I read some meta the other day that attempted to explain away Sam and Dean’s differences by claiming that Dean feels guilt, which is healthy, while Sam feels shame, which isn’t. As if these two things don’t go together like PB and J. As if the levels of guilt that Dean feels can be considered healthy at all. Anyway, instead of critiquing that particular meta, (which did have some fair points to make regarding Sam's issues with shame) I thought I’d just take this opportunity to examine what role guilt and shame really does play in Dean’s life, and how that’s effecting him in season nine.
Dean’s shame and guilt are mainly a product of three things:
1. A survival strategy meant to make Dean feel safe throughout an extremely unsafe childhood (Why Dean feels guilty for things beyond his control or outside of a reasonable realm of personal responsibility).
2. Being made to feel as though there was something inherently wrong/shameful with having wants and needs that were separate from or in conflict with the more urgent responsibility of taking care of others, especially his brother (Why Dean puts the needs of others before his own needs, regardless of how self-destructive it may be).
3.Understanding that apart from taking care of Sam, his only value is as a tool used for violent purposes (Why Dean fears abandonment and becomes increasingly ashamed of who he is to the point where he no longer values his own life).
But lets’s start with guilt and point number one.( Collapse )