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Fighting from the Inside

Fiction has a lot of ways of making otherwise good and decent people into stark raving evil lunatics against their will. And sometimes, horrifyingly, the original friend is trapped in their own body and helpless to stop "themselves" from hurting friends and loved ones... or are they?

When a character is Fighting From The Inside, they are resisting the controlling influence acting on them in subtle and sometimes overt ways. Maybe the Split Personality can't stop their hand from jittering uncontrollably as they aim a gun at the hero, or the brainwashing proves ineffective as they subconsciously sabotage their evil master's Evil Plan.

The character isn't just waiting for someone to yell "I know you're in there somewhere", they're trying their best to hinder the villains and show they can still be rescued with a little outside help.

Other signs of resistance are:
  • Tears suddenly falling from their eyes, often accompanied by a staggered voice and other signs.
  • Hair or eye color changing from "possessed" back to normal. Even fluctuating between the two as they struggle.
  • Their eyes and voice becoming extremely strained.
  • Loss of control over limbs, typically arms, as the character's subconscious starts resisting the commands with all its might while the character often says something like "I can't do it; something is stopping me!"
  • Splitting headaches as the original fights the Split Personality Takeover from inside their own mind.
  • Grasping their head in pain as they desperately try to suppress the force controlling them.
  • The soul appearing outside the body like a ghost or Hologram, usually to point out a weak spot or opening and begging for death. (Or in cases, being able to brake through long enough to do the same).

In a worst case scenario, these signs of resistance are the dying gasps of a fading soul trying to keep their body from being used for evil... they can't be rescued, and actually want to be put down. This may result in Dying as Yourself or Peaceful in Death, for your consolation after the death. In the best case, the villain will get impatient and resort to blatant means to help the mind control. That often proves to be a mistake with that physical stimulus being just what their puppet needs to break free and the physical fight is on.

For a milder version, where a character is trying to resist simple Mind Reading by filling their mind with opposing information, they're using Psychic Static.

