to his feet and gets a warning glance that keeps him silent.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Heir to the Empire: After Mara Jade reveals her origins to Luke, she lets him know that she doesn't need his sympathy. She gets it anyway!
    • Funnily enough, she grows to admire this quality, although the only people she'd ever admit that to are her husband and son (Luke and Ben, obviously).
  • In The Wheel of Time, every time one of the heroes meets some Traveling People (who are pacifists), the main response toward him is pity for his readiness to do violence (even in self defence). One of the sharpest examples was with Perrin, who actually feels guilty doing violence but understands the necessity and gets one of those looks from one such a woman in the middle of a battle! He pretty much starts shouting the name of the trope at her. In a rare occurrence, she actually breaks that principle to protect him and gets killed.
  • In Brian Jacques's Redwall, Impoverished Patrician Squire Julian of Gingivere disdains his ramshackle estate and repels Matthias's sympathy because he knows nothing of loneliness or trying to preserve standards.
  • Erik has this down to a T. Having a face like a skull can train you for that.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Small Favor, Harry is angry with Michael's pity partly because he can tell that Michael thinks he's deluded, and he knows he's not.
  • In Steven Lyons's Warhammer 40,000 Imperial Guard novel Ice Guard, Anakora joined the Guard to avoid the pity. She is convinced that her subsequent survival—two and a half years, where normal life expectatency is measured in hours—resulted from others pitying her.
  • In C. S. Goto's Blood Ravens novel Dawn of War: Ascension, a captive eldar is infuriated when he realizes a human woman pities him.
  • In Iorich, Loiosh knows better than to extend psychic sympathy when his boss is getting beaten up, as Vlad just wants to ride out the pain until it's over.
  • During Wedge's Gamble, one of the Alderaanians who was off-planet when it was destroyed explains that many Alderaanians feel this trope, hating the thought of pity, but at the same time feel the need to remind people of their loss.
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Transcedence, after some false memories were revoked from Atkins—against his will—Atkins tells Phaethon to spare him the pity.
  • "I don't need help from a filthy little Mudblood like her!" -Severus Snape, after Lily Evans stepped in to stop the Marauders bullying him further. The bad thing, though? "Mudblood" is the most offensive term towards Muggle-born wizards, it's the Wizarding World equivalent of the "N" word... and Lily happens to be Muggle-born. So, yeah, Snape, enjoy your Unlucky Childhood Friend status after Lily gives up on you... because you earned it with gusto.
    • Harry also suffers from this, usually justified but sometimes to Too Dumb to Live levels. He hates being famous partly because it's annoying, partly because his parents' double murder is part of his fame, and therefore a good bit of the attention he gets is pity, which he hates. He goes further however, in frequently not telling Ron and Hermione (especially Hermione) his problems, even if it would do a lot of good, because he doesn't want them to pity him. For example, he wouldn't tell them that his detentions with Umbridge involved writing lines with his own blood, provoking an outraged response when Ron found out.
  • The narrator of Jakob the Liar (not in the Robin Williams movie)
  • Raistlin Majere of the Dragonlance books absolutely hates to be pitied.
  • In Uncle Tom's Cabin, the runaway slave George Harris speaks to his kindhearted former boss about his horrible situation and his escape. The boss tries to lend him some money that George desperately needs, but the Hot-Blooded George rejects it. They find a compromise, though: George does take the cash, but promises to repay it once he's free.
  • In The Full Matilda by David Haynes, Matilda refuses the pity of whoever "you" is when she tells the story of how at the age of 16 slept with the senator her family worked for so she could secure her father a house of his own.
  • In Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier Red literaly says this to Sorcha.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet, Rion to Geary.
  • Jenna Heap in Septimus Heap doesn't exactly approve of being pitied by Hildegarde after her mother Sarah was trapped in the Darke Domaine. In fact, she runs away just to get rid of her.
  • Vlad Tepes in Count and Countess. God help you if you try to point out his sucky childhood or show him sympathy over having lost his entire family to a pointless war.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, Freckles, returning from town where Angel and her father treated him as an equal, breaks down and cries on his return trip. He's not sure what it means but he's afraid it's pity.
  • In the Savannah Reid novel Buried in Buttercream, when Savannah's having a rough time because she and her friends are having some psychological issues from her being shot a couple months ago, and now her wedding had to be canceled a second time (first because an arsonist burned the building she was supposed to be married in, second time because someone was murdered at the place), she tells her Granny to not say any pitying, kind words because that will make her just fall apart.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Gossip Girl, Dan runs out on his family and Vanessa after Georgina takes Milo away and just won't deal.
  • The title character of House accuses Cameron of pitying rather than loving, and it's implied that it was the reason for her attraction to her husband (who was dying of cancer) and to House himself.
    • Effectively subverted on the recent episode "Emancipation." The patient, an emancipated minor and orphan, vehemently rejects any pity from the other characters. She maintains this stance when she later states that she lied about her parents' deaths and ran away from home because her father raped her. Ultimately, House realizes that the reason she's so adamantly against being pitied is that she doesn't think she's worthy of it. The real reason she ran away from home was that she (accidentally) killed her brother.
  • Used repeatedly in Stella, most often by Michael Showalter. That he also frequently does it in a West Virginia coal miner a la "Coal Miner's Daughter" accent is deliberate.
  • Stephen Colbert to the cheering Studio Audience, after yet another flubbed line:

