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Fighting from the Inside

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Seriously, Superman is the last person you should try to take control of.

"I keep the wolf from the door
But he calls me up
Calls me on the phone
Tells me all the ways that he's gonna mess me up
Steal all my children if I don't pay the ransom
And I'll never see them again if I squeal to the cops"
Radiohead, "A Wolf At The Door" — Hail to the Thief.

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 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:


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, often with a Theme Music Power-Up to make it clear that the hero is truly back to normal.

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. Not unusual for the Reluctant Psycho.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess:
    • In both the manga and the '05 anime, 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. She's that badass.
  • Played comically in Ayakashi Triangle: Matsuri is forced to exorcise a spirit possessing Suzu via Magic Kiss. This wouldn't be strong enough by itself, but Matsuri unknowingly breaks Suzu from her Lotus-Eater Machine and gets her to add a needed push—not because of the seriousness of the situation, but because Suzu really wanted to kiss Matsuri.
    Suzu: I heard Matsuri's voice. I can tell what's happening now. We're in the middle of a kiss. This is my body, so please Get Out!! Now!
  • Akihito matches this trope a few times in Beyond the Boundary when his youmu half tries to break free. Unfortunately for him (and Hiroomi at one point), it's usually a losing battle.
  • 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.
  • Aki does this in Ceres, Celestial Legend at at least one point after he gets possessed by Mikagi.
  • 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.
  • 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 Word of God, the reason she was fighting back was because the command went against her morals, same with Nunnally.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In Dragon Ball Z, 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. Double Subverted when Babidi tries to make him kill the Supreme Kai, but Vegeta overthrows his control to focus on his own agenda, fighting Goku.
    • In Dragon Ball GT, Super 17 reveals the weakness that ultimately leads to his downfall due to the original 17 influencing him from within.
  • 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.
  • 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, he ocasionally emerges and even regains control of his body for an amount of time. He takes advantage of Greed's returning memories and gives Ed information on the gate. However, Greed starts fighting him back and he is soon overcome. The two actually become friends throughout the course of the series.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hayate at the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. 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.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto, when overcomed 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 Possession Jutsu.
  • One Piece:
    • Miss Goldenweek hypnotises Luffy to be completely calm and not act to save his friends. After said friends are completely encased in wax, Luffy is still unable to move but is visibly furious as he angrily grits out "this is some damn good tea" repeatedly.
    • The zombie Cindry no longer has the mind or soul of the original and is completely subservient to Doctor Hogback. However, Chopper's calls to Cindry to remember her family and life seem to awaken the body's own memories and feelings as the long-dead heart begins beating. The zombie finds itself paralyzed and begins crying, and is destroyed by Oars while giving Chopper a smile like the original Cindry.
  • Rebuild World: After Tiol gets monster Nanomachines and the accompanying software put into him as a result of Mad Scientist Yatsubiyashi's experiments, he seems to be little more than a monster himself. But when the Artificial Intelligence in charge of the Kuzusuhara ruins Tsubaki hacks him, he regains some measure of agency, which is followed by him catching sight of his love Sheryl, which makes him snap back into full consciousness, albeit with damaged memory and struggling to retain his humanity against the software. While Tiol's been given Restraining Bolt programming limiting him, through The Power of Hate against Akira (being a Green-Eyed Monster over Sheryl), he can break through those limitations. Which actually makes him more useful to Tsubaki, since that programming kept him from building fliers and other things as a Mook Maker.
  • Sailor Moon:
  • 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. Shun's possible return was later demonstrated by the hair turning from black to red, meaning his soul wasn't destroyed.
  • Happens in the first big battle in Slayers
  • 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're 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.
  • 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.
  • Enjin of Yozakura Quartet says that Gin is doing this.
  • This happens a lot in Yu-Gi-Oh! when a protagonist is possessed or brainwashed, though normally downplayed in the 4kids dub. Some examples:
    • 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!?
    • In the anime, Bandit Keith was affected by Millennium Rod's spell (this was not in the manga). The spell was partially broken when Dark Bakura used his millennium ring to disrupt it; Keith was semi-freed but was driven somewhat insane, as Marik was still present in his mind. He wound up almost killing himself and Yugi in a 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 and managed to fight his control multiple times, until finally breaking free completely. Thus far, he is the only one shown to have 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.