See also Heroic Willpower, which may overlap if the controlling influence is The Virus or a Demonic Possession. Contrast with Possession Burnout.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Pictured above: Hotaru in Sailor Moon when she's possessed by Mistress 9. She finally triumphs and burns her away from the inside. The visual of the Saturn symbol breaking through the Death Busters' star is brilliant.
    • Mistress 9 also spend most of the season doing the same... and she needs to literally be Powered by a Forsaken Child even to claim the dominance that Hotaru breaks in the image soon after. One of the rare instances where the evil side is basically the underdog, albeit a persistant one.
  • In both the manga and the '05 animé of Ah! My Goddess, Keiichi has a tendency to fall victim to Mind Control from demons and well-meaning goddesses alike— but always tries to fight it, most notably in both series' Lord Of Terror arc.
    • Similarly, Belldandy's angel is swapped out for a demon at one point, leading her to blast insane amounts of power at no one in particular, and just as Lind formulates a plan, Belldandy effortlessly turns the demon good, reacquires her angel, then dual wields them.
  • Aki does this in Ayashi no Ceres at at least one point after he gets possessed by Mikagi.
  • Naruto in Naruto, when overcome by the Kyuubi within him. However, the Kyuubi succeeds at times, resulting in the fourth tail.
    • Earlier, during the Chunin exam, Sakura and her self-projection (or something) fight off Ino's Posession Jutsu.
  • Ling in the Fullmetal Alchemist once he has Greed's Philosopher's Stone forced into his body. The fight doesn't last long due to the possessed willingly accepting the possessor into his body, however throughout the series Ling will convince and even regain control of his body for an amount of time, a main example being when he took advantage of Greeds returning memories and gave Ed information on the gate. However, Greed starts fighting him back and Ling is soon overcome. The two actually become friends throughout the course of the series.
  • Shun in Saint Seiya actually throttles Hades to give his brother a chance to kill them, and end any chance of Shun's body being used for evil. He doesn't, and afterwards Hades gains full control of the body, demonstrated by the hair going all black. Shuns possible return was later demonstrated by the hair turning from black to red, meaning his soul wasn't destroyed.
  • Nia in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann becomes the herald of the Anti-Spiral and begins the annihilation of life on Earth; this becomes part of Simon's I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight speech when she tries to stop him from retaking the Cathedral Terra, where he points out that despite the Anti-Spiral's brainwashing, she's been subconsciously helping them, warning Simon of the Anti-Spiral's attacks beforehand and training them to battle the alien menace through successively more dangerous encounters.
  • Inverted in Hell Teacher Nube: the only reason Nube can control his demonic left hand, in which an Oni is sealed, is because Miss Minako's soul was devoured much earlier by said Oni, and now she's spending her considerable spiritual power forcing it to obey Nube's commands. In special circumstances, she even manifests as a human face or torso sprouting from the Oni's forehead.
  • This happens a lot in Yu-Gi-Oh! when a protagonist is possessed or brainwashed, though normally downplayed in the 4kids dub.
  • During the "Monster World" arc in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Bakura fights against the soul of the Millennium Ring in this way, managing to regain control of whatever body parts are severed from Zorc in-game. He manages to save the party from certain death by using his left hand to throw fixed dice, and miscalculating stats; that is, until Dark Bakura impales his hand on the scenery.
    Dark Bakura: How do you like the feel of durable poly-resin, RYOU BAKURA!?
    • Though this only partially counts, Bandit Keith was effected by Millennium Rod's spell in original series (however, not in the manga), the spell was partially broken when Bakura used his millennium ring to disrupt it, Keith was semi-freed but was driven mostly insane as Marik was still present in his mind. Almost killing himself and Yugi in a insane rage when he set fire to the building they were in.
    • Jonouchi was captured and taken control of by the millennium rod. Being forced to fight Yugi in a death-duel, however during the duel he started resisting Marik, managing to fight his control multiple times (though causing him a considerable amount of pain doing so), until finally braking free completely. Thus far, he is the only one known to have both broken the millennium rod's effects.
    Marik: Now! kill him! Kill him!
    Jonouchi: SHUT UP!
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Manjyome managed to fight off the Light of Ruin's influence with the help of Jaden, he eventually regains his senses (success). Asuka may have tried to, briefly (given the fact that she resisted the temptation to use the White Veil card during the GenEx tournament, and by the fact that she even bothered helping Momoe and Junko) but she clearly wasn't able to after Saiou intensified the hold on her later, Saiou himself tried to do so at times (he only had limited success, but that small amount of success set the Light's plans back greatly).
    • It's not known if Johan was trying to fight when he was possessed by Yubel in the third season, but his Crystal Beasts - who had been transformed into dark versions of themselves called Advanced Crystal Beasts as a result - certainly were. During the possessed Johan's duel with Judai, they were able to communicate with Judai in their true forms when Winged Kuriboh was destroyed (long story) and give him a clue about how to break the spell.
    • Most of the Dark Signers tried to in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds (Carly had the most success, Misty, Kiryu, and Bommer had partial success), and as for Yu Gi Oh Zexal, if we discussed how many times someone tried to fight off the influence of a Number that was controlling him, it would take all day. Suffice to say, evil things that brainwash people are common here, but so are victims who at least try to fight back, though with limited success.
  • Hayate at the end of the second season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Once she managed to regain some manner of control over her body, her possessed body gets a full-body spasm and generally stops trying to kill Nanoha.
