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Princess Complex: Passively Helpless

Society teaches young girls that they are designed to be a princess and their life is like a fairytale. We plant seeds in their mind with movies and television shows encouraging a princess like complex that focuses on pretty things, putting herself at the center of attention, and obsessing about their looks. While this can be fun and whimsical when a girl is a toddler, it can also set the tone for how she develops into a young woman. Society teaches girls to be pretty, kind, and to always ask for help. Problem solving is too complex for a princess. This mentality causes a passive helplessness called a princess complex.

A princess complex is a mentality that relies on other people for everything in a self-defeating way. You have the means to help yourself but you choose not to. You rely on others for their knowledge and skill set to solve your problems. This mentality is cute when you are a toddler, relying on your parents to feed you, nurture you, and give you everything that you need. Entering adulthood with a princess complex will seem too much to endure and you will feel the need to blame others for your shortcomings.


With adulthood comes responsibilities and being able to make decisions on your own. If you’re still stuck in a princess complex, you will have a difficult time making decisions on your own in fear of failing or making a mistake. You start to make excuses for yourself and pretty soon, you are constantly waiting on other people to help you and caterer to you.


“I can’t cook this type of meat,” you tell yourself so you will wait until your partner or a friend comes over to cook it for you. “I can’t ever save money,” you tell yourself so you’re constantly looking for handouts from other people or have someone else balance your checkbook, instead of trying to figure out why you can’t save money. “I just don’t understand math,” you tell yourself so instead of helping your child with their homework, you wait until their teacher explains the math problems to them. Instead of trying, you always put the blame and responsibility onto someone else to solve the problem.


The princess complex starts small and ends up taking over your whole life. It becomes to be a learned helplessness. When life throws a curve ball and no one is around to help, you will either have to learn quickly on how to survive or sink deep in your helplessness.


It is always possible to take action, you just need to be open to new possibilities. Merriam Webster defines self-reliance simply as reliance on one’s own efforts and abilities.


Here are 3 top ways to stop the princess complex and be more self-reliant:

  1. Think Independently — shutting out the noise around you and being able to think autonomously. Trust your own instincts.

  2. Embrace Your Individuality — your dreams and goals will look different than the person next to you and that is completely okay and normal. Embrace your unique gifts, talents, and dreams.

  3. Strive Towards Your Own Goals — be willing to take risks to achieve your goals. If you fail, that is okay, try again. Don’t be overly concerned about rejection.

Remember that self-reliance is not a fairy tale, there will be discomfort in the journey. The importance is that you start to brand yourself and make your own mark in the world without relying on someone else to get you there because most likely they won’t be able to help you get to that next level.