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Sasuke's Low Self-Esteem

Discussion in 'House of Uzumaki Archives' started by des_butterfly, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. des_butterfly

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    Sasuke, from the time he was a child, was never good enough. He wasn't good enough to be acknowledged by his father, he wasn't good enough to be taught by his brother. He looks up to Itachi, he idoloizes Itachi, he tries to be Itachi, but he can't ever reach Itachi's level, and he knows it. So does Itachi.

    He spends the first eight years of his life being measured against the impossible standard of his brother. The one time his father acknowledges him has much more to do with Itachi no longer being suitable than it does with Sasuke finally measuring up. Sasuke is the last resort, the booby prize, the reserve item. What does he have to be arrogant about here?

    Spoiler:
    Then Itachi slaughters every single person in the entire clan except for Sasuke? Why? He says, to Sasuke's face, that it is because he does not consider Sasuke even worth killing. Sasuke ends up begging for his life like the frightened child he is, and it is clear that he believes Itachi's claim that he is too worthless to kill. There's not even a hint that he considers that Itachi could be lying about that.


    So Sasuke spends the rest of his life training hard enough to become someone strong enough for Itachi to acknowledge. Because he feels utterly worthless.

    Enter Naruto. Does Sasuke imagine himself to be a better shinobi than Naruto? At first, sure. Sasuke can dismiss Naruto because he has nothing to do with his desire to be acknowledged by Itachi. Does Sasuke imagine himself to be more important as a person than Naruto? I would argue "no" because Sasuke sacrifices himself for Naruto during the Zabuza arc in a way much different from the "showing off" he did when he saved Naruto earlier in the arc.

    Sasuke's body "moves on its own" to take the (seemingly) deadly hit for Naruto: why? Firstly because Sasuke does realize he is part of a team and Kakashi's first lesson, that letting your team mates die is an action only fit for those lower than scum, resonates deeply in him. But also because Sasuke doesn't think his life is worth as much as Naruto's. What is there to be arrogant about there?

    Skip ahead to the Akatsuki arc, in which Itachi and Sasuke meet again. Not only does Sasuke have the unfortunate realization that for all his training, Kakashi's special chidori technique, the hard work he did, he's still not strong enough to be acknowledged by Itachi, there is the added blow of Naruto, his rival, being the one Itachi acknowledges.

    V of the E, Sasuke takes the power Orochimaru offers him in exchange for the chance to defeat Itachi. Some people suggest this is because Sasuke believes that Orochimaru will never get the chance to take over his body, that he could stop that before it ever happens. And that would be arrogance.

    Spoiler:
    But, recent canon suggests that this isn't true. More likely, Sasuke just doesn't care about what happens to his body. He still believes he is worthless. The possibility of killing Itachi, getting his revenge, finally being acknowledged by his brother overrides any concern he feels for himself.

    When Sasuke says "I am more special" to Naruto, I take that more as a desperate declaration to himself then any large boast. Orochimaru wants him. Orochimaru acknowledges him. Orochimaru marked him, and even if the mark will eventually distort and destroy him, it's something Sasuke is willing to accept in order to reach Itachi. About the only thing Sasuke doesn't want to do in order to reach Itachi, is become Itachi himself. It's that desire which stops him from killing Naruto.

    So, while I am completely amiable to the idea that Sasuke believes himself to be stronger than some people (which might be arrogance in the case of Naruto, Sakura, and Kakashi) I am not so convinced of the idea that Sasuke believes himself to be better than others. Sasuke has very low self-esteem, in my opinion, and this is what makes him so easily manipulated by those around him, namely Itachi and Orochimaru.
     
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  2. Sho

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    You make an interesting point, and a result of that low self-esteem is his lack emotional stability. Though physically and mentally strong, his weak point has always been one of an emotional issue. He's like a tea kettle on a slow boil; calm on the surface, but all you need is the right amount of pressure and it all blows.

    I think the reason why this is, is because Sasuke's percieved lack of power is directly tied to his self-worth. He lets power define him because of the tragedy in his past, and because of that, whenever he feels as though he's not getting that power (or doesn't have enough) then he does feel as if his life up till then is worthless, and thus he himself is as well.