  • In Princess Mononoke, Ashitaka has to wrestle down his cursed arm a couple of times.
    • Unlike most examples, however, the arm has a mind of its own - it isn't trying to invade Ashitaka's.
  • Given the repeated use of Brainwashed and Crazy in Fushigi Yuugi, this happens quite a lot.
    • Tamahome, after beating the hell out of Tasuki and almost killing Miaka, can be seen with tears streaming down his face at the end of the battle. Eventually, The Power of Love helps him break the spell.
    • Chiriko and Tasuki, during their respective Demonic Possession episodes, attempt suicide in order to stop themselves from committing any further evil. Tasuki survives. Chiriko doesn't.
  • In Code Geass, after Lelouch unwittingly commands his sister Euphemia to kill every Japanese person, she tries to resist it, with the Geassed-eyes flickering on and off in red. Notably, this is the first time a victim of his Magical/Hypnotic Eye showed any signs of resisting orders, even though he previously ordered plenty of people to commit suicide.
    • According to a Wordof God, the reason she was fighting back was because the command went against her morals, same with Nunnaly.
    • In the last episode of the second season, Nunnally tries to fight off Lelouch's command for her to give him the remote control to Damocles' FLEIJA launcher. For a little while, she actually tries to offer him the remote with one arm while she tries to hold it back with her other arm.
  • Happens in the first big battle in Slayers
  • In Claymore, Raki's older brother has his memories and physical appearance taken over by a Youma, whose eyes weep as it prepares to eat Raki.
    • Also whenever a Claymore started to awaken. Which happened more and more often as time went on.
  • Satoshi Hiwatari in D.N.Angel with Krad in the last episode of the anime. Also in the 4th episode, when he fights Krad's control, causing Krad's hand to tremble, and the feather he's holding to disintegrate. Other times when he fights Krad, one or both of Krad's eyes will flicker back to blue. Satoshi usually can't take back control of his body, but he can distract Krad, paralyze some of his power, and/or hold him somewhat immobilized during the internal struggle.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo and Hollow Ichigo often play this straight and invert it: whenever one was in control, the other would be desperately trying to get back into the driver's seat. Ichigo usually stayed dominant, keeping his Hollow restrained and getting back control of the body relatively quickly whenever he lost control, which is most evident during his fight with Byakuya. When Hollow Ichigo took full control of Ichigo's body after Ulquiorra killed him, this sent Ichigo over the Despair Event Horizon when he came to after Ulquiorra shattered his mask.
    • Sado and Orihime do this briefly when under "Book of the End's" effects. Sado questions why the shinigami are helping Ichigo fight Ginjou and Orihime questions why it causes her so much pain to see Ichigo in such emotional distress if Tsukishima is the person she's supposed to owe so much to. Quick to spot their doubts, Tsukishima retaliates against both of them with an attempted Mind Rape. He is stopped by Urahara and Isshin.
  • In Violinist of Hameln, Lute, whilst being possessed by Bass, saves his beloved city from destruction. When his loved ones are harmed, tears of blood stream down his typically-expressionless face.
  • In One Piece, Miss Goldenweek hypnotises Luffy to be completely calm and not wanting to save his friends. After said friends were completely encased in wax, there was a shot of a pissed off Luffy unable to do anything but angrily grit out "this is some good tea" repeatedly, attempting to not fall fully under control.
  • Juvia of Fairy Tail does this once when brainwashed into a psychopathic rocker chick - when she engulfs Lucy, Lucy feels Juvia's tears on her cheeks and hears her apologizing.
  • InuYasha
    • Given the number of times Inuyasha is possessed or forced into a transformation - especially in the only-sort-of-canon movies - it isn't surprising that he does this a lot:
      • In one scene towards the end of the series, Naraku forces Inuyasha's full demon transformation and gets him to attack Kagome. In a last moment of sanity, Inuyasha pushes her off a ledge to get her as far away from him as possible. Like the Magnificent Bastard that he is, Naraku manages to convince Inuyasha that he killed her and has nothing left to resist for.
      • And later in the same arc, Inuyasha gets possessed by a demon that essentially personifies the malice of the Shikon Jewel. It forces him to fight Sesshomaru (not that they really needed any incentive), but Inuyasha starts freaking out and resisting as soon as he smells Kagome. At that point he disengages from the fight and yells for Kagome to throw him the Tetsusaiga, ignoring several self-inflicted punches to the face that Magatsuhi makes him do.
      • In the third movie Swords of an Honorable Ruler, he falls under the control of a demonic sword; it tries to get him to murder a woman and her baby, so he bites his arm and holds it back with his teeth and claws until Miroku can get them to safety. The same thing happens whenever it tries to get him to attack Kagome.
    • In the first movie Affections Touching Across Time, Kagome also goes through this when the Big Bad mind controls her into trying to kill Inuyasha. Before she deals the final blow, she manages to seize enough control to desperately beg Inuyasha to get out of there before it's too late, and even then, she's visibly struggling to do so.
    • Kohaku, being Brainwashed and Crazy, normally is able fight Naraku's orders when he is supposed to kill a main character, at least long enough for someone else to arrive and help.
  • Enjin of Yozakura Quartet says that Gin is doing this.
  • In Dragon Ball, it looks like Vegeta is doing this when Babidi is taking control of him. He actually isn't, since Vegeta's letting Babidi do it for the complimentary power boost.
  • When Riffael Raffit's evil Split Personality takes over near the end of Cain Saga, he makes sure to inform everyone repeatedly that That Man Is Dead. He's wrong. The good Riff eventually succeeds, pulling a reverse Split Personality Takeover, shooting himself in the arm before managing to get full bodily control back, and proceeding to do his best to save Cain's life.

