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Not Afraid of You Anymore
"The pain is gone, I've succeeded. I feel strong too. I'm not afraid of you anymore! You won't kill me, I'll make you pay for everything you did to me!!!"
In fiction, it's common for a character who has been abused or mistreated by another to eventually confront that person in order to move on with their life, and they discover that the person really was never as powerful as they thought, and that the abuse they suffered was the result of that person's own issues and insecurities. The abused may even take pity on the person who hurt them and decide that they're Not Worth Killing
, and this is often the first step in a Humiliation Conga
, as well as the culmination of an Hourglass Plot
where the one-time victim ultimately overpowers their abuser.
An unpleasant subversion of this takes place when, after being confronted, the abuser turns out to be even more dangerous
than the abused realized.
Unfortunately, the above can and does happen in real life. Not all bullies back down when challenged, some are neither cowardly nor insecure, just vicious.
Compare Face Your Fears
. See also Calling the Old Man Out
for a specific variant of this. Not to be confused with I'm Not Afraid of You
, when a threat loses its power (or disappears entirely
) once a character is no longer afraid of it.
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Anime and Manga
- Brutally done by Lucy in Elfen Lied to the cruel kids who tormented her for so long after they push her too far by killing her dog in front of her. She snaps and kills them.
- In the Revolutionary Girl Utena series, Anthy's walking out on her brother Akio is one of these.
- There is a supernatural variety of this in Mnemosyne: the protagonist Rin is an immortal, and immortals fall into uncontrollable sexual drive when a creature called "angel" is nearby. The villain, who is an angel himself, uses this many times throughout the series to humiliate Rin but in the very end, Rin evolves into an immortal angelic being herself and sends the villain himself into uncontrollable sexual lust for her in their final confrontation.
- In Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kai, Satoko, with support from Keiichi, Rika, and oh yeah the entire village, confronting her abusive uncle Teppei, screaming that she hates him and for him to "GET OUT!!", despite being beaten while doing so. Just when he goes to attack again, the police bust in and capture him.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: When Dr. Marcoh finally decides to go face to face with his tormentor Envy, a Homunculus full of Philosopher's Stones, and shows why it's a bad idea to screw with a guy who made those stones for a living.
- Sora of Sukisho does this to Aizawa in the last episode, the guy who was responsible for torturing him and Sunao throughout their childhood, after being terrified of him for so long.
- In Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, Dewey undergoes a Heel-Face Turn, but it takes him a little while to shake his fear and servility towards his Big Bad ex-boss. Once he confronts his fear, it's on.
- In Fruits Basket, when Yuki tells Akito that he forgives him. Although Akito still gets mad and injures Yuki, it's obvious that Yuki doesn't fear him anymore, and since Akito controls the Zodiac through fear, it becomes clear that his power is waning.
- In the comic book Excalibur, Wolfsbane verbally confronts Reverend Craig, the abusive pastor who raised her and later tried to kill her when she was revealed as a mutant. She reduces him to tears by revealing that she knows he was her biological father and that her mother was a prostitute (with the implication that she could ruin him by making that information public).
- Later, in more recent comic books, Craig does turn out to be more dangerous. Then, so does Wolfsbane. She while utterly brainwashed, mind you, kills and EATS HIM.
- In Fray (a spinoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), our eponymous heroine breaks down and is unable to fight the first time she is confronted by the vampire that killed her brother. The second time, she just tosses aside her weapon and gets ready. Subverted when her sister crushes him with a car. And Fray comments she was about to get her ass kicked.
- During the Final Battle of Inner Demons, Apple Bloom realizes that the Darkness is feeding off of Twilight Sparkle's fear of it in order to grow strong enough to possess her again. Apple Bloom, who has been afraid of her destiny to fight the Darkness because she's meant to die during the fight, fights it anyway to protect Twilight and all of Equestria. Overcoming her fear helps Twilight overcome her own fears, and together they defeat the Darkness.
- Getting Back on Your Hooves: During their final Battle in the Center of the Mind, Checker Monarch takes on the form of an Ursa Major, knowing that Trixie is terrified of Ursas. However, after gaining some encouragement from her friends, Trixie is able to confront Checker, stating that while she may be afraid of Ursas, she's no longer afraid of her. Trixie then proceeds to kick Checker's ass.