    • The final duel with Zarc. It takes the combined efforts of Edo, Sora, Shun, Kaito, Jack, Gongenzaka, Crow, Sawatari, Leo Akaba, Reiji and Reira/Ray/Yuzu, to get Yuya to break out from Zarc's influence. It is assumed that Yuto, Yugo and Yuri were doing this as well
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Joey fights from within when possessed by the Blade of Chaos. It takes some work, but he manages to restrain himself long enough to be rescued and tops it off by freeing a Red-Eyes Black Dragon from the same sword.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: In "Hush", Superman ends up under Poison Ivy's mind control. Batman, having been under the influence of it once himself, noted that while Ivy's manipulating you to do what she wants, your mind is completely aware of what's going on and trying to fight it. He notes that Superman, despite having been sent to fight him, still appears to be holding back. He and Catwoman are able to snap Superman out of it by kidnapping Lois and putting her in danger, knowing that no amount of mind control would stop him from trying to save her.
  • Blackest Night:
    • When several heroes become Black Lanterns, 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.
    • Green Arrow is one of the few non-lanterns who has ever been able to use a power ring. He only managed to do it once, firing a single green light arrow at Sinestro and that nearly broke his arm, but there was indeed precedent in the Green Lantern comics for this twist to make sense.
    • The possessed Superboy/ Conner Kent was able to play a Batman Gambit to stop his Black Lantern body, using some few moments of self-control to summon Krypto and leave hints to Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) about his plan, taking advantage on the existence of another version of his body thanks to Time Travel. And it worked.
  • An early 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.
  • In the first issue of Black Magick, Detective Rowan Black finds herself under threat by a man who she realizes has been compelled by a magic spell to kill her. While holding her at gunpoint, the man begs for her to help him. She cannot undo the spell, so she has to kill him when he tries to kill her.
  • Marvel UK's cyborg Death Metal is a Mind Hive in a body that's made from a tainted magical metal, leaving him subject to Artifact Domination. One assimilated personality, the heroic warrior Argon, fights back (and even reshapes his appearance) when Death Metal finds himself slipping into evil again. Which is exactly why Argon's manipulative father arranged for him to be killed and assimilated.
  • Bruce Banner does it — and has done it — every single time he becomes the Hulk. If he didn't, the Hulk's anger would be completely unrestrained and he'd be far more dangerous than he ever was before.
  • Superman:
    • In All-Star Superman, Superman fights the black Kryptonite corruption, describing his symptoms and asking Jimmy Olsen for help.
    • In Two for the Death of One, Superman is split into two duplicate "twins", with each having different powers. Satanis, who has taken over the body of the invulnerable Superman, is about to kill the super-strong duplicate, when the Superman whom he has possessed starts fighting him actively. Seeing he cannot use his full power while Superman is resisting him and turning his own spells against him, Satanis leaves his body.
      Satanis: "What? The half of Superman, the one I have possessed— cries out? It's fighting me, resisting me! I won't allow it!"
      Superman: You... cannot stop me! There past... days... I... have been claiming more control..."
    • In Death & the Family, Supergirl tries to fight the spirits of the McDougal Clan who have taken over their body. When Inspector Henderson manages to hurt them by harming their clan's relic, Kara manages to expel them out.
      Supergirl: "This— is— my BODY!"
    • In Strangers at the Heart's Core, Supergirl has been possessed and expelled out from her body by her old enemy Lesla-Lar. When Lesla gets distracted, though, Supergirl manages to slip back into her body and drive Lesla out.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Inazuma spends months fighting from the inside against Jei's possession. Sadly, she only succeeds after she's already been mortally wounded.
  • Wolverines: Inverted with Shogun, who is made up of two distinct personalities sharing one body: A former Delta soldier named Sharp, and the evil demon ninja Ogun. Sharp is actually more of an antihero with shades of The Atoner, while Ogun is a far more malevolent and constantly fights him for control, with shades of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork when it's in their best interests. Which personality is in control is hinted at by their speech bubbles: Sharp's are the standard fare, however Ogun's are solid black with red text. As Ogun was weakened following an encounter with Wolverine when he possessed Sharp's body, the strength of his influence is directly related to the body's condition; as the body — and Sharp with it — nears death, Ogun becomes stronger.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Steve Trevor manages to fight off Hypnota's mind control though it leaves him a bit dazed, and Diana manages to trick Hypnota into thinking she's done the same which prevents the villain from realizing that Diana can shrug off her powers due to her own telepathy.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Deimos finds out quickly that taking possession of The Joker might not have been the best idea he'd ever had, and Wonder Woman and Batman's plan to defeat Deimos is centered on the fact that they know the Joker is going to win the fight for control of his own mind once they realize he's fighting the god instead of in cahoots with him.