No, no, I don't want your pity!

  • In Lost, after Kate learns of Sawyer's backstory and self-loathing, he warns her never to feel sorry for him.
    • Locke almost epitomizes this trope. Especially in his first centric episode.

Don't tell me what I can't do.

    • Said by Jack in the season 3 Finale, "Okay, I'll tell you what... you do this... you get my father down here. Get him down here right now and if I'm drunker than he is you can fire me. Don't you look at me like that. Don't you pity me."
  • Aeryn from Farscape doesn't object to pity. At the start she objects to every single emotion. In one episode, instead of talking things out with Crichton and letting him comfort her, she pounds a punching bag until it's stained with her own blood. Ow.
  • Subverted in the first episode of Foyle's War: DCS Foyle approaches Sgt. Milner, who is recuperating after having his leg shot off in the Battle of Norway (and is consequently a little shell-shocked and shaken) and asks for his help in investigating the case. Milner bitterly replies that he doesn't want Foyle's pity. Foyle immediately responds that he doesn't have time for pity he's trying to solve a murder of an unpopular German woman with, thanks to World War II, a severely reduced staff in an atmosphere of fear and chaos, and is approaching Milner because he's a trained police officer and Foyle needs all the help he can get, but if Milner wants to lie around uselessly feeling sorry for himself, that's Milner's problem. Milner eventually agrees to help.
  • MASH: Margaret is incredibly torn up over the death of a small dog that had been wandering around camp, and when Hawkeye tries to comfort her, she has this reaction. It doesn't last, though, and the floodgates eventually open.
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined:
    • Kara uses almost these exact words on Lee in the Season 2.5 episode "Scar".
    • As does Gaeta in Season 4.5's "Blood on the Scales".
  • After Gus in Road to Avonlea is blinded, he lets Felicity think he is dead rather than to have her pity him.
  • After the study group in Community learns that Jeff is living in his car, they attempt to offer him a place to stay. "The next person who offers me charity or pity gets mentioned by name in my suicide note," Jeff responds.
    • Pierce Hawthorne takes this trope to an extreme; he hates the idea of anyone pitying him for his age and his mostly lonely, miserable life, but is otherwise so desperate for attention that rather than accept their pity and sympathy he'll act out in more destructive ways to the point where he eventually makes everyone so sick of him that pity's the last thing they end up feeling towards him for him, which usually ends up with him ultimately being even lonelier and more miserable.
  • Joy's mother says this all the time in My Name Is Earl because she's in a wheelchair. She's not really disabled. She's just pretending.
  • A variation in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy tearfully reveals her mutually-abusive sexual relationship with Spike to Tara. She begs Tara to not forgive her; not out of anger, but because she's so disgusted with herself that she doesn't think she deserves pity.
    • Played straight with Xander and Faith in season 3. Xander is one of the first people to reach Faith after she runs away following her accidentally killing Deputy Mayor Finch, and tries to offer her his support on the grounds that 'they have a connection'. Tragically, Faith misunderstands him -- what Xander is referring to is that he more than anyone else in the cast understands Faith's emotional scars (like Faith and unlike Buffy, Willow, or Cordelia, Xander is a victim of child abuse from alcoholic parents). What Faith thinks he's referring to is their one-night stand several episodes ago. Angered at what she perceives to be a ploy to take advantage of her emotional distress to get in her pants, she attempts to kill him. Then Angel shows up with a baseball bat.
  • Is Played for Laughs on Chappelle's Show, when a handicapped man falls down and refuses help. He gets a round of applause after he gets back up and orders his meal.
  • On Newhart when maid Stephanie is afraid her wonderful temporary replacement will become permanent, and she tries to impress Dick by making his office “sparkle as never before.” Unfortunately, the replacement maid has made the place spotless and there is nothing for her to clean. Dick balls up a piece of paper so she can empty the trash, only to be told that she doesn’t want his charity.
  • In the Star Trek: TOS episode "Is There No Truth In Beauty?", Dr. Miranda Jones considers pity to be the worst of all the human emotions, partially because of her blindness and partially because of her attachment to Medusan ambassador Kollos, whose people are said to be so hideous, they drive any humanoid who sees them to madness.
  • Walt in Breaking Bad is so full of pride that when his once-friend who made a lot of money off his accomplishments that he didn't (because he severed their professional relationship at exactly the WORST TIME) says she feels so sorry for the kind of man he's become his response is a beautifully delivered Precision F-Strike.
  • In Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger, this is initially Yellow's response to any overture at comradeship from Red, since Red had replaced Yellow as the leader of the Gaorangers.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Skin of Evil," Armus rejects Troi and Picard's offers of pity and compassion.
  • A variant from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: when Garak discovers the Odo is suffering the effects of a devastating illness, he opens his mouth to say something, but Odo speaks first, telling him, "If I don't want pity from the woman I love, Garak, I certainly don't want it from you." Garak then smiles, turns, and leaves.
  • DS Barbara Havers eats, lives, and breathes this trope. When we first meet her, everything she does is designed to make people give up on her before they can pity her. She gets better.
  • Invoked on Have I Got News for You by guest host David Mitchell:

