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The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence Paperback – Mar 1987

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Paperback, Mar 1987
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Product details

  • Paperback: 10 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reissue edition (Mar. 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671733346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671733346
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.2 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 796,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't get what I expected from this book. What I expected was a selfy-helpy book which would help me get off my lazy arse and get my life into gear. What I actually read was was an historical perspective on the hopes and dreams of the early feminist movement between the 1950s and 70s. I'm not exactly when the book was written, but the "common experiences" she shares are of a the childhood expectation of a woman born and raised in the 1950s. It's quite something to read, now we have 62 years on from the early feminism movement. I recommend it, I liked it, great insight into the hopes and dreams of that generation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is life changing and has led to much further reading. It arrived on time and well packaged. I am very pleased. Thank you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Format: Paperback
I have always been very satisfied with the extremely good quality of the 'used' books I have purchased. The prices are always exceptionally low and postage is often free. I have been able to get books and music no longer available through any other retailer.
Amazon is always my first stop (..and usually my last!)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8e3c78d0) out of 5 stars 26 reviews
69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e286468) out of 5 stars important message hits home 17 Oct. 2000
By Summer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am dissapointed at the previous reviewers who seem to have missed the subtle poignancy of this book. Above all else, this is a book about carving out a wholehearted, authentic existence. I am 23 years old and was not even born when these ideas were taking shape in Collette Dowling's head. However, they resonate with me in a way that no other book on "women's issues" has. I reread it often to vividly remind myself to hold nothing back--to throw myself into a rich and challenging life without insecurity, without fear, and without the need for anyone else, be it a parent, a lover, or an authority, to validate and lend importance to the things that drive me. Collette Dowling has articulated this idea in such an honest, poignant way, and I think that it's an important message for young women today, just as it was for the "baby boomers" of Dowling's own generation. Yeah, some of the slang is a bit outdated. But to focus on that is to overlook a truly unique and vitally important observation about how women can REALLY come into their own.
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e2864bc) out of 5 stars Discussing the real feelings and fears of many women 22 Aug. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a book that will reveal to many women some fundamental and probably painful truths about themselves. The central theme is that some women, often the brightest, "best" at school, and from the more affluent homes, suffer from a "Cinderella complex". This is, as the name implies, the desire to be rescued by a "prince": to be whisked away from the frightening realities of living as an authentic adult. This phenomenon is the reason why so many seemingly independent women "lapse" into stereotypical roles as homemakers given the opportunity. This is not necessarily caused by sexist repression but rather women's basic fear of challenge. The childhood causes of this effect are discussed, but the emphasis of explanation is upon the conflicts this causes in adult women.
It is clear this book has been thoroughly researched, but to mention a slight criticism, this to an extent that I kept feeling many interesting threads of thought had been abandoned too quickly, to keep the length (and difficulty?) of the book down. A more serious criticism is that I, at least, was by the end of the book hankering for far more concrete positive suggestions as to what to do if we recognised this in ourselves. Perhaps it would have been bad faith on the writer's part to suggest easy solutions. What is provided is not only an exhaustive bibliography but readable end notes that point the way to a lot of interesting further reading.
In summary I'd say this book is a well-written discussion of a psychological complex whose importance for female psychology is hard to exaggerate. In its own way it confronts realities that the great works of feminist writing did not, namely the collusion of women in their own dependency. And, as the book says, there can be no progress if you don't actually confront the truth.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e286690) out of 5 stars Heartbreakingly true... 21 Aug. 2004
By A. Luzak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have always considered myself a feminist. I have always struggled for independence, fighting a long history of abuse, PTSD, and a dual-diagnosis BPD/BP roller coaster. I've done a lot of self-exploration work, whether through seminars, books, independent study, reflection, or psychotherapy. This book opened up an entirely new thought process to me -- that of women's facade of independence. As I read this book, I saw more of myself than I would perhaps ever admit to anyone, friend or foe.

I've always been absolutely fascinated with the study of humanity and universal truths. This book confronted me head-on with yet another aspect of my "everything's fine" brand of denial. I'm still reeling.

