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Dean and Anger management

Keeping up with the rerun schedule I re-watched (yeah, like I need a reason to re-watch any episode, well maybe except Route 666. I`d need a reason for that.) Skin (my snarky recap here: Skin Snark), it really got me thinking of the character`s further development.

Contains some vague speculation for Season 2 spoilers, nothing specific though.


Because it occured to me that Shapeshifter!Dean is the most honest Dean we`ve ever seen. Bar none. Which of course is pretty ironic since it wasn`t really Dean at all.

Sure, Dean has let his vulnerablities show from time to time but what about his deep-seeted anger and resentment? With his upbringing and what he`s been through in life, he must have tons of issues. He is not a saint after all. But apart from this episode I`ve never seen him voicing any of those, not really.
I sometimes have this image in my head of Dean inwardly putting his hands over his ears, going all "Lalalala, can`t hear you" while a little voice inside him tries to tell him he should be nine kinds of angry right now.

First let me say, I don`t believe the Shapeshifter lied in any way. It was pretty much the same deal Sam had going on in Asylum. There Sam`s anger was amplified, the feelings twisted and taken out of context, only focused on the negative things but that doesn`t mean the feelings weren`t his. Ellicott wouldn`t think Dean was a pathetic drone, he neither knows him nor does he really care. Sam is the one who has repeatedly made his displeasure known about Dean always following their Dad`s orders with question. So on some level yes, this is what he feels and I really think it is more frustration than anger. It`s just that usually these feelings are balanced out by the love, affection and yes, admiration he has for his big brother.

In the same way Shapeshifter!Dean, after sharing the psychic link with the actual Dean, voiced the latter`s innermost thoughts. And due to the Shapeshifter being kind of an unfriendly lad himself, he latched on to the negative aspects.

So, what did we learn through the shifter? Dean has a fear of abandonment. Well, duh, that was kind of a no-brainer. And I believe Dean showing his emotional vulnerability in Shadow and Salvation demonstrates him being conciously aware of that, even if he normally tries to keep it hidden beneath the tough guy facade. He pretty much admitted in both episodes his fear of being left alone, his family being all he had.

The other fun little tidbit the shifter revealed were his envy of Sam and also his resentment of his little brother. With this I`m undecided if Dean conciously lets himself reflect on that. I`m sure he was/is angry at Sam for leaving but I`m guessing he chooses not to focus on that thought.

The most interesting thing for me was his anger at Dad.
"Hell, I did everything Dad asked me to and he ditched me too. No explanation, nothing. Just Pfft." (and I love the Pfft here :)

This is DEAN, John`s biggest cheerleader in all the lands. This is the guy who blows a fuse in his brain trying to comprehend Sam`s utter not caring about being given an order by their Dad. It really was like a computer screen: Unknown ERROR. Does not compute.

This is the guy who fanwanks John sending them the coordinates in Something Wicked so John is seen as the shining knight, who gives his unworthy son a chance to repent for his big sin. (Can you tell I`m still bitter? I would have told him where to shove his coordinates.)

So really, I have a hard time picturing the Dean as early in the Season as Skin thinking anything bad about his hero. Not that he wouldn`t feel anger about being ditched without a word, mind you. I just think he would clamp down on this so hard and be so deeply in denial about it, he wouldn`t let himself voice those feelings, not even in the privacy of his own mind. He just wouldn`t acknowledge that, burying any negative feelings he MIGHT have under layer upon layers of excuses.
But with the Shapeshifter the gloves come off. That guy feeds on these powerful emotions since it reminds him of the rage in himself. And he lets it all out, he lets Dean rant through him.

And concerning certain spoilers about Dean being negatively effected by the events of Devil`s Trap I makes me wonder if this could be a way for the character to go. Not that Dean will end up tying women to chairs to torture them, which admittedly could be a fun show if he continues to take his shirt off afterwards *g*, but will he allow himself to really feel and adress his anger this time? Or will he continue to internalize everything, drying to put it away in neat little boxes in his mind, he never has to open again?

