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Stop Hitting Yourself

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"When I was a boy, my big brother held on to my hands, then he made me slap my own face.
I looked up to him then, and still do.
He was trying to teach me something,
and now I know what it was, now I know what he meant, now I know how it is!

One must eat the other who runs free before him. Put them right into his mouth
while fantasizing the beauty of his movements,
a sensation not unlike slapping yourself in the face..."
Jane's Addiction, "Of Course"

This trope is about a tactic, either bullying or combat, that consists of forcing/making someone hit themselves. Deals both physical and psychological damage. Especially when it's about bullying, expect The Bully to taunt the victim "why do you keep hitting yourself?" or, even more often "Stop hitting yourself!", hence the trope name.

In more dramatic examples, someone might have a piece of their person removed and used as a weapon against what remains of them. Especially when it Takes One to Kill One, the easiest way to do it is to take a piece of that "like" to harm the rest of it. A weapon system could be turned against its own platform. A projectile may be reflected or caught and returned back at the attacker. More fantastic examples might even include a duplicate being created to attack the original or someone being forced to fight a time displaced version of themselves. If you've got psychic powers, maybe you can make people physically lash out at themselves or endlessly fight themselves in a nightmare? To a director, just seeing the actor fumble around on the green screen could be worth it.

Related to Why Did You Make Me Hit You?, which is about shifting the blame from the perpetrator to the (particularly weak-willed) victim, which may go hand in hand with this trope. Compare Attack Reflector, Catch and Return, Deadly Dodging and Misguided Missile. Compare Primal Chest-Pound, when someone purposefully hits oneself on the chest to show off one's fierceness and toughness. Likewise compare Kicking My Own Butt, when someone voluntarily beats themselves up for some reason, and What the Fu Are You Doing?, when the reason is simple clumsiness and trying techniques/weapons too advanced for the wielder. Compare and contrast Attacking Through Yourself, when someone deliberately hurts oneself to attack someone who cannot be reached otherwise. People Puppets is a particularly effective way to play this game. Not to be confused with Self-Harm, when someone deliberately hurts (often hits) oneself because of a psychological problem. Super-Trope to Psychic-Assisted Suicide, Sub-Trope to Hoist by His Own Petard.

The confusion status inflicted by enemies in some Role Playing Games is centered around either this and/or an Invoked Trope of something on the Friendly Fire Index.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bad Company, Ryuji is about to punch Eikichi in the face when Eikichi suddenly turns to hear what his friend said, causing Ryuji to hit his own face.
  • Dragon Ball: In the climax of the Red Ribbon arc, Goku is fighting Adjutant Black who's piloting a Humongous Mecha. At one point he begins to celebrate thinking that he blasted Goku into oblivion with a rain of fire, only for Goku to land on his cockpit's glass to make fun of him. An enraged Black tries to punch Goku, who quickly dodges and causes the giant punch to hit Black through the glass instead.
  • Ghost in the Shell: There's a recurring gag where Motoko Kusanagi hacks another character's cybernetics to make them punch themself in the face.
    • Ghost in the Shell:
      • In chapter 2, Motoko gets irritated with the Minister of Internal Affairs when he starts to insinuate that he may interfere with later operations if she doesn't toe a particular line — their last mission caused a bit of a political mess. She asks to be linked to his cyberbrain directly to give her reply, and makes him punch himself in the face.
      • In chapter 3, Batou remotely mind-links with Motoko while she's in the middle of a cybersex session with several female Friends with Benefits and starts complaining about the nerve signals he's getting from organs he doesn't have. Cue Motoko making him punch himself in the face so hard one of his Electronic Eyes cracks.
    • At the end of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex episode "Missing Hearts", Motoko challenges Batou after he boasts about the physical superiority of male prosthetic bodies. He puts up his fists, ready to strike, but she simply smiles back at him. In that brief instant, Motoko hacks Batou's body and makes him punch himself out, then tells him she looks forward to reading his report on the way that he properly used all the muscles in his head.
  • In Naruto, the Third Raikage is so tough that he can No-Sell most things. Then Naruto finds out what exactly can hurt him: his own technique. So by the aid of Frog Kata, Naruto bends Raikage's arm when he's going to strike, causing him to hit himself, wounding him deeply.