    Comic Books 
  • In All-Star Superman, Superman fights the black Kryptonite corruption, describing his symptoms and asking Jimmy Olsen for help.
  • Indigo in Outsiders.
  • This trope is typical in comics whenever popular characters fight due to mind control.
  • When several heroes become Black Lanterns in Blackest Night, we see their possessed bodies running around doing evil stuff juxtaposed with their "normal" selves within fighting to regain control, making this a combination of this trope and And I Must Scream. Green Arrow in particular plays this trope straight; while the black ring is making him shoot at his family, he manages to exert enough Heroic Willpower to not only shift his aim to hit something else instead, but so the ring itself momentarily shines green, the colour indicating willpower. No other Black Lantern, dead or "alive," managed to make the ring shine a different colour.
  • An early example Silver Age example is when Captain America was treated with a mind control drug by the Red Skull and ordered to join a German paratrooper raid to assassinate Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. They get as far as invading the General's office and Cap takes aim at him as ordered. At that point, Cap's subconsciousness rebels and keeps him from moving, much less pulling the trigger and the mind controlled superhero is at a loss to understand why. The German commando leader tries to manipulate Cap's hand to fire, but that physical force allows Cap's mind to break free of the drug and fight all the commandoes in Eisenhower's defense while the general calls security.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In The Immortal Game, after Twilight is possessed by the Sliver of Darkness and transformed into Nihilus, she ends up doing this passively by feeding Nihilus misinformation in order to keep her from defeating the rest of the Mane Six. During the Climax Boss fight with Nihilus, Twilight takes more active steps, managing to retake control long enough to give her friends aid in the form of the Elements of Harmony.
    • Likewise, Rainbow Dash is placed under a Mind Rape spell (that she calls the Insanity) by Nihilus, and attempts to fight its control of her body, without much success until Fluttershy uses The Stare on her, which weakens the Insanity enough for Dash to break free.
      • Later, Twilight reveals that Dash's loyalty and strength of will was so great that that Nihilus had to use seven times the energy the spell called for originally, and that by all rights, Dash should be completely insane!
  • The Pony POV Series: At one point in the Dark World, Twilight ends up having to do this during the fight with the Valeyard — she tries to use the Memory Spell on him, but he's prepared for this and ends up implanting a copy of his personality in her mind. It very nearly consumes her, but she manages to fight it long enough for her friends to destroy it by smashing her head, allowing her Element to regenerate a new one without the infection.
  • Rainbooms and Royalty: Ditzy manages to shake off Nightmare Moon's corrupting influence when presented with an image of her daughter, Dinky.
  • Nightmares Are Tragic: The climactic battle in this retelling of "The Elements of Harmony" is not so much the one between the Mane Six and Nightmare Moon, as it is the one between Princess Luna and her possessing Nightshadow inside Nightmare Moon's form.
  • Marie D Suesse And The Mystery New Pirate Age: In this story, X. Drake is mind-controlled by the villain and forced fight and kill his allies. He internally sabotages his orders by choosing the most inefficient and self-destructive ways in carrying them out to give the main characters a chance at getting the upper hand.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Mega Man tries to resist Splash Woman's brainwashing by thinking of Kalinka.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Madagascar, Alex the lion attempts to resist his natural urge to hunt Zebra (or any other) meat.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, King Candy/Turbo is eaten by a Cy-Bug and assimilated into it, taking control of it, and becoming huge and more powerful than the others. When the Cy-Bugs are lead to their destruction by their programming, he is able to resist for a limited time, but is ultimately destroyed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: The mind-controlled Starfleet officers Khan orders to kill Kirk can't do it. In fact, one kills himself instead.
  • In the often slapstick Evil Dead 2, this trope's played surprisingly straight. Ash is possessed by the evil and about to kill Annie when he spots the necklace he'd earlier given his girlfriend, still lying on the floor. That memory weakens its control enough that he hesitates and roars in inner turmoil. The camera cuts away as the roar turns into Ash's human screams and sobs, and returns to show that he's himself again.
  • In The Avengers, Selvig created a fail-safe in Loki's portal that enabled it to be shut down, even though he was deep under Loki's control. An argument can also be made for Hawkeye shooting Nick Fury in the chest, knowing that he'd be wearing body armor, instead of in the head, which Hawkeye's Improbable Aiming Skills made him quite capable of doing. This is confirmed in a deleted scene.
    • Also when Loki asks Hawkeye what the Tesseract showed him, he said "My next target" while looking at Loki.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: The Baroness was apparently the only person to ever fight off the nanomites' brainwashing at all.

