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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Self Pity and Self Hatred: Two Dangerous Extremes

feeling sorry for oneselfLow self-esteem issues are quite common to my practice. In fact, all therapies in one way or the other have to do with self-image. And when we suffer from a low self-esteem problem and are unable to resolve it, we manage to cover it from the world by taking a defensive stand. Some become reserved and gruff, some put up a false intellectual front, some pretend to be uber happy, and some turn shy and silent, and then there are hundred other ways to cover it up.

Dealing with self-esteem issues or any issue for that matter is not a big deal if we are really willing to resolve our problems. But there are times when some of us tend to take an extreme stand about themselves after years of struggling with issues. One one extreme is self pity and other self hatred.

From a healing point of view, both are really dangerous attitudes. Because they not only prevent us from effectively resolving our issues but also become a very important reason why we are facing issues also. Let us see how.

Self pity is a sorry state. A person with self pity begins to see himself in a sorry state and as a figure of sacrifice. He feels he is a helpless victim of any situation and believes he would remain so. He often spends time in pitying himself and blaming others for his plight. He comes to feel so bad for himself so much that they readily accept the victim’s role as a part of who they are.

And once that happens, they continue to attract situations where they can play victims. The mind always makes true what it believes. It manipulates situations and people around to fulfill its needs and beliefs. So once the person believes he is a victim, he unconsciously seeks to worm himself into situations where he could become one. It is like if you become a doctor, you need to treat patients to justify your role. So you set up a medical practice and start seeking people with illnesses. Much similarly, the mind starts looking for situations and people who would victimize it so the self-pity is justified. These people carry a lot of resentment and anger within.

self hatredSelf hatred also works similarly but on the opposite side of the scale. Person who hates herself usually start playing the role of a perpetrator. She needs to justify her hatred. She just starts looking for victims and situations where she could have reasons to hate herself. In her mind, it’s all her fault! These people also carry a lot of guilt. They also carry a need to punish themselves.

People on these two extremes have a need to make sad stories of their lives. The truth is that need is neither ‘subconscious’ or ‘unconscious’. There is no need for a hypnotherapy regression or ‘psychological evaluation’ to bring up this need to the surface. All one has to do is to watch their thoughts and the motivations will be readily seen. If you can watch your thoughts with complete honesty – which means without denying or resisting them in any way – you can readily find out if you are carrying any of these traits in you. By watching your thoughts, you can also easily realize how you are manipulating yourself into a victim’s or a perpetrator’s role

This becomes the first block to any healing or therapy.  This needs to go in order to resolve other issues in your life. How can self pity and self hatred be healed? All you need is consistent refusal to take that attitude. Be alert in your head and watch your thoughts keenly. The moment you start feeling sorry for yourself and anger for situation or the moment you start cursing yourself and feel severe guilt, just move into the present moment and refuse to take that attitude. Be consistent and you can easily come out of that viewpoint.

Suggested Readings:
Emotional Drama
Power of Manifestation
It’s too late now!

Picture Courtesy: David Castillo Dominici @ freedigitalphotos.net