If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her.../Headscratchers

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

  • Looking through this trope's Troper Tales (and there's my problem immediately), do men really feel like they're emasculated if someone does this for them? And what's with the example that said this to their son and not the girl he was dating? Like women can never hurt anyone?
    • Philosophical Question: If your sister is marrying a woman, does this trope trump the Wouldn't Hit a Girl-trope?
    • Yes. If you threaten them you logically are going to follow through.
  • I always thought that threatening to enforce your will upon somebody else through violence was Wrong with a capital W. Apparently a LOT of tropers feel differently.
    • Normally, this is true, but I would rather have someone involved with a loved one of mine know that they will suffer if they hurt said loved one. Just giving them fair warning, really.
      • I'd have to disagree with threatening violence in any case, it's enough to calmly warn anyone who may potentially harm a loved one that you will not hesitate to call the cops if they do anything seriously wrong, and that the consequences will be *VERY* severe.
    • Depends on how the threat is phrased. If you're creative, there's plenty of ways to punish someone for wrongful actions without resorting to violence.
    • OP is right, for the purpose of this trope. Fair warning and creativity don't make it any more acceptable. She can be a literal goddess for all I care, if she puts me on a collision course with her relatives' abusive tendencies, the deal is off immediately, and if anybody complains it's my turn to start with the threats, legal or otherwise - Rottenvenetic
  • The problem I have is that I can't promise I'll never hurt her. I don't hit women, I don't lie to them, and I'm definitely not a sadist, but there will definitely be women that can't handle my non-monogamous lifestyle and hurt themselves on it. And there will probably, sooner or later, be a family member or close personal friend that has a problem with it.
    • Then if she can't handle you being, and lets just say it, less than faithful, then you should a) find someone who can or b) if you really love her, change your own behavior.
    • Gee, I can see that conversation going over well.

"If you ever hurt her, I'll break your legs."
"Yeah, see, I can't promise that. I will do what I do, regardless or whether it hurts her, because I have an obligation to myself to follow my deepest purpose. What's more, I don't feel that you have the right to threaten me like that, regardless of how close you are to her."
"... Right. Leg-breaking time."

  • Look, nobody can promise that they'll never do anything to hurt their partner, because as imperfect people we hurt each other's feelings now and then without meaning to. But you can certainly try to minimise the damage and clean up your messes. If you're non-monogamous, tell your prospective partner before you start dating. Yes, some stupid guys and girls will think that they're the one special exception and get their hearts broken, that's not your fault and that doesn't invalidate you at least trying not to hurt him/her.
    • Really, this Troper is quite sure that while they don't say, if the BF/GF is genuinely sorry for what they did, then this only applies in part. It only fully applies if you purposefully hurt them, or do it by accident and just don't care.
    • Plus, assuming both parties are involved are rational and reasonable people, there's an inherent understanding that by 'hurt' they usually mean the big things; adultery (assuming that the relationship is not otherwise an open one or one / both of the partners assume it to be strictly monogamous), spousal abuse, etc.
  • This Troper doesn't like this trope and the Unfortunate Implications it contains. Reading through the Troper Tales section really left me kind of disgusted. I mean, seriously? Threaten to torture and kill people isn't awesome, Badass and TV Tropes Made of Win Archive it's just creepy and disgusting. If your loved one is being abused then call the police and don't beat up the asshole who did this. A crime is a crime, it doesn't matter what kind of Complete Monster the victim is. And if the damage isn't physical then talk about it and don't threaten anybody. Nobody is perfect and nobody can promise that they'll never hurt anybody you love. Why not just say: "I love him/her so please treat him/her well."
    • THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one who felt this way...
    • You realize there's a difference between simple hurt and abuse, right? Plus, what happens if it's a female abusing a male? Read the troper tales for that trope. Even police didn't always take it seriously!
    • Okay...Nobody can promise that they'll never abuse anybody you love (I wrote "if your loved one is being abused", but you don't seem to care...). Are you happy now? Plus I wrote gender-neutral and have already read the Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male Troper Tales page. And yes it left me angry and disgusted. If the police doesn't take it seriously then simply end the relationship. Or would it be better if the victim called his family and friends to beat the shit out of his abusive girlfriend?
