His Own Worst Enemy
The character is his own worst enemy.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-01-03 07:17:46 sponsor: FallenLegend edited by: Fawfulster (last reply: 2013-06-28 20:43:10)

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"Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand".
The Bible Matthew 12:25

A good story always has good antagonists from an average jerk muggle antagonist in a Slice of Life story to the ultimate personification of evil and Big Bad of an epic story.

However sometimes a character worst enemy isn't a dark lord or a Magnificent Bastard that pulls XanatosGambits as easily as he breaths or even a Reality Warper Eldritch Abomination. His worst enemy is far worse than that...His greatest enemy is himself.

Not a split personality as in Enemy Within nor an evil clone/twin or dark counterpart. But the character himself.

Most of the time the self-loathing and self-defeating feelings of a character's are his own worst obstacle. These kind of characters self-sabotage themselves due to the darkness or the void in their hearts. Whenever a spark of happiness or the light of hope is upon them, they ruin it and keep themselves in state of their misery in a cycle without a foreseeable ending.

In other cases, the character may be have a flaw regarding a lack of a skill or an ability that will stop them from ever achieving true victory. For instance When a villain would've won if he had played by the rules

Whatever the case, the character won't ever reach true happiness/success until he deals with his inner conflicts first.

May overlap with Byronic Hero, see also Heroic Self-Deprecation

Examples

Comic Books
  • In a Marvel Comics story, the Greek titan Typhon had gotten his battleaxe fused to his hand. He learns that "only the blood of your worst enemy can free you." Naturally, he assumes his hated foe Hercules is the one to go after, and spends most of the story futilely trying to make Hercules bleed. In the end, Typhon himself is cut, his blood flows over his hand and frees him from the axe. Sadly, he just doesn't get it and continues to be a hateful and revenge-obsessed person.

Live Action Tv
  • In Doctor Who
    • The doctor himself of course whenever he is close to be happy in the new series he tends to self sabotage himself.
    • Nine while trying to look as a confident man even retaining his cool at the worst situations he was hiding a great deal of guilt over his actions in the time war as seen in the dalek episode
    • Ten was probably the closes to the dark side of the new doctors. Three words "time lord victorious", it was so bad hat he indirectly made a female captain to commit suicide and before that he gave fates worse than death to the family of the flood. Like Donna said he Needs people to have him grounded or his path towards darkness would be assured.
    • While the dream lord is a case of enemy within it's also this trope given that it represents the dark side of the doctor. The doctor even states that the person that hates him the most isn't the master or even the pure evil daleks but himself.

Music
  • Less Than Jake's The Science of Selling Yourself Short is about a guy who has committed many mistakes in his life and realizes that "I'm My Own Worst Enemy".

Western Animation
  • Mylittle Pony Friendship Is Magic: Princess Luna's worst enemy was herself. While the mane cast and her own sister had to stop her as Nightmare moon her suffering and even her banishment were of her own doing mainly her inability to deal with her jealousy and her loneliness.
  • In Wacky Races Dick Dastardly would easily win all the races if he just stopped cheating. While his cheats always backfire of he actually stopped cheating the episode would end in one minute at most.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender when Aang truly mastered his full power beating fire lord Ozai was very easy. However most of the issues he face are him accepting his role as the avatar and stopping running away for his duties. He becomes much stonger afer he accepts his responsibilities.In fact his greates failure isn't not stopping the war but running away from it.
  • In Phineas and Ferb the show constantky tells us that if Candace stopped trying to bust her brothers her life would be much easier and enjoyable. However Failure Is the Only Option seems to be a law in this universe for her.
    • Doofenshmirtz would be a far greater treat if he just stopped placing self-destruct buttons in his devices. But as a Harmless Villain he can't help it.
  • The Batman villain Two-Face is his own worst enemy, as lampshaded in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Second Chance".
    • The Riddler is also under this category since his Chronic Villainy won't let him stop leaving riddles for Batman to solve. In fact, the Episode Trial makes it clear that all of the villains are this. They would've become what they were in some way, and Batman's interference was a coincidence, not the cause.

  • In Teen Titans Raven is her worse enemy by far. Even his dad that was the ultimate personification of evil pales in comparison (he was beaten easily after Raven resolved part of her inner conflict). In fact her stoic personality is her way of controlling her dark side.
  • Greg wesiman has repeteadly stated that Demona is her own worst enemy. In fact her password is alone
  • The Ice King from Adventure Time. In "Prisoners of Love" an unconscious Ice King has a dream where he wonders why nobody likes him, and the Cosmic Owl tells him it's because he's a sociopath, but he ignores it.

Videogames
  • In Gears of War 3 If anything Dominic Santiago greatest obstacle wasn't the locust or even the lambent. But his sadness over losing his wife Maria. In fact the only thing that kept him fighting was his desire to help Marcus but his life looses a lot of purpose since Gears of War 2.

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