    Fan Works 
  • In Somebody That I Used To Know, a non-possession variety of this happens after Matt Engarde vanishes near the beginning of the story, and reappears a month later with a drastically altered personality and a badly healed scar over his left eye. From then on, Juan gets glimpses of Matt's old personality...often crying and begging Juan to stay with him, sometimes fearfully trying to warn Juan about something new Matt is going to do or has done...but it's never long before his new, sociopathic personality takes over again. Heartbreakingly enough, the new personality seems to have entirely won out by the end...
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: The Grey Goo can control Shar's body and powers to some extent after infesting her, but she resists just enough to summon all the nanobots to her before suicide-nuking herself.
  • Senki Zesshou Symphogear: WXD Unlimited: Strangely, Annette Hebert somehow survived having her consciousness from being completely subsumed by Fine, causing Fine to have to fight off attempts from her to regain control of their body. Though Fine did eventually win the fight for control, Annette still subconsciously influences Fine's actions at times.
  • Most of The Very Secret Diary is Ginny doing this to Tom Riddle.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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 led to their destruction by their programming, he is able to resist for a limited time, but is ultimately destroyed.
  • In Turning Red, the struggle to seperate from the red panda spirit is viewed as this from the perspective of Mei's female relatives during her red moon ritual in the temple.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
    • Hawkeye under mind control 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.
  • In The Dead Center, John Doe is catatonic for most his time in the psych ward, because the demon is slowly taking over his body. In the brief moments he's lucid, he's fully aware of what's happening and flat out tells Dr. Forrester to kill him before it's too late.
  • 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 Get Out (2017) when Chris talks to Georgina, the Armitage's African-American housekeeper, she tries to have a civil conversation with him, while trying to fight back tears. Later, right as Chris is packing up to head back home from a weekend in Rose's parents' home, Georgina laves a box full of pictures of several missing young black people, including her own picture. Which implies that Grandma Armitage's brain is having a lot trouble keeping "Georgina's" consciousness in "the Sunken Place".
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: The Baroness was apparently the only person to ever fight off the nanomites' brainwashing at all.
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: After being hijacked by the Capitol, Peeta's real self struggles to show through.
    "How do you think this will end? What will be left? No one is safe. Not in the Capitol. Not in the districts. And you... In Thirteen... Dead by morning!"
  • The Man with Two Faces: Stanley Vance has hypnotized his ex-wife Jessica into being his hypnotic slave. When Jessica is talking to her new boyfriend Ben on Stanley's orders, she snaps out of the trance, calling him "Ben, darling" as her face comes alive. But somehow Stanley's control reasserts itself as she turns away and says "No, I mustn't" in her former dazed tone.
  • In the climax of The Nutty Professor (1996), Sherman Klump is fighting a Split-Personality Takeover with his thin alter ego, Buddy Love, who gained autonomy as a part of his mind. The most notable sign is that parts Sherman has control of bloat up with the repressed fat from within their shared body, including his jaw and neck when he talks.
    Buddy: Give it up, fat boy! It's OVER!
    (jaw bloats)
    Sherman: It ain't over 'til the fat professor sings!
  • In Patchwork, protagonists Jennifer, Ellie and Madeline are combined together into a single body by a deranged doctor, able to communicate in their minds but physically stuck together in the outer world. Once Jennifer and Ellie learn that Madeline was responsible for the original operation, they start to fight with Madeline in their mind, which from the outside looks like their merged body is just hitting itself.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens: Rey fights off Kylo Ren's mental probing while captive on Starkiller Base. She defends her mind so well that she ends up bull-rushing into his mind.
  • In Upgrade, Grey visibly wrestles control of his body away from STEM when STEM is trying to kill officer Cortez, because she's done nothing wrong as far as he's concerned, unlike the people working for Keen.

  • Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg: Klaus was wasped in the previous book, and now one copy of Lucrezia is close enough to give him orders. He shouldn't be able to fight back even subconsciously, but he is somehow managing it. He gives intentionally imperfect orders, carefully ignores when Boris begins noticing something is wrong, and Gil notes that his body language is oddly arrogant.