    My thought is this:
    Like you point out, and which many people have a misunderstanding of, is that Sasuke is not acting out of some pride or some superiority complex (or else he wouldn't allow Orochimaru to take his body); rather it's more of an inferiority complex, or something directly tied to his self-worth, as you point out. At this point, he holds no illusions about being as strong as Itachi currently, so because of that, he has no compunction about dying (in essense since Oro will take over his body) as long as it's possible to attain that goal of killing Itachi.

    Great thread and thought you put into this. It's nice to see something of worth and actual thoughtfulness in this forum, since that's a rarity among all the crap here.
     
  3. Faye Valentine

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    First, kudos for a good post :thumbs

    Interesting, and I agree partially. His father seemed to favor Itachi, though you must remember what mikoto said, about when they are alone, fugaku talks about sasuke only. It's hard to say if this was true, or maybe she just tried to make the situation better, the awesome mother she was XD
    Anyway, this fragment I like:

    My impression was the same, at first. That it was kind of.. well, unfair, that fugaku starts to notice and accept sasuke more after whatever thing with itachi. Of course, it still remains the unsolved case, as long as we don't know the details (or even the truth) of uchiha masacre and what happened to itachi back then.

    Hm, this is where I have to disagree. Forgive me if I won't express it right, but when we talk about low self-esteem, I believe that a person with low self-respect may be very cocky and (seemingly) sure of themself. It's kind of denying mechanism, to boost one's confidence and not let others to think low od you. People tend to care about others' opinions (and depend on them ;). Besides, self-esteem can be high, but fragile, or low, but secure. It is a question of what is it build on. In sasuke's case, his world crumbled, so it is no wonder that he has problems with self-worth. It's hard to say, if the uchiha masacre didn't take place, would sasuke still have that problems? it depends mostly on itachi, as he was the real center of sasuke's life (and still is, huh? ;).
    I am blabbing, so, back on topic. Does sasuke imagine to be more important as a person than naruto? Yes, he does. At least at first. He boosts his confidence by telling himself that he is a very important person, he has a mission. His life is not worthless, because he sees himself as a tool. He must live and he must be strong. So, him saving naruto was not because he doesn't value his life. Agh, that is, he doesn't care as for himself, but as I said, the mission is a key. He must live, not because he's worth it, but because his task requires that.
    Hm, that is basically my main point.

    Also, about VotE "I'm more special than you", there are theories that he's speaking of uchiha clan and some secrets we are yet to learn about. (I'll leave that to Nina ;)


    That's it for now. Seriously, the best thread I've seen here lately >.>

    edit// dammit, Sho beat me to it :p

    Yup, and this is what I mean by the self-esteem being stable or not, depends on what it's based on.
     
  4. Futagokage

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    Well said:
    We should not forget that Sasuke was still a child when he suffer the lost of his family, which make the emotional damage even greater. What make this kind of theorys delicious, is the fact that we never see/hear or what you call sasuke's thinking.

    I think he looks arrogant as a defense mechanism, because after all that Itachi does the only things he have is his Hate and His family pride, he never tried to make any other bonds, and I think that if he killed Naruto during the first half of the battle in the VotE, he would't attain the M.S.

    Sasuke's trouble was the same as Naruto's, he looks for be recognized, because he was sasuke's, not Itachi's little brother, but his own self, when he realize that Naruto's is getting stronger, his inferiority complex (born from his father, as Sho and Des_ mentoned) resurface.
     
  5. NaruHeart

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    wow! you should be a writer! your an amazing writer, and give a strong and stern point! way to go! i agree with you...there is more depth to sasuke then what we see in his character (even though i personally dont like the character..)
    thanks!
     
  6. des_butterfly

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    I would agree that Sasuke presents himself as arrogant in order to disguise his own insecurity. And he does depend a lot upon other's opinion of him.

