Posted By: Portia Brockway
Many of us want our very own Prince Charming, traveling through many love-soaked days and delightful decades with this handsome dream boat. We may want to raise a family with him. Yet some of us hold onto an uncontrollable desire to be totally immersed in and dependent on the man in our lives rather than floating our own boat, nestled, rocking, alongside his. Such a person, usually a woman, is said to be stuck in the “Cinderella Complex”.
Today’s “Cinderella” imagines herself to be the fair maid who marries the Prince. They tie the knot for love, not food and shelter, but you can bet he treats her like a queen. She wants to be adored by him, to receive wild bouquets from his warm hands while he recites Shakespeare sonnets that speak of his undying devotion. She wants the finest gowns and the most gala parties in her honor. Yet, depending too much on any one person can sooner or later leave us alone and abandoned. What if it doesn’t work out?
Princess Diana is a good example of the Cinderella dream and how it may go awry. As Lady Diana said, it’s hard to be in a marriage that consists of three people, the third being Prince Charles’ long time lover, Camilla. Over the months and years that followed their royal wedding Diana became disillusioned. Rather than going off and hiding in a corner, the Princess continued to develop herself as a distinct and committed community member. When she left the royal family the people loved her for her strength and courage in facing a bad situation and getting out of it, whatever the cost. She continued to carry on her work with the world-wide community, and sincerely devoted herself to helping others. She conquered the Cinderella Complex by becoming independent and striking out on her own.
The bottom line is that we need each other, more than we need extra cash, a big house and a glamorous sports car. National Opinion Research Center surveys report that individuals believe the single most important factor in achieving personal happiness is relationships with family and friends. Individuals who reported having contact with five or more intimate friends in the prior six months were 60% more likely to report that their lives were “very happy.”
With 30% of American households headed by a single parent, we must rely on our friends’ strengths, even while we support them through their personal heavens and hells. In the Cyberspace network, activities such as online meet up groups: dating sites, professional networks, group ons (coupon ads), and other online methods for connecting offer us opportunities to find new friends and colleagues, and to be resourceful in penny allocation.
Being a single parent can be a very difficult financially. Government assistance programs can help with housing, education and food. Our extended family, perhaps the mother, aunt, uncle, sister, or brother may take care of the youngsters while we are at work, or out on a play date of our own.
At a 50% (U.S.) divorce rate, there are too many of us who feel isolated, abandoned, and unprepared for what lies ahead. When the kids stay with Dad, back and forth on alternate weekends or over holidays, we may be forced to maintain a peripheral tie with someone from whom we would rather walk away.
The flip side of this compromise is that the actual mother and father parent a child like no one else can. And, of course, with just the right twist, conflicts smooth out and the original friendship matures, blossoming beyond the sands of time.
Sometimes trained therapists help us to confront what holds us back from becoming all we want to be, and achieving our dreams. Therapy sessions can be the mill house that turns the grist of confusion into smooth and conscious relationships with yourself and others.
Once emotional strife is let go we start to really love living, taking in our own moments amid the swirling dramas of the world around us. We willingly take on our ever-changing freedoms and responsibilities, to imagine, achieve, dream and become. Turning with the world this way, we realize that Prince Charming never would have been enough.
Portia Brockway is a freelance writer who deftly fuses the imagistic with the analytical; she has published nationally and internationally in books, magazines, newspapers, and online.