  • 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.
    • Jake is finally convinced that his brother is a Controller after Temrash is telling Jake how wonderful the Sharing is, and then Tom breaks through just for a second with a facial twitch as if he's trying to shake his head.
    • 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.
    • Jake in The Capture discovers that he has "the power of annoyance" and talks 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 him 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.
  • Artemis Fowl: In Book 6, The Time Paradox, 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 Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Lone Star discusses how they learned to resist telepaths; when asking how, then, can Shade control Dr. Photon, he explains that he is resisting, as witness she has to be physically present to keep him in line.
  • 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.
  • 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 insulting a friend, humiliating a supercilious shop assistant and, more importantly, murdering a teaching witch (luckily, said witch has two bodies). It also forces her to steal money from an old man who trusts her.
  • 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 Dresden Files eighth book Proven Guilty Harry Dresden and his allies are breaching the main castle of Queen Mab, Winter Queen and one of the most dangerous powers in the world, to save someone who was captured. There, in Mab's courtyard they find ice sculptors of various figures and beings. One of whom is the Leanansidhe, aka Lea, who is also Harry's Fairy Godmother. When part of the ice encasing her is melted, she speaks with Harry and is quite calm about the situation. When she starts to ask Harry to release her further, she changes and in a quiet voice tells Harry to not release her. Then she starts to get angry and demands to be released. Harry decides to not release her and watches as the ice covers her once more.
  • 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.
  • Regan in The Exorcist gets in a bit of this with her "help me" message. It's not clear whether she does this through her own strength of will or whether Pazuzu lets her, since he wants the exorcism — a grudge match smackdown with Fr. Merrin.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Imperius Curse 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 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.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: In the Mage Winds trilogy, 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 Host (2008) 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 third book of The Hunger Games trilogy Peeta deals with a fair amount of this after being hijacked during his time imprisoned by the Capitol.
  • 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.
  • In The Man with the Golden Gun, a brainwashed James Bond, armed with a cyanide squirt-gun, is tasked with killing M. He fights against the conditioning to the bitter end, but it proves too strong, and he actually goes through with it. If M hadn't had a hidden pane of Armourplate glass in his office, he would have been a goner. It's one of Ian Fleming's best chapters, and he carries across Bond's anguish superbly.
  • The Maze Runner Trilogy:
    • At the end of The Maze Runner, after they escape the Maze, Gally (who had disappeared quite some time before) ends up shooting Chuck. In The Death Cure, it’s revealed that it was all a trial created by WICKED, which had been controlling both Gally and Chuck the entire time. Gally had considered Chuck like a brother to him, and ended up going at least partially insane from grief after the fact.
    • In The Death Cure, Newt is infected with the Flare; due to having been mentally overstimulated by all of the tests over the preceding few years, the disease’s progression speeds up to the point where he’s teetering on the edge of the Gone by five days. While he tries to fight the symptoms (aggression, paranoia, sudden violence) as the disease progresses in an effort to keep his friends safe, he eventually succumbs, and Thomas has to Mercy Kill him.
  • 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.
  • 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 possession of her own body.
  • 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).
  • 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 impossibility. 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 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.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplight's Prospero in Hell, the demonically possessed Theo manages to seize control of his own voice for a moment.
  • In Rachel Griffin, people under a geas usually know they are being compelled, and can fight back.
  • 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.
  • 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 impending 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.
  • The Space Trilogy: Weston shows signs of this after being possessed by Satan himself in 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.
  • In The Spirit Thief, once the Master forces Nico to undergo her transformation into a demon-form, she resists his influence and eventually manages to bury her link to him deep inside her mind and regain control.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars Legends: 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.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Words of Radiance: When Eshonai gets possessed by a Voidspren, the resulting Voidbringer works hard to get the rest of her people possessed and bring destruction to the world. However, she occasionally does counterproductive things that imply the real Eshonai is influencing her actions. At one point, there is a large group of civilians who refuse to take part in the transformation that will unknowingly turn them into Voidbringers. Eshonai puts one of her best friends in charge, and her Voidbringer self thinks that this will make them all easier to eliminate later. Instead, her friend immediately leads the civilians to escape, and Eshonai refuses to "waste resources" hunting them down.
  • 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.
