What is the ‘Emotional Damage meme”?

emotional damage meme

Recently, the internet has been abuzz with a peculiar yet relatable meme that has captured the attention of millions. The “emotional damage meme,” originating from a comedic skit by comedian Steven He, has become a viral sensation, spreading like wildfire across social media platforms. 

What started as a humorous reaction to frustrating situations has evolved into a cultural phenomenon, with users remixing and recontextualizing the meme to describe a wide range of relatable experiences. 

From YouTube videos to TikTok’s “foryou” page, this meme has had us all chuckling and sharing, but where did it all begin? In this article, we will discuss the origins of the “emotional damage” meme, its impact on internet culture, and what makes it so endearing to audiences worldwide.

The origins of the emotional damage meme

The “emotional damage meme” originated from a YouTube video titled “When ‘Asian’ is a Difficulty Mode” by Irish-Chinese comedian and actor Steven He. The video was uploaded in September 2021 and features He’s character, Asian Dad, playing a video game with an additional difficulty level called “Asian.” In the game, the player character encounters a “Level 1,500,000 Boss Aunty” who asks, “Steven, when you get so fat?” The character subsequently dies from “emotional damage.”

The clip of He yelling “emotional damage” became popular on TikTok, with users creating their own memes by stitching the clip with videos of people getting roasted or humiliated. The trend took off, and the account @emotional__damage was created to post these meme videos. The account has gained over 9 million likes and 880,000 followers, with its videos averaging around a million views each.

The meme is often used to poke fun at “emotionally damaging” situations, such as getting rejected by your crush or being roasted by a friend or acquaintance. The trend has become one of the most popular on TikTok, with users creating their own versions of the emotional damage meme and sharing them with the hashtag #emotionaldamage.

Influence of Social Media

The rise of social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter has played a significant role in the meme’s popularity. These platforms provide a space for users to create and share content, allowing the meme to spread rapidly and reach a vast audience.

Authenticity and Originality

The meme’s authenticity and originality are key factors in its appeal. The clip is taken from a real YouTube video by comedian Steven He, which adds a layer of authenticity to the meme. The meme’s creators have also added their own spin, making it fresh and original.

Meme Evolution

The meme has evolved, with users adapting it to fit their own experiences and humour. This evolution has kept the meme fresh and exciting, encouraging users to continue creating and sharing their own content.


The “emotional damage meme’s” popularity can be attributed to its relatability, humour, universal language, community engagement, social media influence, authenticity, and originality. As the meme continues to evolve, it is likely to remain a staple of internet culture, bringing people together and providing a platform for self-expression and creativity.


Where did the “Emotional Damage meme” originate? 

The emotional damage meme originated from a video uploaded by YouTuber Steven He in September 2021, which showcased his reaction to a difficult situation.

How did the “Emotional Damage meme” spread? 

The meme spread rapidly on TikTok, where users attached it to the end of video clips where one person in the clip may have experienced emotional damage. Memes later began setting the phrase to the song “Pompeii” by Bastille.

What is the significance of the “Emotional Damage meme”? 

The meme has become a popular way to react to situations where someone is emotionally damaged or upset, often used ironically or humorously. It has also been used to express frustration or disappointment in a lighthearted manner.

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