The Cinderella Syndrome

ImageImagine this: A poor lonely girl sitting alone by herself on a starlit night full of sorrow and suffering. She is quietly weeping for herself and her pitiable condition. She has nobody to talk to and everybody around her is treating her badly including her family. She hopes somebody would come to her aid. She is yearning for her prince and savior to come along and save her from her plight. Someone who would love her with all his heart and make her worthy of her life. This is the Cinderella Syndrome.

We all know the Cinderella story. The poor fatherless girl mistreated by her step-mother and made to scrub the floor all day. She yearns for a better life and weeps all night long. One day her step-sisters go to the ball at the palace. Cinderella wishes she could go to the ball too. And lo, a fairy godmother appears and turns Cinderella’s rags into a lovely dress, and rats and pumpkin into horses and a chariot. Cinderella dances with the prince at the ball who is taken by her beauty. By the hour of midnight, heeding the warning of the Fairy godmother, Cinderella rushes out of the ball leaving behind her glass slipper. The prince has his staff search for the girl whose foot would fit the glass slipper. Cinderella’s foot fits and she is married to the prince, and she lives ever after.

ImageThe Cinderella Syndrome is a real life situation of a fatherless girl who was unconsciously playing the Cinderella for real. Unfortunately, Cinderella stories don’t end well in reality. This girl had prince after prince coming to her rescue but they would then eventually desert her and go.

This happens because her mind had to survive her identity which she formed of herself from early childhood. And that identity was that of a lonely, suffering girl who is hurt by near and dear again and again. Once the mind forms an identity for the person, its goal is to keep it alive – to keep both the body and the identity alive. So for this girl, in spite of yearning and manifesting princes into her life, her mind has to still keep her lonely and suffering, hurt by near and dear. Now the near and dear also include her romantic relationships. Yet her desperation to get out of the situation is also real.

So she battles with herself endlessly. She manages to attract guys who would take advantage of her desperation and then dump her. She would be left once more the poor Cinderella. After a few repeated such incidents she has a fear of relationships which all the more helps her to remain the suffering Cinderella.

Real life Cinderella is helpless by choice, derives melancholic enjoyment of her loneliness, noble in her own view due to her uncomplaining (not entirely) suffering. Her self-pity, self-hatred, and her pride keep her remaining that way.

There is only one way for real life Cinderellas to get out of this miserable loop – to decide not to be a Cinderella in the first place. They need to give up their life story. They need to look beneath the voids they carry within to find out their true self. The Cinderella Syndrome is an addiction to pain.

Most real life Cinderellas carry a deep void within. They wait for an outside hero to come and fill that void. This is their second mistake. The first and their biggest mistake is in assuming they are the void within. Instead of trying to fill the void, they need to question the reality of the void they carry within. Is she the identity she formed in her childhood? Or is she somebody else? Can she, as a life, survive if that identity is snatched away from her? The day real life Cinderellas can give a yes to the last question, they can effectively come out of their troubles and heal their lives.

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