    I'm thinking specifically here about his reaction when Sakura calls him a coward in the Forest of Death. In the manga, Sasuke immediately flashes back to Itachi and his words about Sasuke's inadequacy. I would argue that that moment has even more emotional impact for Sasuke then a later scene in which Naruto calls him "bibiri-kun" (scaredy-cat) in a mockery of an earlier scene in which Sasuke saves Naruto and calls him that. The taunt of "coward" from Sakura has more emotional impact for Sasuke precisely because it comes from Sakura, someone who had previously put Sasuke up on pedestal.

    Sasuke also gives quite a lot of thought to Kakashi's perception of him, especially in the scenes where he is contemplating leaving Konoha.

    However, and this is where wording gets tricky, I would also stand by my argument that Sasuke doesn't consider himself to be a better person than Naruto, although he may have moments of thinking of himself as stronger (an illusion quickly shattered as the manga goes on, up until the time-skip at least) or as someone with a more important purpose than Naruto.

    In the VotE, we see Sasuke having a moment of extreme confusion when he asks Naruto why he would "go that far for someone like [Sasuke]." This, I think, indicates that Sasuke really doesn't see himself as having self-worth as a person. He's useful as a tool for revenge, and that's it.

    And as much as the mission is key for Sasuke, it's good to keep in mind all the times he's jeopardised that mission in order to save his friends. The Wave Country Arc, in which he steps in front of Haku's needles for Naruto, he does this knowing that there's a pretty good chance he's going to die, and knowing that if he does die, he can't kill Itachi. He acknowledges this. And yet, he does it anyway.

    Again, in the Chuunin Exam Arc, when Gaara has Sakura pinned, an already injured Sasuke urges Naruto to rescue her and run away while he holds Gaara off for as long as possible. That Naruto refuses to abandon either of his friends does not negate the offer Sasuke makes there to sacrifice himself (and his purpose in killing Itachi) in order to save Sakura.

    I think this is partly the reason why Sasuke leaves Konoha. He knows that he will continue to grow closer to his team mates, and try to sacrifice himself for them, which eliminates his chance of getting revenge for his family. It's no so much that Sasuke can't become stronger in Konoha as opposed to Sound, because he can. But the growing bonds he has made with Team Seven blunt his purpose, so he has to break them.
     
  7. phoenixblood

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    Nice thread, and I like the way you pointed out that Sasuke's quick willingness to sacrifice himself can be tied to the emphasis he retained that he wasn't even worth Itachi taking effort to kill him. I'm not sure I quite made that connection until you brought it up here, but it definitely makes sense.
     
  8. dummy plug

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    hmmmmm...stil confuses me though...lol
     
  9. des_butterfly

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  10. Mizura

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    I think it was pretty much evident that Sasuke had an inferiority complexe that he attempts to shield with arrogance. A few things though:

    I don't think this has anything to do with Sasuke's vision of his own self-worth, or even with Kakashi's lessons (the results of that lesson were already shown in the teamwork Naruto and Sasuke shared against Zabuza). There were other instances of people jumping in front of others to save someone, such as Sakura saving Chiyo, even Akamaru saving Kiba. They didn't do it because they look down on themselves.

    In this case Sasuke likely saved Naruto because of that bond that he had with Naruto since they were mere kids, since before team 7. We only found out about that bond in full during the VotE fight, but we had hints even before, when Sasuke talked back to Sakura when she mentioned that Naruto did not have parents. Also, Orochimaru himself, during a talk with Kabuto after the second test, stated that Naruto was influencing Sasuke. Sasuke saved Naruto because Naruto is important to him, not because he thinks his own life is not important.

    Sakura didn't call Sasuke a coward. She said that -Naruto- is not a coward to try to bring some sense into Sasuke by example. And if Sasuke thought precisely more of this comment because Sakura was the one who said it, he sure didn't show it (he didn't go "damn even she is yelling at me"). I think it was more the fact that he was compared to -Naruto- that influenced him.

