Heroes have a very large pool of potential foes, and a fair number of them aren't even made of matter. Some are even a ''part'' of the hero, or somehow feeding off his fear, hatred or insecurity. So how exactly is a hero supposed to fight something he can't punch without empowering, or escape an enemy that [[EnemyWithin lives inside him?]]

By saying, "I'm not afraid of you," or a variation.

The thing is, these villains are literally fueled by the hero, so to fight them requires either denying them the [[EmotionEater emotional energy they eat]] or dispelling them with a forceful affirmation. Yes, you read that right. This enemy can be [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath talked to death]]. It's much more awesome than it sounds, really!

There are a few variations on this trope, depending on the nature of the villain:
* The SplitPersonality can be fought one of two ways. One can outright destroy it in a BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind by recognizing it as a "foreign" presence, or deny that it's a separate part of the hero and [[SplitPersonalityMerge assimilate it]].
* The [[OurGhostsAreDifferent ghost]] in a HauntedHouse may be rendered powerless once the visitors [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve agree]] it [[YourMindMakesItReal has no power over them]]. All their [[MasterOfIllusion illusions]] and {{Faux Flame}}s can no longer harm the heroes.
* TheHeartless may [[PuffOfLogic just vanish entirely]] if the heroes [[EmotionEater stop feeding it]] with their hate, fear, or anger. This is especially the case when they face the AnthropomorphicPersonification of the heroes' hate, fear, or anger.
* People trapped in a nightmare LotusEaterMachine or PsychologicalTormentZone can be freed by facing whatever personal trauma has them locked in the dream.
* A case of GodsNeedPrayerBadly, where God is just a figment of their imagination, or made real by belief, and is holding back the hero from what he needs to do with silly (or oppressive) rules.

The imaginary villain may require a series of demotivators, like TheReasonYouSuckSpeech or even just a ShutUpHannibal. Of course, the villain might end up coming back if the heroes think about him or lose faith in themselves.

NotAfraidOfYouAnymore is similar, but deals with an external threat or another person.

As this trope is often about learning a villain's specific KryptoniteFactor, expect unmarked spoilers below.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* This proved the ultimate undoing of the fear-feeding monkey/demon in ''SagaOfTheSwampThing'', when one of the disturbed children it'd been leeching off finally got pissed enough to turn on the creature.
* Used in epic form by in the prologue for "The Life Eaters". An American captain, captured by [[{{Ghostapo}} Aesir-backed Nazis]] who are on course to TakeOverTheWorld, realises that while gods draw strength from followers and sacrifice, gods also draw strength fom their reputation. So he disrupts the ceremony sacrificing his team, breaking Odin's spear over his knee ([[BrokeYourArmPunchingOutCthulhu destroying his leg in the process]]) and laughs at them when they try to resume the ceremony. [[DyingMomentOfAwesome He dies knowing he beat Odin]]. [[FateWorseThanDeath And Odin knows he died knowing it, and that the story will get out.]]
* A large part of the mane 5 dealing with their fears is loudly proclaiming some variant of this to the Nightmare creatures in the second story-arc of ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW''.
* This was the key to defeating Screamqueen, a villain who made fears real, in the JusticeLeague Adventures comic (based on the animated series)-- in a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Anastasia, from Fox's ''WesternAnimation/{{Anastasia}}'', uses this line verbatim near the end of the movie, when Rasputin is attempting to drown her in the river. His response?
-->'''Rasputin:''' I can fix that!
** [[spoiler: He doesn't.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Tyler Durden from ''Film/FightClub'', sort of. [[spoiler: In the movie version, the hero wills the gun into his own hand away from Tyler.]]
** [[spoiler: Well, it's closer to him realizing he was holding the gun and Tyler '''is''' him, and thus being able to control Tyler.]]
* How about Stephen King's ''{{It}}''? In the first half of the story, the MonsterClown disappears when the children prove they aren't afraid of him.