Fact is, Dean is still too co-dependent on them. He needs to free himself from them and I have this feeling that things will have to get a lot worse before they are going to get better. Maybe he needs to have a cathartic fight with either John (if he is around) or Sam or both. Dean needs to be the one to walk away from them out of his own free will for a change. That will ultimately be good for him and may lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation between him and his family.
And quite frankly, it might serve as a wake-up call when the guy you could count on to be unquestionably loyal, always by your side, kind of throws things at your feet and walks away. I don`t think either John or Sam, who in fact doesn`t take Dean for granted the way his Dad does, would ever imagine THAT little scenario. So that would be quite a shocker. And Dean would learn that he can survive that, he doesn`t need to define himself through them and the jobs he performs in the family.

So, as much as I love the boys`tightness (and god the slash jokes are just writing themselves in this fandom, aren`t they? *g* ), I think they need to have a big blow-out fight. Even moreso with John, if he survives. Otherwise the brothers are fast approaching a dead end emotionally. They have out-grown their separation and rediscovered each other, gotten closer together but short of either of them totally changing his philosphy/personality they can`t really move forward.

Comments

legoline
Jun. 22nd, 2006 06:31 am (UTC)
Yay I love your metas! *fangirls you*

For some reason I think (or I hope) Dean will leave. Maybe have a fight, finally, (we've seen that he's slowly learning from Sam to not be afraid to stand up to his father) and leave. Maybe history will actually repeat with the "if you leave now don't come back" issue. And I wonder what Sam would do if Dean actually left. Go after him? I'm pfairly sure John wouldn't, he's too stubborn for that.

I think concerning Dean's anger issues Yoda's words are most fitting: "Fear leads to anger". Most of all and above everything Dean is scared. And I mean really, really frightened. He's so afraid he'll be left alone he'll do anything to get back his family. I could imagine that's because he never got the chance to be a kid, and learn that he can do on his own. In John's eyes he turned an adult the minute John went hunting and decided his eldest son had to care for Sam. And then his father continuously told Dean what to do, made him think he was an idiot and could only survive if he followed his father's orders. No wonder Dean is scared to be left behind - it'd mean he'd actually be on his own, and he was conditioned that he can't e on his own. Sort of.

Of course there's the "Dad lets me do my own job" thing in the pilote, so yes, Dean does work alone. But even there we have the "Dad allows me/orders me" component. And Dean was expecting to meet up with his father afterwards. When John didn't show up, Dean turned to Sam.

Oh dear, I better stop babbleling here :-)
astri13
Jun. 22nd, 2006 08:06 am (UTC)
Yay I love your metas! *fangirls you*

Thanks. *blushes furiously*
Overanalyzing the character`s is always a pretty good indicator how much I love a show. Otherwise I just won`t bother.

(we've seen that he's slowly learning from Sam to not be afraid to stand up to his father) and leave.

Ironically I think Sam does for Dean now what Dean did for him as a child, gave him the necessary feeling of security to question. If Sam hadn`t had that, he wouldn`t have challenged his Dad every turn. Whereas with Dean it was: "OMG if I act up, the apocalypse will start." And his Dad encouraged that as he would have encouraged it with Sam. But Sam luckily had a better commanding officer in their little army than Dean.

Maybe history will actually repeat with the "if you leave now don't come back" issue.

Do you think John/Sam would tell him that or Dean would to them?

And I wonder what Sam would do if Dean actually left. Go after him? I'm pfairly sure John wouldn't, he's too stubborn for that.

With Sam it`s hard to say, depends on how determinedly he wants to go after the demon and if he worry/love for Dean is strong enough to overcome that. Kind of like Scarecrow on a big scale.

No wonder Dean is scared to be left behind - it'd mean he'd actually be on his own, and he was conditioned that he can't e on his own. Sort of.

Absolutely. It`s like "nurture/protect/care for/help family" is so hard-wired in his brain as his primary function, he can`t think of there not BEING any family there to carry that out. How can he fulfill others if there are no others around? And fulfilling himself has been trained out of him so well, he`d probably have no idea how to go about it. It`s unknown, it`s scary but maybe he will finally be pushed to the point where he thinks his security blanket comes at too high a price.