[the Missing Words headline is "(Lack of item price) surprises many customers about bar codes"]
David: [reading autocue] To be honest, it doesn't bother me that prices aren't included in bar codes, because, over the years, I've come to know the prices of every single Ready Meal for One.
Audience: Awww. [David looks mortified]
Paul: Shall we start a collection?
Andy Hamilton: Yeah!
David: [waving his hands] The pity's worse!

  • Subverted in an episode of Castle, when Castle has been feeling insecure about the fact that his daughter Alexis is no longer the little girl she used to be and is gradually moving away from reliance on him and into adulthood, as evidenced by her getting a boyfriend. At the end of the episode, Alexis 'happens' to casually suggest that they go out for a meal and hang out, the way they used to when she was little. Castle pegs immediately that she's been informed of his earlier insecurity and that he's essentially being offered a 'pity-date', but he's willing to take it at that point.
  • Polseres vermelles, a Catalan medical Dramedy about a group of youths who are patients at a hospital in Spain, has some characters who meet this trope.
    • Ignasi, a heart patient, was sent to the hospital after an incident at a playground. He didn’t like the fact he has to be carried in a wheelchair and thought the doctors were overacting to his condition.
    • Cristina, admitted for an eating disorder, agues with her sister, Carol, after Jordi, a cancer patient from Andorra, was given a piece of apple. Cristina offered the apple to Jordi and tries to explain to Carol that he was just trying to help her.
    • Roc, who’s in a coma after a pool incident, wants to be able to tell his mother that the situation wasn’t her fault. Roc felt since it was his decision to try the diving board, he’s should blame himself.
    • Toni, who has autism, defends his grandpa so he wouldn’t have to be placed in the custody of the government. Toni was in a motorcycle crash, where he felt he should take the blame for his own actions, not his grandpa.

Music[edit | hide]

  • The lyrics of Rick Astley's Cry For help are about a man getting frustrated because his girlfriend is the poster girl for this pose.
  • Metallica's underrated song Low Man's Lyric.
  • "Pity" by Drowning Pool.
  • Inverted in Amon Amarth's The Hero. A dying mercenary rejects the sympathy of those tending for him because he feels that he does not deserve it.

I don't deserve their sympathy
I know who I am
My soul is death and misery
I am an evil man

  • Kiss of Fire:

I can't resist you, what good is there in trying?
What good is in denying you're all that I desire?
Since I first met you, my heart was yours completely,
If that's a slave then it's a slave I want to be
Don't pity me!


Poetry[edit | hide]

So, when thine own dark hour shall fall,
Unchallenged canst thou say:
"I never worried you at all,
For God's sake go away!"

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Ric Flair went into WWE's Wrestlemania 24 about 10 years past his prime, rapidly decaying in the ring, and laboring under a decree from Vince McMahon that meant that the next match he lost would be his last. Knowing this, he challenged Shawn "Mr. Wrestlemania" Michaels to a match at the show. And when Michaels showed pity for his opponent in a promo a couple of weeks before the show and hinted that he might not bring his A-game, Flair called him out on it, demanding that Shawn give him everything he has, because, win or lose, he wanted to come out of the show with his honor and integrity intact.
  • After Daniel Bryan’s brutal put down, AJ Lee found herself in the mist of a nervous breakdown, took her rage out the available person. For what, her opponent felt bad… and that turns out to be a mistake.

