Question from Steph: Lexi, you have given some wonderful advice to Stefan in regard to his struggle with being a vampire. What advice would you give to Elena and how would you instruct Stefan in supporting her?
Lexi: Hello Steph,
First: I’m deeply saddened by the turn of events regarding Elena’s new self. It was a unforeseen turn of events unfortunately. Here are my thoughts.
I would give Elena the same advice I gave Lee during his transition, and the same advice I have given Stefan at various phases during and after faltering in his struggle to come to terms with being a predator. And though Stefan has a handicap, I have complete faith in his ability to guide Elena through each phase of her transition– and beyond.
What Elena has to learn to do, is to fight her nature–her newly obtained nature that is, assuming she wants to find a balance that co-exists with what she knew and what is new. The process is easier said than done and it takes on a different challenge when you are living in the midst of it about it versus when you actually experience it. It will now be Herstory.
Humanity (or the state of human nature) becomes the ‘recessive’ gene, so to speak; and ‘the gene’ that is now dominant is innate and instinctual and without the filter of human nurturing. It is important for her to know not only the physical changes, but also her psychological changes.
So here are the steps Stefan needs to take and have in place:
a) He has to know when to push and when to step back. He has to be guided by a combination of instinct and by the ‘intimacy’ factor. IOW knowing Elena.
b) She has to be told what to expect in her new ‘stead’–the pitfalls and the ‘perks’. She may have heard them before, but it takes on a whole new connotation now. Now she has to listen.
c) She has to be given a road-map about when each of the new characteristics will appear, and what causes it’s manifestation. IOW what triggers each and every new characteristic and why it happens. Having an understanding of the physiological response will (after initial control issues) make the appearances of these characteristics manageable.
d) Do not isolate herself
e) She has to/need to work through the pain – the loss of old self is painful, physically and emotionally. It is important to acknowledge the pain and not suppress it.
f) She has to adjust to the ‘new environment’ gradually– This includes adjusting to the roles that she once carried out (sister, care-taker, care-giver, loyal friend) and learn (gradually) to accept her new identity–that of creature/predator/animal.
g)She has to/need to emotionally relocate who she was and acclimate to what she is, and in fact create a different ‘who’. While she will never be compelled to totally give up on either her human relationships or that fragment of humanity left; the goal is to find an appropriate place to ‘store’ human Elena. This requires a letting go of human attachments–not her humanity, but attachments– so new relationships can begin to form.
This is a bipartisan exercise, simply because human loved ones will have to recognize and come to terms with the fact that their expectations of behavior [from the person that was human Elena], may not always be healthy; that Elena’s wish to fulfill their need is not a given nor is it easy; and they must from time to time realize that instinctual differences make their expectation unrealistic.
The fulfillment or completion of these ‘tasks’ take time, and you never really get comfortable in what you have become– even after 350 years, I struggled. But I believe the important thing is to have a supportive person. That Stefan has been through his own initial transition without guidance or support and ‘survived’ in hostile circumstances; that he subsequently has reconnected with a set of compatible humane standards and guidance and earnestly tries to live up to them; that his human condition and consciousness was about a decent, caring, sympathetic soul was the foundation that he drew from; that he has the fortitude to try and try again -even when it was hard or when there seemed that there was little hope; that he independently dug deep, time after time to reclaim the ‘who’ he used to be; that he has acknowledged and accepted responsibility for the monster’s acts, [by not making excuses], makes Stefan’s ‘credentials’ as guidance counselor, teacher, supporter and confidant impeccable.
I have no doubt that there will be struggles and hard times and harder lessons. But they will both learn from them, because in each of Stefan’s trials, the positive outcomes reveal how strong he is.
If you have a question for Lexi, please leave it in the comment section of this post!