What happens when it’s not the fairytale you expected?

March 5th, 2013

I went to a conference last weekend and met a person who worked at Disney. She shared with me that Mickey Mouse’s character costume has been changed countless times because of children’s responses to Mickey. Interesting.
A clinician I worked with once shared that the most abused and projected upon toy in his child therapy office was Mickey Mouse. Hmmm.

It got me thinking about Mickey and what would cause such a stir. Mickey is a simple non-threatening kinda mouse, it seems like he’s friendly enough since he has friends, and even a girlfriend. Why would there be Mickey-haters or those scared of the Mouse?

My therapist colleague explained that many of the children who projected their anger onto Mickey were children who were robbed of their fairytale. They had experienced loss, abuse, sadness, anger, hurt, upheaval, bullying, let-downs. Their lives were not the way they were supposed to be, and they were mad/sad, and Mickey is an easy target for all those feelings.

I wonder how many children feel like they didn’t get a fairytale life. How many princesses have been let down to find that prince charming doesn’t make her whole, how many kids were out-casted to the role of Goofy, or that they never felt like they belonged and had to create their own internal magical kingdom build up with big walls and a moat for protection.

As adults we look to protect children, to shield them from the dragons (or at least minimize the impact). Yet, it’s in these moments of loss, change, struggle, when a child feels helpless and hopeless that everyone else got the pass to the fairytale and they didn’t, is when your presence matters the most.

Your Presence.

Not your words, not what you do to solve the problems, not how you try to help them fix it- but your presence.

Mickey Mouse doesn’t speak, he’s a witness to the tides of feelings that flow from children who cannot put into words the pain they are feeling. A witness who doesn’t ask the child to be different in the moment or try to fix, diminish, explain the child’s feelings away.

Art is a safe witness for many children a place where they can explore, express, escape. Just observe as a child picks up art materials and knows without guidance or direction how to express themselves. Then notice what happens as they get older, how their creativity gets squashed or marginalized and they start to express they are not good enough. Throughout their lives they are in need of a safe witness for their feelings.

How can you channel you inner Mickey Mouse and be a safe witness for your child?

If you need more support, please reach out and we can find the resources to help you.

In March you can receive individualized support in several ways:

*Join the LIVE Event: To Medicate or Not:What Choices Do I Have? Q& A with Heather Chauvin http://heatherchauvin2.eventbrite.ca

*or Join the IPPC Support Call Challenging Kids, Stuck Families, Difficult Cases: Creative Support for Child Quandaries  https://thecreativityqueen.com/ippc/

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