Theatre[edit | hide]

  • In Wicked, Nessarose asks Boq if he took her to the dance only because he feels sorry for her: "It's because I'm in this chair, and you felt sorry for me...." As a matter of fact, that is not the reason.
    • The reason, however, is that Glinda asked him to, and she specifically cited the chair as the reason she'd find it attractive, so, close enough.
  • In the Act One Finale of La Cage aux Folles, Albin the drag queen sings I Am What I Am, defending his way of life, which includes the lines

I am what I am
I don't want praise, I don't want pity
I bang my own drum
Some think it's noise. I think it's pretty.

Don't you see what you gentle insanities do to me?
Rob me of anger and give me despair
Blows and abuse I can take and give back again!
Tenderness I can not bare.

Ghost: My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Hamlet: Alas, poor ghost!
Ghost: Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Kusanagi has this phrase as his KO quote.
  • Skuntank to the player character in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness/Time.
  • Edgeworth to Phoenix in case 3-5 of Ace Attorney, after he faints because of an earthquake and the defendant escapes from him; echoing the same reaction he had in the 4th case of the first game, where his aversion to earthquakes is explained. Fortunately, his adopted sister Franziska is around to whip some sense into him. Literally.
  • The final boss of Knights of the Old Republic II's response to a Last Second Chance: "You will not show me mercy! I will see you break before you do!"
  • In Baldur's Gate II, Jaheira's immediate response to finding Khalid's mutilated corpse is to instantly rebuff all and any attempts at consoling her, stating clearly that "the only voice I want to hear... Is no more."
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of The Betrayer Gann approves of the player saying "good riddance" to his parents (who abandoned him unwillingly and disapproves of pity for his situation.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Flonne takes pity on the 'Dark Adonis' Vyers Mid-Boss as he has no one to make his lunch for him, but he asks her to stop as "That sends a sharp pain to moi heart!"
  • In Super Mario RPG the Samurai Boss Boomer grumbles that he doesn't want Mario's pity after him and the other good guys trounce him, and instead offs himself by cutting the chandelier he was standing on during the boss fight. Granted, it's hard to tell exactly if Mario was offering pity when his only form of communication is jumping up and down.
  • When Ratchet in Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction questions Big Bad Emperor Tachyon as to how he could get himself to kill Lombaxes when they were the ones who saved his egg and raised him, Tachyon simply yells: "Those filthy creatures had the gall to pity me!".
  • In Sword of Mana, after you defeat Devius, Julius' voice is heard and he offers to heal him. Devius' pride is so offended by this that he declares he'd rather die than accept Julius' pity, and then does.
  • This, along with "...leave me alone...", are the last words of the Big Bad (Parliamentarian Batiste) in The Spirit Engine 2.
  • Samara from Mass Effect 2, after telling Shepard that Morinth, the fugitive serial killer she's been hunting for several hundred years, is her daughter. "I do not want your pity, Shepard. I do not accept it."
    • Jacob isn't quite as blunt, but he's not interested in Shepard trying to play amateur shrink (even after the events of his loyalty mission). His romance path is one of the few that lets Shepard do the venting instead, and you can convince him to break off the relationship if you keep prodding him.
    • It's also possible to play Shepard this way.
  • Persona 3: Ken Amada doesn't want any sympathy for being an orphan, he's too busy plotting revenge and plans on committing suicide afterwards because all he gets is sympathy now. Played for the destructive as he realizes that while he feared being alone, he exactly did just that, even though there are True Companions around to help him.
    • Naoki in Persona 4 has both this complex, and one about not mourning his own sister's death.
  • In Silent Hill 2, the mentally unstable and cynical Angela tells James not to pity her when he reaches out to her, claiming that she's "not worth it".
  • In World of Warcraft, the gnomes, especially their leader, Gelbin Mekkatorque, feel this way about the dwarves housing them in Ironforge while Gnomeregan is irradiated, as seen in Gelbin's short story "Cut Short".
  • Surprisingly, Hanako of Katawa Shoujo. She is well aware that her being The Woobie is why Hisao is initially interested in getting closer to her. She doesn't like the idea of him and Lilly seeing her as a child that needs protecting. For the most part she doesn't say anything about it until her bad ending.
    • Similarly, Emi has a similar distaste for "white knights", but is much more outspoken about it.

Emi: So you want to fix me, Hisao? Wanna swoop in on your white charger and save the day? Stop the nightmares, the phantom limb pains? Restore what's lost? Well, you can't. Nobody can. Nobody will.

