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Bruce Wayne: Look, I know he... troubles you. But he's here. You have to get over the how and why. Trust me on this... this boy needs his father.

Clark Kent: I'm not his father!
Young Justice, "Schooled"

A trope common to Science Fiction or Horror, in which a victim finds their genes, DNA, soul, or "essence" taken or copied without their permission, resulting in an offspring which is either unnatural or unwanted--or both. This being could be a Clone, Humanoid Abomination, or a Designer Baby created by a Stalker with a Test Tube. Sometimes, the villainous party may take what they want from the character's real offspring instead, twisting it with Body Horror, Demonic Possession or The Corruption, prompting the parent to now consider it a different entity entirely and deny any kinship. In any case, the clear message is that the parent DOES NOT WANT.

Things can get even Squickier if the "offspring" is a full-size, adult clone. Many people in real life have identical twins, so most would consider a copy that's close to their age (or even older) a "sibling" rather than a "child"... although that's moot if this trope is played straight, of course.

This can become the progeny's source of angst or their Freudian Excuse for turning evil. For this trope to be in effect, it has to be clear that the "child" is considered a new creation outside of the "parent's" control (i.e., rape, cloning, or some sort of freak accident). If the parent willfully mated, cloned themselves, or did brutal experiments on their own child, only to disown them later, that is a different matter.

This trope is often the result when The Bad Guy Wins in a story with a Stalker with a Test Tube, or after a character catches a Face Full of Alien Wingwong. A common reaction is ~But I Can't Be Pregnant!~, and sometimes happens in Real Life with a Child by Rape.

Do not confuse with I Have No Son, in which the parent disowns a disappointing child.

Examples of That Thing Is Not My Child include:


Anime/Manga

  • This seems to be much how Guts reacts in Berserk, after Casca miscarries and gives birth to a hideously deformed child after the events of the Eclipse where she was raped by Femto. Unlike most examples on the list, it actually is his child, but merely corrupted by events outside of his control.
  • In a particularly heartbreaking example, Fruits Basket features Momiji's mother reacting this way (using the almost exact quote) upon discovering that her child turns into a rabbit when she holds him because he's under the zodiac curse. Momiji's father had her memory of her son cleared to aid her failing health brought on by the emotional stress of all this.


Collectible Card Games

  • Magic: The Gathering's Innistrad set has a card named Cloistered Youth with the ability of transformation.[1] When transformed, it becomes Unholy Fiend.

 "I heard her talking in her sleep, pleading, shrieking, snarling. It was not my daughter's voice. That is not my daughter."

    • This is a clear Shout-Out to The Exorcist (see below). Many cards in Innistrad are based on horror movies.


Comics

  • Cable's reaction to the "son" which was sired when his identical clone Stryfe raped his wife.
    • Ironically, Cable himself is the son of Madelyne Pryor, aka "The Goblin Queen", the Evil Clone of Jean Grey. She handled it better.
      • Considering her husband/his father abandoned him in Alaska to explore his feelings for her, it's the least she could do.
  • Averted with Superboy in the comics, whom Superman intially accepts as a buddy, and then as a cousin--but never as a son. (Although an in-universe newspaper article written after Superboy came Back From the Dead states that Superman felt Superboy's death was "like losing a son".) Even Lex Luthor, who created the boy and donated the other half of the DNA, considered him a son... at first.
  • Averted with Batman and Damien Wayne, the fifth Robin, who may or may not have been the result of a Stalker with a Test Tube.
  • Played with between Spider-Man and his clone, Ben Reilly. The two eventually resolve their differences and come to see one-another as brothers... even if half the time they aren't even sure who the original is.
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter was even tricked into believing a clone of himself was his father. He was not pleased when he learned the truth... nor was his "dad", who was a Manchurian Agent and didn't know about it himself.
    • Spider Girl averted this with a clone of May Parker who started calling herself April - Peter and Mary Jane decided to try to house her as a second daughter, though officially they claimed she was an Identical Cousin.
  • Invoked in Avengers Academy. Ant Man was replaced by a Skrull which copied him "to the genetic level" and, during an affair with Tigra, impregnated her. As such, the child is genetically Ant Man's. Later, the real Ant Man returns, and Tigra insists that he has no parental claim to the baby. He agrees, but she then asks him to be the child's godfather instead.
  • Averted hard in a Weird Science story. The children on a new colony are systematically taken from their mothers at birth, and the mothers aren't allowed to see them. The women's leader eventually forces the head doctor to admit why this is happening: The children are malformed and mutated, and the medical staff was trying to protect the mothers from the horror and trauma. The women basically storm the nursery, and accept the children with open arms. The leader turns to the head doctor, and with a mix of pity and contempt says to him "Did you truly believe we could not love our own children?"


