->''"Catching my breath, letting it go,''\\
''Turning my cheek for the sake of the show.''\\
''Now that you know, this is my life!''\\
''I won't be told what's supposed to be right!"''
-->-- '''Creator/KellyClarkson''', ''Catch My Breath''

Bob may have opinions, but he doesn't act on them if someone disagrees. Instead, he will follow their instructions or advice. This someone might be anyone, a single person that he is dependent on, or the prevailing attitudes in society. Then Bob starts to trust and act on his own judgment, and begins to go his own way. Bob earlier had no independent judgment in relation to some external factor, and this is the growth and expression of his own judgment: he's growing a spine.

This is a form of CharacterDevelopment, and often a defining moment in a RiteOfPassage. It's also a staple of a ComingOfAgeStory, where it does not necessarily mean that Bob has more [[HeroicResolve resolve]] than earlier, but rather that he has learned to follow his own independent judgments. It might be lousy judgment, but at least he has started to develop and act on it.

As a trope, this can take two forms:

# A plot arc for a character. This is the long and slow variety.
# A single scene, where the character unambiguously chooses their own way in a plot-relevant fashion.

Grew a Spine is normally a big part of a ComingOfAgeStory, and can be assumed to be included as part of that. Please only include such examples if Grew a Spine is the major part of the ComingOfAgeStory.