    • Hisao himself feels this way in Lilly's route.
    • Lilly also feels this way on a lesser scale. She laughs when people quickly apologize over using expressions that include "see" in them, and later says, in all seriousness, that she doesn't like being pitied. She's also aware that she has been overprotective of Hanako in the past and tries to remedy this.

Lilly: If you'd pitied us, I would have been quite offended.


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In The Antithesis, Qaira Eltruan is a cold and callous militant leader on the outside, but suffers with self-hatred and guilt on the inside. Leid Koseling attempts to help him through his internal struggles along with the malay addiction (a type of drug similar to heroine) he suffers in the beginning of Decus, but he is at first very reluctant to accept her help. In fact he feels threatened and insulted by Leid's attempts to aid him, and often becomes angry over the fact.
  • In Tales of MU, Sooni's slave-cum-friend Kai endures extreme abuse from Sooni, including frequent beatings (once nearly to the point of death) and being forced to dress up in ridiculous cosplay. Whenever any of the main characters try to show any sympathy for her, she reacts with rage. It's later revealed in a bonus story that Kai comes from an extremely impoverished background and always dreamed of getting an education, and although Sooni as good as kidnapped her (with an implied reward to her family) Kai is willing to accept anything as long as it means she can continue going to university.
  • The Nostalgia Chick has a big breakdown in Spooning With Spoony after being raped by the titular character. The next episode later, she's dragging Nella everywhere to dance and shooting laser beams at her with delight. Two years later, she flinches and tries to hide her face when she's near Spoony and it's obvious she's nowhere near over the rape.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender gives the impression of being about to say this line all the time.
    • Toph has shades of this trope too, when it comes to her blindness. She gets a bit better at distinguishing between pity and friendly help after talking with Iroh in "The Chase" though.
  • Joe Swanson from Family Guy. For example, when he falls down in one episode as a result of Peter stealing the wheelchair ramp in front of the Swansons' house, he turns down an offer for help, saying that he "needs to retain his independence". Somewhat justified in that he still is quite capable of getting around despite being handicapped.
  • In American Dad, Stan is telling Steve about his first love:

Stan: Well, over time you find that the pain fades awa-AUGH!! AMY!! WHY??!!! WHY DIDN'T YOU LOVE ME??!!!
Steve: Aw, it's okay dad-
Stan: DON'T PATRONIZE ME!! WHY?? *continues bawling*

    • In another episode, Klaus does this when Hayley accidentally dissuades Stan from putting Klaus in a human body, which then leads to his bowl capsizing, causing Hayley to try and help Klaus again:

Klaus: You know what? Don't. You've done enough. [to self] Don't let her see you're suffocating. Don't give her the satisfaction.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The rallying cry of the autism rights movement. It was started by Jim Sinclair with his essay "Don't Mourn for Us".
    • Most people with disabilities in general take this viewpoint nowadays.
  • After an episode of Family Guy with a subplot of Chris dating a girl with Down Syndrome, Sarah Palin, who has a child with Downs Syndrome, called out the writers for being so callous. Then the actress who voiced said girl (who actually has Down Syndrome) called out Palin for using the disabled as political props.
  • Randy Newman's acceptance speech on receiving his Academy Award for Best Song after countless nominations began with the line, "I don't need your pity."
  • Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, FRAeS, DL, legless fighter pilot and hero of World War Two was equal parts this, Handicapped Badass and The Determinator. Once, when lecturing at a boarding school a schoolboy asked the great hero if he could carry his bags. Bader's response? BUGGER OFF!!!
  • Most organizations representing disabled people adopt this stance.
  • Subverted for addicts. Admitting you need help is often the first step towards recovery though "help" and "pity" aren't generally the same thing.
  • Freddie Mercury was criticized for hiding his HIV status until hours before his death in 1991. However, since the music was meant to be praised for the work involved rather than sympathy over his fatal condition, Mercury kept quiet about it considering that news reports about the situation was dangerous at the time to discuss in a public matter.
  • When wrestler, James Myers AKA George "The Animal" Steele, was dying of Kidney failure, he recorded his final video with the opening "if you're watching this, I am dead and I am with Jesus. Bye-bye" in a cheerful matter. Knowing he was going to die, Myers opted to look on the positive side. Even those with terminal illness who knows when they're dying, still doesn't mean their sense of humor has to go.
  • While for most, death isn't a laughing matter, which explain many obituaries are often taken seriously. Then, there who those meets this trope and opt to add humor to their obituaries, so they can have the last laugh.
  1. Incidentally, he actually is black