Cinderella vs. Elsa – Child Ego State

How envy, jealousy and feelings of inadequacy come straight from the Child Ego state.

Could you imagine Cinderella and Elsa in a tug of war?

Think of it…dresses flying …shoes in the air and some cross between pumpkins, mice and frozen everything. Who do you think is the more beautiful…Cinderella or Elsa? They are both a type of victim that evoke pity and a general “this is just sad” reaction. They also have had plenty of press in terms of their stories. Cinderella is the story that is the older and Elsa, or Frozen, is the newer story, waiting to be replaced in the near future by some other Disney creation.   From an adult point of view these two young beauties are in a series of young girl triumphs with the help of some male hero story lines.

So let’s go into the world of a child and see if there are insights for us when looking at these two popular figures.

I recently went to a party for which I bought the 5 year old, at her mother’s direction, a Cinderella dress. The child was delighted. I really saw a joy that I had not seen in a while. She danced with abandon in the living room and held her hand at the hem of the dress with ballerina poise. So we were all thrilled that the present was so well received and the party went on to a festive finish.  

child_egoA couple of days later I was with this same 5 year old at her friend’s house for a play date. The children dressed in their Cinderella and Elsa dresses and a variety of other formals/ballerina dresses. At some point the girls exchanged dresses and then the drama began. My “Cinderella” became a jealous, envious, screaming, and crying “out of control” 5 year old. She was breathlessly, red faced and crying because the other little girl and her sister had more dresses, one was an Elsa dress, than she did and it was not FAIR! No amount of consoling and reasoning could change her demeanor. Her mother, who is a therapist, took her in her arms and tenderly explained that her Cinderella dress was still beautiful and that her friends’ dresses were also wonderful and not better than her dress. So the conversation went in circles and finally a cool wash rag and an ending to the play date calmed my Cinderella down. I know that the conversation went on the next couple of days with examples and lessons and that finally the subject waned from Cinderella’s feelings.

How does this apply to us?

Who are we in the matter of Cinderella and Elsa and other dresses of beauty? Is the dress we have good enough? Is the dress another has better? Who are we in the matter of our own self value? Of course it seems so clear that this is an analogy but doesn’t this little story hit at the struggles we have to feel ok about who we are, what we do and what we have?

So envy, jealousy and feelings of inadequacy come straight from the Child Ego state and into the heart of our being without much warning and without our ability to respond.

It is with counseling and some hard work that we can nurture the child within and come to a greater understanding and appreciation for the sometimes mysterious demands of the subconscious.