Anonymous said: What is the worst thing you think John Winchester ever did to his sons? Canonly speaking.
Woo boy. Buckle up, kids.
Off the top of my head, whatever it was that John did to put this look on Dean’s face.
But if you want to talk canon specifics, let’s take a spin through my fuck john winchester tag.
Okay, John was a child abuser. He was legally a child abuser for leaving his children alone the way the he did, when Dean was only 9 if not younger. He left his children alone in hotel rooms to fend for themselves for days at a time, sometimes without enough money for food. This is child abuse. You cannot leave a 9 year old in charge of a 5 year old and expect him to take care of the boy like he was an adult. Putting this kind of responsibility on a child is going to incur lifelong psychological damage.
I personally believe that John was physically abusive, especially to Dean, but I can’t prove that canonically beyond Sam calling John a mean drunk and the fact that violence is completely normalized between the brothers. John was patently verbally and emotionally abusive to both Sam and Dean and I’m not even going to go find gifs of that because it’s in literally all their interactions. Strong, brave Dean becomes passive and terrified in his father’s presence, and sweet, loving Sam becomes seething and full of rage.
Bottom line, the worst thing John ever did was putting the responsibility for Sam on Dean’s shoulders when he was too young to even take care of himself. This is neglect, this is abuse, this is shirking all of his own duty to his children and then laying blame on Dean when he cannot live up to impossible standards. But let’s go through some specifics.
How about when Dean was 16 and he lost their food money gambling (probably trying to get more food money), and so he ended up stealing peanut butter and bread - to survive and feed his little brother - and he got arrested?
Can we just talk about how the only real chance at happiness and a normal life that Dean actually got was at a home for juvenile delinquents? I mean can we just talk about how fucked up that is?
How about what John was out doing while he was leaving the boys alone in motel rooms?
How about when Dean was dying and John literally wouldn’t pick up the phone much less show up?
Or the other time Dean was dying and he didn’t care?
I could also throw in the fact that one of the biggest demons in hell actually made a better father than John.
This is all absolutely canon, indisputable. But what I find incredibly revealing is the episode It’s a Terrible Life. Here, Dean was raised by Bobby and Ellen, with Jo for a sister. Dean Smith is basically a photo negative of Dean Winchester.
He eats salads, he does the Master Cleanse, he has an espresso machine, he drives a fucking Prius. He’s a business man with fashionable clothes and an upscale apartment. I mean, can you say metrosexual?
This Dean doesn’t overcompensate, he’s not macho or butch, he’s not one step away from alcoholism, he’s not a broke high school dropout. He went to Stanford, and considering that Bobby and Ellen probably would not have had the money for that, we can hypothesize that he got in on scholarship. He doesn’t drive his dad’s old car because it’s not the only home and security he’s known since he was four. He also doesn’t appear to be a “ladies man”, as we never actually see him talking to a woman. The only person he seems to be flirting with appears to be his assistant, whom he talks to about Project Runway.
This Dean could easily be openly bisexual, because he grew up in a loving and safe family. This Dean embraced his education as well as his love of fashion, this Dean is successful and stylish. We don’t know what’s going on in his personal life or if he’s happy, but he is plainly a normal, functional, stable human being. This is who Dean would be if John wasn’t his father.
This is who Dean would be if John wasn’t his father. This is who Dean could have been if John had not turned him into Sam’s parent while depriving Dean of a parent himself, dragging him from place to place, isolating him, while turning him into a child soldier and a tool to further his quest for vengeance - and using him as an emotional if not physical punching bag.
He didn’t “try his best”. Trying his best would be not chasing down the demon, would be giving his sons a home and a childhood. Would have been at fucking least putting them in foster care instead of dragging them across the country with him. He didn’t love them. What he did is not love, it just fucking isn’t. Whatever ‘love’ he had, it was twisted and selfish and damaging. John did not love his sons, not the way I define love.
I literally, honestly don’t care that John traded his life for Dean’s in the end. I mean, to say “too little too late” is a vivid understatement. I don’t care what he said, I seriously, seriously don’t care what he said in that hospital scene. I’ve never been physically abused, but my father did fuck up my head and my life pretty well, and he says all kinds of nice things trying to get me back on his side, and I don’t care about any of it. All the “I’m proud of you”s in the world can’t change what you’ve done. And really all John did then was heap more responsibility and guilt on Dean’s shoulders.
So basically - everything. Everything John did to his sons was the worst.