couragebitch asked: Hi! I just read your Tony emotion and reward system post and I was wondering how you thought that emotional oddity(?) might have factored in with his feelings about his father?
ALL TONY STARK BEHAVIOR CAN BE TRACED BACK TO HOWARD STARK SUCKING AT PARENTHOOD IF YOU LOOK HARD ENOUGH
but no, i mean, obviously my thoughts about tony stark are not everybody’s thoughts about tony stark (dear the internet: my thoughts about tony stark are not everybody’s thoughts about tony stark, i understand this, you understand this, it’s gonna be fine if you don’t agree with the feels i am about to spew, please stop sending me angry asks about blueberries), but it is my firm belief that the Assorted And Sundry Daddy Issues dictate such a large amount of tony’s behavior that even he isn’t fully aware of it.
and when it comes to the tony stark/things relationship, well, yeah, that’s definitely hugely howard-based. we know, canonically, that howard stark wasn’t good at expressing emotion with tony (“he never told me he loved me, he never even told me he liked me”); we’re equally aware of the fact that tony was a child prodigy who has, as an adult, developed an AI so advanced that it has a personality. based on this information, it’s probably safe to assume that tony, as a child, was a) given stuff far more often than affection and b) possessed of the tendency to develop emotional attachments to things he had created and could, as such, control. because kids in situations that leave them feeling unsafe or unloved or neglected on a long-term scale tend towards wanting parts of the world that they can control, and if you’re tony stark, that’s easier for you than it would be for most other people, for SO MANY reasons.
so yeah, i think tony’s childhood had a lot to do with it. i think tony got the idea that certain behaviors deserve physical rewards because he, himself, rarely got emotional response at the age when even he was too young to draw cognitive connections, and thus, on some level, figured that was just how things worked. and that shit sticks! it just does. you can rework the stuff you absorbed as a child later in life if you’re willing to confront it and work with it and actively fight it back, but god knows tony isn’t doing that. but, at the same time, i don’t think it’s all howard, you know? it’s also the fact that tony really didn’t ever have ANY peers growing up, because how could you, and thus didn’t properly learn to trust…almost anybody…and then one of the people he DID trust ripped his literal heart out of his literal chest and, you know what, it’s complicated.
which, i guess, is tony in a nutshell: complicated, weird about stuff, paint allllll the things red.
i was all ready to be like “YOUR TONY FEELS ARE NOT MY TONY FEELS, GYZYM, GRR, I FEEL WHAT I WANT” but it turned out these are actually my Tony Feels.