Of course there's the "Dad lets me do my own job" thing in the pilote, so yes, Dean does work alone. But even there we have the "Dad allows me/orders me" component. And Dean was expecting to meet up with his father afterwards.

Just look at DMB, they had separate mission later on too but John meant to call all the shots.

Oh dear, I better stop babbleling here :-)

Babble on my wayward son, ah daughter. *g*
legoline
Jun. 22nd, 2006 08:20 am (UTC)
Overanalyzing the character`s is always a pretty good indicator how much I love a show. Otherwise I just won`t bother.


Yeah, same hee :-)

Ironically I think Sam does for Dean now what Dean did for him as a child, gave him the necessary feeling of security to question.

So true. I think it's like a "If I quarrel with Dad now, there'll still be Sam." To back him up, sort of. It's hard to explain but I know what you mean. It's like Sam going "It's alright not to agree with your father because you're still ONE family, and you can still forgive and forget."

Could it be that Shadow helped Dean realise that? After all, Sam and John had a huge fight but in Shadow they made up and apologised. Could it be Dean suddenly realised that even after a hell of a fight you can still be a family, that it's not the end of the world?

It`s unknown, it`s scary but maybe he will finally be pushed to the point where he thinks his security

I hope he will be, for his sake. I'd like to see the real Dean for once.

It's astounding really that while Dean's the older one, and grew up taking care of others and hunt demons he is still way more a scared little child in need for his family than Sam is.


Babble on my wayward son, ah daughter. *g*


Will there be peace when I am done? :p
astri13
Jun. 22nd, 2006 08:41 am (UTC)
Could it be that Shadow helped Dean realise that? After all, Sam and John had a huge fight but in Shadow they made up and apologised. Could it be Dean suddenly realised that even after a hell of a fight you can still be a family, that it's not the end of the world?

Maybe that helped but I still don`t think he sees it as a viable option for himself. He is the good little soldier and god forbid what will happen if he stops.
Growing up it was kinda necessary with their life, one rebellious kid in the family probably was pushing it, but two? He would have thought it was his job to be the grease to keep the wheel running.

It's astounding really that while Dean's the older one, and grew up taking care of others and hunt demons he is still way more a scared little child in need for his family than Sam is.

Ironically Dean had to be mature way beyond his years when he WAS a child, so his own childhood development got kind of shafted. There was just no time to deal with it, so in relation to his family he holds a bit of a childlike view in wanting to be with them forever and ever.
And still even though it`s his greatest wish to have his family with him, he is totally capable to "let them go" if the situation calls for it, Shadow or his phone-call in Scarecrow. Even if it kills him inside.
Otoh John especially has a bit of a problem with lookig beyond what HE wants and feels best to do in any given situation.

So I think while Dean is on one hand still a broken little boy insdie, on the other hand he can be the most mature of the family sometimes.

Will there be peace when I am done? :p

*G*
andromakhe001
Jun. 22nd, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC)
Could it be that Shadow helped Dean realise that? After all, Sam and John had a huge fight but in Shadow they made up and apologised. Could it be Dean suddenly realised that even after a hell of a fight you can still be a family, that it's not the end of the world?

I don't know. Because going by what the demon said, if he was using any kind of subconscious fears, Dean believes that he doesn't matter as much as Sam. That even in fighting with Sam his father was showing more interest and concern for Sam then he ever showed for Dean. And I mean jeez John could you have played anymore into that fear with your attitude after the Sam shot you? Arguing with Sam about not killing the demon while completely ignoring Dean bleeding out all over the backseat?

So anyway Sam could do that but Dean, he couldn't because he wasn't important enough to still be cared about after a big fight. He knew John still cared about Sam because he checked up on him at Stanford.

I don't think I'd want him to pull a Sam or a John though,in terms of big fight and then leave/say don't come back in a big huff, frankly I think they both tend to be fairly immature when they fight with each other. I'd rather Dean just "do something", I'd rather it be they create a situation where decisions have to be made and Dean just makes them and gets it done.
astri13
Jun. 22nd, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
Because going by what the demon said, if he was using any kind of subconscious fears, Dean believes that he doesn't matter as much as Sam.