      • Nobody can promise they'll never hurt their loved one. I think it's possible to go through life not once abusing your loved one. And me myself (if I were a boy), I'll leave the relationship, sure, but if I need help getting away and the police won't help, I'll damn sure call my family and friends to help me and if that means the girlfriend gets her ass beat...well...so be it.
      • I don't think the trope is just about physical abuse; it would also include things like cheating on them, lying to them, etc. As I mention below, I think the threat is generally given if the speech giver thinks there's reason to believe it's going to happen.
      • If the police won't help then self-defense is acceptable of course, but assaulting the abusive boyfriend/girlfriend isn't. Like this disturbing story on the Troper Tales page where a Troper wrote how her father beat some asshole unconscious, then woke him up, beat him unconscious again, woke him up, and beat him unconscious again. He didn't even try to call the police. And the reaction of the responding Tropers (save for one who wrote that the story is disturbing and me)? Claiming that this story is TV Tropes Made of Win Archive and cheering for the dad. I felt really unclean and was disgusted at the reactions. The father went too far and should go to jail. And of course the trope isn't just about physical abuse. As I wrote before...if the damage isn't physical then try to talk about it or end the relationship.
      • I understand the trope is not only about physical abuse. I did read that story and was disgusted as well. I wasn't saying try to kill the person. However, sometimes even self-defense can result in more than you wanted. A girl in my school, for example, was assaulted by a boy in the school's parking lot. She was able to get him off her by kneeing him in the groin, but she kneed him so hard, he had to go to the hospital. Did she mean to hurt him that bad? No, but she didn't know of another way to get him off. And there were no staff members around to help her either. What was she to do?
      • What was she to do? Exactly what she did. You said the guy attacked her first so the kick in the groin was justified. If she were to kick him some more while he was down she would have crossed the line. I don't have a problem with self-defence, but I do have a major problem with people who do these things I mentioned before and are portrayed as the coolest guys ever. I just don't get why it's TV Tropes Made of Win Archive to threaten people with torture and death or why it's Badass to clean your gun while you give the speech. My ex-girlfriend and me are still good friends after we broke up and the only thing I said to her new boyfriend was that he should treat her good, because she deserved it. No more, no less.
  • I have two problems with this. First, anyone who gives this gives this speech is essentially accusing an innocent person of being abusive. Second, this only works if the person receiving the speech won't defend himself. But why wouldn't he? Even peaceful people are willing to defend themselves, so an abusive person would never just stand there and let someone beat him to a bloody pulp.
    • I think you're misunderstanding the trope. Usually, unless the speech giver is overprotective, this speech isn't given to every single possible suitor ever. It tends to be given if the speech giver has some reason to think the person might hurt the loved one--maybe he/she's been unfaithful in the past, or has hurt the speech giver, or something like that. Perhaps a better way to characterize the trope is, "If you hurt him/her again, you're in trouble."
      Second, the "only works if the person...won't defend himself" bit...not really? It's a threat. The threat isn't, "I'm only going to beat you up if I can do it without any possible harm to myself," it's just "I'm going to beat you up." It's implicit in the threat that the speech giver thinks he can win the fight. A threat with caveats stops being a threat.
      • From my observations, most of the people who give this speech do give to every possible suitor, regardless of the receiver's personality or whether he's done anything in the past. Plus, keeping a POS away from your loved one is usually more effective than threatening him into being good. I wasn't being clear with my second point. I was thinking about how the receiver would probably use a weapon to defend himself. There are plently of extremely tough guys in the world who could easily pummel their loved ones' boyfriends in a fair fight. But no amount of muscle mass makes someone bulletproof. And I know people who can't even lift fifty pounds but who know how to use a gun. If someone you care about is being abused, trying to give the abuser a beatdown could result in you getting shot. You're better off calling the cops.
      • Most people aren't going to escalate right to getting a gun from hearing something like that. It's a generic, usually idle, threat that isn't usually meant to be actually carried out. The vast majority that hear this threat aren't going to really be fearing for their lives and certainly aren't going to respond by getting a gun.
      • But the vast majority of them aren't really abusive. A typical abuser already owns a weapon and is completely willing to use it when he's angry. That's why women's shelters always have strong security systems.
