The Cinderella Effect

Have you noticed (I’m sure you have), that some people are endowed with a sense of entitlement, (sometimes based on privilege). And then there are others who also feel entitled, but theirs is rooted in lack of privilege. They feel they’re owed something in life because they’ve missed out, (and they’re probably right).

Then there are the Cinderella people, who don’t feel entitled at all. And that’s our problem. When people are kind to us, we don’t know how to receive it, and we thank profusely because they’ve done us a favour, which we don’t deserve. But when people are horrible, it’s no surprise, because our expectations of what we’re due are that low anyway.

So, what’s going on here? We all know about self-worth, so it must hark back to that somehow, but where does this Cinderella Effect (lack of innate self-worth) come from? Why is it felt at such depth? And why does it affect us in so many ways?

The answer to all these questions lies in the effects of early childhood experiences. An innately poor self-worth, felt at such depth, and affecting us in so many ways, can only have started in childhood. And we have to journey back there, and deal with the causes. If we don’t, this inner child stays with us, throughout our adult life. (You don’t believe me? How about yesterday’s reactive, or defensive, or over-the-top behaviour)?

The inner child is highly reactive because it’s at the emotional core, affecting our behaviour in the here and now. It affects our ability to receive kindness and love, because we don’t feel worthy of it. When we’re the recipient of love, it’s like a red flag to a bull because it stirs up our emotional wound, the wound that says we’re not worthy to receive.

How do you respond when someone shows you love, or blesses you with acts of kindness? Do you shut out the giver and forget to thank? Or do you over-thank (to relieve the guilt of not being worthy)? Do you instantly do something in return, so you don’t feel indebted? Or do you get clingy and desperate for more? There are innumerable ways to express our unworthiness. (As many different ways as there are Cinderellas)!

Of course, we’re not like this all the time; only when our wound is stirred up, and our defences activated. The rest of the time, we’re pretty normal! But this is the emotional state we revert to when we feel vulnerable; our default setting when we’re feeling deficient.

So how do we change the default setting? In my view; there’s only one way. We have to examine the past. Obviously, it’s not possible to re-write the past, but it’s possible to understand the past and its effect on our behaviour. And the surprising thing is this: we are capable of changing our behaviour when we understand and learn about ourselves.

Self-knowledge and self-understanding, resulting from a journey of unpacking the past, is a very honest process. An honest journey is what my counselling process is all about. So, if you think this is the type of counselling you want and need, then make contact, and let’s begin.

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