* The TropeNamer is James of ''Film/JamesAndTheGiantPeach'', where he faces down the rhinoceros that's been haunting him (ItMakesSenseInContext).
* ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'':
** Subverted in the original ''Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet1984''. At the end [[spoiler:Nancy]] says to Freddy "I take back all the power I gave you, Freddy!" and that he's not even real, so she shouldn't be afraid of him. [[spoiler:It seems like she defeated him, but he reappears not much later.]] Of course, since Freddy can resurrect just by someone who thinks about him, it was followed by a dozen sequels.
** The [[Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet3DreamWarriors third film]] suggests it's actually ''Freddy's'' belief that trumps this trope:
--> '''Freddy:''' "Sorry, kid. I don't ''believe'' in fairy tales.'' (kills [[spoiler:D&D geek]])
** ''[[Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet4TheDreamMaster The Dream Master]]'' had this bit:
--> '''Debbie:''' "I don't believe in you!"
--> '''Freddy:''' "I believe in you." ''(breaks her arms)''
** The original scene was going to be parodied in an early version of ''Film/FreddyVsJason''. [[spoiler:Kia]] repeats Nancy's lines almost word for word, and then turns her back... on Jason. As Freddy put it, right before [[spoiler:Kia]] is killed, "Wrong one, bitch."
* Sarah's 'You Have No Power Over Me' revelation regarding Jareth in ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}''.
* Invoked word-for-word in ''Film/DropDeadFred''.
* In ''Film/TheSkeletonKey'', the protagonist shouts "I don't believe!" while a hoodoo spell is being performed on her since she was earlier told that the spells would have no power unless she believed. [[spoiler: It turns out that she really did believe since the antagonists had spent the whole movie ensuring she did so the spell would work.]]
* In the '80s horror-comedy ''Film/{{House}}'', once the protagonist recognizes and stands up to the BigBad ghost, he becomes immune to the ghost's power and simply lifts his young son out of its grip. The trope title is invoked verbatim, with a capper of: "I ''beat'' you! ''And'' this stupid house!"
* This is screamed by a character going through drug withdrawal in ''Film/{{Cornered}}'', when he's surrounded by imaginary cockroaches.
* Kevin does this to the creepy basement furnace in ''Film/HomeAlone''.
* Peter Jackson's adaptation of ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' has Sméagol tell Gollum to "Leave now, and never come back!"
* The reason any monster loses a workable door in ''Monsters, Inc.'' as once a child isn't afraid of them, the monster can't collect screams to power the city.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': There is a monster called a boggart, which takes the form of your worst fear. If you use the 'riddikulus' spell, and imagine a way to make the thing funny (e.g. a spider on rollerblades) then it'll be weakened, as it's hurt by laughter.
* It's an ally rather than an enemy, but Dave discovers that [[spoiler:the man who had been interviewing him]] is dead and his appearance just a result of Dave taking the sauce in ''JohnDiesAtTheEnd''. However since the reason the damn things are there in the first place isn't logical ([[PsychicPowers they are a product of the mind]]) they [[PuffOfLogic promptly disappear]], because willing them out of existence isn't logical, either.
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', this is the only way of fighting nightmares in ''Tel'aran'rhiod''.
* ''Companions on the Road'' by Creator/TanithLee: Three mercenaries involved in sacking a castle are pursued by the vengeful spirits of people killed there. The ghosts invade their sleep and kill them in nightmares; but when the last remaining member of the group realizes that he pities the ghosts more than he fears them, they vanish.
* Done awesomely in the Literature/{{Discworld}} book ''Discworld/CarpeJugulum''. "I know who you are. The Count just let you out to torment me, but I've always known you were there. I've fought you very day of my life, and you'll get no victory now. I know who you are now, [[spoiler: Esmerelda Weatherwax. You don't scare me no more.]]"
* In [[Literature/EarthseaTrilogy A Wizard of Earthsea]], Sparrowhawk is liberated from the threat of the shadow creature by discovering its [[IKnowYourTrueName True Name]]. It's [[spoiler: Ged (his own true name).]]