      • Also, there is nothing OK with the proliferation of idle threats. They just make people more likely to ignore any not-idle threats they receive and/or call out the one making the idle threat. I've learned this the hard way, when my abuse of idle, often ridiculous and over the top threats as part of the pursuit of Refuge in Audacity actually managed to ruin my already strained relationship with my coworkers (in general) at my last workplace, so I ended up quitting - Rottenvenetic. With an eye to the mentioned, and other, past mistakes I've made, this sort of behavior is indefensible as far as I'm concerned, and should be the province of the Anti-Villain or type IV-V Anti-Hero at best.
      • We seem to be assuming that the receiver of this warning is automatically abusive, which isn't always the case; in many cases, it's someone who has simply hurt their loved one in a significant yet not-necessarily abusive way (cheating on them in a moment of weakness for example) or is someone who the other person simply doesn't like or has had previous cause to distrust in some fashion. In many cases, it's usually less of an explicit threat so much as it is an acknowledgement that the giver of the warning is willing to trust the receiver not to hurt their mutual loved one (while putting aside any former enmity), but is putting them on notice that the giver won't simply stand by if the receiver does hurt their mutual loved one in a presumably significant way; it's meant to indicate that the giver is willing to trust the receiver, while also serving to warn them not to take that trust lightly because there will be consequences if they violate it. Furthermore, as noted above, most people are smart enough not to pick fights that are clearly above their weight, so there's an implicit assumption from the start that if physical violence is on the table that the giver of the warning is confident that they can take the receiver down, or at least give as good as they get, or at least will be able to punish or 'hurt' the receiver without necessarily having to resort to violence. It can also serve as a notice of how much the giver cares for the mutual loved one -- sort of a "yeah, you may be able to take me down, but I won't make it easy for you because I care that much about this person."
  • The problem with this trope is this: You wouldn't achieve anything by doing this. Suppose the suitor is indeed the sort of person to hurt your loved one. On the one hand, if you don't succeed in intimidating them, they can very plausibly convince your loved one to cut you off completely on the basis of your unprovoked threats (how would it look to you if someone verbally attacked your love interest?) so you wouldn't be able to protect them at all. On the other, if you do somehow manage to intimidate them into behaving themselves, your loved one will still be in a loveless relationship (only it will take them much longer to find out). So what's the point? If you have reason to believe that your loved one is involved with someone unworthy, try talking (tactfully!) to your loved one about it. Even if they don't listen to you, at least they'll know you're there for them in case they need you. And after all, you have to remember in the end of the day it's their life and you can't control everything...
    • Who says they haven't tried talking to their loved one if their concerns are that serious? In most cases, they either have or presumably have expressed their concerns to the loved one in question. In many cases, the giver of this speech is explicitly acknowledging that they can't stop their loved one from making what they feel is a mistake -- the point of this speech is to make this known to the receiver, while still reminding them that they aren't going to go unnoticed. As for effectiveness, it depends on the case of course, but it could very well be that the receiver of the speech might think twice about taking any liberties that they might have taken had someone not made if very clear that there would be consequences if they overstepped the line.
  • What if Person A breaks up with Person B for a legitimate reason, but Person B can't get over it and is hurt by this? Does that mean Person B's friends are justified in retaliating against Person A?
    • No, it doesn't. First off, Person A did nothing wrong to begin with, so there's nothing to retaliate for. Second, Person B's friends should be more focused on helping him/her move on, not getting revenge.
  • I was always under the impression that the basis behind this trope was simple: "If you deliberately cause harm to the person I care about, I will deliberately cause harm to you." It's a warning, not a threat. And yes, deliberately causing harm to another person (or threatening to do so) is wrong, but that doesn't mean it's not a plausible and practical precautionary tactic. Erm... not sure if that came across right. Think of it like nukes on a very small personal level, or Gunboat Diplomacy. You're offering violence only in return for violence (metaphorically), as a deterrent. The idea is that even if you have no intention of actually ever beating up the significant other, you still plausibly have that option (even if it's a very, very bad one). Also... "All life is precious, but to me, some lives are more precious than others." It's unequivocally stating that if it comes down to it, you will back your loved one over the other person.