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Anonymous asked: Damon's attitude towards being reprimanded with Elena and Bonnie is fascinating. When Elena told Damon about Bonnie's Grams dying he just smirked and suggested sending lasagna sarcastically. When Bonnie told Damon not to be disrespectful to her dead bf(or friend) he decided to bury him. Can you think of any?

bonneibennett:

You mean Abby, but yes! Actually, I’ve always wondered how Damon really felt about what went down with Grams, once the Katherine-induced self-loathing spiral subsided.

He obviously knows how important she was to Bonnie, you could hear that in his voice in 5x22 when he was listing their loved ones who were stuck on the Other Side.

But anyway, that’s not what your ask was about, sorry!

Another good example of Damon listening to Bonnie was after he turned Abby, actually. He tried to crack a sarcastic remark about Elijah forcing them to turn Abby and them having no choice, but Bonnie shut that down quick, telling him that “There’s always a choice.” And then later in the episode, he implies to Meredith that the fact that his “choices have been controversial lately” is why he’s being considerate of Ric’s choice to die peacefully rather than quick and relatively painless.

That’s huge, because not only did her words make him understand the truth she was talking about regarding stealing her and Abby’s choices, it even stuck with him to the point where he was applying it to respecting other people’s choices in other situations as well.

A lot of people want to pin this on inherent differences between Bonnie and Elena, that somehow Elena lets things slide or makes excuses where Bonnie would not. And maybe on some level that’s true, but tbh I feel like it’s more complicated than that, and just as much of it is due to Damon’s own framing of his relationships with Bonnie and Elena, respectively.

What I mean is, when Elena confronted him in the police station about not showing compassion for Bonnie’s loss, he automatically connected that to his own insecurities. He has, since nearly the beginning, seen Elena almost as a symbol of his redemption. If Elena sees him as someone worthy of love, then that means he’s not irredeemable. Unfortunately, that means that any time Elena calls him out on stuff, he automatically lashes out. Because he’s not seeing it just as her taking him to task for his action, he’s taking it to mean that she might find him to be an irredeemable monster after all.

When she told him he should show Bonnie more compassion, he made the remark about lasagna. And Elena then told him he was just being mean. And he replied, “I’m mean. You hate me. All is right with the world again.”

It’s petulance. And it shows just how unhealthy the connection between them has been, even at the inception of their romantic relationship. A significant other is not a symbol of redemption, they aren’t a prize to win, they aren’t a reflection of who you are as a person, period. The fact that Damon has so entangled his self worth in Elena’s good opinion… it isn’t sustainable.

Combine this with the fact that Elena post season-4 also formed an unhealthy attachment on Damon, entangling her self-worth and identity as a vampire to him and their love… and you get the word “toxic” being thrown around again and again.

This plays out most obviously in season 5, because Elena is struggling to maintain her sense of identity (and therefore her dependence on their relationship) by making excuses for what he clearly knows is not excusable. So he in turn is shaken, because what if he’s so broken that he can mess up even Elena’s moral compass (which in its symbolized state in his mind should be unalterable), what does that say about him?

It’s so messy… it’s two broken people fumbling in the dark. And hurting themselves, each other, and other people in the process.

I got side-tracked by the DE thoughts, but based on your ask I wanted to compare Damon’s unhealthy treatment of Elena’s reprimanding to his treatment of Bonnie’s when she calls him out on things. Namely, none of the same baggage is there when it’s Bonnie.

Bonnie’s respect (and eventually love?) was something that Damon worked for, not because he felt her opinion of him was a reflection of his worth, but because he respected (and eventually loved) her, end of. No symbols, no unhealthy self-worth entanglements. It’s based entirely on equality and respect, not insecurity. That’s why it’s inherently healthier, and that’s why she brings out the best in him without ever meaning to.

Now I know this isn’t what you were expecting when you sent the ask, anon, so I’m sorry, lol. And thank you for letting me ramble.

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