    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man villain the Spot uses his Thinking Up Portals power to make portals on his own body so when Spidey hits him, he ends up himself in the face.
  • Superman: In Superboy 1980 issue #5, a spaceship shoots a barrage of energy-bursts at Superboy, who uses his cape to deflect them back at the ship and punch a hole through its hull.
  • In Terror, Inc. - Apocalypse Soon, immortal villain Zahhak "the Dragon King" has two hungry snakes growing from his shoulders. They feed on brains, and they're not entirely under his conscious control. When Terror leaves him chained up in a cave for centuries as Sealed Evil in a Can, his snakes' only food source is his own brain. Zahhak regenerates each day, but it's a very unpleasant imprisonment.

    Comic Strips 
  • Brewster Rockit has had this at least twice: once when Brewster used "the Dork Side of the Force" and once when a microchip in Cliff's hand got hacked.

    Fan Works 
  • A Certain Droll Hivemind: From "Entry 14", mixed with Grievous Harm with a Body from Accelerator:
    It does not hurt as much as when the Accelerator decided to play 'stop hitting yourself' with Misaka-2813's arms and legs, and we tolerated that. Even if it did take a long time for him to beat her to death with her own limbs.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged plays with this during the Freeza Saga when Freeza grabs Vegeta by the hair and starts punching him in the back, singsongingly declaring "Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!" When Vegeta whines that he's doing it wrong, Freeza replies "Au contrare, Vegeta. You brought this upon yourself."
  • A far less humorous and far more serious example in Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità. After screaming at Italy, Germany and Japan were horrified at themselves for doing so. They frantically apologized and proceeded to literally hit themselves. Anguished, Italy exclaimed for them to stop.
  • Cobalt Karkat and mutant Kanaya in Red Dead Virgo have an entire conversation where Karkat constantly controls Kanaya into hitting herself.
    (After he controlled her repeatedly.)
    CG: SIGH.
    GA: Ow
    GA: Ow
    GA: Ow
    GA: Ow
    GA: Ow
    GA: Ow
    And so on.
    Listen, nobody ever said he was GOOD at this.

    Films — Animation 
  • In a serious, non-mocking example, Rourke does this to Milo near the end of Atlantis: The Lost Empire when the latter tries to fight him.
  • In Big Hero 6, during the bot fight scene, Hiro's robot removes one arm of Yama's much bigger robot and uses it as a weapon to break off the other arm.
  • In Everyone's Hero, Mr. Cross amuses himself by making two bobbleheads of Babe Ruth fight each other.
  • The Incredibles: Mr. Incredible is only able to defeat the Omnidroid the first time around because he sneaks inside it while it is still targeting him, causing it to hit itself until it is destroyed. This insight becomes invaluable when the heroes are fighting the new, improved Omnidroid in the climax.
    Mr. Incredible: The only thing hard enough to penetrate it is... itself!
  • In the Kung Fu Panda franchise, Master Viper sometimes coils around her opponents' neck and wrist and pulls their hand at their face, forcing them to hit themselves. She uses this tactic against Tai Lung in the first movie, a wolf soldier in the second movie and a Killer Gorilla bandit in the short Secrets of the Furious Five.
  • In Ralph Breaks the Internet, as Ralph fights the giant creature consisting of his clones, he leaps on its head, resulting in the creature hitting itself in the face as it tries to crush Ralph.
  • The juvenile gorilla Flynt plays the punch yourself game with his friend Mungo in Tarzan. It only works twice before the subjected gorilla throws the other away.
  • In Toy Story, Woody smacks Buzz Lightyear with his own arm as a Get A Hold Of Yourself Man moment.
  • In Zootopia, as part of her training at the police academy, Judy fights a rhinoceros in a boxing match. She bounces off the ropes at the edge of the boxing ring and kicks the rhino's arm into his own face.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Ace does this (among other things) to a crocodile that unwisely tries to chomp him.
  • In Army of Frankensteins, Jimmy suffers a Literal Disarming at the hands of one of the Frankensteins, who then proceeds to beat him with his own arm.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane catches Batman's fist and forces him to punch himself in the face.
  • Evil Dead:
    • In Evil Dead 2, after Ash's hand is infected by the Evil, he starts involuntarily punching himself in the face, smashing dishes over his own head, and even grabs himself by the scruff and flips himself onto the floor.
    • In Army of Darkness, the Evil infests Ash again and begins splitting off as an evil clone, clobbering Ash with his own hand until he fully detaches. He's still technically hitting himself even after that, until Ash gets fed up with that bullshit and gives Evil Ash a double load of buckshot to the face.
  • Indiana Jones:
    • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Indiana Jones discourages Mola Ram from trying to tear out his heart by grabbing Ram's arm and punching him in the face with his own fist.
    • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: While trying to escape the two German fighter planes,note  Henry Jones, Sr. accidentally machine-guns their own plane's rudder when one of the enemy planes dives past on an attack run. This is Rule of Funny: real military aircraft guns contained mechanical lockouts to keep them from being fired in a direction that could damage the plane they were attached to.
  • John Wick gives a darkly comic example when he's wrestling with a knife-wielding opponent and manipulates the hapless mook into holding the point toward his own chest. Wick then takes advantage of the mook's death-grip on the knife by giving the pommel a few good slams with his free hand.
  • At one point in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Damien Drake is tortured by being wired up with electrodes that stimulate his arm muscles, forcing him to slap himself in the face.
    The Chairman: How do you like that, Mr. Slap-Yourself-With-Your-Own-Hand?
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • In Return of the Jedi, Luke blows up Jabba's sail barge by firing its own cannon into the deck.
  • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen sees Starscream get beaten with his own severed arm by both Optimus Prime and Megatron. He's a robot, so he sticks it back on after they are done.
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Peter Maximoff makes a guard punch himself in the face when he rushes through the kitchen that leads to Magneto's prison.

