When Life Turns Into A Cinderella Story

I know you’re wondering: how does life turn into a Cinderella story? Where is this going?

This started out being about one thing, then turned into something completely different.

The story began like this…

Do you ever look for something that you cannot find? And last you saw it, it was on the table next to your chair where you always keep it.

A short time ago, I was looking for the little blue and white saucer I set my cup of coffee in every morning.

I search for it. Dig into the sides of my chair with my hands. Look to see if it got knocked to the floor.

Then finally, I see it.

And it’s right there on the table next to my chair where it always is.

Do you do this? I feel so silly once I realize I looked right at it and didn’t see it. And this reminded me of things I’ve done in my life that I’ve lived to regret.

When I had rose-colored glasses on and didn’t see what I should have seen.

And Here Comes The Cinderella Story:

I think we all, or the older portion of us, watched Cinderella on TV when we were little girls. And we were spinning around for days seeing fairy dust in the air.

And then it happens.

Years later, Prince Charming comes along and he praises everything about you. His eyes reflect the stars mirrored in yours.

You coast along, your feet barely touching the ground, while visions of sugar plums dance in your head.

Then everything changes, seemingly overnight.

“You are nothing,” he tells you.

What happened to the man who adored you, whose eyes lit up when you entered a room?

He Was Never There:

You saw what you wanted to see. A prince in shining armor never walked in his shoes. He just made it look like he was a prince so he could reel you in.

Things will end badly, you know. But you so want to believe in him that you go back again and again even though you promise yourself that you won’t.

People wonder why you do this. How could such an intelligent woman go back when he treats her so badly, they wonder?

What’s wrong with her?

Psychology Today:

  • Many victims return to abusive relationships because they are driven by the basic necessities of life.
  • Victims who experience secondary victimization as a result of the negative attitudes of others are more likely to blame themselves as well.
  • Some victims return to abusers because they believe that despite the mistreatment, the rewards outweigh the costs of separation.

He has said you are nothing. Over and over again.

Well, now he’s made sure you have nothing.

Where can you go with nothing? Nothing doesn’t pay for food or shelter.

And like the second bullet point says: We blame ourselves for being where we are.

Intricately threaded into a spider’s web from which we cannot seem to extricate ourselves.

Let’s get one thing straight: he does not have to hit you to abuse you.

He can abuse you psychologically with his words. And by keeping money away from you.

By putting you so far into debt that the water is fast approaching your neck.

Then you remember something he said one day that you just let pass by. “I’ll make sure you’re so in debt you’ll never be able to leave.”

This hangs over your head like a gray cloud. Because once you reach that point, you feel like he has won.

You buried your head in the sand when you should have been paying better attention. Because you so wanted to believe in that Cinderella story.

How many little girls wanted to believe that fairy tale?

Many victims return to abusive relationships because they are driven by the basic necessities of life. They are not financially secure, don’t have anywhere to go, and do not want to live in a shelter.

You become so confused and afraid that you call the police. They come and see that you have no bruises.

It’s All In Her Head:

So they believe him when he says: “It’s all in my wife’s head.”

There is nothing to see here.

The two policemen look at you with pity because you have wasted their time.

And you wonder if they’re right.

You look in the mirror and don’t see any bruises. But you don’t yet know that words can be just as deadly as fists.

Sometimes you float through life without really living it.

You find yourself driving, just driving, and then you’re in front of a church out in the countryside. And you pull into their parking lot, because you don’t know where else to go.

You park in back and reach for the bottle of pills you brought with you. And then you sit and cry.

You can still hear his words and he isn’t even there.

You’re so confused about how your life came to be this nightmare that you are utterly unable to make even this one decision.

And so after a time you put the pills back in your purse and drive home.

From Women’s Law:

Abuse comes in many different forms. Emotional and psychological abuse include mostly non-physical behaviors that the abuser uses to control, isolate, or frighten you.

Often, the abuser uses it to break down your self-esteem and self-worth in order to create a psychological dependency on him/her.

Emotional and psychological abuse are hard forms of abuse to recognize because the abuse is spread throughout your everyday interactions.

Unlike physical abuse, there are often no isolated incidents or clear physical evidence to reference.

After years of fear and uncertainty, something finally cracks within you. And you pack up your life and leave.

This time you don’t go back.

Life is different. You have nightmares and jump at the slightest sound. You’re listening for the footsteps that are no longer there.

Healing is possible. But it takes time and self-compassion.

Never forget self-compassion. Because it is something we women often don’t allow ourselves.

And Then It Occurs To You:

We never found out what happened after Prince Charming put the slipper on Cinderella’s foot.