  • The Traitor Son Cycle has an odd villain vs. villain example — after Thorn gets possessed by Ash, who's influencing his thinking more and more, he resists by communicating his real thoughts and opinions to his allies by writing in the sand with his walking stick.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • In the 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.
    • In the 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.
  • In the Warrior Cats book The Place of No Stars, Ashfur mind-controls Squirrelflight's mate Bramblestar into attacking her. As he does so, Bramblestar tries his best to resist Ashfur; at one point, Ashfur even ''shouts' at Bramblestar out of frustration of how hard it is to control him.
  • The Wheel of Time: 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 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Charmed (1998): 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.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "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 its influence and say "I am so scared" is pretty horrifying.
    • "Midnight": The Doctor gets possessed again (in the same incarnation), this time by an Unseen 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.
    • "Nightmare in Silver": The Eleventh Doctor is possessed by the Cyber-Planner calling itself "Mr. Clever". They end up stalemated and play chess for the tie-breaking 2% of his brain.
    • "Resolution": Archaeologist Lin gives this her best shot upon being used as a Meat Puppet by a Dalek recon scout. Unfortunately, she has little success after some early resistance, until she takes advantage of its growing weakness after forcing her to build it some Improvised Armour to try and escape its control. It's not clear whether she succeeded in driving it off by herself, or if it left her willingly after its armour was ready.
  • 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.
  • Subverted in Season 5 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' mind and teams up with his soul in order to defeat Dahak once and for all.
  • 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.
  • Kamen Rider Build: The Big Bad Evolto is revealed to be an alien capable of possessing people, like what he did to Soichi Isurugi (who has been his host since 10 years prior to the series's events) and Ryuga Banjo. The former gains control of his body briefly at one point, but is mostly unable to fight back. The latter in the finale manages to fight back to the point Evolto must eject his mind from his body.
  • Parodied in a Key & Peele sketch: Two old ladies, Georgina and Esther, are at a church service when Georgina is suddenly possessed by Satan. She whoops his ass from the inside, instead. Her soul's so strong that she manhandles poor Satan while he's inside. Esther gets possessed to join in on the fun. The Devil begs for mercy and even swears to become Christian, but the old dames tell him it's too late for that as they drag him out of the church...
  • Once Upon a Time shows Killian Jones/Hook talking to Emma whilst being possessed (through heart control) by Rumpelstiltskin. Whilst he shrugs off her concerns that something is wrong, he grips her hand extremely tightly before he walks away, whilst noticeably welling up.
  • In Sanctuary Ashley's eyes change color to indicate when she has broken through the mind control. This finally indicates a Dying as Yourself.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Season 2 of Stranger Things when Will is possessed by the Mind Flayer, he taps out messages in Morse code to his friends to give them hints about how to defeat the monster.
  • Supernatural being a show that uses demonic possession a lot, this trope crops up now and then.
    • In the Season 1 finale "Devil's Trap", John resists possession and gives his son a chance to kill YED.
    • In Season 5, 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, wrestling control back long enough to throw himself and Lucifer into the Cage, saving the world at the end of Season 5.
    • Castiel takes a turn in Season 8, when he's been programmed by Naomi to kill Dean. He's able to talk to her throughout, and begs her to spare Dean, but she insists on Dean's death. Since he's fighting tooth and nail to keep from actually killing his friend, he just ends up throwing punches over and over instead of doing anything immediately lethal. He finally breaks free of the control and heals Dean, apologizing.
    • Again in Season 9, Sam casts Gadreel out of his body via a mental beatdown between the two. It then ends with Gadreel being pinned to the ground by his neck, as Sam stands over him.
      Sam: I said... Get. The hell. Out!
    • Castiel again in Season 11, when he's been cursed by a witch to kill pretty much anyone he sees. He has to fight for lucidity to avoid hurting people, and doesn't always succeed.
  • Super Sentai: It's common for a plotline with demonic possession to have this happen.
    • Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger: Shirogane/GaoSilver spent time as Rouki, a brutal and cruel Duke Org who sought to destroy the Gaoranger in revenge for their predecessors sealing him away thousands of years ago; all after Shirogane was corrupted by the Wolf Mask hosting the Thousand-Year Evil Spirit. He would fight back against the possession constantly to avoid killing the Gaorangers before he was finally freed.
    • Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger:
      • After taking back and getting consumed by the Dark Armor in episode 32, Asuka does their best to fight off its influence on them despite it causing them to lose control and attack everything on sight.