    Live-Action TV 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Cheerleader Melissa is fond of using a Kondo clutch to stomp the back of MsChif's head in with her own foot. Or was until they became allies anyway.
  • In one of Raw's more unexpected instances, Jinder Mahal of 3MB tried to make Santino Marella hit himself with his own Cobra by playing a flute to charm the attack/snake puppet.
  • During a Mixed Tag Team Match, Maryse made Santino Marella hit himself with his Cobra.
  • Beth Phoenix played a 'stop kicking yourself' game with Melina at the Royal Rumble.
  • Kia Stevens/Amazing Kong's accordion rack is an elevated stop kicking yourself. MsChif was a favored target of this one too, until they became allies anyway.
  • After being repeatedly pie-faced by Allysin Kay at SHINE 3, Christina Von Eerie responded by making Kay pie-face herself, after spitting in Kay's hand.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • As a general rule, no form of mind control, whether magic or psionic, can cause a creature to hurt itself; suicidal orders are just plain ignored. There are exceptions, however; notably, the death urge telepathic power force the victim to try killing itself with a weapon, provoking the deadliest opponent close by, or throw itself at a hazard (but only for a very short time).
    • From the Tome of Battle – Book of Nine Swords, the high-level Setting Sun maneuver "Fool's Strike" allows redirecting one attack from an opponent against itself.