    Orochimaru himself later said that it was Naruto's influence that got Sasuke to stop running away. I've heard that the LJ SasuNaru community has been acting annoying, but there's no denying that the Naruto - Sasuke bond is the deepest bond portrayed in the series. Hell even Sakura acknowledges that fact. =\

    It depends what you mean by "desperate." He seemed pretty confident to me at that point, but the confidence was higher because of his usual inferiority complexe. As someone said, you can have high superiority complexe as well, but it can be fragile. Actually, you could say that Sasuke has both an superiority and an inferiority complexe: both are mirrors of each other.

    I thought it was the other way around. The last thing he said was that he Didn't want to die because he wanted to kill his brother. :huh

    The problem wasn't the negation of the offer (which wasn't just to save Sakura by the way, but to have all his precious people be safe), but in the fact that Naruto outclassed him (with Tajuu Kage Bunshin and the Gamabunta summon). :huh Sasuke wasn't looking bitter at the fact that Naruto refused to leave, but shocked (then bitter) at the fact that Naruto was so strong, thus bringing up his inferiority complexe, worsened later when Itachi reminded him further of how "weak" he is.
     
  11. des_butterfly

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    That is true, but I do think that Sasuke would have seen a sacrifice of his life in different terms than Sakura, since his regret upon "dying" is, as he confesses to Naruto, that he never fulfilled his purpose in killing Itachi.

    I think it can be because of both these things.

    We must agree to disagree upon this point. By saying "at least [Naruto] is not a coward!" I think it is pretty clear that Sakura is at least implying that Sasuke is being cowardly at that point, if not outright calling him a coward. Sasuke also didn't go "damn, she compared me to Naruto" so let's just say that both our opinions are derived from interpretations that could be different and leave it at that.

    The SasuNaru comms are no more annoying than the NaruSaku ones these days. Personally I think obscure ships hold the only safe-havens in Naruto Fandom. Like...Gai/Kisame or something. :p

    The Naruto/Sasuke bond is the flashiest and most stressed anyway, but I don't know if that's because Kishimoto gets caught up in "oooh, guys fighting!" or because he wants to make a clear shift in the bond between Sasuke and Naruto, and Sasuke and Sakura, and Naruto and Sakura. Sometimes it's hard to tell. As for "deepest" I guess it'd depend on what you mean by "deep".

    I...think you mean both a superiority and an inferiority complex, right?

    That's what he says. But my point was that he takes the risk anyway, knowing that he would probably die (and if Haku wasn't aiming to miss the vitals he would have died).

    ...I don't think you're talking about the same thing I'm talking about. When I say "negation" I mean by people who say that Sasuke doesn't care for his team mates pre-timeskip. Nothing to do at all with Sasuke's reaction to Naruto staying behind to fight Gaara.
     
  12. Mizura

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    I agree that she saw his actions as cowardly at That point. But I think she doesn't see this as a "general" fault/attitude of Sasuke's: she's never made mention of it before, not ever made mention of it again. I think she saw it as a momentary weakness, but not one she thought he couldn't snap out of. Still, if you disagree, *shrugs.*

    Well, here, by "deepest", I mean it's the one Kishimoto seems to place most emphasis on. It's typical shounen really: the rivalry takes precedence over all the other relationships, and gets more in-depth background explanations.

    Um, yes. Typo. *sweatdrop*

    You see, my point is that he likely Didn't do it while assessing anything, but truly did do it instinctively (though not in the way he claims. He claimed that it was a purely body instinct, whereas I believe it to be an emotional one).

    I think he didn't think "damn, I'm gonna die." He didn't have Time to assess the consequences. Most likely, he felt "Damn! I have to protect Naruto!" so reacted without thinking about the consequences. These consequences might include dying, but I doubt he'd bother weighing them first. See?

    ... ah. That.
     
  13. UchihaTaijiya

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    ... congrats on the awesome thread, and congrats to me for my first post... lmao. ^.^

    I have to say that I think Sasuke has both a inferority complex and a superority complex.