    Literature 
  • The Imperius Curse from Harry Potter can be resisted or completely thrown off by some characters.It also becomes an excuse that the bad guys can use to cover up their evil actions.
    • This trope could also apply to Harry's fear in the fifth book that he had physically been attacking people. Similarly, Ginny really was being controlled by Riddle in the 2nd book.
  • In the Discworld novel A Hat Full of Sky, Tiffany Aching fights this battle against the possessing Hiver, but is unable to prevent it from humiliating a supercilious shop assistant and, more importantly, murdering a teaching witch. It also forces her to steal money from an old man who trusts her.
  • In Michael Moorcock's Hawkmoon series, the eponymous hero is captured by the evil Granbretagnans, whose dark science is used to implant a Black jewel in his skull through which he may be controlled at a distance. Sent to infiltrate the last unconquered country in Europe and act as their spy, he seeks to find a way to overcome the posession and warn his hosts.
  • In Alan Garner's fantasy novel The Moon of Gomrath, the heroine Susan is possessed by the Brollochan, an age-old Celtic spirit of evil, and has to fight to regain posession of her own body.
  • A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge plays with this with Flenser/Tyrathect battling for control and showing various outward signs of the battle. In a subversion of the usual application of this trope, Evil Overlord Flenser is the "original" personality, that tries to break to the surface and overcome "possession" by Tyrathect fragments. While he thinks for a moment that he succeeded, actually they merge in the end.
  • The plot of the Dragonlance New Adventures initial series is composed of the bad guy's plots to make sure the evil persona implanted in Nearra wins. Until about the 4th book, the evil persona had only occasional moments of dominance, but after that she was constantly having trouble with Nearra yelling at her inside her head.
  • In the Mage Winds trilogy by Mercedes Lackey, Big Bad Ma'ar has been possessing the bodies of his descendants for countless thousands of years, until he gets careless in his latest incarnation. Eventually, after he miraculously escapes from certain death, it turns out that he's been weakened enough to allow the original owner of the body to resurface and eventually aid the heroes in destroying Ma'ar once and for all.
  • In the third book of The Hunger Games trilogy Peeta deals with a fair amount of this after being hijacked during his time in Capitol's imprisonment.
  • In C. J. Cherryh's Morgaine Cycle, the villain of the original trilogy used a time/space Gate to steal the body of the viewpoint character's cousin. In the third book, it's revealed that millennia of body-theft has eroded his soul to the point where his latest victim can take back control. "If anything of your cousin has influence ... then he may yet defeat the man who killed him." He does; the epilogue commemorates his death from old age. The fourth book includes arguments within the mind of another victim who retains much of both personalities. He's quite shocked to discover that the evil lord he'd battled is a much more reasonable person than he'd thought (despite taking over his body).
  • Any Controller in the Animorphs series will do this from time to time. None have ever successfully overthrown a Yeerk completely, but there have been some famously close calls. When his daughter was threatened to become a Controller, breaking the deal Chapman made with the Yeerks, he almost completely takes control.
    • Much of the book Visser is Marco's mother arguing with her Yeerk, and the Yeerk talking about how they had several close calls since arriving on Earth, including the Yeerk giving control of one eye back to see what she'd do with it. The woman waited until the opportune moment to shut the eye and trigger a car crash.
    • There's also Chapmans gaining control over over their hand and attemping to strangle themself
    • Jake discovering that he has "the power of annoyance" and talking incessantly to his Yeerk to distract it and just to be obnoxious.
    • John Berryman, a failed actor who memorized Henry V and recites it constantly at his Yeerk—so much so that the first thing he does when he gets control of a time machine is journey back to the Battle of Agincourt and try to change the outcome so that Shakespeare would never write it.
    • Another example of a Controller temporarily fighting back its Yeerk host was Marco's mother regaining control just long enough to tell her husband to stay away from the military, thus ensuring that the Yeerks would have no practical use for him as a host.
    • Yet another example of this is a disfigured girl Controller speaking to Tobias, intending to lure her into a trap. Out of nowhere, the Controller suddenly shakes, her eyes widen, and the girl shouts "Don't listen to her!" before slamming her head down on the table for a few moments. The Yeerk regains control immediately after.
    • Jake was finally convinced that his brother was a Controller after Temrash is telling Jake how wonderful the Sharing is and Tom breaks through to half-way shake his head no.
  • Marsh in Mistborn does this when he is possessed by Ruin, because of the metal spikes in his body. He was originally going to use the one chance he got to kill himself, but ended up using it to help Vin.
  • Weston shows signs of this after being possessed by Satan himself in C. S. Lewis' Perelandra, although it's not clear whether it's real or an attempt to trick Ransom (always a risk with this sort of thing). Leads to an unplanned "What The Hell, man" moment from readers, as Weston appears to die as himself.
  • Subverted in Grunts! by Mary Gentle: The Big Bad gives the Messiah—whose body she has possessed—one last brief look around before obliterating her.
  • In The Host by Stephenie Meyer, this trope is central to the entire plot. Most of the book concerns the struggle of Melanie the human girl against Wanderer, the parasite alien controlling her body.
  • In The Dark Elf Trilogy, Drizzt's father is sacrificed to Lolth, and turned into a super-zombie to hunt down Drizzt. His memories were deleted, resulting in sub-par swordsmanship, so more were returned. Drizzt and his father fought over a pit of acid. Drizzt's father ended up breaking through the zombification just long enough to make his corpse fall into the acid, permanently re-killing it.
  • Several Star Trek novels explore inside fights. Most do so versus the Borg, but it's a big universe:
    • In The Brave and the Bold" Kira is shown struggling against an ancient dictator's near-complete control of her (she can't even blink or swallow). Eventually, she breaks out of it, which confirms the dictator's control is weakening. Spock is also controlled by this dictator, but fights it off and mind-melds with Worf to stave off the effects.
    • In Before Dishonor, Admiral Janeway is completely dominated by the Borg, and her body is made into their new queen. When Seven of Nine reaches out to her in her aid to destroy the Borg, The Borg-miral mocks her...but the "real" Janeway lets down her guard long enough for Seven to implement the "Hugh" virus, destroying the Borg (well...most of it) and sending Janeway to the Q Continuum.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels novel Deus Encarmine, Brother-Sergeant Koris struggles against the black rage, his eyes glazing over and unglazing as he tries to tell Rafen of Inquisitor Stele's treachery.With his dying breath, he succeeds in getting his message across properly.
    • Earlier, he had tried to tell Chaplain Delos, but the sentence fragments he got out did not communicate properly.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 Night Lords series, the character Vandred was possessed and twisted by a daemon called "the Exalted." While the Exalted is convinced that Vandred has no hope, the Night Lord strikes when the daemon tries to obtain his help, committing suicide and only letting the Exalted take back control at the last moment before both die, just so that it can feel terror.
  • This is half the plot of The Ragwitch. The story begins when a character is possessed by the Creepy Doll, and the rest of the book alternates between her brother's attempts to rescue her and her attempts to prevent herself from being absorbed completely into the Ragwitch's mind.
  • Averted in Neuropath, which centers around the villain's various experiments with people under Mind Control. As Neil Cassidy notes, "Everyone expects to be captain Kirk", but as he controls every thought and emotion, it is an impossibilty. Near the end of the story, he even manages to get Thomas Bible to rationalize all the horrors he has inflicted upon him, including condemning his son to a Fate Worse than Death.
