Symptoms of attachment disorder - The Cinderella/Snow White Syndrome!

Our daughter has symptoms of attachment disorder, please help !
Our daughter is 23 years old. Old enough to have some kind of responsibility when it comes to dating men, but every guy she meets, she clings to as if he is the one she is going to marry. When it doesn't turn out that way, she gets incredibly depressed to the point where we are extremely worried she might harm herself. We want to know what is the matter with her? How can we help?

Steven and Belinda, Seattle, Washington

Dear Steven and Belinda,
First and most important, if at any point you feel she is going to harm herself, you must immediately seek professional help. Often, a trained professional can ascertain whether she has a chemical imbalance and prescribe medicine to alleviate her anxiety. There is no longer a social stigma attached to depression, so assure her that it's ok to take what's prescribed.

As to what is happening, we like to think of it as the Cinderella/Snow White syndrome. For many years, thanks to literature and movies depicting men coming to the rescue, gently slipping the slipper on or kissing away the death potion, young women have the notion that this will happen in real life, that men are the answers to total happiness.

Fortunately, times are changing, especially in television where women are depicted in roles of being confident and assured. We now see role models of women in politics, business, police work, etc. This is good. But it only scratches the surface. There is still plenty of propaganda out there that perpetuates this myth, and it will not go away.

Help your daughter achieve the confidence she needs to overcome what is perceived as the 'must have a man' philosophy. Help her to understand that being self assured and positive will show up in how she handles the world around her. Her attitude will enable her to overcome her inability to cope, and maybe she will start to approach men with a knowledge that allows her to prepare for any eventuality. Remember that it is ok to get professional help.

Hope that helps.

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