The Vampire Diaries -- The Ugly Truth About Stefan
It's a truth that will never be acknowledged on the show as show runner, Julie Plec, still tries to sell Stefan as some tragic hero and the good brother, when there could be nothing further from the truth. It's a truth Stefan fans will never admit, who refuse to see there's a double-standard employed when Damon does something and Stefan does the same thing.
It's kind of funny, but as much as Damon only got the leftover scraps from Stefan's numerous flashbacks, we've got a clearer picture of who Damon was as a human than we do Stefan. We know what Stefan claimed he was like. He cared for people and he felt guilty. By his own admission he didn't care that Damon wanted Katherine or if it hurt Damon him taking Katherine from him. We saw his relationship with his father mirror that of his relationship with Elena in season two where he didn't agree with her but just went along with everything she said so he didn't get her mad at him. Human Stefan also betrayed Damon when he promised not to go to their father about Katherine. Stefan seemed to believe if he went to his father, even though his father hated vampires, he would make an exception for Katherine because of him.
Supposedly, as a vampire, all the qualities you had as a human are magnified. Stefan's claim to care so much for people really wasn't transferred to being a vampire and that may actually be a quality Stefan only thinks he possessed but never really did. He has no friends. The only friend he had was Lexi and it was more about her doing for him, as she latched on to him, vowing to help him overcome his blood addiction. Rose was dying under his roof and he didn't really care. He reached out to mentor Vicky and Caroline when they became vampires so they wouldn't cause any trouble for him and this new life with Elena he was trying to build. It's the same reason he wanted to get rid of Damon when he first came to town; he was threatening to upset Stefan's applecart.
So, Stefan's claim to care so much about people seems to be a false belief he has about himself. In fact, a lot of Stefan's action could be labeled as selfish; a word Stefan has never attributed to himself. He didn't care if he hurt his brother by going to the dance with Katherine; all he cared about was having what he wanted. That's the definition of selfish. Last year, he also told Damon the reason he forced Damon to turn into a vampire is because Stefan didn't want to be alone. Another situation where he put his own wants and desires over that of his brother. So not only is Stefan selfish, he's a pretty lousy brother, as well.
Another way Stefan is a lousy brother is the way he seems to get pleasure out of making Damon feel inferior to him. I thought it began when Damon began a bad vampire, but we saw in a flashback from 1912 that Stefan was doing it back then, before Damon became a bad vampire. When they met for a funeral Stefan accused Damon of killing the relative, when Stefan was the one who murdered their father. He was accusing Damon of doing something, he Stefan, was guilty of. So you have to wonder even as children if Stefan didn't try to make Damon feel inferior to him.
Speaking of Giuseppe, exactly why did Stefan go home to visit him? He knew his father had killed both him and Damon for trying to help a vampire escape and that he hated vampires. So why would he go see his father? Unless he went there always planning to kill his father. Perhaps, similar to when he went and attacked Jonathan Gilbert's house.
In 1912 Stefan becoming The Ripper is blamed on Damon for getting Stefan to drink human blood after going on his animal blood diet. Supposedly, Stefan deprived himself from blood so long when he drank again he got so carried away he decapitated his victim. Damon even copped the blame for Stefan becoming The Ripper because he walked away from him. But, shouldn't have decapitating someone have been enough to make Stefan go back on the wagon and never fall off again? For most addicts, cutting off someone's head would be considered hitting rock bottom and be enough to make them go cold turkey.
Not with Stefan; he made a career for himself of cutting off his victims' head, then he'd write his victims' names on a wall, feeling guilty afterwards. But what about feeling guilty beforehand enough not to do it? No one forced Stefan to do what he did and his supposed guilt over it seems almost fake. Again, if he really felt so guilty about what he was doing wouldn't it have been enough to get him to stop? According to Klaus, Stefan slaughtered an entire settlement of people and still that wasn't enough to get him to stop himself. As long as he wrote his victims name on a wall and felt guilty about it it seemed to make it all right for him to keep on doing what he was doing. It's like he feels guilty because he thinks he should feel guilty, but deep down he enjoys killing people so much that it outweighs what guilt he may feel.