      • When Lijewel is damn near taken over by Dezumozorlya, they do their best to fight off its influence and prevent themselves from killing Mikoto.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Infinitor's villain fights in Sentinels of the Multiverse both feature him struggling to resist his OblivAeon-driven madness. In his base form, if he has too many Manifestations out, he flips and starts destroyingthem; his art shows him having straitjacketed himself. His second, Heroic Infinitor, even starts with him on the edge of sort-of winning...although that will, of course, depend on how the fight goes.
    • Canonically, he wins the fight. He then proceeds to die saving Captain Cosmic, his nemesis and brother, in a pretty epic Heroic Sacrifice.
  • 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 wreak some revenge on the Chaos forces.

  • The musical adaptation of Jekyll & Hyde has the title character doing lots of this, most notably with the song "Confrontation".
  • In Noah Smith's stage version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde apparently takes over completely during the climactic confrontation with Jekyll's friends, but then Jekyll starts fighting back when Hyde threatens Utterson, wrestling back control of one arm and using it to inject himself/Hyde with the formula Hyde was going to use on Utterson.


    Video Games 
  • Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django has Ringo, who has been vampirized and possessed by the immortal Black Dainn, and combines this with Taking You with Me to help destroy him. All the other vampires and immortals show a superimposed image of them screaming in agony when being destroyed by the Piledriver, the only means of killing them permanently, while during Ringo's sequence you instead see Ringo holding Dainn in a headlock so he can't escape.
  • Borderlands 2: Krieg 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 Ax-Crazy Krieg 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 Krieg 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 Krieg 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 possibly a return to sanity in the future.
  • Conviction (SRPG): Emperor Abyss is the boss of chapter 12A, but it's possible to weaken his defenses by getting Jing near him, causing him to hesitate in fighting his own daughter. Whether or not this event is triggered, he'll teleport away and return to being fully under the Dark Elf's influence afterwards. Sadly, by chapter 20A, Abyss is completely consumed by the Dark Elf, who begins speaking through his body.
  • 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."
    • Hawke, if a Mage, confronts Idunna about the disappearance of two Templars when she is revealed to be a Blood Mage and holds Hawke under the influence of Blood Magic, she forces them to slit their throat with a knife. Just before doing so, they resist, stating that they "Will not be toyed with" then breaks the influence, much to Idunna's shock.
  • 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 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.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has this happen at the end of the 3.3 story with Estinein, the Azure Dragoon who got possessed by his and his nation's greatest enemy, Nidhogg. Once the Warrior of Light defeats Nidhogg, the defiant dragon still tries to attack by using his spear, only for Estinien to regain control of his own body and force himself to drop the spear while choking himself. He then begs the Warrior of Light and Alphinaud to kill him so that Nidhogg would die with him. Instead, the two of them rip out Nidhogg's eyes that are fused to Estinien's armor and by doing so, the dragon's spirit is exorcised and is finally killed. Estinein survives.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening has an example in the "Future Past" DLC, which revolves around a Bad Future in which the player character was possessed by the Big Bad. The Avatar in this timeline is still resisting as best they can, by sending Chrom's party back to their home timeline for fear of killing him again, or begging the survivors of that timeline to Mercy Kill them. In the DLC's climax, they're able to retake control of their body long enough for Lucina to strike home with the Exalted Falchion to slay the possessed Avatar once and for allyou can even see the Avatar's map sprite turn green, the color for an allied unit.
  • 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.
  • You can see this happen with Lynne and the justice minister in Ghost Trick when they are controlled by Yomiel.
  • 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 Hollow Knight, when fighting the titular boss after being pushed below a certain health threshold, the music suddenly turns somber and it begins to repeatedly and brutally stab itself in the abdomen trying to destroy the infection controlling it before succumbing again. It continues to regain control a couple more times in the fight and tries again every time, giving the Knight precious breathing room to heal or attack relentlessly as well. This all culminates in the Hollow Knight's shade appearing when The Radiance is defeated. Now free of its control, it rips The Radiance's face open, exposes its weak spot, and holds it open long enough for the Knight to shed its shell and finish it off by slashing it with its void tendrils.
  • In Just Shapes & Beats, one of the bosses is a character who has been established as sympathetic and a close friend of the protagonist, infected by The Corruption. The battle, fittingly set to the song Close To Me, revolves around the friend's attempts to break free — at the midpoint, they even seem to actually break out and try to crawl away, before being re-corrupted.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In the first game, Riku briefly holds back Ansem, and he gets kicked out of his body entirely for it.