* In ''Literature/TheGraveyardBook,'' the heroes briefly meet a tattooed ghost called "the Indigo Man." They realize he's just an illusion, and he disappears.
* Played with in RLStine's ''Night Games'' [[spoiler: Spencer]] turned out to be a dead person who needed to hate the protagonists in order to exist. The heroes [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath talked him to death]] by hugging him and telling how much they loved him. This caused him not to be able to hate them, which destroyed him.
* In Creator/PatriciaAMcKillip's ''Literature/TheForgottenBeastsOfEld'', Sybel summons The Rommalb, a creature which destroys all those who fear. She's simply [[FearlessFool too young and too powerful to understand fear]] though, so the encounter is harmless.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' we encounter phobophages, monsters who literally eat fear. As a correlative to this, none of their defenses or countermagic works against someone who isn't afraid of them.
* In ''Creator/BrandonSanderson's'' ''Literature/{{Steelheart}}'', this is the reason that [[spoiler:the titular villain was invulnerable: he can only be hurt by someone who does not fear him. Unfortunately, thanks to his imposed ReignOfTerror, the only person alive who fulfills that requirement is himself]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* An example in ''Series/{{Angel}}'' involves a couple of ghosts. Cordelia is renting an apartment that is haunted, and the ghost of the resident mother is about to get her to commit suicide when she insults Cordelia. This triggers her self confidence, and she virtually exorcises the mother ghost by claiming the apartment as ''hers''.
--> "I'm not a bitch. I'm ''the'' bitch."
* The episode "No Reason" from ''Series/{{House}}'' would fit, though House eventually has to break out of his mind at the end.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' had the episode [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "The Spectre of the Gun"]], the FiveManBand of Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty and Chekov are transported to a world based on Tombstone, Arizona. All attempts to stop the fight at the OK Corral don't work, until Spock realizes that [[spoiler: the guns aren't real. They are real only because the men ''expect'' them to be real and, because they know this, the bullets go right through them]].
** In "Day of the Dove", an entity that feeds on hatred tries to trap the ''Enterprise'' crew and a Klingon crew into an eternal battle. When they figure this out, Kirk and Kang drive the entity away by making a truce and adopting a friendly jovial attitude.
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' played with this one a little. The aliens of the episode were being terrorized by a manifestation of fear from their LotusEaterMachine that could actually read their mind, and actually kill them. Janeway ends up being the one to defeat it, since the aliens have been too traumatized to do it themselves.
* The ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' episode "Slumber" had the dreams of Clark Kent and a girl named Sara Conroy interconnecting. In Sara's nightmares, she is terrorized by a monster. Clark tries to fight the monster, but it seems unstoppable. Clark figures it out and encourages Sara not to be afraid of the monster anymore. Once she does, it gets weakened and Clark destroys the monster with his heat vision.
* A JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind episode of ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' has Olivia doing this to the imagined enemies in her psyche.
* One of the evolved humans in ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' was a criminal named Knox who had the ability to feed off peoples' fear and use it to give himself superstrength. When he faces off against {{Nigh Invulnerable}} cheerleader, Claire, Knox is unable to gain strength as Claire's extreme healing factor and tendency for getting injured leaves her virtually fearless towards most danger.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''SilentHill2'' treats Pyramid Head as manifestations of James' guilt over [[spoiler:killing his wife]], and since he has repressed the memory and not dealt with it, Pyramid Head is unbeatable throughout most of the game. By the penultimate boss battle, James had unblocked the memory, and was willing to face the consequences of that action, so for the first time the [[ImplacableMan Pyramid Head]] has a health bar and can be killed.