    Video Games 
  • Kirby: Some of the bosses have attacks that can be inhaled by Kirby to be spit back at the boss (or, rarely, gives him a copy ability). In Kirby Super Star, its remake, and Kirby: Planet Robobot, you can also use the Mirror ability to directly reflect the boss' projectiles back at them.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man 2: Metal Man is the only Robot Master to be weak against his own weapon, the Metal Blade, as seen in the rematch against him.
    • Mega Man Zero 4: This game introduces the Zero Knuckle, a weapon that Zero can use to pick a special weapon from enemies. This can also be used on a few of the bosses' attacks to be used against the boss, i.e., Noble Mandrago's planted seeds (it only does little damage for Mandrago) or Weil's falling swords (the sword you gain only has one use, but is fairly strong).
  • One Step From Eden: The Trinergy artifact, only used by the TrinityCannon enemy, charges its attack every time the player character moves. Its Flavor Text, found in the game's code, is:
    Stop hitting yourself
  • Skullmonkeys: A cutscene has a hamster entering into a skullmonkey's skull through its orbit. While the tiny rodent is wreaking havoc inside the poor monkey's head, the latter starts headbutting a rock. A few seconds later, it punches itself for the desperation. As soon as it faints, the hamster pops out unscathed and says:
    "Silly... isn't it?"
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles:
    • The boss of Flying Battery Act 1 is a monstrous version of those animal capsules with two flailing spikeball arms to smash Sonic with. It's invulnerable to even Super Sonic's attacks, and has to be beaten by staying on top of it, then moving away when the arms get ready to attack, causing it to hit itself.
    • Robotnik's machine in Lava Reef Zone will launch mines that slide down the lava and will eventually collide into him and take him out. It's invulnerable to everything else, even Super Sonic's attacks.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • An inexperienced Engineer can be injured and killed by his own sentry if an enemy tricks him into walking within its fire.
    • Soldier and Demoman can also have their splash damage used against them, especially by using Bonk, a Dead Ringer, or an Uber to avoid taking damage yourself.
    • Pyros can airblast certain projectiles—such as rockets, grenades, and flares—back at their attacker. This also makes them deal mini-crits this way.
    • A more literal example is the Boston Basher for the Scout. It's a melee weapon that inflicts bleeding damage upon hit, but missing a swing will damage the attacker. This can also be intentionally used to jump higher than normal thanks to the game's physics engine.
      "On miss: Hit yourself. Idiot."