We never found out if she got to live her fairy tale life, did we?



  1. You have such a way with words … I was drawn in to what you wrote before I realized what your real subject was. Been there — emotional abuse — done that and never again. Hopefully your words will help other women see what’s actually going on in their lives and encourage them to make a change.

  2. Thank you for talking about this topic. The more this is discussed the better we can help others. Also, I think we need to start believing women when they come forward. Not all abuse leaves a bruise.

    1. I have had my Cinderella story. I got married right out of high school. I was in love with first man I dated and after we got married I had 4 years of bills not paid and bill collectors at the door. I had an “allowance” of $5 a week. When we divorced, I was still wearing the clothes I wore in high school. No budget for clothes, you see, but he had all the new electronic equipment and a motorcycle…and a girlfriend. I returned to my parents’ house and began working at a department store. Met a college student who worked there when he was home on break. A year later we married and it has been 40 years of love. I truly have been blessed. Three wonderful kids. Paid bills. Always feel loved and respected.

  3. Just this morning, I was looking for the envelope to mail a birthday card. I JUST HAD IT, and somehow, I had the card, but could not find the envelope. I was so mad, lol! I feel so sorry for all the women out there stuck in those unhealthy, manipulative relationships. I pray they find the strength to leave and make a much better life for themselves. Everyone deserves to be happy, loved, respected, and accepted for who they are.

  4. Too many of us have this sad story in common…brings lots of flashbacks…I finally got out too with the help of my own daughter…my children too are my everything…beautifully written and heartbreaking for all of us who have lived it 💕

  5. My aunt who was married twice (first one could not keep his pants on, second one just grew old and died, though was not easy to live with in ways) told me: Strong women attract weak men. I think she is right. YOU ARE STRONG, Brenda…look what you survived!! Some forms of weakness are easier to deal with. But safe to say, most men (and maybe women too) definitely become great at acting during the dating time. I think too that perhaps since time began the woman was to blame for most everything, and you can just become a scapegoat. You wrote this well. Sadly. But the perfect world is not here…not yet!!

  6. Very serious topic, so much truth and unfortunately too common. At a young age you are learning and developing self worth, confidence, and hope. It just takes one narcistic, manipulative man who you believe loves you but it turns out only loves himself.
    Did I waste my life? No! I have 3 grown children who are good, kind, productive with children of their own who have made anything that happened in my life worth it and these children and grandchildren only add to my life.

  7. Once again, excellent writing and on a difficult subject. Your last two sentences really bring your message home! Yep, we all dreamed about the sweet little white house with the perfect picket fence surrounded by colorful posies, did we not?
    Am blessed, have not experienced this to any depth that warrant it be called abuse and truly feel for those who have. No one deserves to be broken like this by the hands or words of anyone else. No one.
    And yes, I can lose something while sitting at same table in same chair and not have moved an inch-OMG so frustrating and right up there with finding a two-inch hair growing under my jaw line and saying “how the heck did I not see this sooner” while assuming others too polite to say anything have seen it. YIKES! The golden years of aging. Sigh.

    1. Excellent point, forgot about that part. Now me thinks what if her prince turned out to be an abuser and this is another case where this Cinderella ends up unknowingly choosing what turns out to be the life she already knows. Ok, too much analytical thought for even me. Yep, I’m with you, lets hope the prince did indeed love her dearly. Everyone should be blessed to experience such love in their lifetime.

  8. We were told at the end of “Cinderella” that she and the Prince lived happily ever after. But then, it was a man who wrote that fairy tale. In fact, it was men who wrote all of the fairy tales with which we are most familiar.

  9. Oh, how often have I searched for something only to find it where I looked numerous times. I’ve even picked up said item to look behind it. LOL
    My Cinderella story is similar but not the same. It took me years to finally figure out what was happening and put an abrupt end to it. You don’t realize that you’ve been experiencing manipulation and lies. You have to muster up everything in you to believe it when it hits you right between the eyes.
    I enjoyed today’s post because I totally get it.

  10. Brenda, you are such a brave and worthy woman, and I am so glad that I get an email from you every day. I had a similar childhood but not nearly as bad…I met a good hearted and wonderful boy and we eventually married and have been for 57 years. I would never intentionally hurt his feelings nor would he mine. Take care, stay strong and safe, and always be kind to yourself because you deserve it.

  11. It is sad that women that are abused often times are so isolated and have no one but the abuser to turn to and stay in the abuse risking their well being and sometimes their lives. Especially when children are involved in the equation too. I am glad there are more resources for women then there use to be. Have a good week. By the way I have done many times what happened with the saucer lol! You are not alone. Hugs. Kris

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