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Gollum Made Me Do It

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Arquímedes Puccio: We do not control our own actions. There is a dwarf inside all of us, who tells us to do things.
Priest: Do you repent of your actions?
Arquímedes Puccio: It was the dwarf.

A character has another personality to keep him company, but has a problem: the other personality isn't exactly a model citizen. However, he is... persuasive. More often than not he finds himself being bullied or coerced into following his darker half's advice, even if it's advice he wouldn't have followed normally. This is in contrast to the conventional Split Personality, where each exists without the knowledge of the other, though in this case this will still sometimes be true to an extent.

Of course, even if the character doesn't really have a Split Personality, making people think they do is a common opening gambit if they're planning to make an Insanity Defense (or just to get the hero to let his guard down). And if you're looking at a guy pleading with you to save him from his evil other half, how are you gonna tell the difference?

You'll usually find such a character Talking to Themself, sometimes pleading with himself, trying to convince, warn or downright resist his other half.

In terms of personality types, expect the evil half to be a dominant, forceful, assertive type, and the good half to be more moral and reluctant to hurt people, which the evil half will see as weak. Getting the weak half to reassert control usually requires it face the evil half by saying something along the lines of "I'm Not Afraid of You!"

Related to Enemy Within, and can lead to a Split-Personality Takeover or a Split-Personality Merge. See also Jekyll & Hyde. Can be invoked or exploited by a character with Never My Fault mentality.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Death Note: Light tries convincing L that if he was Kira, he wasn't doing it of his free will. L doesn't buy it for a second, but plays along and locks up Light anyway in order to try to gain evidence. Exactly as Light intended.
  • Allelujah and Hallelujah Haptism from Mobile Suit Gundam 00. The latter made the former blow up a building full of children who were being genetically modified to become Super Soldiers.
  • Pretty Sammy: Misao gets this after finding out that she is Dark Magical Girl Pixy Misa.
  • The titular character of Yotsuba&! tries to pull this off, after she's caught lying about breaking the dishes. "There's a lying bug inside me. It tells lies on its own. So I really am a good girl..."
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Bakura and the spirit of the ring ("Dark Bakura"). Said spirit has made his host lie, steal and commit murder, in a cruel fashion to boot. And Bakura is just blissfully oblivious to all this after the Monster World arc.
    • Yugi and Dark Yugi have shades of this, as Dark Yugi uses magic to rather cruelly punish villains early on without Yugi really being aware of it. Marik starts as a villain, but his other personality is significantly more psycho. Marik is also the only one of these characters whose alternate personality is actually a split personality and not an ancient Egyptian spirit.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • This is the relationship between Arnold Wesker/The Ventriloquist, though in the comics the Ventriloquist is much more violent and unstable than in adaptations. Scarface takes a gentler tone with second Ventriloquist Peyton Riley, who needs him to exact vengeance on her abusive gangster husband.
    • Harvey Dent/Two-Face is a classic example as well, though the schism between his two personae isn't as pronounced as Wesker's. Usually. In a climactic scene during the finale of No Man's Land, Two-Face has kidnapped James Gordon and put him on "trial" — and Jim escapes by asking Harvey Dent to be his defense counsel. Harvey/Two-Face then proceeds to argue with himself out loud for over a page's worth of dialogue, until he/they finally collapses under the mental strain.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Madman is an example of this. He tried to give himself powers like the Hulk. Since gamma radiation's ability to grant powers is based off of the person's personality (e.g. the Hulk represents Bruce Banner's anger and abuse as a child, Doc Samson's powers are a reflection of a desire to live up to his biblical namesake, the Abomination is formed from Emil Blonsky's self-loathing), the Powered form took on its own personality, making the original form his slave.
  • In his 2006 reboot, Moon Knight has to struggle with this. He's something of an antihero to begin with, and the image of Konshu that followed him around in his head was basically pushing him to leave a string of corpses in his wake.
  • Norman Osborn alias The Green Goblin (he was even taking meds recently). The thing is, by this point, Osborn is still an evil jerk even when he isn't the Goblin. During the 2000s, Norman's and the Goblin's personality somewhat fused. For instance, he's seen in his office taking calls while in costume or partially in costume. Even when the Goblin persona isn't in control, Norman knows he's the Goblin and doesn't give two shits. The end of Siege shows that the difference between Osborn and the Goblin is that while Norman is a bit of a Magnificent Bastard, the Goblin just cares about being as crazy and destructive as possible. This tends to mess up Norman's plans.
  • Ultimate Vision: Tarleton added Gah Lak Tus technology to his own body, to become a powerful cyborg, but became his agent instead, plotting to help him destroy the world. When Vision restored his sanity, he said that Gah Lak Tus was making him do all that, and became The Atoner (and he could still hear his voice, even if he ignored it now). Vision did not take much comfort in that: he had already proved to be a monster before messing with that tech.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Silver Age version of Priscilla Rich, the first Cheetah suffered from this. Priscilla was a young socialite who was also extremely jealous of Wonder Woman, and also suffered from a "Split Personality" that made her act out bizarre revenge schemes and dress as a Cheetah, whom she had full arguments with, usually involving a mirror.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde sometimes argue with each other. The dominant personality [usually Jekyll] can see the other personality's face in mirrors. The non-dominant personality (Hyde, at least) can also sense things normal humans can't - when the team are watching a recording sent by the Big Bad, Jekyll sees Hyde in a mirror screaming in pain and ordering him to "TURN IT OFF!" He doesn't get it, AND KABLOOIE!
  • The Lord of the Rings is an unusual case. The Film of the Book considerably expands on the split personality idea. At one point, Gollum/Sméagol nearly names the trope, claiming that the Precious made them do it.
  • Mr. Brooks' imaginary friend Marshall, a manifestation of his id that encourages him to repeatedly murder.
  • Primal Fear has meek, sweet Aaron, who's taken over by Roy when threatened. Or, at least, that's how it appears, right up until the last 5 minutes.
  • Psycho: Years before the events of the film, Norman Bates created a split personality of his late mother after killing her and her lover when he found them in bed. The "Mother" personality starts murdering young women who stay at his motel, while Norman hides the bodies. He's eventually discovered and committed to an asylum.
  • Session 9 has both this and Split Personality in regards to Mary and Gordon. In Mary's case, there are four personalities. Mary is the main personality, but a case of Split Personality, as she is unaware that there are others. But Billy, Princess and Simon are very aware of each other. And Simon is who talked Mary into brutally murdering her entire family. Simon is also the one who gets to Gordon and first makes him murder his wife, dog and newborn child, then slaughter all his co-workers.
  • The Spider-Man Trilogy has a recurring theme of characters committing crimes under some malicious influence. However, some of them are clearly more complicit than others:
    • In Spider-Man, Norman Osborn tries to blame his evil split personality, the Green Goblin, for his crimes once he's defeated by Peter. However, Norman had some dark tendencies even before taking the Psycho Serum that changes him into the Goblin, and while he doesn't remember his crimes at first, he willingly goes along with the Goblin's plans even after he figures out the truth. Peter clearly doesn't believe Norman's claims that he's completely innocent - with good reason, since it turns out that Norman was just distracting Peter to call up his glider and kill him from behind. It's only in his dying moments that Norman is finally freed of the Goblins's influence. Then this gets played around with when Norman is brought Back from the Dead in Spider-Man: No Way Home, as he's shown to be terrified of his evil persona, who has a much greater control over his body than Norman thinks—even shattering the Goblin's mask isn't enough to stave Gobby off, and he's able to turn the other displaced villains against the Peter Parker trying to help them and kill Aunt May in one fell swoop. When Peter and his cinematic predecessors are able to tag-team Goblin and cure him, he's genuinely horrified at what he did.
    • In Spider-Man 2, the A.I. that controls Otto Octavius' robotic tentacles manipulates him into committing crimes in order to finish his nuclear fusion project. Unlike in Norman Osborn's case, Peter knows that Otto is a good person at heart, and eventually manages to bring him back to his senses. Unfortunately, it doesn't stick when Otto is brought into the MCU by the time of Spider-Man: No Way Home, as he's taken right at the moment he learns Peter is Spider-Man. At least temporarily, as the MCU!Peter is able to fix Otto's chip and get him back under control of his body.
    • In Spider-Man 3, Peter himself temporarily becomes a Villain Protagonist under the influence of the black symbiote, but manages to remove it after realizing that it's slowly corrupting him. By contrast, Eddie Brock, who was already a much worse person than Peter to begin with, outright admits that he enjoys being evil after he's infected by the symbiote.

  • Discworld beginner witch Agnes Nitt invented a "cool and mysterious" Bad Girl part of herself — Perdita X Dream. She didn't drop the habit when she became a witch, so hilarity ensues: Agnes got not just a Split Personality, but an autonomous and very quarrelsome (but sometimes very useful) "co-pilot" in her head, permanently.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden's subconscious likes to dress in black and is just as snarky as he is. Harry generally mentions whenever his alter-ego shows up in his dreams that it probably doesn't mean anything good about his mental health. At least one Eldritch Abomination (Lasciel's shadow) has taken advantage of him this way.
  • The villain in Eden Green behaves like an uncontrollable psychopath, but this is later revealed to be the 'personality' of the needle symbiote that keeps him alive; the host himself (claims he) doesn't want to hurt anyone.
  • Fight Club isn't like this most of the time, until the confrontations toward the end between the two personalities. Specifically, once the narrator realizes Tyler is his split personality, Tyler turns brutal in the name of self-preservation.
  • An Israeli children poem by Lea Goldberg has a first-grade boy who is generally very well-behaved, but on occasion the ‘bad boy who comes over [him]’ makes him go through fits of meanness.
  • From The Lord of the Rings comes the Trope Namer, Sméagol the Stoor (proto-hobbit), better known as his evil One Ring-obsessed personality, Gollum. This is portrayed differently in the films (see above). It could be argued that this was a case of the same personality undergoing a crisis of conscience, but he argues with himself quite forcefully in the book as well.
  • Alex, in The Other Kind of Roommate, uses this trope to absolve himself of Xander's lethal actions. Sure, they might be Alex's powers and Xander might technically be Split Personality, but there's a big difference between them. Honest.
  • Carl Thonius tries to invoke this trope in Ravenor once the daemon possessing him fully asserts itself. Unfortunately for him it doesn't matter too much, since the daemon is already at the level of planet-killing Eldritch Abomination and Thonius is effectively dead.
  • Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon is bullied into his horrendous crimes by his "Dragon" side, which is essentially his retaining and absorption via memory and traumatic imprint of his deceased abusive grandmother in a Norman Bates-esque vein. His Francis-side is usually a very mild-mannered and often even nice (if shy and defensive) guy.
  • Revenge of the Sith: As his mental state goes increasingly south, Anakin starts attributing things to a "dragon", the personification of all his fears. After he loses his fight with Obi-Wan and is told he strangled Padmé, he refuses to believe this. He couldn't do it, would never do it. And then comes the realization: There is no dragon. There's no Darth Vader. It was just him and only him, and he's going to have live with that for the rest of his life.
  • CyFi of Unwind was brain-damaged in an accident, and to save his life, the missing portion was replaced with a bit of brain from a delinquent. The authorities say the delinquent wasn't really executed, since most of his parts survived—and they're not entirely wrong, because CyFi acquires some of his memories and impulses. He considers this personality alien from his own, leading to some tortured grammar. ("Do it! Before he changes my mind!")
  • Buccmaster, the schizophrenic Villain Protagonist of historical novel The Wake, is influenced by Weland Smith, a figure from folklore, with disturbing results.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider insists that the spirit inside him chooses who should die and makes him kill them, though his ability to hold back suggests he retains more control than he's comfortable admitting.
  • The Brittas Empire: “Wake Up the Lion Within” has Carole accidentally spawn an alter-ego when she decides to “roar like a lion” to unlock her true potential. Said alter-ego then cajoles her into becoming the new manager of the centre and bullies the rest of the staff. It’s not until Carole stands up for herself that said alter-ego vanishes.
  • Buffyverse: On Angel, Angelus is shown as a distinct personality, self-image, and memories of his own. This is a slight departure from Buffy, in which Angelus was just Angel with his Restraining Bolt (ie his soul) removed. Angel himself still feels that he is accountable for Angelus' crimes, and that's why he has to be a hero to atone for Angelus' villainy, even though Angelus really is a separate personality.
  • Chang on Community has always been crazy. But when he tries to join the study group he starts having split personality conversations with himself. One side is apparently motivated by I Just Want to Have Friends the other side is motivated by revenge for destroying his teaching career.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • "Revelations" had a pacifistic (if drug-addicted) man ruthlessly slaughter six people and kidnapped Reid. He was forced to do so by the two other personalities living in his body — sort of understandable, since they were the archangel Raphael and his dead, abusive father.
    • Another episode features a schizophrenic man who is talked into starting a hostage situation by his "friend", who is a hallucination. Who also took Reid hostage.
  • In Farscape, Harvey is the Gollum to Crichton's Smeagol. Crichton is generally able to prevent him from taking over, but Harvey frequently shows up when Crichton's under a lot of stress and offers suggestions. After the mind-control implant that accidentally created Harvey is removed, the "leftover" Harvey becomes considerably more useful, sympathetic to Chrichton, and otherwise benign. It's still hard to buy this part of him after his Kick the Dog moment of killing Aeryn and indirectly causing Zhan's death and Aeryn's (temporary) distancing from John.
  • There's a scene in Jekyll where Mr.Hyde convinces Tom Jackman (the Dr.Jekyll of the series) to let him brutally beat a man who earlier kidnapped one of Jackman's sons and locked him in with some lions on the orders of his bosses. Hyde convinces Jackman that they have to send the organisation that's after them a warning not to do something like that again, that brutally beating the man is the best way to do this, and that Jackman should let Hyde out to do the beating when Jackman admits that he can't bring himself to do it, even though at that point he agrees with Hyde regarding the necessity.
  • QI: Subverted by Sean Lock: "I hear voices - but I ignore them and carry on killing."
  • From time to time on Quantum Leap, Sam's mind would "psycho-synergize" with his leapee's, and he'd take on some of their thoughts and mannerisms. The most chilling example of this was in "Lee Harvey Oswald," where Sam leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald at various points in his life, and Sam's actions get progressively worse with Oswald's mind taking over his. It's just very narrowly averted when Sam is in the book depository squaring up the shot to kill John F. Kennedy, and Al breaks through to him, causing him to snap out of it long enough to leap into Special Agent Clint Hill.
  • Inverted in The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room" (other wiki entry). Jackie's normal personality is weak and scared, his alternate personality (which he sees in a mirror) is confident and ethical.
  • In Victorious, Robbie has a puppet named Rex, who he treats as a real person and has conversations with. Rex often tries to get Robbie to do morally questionable things. In one episode, Rex convinces Robbie to post an embarrassing video of his friend on social media.

  • Alizée's 2000 hit "Moi... Lolita" contains the rather unnerving lines "Moi je m’appelle Lolita/Lo ou bien Lola/Du pareil au même/Moi je m’appelle Lolita/Quand je rêve aux loups/C’est Lola qui saigne" ("Me, my name is Lolita/Lo or Lola, it’s all the same to me/Me, my name is Lolita/When I dream of (the) wolves, it is Lola who bleeds")
  • The central premise of Michael Longcor's song Monster in my Head.; also central to Metallica's "Sad But True".

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock, Boober has his alter-ego, Sidebottom (the fun "side" of Boober, who is always kept tucked away at the "bottom" of Boober's mind). Sidebottom is not actually evil, but fun-loving, overactive, and irresponsible, precisely the opposite of Boober.
  • Roberta Leigh's 1960s TV puppet show Sarah and Hoppity was about a girl whose rag doll told her to do things that got her into trouble. When she told the grownups it was the doll's fault, they naturally never believed her. It was never clear whether the doll really did have a mind of its own or if it was all in Sarah's mind, but it was all pretty creepy for a pre-school show.

  • Cillian Crowe from Survival of the Fittest is more or less completely under control of a malevolent alter ego he calls "Haddy" which forces him to kill people and overall act like an extremely dangerous psychopath. This was something that was sometimes parodied with the phrase "Haddy tells me to SMASH!".

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is how the Shadows work in the role-playing game Wraith: The Oblivion. Every wraith has one; it will cajole them, insult them and lure them toward self-destructive nihilism until they become a Spectre. Even creepier, the Shadow is originally a part of your mind, your darker, nastier impulses and thoughts, which are wrapped up in the rest of your psyche while you're alive but takes a separate existence upon death. Oddly enough, the character's psyche remains oddly unchanged; there are no rules to reflect that it should be changed from not having the Shadow in it anymore...

    Video Games 
  • Professor Pyg in Batman: Arkham Knight claims to be doing all of his nightmarish surgeries to please "Mother Goat". The twist is that by all appearances, he genuinely believes it.
  • Borderlands 2 has Krieg the Psycho. Despite being an Ax-Crazy psycho who screams nonsense, a reveal trailer explains he has a sane personality trapped inside of him. Interestingly enough, Krieg is an inversion of this trope: the only reason he hasn't carved up innocent people yet is because the sane version is holding him back.
    Krieg: [thinking] I wanna tell him to run, to hide, to get outta sight so I won't have to kill him. That's what I wanna say; what actually comes out of my mouth is...
    [He charges the mook with a buzzsaw]
  • In Dragon Age II, one sidequest has you tracking down a Serial Killer who targets young Elven children. When you finally reach him, he turns out to be the son of the magistrate who gave you the task in the first place. The killer is a pathetic man who blames his homicidal impulses on imaginary demons (Much to Hawke's exasperation: "I'll have to remember that one. 'A demon made me do it!'"). Demonic possession is a real threat in the setting, but the Circle of Magi had already confirmed that he wasn't possessed — he refuses to believe this.
  • Mega Man Star Force: Pat does some fairly questionable things because his split personality, Rey, tells him to.
  • Subverted in Spider-Man (PS4). Dr. Octopus claims the A.I. in his tentacles made him commit all his crimes in a last-ditch attempt to make Spider-Man take pity on him, but it’s clear that he was fully cognizant of what he was doing and he immediately switches to making veiled threats when it fails to get the result he wanted. Peter himself had believed this to be the case, only to be proven wrong in the worst way possible.
  • The duality between Gig and the main character in Soul Nomad & the World Eaters is somewhat like this, despite Gig being an intruder in your mind and not a creation of it. In many cases it's not so much 'Gig made me do it' as it is 'Gig made the other guys do it to me so I had to defend myself'. It goes both ways in their case — by the end of the game, the protagonist has gotten more brash and trigger-happy, much like Gig, and Gig has become a great deal less Omnicidal. Averted during the events of The Demon Path, where it's more you and Gig in a friendly competition in which side can be the biggest evil while in possession of your body.
  • Twisted Metal Black has Preacher, whose driver Jebediah claims he is possessed by a demon that drives him to kill. He enters the contest in the hopes Calypso will give him proof that this is the case. If he wins, Calypso points out that he never promised him proof - he promised the truth. And the truth is that Jebediah has a mental illness, and he killed all those people himself. Jebediah cannot live with the truth.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Remember11, Kokoro and Satoru bother end up in this situation, since the two of them can't control (or remember) what the other does while they are in each other's bodies. Later in the story, their respective companions call them out on the fact that any bad things can "conveniently" be blamed on the other person. Neither of the two is really guilty of anything, since almost all of the blame-worthy offenses were done by a third personality that nobody knew about.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, the AI O'Mally and Doc had this kind of relationship.

    Web Comics 
  • Gosu has Gyeom and Gyeol from the renowned Doh Family of the Pungjin Sect. Both of them suffered from ruthlessly bloodthirsty alter-egos that would dominate their psyche, turning them into slaughtering merciless beasts. In Gyeom's case, his alter-ego was partially generated out of guilt for killing his older brother Gyeol who had the same condition.
  • Least I Could Do: "The game made me do it."
  • Sinisterly inverted by Susan and Anna Einfeld from Sire. After Susan had murdered two people and stowed away on a boat to London, Susan proceeds to convince Anna that it was all her fault. Anna actually believes her.
  • Suicide for Hire features Arcturus Winrock and his evil side, which persuades him to go on with the titular business. The evil side has recently been named "Xero", and it's hinted that giving him a name will in future cause his power over Arcturus to increase.

    Web Videos 
  • Gemma and the Bear is a comedic, non-villainous example. Gemma (a nerdy, rather timid white woman) turns into Bear (a Camp Gay black man) when she falls asleep. They actually can't interact directly, but Bear's misguided attempts to be helpful tend to leave Gemma in awkward positions.

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in The Spectacular Spider-Man: It's believed to be Harry under the mask, suffering from blackouts caused by the experimental performance enhancer he's been taking, during which the Goblin persona took over, seemingly playing this trope straight...until Season 2, where it is revealed that Norman was the Green Goblin the entire time, and he claims to have been fully in control of his actions. He framed his own son to throw Spider-Man off the scent.
  • Norman Osborn alias The Green Goblin in the 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series. The Goblin is a demented other personality (who both interacts with Norman and acts without) who violently takes vengeance on those who hurt Norman, all the while coercing him into thinking that everyone else is against him. Norman at first suppresses him, but he eventually returns. In the end, the Goblin takes over his mind completely, and the writers actually manage to make the whole process somewhat tragic, as Norman's mental state degrades over the course of a few episodes, until he only has one last relapse to scream in confusion and wonder where he is before he is blown into limbo, after which the Goblin completely takes over.
  • Downplayed with Blitzwing in Transformers: Animated, in that while his Hothead and Icy personas may quarrel with each other (with Random usually mediating), the divide is between calm logic and passionate rage rather than good or evil. They're both still the bad guy. Also they aren't really at war with each other—in fact, they only have one major argument and come to a quick agreement via two-to-one majority (in favor of attacking Autobots).
  • Dr. Two-Brains from WordGirl. The other personality just happens to be an angry mouse.


Video Example(s):



Dr. Kirk Langstrom reveals to Batman that he developed a formula to create an entirely new species that's neither man nor bat. Unfortunately, when he tested it on himself, he found himself unable to stop, as the beast has taken over him, and now he has become the creature known as...Man-Bat.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BatPeople

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