“It was bloody, messy, 31 flavors of bottom dwelling nasties. Hell, most days felt like 360 degree combat. But there was something about being there, felt pure.”
who cares where happiness comes from? we’re all a little weird, we’re all a little wacky - some more than others - but if it works, it works. you got something here. don’t let that go. you’ll never forgive yourself.
jensen ackles, vegas con ‘13
dean’s early childhood interests me so much because even though the writing is scattered and generally shallow, what little we do have about dean’s EC is so rich and reflective of how a traumatized child might actually develop in an abusive/neglectful environment. everything from the way he reacts to john’s presence to his apathy in academic education is right there.
ok e.g. dean was only four years old when mary died (heavily implied that he knew the horrific nature of her death so much that he could envision it (i don’t know that he actually saw it but i imagine he would have dreamt of it plenty afterwards)) and i know that adults underestimate the effect trauma has on little minds and bodies or even dismiss it altogether bc a) it’s hard to understand when children just don’t have the vocab or experience to explain how something effects them and b) there’s this misplaced idk validation of the idea that “kids are resilient” (i know ppl don’t usually mean this as a bad thing. it’s often meant to give hope or bring peace of mind from something awful). but resiliency doesn’t happen unless a kid has effective supports from adults in their life and if they don’t have that. see resiliency is basically the ability to adapt to stressful situations. and if the environment in which they live is negligent or even negative after or through their traumatic experience then they’ll adapt to trauma in ways that reflect that.
john was dean’s support, and after mary’s death, an event which traumatized dean to the point where he would no longer speak. it was john’s job as dean’s father to see him through that trauma in a manner that would help dean develop his arsenal of coping mechanisms. he did not; he placed inappropriate burden on a four year old child and immediately enlisted him in a war against vicious, murderous monsters. in other words, he gave dean a massive responsibility — take care of your brother (lest he end up like mary) — and immerse yourself in the violence and aggression and paranoia that goes hand in hand with hunting monsters.
and that — along with john’s devaluing the importance of dean’s education where he explores his interests (this is from jw’s journal so it is fringe canon where dean comes home excited about school and john is unenthused/confused, takes dean out shooting like a week later as if to make a point) — puts dean in extremely high stress mode. he’s a child, he knows that he has a child smaller than him to take care of at “home” and his dad’s out killing monsters that hide in plain sight.
but john has supported certain coping behaviours and condemned others by now, so dean can in fact “bounce back” in the ways he’s been shown how to by his father; repression, deflection, momentum are all favoured. if something upset you, don’t talk about it, or talk about something else, or just keep moving and if you move fast enough maybe you can outrun it, but definitely definitely don’t stop to examine it.
and so stress gets reduced to a humming in the background and trauma a dull clanging that dean finds ways to shut out.
here’s a quote i read somewhere that (paraphrasing) goes something like “children aren’t resilient, children are malleable” that i think this post really starts to get at well.