Some starting points for Grew a Spine is ExtremeDoormat or ShrinkingViolet, but the character might just be inexperienced and unsure of themselves. After all, this is all part of growing up. CallingTheOldManOut is a specific subtrope. May coincide with TookALevelInBadass or SuddenPrincipledStand. Has nothing to do with the evolution of vertebrate animals.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/SevenSeeds'' has Natsu Iwashimizu's character development revolve around this. She started off avoiding [[{{Hikkikomori}} participating in school]] a lot and was much too shy, slow and afraid of other people to do anything on her own, only following instructions or advice. But she has learned to do things on her own more and more, including standing up to people trying to put her down.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'''s protagonist Shinji Ikagi, despite being often criticized for lacking a spine, actually tends to try and be mroe confident in himself and self-assured. [[DeconstructedTrope However, these attempts keep backfiring and sinking him further into despair and pain.]] However, when at the brink of humanity's end, he decides to choose to keep living in a painful world and not doom humanity to loss of individuality and such [[EarnYourHappyEnding earn a happy ending]]. [[note]] Congratulations! [[/note]]
** In Rebuild 2.22, Shinji both grows a spine and [[TookALevelInBadass takes several levels in Badass]] during the battle against Zeruel. It doesn't end well for Zeruel, who becomes Unit-01's dinner. [[spoiler:The repercussions of Shinji actually growing a spine for once, however, include humanity being reduced to a fraction of that it used to be.]]
*** In Rebuild 3.33, Shinji has his newly-grown spine broken and grows a new one by the end, [[spoiler:as he tries to undo the damage done by Near-Third Impact. However he ends up starting Fourth Impact in the process, and further reduces humanity to what is implied to be the cast of FINAL.]]
* Yukiteru of ''Manga/FutureDiary''. This [[SanitySlippage backfires horribly]], until he manages to {{earn|YourHappyEnding}} his ''[[BittersweetEnding almost]]'' {{happy ending}}.
* Hiroko in ''Manga/AKB49RenaiKinshiJourei'' opposed her FantasyForbiddingFather for the first time in her life after he demanded her to quit her aspirations as an IdolSinger and she refused, which led to her father estranging her and her gaining even more resolve than before to pursue her dreams.
* ''Manga/{{Monster}}'': Kenzo Tenma decides to stop being the doormat of his fiancee and his boss after seeing the immorality of both (the fiancee is not that evil, but this still counts).
* ''Manga/YuGiOh'': This is basically the regular Yugi's character arc, as he grows independent of having Yami Yugi as his crutch in life and starts making his own decisions.
* Maria of ''Anime/SevenMortalSins''. At the start of the series she couldn't do anything but crying as Lucifer forcefully dragged her around. After some time though she slowly lost her fear of the Demon Lords around her. This is demonstrated when she shames Mammon for the cold way she raises her children, and later when she actually challenges Lucifer when she is lead to believe that [[ItMakesSenseInContext the fallen angel was terrorizing an alternative world]] ForTheEvulz.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the "Outer Dark" arc of ''ComicBook/TheAuthority'', Swift, who's normally more gung-ho, decides to oppose one of Jenny Sparks' orders, as following it might lead to the unnecessary deaths of aliens that might be considered civilians. In "The Nativity", she also forces a truce between the Authority and Krigstein that gives the latter control over the Southeast Asian government that the Authority recently overthrew, in order to avoid a long, drawn-out conflict in which Krigstein's forces were more than willing to kill civilians.
* Klak from ''ComicBook/PocketGod'' is a ButtMonkey who gets no respect from the tribe. However when he starts hanging out with the more assertive Moon, he starts to stand up for himself more often.
* In ''ComicBook/SecretSix'', Ragdoll mostly puts up with being treated as The Team Freak and being TheFriendNobodyLikes, but threaten [[MoralityPet Black Alice]] and he actually stands up fully straight instead of his usual PrimalStance in order to defend her, leaving Deadshot visibly frightened.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Supergirl}}'' story arc ''ComicBook/{{Bizarrogirl}}'', the titular Bizarro gets frightened and runs away when it’s time to face the enemy eating her planet, but she becomes more courageous after talking to Supergirl.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Unsurprisingly, there are alot of examples from NGE in regards to having Shinji undergo this trope due to audience perception of him.
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': Several characters -including Asuka- remark to Shinji several times that he needs to learn to push back and stand his ground if he wants to have a relationship with Asuka. Slowly he starts to gain one through the history. After liberating Buenos Aires he is determined to try to be a hero and a good person.
* ''Fanfic/AdviceAndTrust'':
** [[ShrinkingViolet Shinji]], with the help of [[FieryRedhead Asuka]]'s influence. Fully demonstrated in the fight with Bardiel, where [[spoiler:he and Asuka convince Rei to disobey Gendo and attempt to rescue Hikari]].
** And thanks to Shinji and Asuka's influence, [[EmotionlessGirl Rei]] develops one as well...covertly, so as not to cue Gendo in to the fact.
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': Due to being older, Shinji Ikari is less wimpy in this fic that his canon counterpart, but he is still somewhat of a wuss with no motivation or drive to live on. During pillow talk [[FieryRedhead Asuka]] said him that he could not keep that attitude when [[LivingEmotionalCrutch people like herself depended on him to live]]. And in fact, in the second story arc [[BrokenAce Asuka]] [[DespairEventHorizon went through a downward spiral]] and Shinji needed growing a spine to help her and save her from herself.
* ''Fanfic/TheChildOfLove'': After getting Asuka pregnant Shinji convinces himself that he must to stop run away and face his responsibilities. In the process he becomes more assertive and somewhat more strong-willed.
-->'''Shinji''':''"...but I know one thing: I care for her and for our child. Even if she denies it, this child's part of me. I can't leave those two alone. I just can't. Even if she pushes me aside, I can't leave her!!"''
** Subverted. Although Shinji tries to be more responsible and determined he is still a shy kid and often he is tempted to run away and hide and a member of the cast (Asuka, Misato…) has to help him or coax him into facing his fears.
* ''Fanfic/ChildrenOfAnElderGod'': In this story Shinji kept being shy, quiet and non-confrontational like his canon self, but he resolved to learn to face his troubles, and he charged headlong into combat against whatever was threatening him and everyone.
* ''Fanfic/DoingItRightThisTime'':
** After returning to the past Shinji considers running and hiding for an instant… before resolving he would not run away this time and he would not be scared anymore.
** After having been his dutiful servant in the original timeline Rei slapped Gendo and called him out on everything.
* ''FanFic/ForHisOwnSake'': The entire plot begins when Keitaro finally gets sick of constantly being abused by the Hinata Girls and quits being manager of the inn, breaking up with Naru in the process. From then on, he's ''far'' more willing to stand up to the girls.
* ''[[Fanfic/GodsAngelsAndKings Hail To The King]]'': ''Series/ZoneFighter'' helps Shinji to grow one through the history. Shinji is still quiet and calm, but he becomes more confident and assertive.
* ''Fanfic/{{HERZ}}'': In this story Shinji has become more confident and more determined to protect his family. Although he hates fighting and killing he has learnt to use weapons and practices his aim constantly to defend his wife and his daughter.
* ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'': Thanks to his Kryptonian powers and the inspirational speech of Jor-El (Kal-El in the rewrite), Shinji becomes braver, more determined, and a real hero.
* {{Downplayed| Trope}} in ''FanFic/NeonGenesisEvangelionGenocide''. Shinji is still pretty insecure and timid, but he makes an effort to become more assertive, since he knows he will let Asuka and his family down again unless he stops running away, mans up, and takes responsibility for his actions, and he even gradually succeeds in doing so. It is perhaps most obvious in his interactions with Asuka, especially after he gains a better understanding of her; he finds that while it just isn't in his nature to be confrontational with her (plus he knows that such an approach wouldn't be very likely to change her mind anyway), he can, often successfully, appeal to her better nature during an argument.
* ''Fanfic/OnceMoreWithFeeling'': The premise of [[PeggySue this story]] is [[TimeTravel Shinji returning to the past]] with a steel rod inserted into his back to manage to make up for his complete lack of a spine in the original series, and thus saving the world.
* ''Fanfic/TheOneILoveIs'': Shinji forces himself to grow a spine AND keeping it intact to protect [[HeroesWantRedheads Asuka]] and [[BrotherSisterIncest Rei]].
* The Giselle Interlude of ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'' features Joe, who is often picked on by the rest of his classmates, who are considered as a whole the "Golden Generation" of the Pokémon Tech trainer school, for being the least remarkable and wanting to try things out of the norm, but never actually retalliated. After Ash and Misty show up and [[CurbStompBattle utterly beat]] [[HumblePie and humiliate the students]], he chats with Ash for a bit, who advices him to follow his own path and not to take abuse from anyone. The next day, he decides to quit the school and begin his Pokémon journey on his own, even telling Giselle how he felt about the way she and the others treated him.
* ''Manga/ReTake'': Beset by BadDreams of a horrible future Shinji forces himself to grow up and become a badass to avert it. In the process he gets hurt, [[DespairEventHorizon despairs]], loses [[HeroesWantRedheads Asuka]] [[spoiler:and then he gets her back]]... and he finally and trully becomes a hero and selflessly saves the world.
* ''Fanfic/ScarTissue'': The events of the Angel War and [[EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Instrumentality]] had removed any fragment of backbone that Shinji grew during the War, and he was wimpier than ever in the [[AfterTheEnd post-Impact world]]. However, throughout the fic Shinji forces to himself to regrow a spine to confront [[ItsAllMyFault his inner intense self-hatred]] and protect his surrogate family, as seen when [[spoiler:he saved [[LoveInterest Asuka]] after they got shot by a sniper.]]
* ''Fanfic/TheSecondTry'': [[AfterTheEnd After Third Impact]] Shinji needs to man up in order to survive, help Asuka [[spoiler:and later raise their daughter together.]] And he manages it, maturing and becoming a better and stronger person who'll defend his family at all costs. Threaten [[ViolentlyProtectiveGirlfriend Asuka]] [[spoiler:[[PapaWolf or Aki]]]] [[TheBerserker at your own risk]].
* ''Fanfic/ShinjiAndWarhammer40K'': Possibly The Most Triumphant Example in Evangelion fanfiction, this fic is the tale of a wuss becoming God Emperor of Humankind. At the start of the story Shinji is his wimpy canon self, but after finding a suitcase full with ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' figurines and books he gradually grows a gigantic spine, becoming an utterly fearless badass that earns the reverence of his people for his heroism and the love of women for his gentleness.
* In ''Fanfic/SOE2LoneHeirOfKrypton'' Shinji tries to be braver and more confident, especially after finding out that [[LoveInterest Asuka]] is ''Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}''.
* ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'': A darker example. After being abandoned by his father, Shinji found a mentor who raised him and forced him to grow a spine. However his teacher was an amoral trickster, and Shinji grew into a trickster, violent, mostly uncaring asshole. [[AntiHero He STILL fights to protect humanity and he only targets people who is worse than him or has tried to make him harm]], and he still cares for other people (such like [[HeroesWantRedheads Asuka]], Rei and Misato. May Heaven help you if you hurt them), but he is a ManipulativeBastard and a {{Jerkass}}.

