Up until Nina Dobrev's departure from The Vampire Diaries, she played the dual roles of Elena Gilbert and Katharine Pierce. Elena was meant to be the gentle and loving heroine of the piece, while Katherine was her physical doppelganger but the complete opposite of Elena in every meaningful way besides appearance. And for a while it did seem like Elena was a decent, if sometimes misguided, young girl just trying to cope with a supernatural world she didn't understand or know how to navigate.
However, like most characters who would find themselves in constant life or death scenarios, Elena's moral strength tended to waver over time. And eventually, she had done enough bad things and hurt enough people that she was legitimately a pretty terrible person. The list of bad things that Elena Gilbert has done is pretty long, but these are the 10 worst things she ever did.
10 Compelling Jeremy's Memories And Feelings Away
One of Elena's kind of tragic flaws as the heroine of The Vampire Diaries is that often times when she thinks she's doing what's best for someone, it's not actually what's best. She doesn't bother to actually ask the person whose life she's trying to fix if they even want it to be fixed.
This was pretty clearly the case when Jeremy was devastated after the loss of Vicki. Compelling away Jeremy's knowledge of vampires was somewhat understandable, but Elena asked Damon to compel away Jeremy's actual feelings, which was an incredibly inappropriate thing to do when he hadn't even asked for it.
9 Forgetting About Stefan
From the very start of The Vampire Diaries, it was pretty apparent that Elena Gilbert would wind up dating both of the Salvatore brothers at some point. And while it's more than a little weird to date brothers, it's not the worst thing that a person could ever do.
However, once Elena decided to give things a real go with Damon, Stefan bailed and was promptly locked in a vault by Silas and thrown to the bottom of a lake to spend months drowning and coming back to life repeatedly. And Elena, who at least loved Stefan at one point, didn't even notice.
8 Refusing To Apologize For What She Did With No Humanity
In all fairness, if every person had some kind of switch in their brain that they could flip that would suddenly make them have no emotions anymore, they'd probably do it at one point or another. However, a normal person probably wouldn't start committing random murders just because they weren't feeling their feelings anymore, either.
And if they behaved in a completely nightmarish fashion when they didn't have their humanity, then they would at least apologize for their behavior afterward. However, that isn't the case with Elena. Elena murdered some people and even tried to kill her best friends when her humanity was off, but she outright stated she wasn't going to apologize for it because it was just too hard to deal with.
7 Losing Her Mind When She Became A Vampire
Transitioning into a vampire is difficult, and unfortunately, tragedies do tend to happen when a new vampire is adjusting to undead life. However, Elena absolutely lost it when she became a vampire. She was determined to undo what had been done and didn't seem to have the slightest regard for who might be caught in the crossfire.
She immediately decided that she couldn't hack it even though every other vampire she knew didn't even have a choice, and she was willing to literally kill thousands if it meant getting her hands on the cure to vampirism. She actually didn't even give it a second thought.
6 Killing Herself With Damon
As a girlfriend, Elena Gilbert is a stage 5 clinger, especially when it comes to being Damon Salvatore's girlfriend. So it might have been completely insane and a little gross, but it wasn't all that surprising that when Damon decided he was going to blow himself up that Elena decided she had to come along.
Aside from it being completely unnecessary and lame (I mean really, your life has no meaning without your boyfriend?), Elena's devotion to "romance" meant that at worst she would wind up really dead, and at best she would cause Bonnie a lot of suffering because she now had to bring yet another person back to life for no reason.
5 Not Noticing That Bonnie Was Dead
A lot of Elena's friends claim that Elena is a really good friend to have, but it seems like the proof is definitely not in the pudding in most instances. Yes, Elena was coping with the devastating loss of Damon, but it's not like she didn't love Bonnie too. Except apparently she kinda didn't, because when Bonnie died Elena wasn't even aware that she was gone.
Elena does have a tendency to get wrapped up in herself and ignore everyone else (which isn't that shocking since everyone around her seems to be more concerned about her life than anything else too), but this was extreme even for her.
4 Overlooking What Damon Did To Caroline
Actually, the entire show ignored this whole ugly little plotline once it was over, but it was especially noticeable because Elena often prioritized Damon over Caroline even though Damon treated Caroline criminally badly when they first met. So, if you're ever on a date with someone and they start screaming, trying to flee, and begging for their lives, then the date is over. Time to go.
Except Damon was more than happy to use Caroline as his unwilling chew toy, using and abusing her in pretty much every way that he could. And once Elena was into Damon, she really couldn't care less about what he'd done to her so-called best friend.
3 Tried To Kill Her BFF's
It has already been established that Elena without her humanity is not very pleasant to be around, but she tends to go above and beyond the emotionless standard. If someone has no emotions then they shouldn't care whether they're cruel or kind, but Elena regularly went out of her way to be incredibly nasty to the people that care about her.
She seemed to take a lot of delight in tormenting Stefan and Damon, but she took things to another level when she literally tried to kill both Bonnie and Caroline at different points of her no humanity destruction spree.
2 Killing An Innocent Waitress
Any person who lost a sibling would understandably be devastated, especially if that sibling was the only living member left of their family. And Elena turning her humanity off as a way of coping with the sudden death of Jeremy was completely understandable. What wasn't understandable at all, though, was her need to go completely scorched earth on everything that she once believed herself to be.
She knew that Damon and Stefan were going to try to convince her to turn her humanity back on and she didn't want to do it, so she killed an innocent bystander just to establish how serious she was about it.
1 Killing Kol
Elena is the kind of person who seems to go off the reservation any time an emergency situation arises, and there is no more extreme example than her plan to kill Kol with Jeremy. Elena was really not into being a vampire, but when she chose to kill an Original she arguably became one of the biggest villains in TVD. Or at the very least she probably made herself into the character with the highest body count.
Elena likes to think of herself as a compassionate and caring person, but no one with an ounce of empathy could kill thousands of vampires without even taking those deaths into consideration.