“Charles’ often damagingly self-sacrificing nature” more about your thoughts on this please?
I’m not really very good at extended meta posts, anon, but I’ll give this a go!
Some of my thoughts on this are from XMFC specifically, and a little is taken from comics canon too, just to give some boundaries. I’m not a comics reader, but there is some canon I’ve picked up through osmosis here and there, so people please feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong canon-wise.
A lot of this is my personal headcanon, btw. YMMV.
I’ve always felt that while Charles is essentially a good person he also invests a lot of his self-image in being a good person - it makes him feel that he has value and character and is a worthwhile person, that he is worthy of love, and of earning love. Having been raised by a mother who didn’t care much for him and a stepfather who hated him, with a stepbrother who hated him, Charles takes a lot of pride in being good and being better than them. He’s responded to his upbringing by determining to be different from the people who raised him, and I feel like he feels he needs to earn people’s affections by being good - that he has to work to be loved, that it requires virtue, and that maybe he is never - quite - good enough to really love.
(After all, he has no idea any more how Raven really feels about him, because he promised to stay out of her head. There is nobody whose thoughts he’s allowed to read who loves him. And Charles experiences his relationships with other people first and foremost through his telepathy, supplemented by the rest of his senses and faculties.)
So part of that belief manifests in trying to do the right thing for other people even when it is seriously detrimental to himself, because that is what makes him a good person in his mind. He takes the hit so others won’t have to, but he doesn’t give them the choice to take it. That’s the really damaging part - they might have chosen differently otherwise.
One example of this would be when he holds Shaw for Erik even though it means suffering through his horrible death - we see him screaming but determinedly keeping his fingers to his temple, when frankly he could have let go at any point once the coin was in Shaw’s head. We’re never given any indication that Shaw would release his power on his death unless Charles holds it in, and there’s very little likelihood that Shaw could have attacked Erik once there was a coin in his frontal lobe, whether or not it had yet taken out vital life-supporting systems (which, from an anatomical point of view, are mostly at the back of the brain and the brainstem.) And yet he doesn’t tell Erik any of this, though he must have known beforehand that this would be the result.
Possibly the strongest example from the film is the way in which he tells Raven to go and doesn’t ask her or Erik to stay despite his being in agony and unable to feel his legs - Charles is a geneticist, which means biology, and he’s not stupid. He knows what it means. And yet he doesn’t tell anybody until after they’ve already left - Erik taking with him the one person who could get him to a hospital fast enough to maybe save something (and without having to physically move him) in the form of Azazel, taking away the only family and support he has in the form of Raven, for whom Charles is also sacrificing himself to give her the freedom he thinks she needs - Charles doesn’t inflict that guilt on Erik any more than he already has, he just lets him go and suffers the consequences. And he doesn’t let his own sister know how badly he’s injured.
In fact, this characterisation of him is why I think he might have nudged Raven to go. He wanted her to be happy more than he wanted to give her the choice to stay with him and help him through his injury, and without considering how she will feel when she finds out what happened to him (or, if I’m right, how she’ll feel when she realises what he did.) He puts more stock in sacrificing himself than he does in the long-term effects of such self-destructive love.
And that’s what I think.