and first off - i’m sorry this has taken me forever to answer, but the last couple of weeks before the finale i got so many asks i couldn’t keep up, but now i’m in the process of answering them all :) thanks for your patience.
Let’s start with the 2x09 scene which is basically Stiles’ worst fear presented as an hallucination of his dad yelling at him
Sheriff: Why am I wearing black? What are you, an idiot? I just came from a funeral. You know, people wear black at funerals. Get out of my face.
It’s all you.
You know, every day I saw her lying that hospital slowly dying I thought, “how the hell am I supposed to raise this stupid kid on my own? This hyperactive little bastard who keeps ruining my life?” It’s all you.
It’s you, Stiles.
You killed your mother.
You hear me? You killed her.
And now you’re killing me.
We know so little about the stilinski family and its history, but for all the love they have for each other there is clearly something not right between Stiles and his dad. Like most family drama, this is probably because of misunderstandings, lack of communication and misinterpretations. But that just explains the problems, it doesn’t excuse them. But i’ve got another ask waiting about this, so i’ll hold on for now. I really want to look closer at this, but i need to do some rewatching first.
But they both lack a female influence in their lives and they seldom talk about Claudia. This is evident because in the few instances they do, they both freeze.
Sheriff: You know, I miss talking to you. It’s like we never have time-
Stiles: Dad, you know, I have to make a phone call-I’m sorry. I’ll be right back.
Sheriff: I do. I miss it. And I miss your mom.
Stiles: What’d you say?
With the scene from 2x09 and other references as well, particularly from agent McCall regarding the sheriff and drinking, we get the idea that he struggled after Claudia passed away. And when people are grieving, hurting and under the influence things might be said that they don’t really mean. Or maybe they sort of do mean it, but never intended to say it out loud. Like the sheriff feeling overwhelmed and scared at the prospect of raising Stiles alone. A kid with ADHD and now also suffering from the loss of a parent. As a mom i can understand how such a thought can feel cripling.
We have signs that tell us Stiles feels guilty. Guilty for his mom’s death (why we do not know), guilty over being a burden to his dad, for being a handful. So he’s taken on a parenting role himself. He’s watching out for his dad’s diet and he does seem terrified at the thought of loosing another parent. This he even admits to Scott - he doesn’t want to involve his dad in the supernatural, he wants to shield him and keep him safe.
Stiles also seems to have an extreme need for information. It is implied that he spies on his dad, listens in on his phone converstations, snoops through his things, records, police files etc. His dad won’t tell him - like most parents he wants to protect his kid, but stiles doesn’t want to be protected - he wants to protect. So he steals keys, duplicates keycards, knows his dads codes etc. He’s monitoring him.
Stiles: I know about the bills, Dad. I know about the collectors calling about Eichen House. I know about the advance from the department, about the credit cards.
Sheriff: Stiles, are you going through my stuff?
Stiles: Yeah, I go through all of your stuff. Especially when you keep things from me.
Sheriff: I keep things from you because you don’t need to know everything.
Stiles: Yes, I do. I have to know everything. How the hell else am I supposed to take care of you?
Sheriff: You’re not supposed to take care of me! I’m the dad. You’re the son. You get it?
Sheriff: Son. I take care of you.
Stiles: We’re supposed to take care of each other.
Remember that talk Stiles had with Morell in the guidance office after Matt died?
Morell: How about we get back to you? Stiles?
Stiles: I’m fine. Yeah, aside from the not sleeping, the jumpiness, the constant, overwhelming, crushing fear that something terrible’s about to happen.
Morell: It’s called hypervigilance, the persistent feeling of being under threat.
Stiles: But it’s not just a feeling, though. It’s it’s like it’s a panic attack.
You know, like I can’t even breathe.
Morell: Like you’re drowning?
Morell: So if you’re drowning, and you’re trying to keep your mouth closed until that very last moment, what if you choose to not open your mouth? To not let the water in?
Stiles: Well, you do anyway. It’s a reflex.
Morell: But if you hold off until that reflex kicks in, you have more time, right?
Stiles: Not much time.
Morell: But more time to fight your way to the surface?
Stiles: I guess.
Morell: More time to be rescued?
Stiles: More time to be in agonizing pain. And did you forget about the part where you feel like your head’s exploding?
Morell: If it’s about survival, isn’t a little agony worth it?
Stiles: And what if it just gets worse? What if it’s agony now and then and it’s just hell later on?
Morell: Then think about something- “If you’re going through hell, keep going.
This converstation comes right after Matt died and after Stiles has gone through a lot of drama with Scott becoming a werewolf, Peter and his murder spree and now this kanima business with Matt. It’s easy to assume that he’s referring to this when he talks about the not sleeping, the jumpiness etc. And on the surface that is probably true, but i also think this conversation masks as stiles opening up about things he’s been struggling with for a long time.
He’s basically describing trying to keep a panick attack at bay and i think this is what he does constantly. But he masks it, hides it and pushes it aside and focuses all his attention on others - mainly his dad and scott. As the seasons progress, more people have been included into his must take care of circle - like Lydia, Derek and also lately Malia and Liam. We joke about pack mom Stiles, but it’s really not a joke. Stiles has for all intents and purposes taken on the mom role in his relationship with his dad, and he’s projecting it onto his friends.
I agree with you that Stiles does seem to want a female influence as well, a mother figure in his life. But i don’t see his relationship with Malia as a result of this. I actually see this more as a parallel to his relationship with his dad. Stiles has taken on a parent role with both his dad and Malia, and i think guilt is at the root in both cases. I’ve disected the Stalia relationship here and won’t go into details now.
If there is anyone Stiles sees as a mother figure in his life, i think it’s Melissa. I have a feeling Stiles has been a prominent figure in their house in later years. Melissa reacts to stiles and his antics with the same kind of resigned amusement she does with scott and their interactions tells me she’s fond of him. Stiles feels so at home he’s even made himself a key something which doesn’t surprise Melissa at all.
I do think she’s been the closest thing to a mom he’s had since he was 8 and the scene in the hospital when he calls her mom is heartbreaking, but you can also see how much it affects Melissa. She cares about this oddball, that much is clear and at times i do feel she understands Stiles better than the sheriff does. She certainly has more patience with him.
And another thing - she trusts him. When she finds inconsistencies with bodies, she calls Stiles. She trusts him with the supernatural. She trusts him to help take care of Scott - like when the faked his death. For however much the sheriff loves Stiles, he doesn’t seem to trust him.
So Melissa is an important constant in his life, and so in the scene after Void has puked up another Stiles free of possession and Melissa is hesitant to touch him, you can see how much that really hurts Stiles. Because he’s scared the trust has been broken. Thankfully it hasn’t.
I wholeheartedly agree with you that it’s the flaws in people, the flaws in their relationships and how they deal with it that is the most interesting part. All the main characters on Teen Wolf are layered and complex, and that is also why we care so much about them and get upset when we feel things aren’t going the way we want it to.