I have a confession to make: I used to like Elena Gilbert. But that affection has long since died. I’m not sure where it started, but my dislike of her shifted into full-blown hatred last season, when her vampire emotions amplified that nasty little habit she has of making everything about her, all the time. True, the Salvatore brothers have always made everything “all about Elena,” but when SHE makes it “all about Elena,” that’s when I start having a problem with it.
The thing about INTPs is that when we like someone, we purposefully ignore all their faults. Once our trust in them is violated or they go one step too far, that nice, cushion-y barrier of “protective ignorance” comes down, leaving all their faults visible to us in blazing neon lights. Back when I used to like Elena, I took her behavior as externally-focused and excused it as “caring about her friends.” But in retrospect, without my cushion-y barrier up, I’ve come to realize she’s been selfish from the beginning.
My moment of clarity happened when Elena decided to kill off an Original. See, when you kill an Original, everyone in that Original’s line of descendants dies. That means if someone figured out how to kill Klaus, Katherine, Damon, Stefan, and precious Elena would all die. To save one person, because “I can’t lose anyone else,” and to fulfill Jeremy’s hunter’s mark so that SHE could get the cure, Elena killed an Original and by proxy, thousands of vampires—good and evil, without pausing to consider that somewhere out there may have been a girl just like her, in love with a “good” vampire who woke up the next morning to find him dead.
Then, there’s her interaction with her friends. Caroline repeatedly warns her off Damon because she has experience with Damon, who compelled, controlled, and abused her, used her as a human blood bag, and tried to kill her at least twice. But Elena doesn’t want to hear it, because she loves Damon. Once again, it’s all about her. The “true” Elena comes out when she turns her humanity off and tries to kill Caroline – many times, because Caroline irritates her. Then, when her humanity comes back on, Elena doesn’t want to talk about it, because SHE can’t deal with it. Gee, I’m sorry, sweetie… I’m sorry you tried to kill your best friend multiple times and can’t talk about this seriously traumatic experience with the person you really, really hurt, because it pains YOU too much to remember it. It’s your responsibility to suck it up and deal with it, because Caroline matters more than you do right now.
Then there’s Bonnie, who has been dead all summer. Yet somehow, in spite of sending numerous texts and e-mails in which Bonnie never actually physically calls her back, Elena doesn’t concern herself with Bonnie until she needs something from her—for Bonnie to come back and heal Stefan’s amnesia.* Way to be a friend, Elena. Oh, and while you’re at it, why not try and help Stefan get his memory back by acting out all YOUR important moments with him, instead of, you know, taking him around Mystic Falls and talking about all HIS important moments? His family? Friends? Lexi? Because what really matters here is YOU getting Stefan back, because once again, it’s all about you and your compulsive need to have every guy in Mystic Falls worship the ground you love on, and be friends with you even after you crush his heart while you figure out YOUR feelings.
I want the old Elena back, the one who really did care about other people and put their needs first, the one whose willingness to help Damon brought him out of the darkness into the light, the one who didn’t have to make everything about her. That was the Elena I liked, the Elena of the first couple of seasons. The Elena that Elijah looked into and saw the goodness of her heart. Yes, Elena, Elijah. Remember him? The one who did anything and everything he had to, to protect his family, but had the decency to feel remorse in threatening your life to get what he wanted. The Elijah who comforted YOU in one of your darkest moments of non-humanity, who felt genuine grief over the death of YOUR brother, and never said a word about how YOU killed HIS little brother. That Elijah.
Elijah has been my favorite character since he arrived. Gee, I wonder why.
*Spelling it all out really reveals how super-pathetic and soapy this show is. =P
PS: Lest you think I’m harping on Nina Dobrev — I’m not. I think she’s insanely talented and I absolutely love her Katherine Pierce — but Katherine is SUPPOSED to be selfish, since she’s the anti-heroine. Your heroine shouldn’t be just as selfish as your villain if you want people to like her. Oh, and by the way, Stefan, stop acting like a selfish martyr all the time or you’ll be on my hate list, too.