Alyssa Wermers, LCSW

Play Therapy Services * Firestone, CO

Breaking free from the beast

I always related to Belle the most, out of all Disney “princesses.” She loved to read books, she stayed out of drama, and she got to wear that gorgeous yellow ball gown.  And maybe I was destined to like Belle the most, because also like her, I wonder about people instead of taking them at face value. Had Belle been like so many of the other villagers and viewed the Beast as nothing more than the angry, selfish animal that he presented, then the Beast would still be…well…the Beast.

While many factors play into our development as people, our experiences play a major role.  In that sense, the Beast is no different from us. As shown in the story, the prince was transformed into a Beast after he refused to assist an elderly woman (enchantress) on a stormy night. She literally turned him into what she perceived him to be, a beast, incapable of love.

And the Beast took this identify and ran with it. He became the Beast that the enchantress called him, in physical form and in character. He believed he couldn’t love; he was harsh, he was irritable, and he was hopeless.  It was so easy for villagers to fear him, only instilling the belief of being unlovable even more.  His chances of breaking his curse seemed forever dwindling.

Until Belle. Belle did what no other dared to do. She saw something more than anger, poor temperament, and selfishness. She saw a human, who was cursed instead of healed. She saw someone who felt lonely, scared for his future, and ashamed of his past, masked in the form of an angry Beast. She saw deeper than the defenses the Beast had to protect himself.

We use defenses all the time (they are biologically built into us!). Sometimes they are helpful, sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes they work too well and we become the defenses (thus perpetuating them!). The Beast showed anger when he really felt hopeless and vulnerable. He was almost at the point of living as the Beast forever when he met Belle. Belle dared to risk his harshness and helped him find love. What defenses do you use, and who in your life is brave enough to see them through with you?