“I can’t remember what it feels like caring about myself”…

“I can’t remember what it feels like caring about myself”… that is how our conversation with a young female client started a few months ago…

I have become so used to caring about others, my parents, my partner, everyone else except me, that I find it very difficult to begin, how do I begin?”

Having this conversation brought to mind a book called “The Cinderella Complex, woman’s hidden fear of independence”, a book which was written back in 1981, greatly influenced by the feminist movement. This book refers to women’s difficulty in pursuing their dreams, hopes and aspirations, who eventually become withdrawn, weak and passive. I would like to share a few extracts from this book

(this is not the verbatim text – it has been translated from greek to english)  

…”My train of thought is interrupted by the realisation that I have always been on my own. All of a sudden this thought emerges despite trying desperately to avoid it. I can’t stand being on my own. I would love to live, like the kangaroos, living within someone else’s skin. More than the air, the energy and life itself, what I yearn the most is the safety, the warmth and comfort of being taken care of by someone else. This feeling, surprisingly enough, is not something new. It has been lurking inside of me, for quite sometime”… (page 13)

…”Most of the times, it is much easier to deal with an external challenge, a crisis or even a tragedy, than having to face the inner challenge, the urge of taking the risk, the idea of growing up and becoming mature”. (page 37)

“I have learnt that freedom and independence is something that each woman should develop and conquer on her own, starting from within. To do so we need to free ourselves from addictions, which we only use as a safety net. Making this substitution is not that great of a challenge. Women who believe in themselves have nothing to gain by pursuing fake dreams which extend further than her reach. Simultaneoulsy, what is more important is to fulfill their goals, for which they feel capable and ready. This type of women are down to earth and love themselves.  They are free to love others, because they have managed to love themselves. These are all qualities that belong to women who have managed to fly away and depend on their own wings”. (page 263)

“Τhe Cinderella Complex – Woman’s hidden fear of independence”, by Colette Dowling, 1981.

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