Many women are very sensitive, and when dealing with men they feel what is good for themselves or not. But nevertheless, they sometimes act against their own feelings, or cannot resist the temptation to take a risk. Maybe because they are curious, careless, adventurous, protesting, or they have simply learnt to be nice and submit to the wishes of others. The story does not always have a happy ending, as we see in the story of Bluebeard.

IT WON’T BE SO BAD AFTER ALL…

The psychoanalyst Clarissa Pinkola Estés collected stories, myths and fairy tales about the primeval nature of women through the years. She published them in her world bestseller ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype’.

The second story in her book is about Bluebeard who managed to seduce a young woman who had not learnt in her childhood to look behind other people’s facades to recognize their real character.

THE STORY

Bluebeard, a clever magician and follower of black magic, is a womanizer. With the help of his stories and his wealth he tries to impress three sisters together with their mother. Yes, he even succeeds in marrying the younger sister. One day he goes on a trip. He gives his wife a bunch of keys, forbidding her to use the smallest one. However, she invites her sisters, and they open all the doors of the castle and find enormous treasures.

When they unlock the last room with the smallest key, they discover female bodies. When Bluebeard notices her disobedience after his return, he becomes so furious that he wants to kill his wife. Then the sisters call their brothers, who destroy Bluebeard just in time.

THE DEEPER MEANING

Bluebeard’s wife represents all the women of the world who should have learnt in their childhood that…

… there are predators one can fall victim to

… there are people whose tricks are hard to detect

… there are people of weak character who simply cannot / do not want to change

… they have to reach a certain level of awareness not to be blinded by others, not even by their wealth or power.

WHAT DO YOU RESPOND TO?

  • What sort of man do you feel most strongly attracted to and why?
  • What model was your mother concerning the choice of your partner?
  • Were you brought up to be nice? Or did your mother teach you to also say NO, and live with the consequences?
  • Were you prepared for a ‘life in the wild’, or were you (over)protected?
  • Do you love adventure and risk, or are you more cautious?
  • Are you tempted by the forbidden?

AN HONEST LOOK BEHIND THE FACADES

Pinkola-Estés says that quite a few women have experienced the Bluebeard story themselves. They marry without knowing anything about the tricks of the robber. They look for a partner who manipulates them first, dominates them, and finally attacks them physically and mentally.

Of course they see it as their holy duty to heal this poor, sick man with their love. In the meantime they spend loads of time persuading themselves that his scary blue beard looks almost elegant under favourable lighting.

It requires a certain level of awareness to say NO, which often means leaving one’s comfort zone. Even if the promises of a person might sound very tempting, or the advantages of a relationship seem to be irresistible: the price could be far too high, and change our whole life for the worse!

 

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