Film

  • This is how some parents react to the silver-eyed children in the Village of the Damned movie and its remake.
  • In Inception, Mal and Cobb both react this way when they're faced with children they believe to be fake, while they may or may not be dreaming. The jury's still out on which interpretation, if either, was correct.
  • In the B-Movie Its Alive, this is a major plot point for the father of a killer mutant baby.
  • This may have been the motive for the Cobblepot family from Batman Returns to throw baby Oswald over a bridge in its wicker bassinet.
  • The mother in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence reacts this way to the robotic "child" her husband brings home.


Literature

  • Played brutally, horribly straight in Duumvirate. Luke agrees with this sentiment when killing his parents.
  • Averted in the Vorkosigan Saga. In Brothers in Arms, Miles discovers that a Komarran terrorist cell has cloned him as part of a Byzantine plot. Miles immediately declares the clone his brother, informs him of the automatically-determined Dead Guy, Junior name Vor tradition gives him, and goes out of his way to protect and support him. His mother and father do the same, when they meet him.
  • In The Marvelous Land of Oz, Tip, a boy who's "small and rather delicate in appearance," creates a huge pumpkin-headed scarecrow man named "Jack Pumpkinhead" to frighten a witch, who uses magic to bring it to life. This leads to Tip being very uncomfortable with the creature calling him "Father", although he does consider Jack a good friend. At the end it turns out that Tip is a girl, Princess Ozma, who's been under a spell since she was younger to protect her identity. After being changed back into Ozma, she's thrilled that Jack Pumpkinhead can no longer refer to her as "father".
  • The Exorcist : "Father, you show me Regan's identical twin: same face, same voice, same smell, same everything down to the way she dots her i’s, and still I'd know in a second that it wasn't really her! I'd know it! I'd know it in my gut and I'm telling you I know that thing upstairs is not my daughter!"
  • The Metamorphosis: After Gregor Samsa wakes one morning to find he inexplicably transformed into a giant cockroach in the middle of the night, (don't ask) his family slowly stops believing the bug was ever their son to begin with and eventually just leave him to die alone in his room.


Live Action TV

  • In "The Doctor's Daughter", the Doctor originally reacts this way to his "daughter", actually an Opposite Sex Clone.
  • In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Riker kills the still-in-development clone of himself produced by the colony that reproduced by cloning (their initial population was too small to provide adequate genetic diversity). Riker cites some "diminished my uniqueness" excuse, (and the fact this was done without his permission). Later, a tranporter-accident clone fares better, being recognized as much as Riker as the one on Enterprise. The two act... like brothers.
  • Stargate SG-1: Vala Mal Doran eventually develops this attitude towards Adria, the Orici offspring implanted in her by the Ori.
  • Played with in Tin Man where the Queen tells Azkedellia that she is "not my daughter." At the time, you think it;s just because of Az's bad behavior. She's really addressing the Evil Witch that has possessed Azkedellia.


Tabletop Games

  • This was what led Lord Soth of Dragonlance and Ravenloft fame to commit his first supreme act of evil, one of several that would ultimately make him a Darklord of Ravenloft. He and his wife, Lady Korrine of Gladria, had been trying to produce a son to be his heir, and Korrine had consulted a witch about the problem, who had agreed to help them, but had warned her that the child would be a representation of Soth's soul. Unfortunately, Korrine didn't know about the bad shit that her husband had done, including ordering the murders of his half-brother and sister by his seneschal Caradoc, else she would have known what would eventually transpire of the birth and would be of a mind to curse the witch. When she gave birth to the son in question, it had a face similar to that of dragon-kin with two arms on one side and a leg on the other, with the last leg placed at the bottom of the buttocks as if it were a tail. To say that Soth was pissed about this was a massive understatement, and thinking that she had cheated on him with some kind of demon, Soth murdered Korrine and the monstrous child.