* George [=McFly=] punches out Biff Tannin after seeing Lorraine threatened by him in ''Film/BackToTheFuture''. From this point on, he no longer allows Biff to bully him.
* Luke leaving Yoda's training in ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' to save Han and Leia.
* This is a big part of Raven's character development in ''Film/XMenFirstClass''. [[spoiler: The downside is she joins the wrong side in doing so, foresaking the only family she's ever known.]]
* Todd in ''Film/DeadPoetsSociety'' goes from [[ShrinkingViolet extremely shy and incapable of speaking up for himself]] to [[spoiler: the first student to stand on his desk in support of Mr Keating when the latter is fired.]]
* ''Film/BlackSwan:'' Nina, as she gets in touch with her darker side. Her snapping when her mother tries to stop her performing is the deciding moment in her twisted ComingOfAgeStory. [[DarkIsNotEvil From there on out, Black Swan Nina takes control]] and ''really'' shines.
-->'''Nina:''' ''[pushing her mother's hands off]'' [[BadassBoast I can't handle this? I'm the Swan Queen! You're the one who never left the corps.]] ''[slams door]'' I'm moving out!
* Near the end of ''Film/SchoolOfRock'', Ned the perpetual pushover is getting chewed out by his girlfriend for his spinelessness. Right when she asks if he's ever going to get around to standing up for himself, he interrupts her by heading off to the concert that she didn't want him to go to. Many of the kids also grow spines in a more gradual way, by learning to defy their overly strict parents.
* At the end of ''Film/TheHangover'', Stu finally stands up to his overbearing girlfriend Melissa, even going so far as to dump her.
* In ''Film/SeparateTables'', this is the conclusion of the character arc for Sybil, the ShrinkingViolet dominated by her bitchy MyBelovedSmother. Her hesitant romance with Major Pollock, a fellow guest at the hotel, is wrecked when her mother humiliates Pollock, exposing him as a PhonyVeteran and a CovertPervert who was caught hitting on women in darkened theaters. After Major Pollock comes down for breakfast, Sibyl's mom makes a show of leaving the hotel dining room, and demands Sibyl leave with her—but for the first time Sibyl defies "Mummy", remaining at her seat and insisting on welcoming Major Pollock for breakfast.

