Because/In Spite Of 101

I thought I’d kick off this blog for real for real with a post on a topic that is at this point one of my trademarks. Consider it an introduction for those of you unfamiliar with it and a refresher course for those of you that are.

Love in the TVD universe can be divided into two categories: Conditional and Unconditional or as I like to call them “Love Because” and “Love In Spite Of”. I especially use these two labels to differentiate between the way that Damon loves people and the way that Stefan loves people.

I should point out before going any further that loving someone because does not mean that there is no aspect of that love that exists in spite of and likewise loving in spite of does not mean that there are no elements of loving because. All forms of love include parts of each. It’s just a matter of what dominates.

Damon Salvatore: King of the Unconditional

Damon’s love is unconditional. It always has been. It is in fact one of the reasons that he does not love often. He’s too loyal and fierce in love to be flaky about it. Now, Damon is a big believer in give and take and in getting what you give. At his core, he has spent eternity searching for someone who will love him unconditionally and that is why when he extends love, he does so without strings.

Damon has, at least in my opinion, a remarkable amount of self awareness. He knows that he has flaws and he knows that he’s made mistakes. This is what allows him to be so forgiving of other people’s flaws. He’s not in a position to judge so he doesn’t. He also understands that if he can’t look past other people’s transgressions, he can’t expect them to look past his. It’s also important to note that he possessed this quality as a human and that as a result it magnified when he turned into a vampire.

Stefan Salvatore: My Heart Is Yours But Watch Out For The Strings

Stefan as a human may have fallen into a trap, ironically because everyone loved him so much. He was the good son, the favorite son. He was the paragon of virtue and it seems possible that he came to believe that those were the only reasons that he was loved and that as a result he also came to believe that only people who are “good” deserve love. He has therefore always been drawn to the good and positive qualities that he sees in people.

But after he turned, that belief presented him with an intense conflict. Suddenly he was confronted with the fact that he was no longer “good” and therefore no longer “deserving” of love. Stefan carries to my mind an incredible and unhealthy amount of self loathing for his vampire self. This means that he struggles to accept himself and struggles to accept that others can accept him.

He is unforgiving of his own flaws and therefore has a very hard time accepting flaws in other people. And see, I’m of the belief that true love can’t exist without total acceptance. So this is where Stefan’s love falls down and becomes conditional to me. He only loves certain things about people and while he doesn’t necessarily or completely turn his back on people who have disappointed him, he allows those disappointments to condition the rest of the relationship in ways that ultimately force it to fall apart.

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  1. You changed the main image, right? Love this new one.

    Great post, Ms Inspite of. LOL

    And perfect use of these lines from the show: “The Brother Who Loved Too Much, The One Who Didn’t Love Enough And The Evil Slut Vampire Who Only Loved Herself”.

  2. Loved the analysis!! It was dead on!!!
    Sometimes I wonder whether the writers sketched the characters of Damon and Stefan that way, its surely seems like it–but only a few intelligent people like you can differentiate it to.. word to word =D

  3. oh, you’re good.
    Spot on. I do think this though: Elena is the one person Stefan loves unconditionally. That is to say, he loves her for her goodness and good heart. If she wasn’t those things he might not have loved her. It would be interesting to see if he loved her a day when she became a madhungry vampire and killed everyone in town. He probably still would. He’d insist there was goodness in her and to bring it out, not to ignore it. He’d never give up on her. Thats the way I see it.
    Even though he gave up on Damon but I think he only did it when Damon killed coach tanner- when stefan felt Damon was a threat to town.
    I’m not saying Stefan is perfect because he has undercurrent flaws that aren’t always easy to pick out but they’re there. And Damon is easily my favorite.
    I just think that like Elena tends to not give up on Damon despite his flaws- Stefan would extend the same courtesy to Elena in that situation. I think her he loves that way. I think he wouldn’t give up on her as long as he existed.
    Just an opinion.

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