- The Stars Will Aid Their Escape: Twilight and company ultimately feel this way about Herald/Nyarlathotep, who they're facing in his true form, as by this point, he's pretty much done everything he could to them, so they have nothing more to fear from him that they haven't already faced. This is unfortunate for Herald, who was banking on them being too afraid of him killing them to blast him point blank with the Elements.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- The 1980s all-star version of Alice in Wonderland has Alice shouting this at the Jabberwocky.
- In the backstory of the teacher in Pay It Forward. However, it ends badly for him as his own (abusive) father decides to hit him with a 4x4 when his back is turned and then set him on fire.
- At the end of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Nancy defeats Freddy for good when she turns her back on him, saying "You're nothing. You're shit." When Freddy tries to hurt her, he instead melts away into nothing, and the people he killed come back to life, implying that his power was dependent on his victims' fear of him. Then it turns out that Freddy's Not Quite Dead in a Diabolus Ex Machina ending.
- Parodied in the comedy-horror film House (the one from The Eighties, not the new film of the same name) when William Katt suddenly realizes that not being afraid of the villain will dispell all his power. Of course, when you're William Katt, nothing can scare you.
- At the end of Space Jam, the Monstars are being thoroughly berated by their boss, Mr. Swackhammer, for having lost the big basketball game that would've given him permanent control over the Looney Toons. When Michael asks the Monstars why they put up with this kind of abuse, the Monstars reply: "He's bigger..." *there is a pregnant pause, then the Monstars grin wickedly as they realize the truth of their situation* "...bigger than we used to be." They then stuff Mr. Swackhammer into a rocket and launch it, sending him back to Moron Mountain alone.
- James shouts this at the "rhino" in the film version of James and the Giant Peach.
- The movie version of Matilda: After a lifetime of living under The Trunchbull's thumb, Miss Honey finally stands up to her. "I am NOT seven years old anymore, Aunt Trunchbull!"
- In Drop Dead Fred, Lizzie Cronin is convinced to finally scream this at the mental representation of her domineering mother Polly.
- The heroine of Blood Simple has this confrontation with a dying Villain Protagonist she thinks is her husband.
: I'm not afraid of you, Marty. Visser
) Well ma'am, if I see him, I'll be sure to give him the message.
- Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer has a variation of this. The Surfer turns against his master, Galactus, and says "I no longer wish to serve you".
- Pulled by Josh in Insidious against the demonic old lady who had been stalking him and trying to take over his body since childhood. It doesn't work.
- In District 9, Wikus spends most of his time running from his former employers and Nigerian gang lords, who all want him dead. Then comes his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, which is interspersed by him yelling he's not afraid of them. This is an instance of this trope where he has not truly overcome his fear; he actually is afraid of them, and for good reason, but has simply become The Berserker at this point, and has an alien Mini-Mecha to help him.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort, who has just reclaimed a physical body, wants to duel Harry in the graveyard of Little Haggleton. As he calls out Harry, Harry, who is hiding behind a tombstone, is clearly afraid for his life. But, since he knows there is no way out, he basically swallows his fear and comes out to face off with his parents' killer. "Fine, have it your way." It is this courage that carries him through the rest of the series.
- Scream 3: In the beginning, Sidney is revealed to be living as a recluse, convinced it is the only way to stay safe from psychotic killers from coming after her, and killing those around her. She lives in the middle of nowhere, locks and sets an alarm on her gate before locking and setting the alarm for her house. In the end she leaves her gate open behind her, and doesn't set the alarm for her house. When the wind blows the door open, she looks at it and walks away.
- The Hangover: In the first film of the trilogy, Stu is in a relationship with a shrill, controlling woman named Melissa. Despite the fact that Melissa mistreats Stu constantly and has even cheated on him, Stu makes excuses for her behavior and defends her when his friends point out how badly she treats him. At the end of the film, Stu finally decides that he's had enough and berates Melissa in front of an entire wedding party before dumping him.
- Kethry in Mercedes Lackey's Vows and Honor series was forced into marriage as a child and raped by a rather unpleasant guy, who left her emotionally scarred, but years later winds up being captured again by him once she's gone and become an extremely powerful sorceress. When he comes to see her and torment her again she realizes just how pathetic he is and ends up scaring the bejeezus out of him so that he runs away from her.
- Lale goes through this in her Final Battle in The Assassins of Tamurin
Glinda: Don't be afraid, Elphie.
Elphaba: I'm not afraid... It's the Wizard who should be afraid of me.
