john watson + blamed for shit that isn’t his fault

I adore how this season was simultaneously Sherlock’s three-episode-long love letter to John and also this ongoing series of ‘horrible shit the people who love him do and say to John Watson.’

I’m not being sarcastic.  I seriously love it.  I’m not sure whether the writers did it on purpose, but I eat it up with a spoon.

The interesting thing to me here is that Sherlock is offering an explanation. He is not blaming John. John leaps to “this is my fault” very quickly. So even though Sherlock does a lot of shit to him, I don’t think this is an instance of that. I think this is a deep-seated issue within John (unresolved childhood shit? probs) that he immediately blames himself or hears “These are the reasons why I did this” and “This is a reality about a woman that you chose to marry” as “MY FAULT MY FAULT MY FAULT.” That’s honestly on John not on Mary or Sherlock. (though their delivery could be kinder, obviously)

Yes!  Exactly!

I mean, this exists in a blurry place.  Literally, nobody is telling John it’s his fault.  That’s the decision he’s coming to.  But on the other hand, a person who is being passive-aggressive could very easily deliberately word something this way with the expectation that the person receiving the criticism will come to the conclusion John did.  Especially if the target has already previously received a lot of feedback of that sort and been trained to think along those lines.

Which brings up an interesting question: where did John learn to think like that?  It implies such interesting (and sad and terrible) things about John’s past.

Not necessarily from either of these two.  We know his relationship with his sister is very strained; could easily have come from that direction.

But also, does Sherlock know about that?  Is this unfortunate and incidental, or is he deliberately giving John cues to recenter the guilt on himself?

I actually don’t think Sherlock’s doing it deliberately.  It would be a smart tack for him to take in either scene, purely in an amoral ‘deflect guilt from self back onto the accuser’ sense (and note that Mary very much DOES do that later in the scene), but that doesn’t seem to be Sherlock’s aim in either case.  I mean, I can fairly easily see a reading that takes the cues we’re given and comes up with Sherlock as an active abuser, but while he’s done some pretty hair-raising things to John, I don’t think that was actually his intent.

(Although the fact that there IS a pattern on Sherlock’s end when it comes to manipulating and intellectually browbeating people in general and John in particular indicates that he might be doing such a thing sub-consciously.)

But either way, it’s still some pretty terrible stuff to do and say to John. ^_^

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