    Web Animation 


    Western Animation 
  • In the The Amazing World of Gumball episode The Ghost, Gumball ends up in a fight with himself as he's trying to get Carrie to stop possessing him and using his body to go on eating sprees.
  • Ben 10:
    • Ben 10: Alien Force: When Ben turns into Way Big to fight a giant Vilgax, he grabs Vilgax's arms and does this to him. Kevin even laughs and says "Classic."
    • Ben 10: Omniverse: Ben turns into Ghostfreak and possesses Mike Morningstar/Darkstar and makes him hit himself in the face repeatedly.
  • The Buzz on Maggie: In "Hooligans", ant bully Snap repeatedly stings a wasp with said wasp's own stinger, and asks "Why are you stinging yourself? Why are you stinging yourself?"
  • DC Super Hero Girls: In "#SheMightBeGiant", Doris bullies Karen at school by making her hit herself, but the punches are so light that Karen finds it more funny than anything. This gets an Ironic Echo later in the episode where Bumblebee says "Why you hitting yourself?" after Giganta punched herself in the face and before Bumblebee pushes down the villainess several stories to defeat her.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Death Lives", Peter and Death briefly end up in a fight where Peter accidentally yanks Death's skeleton arm out of his socket. Said arm is still able to move and attempts to attack him, prompting an interesting retaliation of Peter trying to hit Death with it until someone steps in to break them up.
    Seth Macfarlane: [in the DVD Commentary] Script direction here was very funny: "Peter begins beating Death with his own arm."
  • Towards the end of the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Land of the Flea", the Imaginary fleas that live on Eduardo jump onto Mr. Herriman and take control of his body, which includes making him hit himself. When they tell Frankie and the other imaginary friends that if they don't stop trying to kill them with powders, collars, and baths, they will destroy Mr. Herriman, or at least make him keep hitting himself.
  • In the season one finale of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021), Skeletor reveals he can fully control his Dark Masters through the power of Havoc when they attempted a coup against him. As part of his gloating over how they were Out-Gambitted, Skeletor makes Beast Man punch himself in the face a few times.
  • The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour: In the second crossover, When Nerds Collide, Jorgen Von Strange and Prof. Calamitus are fused together and when Calamitus finds out he can control Jorgen, he immediately begins punching Jorgen in the face with Jorgen's own fists and mockingly asks "Why are you hitting yourself?" twice.
  • Kim Possible:
    • In "Virtu-Ron", the characters enter a MMORPG based in medieval times where someone has started kidnapping various players. Wade takes on the role of a wizard and casts a spell to make the villain hit himself with his sword (as well as taunt him by saying "Quit hitting yourself with your sword").
    • Also done in "Ill-Suited" when Doctor Dementor steals and wears Kim's new battlesuit, but then Rufus gets his paws on the suit's remote control...
      Ron: Hey, stop hitting yourself!
      Dementor: I cannot!
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: In the episode "Out of the Past", June does this during her climactic fight against Kai Yee after restraining his arms:
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "To Change a Changeling", Pharynx used to do this to his brother Thorax when they were grubs, smacking him in the face with the latter's own hoof and asking him why he was hitting himself. This later turns out to be the trick to defeating the Maulwurf — since the only thing that can hurt it through its thick hide are its own attacks, Thorax and Pharynx goad it into slapping and biting itself by hovering next to it or standing on it and dodging before it can hit them. Pharynx explicitly brings up his childhood habit of doing this when he comes up with the plan.
  • In an episode of Phineas and Ferb, Doofenshmirtz succesfully controls Perry's brain, and one of the things he makes Perry do is this.
    Doofenshmirtz: Why are you hitting yourself?! Why are you hitting yourself?! Why are you hitting yourself?!
  • Regular Show:
    • * In "Rigby's Body", after eating too much junk food, Rigby's body turns on him and attacks him, eventually ripping his consciousness out.
    • In "The Real Thomas", when Russia reveals how they plan to bypass the treaty between themselves and the US by taking parts of their country and forcing them into collisions on their missiles, Premier Koshkov's associate, Karpov, mockingly states, "Why are you hitting yourself, America?!"
  • In one episode of Robotboy, Donnie bullies Gus in this way, by grabbing the latter's arm and making Gus hit himself in the face, to the point of getting a black eye.
  • Secret Squirrel (1993) uses this tactic against a destructive panda named WonTon. Knowing he cannot physically fight WonTon as he's an endangered species, Secret maneuvers himself in positions that make WonTon hit himself. He does so to the point he knocks himself unconscious, his blow to the ground cushioned by a pillow Secret lays for him.
  • The Simpsons: This is a regular tactic of bully Nelson Muntz, complete with the line "Stop hitting yourself!"
    • When the class is given video cameras and assigned to make documentaries, Nelson's is called "Stop Hitting Yourself" and consists of Nelson filming Milhouse while using Milhouse's own fist to hit him in the head.
    • Nelson attends a party given by a wealthy family. He is seen doing the same thing to a butler while saying, "Stop buttling yourself!" The butler politely responds "Would that I could, sir."
    • In a "Treehouse of Horror XII" segment parodying Harry Potter Nelson points Milhouse's own wand at Milhouse's head to change it into a banana, an ostrich, and Mr. T. The incantation is "Stop Zapping Yourself!".
    • In "Brawl in the Family", Nelson noogies a rare spotted owl while shouting "Stop endangering yourself!".
  • Teen Titans (2003) has Jericho fight a villain by using his possession power to possess a villain, taking over his voluntary movements and forcing him to start literally punching himself.
  • Total Drama:
    • For the first part of the challenge in "Crouching Courtney, Hidden Owen", Harold gets strapped in a radio-controlled robot suit to which Duncan has the controller. They're supposed to fight as a team, but Duncan takes the opportunity to make Harold kick himself in the face. With mirth in his voice, he tells him to stop kicking himself.
    • The recently mutated Dakota takes care of a mutant alligator for the Mutant Maggots in "The Treasure Island of Doctor McLean". Among others, she grabs its tentacles and punches it with them, gleefully asking why it's hitting itself.
  • The Venture Bros.: In a fantasy sequence in "The Trial of the Monarch", Brock removes the arm of a thirty-foot-tall animated statue and uses it to demolish the statue's groin. The Brothers cheer him on with "Stop hitting yourself!".
  • X-Men: The Animated Series: Sabertooth tries to play this game with Wolverine, to see how well he will take his own claws.

    Real Life 
  • Defied in naval architecture. Ships with gun turrets contain mechanical lockouts to keep them from being mistakenly or intentionally fired in a direction that could damage the ship itself, which would be theoretically possible for destroyers' and cruisers' 5" guns.

"Pokémon is confused! It hurt itself in its confusion!"


Flynt and Mungo

Flynt, a juvenile gorilla plays the punch yourself game with his friend Mungo.

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