- At the end of Hogfather, Susan Sto Helit unleashes a Not Afraid of You Anymore speech on Jonathan Teatime as only a badass governess can.
- Subverted in the same book for Teatime's wizard associate, who gets all fired up to invoke this trope on the vision of his childhood bully: after all, he's a grown man now, so can surely scare off some pesky kid. Too late, he realizes that he himself has become a little boy again...
- From Sourcery: "I did not throw you far enough!"
- Rincewind has a similar mental confrontation with the Great Spell inside his head in The Light Fantastic, lambasting it for ruining his life and then being too scared to help him against Trymon in the end.
- Also in The Truth, William De Worde has a brilliant moment of this with his father, after saying "Men like my father are bullies and they're the worst kind because they aren't cowards and if you stand up to them they only hit you harder." Granted William had a vampire for backup, but he didn't know that.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunts Ghosts novel Only In Death, Larkin is haunted by apparitions of the (dead) psychopathic killer Cuu. At the end, he defies him and declares he is joining the real Ghosts to die with them. The apparition vanishes.
- Invoked and then Subverted in the Everworld series. The witch Senna asks her half-sister if she's afraid of her. April, who the narrative makes clear is very much afraid, attempts to tell her the words of this trope. Senna's response is to use her powers to open the gateway between Everworld and the Old World, and then shove her sister's head through it.
Senna: "So much for 'maybe.' "
- In A Game of Thrones, Daenerys comes to realize that her unstable, abusive older brother Viserys is truly a weak coward who no longer has the power to hurt her.
He was a pitiful thing. He had always been a pitiful thing. Why had she never seen that before? There was a hollow place inside her where her fear had been.
- In Warcraft: Lord of the Clans, Thrall experiences this when he confronts Blackmore, his abusive foster father. He reflects on how he had been afraid of him and worshiped him, when in the end he was only a miserable wreck.
- In Uprising, Kerrigan confronts Rumm, the officer who had abused her for a decade. She escapes captivity and deep fries his brain with her powers giving him a long overdue Karmic Death
- For the early books of The Wheel of Time, Rand is haunted by and in mortal fear of his Evil Counterpart Ishamael. In the last book of the series, Rand confronts Moridin- Ishamael in a new body- once again, this time after an epiphany that set him on the right path to fulfilling his destiny. Rand realizes that he and Moridin both stared into the abyss, but Moridin fell into nihilism and madness where Rand managed to overcome it. Seeing his enemy at last for what he truly is- a hollow shell of a man who would destroy himself and take reality with him rather than face the prospect of existing any longer- Rand expresses his amazement that he ever feared him, and tells Moridin that he's nothing more than an obstacle between Rand and the Dark One.
- In The Twilight Zone episode "A Piano in the House", a man buys a player piano with an unusual quality: when loaded with the correct music, it causes a person listening to it to express their true emotions and personality. He uses it to expose the personality flaws of his dinner guests so he can cruelly mock them. However, the piano eventually reveals his inner nature to be immature and frightened of other people, which causes him to be malicious and hateful. When the others learn this, they feel pity for him.
- Mitchell And Webb's green clarinet. "Well I have a red tuba that makes you shit yourself."
- Shortly after the 2008 election, Chris Wallace was interviewed on The Daily Show and gave Jon Stewart a cookie as a gift from Karl Rove, with a strong implication that it was poisoned (Rove had told Wallace specifically which cookie out of the batch to pass on to him). The Studio Audience, smelling a rat, began yelling for Jon not to eat it.
Jon Stewart: Let me tell you why I'll eat it: Karl Rove can't hurt me anymore. [eats cookie]
- He also said the same thing about Al Qaeda after Osama Bin Laden's death in 2011.
Jon: Al Qaeda's opportunity is gone. For the last 10 years, Al Qaeda had the world's attention. They apparently wanted an ideology competition, and for all of our rights and wrongs, and the world's rights and wrongs, all Al Qaeda seems to have come up with is, "Uh, all right, we'll kill some Americans. How about killing some British people? Uh, maybe bombing Yemen or something. Shoe bomb doesn't work? How about an underwear bomb?" They have nothing. Can they still do damage? I'm sure. But we're back, baby.
- The powerfully telekinetic girl in Angel broke down when confronted with her abusive father, but she then managed to overcome her fear and throw him out a window and catch him a few feet from the pavement.