    • The prequel, Birth by Sleep, has two cases of this. When Ventus and Vanitas (his Enemy Without) are reunited, they have a Battle in the Center of the Mind. When Master Xehanort possesses Terra (creating the character who later possesses Riku), Terra can help Aqua during the True Final Boss fight, and ends up causing Xehanort's near-total memory loss.
  • 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.
  • Averted in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Cole, being as 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 the remake of Live A Live, during the True Final Boss Oersted, locked within the Sin of Odio, begins to awaken and eventually is able to regain his sense of self enough to free himself and deliver the final blow.
  • 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.
  • In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, you can find the last testament of a Luminoth possessed by an Ing, a warrior who remains Defiant to the End.
    D-Isl's Testament: It is inside me. I feel it spreading, clawing at my will, tearing at my thoughts. It moves me against my will, to this cavern. Here it will end. I do not wish this, do not want my body to become a weapon for the Ing within me. It hates. It demands obedience. I will fight to the end. I shall self-terminate before I will be a pawn of a filthy Ing.
  • Mighty No. 9: Brandish is paranoid as he knows that he is infected, and he warns his brother Beck to stay away from him. He eventually falls under the virus' control from the shoulders down during his boss fight, prompting him to ask Beck to destroy him. Fortunately, Beck helps Brandish revert back to his normal self.
  • 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.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Princess Peach does this when she's possessed by the 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.
  • Psychonauts: The level of Lungfishopolis takes place inside the mind of Linda the lungfish, who has been brainwashed by Dr. Loboto and Coach Oleander to kidnap the children of Whispering Rock and transfer them to Thorney Towers. Inside her mind, amidst the lungfish who worship Kochamara (a mental implant of Coach Oleander designed to look like some kind of Ultraman-styled hero, don't ask) are a bunch of lungfish freedom fighters who want to destroy the broadcasting tower that's brainwashing all of the citizens. It's pretty clear that the freedom fighters symbolize the part of Linda's mind that isn't too happy about her brainwashing.
  • 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.
  • Radiant Arc: Seperus takes control of all six elemental spirits one last time and has them attack the party all at the same time. Fortunately, Terra manages to resist his influence long enough to trap herself, Taima, and Venilia on one side of an earth wall, allowing the party to fight only three at a time.
  • Resident Evil
    • This was added to the remake of Resident Evil 2 when you battle the mutated William Birkin for the first time. He clearly has two distinct voices and you'll occasionally hear his human self calling for help amid his monster self roaring and yelling for Sherry. This also gives you some free shots on him when he pauses to clutch his head and writhe around.
    • Brad Vickers in Resident Evil 3 (Remake) gets bitten by a zombie and later becomes a zombie when you encounter him as Carlos. Marvin kneecaps Brad and apologizes while Brad, in his zombified state, also apologizes. Brad's humanity immediately dies as his zombified form resurges and bites Marvin in the torso.
    • 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 cause 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 bloodstream, 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.
  • In Sacrifice the Firefist unit is a troll that's been brainwashed by the fire god Pyro. Their Stop Poking Me! dialogue has them start to overcome the conditioning with a triumphant chant of "Troll! Troll! Troll!".....and then start screaming for a while before brokenly giving the standard "clicked on" line. Seems Pyro knew what he was doing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 the neutral route final boss fight for Undertale, the 6 human souls used to make Omega Flowey offer help throughout the fight as your opponent gets more and more frantic, eventually mounting enough resistance to finish him off themselves.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • 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.
    • It seems like half the undead Scourge bosses in Wrath of the Lich King thank you for killing them, not counting the ones for whom it was a case of I Cannot Self-Terminate from the beginning in the other expansions.

  • Aurora: Erin fights back twice against the Void Dragon when he is possessed, first by warning Kendal to run away and later by paralyzing his body to immobilize the Dragon in a cave full of dangerous monsters.
  • When Ellen is possessed by the aberration Sirleck in the Sister 3 arc of El Goonish Shive, her built-in advantage of having been literally created by magic allows her to eventually overpower Sirleck and restrain him until Magus is in a condition to destroy him.
  • Happens to Garanos a couple times, and she does manage to purge her possessor eventually.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Agatha Heterodyne, 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.