* In the Literature/VorkosiganSaga:
** In ''Literature/ShardsOfHonor'', this is combined with SuddenPrincipledStand when Sergeant Bothari refuses to rape [[spoiler:Cordelia]] as per Admiral Vorrutyer's orders.
--->'''Bothari:''' She's Commodore Vorkosigan's prisoner. Sir.
** Ekaterin in ''Literature/{{Komarr}}'' and ''Literature/ACivilCampaign'', though it is probably better to say that she found and nurtured the spine, rather than grew it.
* William de Worde Grew a Spine relative his father in ''Discworld/TheTruth''. An example of the ComingOfAgeStory variant.
* In ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'':
** Donkerri ordering the Caineron troops to their posts in the end-battle in ''Dark of the Moon'', countermanding his grandfather's orders.
** A plot arc for Torisen in his relation to Adric Lord Ardeth in the same book.
* Literature/PeterPaysTribute has the main character, Matt, and his counter-part Peter, both learn how to stand up to their father-figure.
* ''Literature/EllaEnchanted'' is a concrete-metaphor version of this, where the protagonist has been magically compelled to be a pushover.
* In ''On Basilisk Station'', the first ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' novel, Alistair [=McKeon=] has a strange variety. He proposes a moral course which is promptly discarded as wrong, but the very act of making an independent proposal against TheCaptain and arguing for it was a key in developing the dynamic between the characters.
* This is the main character development arc for the protagonist of ''Literature/DocSidhe''.
* A minor plot point (and [[KudzuPlot one of many]]) in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. Nynaeve is infuriated that the Kin are helplessly deferential to the Aes Sedai despite being technically independent and in many ways more learned. She endeavours considerably to get them to collectively "grow some backbone" and stand up for themselves, and they gradually do... to her, [[HilarityEnsues which is not remotely]] [[HypocriticalHumor what she intended]].
%% * This is Tris's character arc in ''Literature/{{Divergent}}'', as she's initiated into a community of brave and reckless adrenaline junkies.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': The premise of the first book, ''[[Literature/AMagesPower A Mage's Power]]'', is Tasio trying to invoke this on Eric, the ExtremeDoormat. Being a TricksterArchetype, he does this by promising Eric help, then dropping Eric in mercenary company and (seemingly) abandoning him. The unsaid message is "grow a spine or lose your head." [[spoiler: The definitive moment of growth is when he refuses to be bribed by an orc attempting to rape a friend of his, and instead, kills said orc. Tasio arranged for this scene.]]
* In ''Literature/DontCallMeIshmael'', this is a big part of Ishmael's CharacterDevelopment. It takes a long time for him to become more self-confident and stand up for himself. At the beginning of the first book he lets bullies walk all over him, but this slowly changes when he joins the debate team.
* In ''Literature/TheBelgariad'', moments that demonstrate this make up half of Belgarion's ComingOfAgeStory. Most frequently in the form of rebellion against his [[MyBelovedSmother aunt Polgara]], until he gains enough maturity and perspective to realize that she really is acting in his best interest.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': It's been steadily happening to Sansa since Ned's execution, but come Season 6, she's boldly declaring war on the Boltons and insisting on the need to retake Winterfell.
* In one episode of ''Series/HeadOfTheClass'' Jawarhalal (an Indian student) is suddenly well known for agreeing with everyone about everything. Then the class goes to see Mr. Moore's off-off-off-Broadway post-[[{{Postmodernism}} post-Modern]] production of ''{{Hamlet}}''. Everybody hates it except Jawarhalal, who defends it to everyone. They're so caught up in trying to prove him wrong that until the end of the episode they never ask him why he likes it and don't notice that he's disagreeing with them, counter to his personality.
* A major part of Fabian's development in ''Series/HouseOfAnubis'' season 2. Just calling out Joy for her {{Jerkass}} traits took a lot of backbone he didn't have before, considering how earlier he was mainly working to just not upset her or Nina.
* Throughout ''[[Series/TheJoeSchmoShow Joe Schmo 2]]'', Eleanor is a weeper who breaks down crying due to the smallest slights from Austin, usually because of him favoring the ditz Cammy over her. Just before she quits, however, she finds it in herself to refuse Austin's offer of a pearl necklace to remain the show, telling him...
-->'''Eleanor''': You can take your pearl necklace and your half-hearted locket and shove it up your ass.
* Ward Meachum in ''Series/IronFist2017''. At the start of season 1, he's a weak minion of his undead father but gets CharacterDevelopment and starts to assert himself. He finally has enough and stabs Harold, killing him, at least until Harold revives himself just days later. He has a HeelFaceTurn when he finally has the courage to do the right thing and stick with it.
* ''Series/MillionYenWomen'': Midori starts out getting regularly shaken for money by [[spoiler:her former foster brother]], but gets more able to confront him thanks to Minami's influence.