    However, both of these complexes stem from outside influences. In other words, take little Sasuke before the massacre, and you have a pretty regular kid, who most likely would have turned out arrogant but happy enough and normal enough. But that didn't happen, unfortunately for Sasuke and fortunately for us! XD

    Take his superiority complex. This stems from being a member of the Uchiha clan, and from other people's expectations. Only, it's dramatically increased by the fact that he is the last. Pressure. Expectations. These are the reasons he has a superiority complex.

    I also agree with the person who said that Sasuke's view on his worth is tied to his power as a shinobi.

    This is because of Itachi. Itachi is also the reason Sasuke has an inferiority complex. I personally think he would have still grown up with one (and the superiority complex) if Itachi hadn't been a whack job, but it would be much less severe and Sasuke would still have some concept of worth as a human being.

    But he doesn't. Or he didn't. At least not until Team 07. With them, he grew as a person, probably even started to feel a little good about himself, but all of that growth is destroyed the moment Itachi reappears and PSYCHOLOGICALLY DAMAGES Sasuke again.

    I mean, this is a great thread, but no one has mentioned that. In fact, the majority of the fandom ignores the implications of the MKS and the effects it would have on a person's mind.

    Most people would have crumbled under what Sasuke witnessed during that attack. To see your brother kill your entire clan, every primary relationship you ever forged is destroyed by the one you admired and strived to be like, is life-shattering. And you don't just witness it once, YOU'RE TRAPPED. CAGED. HELPLESS. AND WEAK. (because you can't save anyone, no matter how hard you scream for them to move) In fact, it's so fucking terrible that I doubt even Naruto would be the inspirational person he is today if he had suffered the same fate.

    After all, Kakashi, a grown man, who suffered from the MKS (although in his case, he was in it for three days, BUT (most importantly) it was just Itachi dealing physical pain to him, and thus less damaging than watching people you love die by the hands of someone you also love) and KAKASHI was bedridden for AS LONG AS Sasuke - although yes, he was awake while Sasuke was unconscious.

    But don't forget the age gap between Sasuke and Kakashi, and the fact that for Sasuke, this was a very personal thing and he's already suffered from this attack once before. But I think the fact that Kakashi, being the genius he is, is still weakened to such a condition by the MKS, stresses and pretty much proves the impact that had on Sasuke's mind and his decision to leave Konoha and accept Oro's invitation.

    THIS is why I believe Sasuke will be redeemed. Maybe its just me, but I think that if Itachi hadn't reappeared, Sasuke would never have left Konoha.

    But anyway, I think Sasuke's inferiority complex is stronger than his superiority complex and the latter is more of a cover up to hid his perception of his own worth. (then again, I never really thought Sasuke acted any more arrogant than Kakashi, Naruto, Neji, Lee, Gaara, Kiba, ect, but for some reason almost the entire fandom loves to diss him for being arrogant... when everyone else is too... lmao, I guess its okay for the others, but oh god, not Sasuke. *shakes head*) Bah, I could rant forever about the fandom, so let me stop now.

    Yep. I thought it was evident too. But then again, so many people seem to miss that point that I suppose it's not. lmao.

    And concerning the part where Sakura says to Sasuke "At least Naruto's not a coward," I happen to agree with both Mizura AND Des_Butterfly.

    It was the fact that Sakura compared to him to Naruto AND called him a coward. lmao. I personally thought that was evident, really. You can't deny that Sakura's words had an impact on Sasuke, because they made him think of Itachi. But you also can't deny that the fact she was comparing him to his rival impacted him as well. So really, both of you are right. But I know Mizura is a NaruSaku fan, so I kind of feel your preference was blocking you from wanting to admit that Sakura had an effect on Sasuke. (Just a lil analyzing, hope you're not offended)

    Well, anyway, I'm so glad other people acknowledge the fact that Sasuke has a terribly low, almost non-existent (especially now) view of his worth as a human being. Like someone else pointed out, he makes little comments questioning WHY Naruto and the others would go so far for someone like him, not only at the VoTE, but also recently in the manga

    Spoiler: Spoiler
    When he told Naruto he should have been training to become Hokage rather than wasting his time trying to save Sasuke. (Naruto's reply owned, of course) And the fact that he is willing to die and give his freedom for this ambition, trully stresses how (unselfish he is) and how lowly he feels about himself. However, the fact that he says he doesn't care about what happens in the world stresses that he's very lost in darkness. Because, to me, when you're at Sasuke's level of depression, you're bordering on insanity and apathy. That was his darkness speaking, stressing how lost he is.