    • After Klaus Wulfenbach is infested with a Slaver Wasp that forces him to obey The Other's commands, and her direct control over Agatha is temporarily suppressed, he immediately attempts to strangle her before The Other can command him again.
  • Implied in Gunnerkrigg Court with Jeanne, an ancient ghost driven by The Power of Hate to guard the Annan River against all trespassers. Nonetheless, she holds back on killing blows against Annie and Parley. Given how horrifically lethal she can be, Parley points out that Jeanne was holding back for some reason.
  • Legio Arcana
    • Jay in werewolf form seems to respond to Tim’s encouragement for him to regain control of his human mental faculties
    • Possessed by a demon, Nolan breaks through, pleads for the priest to continue with the exorcism, and completes a prayer.
  • In The Order of the Stick, when Durkon becomes a vampire, his actual soul/consciousness is a trapped observer of the machinations of the vampire spirit now controlling his body. When the vampire needs Durkon's memories, Durkon is able to use Exact Words and You Didn't Ask to stymie his efforts and ultimately overpower him.
  • Penny Arcade featured this with their feudal Japan Genre Shift, where a man possessed by his sword broke free long enough to drive a dagger into his eye. It kept him alive anyway.
  • 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!
  • The world of Stand Still, Stay Silent is ridden with a disease that is a death sentence for the majority of people and animals infected with it, but changes a small portion of its victims into horribly mutated zombies of sorts that attack anything that moves or makes noise in their vicinity (hence the Rule #1 from the title). Some of those seen up close have been seen calling for help or regaining awareness long enough to stop an attack or letting themselves get a Mercy Kill.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The episode "Flippy" involved Jimmy enhancing his dad Hugh's puppet Flippy with tech to improve his comedy act. Flippy soon develops sentience and begins draining Hugh's brainpower in order to use to automate his body. Once Jimmy and friends figured it out, Flippy bemoans that the only reason he hadn't achieved his goal yet was because Hugh had been fighting him the entire time over the course of at least a day.
  • Adventures of the 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...
  • 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 -– under the influence of Starfish Alien Starro. (In the episode itself, this can be inferred by how surprised he is when the rest of the League turns on him.)
  • 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.
  • Danny Phantom
    • 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.
    • It probably runs in the family, since his Bumbling Dad managed to throw off being overshadowed, despite not having any ghost powers, and on top of that, the overshadowing ghost in question was Vlad.
  • 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.
  • In Season 2 of Jackie Chan Adventures has Shendu possesing Valmont's body and the two argue regularly. One episode of Season 4 has Valmont at odds with an oni mask he puts on.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • In "Brain Invaders", Puppeteer Parasites take over the crew of a ship returning from a battle. In the climax, Barriss gets infected when she gets cornered by infected clones, leading to her and Ahsoka fighting. Ahsoka tries to snap her out of it while defending herself and trying to freeze over the ship to kill the parasites. As the temperature starts to freeze the both of them, an incapacitated Barriss briefly returns to normal to beg Ahsoka to Mercy Kill her, though the parasite takes over again and tries to attack Ahsoka, who we see from Barriss's perspective doing a Second-Person Attack, followed by characters discovering a frozen Ahsoka holding a frozen Barriss. It later turns out that the two of them are fine and Ahsoka is glad she didn't have to Mercy Kill Barriss and the others.
    • In the Grand Finale, Rex isn't able to completely resist the activation of Order 66, but is able to hold it back just long enough to warn Ahsoka of what's happening, give her a vital clue, and stop himself from shooting her dead right away. The Manly Tears he sheds while doing so make it clear that it's agonizing for him to do. Fortunately, Ahsoka is able to break the mind control by knocking him out and using a medical chamber to surgically remove the control chip in his head.
  • 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.
  • In the Totally Spies! episodes "Silicon Valley 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.
  • 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.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: in the episode "The Last Temptation of Raimundo" Rai is slowly being possessed by animated Shen Gong Wu. Throughout the episode, 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.
  • Young Justice (2010):The scarab fights back against the Reach once it's put on-mode, by purposefully stalling and making poor tactical decisions.


Video Example(s):


Megatron is not easily forced.

Megatron has been doping himself with the blood of an evil god, but when said god attempts to force Megatron's body to do his bidding, Megatron fights his own body every literal step of the way.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / FightingFromTheInside

Media sources: