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Not Afraid of You Anymore

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"The pain is gone, I've succeeded. I feel strong too.
I'm not afraid of you anymore!
You won't kill me, I'll make you pay for everything you did to me!!!"
Ariel, Drowtales chapter 8

In fiction, it's common for a character who has been abused or mistreated by another to eventually confront that person in order to move on with their life, and they discover that the person really was never as powerful as they thought and that the abuse they suffered was the result of that person's own issues and insecurities. The abused may even take pity on the person who hurt them and decide that they're Not Worth Killing, and this is often the first step in a Humiliation Conga, as well as the culmination of an Hourglass Plot where the one-time victim ultimately overpowers their abuser.

An unpleasant subversion of this takes place when, after being confronted, the abuser turns out to be even more dangerous than the abused realized. Unfortunately, this can and does happen in real life. Not all bullies back down when challenged, some are neither cowardly nor insecure, just vicious. A double-subversion occurs if the character still isn't afraid of them after what ever happens afterward.

Compare Face Your Fears and Challenging the Bully. See also Calling the Old Man Out for a parent-specific variant of this. Not to be confused with I'm Not Afraid of You, when a threat loses its power (or disappears entirely) once a character is no longer afraid of it, nor Grew a Spine where it's more about making one's choices and acting on it rather than standing up to oneself.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In .hack//SIGN Tsukasa says he's no longer afraid of Morgana or his father.
  • Elfen Lied:
    • Brutally done by Lucy to the cruel kids who tormented her for so long after they push her too far by killing her dog in front of her. She snaps and eviscerates them all.
    • Lucy also does it in the end of manga against her "murderous side", in a Battle in the Center of the Mind fashion. She is interrupted, though...
  • In Fruits Basket, when Yuki tells Akito that he forgives him. Although Akito still gets mad and injures Yuki, it's obvious that Yuki doesn't fear him anymore, and since Akito controls the Zodiac through fear, it becomes clear that his power is waning.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: When Dr. Marcoh finally decides to go face to face with his tormentor Envy, a Homunculus full of Philosopher's Stones, and shows why it's a bad idea to screw with a guy who made those stones for a living.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, Satoko, with support from Keiichi, Rika, and oh yeah the entire village, confronting her abusive uncle Teppei, screaming that she hates him and for him to "GET OUT!!", despite being beaten while doing so. Just when he goes to attack again, the police bust in and capture him.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: After Dio Brando killed his pet dog, Jonathan Joestar spent the next twelve years too afraid to stand up to Dio about anything. Once he learns that Dio has been trying to poison his father, Jonathan confronts him. Dio tries to cow him into submission again, but Jonathan will not let Dio intimidate him any longer. He also delivers a brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Dio after learning the latter stole his girlfriend Erina's Sacred First Kiss then assaulted her when she insulted him for it; Dio was driven to tears afterward.
  • Mnemosyne: A supernatural example. The protagonist Rin is an immortal, and immortals fall into uncontrollable sexual drive when a creature called "angel" is nearby. The villain, who is an angel himself, uses this many times throughout the series to humiliate Rin but in the very end, Rin evolves into an immortal angelic being herself and sends the villain himself into uncontrollable sexual lust for her in their final confrontation.
  • In My Hero Academia, protagonist Izuku Midoriya undergoes a class trial wherein he must fight his childhood bully, Katsuki Bakugou. Having gone through All Might's training, Izuku now has the confidence to tell Katsuki that he's not afraid of him any more during their forced confrontation.
  • Nurse Angel Ririka SOS: Dewey still refers to Baros as "Baros-sama" even after taking a Heel–Face Turn and is still intimated by him. It takes a while for him to drop the honorific and shake his fear and servility towards his Big Bad ex-boss. When he confronts his fear he becomes a bigger threat than before.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: For years, Anthy was psychologically and sexually abused by her brother, Akio, into a meek, subservient woman, whose only purpose is to be The Scapegoat and a dueling prize anyone else can use/abuse at their leisure. That is, until she met Utena, who tries her damndest to free her. By the end, Anthy finally gathers the courage to break herself free of the cycle of abuse, telling off Akio for his toxic behavior and putting her signature glasses (the symbol of her meekness) on his desk, then leaves Akio behind forever as he futilely tries to call her back.
  • Rosario + Vampire: In Season II of the manga, Tsukune is not very effective against Kuyou during their rematch, and Ruby realizes it's because Tsukune recalls how Kuyou nearly killed him before, so he's subconsciously retreating in fear. But then Ruby jumps into the way of his final blow, and Kuyou gleefully tells him that Fang-Fang and Yukari had been killed by Gairen, another subdivision leader, and actively taunts him over his weaknesses and how much he wants him to suffer in fear and despair before he kills him. At this, Tsukune manages to overcome his fear, effortlessly repelling Kuyou's attack before turning the tables on him.
    Tsukune: I don't have time for this. I've got friends to protect. Beat it, Kuyou. Or I'll slay you where you stand.
  • Sukisho: Sora does this to Aizawa in the last episode, the guy who was responsible for torturing him and Sunao throughout their childhood, after being terrified of him for so long.

    Comic Books 
  • Excalibur:
    • Wolfsbane verbally confronts Reverend Craig, the abusive pastor who raised her and later tried to kill her when she was revealed as a mutant. She reduces him to tears by revealing that she knows he was her biological father and that her mother was a prostitute (with the implication that she could ruin him by making that information public).
    • In a storyline, Craig does turn out to be more dangerous. Unfortunately, he picks a bad time to show it: Wolfsbane has been brainwashed and has no fear response at all. She kills him and eats him.
  • In Fray (a spinoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), our eponymous heroine breaks down and is unable to fight the first time she is confronted by the vampire that killed her brother. The second time, she just tosses aside her weapon and gets ready. Subverted when her sister crushes him with a car. And Fray comments she was about to get her ass kicked.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has a couple by the sequel.
    • Harry, regarding Voldemort, by the sequel because he's faced and beaten so much worse. However, he is quickly reminded that while Voldemort can't take him in a straight fight, others he cares for aren't so fortunate. Even still, though, his attitude is more 'I won't take him lightly' than actual fear. On a lighter note, he isn't the slightest bit fazed by Snape.
    • Maddie in the sequel, finally confronting Sinister after her psychic conditioning and triggers have been purged, realizing that she is free and he has no power over her anymore - which greatly unnerves him, because she is significantly more powerful than he is. She might have gone further, but Doctor Strange had a score to settle and got there first.
  • Codex Equus:
    • After being freed from her own mind and witnessing the death of Mr. Penguin in a Heroic Sacrifice, young Rosy Dreams finally gathers up the courage to stand up to 'The Chaser', who frequently trapped, terrorized, and abused her since his creation, and kills him with a burst of psychic energy.
    • After spending his entire mortal life and much of his post-life existence fearing his violent drunkard father, Moon Ray Vaughoof finally gathers the courage to confront Sunny Mane's damned spirit in the Hell-Realms thanks to the Trimortidae's encouragement, and forgives him. He even makes it clear to Sunny Mane that he's only forgiving him because he wants to be free of his father's influence. This moment is what allows him to Ascend to demi-godhood. However, it's subverted as while he may have forgiven Sunny Mane, he still holds lingering trauma from his foalhood abuse, such as his fear of being yelled at. Fortunately, he would get over this thanks to his adoptive family and Mentálne.
    • When Prince Healing Song confronts a resurrected War Rock (who abused, gaslit, and raped him as a mortal in the Second Age) during the 'Dark Ages Crisis' to save some hostages (including his friends), he's understandably terrified and is initially frozen in place out of fear while War Rock taunts him. But when War Rock offers to spare him in exchange for becoming one of his "brides", he is roused enough to give a light-coated hoof to War Rock's face, sending his tormentor flying and leaving a burn mark where he hit him. Then, when War Rock calls him a "weak little cripple", he angrily declares that he refuses to be a victim any longer, completely restoring his sickly physical divine form and becoming powerful enough to force War Rock into a retreat.
      Prince Healing Song: (roaring) I am not weak! I am not a cripple! I am PRINCE HEALING SONG! And I won't be your victim ANYMORE!
    • Blue Suede Heartstrings was so beaten down by Hollow Note's abuse that despite breaking free of him, he never really recovered from his ordeals until well into the Fourth Age. After recovering from his PTSD and becoming a Prince, however, Blue Suede visited Hollow Note's damned shade in Malus Manes' Hell-Realms just so he could give his ex-manager a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for being the pathetic, greedy, and cowardly wretch he truly is, and left Hollow Note frothing at the mouth in sheer rage. When Hollow Note comes back as a Wraith in the 'Dark Ages Crisis' thanks to Mistletoe Dreamer, Blue Suede has become completely willing to kill his ex-manager (and actually does so) to prevent him from killing his younger self during Mistletoe's Time Crash.
  • Dragon Ball Z Elsewhere: Kyonshi kills Yamcha's first Martial Arts master and then defeats him even after training under Karin. When faced again with him, however, Yamcha is fresh after 6 months of intense chamber plus whatever power he amassed up until the Android saga. As a result, he can easily overpower Kyonshi, one punch (far from his full power) is more than enough. Yamcha is about to eliminate him but then ponders whether Goku's combat prowess is, more than his race, his compassionate heart. So he spares Kyonshi and tells him to Go and Sin No More.
  • Getting Back on Your Hooves: During their final Battle in the Center of the Mind, Checker Monarch takes on the form of an Ursa Major, knowing that Trixie is terrified of Ursas. However, after gaining some encouragement from her friends, Trixie is able to confront Checker, stating that while she may be afraid of Ursas, she's no longer afraid of her. Trixie then proceeds to kick Checker's ass.
  • In the My Hero Academia fic The Handling of Ash, which takes place after their unauthorized fight, Bakugou suspects that Midoriya isn't afraid of him anymore. His attempts to make Izuku fear him again backfire, as Izuku doesn't flinch, and ends up admitting that he's far more concerned that Katsuki, unlike him, has no idea how to deal with failure. And that as heroes, they have to be able to deal with the times where they can't save everyone.
    Izuku: "You don't know how to handle failure, so you just keep on saying you won't fail, you won't fail, and that's an impossible way to live. I'm better than you at that—I'm better at failing, Kacchan. If I'm a low-ranked hero, if some of my missions fail, if I'm injured so badly I have to retire, I know I could endure it. My dreams are as strong as yours, Kacchan, but I also know how to keep going if those get crushed. I'm strong like that, Kacchan. Stronger than you. I'm afraid that you’d just break."
    [he steps out, glancing back at Bakugou's pale face]
    "I'm not afraid of you, Kacchan. I'm only afraid for you."
  • Ella says this to her stepmother in Happily Never After.
  • During the Final Battle of Inner Demons, Apple Bloom realizes that the Darkness is feeding off of Twilight Sparkle's fear of it in order to grow strong enough to possess her again. Apple Bloom, who has been afraid of her destiny to fight the Darkness because she's meant to die during the fight, fights it anyway to protect Twilight and all of Equestria. Overcoming her fear helps Twilight overcome her own fears, and together they defeat the Darkness.
  • The sequel to The Loud House fic The Lard House titled...The Loud House takes place 10 years ahead of canon. While meeting Luan again for the first time in years, Hank and Hawk stumble upon the two and try to both hit on Luan and resume picking on Lincoln again. However, Lincoln didn't stop aging over those ten years and has grown to be 6'2 and built like a brick house. When they try to beat him up again he easily manhandles them and tells them he's not the little boy half their size anymore.
  • Downplayed in Leave for Mendeleiev: Marinette does her best to stand her ground when her long-time bully Chloe corners her at a party and delivers a Breaking Speech, but later admits that she was having difficulty standing up to it before others came to her aid. Mainly because Adrien tried to convince them not to help her because she was supposedly 'handling it just fine on her own' and he was more concerned about Chloe getting upset than he was Marinette.
  • Played for Laughs in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines. During a tournament in the Battle Dome, James looks at the camera and yells to his parents, in case they're watching, that he's not afraid of them suing him for libel.
  • The Raven's Plan sees Tywin Lannister receive this from all of Westeros post-Remembering. Thanks to a combination of him and his family members pissing everyone else off in the previous timeline, and another, infinitely more dangerous threat on the horizon, everyone, from King Robert to the Starks to the Tyrells to even his own family have lost any fear they once had for Tywin, to the point that if it weren't for the Others (aforementioned threat), they'd all ally with each other to wipe House Lannister (or at least him) off the map. This culminates in Tyrion usurping his authority as Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West within a couple of hours with Kevan and Genna's help, and locking Tywin in his own room.
  • The Stars Will Aid Their Escape: Twilight and company ultimately feel this way about Herald/Nyarlathotep, who they're facing in his true form, as by this point, he's pretty much done everything he could to them, so they have nothing more to fear from him that they haven't already faced. This is unfortunate for Herald, who was banking on them being too afraid of him killing them to blast him point blank with the Elements.
    "What was there to be afraid of, that it hadn't already shown her?"

    Films — Animated 
  • The eponymous Anastasia says this before unleashing her fury on Rasputin.
  • The end of A Bug's Life has the ants realizing they kind of outnumber the grasshoppers a million to one, and suddenly they're not so afraid anymore and Zerg Rush the grasshoppers. Unfortunately, this is the subversive type, as it causes Hopper to have a breakdown. What makes this worse is that he already knows the ants outnumber the grasshoppers and that it could have serious consequences for the latter if the former figured that out, and thus must be kept in their place.
  • At the end of The Ant Bully Lucas is not afraid of the bully anymore after his experiences with the ants.
  • In Monsters, Inc., Boo confronts Randall, the monster in charge of scaring her, when he tries to push Sulley off a door suspended hundreds of feet in the air.
    "She's not afraid of you anymore. Looks like you're out of a job."
    • This trope serves as the backbone of the plot; Monstropolis gets its power from the screams of human children. When a child proves to be unafraid of a monster, the door to their bedroom is destroyed. In the movie proper, there's an energy shortage happening because children are becoming harder to scare. Waternoose and Randall develop the Scream Extractor for this reason, planning to kidnap children and suck their screams out directly. Luckily, Sulley at the end realizes that laughter is ten times more powerful than screams, and changes the company appropriately.
  • A subversion happens in The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie: tired of running, Patrick Star decides to confront Dennis, the vicious bounty hunter that has been chasing them during the movie...only to be smacked by him.
  • A downplayed version occurs in Beauty and the Beast. Belle chastises the abusive Beast for losing his temper - and is surprised when he meekly accepts her words. She's still frightened of him, but she's learned that he's not nearly as impenetrable as he tried to make her believe. After this scene, she becomes much more confident around him.
  • In Chicken Run, Mr. Tweedy discovers that the chickens have stolen his tools to build an airplane to escape. Up to this point, he has managed to foil every one of their previous escape attempts and makes an example of them by imprisoning their ringleader, Ginger. This time, as they stare in fear at him, Ginger suddenly screams "ATTACK!" and the chickens all rush Mr. Tweedy and capture him.
    Mr. Tweedy: (calling out to his wife) The chickens are revolting!
    Mrs. Tweedy: (not paying attention) Finally, something we agree on.
  • In the climax of Jetsons: The Movie, as the Jetsons finally discover that Spacely's Sprockets has been destroying the Grungies' home, George Jetson is horrified that his boss, Mr. Spacely, whom would do such a thing and that he had been helping him all along for fear of losing his job. At that moment, Spacely himself, obsessed with making sprockets at a fraction of the cost on Earth not matter what, arrives to push the Big Red Button that activates the machine, unaware that the Grungies or George's family and friends are down there. The drilling causes further damage to the Grungies that also directly threatens George's family and friends as well, with George's son Elroy barely escaping being buried alive by a rockslide. When he sees how much danger his family and friends are in from Spacely's greed, George decides to directly confront his boss about it and shut the plant down.
    Spacely: I never should've put that dummy Jetson in charge of an operation this important. When I get home, I'll get a new vice president.
    (George, his family and friends all appear behind him, looking quite displeased)
    George: (angrily) You've already got a vice president.
    Spacely: Jetson?
    George: (walking up to the button to shut down the plant) That's right, Mr. Spacely, that "dummy" George Jetson.
    Spacely: What do you think you're doing?
    George: Turning off the plant before you do any more damage!
    Spacely: (blocking the button from George) Stay away from this button! That's an order!
    George: No, sir, Mr. Spacely!
    Spacely: WHAT?!?!
    George: I said, "No! SIR! Mr. Spacely!" (everyone cheers) By gosh, that felt good.
    • And when Spacely still blocks the button, George has to go into the machine itself to shut it down from the inside out.
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: What ultimately saves Puss from Death's fury isn't that he disarmed him, it's that Death realizes Puss no longer fears him or his end and is no longer the arrogant little legend who thought he was immortal.
    Death: What's the matter? Lives flashing before your eyes?
    Puss: ...No. Just one. I'm done running.
    (picks up his sword)
    Puss: Fear me, if you dare!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 1980s all-star version of Alice in Wonderland has Alice shouting this at the Jabberwocky.
  • In the backstory of the teacher in Pay It Forward. However, it ends badly for him as his own (abusive) father decides to hit him with a 4x4 when his back is turned and then set him on fire.
  • At the end of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Nancy defeats Freddy for good when she turns her back on him, saying "You're nothing. You're shit." When Freddy tries to hurt her, he instead melts away into nothing, and the people he killed come back to life, implying that his power was dependent on his victims' fear of him. Then it turns out that Freddy's Not Quite Dead in a Diabolus ex Machina ending.
  • Parodied in the comedy-horror film House (the one from The '80s, not the new film of the same name) when William Katt suddenly realizes that not being afraid of the villain will dispel all his power. Of course, when you're William Katt, nothing can scare you.
  • At the end of Space Jam, the Monstars are being thoroughly berated by their boss, Mr. Swackhammer, for having lost the big basketball game that would've given him permanent control over the Looney Tunes. When Michael Jordan asks the Monstars why they put up with this kind of abuse, the Monstars reply: "He's bigger..." *there is a pregnant pause, then the Monstars grin wickedly as they realize the truth of their situation* "...bigger than we used to be." They then stuff Mr. Swackhammer into a rocket and launch it, sending him back to Moron Mountain alone.
  • Labyrinth: Sarah comes to this realization as Jareth is trying to seduce her with power, realizing she was in a Must Be Invited gambit, giving her the strength to defeat him simply by refusing his offers.
    Sarah: Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great... You have no power over me.
  • James shouts this at the "rhino" in the film version of James and the Giant Peach.
  • The movie version of Matilda: After a lifetime of living under The Trunchbull's thumb, Miss Honey finally stands up to her. "I am NOT seven years old anymore, Aunt Trunchbull!"
  • In Drop Dead Fred, Lizzie Cronin is convinced to finally scream this at the mental representation of her domineering mother Polly.
  • The heroine of Blood Simple has this confrontation with a dying Villain Protagonist she thinks is her husband.
    Abby: I'm not afraid of you, Marty.
    Visser; (laughing) Well ma'am, if I see him, I'll be sure to give him the message.
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has a variation of this. The Surfer turns against his master, Galactus, and says "I will no longer serve".
  • Pulled by Josh in Insidious against the demonic old lady who had been stalking him and trying to take over his body since childhood. It doesn't work. To go into specifics, he stays behind for several minutes in the Further so he can taunt her about it, which leads to her simply hijacking his real-world body while he's distracted and very nearly leads to a separate demon possessing his son.
  • In District 9, Wikus spends most of his time running from his former employers and Nigerian gang lords, who all want him dead. Then comes his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, which is interspersed by him yelling he's not afraid of them. This is an instance of this trope where he has not truly overcome his fear; he actually is afraid of them, and for good reason, but has simply become The Berserker at this point, and has an alien Mini-Mecha to help him.
  • The Harry Potter movie series:
    • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort, who has just reclaimed a physical body, wants to duel Harry in the graveyard of Little Haggleton. As he calls out Harry, Harry, who is hiding behind a tombstone, is clearly afraid for his life. But, since he knows there is no way out, he basically swallows his fear and comes out to face off with his parents' killer. "Fine, have it your way." It is this courage that carries him through the rest of the series.
    • Taken further in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Voldemort tries to possess Harry, and Harry forces him out.
      Harry: You're the weak one. And you'll never know love. Or friendship. And I feel sorry for you!
    • In Deathly Hallows – Part 2, prior to the Battle of Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall suggests to Professor Flitwick to refer Voldemort by his name instead of You-Know-Who because "he (Voldemort) is going to kill them either way".
  • Scream 3: In the beginning, Sidney is revealed to be living as a recluse, convinced it is the only way to stay safe from psychotic killers from coming after her, and killing those around her. She lives in the middle of nowhere, locks and sets an alarm on her gate before locking and setting the alarm for her house. In the end she leaves her gate open behind her, and doesn't set the alarm for her house. When the wind blows the door open, she looks at it and walks away.
  • The Hangover: In the first film of the trilogy, Stu is in a relationship with a shrill, controlling woman named Melissa. Despite the fact that Melissa mistreats Stu constantly and has even cheated on him, Stu makes excuses for her behavior and defends her when his friends point out how badly she treats him. At the end of the film, Stu finally decides that he's had enough and berates Melissa in front of an entire wedding party before dumping her.
  • In Deewaar, the fear of this happening motivates the racketeers to come down hard on anyone refusing to pay.
    "Today one man refused to pay. Tomorrow two, and so on."
  • It (2017): When Beverly's abusive father escalates to the point of an Attempted Rape, she snaps, brains him with a toilet seat, and becomes fearless enough to stare down the titular Eldritch Abomination. She never speaks the words to her father, but when It takes her father's form to demoralize her, she screams in rage and rams a spike through Its head.
    • Which nicely foreshadows It: Chapter Two and how they finally defeat the titular creature. Figuring out that the creature draws power from fear and is bound to the rules of the form it takes, they manage to reduce it to a weak, helpless, half-melted infant-like clown by repeatedly telling it (and themselves) that it's "nothing but a stupid fucking clown" that they're not afraid of and ultimately rip its heart out, killing it for good, while it weakly tries to convince them (and itself) that it's "the eater of worlds".
  • Drive a Crooked Road: The newfound confidence Eddie experiences from dating Barbara gives him the courage to stand up to his bullying workmate Phil, and tell him:
    My name is not Shorty. It's Eddie.
  • When Elizabeth first meets the cursed Jack the Monkey in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, she's rightly terrified of the skeletonized monkey as it pops up in her face. The second time she encounters him, however, she initially jumps due to being startled by his sudden appearance, but then gives him a Death Glare. The monkey's face visibly falls in an Oh, Crap! expression, and when we next see him, he's landing crotch-first on one of the cannons before falling into the water, having apparently been thrown over the rail by Elizabeth.
  • For most of Tyranno's Claw, a massive T-Rex terrorizes a group of tribespeople, forcing the tribe to abduct captives to be sacrificed for the T-Rex's meals until the latest captive, the film's hero, shows the tribe the T-Rex is afraid of fire. The entire tribe then retaliates and fights back against the dinosaur who had enslaved them for decades, now they knew it's weakness.

  • Kethry in Mercedes Lackey's Vows and Honor series was forced into marriage as a child and raped by a rather unpleasant guy, which left her emotionally scarred. Years later, she winds up being captured again by him... after she's gone and become an extremely powerful sorceress. When he comes to see her and torment her again she realizes just how pathetic he is and ends up scaring the bejeezus out of him so that he runs away from her.
  • Lale goes through this in her Final Battle in The Assassins of Tamurin
  • Wicked
    Glinda: Don't be afraid, Elphie.
    Elphaba: I'm not afraid... It's the Wizard who should be afraid of me.
  • At the end of Hogfather, Susan Sto Helit unleashes a Not Afraid Of You Anymore speech on Jonathan Teatime as only a badass governess can.
    • Subverted in the same book for Teatime's wizard associate, who gets all fired up to invoke this trope on the vision of his childhood bully: after all, he's a grown man now, so surely he can scare off some pesky kid. Too late, he realizes that he himself has become a little boy again...
    • From Sourcery: "I did not throw you far enough!"
    • Rincewind has a similar mental confrontation with the Great Spell inside his head in The Light Fantastic, lambasting it for ruining his life and then being too scared to help him against Trymon in the end.
    • In The Truth, William De Worde has a brilliant moment of this with his father, after saying "Men like my father are bullies and they're the worst kind because they aren't cowards and if you stand up to them they only hit you harder." Granted William had a vampire for backup, but he didn't know that.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Only In Death, Larkin is haunted by apparitions of the (dead) psychopathic killer Cuu. At the end, he defies him and declares he is joining the real Ghosts to die with them. The apparition vanishes.
  • Invoked and then Subverted in the Everworld series. The witch Senna asks her half-sister if she's afraid of her. April, who the narrative makes clear is very much afraid, attempts to tell her the words of this trope. Senna's response is to use her powers to open the gateway between Everworld and the Old World, and then shove her sister's head through it.
    Senna: So much for 'maybe.'
  • In A Game of Thrones, Daenerys comes to realize that her unstable, abusive older brother Viserys is truly a weak coward who no longer has the power to hurt her.
    He was a pitiful thing. He had always been a pitiful thing. Why had she never seen that before? There was a hollow place inside her where her fear had been.
  • In Warcraft: Lord of the Clans, Thrall experiences this when he confronts Blackmore, his abusive foster father. He reflects on how he had been afraid of him and worshiped him when in the end he was only a miserable wreck.
  • In Uprising, Kerrigan confronts Rumm, the officer who had abused her for a decade. She escapes captivity and deep-fries his brain with her powers giving him a long-overdue Karmic Death
  • For the early books of The Wheel of Time, Rand is haunted by and in mortal fear of his Evil Counterpart Ishamael. In the last book of the series, Rand confronts Moridin- Ishamael in a new body- once again, this time after an epiphany that set him on the right path to fulfilling his destiny. Rand realizes that he and Moridin both stared into the abyss, but Moridin fell into nihilism and madness where Rand managed to overcome it. Seeing his enemy at last for what he truly is- a hollow shell of a man who would destroy himself and take reality with him rather than face the prospect of existing any longer- Rand expresses his amazement that he ever feared him, and tells Moridin that he's nothing more than an obstacle between Rand and the Dark One.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, Lyrah expresses this sentiment after she confronts Daylen and gets her Extreme Męlée Revenge, as she overcame her fear of him and proved to herself that she wasn't weak or helpless, anymore.
  • The Asterisk War: Kirin Toudou allows herself to be pushed around and used as a tool by her Evil Uncle Koichiro to become the top-ranked student at Seidoukan Academy and also to rescue her father until she learns from Ayato that she can find her own way. Kirin finally stands up for herself, stunning Koichiro in the process. And when Koichiro attempts to control Kirin again, Claudia threatens to ruin his career, giving him an extra incentive to leave Kirin alone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • In "Spare That Rod!", a temporarily humbled Mr. Conklin tries to curry favor with his students and faculty - after being tricked into thinking his job was hanging by a thread for being "flagrantly dictatorial". Miss Brooks, Mr. Boynton, Walter Denton, and Stretch Snodgrass take advantage of this to present him with a petition. Mr. Conklin, again assured that his job is safe, shouts them out of his office.
    • In "Marinated Hearing", Miss Brooks decides to tell off a temporarily deaf Mr. Conklin. Unfortunately for Miss Brooks, Mr. Conklin had just recovered his hearing . . . .
  • In The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "A Piano in the House", a man buys a player piano with an unusual quality: when loaded with the correct music, it causes a person listening to it to express their true emotions and personality. He uses it to expose the personality flaws of his dinner guests so he can cruelly mock them. However, the piano eventually reveals his inner nature to be immature and frightened of other people, which causes him to be malicious and hateful. When the others learn this, they feel pity for him.
    • In the The Twilight Zone (2002) episode "Azoth the Avenger is a Friend of Mine" Craig says this word for word to his father. His mother doesn't quote the trope name, her standing up to her husband to defend Craig implies this.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look The Green Clarinet Sketch. "Well I have a red tuba that makes you shit yourself."
  • Shortly after the 2008 election, Chris Wallace was interviewed on The Daily Show and gave Jon Stewart a cookie as a gift from Karl Rove, with a strong implication that it was poisoned (Rove had told Wallace specifically which cookie out of the batch to pass on to him). The Studio Audience, smelling a rat, began yelling for Jon not to eat it.
    Jon Stewart: Let me tell you why I'll eat it: Karl Rove can't hurt me anymore. [eats cookie]
    • He also said the same thing about Al Qaeda after Osama Bin Laden's death in 2011.
      Jon: Al Qaeda's opportunity is gone. For the last 10 years, Al Qaeda had the world's attention. They apparently wanted an ideology competition, and for all of our rights and wrongs, and the world's rights and wrongs, all Al Qaeda seems to have come up with is, "Uh, all right, we'll kill some Americans. How about killing some British people? Uh, maybe bombing Yemen or something. Shoe bomb doesn't work? How about an underwear bomb?" They have nothing. Can they still do damage? I'm sure. But we're back, baby.
  • Angel:
    • In the Season 2 episode "Untouched", Bethany, a troubled young teen with volatile telekinetic powers, broke down when confronted with her abusive father as part of Wolfram and Hart's manipulations. But she then managed to overcome her fear and throw him out a window and catch him a few feet from the pavement.
    • In the Season 1 episode "I Fall to Pieces" Angel is sent to help a woman who has been stalked, for months, by an obsessive doctor who has found a metaphysical way of pulling his body parts so they can move around, under his control, even when they aren't attached to his body. In the climax, this woman, previously nervous and fearful as a result of paranoia, finally stands up to the man, realising that his stalking makes him feel better about himself and helps him gratify his own lack of self-worth. He loses his edge as a result and is defeated by a newly arrived Angel. Earlier in the episode Kate comments on this, noting that this is the only way such victims can actually heal:
      "This guy could go to jail tomorrow, Angel, and still kill her in her dreams every night. I’ve put a few of these creeps away and the hardest thing is to know that he is still winning. She’s still afraid. He took her power away and no one can get it back for her but her."
  • In the season one Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Nightmares, the Scoobies (and the rest of Sunnydale) have to deal with their worst nightmares being made manifest. Xander finds himself being chased by a Monster Clown. Then Xander stops, pivots, and slugs the Clown in the chops, laying him out flat. He's the only one of the Scoobies to effectively face his fears in this episode, although Buffy is able to harness her fear (being turned into a Vampire) to take down the villain of the episode.
  • In season five of Lost, Locke ominously tells Ben that he's not afraid of anything Ben can do anymore. This is a clue that it's not really Locke.
  • In the old Buck Rogers TV series, there was a sorcerer/rabble-rouser, played by Jack Palance(!), who could strike anyone dead with a magical touch...but only if that person believed in and feared his power. Buck Rogers figures this out and destroys his power by publicly demonstrating that it is hollow.
  • In the fifth episode of the first series of Being Human, Annie gives an incredible Not Afraid Of You Anymore speech to her fiancee/murderer Owen, in which she confronts him over her murder, then tells him the Secret Only The Dead Know, causing him to Go Mad from the Revelation.
  • In the episode "Profiler, Profiled" on Criminal Minds, Derek Morgan has a scene at the end where he tells off the UnSub Carl Buford, the man who raped him repeatedly when he was young in what is essentially just one big moment of this. Eventually, the UnSub gets so desperate that he unintentionally reveals his crimes to the police, exposing himself as the monster he truly is. As he gets taken away, Derek tells him to go to hell while the UnSub can only beg desperately.
  • Done a few times in EastEnders with Domestic Abuse storylines:
    • Little Mo against Trevor. After a prolonged abusive relationship, Little Mo finally snaps and attacks him with an iron. When he later attempts to kill them both in fire, she stands up against him and manages to escape while he burns.
      Little Mo: What's wrong, Trevor? Cat got your tongue?
    • Zainab against Yusef. She reduces him to a sobbing wreck with a vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech. When he tries to kill Masood in revenge as a result of this Villainous Breakdown, she lies that his daughter is in the blaze he created, sending him to die in his own scheme.
  • Subverted in the Supernatural episode On the Head of a Pin. Dean is forced to confront the demon, Alistair, who tortured him in Hell. Despite the fact that Alistair is chained up and Dean is fully armed, Alistair manipulates Dean, messes with his head, and eventually gets loose and beats the crap out of him.
  • Horatio Hornblower, "Retribution": Midshipman Wellard was abused by paranoid captain Sawyer who thought Wellard conspired against him and had him beaten up constantly to confess to imaginary mutiny. When Sawyer's later confined in his cabin, completely mad and dosed with laudanum, Wellard stands up to him. Their ship is taken, and Wellard feels desperate about their court-martial and probable charges of mutiny. He claims he wants to help his lieutenants because either Kennedy, Hornblower, or him could be accused of causing captain's accident. His idea is to shoot him, but he cannot do it as Sawyer reached the Alas, Poor Villain point and then had a rare moment of sane mind. Nevertheless, Wellard tells him that he's not his whipping boy now, and when he gets slapped, he tells him he's no man for striking him. Sawyer admits that Wellard's brave. Moments later, they stand united against their enemy.
  • In the final episode of Power Rangers Zeo, Rita tells Mondo she and Zedd didn't fear him any longer. And yet, Zedd pretended otherwise to trick the Machine Empire.
  • When Game of Thrones begins, Daenerys Targaryen is a shy, quiet young woman who's under her abusive elder brother Viserys's thumb, meekly doing what he tells her to do for fear of his wrath. By the midpoint of the first season, Daenerys's marriage to a Dothraki warlord and learning to integrate with Dothraki culture lead her to develop the confidence and will to stand up for herself, and when Viserys tries to browbeat her into submission, Daenerys makes it very clear that she holds the power now and the days of her brother walking all over her are finished.
    Viserys Targaryen: You are a horselord's slut, and now you've woken the dragon-! (Daenerys whacks Viserys in the face: he gawps at her in shock)
    Daenerys Targaryen: I am a Khaleesi of the Dothraki! I am the wife of the Great Khal and I carry his son inside me! The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands!

  • Lana Del Rey's unreleased song "Afraid" has someone yearning to leave a relationship (implied to be turned abusive) but too afraid to do it...until the end when she finally declares, "I am done being afraid."

    Video Games 
  • Dreamkiller have this awesome bit when Alice returns to confront her inner demons, which haunts her since she was 7.
    "I'm tired of dealing with these amateurs. You hear that, asshole? I'm coming for you. More minions? So be it, coward!"
  • Said not to the villain, but by the villain in World of Warcraft at the climax of the battle with the Lich King in Icecrown Citadel. Arthas, who is indeed a terrifying threat to all of Azeroth, has just had the cursed sword Frostmourne shattered by Tirion Fordring, releasing the souls it has stolen and breaking his power. As he floats, helpless against the finishing blow, he utters these immortal words.
    Arthas: Now I stand, the lion before the lambs, and they do not fear. They cannot fear.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, there's a young girl named Amelia stationed at a fort under a Fat Bastard Gonk of a commander name Gheb, who sends her to the front lines to get killed after she talks back at him when he insults General Duessel (whom she admires). If you have her attack Gheb after recruiting her, there's this exchange:
    Gheb: Y-you wench... You're that recruit, aren't you? Do you think you can betray me and get away with it?
    Amelia: Your threats no longer hold any power over me. I-I am not your pawn!
  • In the Five Nights at Freddy's game Ultimate Custom Night, the Puppet has something interesting to say if she catches you, which further inflames the theory that you're playing as William Afton in an Ironic Hell, as the girl inside (his first victim, if you'll recall) taunts you.
    Puppet: I recognize you… but I'm not afraid of you. Not anymore.
  • In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, the protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz, returns to his family home to retrieve a family heirloom, only to be confronted by his abusive father, Rip. There follows a confrontational conversation in which Rip reveals that he collaborated with the Nazis and sold his Jewish wife, B.J.'s beloved mother, out to them, leading to her death in a concentration camp. Not only that, he also sold out all the Jews, minorities, and queer folks in the neighborhood out to the Nazis with the help of some like-minded neighbors. B.J., who spent most of his childhood being beaten and talked down to by his father, walks up to Rip, unflinching even when Rip points a shotgun in his face, and effectively tells his father this before killing him without mercy.
    B.J. Blazkowicz: Was a time I was scared of you. Was a time I would piss myself having a gun pointed at my head. You know what I feel right now? Not a goddamned thing.
  • In Beyond: Two Souls, Jodie and Aiden are both scared of the Entities when they come to attack and terrorize them. When the plot reaches "First Night", Aiden finally learns how to combat the Entities, and Jodie tells Nathan that Aiden is no longer afraid of them.
  • It happens as a game mechanic in Haunting Ground with the Panic Meter, which increases whenever Fiona experiences traumatic events like being chased by a stalker or even the incredibly horrific things she witnesses during cutscenes and will have her suffer a panic attack and become helpless if it fills up (often it automatically fills completely from cutscenes). As the game goes on she becomes less susceptible to panic attacks and seldom goes into panic after cutscenes, because since she's been outsmarting and evading the enemies all night she's becoming less afraid of them and more confident.
  • The climax of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet has the cover legendary have one such moment against the other Koraidon or Miraidon that had severely injured it and killed the Professor. Until that moment, it hadn't regained its battling abilities (and in fact refuses to come out of its Poke Ball on your first visit to the final area), but when there was no other option it steps up to the plate and regains its full power. To boot, it also unlocks its Terastallized form a few turns later to really turn the tide.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Ever since the events of Volume 3, Blake has been terrified of Adam and on the run from her friends, especially after Adam cut off Yang's arm and swore to destroy everything she loves. At the end of Volume 4, Sun's You Are Not Alone speech, as well as the discovery of Adam's plan to overthrow Sienna Khan, gets her to decide she's Tired of Running. In Volume 5, she rallies all of Menagerie against the White Fang, thwarts Adam's plans, and lets him know in no uncertain terms that he no longer intimidates her. Her standing up to him, coupled with Sun backing her up and his men getting arrested, leads Adam to escape Haven.
    Blake: You can try and make me regret coming here, Adam, but honestly ... I've got more important things to deal with.
  • Discussed in the How It Should Have Ended Villain Pub sub-series IT episode. The other villains explain the concept to Pennywise when he's confused about how the children he was trying to terrorize suddenly swapped from being terrified of him to attacking him directly. As The Joker puts it, "everybody has a breaking point."

  • Ariel in Drowtales winds up confronting Syphile, the woman who (badly) raised her, and after Syphile tries to kill her Ariel turns on her, shouts the trope name, and uses Syphile's own weapon against her. But she still needs her butt saved in the end as Syphile decides to taint her.
  • A silent variation occurs in El Goonish Shive during a dream sequence, when Grace sees her second alien side, which initially snarls at her, and Grace simply reaches out and hugs it, representing her acceptance of that part of herself.
  • Attempted in Venus Envy by Zoe against the personification of her fears, but since she hasn't completely gotten over them yet it doesn't work.
  • In a recent arc in T. Campbell's Fans!, Ally demonstrated that she no longer feared Keith Feddyg by saying the last three words that he wanted to hear from her; "I forgive you."
  • In the final arc of Dominic Deegan, Dominic expresses amazement that he ever feared the Beast. It wasn't nearly as scary once he knew its true, ultimately pathetic nature. In the author's own words, knowledge of the Beast diminished it.
  • In Erfworld The Dittomancy Doubel of King Slately, upon seeing Parson, says "There is the Lord of Hampsters himself. Large and terrible. Yet I do not fear him." While Parson had not tormented Slately himself, he did hold Parson largely, if not entirely, responsible for croaking two of his sons, The real King Slately, a massive number of Jetstone units, and driving Uniroyal (whose queen was a close friend of Slately) to extinction. His fearsome reputation as a Warlord amongst other leaders of Erfworld was largely written in the blood of Jetstone and Uniroyal soldiers, despite not actually commanding most of those battles.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Played with in All Hail King Julien. After their old tyrant king tries to take his position back, the lemurs realize they aren't afraid of him anymore and work together to drive him away. Unfortunately, he learns from the experience and makes sure he gives the kingdom plenty to be afraid of next time.
    Pancho: What if we decide we don't want you to be our king, 'cause we're not afraid of you anymore!
    (Uncle Julien calls for a pack of fossa)
    Pancho: Never mind, we're afraid again, welcome back.
  • Subverted in Recess. Gus, the awkward new kid, after asking his Army veteran father for advice, attempts to invoke this trope by challenging the bully that has continually hounded him... only to be shocked when the bully nonchalantly accepts the challenge and then gives him a severe beating off-screen, which he accepts thinking there's nothing else he can do at this point. Touched by Gus' courage, the rest of the playground stand up against the bully, upon which he slinks off in a huff.
  • Ron Stoppable from the series Kim Possible really fits this trope. Being that he was afraid of things that were ridiculous things (or perhaps, not so ridiculous), throughout the series, he overcomes many of them, such as when he decided to stop running from his mutant enemy Gill and fight back, and more notably he conquered his childhood fear of monkeys, even accepting their nature as the source of his mystical martial arts powers. Even before that, he no longer felt intimidated by his personal Arch-Enemy Monkey Fist, just annoyed.
  • Ben 10: Cash and JT spent most of the original series tormenting and bullying Ben, a ten-year-old they were physically stronger than. Come Alien Force five years later, they still do it, but come "The Gauntlet", it's more of an inconvenience to anything; Ben spells it out to them that they've been pulling the same routine since the second grade, and rather than find their antics funny or intimidating, everyone just finds it pathetic and sad that they still have to resort to childish jokes and torment others just to make themselves feel big, Ben himself included.
    Ben: I can't believe I used to be afraid of you.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Twice to Ozai.
    • Zuko on the Day of Black Sun and after. Granted, he confronted his father during the eclipse because of just how powerful a bender Ozai was, but he still spent a solid several minutes laying into Ozai about how terrible, abusive, and manipulative a father he was. Ozai attempts to kill Zuko with lightning, but Zuko was prepared and turned the lightning back on him. Later on, after Ozai had his bending taken, Zuko starts visiting him in prison, trying to learn the whereabouts of his mother, and as made clear in the finale, he's the one in control of the conversation from that point on.
    • Ursa in the comics. After returning to the Fire Nation Capital for the first time since the night she provided poison to Ozai to kill Fire Lord Azulon, she also visits Ozai in prison, only to make it known that she sees Ozai for what he is.
      Ursa: After all these years, I finally see you, Ozai. You're just a small, small man trying with all your might to be big. Your heart is so small, you've no room for your son, or your daughter, or your brother... or even yourself.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • In the sequel series, Korra has a similar moment in the first season finale where she realizes that despite Big Bad Amon taking her bending away she is able to airbend for the first time in her life and proceeds to kick his ass after most of a season of being terrified of him.
      I can airbend? [beat] I can airbend!
    • Subverted in season 4. Korra thinks saying this to previous big bad Zaheer's face will help her get back up to par, but he immediately proves her wrong. He then helps her do it for real so she could take on the current big bad.
  • Done on Ozzy & Drix, when Hector, who has been hounded by a nightmare about a monster he saw in a horror movie for weeks, finally stands up to the creature in his dreams, to save Ozzy and Drix. Once he does, he realizes that the monster was just that, a simple figment of someone else's imagination, that had no real power.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Return", the incredibly powerful android Amazo returns to Earth looking for Luthor. Luthor spends most of the episode understandably terrified of the superpowered android whom he deceived and manipulated previously. Luthor later realizes that Amazo didn't really want revenge but was merely searching for meaning in his empty existence which he believed Luthor could give him. Luthor coldly remarks that he no longer fears Amazo. He just pities him.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Adora says this as she confronts Shadow Weaver in “The Shadows of Mystacor”, after having spent almost the entire episode frightened of her. The point is, Shadow Weaver had made Adora believe that other people (aside Catra) would reject her when they got to know her better, but Adora realized that Bow and Glimmer love her the way she is.
    • Catra confronts Shadow Weaver after years of abuse and wins. She also gives Hordak a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, having realized that her terrifying boss was a bully that gave the administration of the Horde to intermediates, so he could spend all the time stuck in his laborathory (the fact he didn’t get to kill her probably had something to do with that. Or, most probably, she really didn’t care anymore about what would happen to her at that point).
    • Hordak has his moment, too. In the end of Season 4, Horde Prime grabbed him by his neck and screamed at him for the audacity of having a name and showing initiative. But, in Heart 2, Hordak gets his memory back when Prime tells him to kill Entrapta. Hordak not only shoots him, instead, but also grabs him by his neck and tosses Prime’s words back at him, saying that yes, he gave himself a name and a life, and he wasn’t ashamed of that.
      Hordak: I am Hordak and I defy your will!
  • South Park
    • In the episode "Put It Down", Heidi gets back together with Cartman after breaking up with him in the last episode because Cartman threatened to kill himself and Heidi was afraid for his life. Cartman pulls this stunt again in "Splatty Tomato", only for it to fall flat this time because Heidi knows that this is just a feeble attempt to have her take him back and follows through with dumping Cartman for good.
    • Post Covid: The Return Of Covid: Butters apparently lost any fear he had towards Cartman when he became an adult, where not only is he unsympathetic to Cartman being a Crazy Homeless Person, he's unafraid to cuss back at him when Cartman tries flipping him off.
  • Lena from DuckTales (2017) has been terrified of her abusive aunt Magica for her entire life. After seeing how pathetic Magica has become by the time of "A Nightmare on Killmotor Hill!" and realizing that the balance of power between them has shifted in her favor, Lena loses all fear of her. This carries over to their next interaction in "The Phantom and the Sorceress!" where Lena -while still clearly despising Magica- treats her as more of an annoyance than a threat.
  • In Moral Orel, Orel used to fear going to his father's study as he knows a punishment would follow, even visibly gulping. However, after the events of "Nature" in which a drunk Clay shoots Orel and leaves him injured for days and exposes Clay for the pathetic father he was, Orel slowly starts to dislike and hate him more, and when Clay drags him to the study in "Nesting" for helping Ms. Censordoll campaign against him, Orel looks bored more than anything and tells him to get on with the punishment because he has work to do.
    Clay: Orel...
    Orel: I know, meet you in your study. [continues passing out anti-Clay campaign flyers]
  • In the Terrytoons short, The Wolf's Pardon, the Big Bad Wolf, after a decade in prison, decides to go bother The Three Little Pigs. However, the Pigs have grown into big, burly construction workers who are no longer intimidate by their old tormentor. Afterwards, the Wolf realizes that Little Red Riding Hood has probably grown up too, and decides to hit on her. Unfortunately for him, Red has become a Butter Face that is totally into him.


Video Example(s):


Dennis Ends Uncle Bumpy

Dennis has been tortured by Uncle Bumpy for years, but once he's freed from his prison thanks to Koala Man and Spider, he sacrifices himself to kill Uncle Bumpy once and for all.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / NotAfraidOfYouAnymore

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