Apparently, it was only Lexi finding him and getting him back on the wagon. His guilt over what he was doing was never enough to get him to stop on his own. As long as he could go write a victims name on his Wall of Guilt he was good-to-go for another night's debauchery. Even slaughtering an entire village of people the guilt wasn't enough to make him stop. When you're on a diet and you go off it and eat something fattening you feel guilty, but the pleasure you get from eating the food outweighs the guilt you feel for going off your diet. Stefan guilt and loathing for the things he's done has been addressed, but one thing will never be addressed and it's this: he got pleasure from ripping someone apart and that pleasure outweighed whatever guilt and self-loathing followed the pleasure. If the show ever truly did an honest portrayal of Stefan's behavior they wouldn't be able to sell him as this tragic and noble hero they're trying to sell him as, because he just isn't.
Stefan also has a strange relationship with women. The show tries to sell Stefan and Elena as this epic romance, but what it really is is a stalker romance. When Stefan came to town he compelled the school secretary to put him in every class Elena was in. He showed up at every social function she was attending. He even joined the football team because he thought she was going to be a cheerleader. The show can dress it up in pretty paper, but SE is a stalker romance. For whatever reason, he started stalking Elena because of her resemblance to Katherine. It's doubtful if Damon hadn't told her about Katherine; Stefan never would have. He didn't even tell Elena she looked just like Katherine before he had sex with her and when she found out she got into a car accident.
When he was telling Elena about his Ripper past, he claimed he and Damon were going after the Council because of what they did to Katherine, but the fact is Damon wasn't even involved in it, it was all Stefan. Since in the aftermath of believing Katherine was dead, Stefan didn't seem that all upset, it seems like Stefan was using Katherine as an excuse to excuse his actions. Much like he's trying to blame everything he did recently on Klaus. Stefan doesn't seem to be able to face up to his own actions without trying to excuse his behavior in some fashion. The fact is Klaus hasn't done anything to Stefan; it's just an excuse to excuse his own behavior and actions.
Stefan made a deal to be Klaus' slave for ten years to save Damon's life. He only had to be his slave for a few months and Klaus let him go. Then he stole Klaus' coffins because he wanted to make Klaus pay for what he did to him. Again, Klaus gave Stefan a choice, he didn't force Stefan against his will, so ultimately, Klaus did nothing to Stefan. As part of Stefan's plan to make Klaus pay, he kidnapped Elena, shoved blood down her throat and made her think he was going to murder her by driving her off the same bridge her parents drove off of years ago. His excuse that time was because he lost her.
The thing is he didn't have to lose Elena. When Klaus let him go he could have tried to pick up the pieces of his life; instead he decided he was going to make Klaus pay for the non-existent things he did to him. It's like when he had a choice after he decapitated his first victim to go back on his animal blood diet or embrace the dark side and he embraced the dark side.
Bottom line, you don't do what he did to Elena to someone you supposedly love so much. But once again Stefan put his own wants and desires over hurting someone he supposedly loves. He did it to Damon in the past when he wanted Katherine and didn't care if Damon got hurt and he did it to Elena when he made her relive the death of her parents and made her believe he was going to kill her to win one against Klaus.
One of Stefan's last saving graces in regards to Damon that Stefan fans flout as proof that Stefan is the good brother is all the times Stefan has saved Damon's life. It's actually the only time Stefan acts like he actually loves his brother. It's only when Damon's life is in danger that Stefan eases up on the relentless criticisms of everything Damon does that makes him oh-so inferior to Stefan. Unfortunately, since Elena told Stefan she kissed Damon and liked it, that last saving grace has been gone as Stefan has been acting like he's got a permanent case of PMS. Any rotten thing he can do to Damon he's happy to do.
Elena asked Stefan to break Damon's neck; he happily broke Damon's neck. Then he ridiculed Damon for having feelings when for years he's been on Damon for not having feelings. And in 3.18 when Damon was kidnapped by Rebekah, his excuse for not going to rescue Damon is because Damon wouldn't want that. Well, Damon didn't want that in 3.09 and Stefan didn't care, it's only after learning Damon kissed Elena and she liked it that he's suddenly using that as an excuse not to rescue his brother. And when he finally managed to drag himself over to do it, he saw his brother with his wrists clapped in bear traps and didn't even try to remove them as he called for Klaus. So the question is did he even really come to save Damon, or did he really come to see Klaus? Ultimately, it was Rebekah who saved Damon by releasing his wrists from the painful manacles and letting his go, while Stefan stood around and did nothing.
The sad truth is if the show actually did an honest exploration of this character's more uglier personality traits instead of glossing over them to sell him as some tragic hero the character might be more complex and interesting. Since that's not going to happen maybe they should stop writing him as the biggest douche bag on the show but giving him a permanent free pass for all his actions so they can sell him as a tragic hero.