Snow White Syndrome: “mirror, mirror …”

We live in a society where one of the most valued attributes is physical appearance. Many women (and also some men) are unable to accept the appearance of the first wrinkles and try to disguise their age.

Over time, age leaves its mark, And the unhappiness is getting bigger and bigger for them, as they cannot bear to see how their physical appearance changes. After 40 years, they leave behind that characteristic beauty of their youth and frustration and anxiety appear.

Snow White Syndrome: what is it?

In our article “The Peter Pan and Wendy Syndrome: Trapped in Never Again”, we talk about two disorders that have their origin in two characters of Disney. In this article we will outline the characteristics of the Snow White Syndrome.

Snow White syndrome refers to the distortion of a person’s self-image in terms of youth, beauty, or qualities characteristic of that stage of life, and the envy that the person feels for the most young and that she finds more attractive.

Betsy Cohen, an American psychotherapist, coined the term in one of her books. Although this disorder is not part of the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), psychologists are increasingly paying attention to its symptoms, which typically appear in many women when they are over 40. years.

Although this syndrome is more common in women, some cases have also been reported in men.

Snow White syndrome: insecurity and envy

The name of this syndrome is inspired by Queen grimhilde, Snow White’s wicked stepmother. This one cannot stand that there is another person more beautiful than her, and arousing great envy by the young and beautiful Snow White. The mean and vain stepmother asks Humbert, a hunter, to end the life of her stepdaughter and bring her her heart.

While Humbert refuses to kill her, Queen Grimhilde disguises herself as an old woman and goes in search of Snow White, to kill herself with a poisoned apple. The envy Queen Grimahalde feels not only makes her want to kill an enemy, but her goal is to end the life of a relative.

The person with this disorder, such as the Disney character, not be sure of your own image and he is afraid of old age, except that he looks as before, and does not accept the physical consequences of the passage of the years. This insecurity makes him jealous of young people and attractive and can come to attack emotionally (in some cases it can be physical), with constant humiliation, the person object of his envy.

Many of these cases occur between mother and daughterBut it can also happen between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law, between sisters, between friends and at work. The great frustration felt by the person affected by Snow White syndrome negatively affects their well-being and causes them depression and anxiety.

Certain consequences of a low tolerance to aging make him obsessed with his physical image, and may go for cosmetic surgery to continue to look young. Despite his age, she wants to remain a “twenty year old girl” and dresses like she is still 20 years old. Plus, she tries to have a lot of relationships with men to make herself feel young, beautiful, and wanted.

Symptoms of Snow White syndrome

Here are the most common symptoms of people suffering from Snow White syndrome:

  • Anxiety and depression for not accepting the fear of aging.
  • Competitive envy and eagerness towards younger and more beautiful women.
  • Obsession with health and physical beauty.
  • Frequent flirtations with men (especially younger ones) due to the constant search for approval of their physical appearance.
  • Fear of being single and looking for a new partner after the breakup.
  • Envy towards women who lead a satisfying married life.
  • Distorted self-concept and low self-esteem.
  • Obsession with maintaining the appearance of youth, reaching cosmetic surgery in many cases.
  • Sadness to remember the lost youth and the qualities of that age that are believed to be already lost.

How to beat Snow White syndrome?

the irrational beliefs because of social pressure, these people think they can make these women (and some men) need psychological help. To get out of this situation, it is necessary to work on self-knowledge, self-acceptance and improvement of self-concept to reduce anxiety symptoms. Changing dysfunctional beliefs is necessary to regain well-being and reduce frustration.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and engagement therapy, mindfulness or emotional intelligence can be effective forms of therapy for the treatment of this syndrome.

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