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Playing With / A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read

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Basic Trope: The ability to read minds isn't all it's cracked up to be, as it can uncover unpleasant secrets that might be better if left unknown.

  • Straight: Alice uses her mind-reading ability on Bob, and finds out that either...
    a) He's thinking lustful thoughts about her
    b) He despises, loathes, and hates her.
    c) Both possibilities apply... And he's not the only one.
    d) He's thinking: "Why is Alice staring at me like that? It's creepy!"
    It ends up becoming a constant source of Paranoia Fuel to her.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed: Alice discovers that Bob doesn't like her cooking.
  • Justified: The mind is sometimes a very dark, scary place, particularly when it comes down to the subconscious mind.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Alice finds out that Bob has a crush on her.
    • Alice reads Bob's mind, only to hear nothing at all.
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    • Bob knew that new telepaths often get in a habit of reading minds so he started thinking disturbing things to give her a lesson in respecting privacy.
  • Double Subverted:
    • But Alice finds Bob repulsive, and the fact that he has a crush on her even more repulsive!
    • The thoughts about wanting to make her his slave were real however. OR she likes it.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig Zagged: Because the brain is a complex thing that is never doing one thing, Alice sees horrifying things, unimpressive things, loopy things, intelligent ideas, pleasant thoughts, et cetera.
  • Averted:
    • Alice sees nothing disturbing in Bob's thought processes.
    • Alice does not have the ability to read minds.
  • Enforced: Be Careful What You Wish For
  • Lampshaded: "Wow, Bob is one sick puppy..."
  • Invoked: Alice needs to scan the thoughts of Bob, a known Handsome Lech, and/or her worst enemy.
  • Exploited:
    • Bob has feelings for Alice and hopes she'll reciprocate, so he thinks romantic and/or sexual thoughts featuring her.
    • Bob wants to keep Alice from his head, period. So he starts to generate some very disturbing Psychic Static made of his bad experiences from World War III, overlayed with a disturbingly cheery Ear Worm. Alice faints and never again tries to read Bob's mind.
  • Defied: Alice decides to AVOID people's inner mind while using her mind-reading powers, and instead focus on scanning their immediate thoughts.
  • Discussed: Charlotte expresses admiration for Alice's mind-reading powers, and she exclaims that it must be coolest thing in the world. Alice's response?
    Alice: "It isn't as awesome as you might think... Some of the things that I've seen... Let's just say they are NOT pretty... AT ALL!"
  • Conversed: "Letting her keep the mind-reading power would change the status quo too much, so I bet they give it downsides that make her decide to get rid of it."
  • Implied: Alice ended up going misanthropic and isolating herself from humanity after she gained telepathy.
  • Deconstructed:
    • The ability to read minds causes Alice to forget that there is a very strong different between peoples actions and thoughts, and she can never see anyone the same way again.
    • Due to the constant Paranoia Fuel and not being able to tell her own thoughts apart from everyone's else, Alice develops schizophrenia. In addition, her mindreading has become an unhealthy obsession after recognition from others.
  • Played For Laughs:
  • Played For Drama:
    • Alice thinks Bob is her friend, and is horrified to find out that he secretly hates her.
    • Alice ends up developing mental issues from dealing with this. She has anxiety issues about what people are thinking about her when she isn't in their presence, losing faith in humanity and falling into depression from dealing with it.

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