Theater

  • Done in the stage adaptation of Wicked. Elphaba's father undisguisedly loathes her with a passion and dotes on her younger sister Nessa merely because Elphaba is green. The moment she's born he screams "TAKE! IT! AWAY!" at the nurse before angrily storming off.
    • To be fairhe isn't Elphaba's real father anyway.
  • In Batboy: The Musical, a woman has twins by different rapists from the night of a Freak Lab Accident with pheromones. She loves one baby, because the father isn't so bad (yet); the other is a Half-Human Hybrid, prompting her to shout, "Kill it!" But her attitude changes when she meets him again years later.


Video Games

  • This is Big Boss's initial reaction to the Snake brothers, who are his clones. He eventually comes around, though. Sadly, by the time he does, only one of the three is still alive. And then Big Boss dies before he can really spend any time with him.
    • To be fair, Big Boss claimed to always respect Solid Snake as a man and a soldier, and it's pretty obvious, given that Big Boss took the trouble to train Snake and teach him CQC, that Big Boss played his role as a father for at least part of Snake's life. Trying to kill Solid Snake just seems to be a pre-requisite for being part of the Snake family, the only family member who didn't try to kill Snake was EVA (his mother).
  • Averted in Parasite Eve 2, when Aya Brea finds out that an evil cult has cloned her in order to create a new 'Parasite Eve' with the ability to control NMC's... despite having standing orders to destroy the girl, and despite said girl going One-Winged Angel on her, she stubbornly refuses to hurt her, and eventually adopts the young clone as her younger sister.
  • Played with in Tales of the Abyss, with "replicas" (clones) in general.
  • Horrifically averted with Dead Space 2, where a woman calls lovingly to her necromorph baby... only to get her entrails splattered against the wall when it goes kaboom.
  • This is Kitana's reaction towards her 'sister' Mileena's insistence of 'being a family' in her Story Mode chapter in Mortal Kombat 9.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, this happens in Gau's backstory. Gau's mother died in childbirth, and his father snapped, declaring Gau a monster and dumping him on the Veldt. Despite his father's paranoid rantings, Gau is, for the record, a completely ordinary human beyond being Raised By Monsters.
  • One boss in Catherine is "The Baby" (which latter comes back as "The baby WITH A CHAINSAW"). Vincent's reaction? "What the hell is this? I'm NOT your father!"
  • In World of Warcraft, this is Alexstrazsa's response after finding out Deathwing has corrupted a large number of young red dragons (and is using them to attack her and the players):

  Alexstrazsa: They are...my clutch no longer. Bring them down.


Western Animation

  • This is Superman's reaction to Superboy in Young Justice.
    • Though he's at least nicer than most examples of this trope--so far he has never blamed Superboy or considered him a "thing," but he also clearly doesn't want to consider him his child (see page quote). He's also rationalized this as a way to avoid giving Superboy Cloning Blues, claiming that it would be better if Batman or someone took on a mentoring role instead.
  • Averted in Transformers: Animated with Sari's origin. She started out as a Cybertronian protoform that mysteriously appears in Isaac Sumdac's lab. When he touched it his DNA got scanned and transformed the protoform into a technorganic human/cybertronian hybrid who Sumdac then adopts and raises as his own daughter.
  • In Gargoyles, Xanatos created a clone of Goliath, who reacted in disgust, calling him a "thing" and an "abomination". Elisa immediately pointed out that "Thailog" could be considered his son, and Goliath reluctantly agrees they should help free him from Sevarius. Unfortunately, Thailog had already learned a few tricks from his other daddies...
    • Which actually makes this an inversion--it really only takes Goliath about a minute or two to accept Thailog as a son, but Thailog refuses to accept Goliath as a parent, claiming he's too weak for him to admire. He rejects Xanatos and Sevarius too, but that's more because his own ambitions oppose theirs.

Notes

  1. It is a double-sided card that can be flipped when certain conditions are met.
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