- In an early season one episode, Angel is sent to help a woman who has been stalked, for months, by an obsessive doctor who has found a metaphysical way of pulling his body parts so they can move around, under his control, even when they aren't attached to his body. In the climax, this woman, previously nervous and fearful as a result of paranoia, finally stands up to the man, realising that his stalking makes him feel better about himself and helps him gratify his own lack of self-worth. He loses his edge as a result and is defeated by a newly arrived Angel.
- In the season one Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Nightmares, the Scoobies (and the rest of Sunnydale) have to deal with their worst nightmares being made manifest. Xander finds himself being chased by a Monster Clown. Then Xander stops, pivots, and slugs the Clown in the chops, laying him out flat. He's the only one of the Scoobies to effectively face his fears in this episode, although Buffy is able to harness her fear (being turned into a Vampire) to take down the villain of the episode.
- In season five of LOST, Locke ominously tells Ben that he's not afraid of anything Ben can do anymore. This is a clue that it's not really Locke.
- In the old Buck Rogers TV series, there was a sorcerer/rabble rouser, played by Jack Palance(!), who could strike anyone dead with a magical touch...but only if that person believed in and feared his power. Buck Rogers figures this out and destroys his power by publically demonstrating that it is hollow.
- In the fifth episode of the first series of Being Human, Annie gives an incredible Not Afraid of You Anymore speech to her fiancee/murderer Owen, in which she confronts him over her murder, then tells him the Secret Only The Dead Know, causing him to Go Mad from the Revelation.
- In the episode "Profiler, Profiled" on Criminal Minds, Derek Morgan has a scene at the end where he tells off the UnSub Carl Buford, the man who raped him repeatedly when he was young in what is essentially just one big moment of this. Eventually, the UnSub gets so desperate that he unintentionally reveals his crimes to the police, exposing himself as the monster he truly is. As he gets taken away, Derek tells him to go to hell while the UnSub can only beg desperately.
- Done a few times in EastEnders with Domestic Abuser storylines:
- Little Mo against Trevor. After a prolonged abusive relationship, Little Mo finally snaps and attacks him with an iron. When he later attempts to kill them both in fire, she stands up against him and manages to escape while he burns.
- Subverted in the Supernatural episode On the Head of a Pin. Dean is forced to confront the demon, Alistair, who tortured him in Hell. Despite the fact that Alistair is chained up and Dean is fully armed, Alistair manipulates Dean, messes with his head, and eventually gets loose and beats the crap out of him.
- Horatio Hornblower, "Retribution": Midshipman Wellard was abused by paranoid captain Sawyer who thought Wellard conspired against him and had him beaten up constantly to confess to imaginary mutiny. When Sawyer's later confined in his cabin, completely mad and dosed with laudanum, Wellard stands up to him. Their ship is taken, and Wellard feels desperate about their court-martial and probable charges of mutiny. He claims he wants to help his lieutenants because either Kennedy, Hornblower or him could be accused of causing captain's accident. His idea is to shoot him, but he cannot do it as Sawyer reached the Alas, Poor Villain point and then had a rare moment of sane mind. Nevertheless, Wellard tells him that he's not his whipping boy now, and when he gets slapped, he tells him he's no man for striking him. Sawyer admits that Wellard's brave. Moments later, they stand united against their enemy.
- In the final episode of Power Rangers Zeo, Rita tells Mondo she and Zedd didn't fear him any longer. And yet, Zedd pretended otherwise to trick the Machine Empire.
- Ariel in Drowtales winds up confronting Syphile, the woman who (badly) raised her, and after Syphile tries to kill her Ariel turns on her, shouts the trope name, and uses Syphile's own weapon against her. But she still needs her butt saved in the end as Syphile decides to taint her.
- A silent variation occurs in El Goonish Shive during a dream sequence, when Grace sees her second alien side, which initially snarls at her, and Grace simply reaches out and hugs it, representing her acceptance of that part of herself.
- Attempted in Venus Envy by Zoe against the personification of her fears, but since she hasn't completely gotten over them yet it doesn't work.
- In a recent arc in T. Campbell's Fans!, Ally demonstrated that she no longer feared Keith Feddyg by saying the last three words that he wanted to hear from her; "I forgive you."
- In the final arc of Dominic Deegan, Dominic expresses amazement that he ever feared the Beast. It wasn't nearly as scary once he knew its true ultimately pathetic nature. In the author's own words, knowledge of the Beast diminished it.