Supernatural meta, reviews & fic recs

On Sam and Dean’s “antisocial behavior” and a happy ending

A had a couple conversations with a friend yesterday that I wanted to preserve and share because her  answers to my questions were so insightful.
bangingpatchouli asks:

Absolutely. We discussed this a long time ago, I think. I’m especially disturbed by some fans’ demands for a “happy ending” lately and the notion that “normal” is something that either of them could actually maintain in any kind of successful or satisfying way. (I loved Dean’s thoughts about the bunker as a home and how it differs from suburbia in your fic.) 

Whether the boys are actually sociopaths can be argued, but they certainly behave like they are. They may have honorable impulses, but they live outside society and lack communal connection to it. They are violent and largely remorseless at this point. They lie and cheat and prey on ordinary people to achieve their goals. 

Is it so wrong that I like them just way they are? 😉

Travellerintime responds:

There is nothing wrong with that at all 🙂 Isn’t the point of being a fan of the show to do just that. If you want them to be different aren’t you really a fan of some other fictional character?

And as a therapist I would have to say no. I don’t think they are sociopaths (antisocial personality disorder is the clinical term). At a first glance they might seem to meet the criteria but personality disorders like this are dependent on context. Given the circumstances of their life I would not claim that their lies, frauds and aggressuíveness are a sign of a disorder, rather that it is a necessity for survival and thus normal. They also do not show the lack of remorse or the disregard for responsibility that I would expect in someone with APD.

( Warning: psycholog rant ahead)

I would however diagnose them both with PTSD.

And as for Dean; Dean’s baseline is to blame himself. He consistently turns things inward which is a typical trait in people with depressive personalities. He can also quite easily go from this self blaming, passive state to a very active type of behavior. Excessive drinking,eating, fighting and fucking, Because of this I suspect Dean would be diagnosed with some sort of mood disorder. Most likely Bipolar II,where you have episodes of depression accompanied by hypomanic episodes which are less severe manic episodes. People in a hypomanic state are careless and arrogant but also charming, carefree and funny. He most likely also has a substance abuse diagnosis.

Sam too shows signs of having a depressive personality but without the hypomania.He does however seem to have a touch of obsessiveness to him.  I would also guess he falls somewhere on the dependent/avoidant personality disorder- or the borderline personality disorder spectrum, not sure if he would qualify for a diagnosis though. He is revenge driven, emotionally unstable and manipulative. He fights for his independence but at the same time he is unable to really function on his own. Fearing abandonment and once the abandonment is a fact he falls apart to an almost psychotic degree. He also seems to have the narcissistic rage that often is seen in people with bpd when they feel rejected or stepped on. Dean also has these traits but to the same extent.

The dependent/avoidant trait in Sam is clear in the way he rather runs away than fight. He doesn’t even defend himself when beaten by his brother unless he is under the influence of something. He didn’t even do it when he was soulless which, given his superior size and strength is notable.

Sam has this idea of himself as fundamentally bad where as Dean has an idea of himself as fundamentally worthless and they are both trying to compensate for this subjective “fact” resulting in overcompensation in both cases. Sam desperately trying to do the right thing and Dean just as desperately trying to make his life mean something, both to the point where it becomes destructive.

On top of all this you have the codependency. Now you don’t really need to be a shrink to see why these two would have trouble existing in a “normal” environment.

End of rant 🙂

bangingpatchouli responds:

OMG, I love you, Tess! See sometimes I throw shit at the wall to see if it will stick. It doesn’t, but someone tosses back a shiny, golden globe of wonderful.

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2 responses

  1. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! *Finally* someone gets it, and spells it out. This is the most succinct, and best, description of the brothers Winchester I have come across in all the years this show has been on the air. The extremely extraordinary circumstances under which Sam and Dean grew up have obviously shaped their personalities and their responses to any given situation. The only way they can survive, and function, is with each other…it’s the only thing they know. They’ve *tried* to live apart…and it all goes to hell every single time. Those, ahem, ‘fans’, who keep denying this and demanding some sort of ‘happy ending’ scenario obvious have no clue about human relationship dynamics as forged under extreme circumstances. If they did…they would realize how utterly nonsensical and impossible such a scenario would be. Again, thank you for this…

    October 6, 2013 at 1:22 am

    • Thanks for the feedback. I’m so glad I nudged travellerintime to write this because it really is insightful. She’s awesome.

      I really don’t understand where the “happy ending” fans are coming from. It seems to me that it just became a thing in S8 for the most part, and it doesn’t fit with the show or who these characters are at all. As you say, and travellerintime confirms, the boys were shaped — literally their neurons molded — at a very early age to behave the way they do. They really are stronger together than they are apart. Thanks for chiming in.

      October 6, 2013 at 6:04 am

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