Hello!The reason I'm asking u this is because I love your answers, and u don't up down other characters to lift another, and the evidence you put with your answer. (Love your page) I read some post a while ago stating that Dean is a controlling doughbag. But I've always seen it as Dean trying 2 lead his loved one 2 do the right thing (Because you know how that ends up at the end lol) Ex: Sam tells dean don't let him go darkside,but gets mad when Dean tries everything 2 stop him. Thank you ^^
Hey there, and thank you very much. Sam and Dean have a very complicated relationship and I think the only reason someone would call Dean controlling is because they don’t understand (or are ignoring) the dynamics that were set up in childhood. We finally have canon confirmation that Dean had to be a parent to Sam, which helps for this discussion, but the fact is: we’ve always known this. Dean was tasked to take care of his little brother for weeks at a time (4.13):
cooking for him (10.12):
Making sure he had his books on the first day of school (4.13):
Procuring Christmas for Sam (3.08):
This is not a normal sibling job description. And it makes for a tricky dynamic because he had to act as a parent in so many aspects of their day to day lives. When Sam gets upset that Dean is telling him what to do, we’re hearing the complaints of a child trying to gain independence from a parent, and that’s made even trickier by the fact that neither one of them are kids anymore and Sam’s used to doing things his own way after breaking away from the family business and going to college. And then he comes back and it’s right back to the old patterns, except that obviously Sam is used to making his own way.
And the whole thing is muddied up because Dean is NOT Sam’s parent and he never should have had to be. They’re also brothers with normal grievances and times when they are shits to each other like any pair of brothers are (1.17 and 2.15):
Not to mention the fact that they take on very specific roles when they are hunting too, with Dean as the leader (3.03):
and really, no matter what’s going on with them (their huge fight during 9.16), that never changes because it’s a pattern set up from childhood
So basically you’ve got a sibling dynamic merged with a pseudo parent/child dynamic (throw in Dean as the de facto leader) and of course it’s gonna be all kinds of fucked up.
Just take a look at these gifs (from 3.05), when Sam and Dean are arguing about whether or not to use the Colt to kill the demon who made the deal with Dean to bring Sam back? This is how the conversation ends:
This is not a normal conversation between two brothers right now. This is the result of Dean having to be a pseudo parent to Sam for all those years.
Right before this, Sam even comes out with this:
Which reminds me of this (5.18):
And what’s Bobby to Dean? A pseudo parental type person. It’s not the same of course, because Bobby’s was an actual adult when he took on that role for Dean, but it tells us something nonetheless.
And if we want to go deeper into how messed up everything is, we also have the times where Dean still fills the role of parent while John is around.
This whole scene (from 1.21), where John clearly expects Dean to have told him about Sam’s visions is an indication of this. It’s Dean’s job to have filled John in, not Sam’s job. John relies on Dean to take care of Sam and fill him in on what he’s missed. Which is usually the role of a spouse in a family unit.
Another example is the way Dean has to physically intervene when John and Sam almost come to blows (from 1.20).
Not only does he tell Sam to cool it, he tells John to back off too. Like he’s protecting his child from the other parent in the family unit.
This isn’t new, John expected Dean to protect Sam from anything that might hurt him when they were children. In 1.18, John tells Dean to watch out for Sammy and then asks, “And if someone tries to bust in?”
Dean’s entire identity is wrapped up in keeping Sam safe, had to be both a mother and a father to him and people still ask why their dynamic is the way it is? Of course Dean is going to expect to be able to tell Sam what to do; he’s been doing it his whole life. He’s been put in charge of Sam’s well being since he was a young child. Of course Dean thinks he knows what’s best for Sam. And of course Sam would chafe against that sometimes; especially in the beginning. But you know what? Sam spends most of season five trying to make up for his mistakes in s4 and after that we don’t see much more of him insisting Dean is trying to control him after he says this in 5.05:
Because that’s what most of s5 is about, until we get here:
While Dean also talks about why he defaults at treating Sam like a kid.
It’s the whole reason Dean stops objecting to Sam taking on Lucifer. He lets him make his own decisions. Dean does default back, of course (because this wasn’t the end of the show and real life echoes this back and forth too). It’s an ongoing theme and one that’s addressed again in 12.22, with the Dean ‘sending Sam off to war’ plot.
He was urging Sam to take his place in the world. It’s a complicated relationship, and it’s the reason I love them so much. These two men with their fucked up childhoods doing the best they can for each other with what they know even if it’s not entirely healthy on either side. And if someone has somehow missed the entirety of this particular dynamic, it’s not surprising that they’ll say Dean is controlling or Sam is belligerent.