    Of course, I also think Sasuke was 'acting' a bit during those chapters, mostly because Oro must have been conviently watching Team 07's reunion (since he left before Sai and Naruto and KNEW were Sasuke was and yet didn't come out until Sasuke was about to use that jutsu} - or was he? Was Sasuke really going to use that jutsu? Or, could it be that he KNEW Oro was watching, KNEW he wasn't allowed to use that power yet, and accomplished a great deal with out actually doing anything. By acting the way he did, he made it seem like he was willing to do exactly what Oro wants and also show Team 07 that they have no effect on him, which perhaps (if Naruto and Sakura weren't as wonderful of people as they are) would turn them away from trying to save him and thus they would no longer be involved in his dark path.

    But some argue, he's going to give his body to Oro and then Oro will attack Konoha, so Naruto and Sakura are STILL in danger and thus my theory is wrong.

    Well, they'd be right... IF Sasuke REALLY intends to let Oro take his body. I personally think it could be either way, so that's why I still see Sasuke having a chance at being saved by his friends. Back to my point, Sasuke says (in my translation) "If that happens... it happened." (in reply to Naruto telling him what Oro really wants from him)

    The way he phrased it is very interesting to me. IF. He uses IF. And pauses. Not to mention Sasuke also said he only wanted to kill one man - Itachi. And he could have killed Yamato, yet he did not. Curious? I think so.


    But anyway, I admit that what I'm presenting here is more of a theory than anything else, but has a chance to be the truth, atleast to a certain degree.

    So while I personally think Sasuke is using Oro as much as Oro is using him, I also admit that Oro and Sasuke might join together to try and defeat Itachi. But in that case, I personally think Sasuke's willpower will eventually suppress Orochimaru's soul. This is because we've been told on at least two occasions that Sasuke's will is incredibly strong. And Oro also told that other guy (the former occupant of the body he has now) that a little part of him will still exist. Could have been a lie, but to me, it makes sense so I don't think it was. And because of that, Sasuke may be able to overpower Oro's soul at some vital moment. But anyway, all that is just a theory. lmao.

    I mean, in all truth, none of us have a really clear idea on how the story will unfold - and it would be arrogant and childish to say that we do. ^.^ So this is more for everyone to take into consideration, and I hope you all realize that I'm not saying I'm right and that I know there are several other ways to interpret that scene/Sasuke's real desires.

    And I also want to say that I bet, in reality, it's a little bit of a lot of those theories, alllllll mixed together. Because, Sasuke can say something and think he believes what he says, but subconsciously he might not. lmao. Sooo complicated. (Speaking from a realistic pov.) ^.^ That's what I love though, so all the better.

    Oh... and not too mention, no one knows the secret of the Uchiha clan (except for Sasuke and Itachi) and that little tidbit of information COULD have an extremely vital role in Sasuke's outcome. For better, but most likely, for worse. :/ I however, still think that Sasuke will live despite this but mostly because I believe in Naruto and Sakura as characters.

    I mean, if it were anyone else trying to save him, I don't think it would happen, But Naruto and Sakura are very similar and both very determined, (not to mention they are working together, which makes them stronger), and I guess my faith in them makes me have faith in Sasuke's outcome. Because if Sasuke were left alone, he'd eventually die either from Oro taking over his body or from fighting Itachi and dying in battle, or from winning against Itachi and then slowly wasting away. But like I said, I have faith in his loved ones.

    And not to mention, Kakashi, Sakura, and Naruto all tried to convince Sasuke to stay.... except... they completely forgot the most important theme in the show itself.... TEAMWORK! They all tried individually, and they all failed. But together they can do it. ^.^

    Ah hahhhh.... forgive, I'm kinda ranting here. So I'll end this. ::waves::
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006
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