Beauty & the Beast is a tale we continue to tell because the message to not judge a book by its cover is timeless. We all hope to have a partner that, like the Beauty, can ultimately look past the emotional reactivity of our “inner beast.”
Not surprisingly, many people report figuratively experiencing both characters; sometimes from one relationship to another and often within the same relationship.
We all have within us a beast that can and does emerge when strong emotions enter into a relationship, that we too have an inner conflict between the often competing impulses of fight/flight and healthy communication.
But while looking past a rough exterior to find the beauty, Belle also shows us she had the insight to look past a polished exterior and recognize inner darkness of someone truly unsafe like Gaston.
In each of us, we can find both Beauty & Beast, and so do our partners. Seeing past our loved one’s rough exterior, over time and particularly during difficult life transitions, can be increasingly hard without support.
Couple Therapy can assist in clarifying our values and self compassion as a protective factor helping distinguish between sporadic emotional reactivity versus pernicious emotional abuse.
We can help couples channel Beauty’s inner strength and resiliency when in a loving relationship either our partner’s Beast emerges, or we recognize our own Beast coming to the forefront.
Therapy provides couples and individuals tools and skills to navigate the often murky waters of relationships to safe harbor.
In the end, just like this tale as old as time, we can learnt to see past worldly distractions to see each other with a new and loving clarity.