The demon using that pretty much cements my belief that this is what Dean truly believes, deep down. Because always, always in these situations the demon taunts the person in question with their deepst insecurities and fears. Just as the one in PT taunted Sam with Jessica. It`s TV law.
They always have knowledge of these deep-seated fears and they exploit them. If the fear weren`t there in the first place, there would be nothing to exploit. I mean why else did the Demon pick that particular approach? I think he got it from Dean, through mind reading etc, because I really don`t think John in all his obsession is aware of how Dean feels.

And I mean jeez John could you have played anymore into that fear with your attitude after the Sam shot you? Arguing with Sam about not killing the demon while completely ignoring Dean bleeding out all over the backseat?

Typical John. I don`t think he even has an idea how he must come across to his sons, especially Dean. It`s very me, me, me and he can`t see beyond his own pain.
I don`t think he really does favor Sam, but his actions are far from reassuring, I`d say.

I'd rather Dean just "do something", I'd rather it be they create a situation where decisions have to be made and Dean just makes them and gets it done.

Maybe not in an all-out yelling match but Dean really needs to be the one to make the decision to go or not help them etc. He needs to say: "This is where I draw the line." The decision can`t be made for him by circumstances, it`s gotta come from within. And he needs to get away from both of them for a while, just to realize that he doesn`t need them to survive. Sure, he can let them go now, he`d be capable of that. But would he survive that emotionally in the long haul? I don`t think so.
andromakhe001
Jun. 22nd, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
Maybe not in an all-out yelling match but Dean really needs to be the one to make the decision to go or not help them etc. He needs to say: "This is where I draw the line." The decision can`t be made for him by circumstances, it`s gotta come from within. And he needs to get away from both of them for a while, just to realize that he doesn`t need them to survive. Sure, he can let them go now, he`d be capable of that. But would he survive that emotionally in the long haul? I don`t think so.


The thing is I don't think he needs to go so as to go or even to leave but he does need a major situation where, I don't know how to put it, he basically takes charge, whether they are with him or against him. And it needs to be a situation that works out in his favor. Where it's his idea, his strategy, his plan and just plain mostly him. See something like The Benders would have been good for a small situation but of course they couldn't allow Dean to rescue Sam if Sam hasn't been able to do all the heavy thinking already, heaven forbid they let Dean look like he's competent on his own.

But that's exactly what they need to do--because that is what will give him the confidence to trust himself more. The fact is Dean's got some great leadership qualities, he's got this quality that lets you believe if anyone can bring you through a situation in one piece, it's him.
astri13
Jun. 23rd, 2006 10:31 am (UTC)
The Benders would have been good for a small situation but of course they couldn't allow Dean to rescue Sam if Sam hasn't been able to do all the heavy thinking already, heaven forbid they let Dean look like he's competent on his own.

Apart from the cartoonish frying pan to the head (paging Daffy Duck here) I didn`t have a problem with Dean being overpowered (if they had kept it like it was in the first sides). There is no shame in that. And it was nice seeing Sam not being caught in a chokehold for once with Dean running to the rescue. It stands to reason that Sam had enough training to be physically able to defend himself. So, I was okay with that. And given the situation it made sense that Sam figured out these guys were human.

The fact is Dean's got some great leadership qualities, he's got this quality that lets you believe if anyone can bring you through a situation in one piece, it's him.

Absolutely, he often takes charge in the hunt, either in destroying the MotW or in rescuing the civilians and if it makes sense, splitting tasks with Sam.

And I think he has confidence in his abilities as a hunter. It`s just when Dad shows up, he hands over leadership without second thought (and John showed very poor leadership qualities in DMB, both in his strategy and in how he treated his sons).

What I could see working is something like Scarecrow with either Sam or John going off on an obsession quest and Dean digging his heels in and going to help some people in peril. And him being succesful on his own.

Even if they don`t separate physically, which admittedly won`t work in the show for a longer period of time, he needs to separate emotionally from them. That wouldn`t have to mean he doesn`t care anymore but this feeling of co-dependency, of having to work for love and approval would lessen, in a "You know what. I love you and I`ll do anything for you. But I don`t need you to survive" way.
He totally needs to develop a better concept of his own self worth.