  • In Artemis Fowl Book 6, Butler has to fight off the mesmer of Opal Koboi, who wants him to kill Artemis. He manages it, but gives himself a heart attack at the same time. It's not too surprising; Butler has always been pretty resistant to mesmer.
  • In Wild Cards, Mark Meadows has been stuck as The Radical, unable to communicate with the outside world as his alter-ego reaped destruction for several years.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplight's Prospero in Hell, the demonically possessed Theo manages to seize control of his own voice for a moment.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, friend-turned-enemy Luke Castellan willingly allows himself to be possessed by the Titan Lord Kronos until the very end when he retakes control long enough to off them both.
  • This is played with in the Ranger's Apprentice at one point. For most of The Siege of Macindaw Keren uses a form of hypnotism with a blue gem to get the captured Alyss to tell him information. Alyss fights it off at first, but becomes more vulnerable to it after each session, up until she finds a method of fighting it off using a seemingly magical stone given to her by her close friend Will. Near the end of the book, as Keren realizes his inpending defeat, he makes a final stand in the room he was keeping Alyss in. Keran unknowingly knocks the stone out of her hands as he arrives, and he hypnotizes Alyss again with the gem, which is now part of the hilt of a sword. When Will arrives, Keren commands Alyss to kill Will with the sword. He tries to snap Alyss out of the hypnotism with very little success, though she shows signs of trying to fight it off. Resigned to his fate, he tells Alyss that he loves her, hoping that Alyss would understand when she came to that he forgave her. This snaps her out of the hypnotism.
  • They don't call him the Dragon Reborn because just because he's a stone-cold bugger. He actually gets Lews Therin Telamon, the Lord of Morning, in his head along for the ride! Only, nobody told Lews Therin. He thinks he just blacked out and someone is inside his head. Independent of that, Lews Therin is batshit crazy and the Dragon Reborn will be soon, too.
  • In Tales of Kolmar, The Corrupter offered enhanced powers to any healer or mage who wanted them in exchange for a lock of hair and a promise of aid in the unspecified future. Said aid came in the form of sending him half their power and being possessed by a demon free to use their bodies and remaining power for whatever it wanted. A few of them fought hard enough that their minds died; others could either be exorcised by other mages with great effort from both parties, or died as themselves.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons novel "The Mark of Nerath", when the demon Nu Alin possesses Tempest, she manages to resist to a certain degree. Of course, this just makes Nu Alin want to possess her MORE.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Kalak's gotten better at this since the last book. He can come out and hold control for a brief period at a time whenever Daniar or Benji are in trouble.
  • Tahiri of the New Jedi Order has two personalities, one human, one Yuuzhan Vong. Whenever one personality (usually the human one) is dominant, the other one is forced to do this. Eventually it gets to the point that it's going on near-constantly, driving both of them to the brink of madness- finally, both get sucked into a Battle in the Center of the Mind that leads to a Split Personality Merge.
  • In Rachel Griffin, people under a geas usually know they are being compelled, and can fight back.
  • Gally in The Maze Runner fights hard. Newt in The Death Cure after he gets the Flare, but with mixed results.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • In 42, the Doctor is possessed by the consciousness of the nearby sun, who has already possessed several other crew members who have killed. Seeing him struggle against it's influence and say "I am so scared" is pretty horrifying.
    • In Midnight, the Doctor gets possessed again (in the same incarnation), this time by an Ultimate Evil he never comes close to understanding. While trapped in his own body, he somehow manages to hook his foot on a chair while being dragged to his death.
  • Supernatural being a show that uses demonic possession a lot, this trope crops up now and then.
    • In the season one finale "Devil's Trap", John resists possession and gives his son a chance to kill YED.
    • In season five, Bobby successfully fights off possession by one of Meg's henchmen long enough to stab and cripple himself with a demon-killing knife so he didn't kill Dean.
    • Deliberately invoking this trope is how Sam takes down Lucifer at the end of season five.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    Locutus of Borg / Picard: "Sleep", Data, "Sleep"
    • The following episode revealed that Picard had been conscious and fighting the whole time, but was mostly powerless against the collective's will: when he starts telling his brother about his efforts to resist their control, he breaks down into tears. That feeling of helplessness and shame would later evolve into an often overwhelming, but understandable, hatred of the Borg.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has an early episode in which Dr. Bashir's body is taken over by a serial killer. The crew uses Applied Phlebotinum to awaken Bashir's real personality, as well as some Narm-tastic acting from the normally-good Alexander Siddig.
  • Star Trek: Voyager ("Warlord"). The innocent Kes is taken over by a body-jumping dictator who decides to stay in her body because he's impressed by her Magical Girl powers. However he finds the waif-like Kes is a lot tougher than she looks; most notably in a dream scene where Kes threatens to use all the lessons the dictator has learned over the years on how to be a ruthless, determined bastard.
  • Battlestar Galactica: The Plan revealed that Manchurian Agent Boomer was fighting from the outside in the first season, with the lines between the core Number Eight personality and the cover breaking down.
  • Used & Inverted in the Heroes starting from the end of Volume 4: Matt Parkman forces Sylar to think He is Nathan, resulting in a confused Fake-Nathan trying to find a reason to why nothing seems right; Sylar's blank mind trying to find out who he is; while simultaneously, a part of Sylar is Fighting from the Inside of Matt's mind. Finally: Sylar gets back into his own body and has a lackluster Battle in the Center of the Mind with Fake-Nathan.
  • Happens several times with people possessed by Goa'uld in Stargate SG-1. Notably, Skaara, who eventually regains control of his body via a sort of trial, and Sha're, who doesn't, but is able to impart her last thoughts to Daniel as her Goa'uld tries to kill him. She's killed herself by Teal'C before that can happen.
  • Started popping up a lot in the last few episodes of Dollhouse. Most notably, Anthony after he's taken by the borg-soldiers, and Mellie in the next-to-last episode, who regains just enough control to kill herself.
    • In Anthony's case, this was done literally through the Power of Love. Namely, his relationship with Priya/Sierra that had been slowly building throughout nearly the entire series.
    • Also, the way that Echo defeats the borg-soldiers is by turning herself into one and subsequently flooding their collective consciousness with all of the 40+ differing personalities that are in her head, so that she is single-handedly Fighting from the Inside times 40. This causes such mass confusion among the borg-soldiers that, with the exceptions of Anthony and Echo herself, they are rendered completely ineffective at doing much of anything.
  • In Sanctuary Ashley's eyes change color to indicate when she has broken through the mind control. This finally indicates a Dying as Yourself.
  • Subverted in season five of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys; after Iolaus is killed, his body becomes the vessel for the evil god Dahak. During a fight with Herc, it seems for a moment as if Iolaus's true personality is somehow managing to break through, seemingly in order to give Hercules a chance to kill him. It turns out that this is a ruse on Dahak's part in order to get Hercules to break his vow against killing in order to tip the cosmic scales in favour of evil. Later on, however, it is played straight when Hercules enters Iolaus's mind and teams up with his soul in order to defeat Dahak once and for all.
  • Charmed: in a season 3 episode, Piper's body is taken over, but she remains conscious - only able to communicate with the possessor via mirrors. Midway through the episode, she is able to regain control for a split second to slam a door she was opening closed to get her sisters' attention and cry for help before being taken over again.

