Cinderella and the Subpersonalities

If I was in Cinderella’s shoes, (her work shoes, not the glass ones) I wouldn’t be as sanguine as she is. I would be more of a weepy, depressive and anxiety-ridden Catie. That’s saying something on some days. Her stepmother and stepsisters are the worst! Not only do they take over her house and make her do all the work, they are physically and verbally abusive. As someone whose depression can be triggered by outside sources, I would not have a chance.

We must remember, however, that Cinderella is a fairy tale. She is the epitome of kindness and endurance.  She shows us what could be.

Cinderella isn’t completely unshaken by her stepfamily. She has her moments where standing up to them just doesn’t work. Even the epitome can’t stand up against depression all the time.

I imagine Lady Tremaine and her daughters as the “subpersonalities” of negative self-talk.  Subpersonalities are those negative thoughts or voices in your head that affect your moods and feelings.

The Worrier promotes anxiety and starts out sentences with “What ifs?”

The Critic promotes low self-esteem and says things like “What a disappointment you are. That was stupid.”

The Perfectionist who promotes stress and starts sentences with “I should” and “I must.”

The Victim promotes depression and says things like “I’m hopeless” and “Why bother?”

For me, my Critic, Perfectionist and Worrier trigger my Victim until the Victim is all I hear.

(I was introduced to self-talk by a previous counselor. It really gave me another perspective on what goes on inside my head. This information is from The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, PHD)

I see the two sisters as mixtures of the Worrier, Perfectionist and Critic. Lady Tremaine is the Victim. I admire Cinderella’s ability to brush them off. How does she do this? She could be using counter techniques, asking herself questions like “What is the evidence for this?” and “What is the worst that could happen?” She might think of more positive things, like the dreams she has. She has a whole theme and everything for her dreams and what they mean to her. Also, I see the fairy godmother as the fairy godmother of positive thinking, or the manifestation of Cinderella’s counter techniques.

So, if you were to ask me “What would Cinderella do if she got depressed?” I would say, “She stays positive to the best of her ability. She remains kind. She knows who she is.”

Moments where Cinderella is harassed by her stepfamily aka the subpersonalities and is able to counter them:

(Skip to about 2:30 if you don’t want to listen to “Sing Sweet Nightingale”)

Moments where Cinderella can’t counter them, at least not right away (these might look familiar:

(You can skip to 2:30)

Moment of Positive Self-Talk Manifestation:

Cinderella’s other positive thinking (or should I say singing?):

“No matter how your heart is grieving/ If you keep on believing/ The dream that you wish will come true”

I will try Cinderella. I promise.

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