* The last verse of Music/ThePuppiniSisters’ “Jilted” is about learning from the experience of being, yes, jilted, and gaining a spine in consequence.
-->''I jumped through hoops to keep that man\\
But now he's gone I'm finally free\\
To try new ambitions\\
And learn new friends names\\
And wash my hair through all those football games...''

* In some interpretations, Adam and Eve eating the [[ForbiddenFruit fruit of knowledge]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Yuna from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX''. Although it does take a healthy amount of spine to become a Summoner in the first place, learning how to have desires for herself rather than the greater good of Spira is a big part of her CharacterDevelopment.
* ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'': "Ah, my wayward pet, Garithos. I see you've grown a spine since we last met." Technically the mind control spell the dreadlords put on Garithos was broken, but evidently he lacked the HeroicWillpower to defend himself aginst it in the first place.
* In the ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' [[DownloadableContent DLC]] "Gangstas in Space", The Boss's co-star in the titular film is a girl named Jenny who starts off as an [[AscendedFanboy Ascended Fangirl]] feeling powerless in the face of the {{Jerkass}} director repeatedly lambasting her for breaking character and not following his directions to a T, while ignoring The Boss doing the same. She gets more resentful as the storyline progresses, notably killing two of the five girls hired to replace her before [[KarmicDeath straight up murdering the director using the modified VTOL that you pilot in the third mission]].
* In ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal'', the otherwise usually cowardly Galactic Rangers appear during the second phase of the fight against [[BigBad Dr. Nefarious]] to help Ratchet destroy his minions.
* Sophie Grundler from ''VideoGame/TheSandman''. She's been a StepfordSmiler for years, trying to put on a brave face and seem okay because she didn't want to cause any trouble to her father, who's busy working and trying to raise her after his wife's death. Her tendency to bottle everything up, as well as pretending to not stand up to her [[WeUsedToBeFriends once-friend-turned-bully]] Regan, caused her insomnia and led to the game's events. In the good ending ''Don't Stay Up Late At Night'', Sophie grows herself a spine and chooses to openly talk about her feelings now, as well as when things bother her; and this includes giving a good round of [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech The Reason You Suck Speeches]].