** Mind you, even then the [[spoiler:two Pyramid Heads]] you fight only kill ''themselves'' at the end of the fight.
* Often said by [[VideoGame/{{Bioshock2}} Bioshock 2 Multiplayer]] character [[ActionGirl Naledi Atkins]] upon seeing a Big Daddy.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', the [[{{Jerkass}} Turian Councilor]] throws a mocking [[MemeticMutation "Ah, yes, Reapers"]] (even throwing in [[MemeticHandGesture finger quotes]]) at you when you try to convince the Council to help Shepard. Prevailing theory in the fandom suggests that, in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', the Councilor will attempt this at [[EldritchAbomination the Reapers]], with predictable results. Either that, or they'll get the chance to throw it back in his face.
** Jossed. In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', the Turian counselor [[spoiler: is the first non-human member of the Council to support Shephard.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', every Persona-user (save the protagonist) must defeat their "shadow" in order to awaken their powers-- by accepting that their shadow [[SplitPersonalityMerge is a part of them]]. Noteworthy in that the shadows actually ''are'' the Persona-users' repressed desires and emotions, which is why denying them makes them even more powerful.
* Come the ending of ''VideoGame/DeadSpace2'', Isaac has overcome [[ShellShockedVeteran so much turmoil and conflict]]. Finally close to succeeding only to encounter [[FromBadToWorse more difficulties]], his response to the returning demons in his head? ''He tells them to go fuck themselves.''
-->'''Isaac''': Goddamnit! [[spoiler:I trusted you!]] '''Fuck''' you, and your marker!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Monica's inner demons get this treatment in WapsiSquare.
* [[http://www.scarygoround.com/sgr/ar.php?date=20070627 Of the Devil himself]], just before crushing him with a JCB.
* [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Disbelief]]'s main weapon in ''Webcomic/{{Roommates}}'' is simply declaring "I don't believe in you." (he can also use TheReasonYouSuckSpeech if he feels especially cruel). This is frighteningly effective against the cast as they are [[LivingDream self-aware fictional beings]]. Yes, contrary to most examples here Disbelief is a villain and this trope perspective flipped looks uncomfortably close to MindRape (or worse).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' gets into this with the Boogieman. When a pair of children hire the boys to deal with this frightening apparition, the lads initially fail, but they remind the kids that if they're not afraid, then the Boogieman -- who feeds off fear -- can't actually hurt them. The kids later come to their rescue, putting that advice to good use by laughing at the Boogieman, and providing enough of a distraction for the boys to pull off that week's phlebotinum overload.
** Although, the phrase, "if you're not afraid, it can't hurt you" seems to be a team catchphrase, as it turns up again in later episodes, notably in ''The Halloween Door''.
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', when Bender asserts that the attacking BadSanta can't hurt them if ignored, only to be promptly harmed.
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'': Jack is in the woods, angry at everything that has happened lately. Aku uses this anger to create a duplicate of himself that he cannot conquer until he calms down, at which point Mad Jack ceases to exist. He lasts long enough to try and bring his sword down on Jack before vanishing right before contact is made.
* [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''. Beast Boy brings home a horror movie and, later that night, shadow monsters attack and the Titans start disappearing one by one. Raven repeatedly insists that she isn't afraid. Finally, she's the last Titan left, and the shadow monsters are dragging her to their leader ... "I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid. I'm ... I'm afraid. ''But that doesn't mean I can't fight back''." It turns out the other Titans are fine, and the shadow monsters were created by her own suppressed fear reacting with her magic. Acknowledging her fear made them go away.
* This isn't exactly verbal, but Pinkie Pie's "Giggle At the Ghostly" from the second episode of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' qualifies. The creepy trees [[spoiler: are made creepy only by magic from Nightmare Moon, and when the ponies laugh at the scary faces rather than scream, they lose their purpose and vanish.]]
* ''TheLegendOfKorra'': Korra herself has to adopt this attitude in the SpiritWorld, while she's powerless, alone and confronted by a number of dark spirits. To the Avatar, the Spirit World is a FisherKingdom. When she's frightened, the already unbalanced spirits become darker and more hostile. When she calms down and approaches them kindly, they shift into friendlier versions.
[[/folder]]
----