I would recommend this book to anyone, male or female. I lent it to my ex-boyfriend as soon as I finished it. He, also, was enthralled. Mom is next on the library list for this book. Get yourself a copy. Or four.
36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e286cc0) out of 5 stars The work of a pioneer 9 May 2002
By Earl Hazell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Dionysian political/spiritual/sexual liberation theology of the Woodstock/Vietnam/Civil Rights 1960's in America led to the full flowering of the political cynicism of the Nixon/Watergate 70's. The moralistic materialism of the Ronald Reagan/Wall Street 80's led to the Silicon Valley-influenced psychological spiritualism of the Clinton/Oprah 90's. Collete Dowling, the non-feminist feminist writer and intellectual pioneer, coming of age in the center of this four decade cultural transformation period of Post-World War II American culture (with its pendulum swinging of consciousness between political astuteness and spiritual awareness) wrote this book in 1981.
THE CINDERELLA COMPLEX is written from the central and centering vantage point of straight-ahead psychology; not politics or spirituality. It was designed for courageous women ready to reexamine their hearts and souls in the context of the true dynamics and hidden reasons for many of the dysfunctions and even existence of their most important interpersonal relationships. It is even more important now than when it was written.
Dowling in actuality was among the first to successfully teach the general public some of the basic ideas of psychology and their relevance to their world, in those changing times, in the context of what freedom and adulthood really means. As it turns out, her metaphor of the Cinderella Complex--the desire to search outside of oneself for the source of inner emotional malaise or turmoil, and to hold a "prince" of some kind accountable for both one's maturity and rescue from the secret pains of independence--is perfect for all people, men and women.
The Cinderella Complex, Dowling shows us, is the siamese twin of irony in life. It is the perfect nickname of the dynamic within people that creates fateful circumstances and negative, self-fulfilling prophecies in a person's life and relationships until its existence is acknowledged. And after it is acknowledged, it asserts itself in a person as an inner war--a psychological jihad--such that it makes the only war you know how to fight and win (i.e. a material-world or male/female relationships war outside of your inner self) irrelevant. Her writing and ideas, as she is saying nothing new yet saying it in such an important new way, sympathetically vibrate with many of the most basic tenets of Western religion. However, her non-religious, psychological perspective allows for a new level of inner healing. Even, if not especially, for those who, unrealizingly, have made a false idol/"prince" out of Moses, Jesus or Mohammed themselves, along with the living men in their personal lives. Anyone reading this, man or woman, will not just find themselves in it, either as they live now (as I did) or how they once was. You will see much of today's post-Clinton, Bush/Enron 21st Century American culture be revealed in its pages. And, you'll understand why the pleasure principle doesn't make people nearly as happy as many who use the Constitution to defend it want to believe. (And that goes even moreso for the conservative minded than the liberal, as both we pleasure seekers and our "drugs"--physical/chemical, moral/religious or intellectual/emotional--come in all shapes and sizes.) Even after the coming of John Bradshaw (HOMECOMING [The 90's "Inner Child" man]), Alice Miller (PRISONERS OF CHILDHOOD: THE DRAMA OF THE GIFTED CHILD; FOR YOUR OWN GOOD), Nancy Friday (MY MOTHER MY SELF; OUR LOOKS OUR LIVES; JEALOUSY), Iyanla Vanzant, Melody Beattie (CODEPENDENT NO MORE) and the litany of other self-help authors still writing, Collette Dowling's ideas are as fresh today as when this book was written more than twenty years ago.
THE CINDERELLA COMPLEX in fact towers above even some of the best work of the authors mentioned.
It shocks me that this book is not still in print, despite the dozens of books that have come in the years after it riffing on her clearly laid out themes. I bought myself a used copy through one seller in perfect condition. And then, considering how much it would have cost new if available now, I bought three more hardcover copies for special people in my life. This book is still among the best of the bridges out there; bridging people into the real potential of the real world, and their real self. It is the perfect Mother's Day/Father's Day, Birthday and Christmas gift, for people close enough to YOU to appreciate it.
I highly recommend this.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e286ce4) out of 5 stars this book helped save my mother's life in 1983 5 Dec. 2011
By happy customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My father left my mother after 36 years of marriage. My mom spent her life living very far-outside of her authenticity and inner experience. She was a mess when he left and the therapist she started seeing recommened this book as a part of their work together. I remember seeing it on the coffee table and listening to my mother discuss it with her friends. And so began a journey of self-discovery which sadly ended a few years later with a very early alzheimer's disease diagnosis ( which lasted nearly 20 years)...I will be forever grateful to Colette Dowling for having the courage to write this book and for impacting my mother's life.
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