    Music 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Warhammer special character Galrauch was once a noble dragon serving a high elven prince, until he was possessed by a Greater Daemon of Tzeentch and mutated into a horrifying two-headed monster, the first of the Chaos Dragons. But even after so many centuries of captivity, the dragon's spirit struggles against the daemon, so that each round Galrauch must take a Leadership test. On a failure, Galrauch will either do nothing but fight himself in close combat, or fall under the opposing player's control for a turn and wreck some revenge on the Chaos forces.

    Theatre 
  • The musical adaptation of Jekyll & Hyde has the title character doing lots of this, most notably with the song "Confrontation".

    Toys 

    Video Games 
  • Ringo, who has been possessed by Black Dainn, does this during his Piledriver sequence in Boktai 2. Every time you land a hit, rather than seeing the superimposed image of the immortal screaming in pain, you instead see Ringo holding Dainn in a headlock.
  • Borderlands 2: Kreig the Psychopath is a playable character who as the name would suggest, is crazy. The only thing that sets him apart from all of the other Psychos is that he has a voice of reason in his mind that is always fighting to prevent him from killing innocent people. During gameplay, you mostly hear screams and rants consisting mostly of word salad, but on occasion you hear a much quieter voice of reason calling from inside the butcher's head. Sometimes the inner voice is melancholic, quietly wishing to be sane again, sometimes he displays the strength to hold the insanity in check. In one of the idle quotes, you hear the two arguing. The inner voice claims that if the axe crazy Kreig kills an innocent person EVER, he will take control and commit suicide. Despite screaming in rage, yelling for the voice to get out of his head, this seems to be a valid enough threat that Kreig is subdued into obedience. Word of God says that "the inner voice is driving an out of control 18 wheeler and it is all he can to do steer and avoid everyone he can." The inner Kreig is always on the lookout for possible medical attention and help. He falls in love at first sight with another playable character named Maya. He convinces his outer voice to go save her from an attack and from there, a friendship is born and possible a return to sanity in the future.
  • Final Fantasy IV: Edge's parents do this when you fight them as monsters, without even changing out of the battle screen. They can't be saved, but they decide to disappear on their own rather than ask for death.
  • In Kingdom Hearts Riku holds back Ansem's Heartless, and he gets kicked out of his body entirely for it.
  • You can see this happen with Lynne and the justice minister in Ghost Trick when they are controlled by Yomiel.
  • Several times in Mass Effect:
    • Fai Dan is being controlled by the Thorian to kill you, but he kills himself instead.
    • Benezia is indoctrinated, but she is able to break free long enough to give you the coordinates of the mu relay.
    • If you have high enough Charm or Intimidate, Saren can be convinced to break free of the indoctrination and shoot himself.
    • In one of the tie-in books, Mass Effect: Retribution, Greyson spends most of the book doing this, unknowingly playing into Reaper hands on at least one occasion. The only thing he achieves, is turning down a meal.
  • World of Warcraft LOVES this, especially now that the current Big Bad is a necromancer—it seems like half the bosses thank you for killing them, not counting the ones for whom it was a case of I Cannot Self-Terminate from the beginning.
    • One of the earliest examples is Vaelastraz the corrupted red dragon in Blackwing Lair, who apologizes whenever he kills a player, and starts the battle by buffing the players to the point that they're able to (barely) defeat him. He's listed in the CMOA page.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Princess Peach does this when she's possessed by he Shadow Queen in the final battle, after the latter's invincibility is broken. She even manages to use her healing magic from the first Super Mario RPG on the party, so they can battle the evil demon with all their strength.
  • As a pretty sucky version of this, Ciel of Tsukihime could only limit her Roa persona enough to kill everyone in her village slower than Roa normally would. And maybe less painfully. That's after weeks of shutting herself in her room so she wouldn't slaughter her unknowing family. Nevertheless, by the time Arcueid shows up to kill her, her effort has been in vain and the entire town has been turned to The Dead. It's implied that every host of Roa is like this because it isn't straight possession so much as adapting the host to his goals. Wherever he shows up on his reincarnation is generally a town full of The Dead by the time Arcueid stops him. Shiki is the hero, so in the route where Roa enters him he resists well enough to destroy Roa and also have partial control over his body. It also helps that Roa did it in a bit of a different manner, AND there was less time at stake. Shiki was still approaching the point of no return, though.
  • In Legacy of Kain, both Mortainius and Janos Audron become possessed by the Dark Entity of Blood Omen. Mortainius fights this periodically by setting the whole of Kain's destiny in motion by resurrecting him using the heart of darkness, while Janos breaks through the possession to ask Raziel to kill him.
  • In Final Fantasy X attempting to talk to Jecht in Aeon form causes its overdrive bar to reset, although it only works three times. Presumably, he's unreachable at that point.
  • At the end of Mother 3, it is revealed that the Masked Man is really Claus (although that was obvious), and is able to break free of Porky's control, immediately killing himself.
  • Near the finale of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Emil struggles against the control of his Superpowered Evil Side, complete with self throat-grab, switching voices, and general flailing about before the bad side fully assumes control. Except that it's an act. It's gentle!Emil the entire time.
  • Tears to Tiara 2: The little boy Keto is crying as he's mind controlled to tell her sick litter sister to pray to Watos by the village priest.
  • Subverted (and, in terms of plot, averted) in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Cole, being as Genre Savvy as he is, removed the Princesses' spirit from her body before performing the soul-transfer ritual on it, specifically so it couldn't end like this. She still manages to fight the possession though- from outside.
  • In System Shock 2, the U.N.N. commander William Diego manages to resist The Many's control over him long enough to remove the parasitic worm from his head by himself. He also is the only character we hear of in the game that ever manages to completely fight off the Hive Mind's effects.
  • In Dragon Age II, Anders is a case of this due to allowing Justice to possess him. He now has to constantly fight against the demon inside of him or become an abomination.
    • He describes what this feels like in nightmarish terms: you're trapped behind your own eyes, unable to move your own body, wanting to scream and unable to, until you "look down at the blood on your hands."
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, near the end, Link confronts the Skull Kid, who is being mind-controlled by Majora's Mask. When he hears the giants coming, The Power of Friendship gives him the strength to fight back. When he does, his body spasms wildly and he screams in a distorted voice while clutching his head as though he has a splitting headache.
  • Played straight in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn when the Chaos Hound descends on Sveta, but after catching her scent refuses to attack. It is her brother, that is forced to fight her when the antagonists show up and reinforce the control.
  • In Metroid Prime 2, you can find the last testament of a Luminoth possessed by an Ing. He describes how the Ing claws at his will, demanding obedience, but he remains defiant:
    "I will fight to the end. I shall self-terminate before I will be a pawn of a filthy Ing."
  • Geist has a different version, while the people the player possesses are completely under the player's control, if the player attempts to bring the host near anything that host is afraid of, despite the player's best efforts the host will not allow the player to go anywhere near it. Some of the game's puzzles are built around this fact.
  • In Puyo Puyo 7, when Arle gets possessed by Ecolo, she attempts and succeeds to stop him. Later in the game, Satan sensed that Arle is in fact possessed. And comes the boss battle, of course, with some epic music.
  • Resident Evil 5 has Jill Valentine being controlled by Wesker via a device attached to her chest that pumps a solution into her blood that forces her to obey Wesker's commands. When Chris and Sheva outlast the fight against Jill and Wesker, Jill then proceeds to pin down Chris who then tells Jill who he is. Chris' agonized pleas causes Jill to briefly regain control of herself, causing her to ease up on her aggression. Wesker notes that Jill is still managing to resist being controlled, so he injects more solution into her bloodsteram, causing her to lose control of herself again. However, with the last ounce of strength, Jill rips off the top of her battle suit to reveal the device to Chris and Sheva so that they can remove it. From then on, if you're playing as Chris, you can get close and "appeal" to her with the action button to stun her.

    Webcomics 
  • Happens to Oasis in Sluggy Freelance, though in her case it's actually one mind controlled personality against another. Her normal programming, which compels her to love Torg, conflicts with her Override B-1 programming which compels her to kill Torg's best friend. The result is compared to a CD skipping.
    Oasis: Torgy? Override B-1! Torgy? Override B-1! Torgy? Override B-1!
  • Happens to Garanos a couple times, and she does manage to purge her possessor eventually.
  • Penny Arcade featured this with their feudal Japan Genre Shift, where the a man possessed by his sword broke free long enough to drive a dagger into his eye. It kept him alive anyway.
  • Agatha Heterodyne of Girl Genius, in Castle Heterodyne, when The Other takes over her body. When she realizes Gil is dying, her Heroic Willpower overcomes its control, complete with staggered voice.
    • Later hinted that the Big Bad-controlled Klaus Wulfenbach is this, as he promises to "do everything in his power" to help his son, even as the control forces him to act against the heroes.

