like father, like sons
Anonymous asked: I’m so confused how Dean can go on throughout his life without realizing the emotional and mental toll he has taken out on his brother. What do you think the writers are thinking when they continue to write Dean as uncaring and insensitive? I mean, to me, that’s how he comes across sometimes. His words differ from his actions, and it leaves Sam confused and in doubt about 99% of the time. I can’t imagine how Sam managed to live day by day.
Well, a couple of things here — Dean was as much Sam’s parent as brother when they were younger, and I think that parents tend to repeat the behavior that their own parents modeled for them. This is especially problematic for Dean because he was so young when he started being Sam’s caretaker, no more than a child himself with all of a child’s impulsiveness and immaturity and brother’s competitiveness and resentments and unconditional love. He did better in many ways than John did with him, but I still think he made a lot of the same mistakes. For example, while Dean is quick to point out Sam’s mistakes, he rarely tells him that he’s proud of him or that he has faith in him, which he obviously does because he’s told other people like Benny and the priest in S8. That’s John’s parenting style coming through. I don’t know that Dean knows how to say those things because his father never said them to him. The most obvious example of Dean “being John” was when he told Sam that if he left not to come back in AHBL1 WTLB1.
The other thing is that Sam is very good at being a chameleon. In other words, he presents himself as what he thinks others expect of him. I imagine that is a result of being dragged from town to town, school to school growing up. It serves him well when interviewing people during hunts, but on an interpersonal level it is a very bad thing. Unlike Dean who revealed his real life to Cassie, Sam never told Jess and clearly had no intention of doing so with Amelia.
In part that extends to Dean because Dean is the no chick flicks guy, but it may also have something to do with Sam’s belief that there was something essential wrong with him from the time he was a little kid.
I’m not excusing Dean’s lack of sensitivity to Sam’s inner life because he knows how his dad screwed him up and he should have enough self-awareness to see he behaves in much the same way toward Sam, but I think Dean’s behavior is explainable.
* the-mean-machine said: correction; dean said that in When The Levee Breaks not AHBL1 i think. Right?
Shit, yes, thank you. [migraine makes me stupid]
I feel like I should add that Dean also sees Sam as smarter and more worthwhile than him, so it doesn’t occur to him that Sam could be just as screwed up. But while Dean makes relatively strong, quick connections with other people — Bobby, Cas, Benny, Charlie, Krissy, Lisa, Ben as far back as Gordon — Sam doesn’t, and he’s come to learn that he can’t trust himself because for every Jess or Amelia [although that one is arguable imo] there’s a Madison, Ruby or Amy Pond. So, I think that Sam’s sense of self-worth is far more wrapped up in Dean’s opinion than the other way around, and I doubt that Dean knows that. On some level, he still sees Sam as the independent, rebellious kid that butted heads with John.
Someone mentioned the other day that Dean’s main focus was on Sam’s physical well-being, not his emotional health, and I think that is probably true. Certainly Dean did his best to care for Sam growing up and even now as an adult, but there are a lot of ingrained dynamics between them that are a legacy of John’s poor parenting and horrors that they’ve gone through as adults.
- Unpopular Opinion: John Winchester (spnmonster.wordpress.com)
- Dean’s Tragic Lack of Self-worth (spnmonster.wordpress.com)