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo'', this happens to Hisao in Shizune and Lilly's routes. In Shizune's route, while attempting to stand up to Shizune's father in an argument over the Student Council, he reflects on how much he has changed, wondering why he was so resistant to joining the Student Council at first despite his general apathy about life. In Lilly's route, he realizes in the Good Ending that he has relied on her for everything, and so [[spoiler:decides to confront her one last time before her departure for Scotland in order to apologize for not being there when she needed him]].
** Also happens for Hanako in her route: slowly through awkward relationship-building in the Good path, and abruptly in the Bad one. In the latter, [[spoiler:Hisao gets excessively pushy, so she furiously tells him how much she hates it when people treat her like she's helpless...[[WhatTheHellHero and how much she hates Hisao and Lilly for failing to understand that]]]]. Some people think her "Neutral" ending is the worst one, because it's the only version where she ''doesn't'' grow a spine.
* ''VisualNovel/LittleBusters'' is largely the story of how Riki--a rather nervous, passive, and feminine boy totally content to live [[AlwaysSecondBest in the shadow of his friends]]--manages to, over the routes, grow into a more independent and strong person. [[spoiler:In fact, it's the very basis of the story--Kyousuke created this world specifically so he and Rin could become strong enough to live on without him after he and the others died in a bus crash]].

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''{{Webcomic/Drowtales}}'', Syphile manages this through a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?sid=5978 while held at swordpoint by her adopted mother Quain'tana]] once her attempted assassination of Quain fails miserably, and Quain [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?sid=5980 calls this trope by name]] before [[spoiler:killing Syphile in one blow]].
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'':
** Tavros Nitram finally stands up to Vriska and actually goes to fight her when he learns [[spoiler:she created Bec Noir. Too bad it gets him killed]].
** Later, [[spoiler: Tavros finds himself still berated by Vriska in the afterlife for a long while until he finally tells her off and flies away.]]
* At the start of volume 10 of ''WebComic/MenageA3'', ExtremeDoormat Gary ''finally'' stands up for himself when pulled into the middle of Tracy and James’s relationship mess. In a nice ironic twist, Gary has a momentary flashback to some good advice about showing courage which Tracy herself gave him just a few days earlier — and politely thanks her for that advice.
* Defied at the end of ''WebComic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' prequel volume "Start of Darkness". [[spoiler:TheDragon Redcloak tries to stand up to BigBad Xykon when Xykon orders him to reanimate his dead brother as a zombie. Xykon responds by not only revealing that he knew about the attempts Redcloak had just made to deceive him, but also lays down an absolutely brutal combination EvilerThanThou[=/=]BreakingSpeech. The book ends with Redcloak following Xykon's orders and following after Xykon, apparently a broken shell of a goblin.]]
-->'''Xykon:''' Huh. First you [[spoiler:kill your baby brother]], then you lie to me about it, now this? Did they have a sale down at the testicle store or something?
* ''Webcomic/MegaTokyo'': After Piro spends most of the comic just going with the flow and muttering about how much his life sucks, he helps Kimiko with a really bad situation she got herself into, and she snaps at him for it, even accusing him of just doing it to get laid. He quietly says he didn't deserve that, and leaves without another word. Both the fandom and the characters were impressed.
-->'''Erika:''' At least Piro was there for you... Looks like your boy might have a bit of spine after all.\\
'''Kimiko:''' ''[flinches]''\\
'''Erika:''' You didn't rip his little spine out and stuff it down a garbage disposal, did you?


[[folder:Web Original]]
* Taylor in ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' becomes a lot more able to assert herself after she begins kicking large amounts of ass in her supervillain identity, Skitter.
* Kitten of ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'' starts off as a SycophanticServant and a YesMan to the Emperor, but after long exposure to his lord's snarkery and an in-depth crash course on reality of the universe, he morphs into ServileSnarker and outright defies the Emperor once.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Edd of ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' had a few moments of this, notably in "The Day The Ed Stood Still" when he scolds Edzilla (who is Ed in a monster costume) for [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext kidnapping the kids and sticking them onto his wall]].
** Ed lashes out at [[SpoiledBrat Sarah]] in "Little Ed Blue" when she starts one of her typical (violent) tantrums. She cowers in terror before him.
** In "A Fistful of Ed", Eddy does what he couldn't do in "A Twist of Ed": stand up to the Kanker Sisters. ''And it works''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', [[ShrinkingViolet Fluttershy]] does this after assertive training under the minotaur Iron Will. [[TookALevelInJerkass She takes it a little too far]] [[ALessonLearnedTooWell for a while, though]]. Most episodes after keep her assertiveness higher, though it depends on the writer.
* Stacy from ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'' began to become more confident during the show's final season, and in the series finale, [[spoiler: she finally stood up to [[AlphaBitch Sandi]] for all the abuse she put her through and inadvertently caused the Fashion Club to crumble.]]