    Web Original 
  • In Arcana Magi, Alysia Morales confronted her real self but won't accept the truth. Meanwhile, whenever Reya Everheart resists, she Stepford Smiles.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Totally Spies! episodes Silicon Vally Girls and The Yuck Factor, a student and Jerry, respectively, manage to fight off the episodes' Big Bad in order to give the girls' an edge. Sadly and ironically, whenever the girls get Brainwashed and Crazy, they never even seem to even try. This is exceptionally criminal to say the least, not only concerning the fact that it's the female characters who never do it, but also because Sam is constantly being the sole target for brainwashing during the first three seasons (implying that she should have at least had practice) with the "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight encouragements from Clover and Alex not having any effect at all. Worse and more ironically in that her voice actress is best known for voicing another character who is constantly in a situation where getting brainwashed even once is not an option.
  • Cyber Six had one episode where Lucas was turned into a werewolf under the control of the Monster of the Week. In an amazing use of Heroic Willpower, Lucas-Werewolf switches sides and fights the Monster Of The Week off before she kills Cyber Six, never actually regaining his human mental faculties until after the transformation reverted. Bonus points for his eyes going from yellow to white when he switches.
  • Dahli in the Skyland episode "Manipulations".
  • In Batman Beyond, we find out that Robin was kidnapped and brainwashed into Joker Junior. During the fight he helps Joker and Harley, but in the climax, instead of shooting a defeated Batman behind held up for the slaughter, he instead turns the gun on Joker and kills him. It took him a good long moment to finally turn the gun, too. His maniacal Joker-style laugh quickly degenerates into a stream of broken sobbing.
    • In the episode "The Call", Word of God says this trope is why Superman brought Terry in to investigate someone sabotaging the Justice League, even though he was the traitor. (In the episode itself, this can be inferred by how surprised he is when the rest of the League turns on him.)
  • Galaxy Rangers: Eliza Foxx in "Psychocrypt." The Queen of the Crowns ripped out her Life Energy and kept it in a Psychocrystal. The Queen later uses the crystal to put together a nightmare machine that subjects Eliza and her husband to Mind Rape on a nightly basis. Zach makes a last-ditch attempt to rescue her, but she breaks the control long enough to try and tell him that it's a trap. (Not like it matters by that point...) Later, when Zach is tossed in the crypt, and enduring massive amounts of pain she tries to comfort him.
    Eliza: Zachary, my husband. I've missed you so. You must be strong. Our spirits will always be one...
  • Xiaolin Showdown: in the episode "The Last Temptation of Raimundo" Rai is slowly being posessed by Animated Shen Gong Wu, throughout the ep he's fighting the process, to varying degrees of success. Ultimately his will is broken and the ghostly villain Wuya takes over his empty body. However, during a Xiaolin Showdown with his friends they try to initiate a team move, hoping the battle cry can get through to him. It works, and Rai ejects Wuya from his body.
  • Samurai Jack fights against the evil of Aku for nearly the entire length of Episode 43 when Aku's sneeze sends a portion of his substance into Jack and makes him "sick" (the same way Aku is - you know, all the time?). In a powerful and painful final few minutes, Aku successfully destroys an easy-to-use Time Portal with Jack's sword; however, even after this painful loss, Jack finds the courage, hope, power, and truth to expel Aku from his body, with the power of friendship playing an important part as well.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has Valmont arguing with Shendu in season 2 in this. One episode of season 4 has him in odds with an oni mask.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: The jailed Parasite makes a deal with the authorities, offering to get into a terrorist's mind to find where a bomb is planted in exchange for cable TV in his cell; unfortunately, the terrorist's superior willpower is too much for him, and the guy takes over. At first, the Parasite is reluctantly willing to cooperate with the guy, until he realizes that the guy is more than willing to let his body die in order to complete his mad scheme, at which point, with Superman's urging, he fights the guy for control, and eventually wins.
  • Happens a couple of times in Danny Phantom, but the most impressive instance comes from Danny himself in Kindred Spirits. After Vlad kidnaps him, he reveals that he needs a sample of Danny's morph DNA to complete his clone. Because Danny clearly isn't just going to morph because he asked nicely, Vlad has one of the imperfect clones possess him to force the transformation. This clearly doesn't work, because the next time we see them Danny is hooked up to a machine that channels increasing levels of electricity through his body. Only then does he begin to transform, and even then he manages to force the transformation rings back down through sheer willpower. Then he overloads the machine and it blows up, freeing him and allowing him to fight off the clone completely. Not only does he (temporarily) escape, but the clone melts from the strain.
  • "C-C-C-CAN'T...LOSE...CONTROL!!! WILL STRONG!!! BODY WEAK!!!"
  • In "The Phony Phone Booths" episode of Underdog, Underdog comes under Simon bar Sinister's mind control after entering one of his phone booths. Underdog is ordered to destroy Sweet Poly Purebred (who is axing one of the phony booths), but internal rebellion literally blasts off the mind control.
  • Dib does this in Invader Zim for a little bit when hypnotized by Pustulio. He doesn't last long but it does give us this little moment:
    Zim: Now tell me the flaw in my house's defenses!
    Dib: Can't...must...infiltrate.
  • Randy Marsh, during the South Park episode "Sarcastaball", gradually succumbs to a disease that makes him unable to not be sarcastic. At one point in a conversation with his wife where everything he says is in Sarcasm Mode, he briefly, after a short pause, says "Help me, Sharon" with tears in his eyes.
  • In Young Justice, the scarab fights back against the Reach once it's put on-mode, by purposefully stalling and making poor tactical decisions.
    • Jaime tries to do this, but unfortunately, snarking isn't enough.


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