Everyone loves those articles that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy about your childhood. You know the types – the nostalgic ones that remind you how much you loved watching your Saturday cartoons, how badly you wanted neon inflatable everything, and how dope your Milky Pen collection was. This is not one of those articles.
We’re sure you loved the Disney Princess movies more than you loved all of the aforementioned '90s trends (as did everyone with a soul), but unfortunately, there’s a dark side to our beloved princesses that no one ever really talks about. They were all a tad mentally unhinged. Mind you, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s 2016, guys, and we should all be making moves towards diffusing the negative stigmas surrounding mental disorders. That being said, no one can deny that our favorite animated heirs definitely had their quirks.
Based primarily off of the disturbing and less-than-child-friendly fairytales of the 1900s (like Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen), these stories were significantly toned down when written into scripts for Disney movies. The fairytales’ main objectives had switched from scaring the pants off children in order to keep them well-behaved to amusing children while teaching them some solid morals. That doesn’t mean, however, that the dark themes disappeared entirely. These girls were faced with some seriously crappy situations, so it would make perfect sense that a few of them – scratch that, basically all of them – developed some kind of mental disorder. Keep reading to see which of your favorite princesses could use a therapy session.
15 Cinderella – Dependent Personality Disorder
The original Cinderella was the second member of Disney’s Princess franchise, and given the time period, we forgave her for being passive, submissive, and a tad bit clingy. After all, it was the '50s, and women were expected to have few ambitions besides keeping the sink clean and popping out a few kids. Unless she actually had Dependent Personality Disorder. This is a diagnosis that’s characterized by the constant need to be taken care of, and it usually develops from a bad case of Separation Anxiety Disorder in children – i.e., when Cinderella’s dad dies and leaves her with a demon woman. However bad her evil stepmother is, though, Cinderella doesn’t leave. She’s dependent and submissive until she’s given help by her Fairy Godmother (another caregiver), until she’s finally passed on to the prince so he can take care of her. Poor girl even gets a bunch of mice to dictate her decisions for her.
14 Ariel – Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
Ariel’s an odd duck, and The Little Mermaid is pretty transparent about that. She’s the outcast as far as her sisters are concerned, and her dad acknowledges that she’s always getting into trouble. That being said, she also exhibits a few symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. Firstly, she latches on to the idea of Prince Eric after having seen him a single time, and seems comfortable enough giving up her voice for the opportunity to meet him. Those with OCPD are often content with being silent and stiff in social situations, since they’re afraid they’ll say the wrong thing. She also has a bad case of Disposophobia – a fear of getting rid of things, or compulsive hoarding, which sometimes accompanies OCPD. When her dad wrecks her stash of hoarded land items, she totally loses it, and on top of that, Ariel exhibits symptoms like poor impulse control and deviation from her culture’s norms.
13 Rapunzel – Stockholm Syndrome
One of the newer movies on the list of fairytale remakes, Disney’s Rapunzel came out in 2010. It was based off of the German Grimm fairytale, and audiences really liked how spunky, original, intentionally flawed, and not-helpless this heroine was. However, she also clearly had a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome, which is a disorder and coping mechanism in which a person who is held hostage or kidnapped starts to feel emotionally bonded to his or her captor. Mother Gothel, the woman who kidnapped Rapunzel when she was a baby, is exceptionally passive aggressive and emotionally abusive toward her adopted daughter (making it quite clear that she only values her for her magical hair). Even after finding out about all of her lies and deceit, however, Rapunzel still feels feelings of guilt and love surrounding Mother Gothel, and it’s written all over her face during the scene where Mother Gothel falls out of the tower and to her death.
12 Pocahontas – Histrionic Personality Disorder
While Pocahontas was way up there on the list of badass Disney princesses, maybe there was a tiny mental disorder lurking beneath the surface. Histrionic Personality Disorder is characterized by a constant need to be noticed, as well as the tendency to act dramatically or inappropriately to get attention from people. While people with this disorder often have great social skills, they tend to manipulate people in order to get what they want, and they feel the need to stir things up out of boredom. Pocahontas spent her 80 minutes of fame inciting wars, causing love triangles, convincing her dad (and her whole tribe for that matter) to do things her way, and dramatically throwing herself on top of John Smith every chance she gets. Her best friend was also a talking magical tree, so if that’s not theatrical, we’re not sure what is.
11 Belle – Also Stockholm Syndrome
Another Disney favorite, another confused kidnappee. Beauty and the Beast was the original 9'0s Stockholm Syndrome movie, intent on teaching little girls and boys that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Just because someone is butt-ugly on the outside (and hardly even the same species), that doesn’t mean you should rule them out as a potential romantic partner. In reality, though, the beautiful and intelligent Belle was forced to stay in an abandoned castle with her kidnapper until she fell in love with him, and fell in love with him she did – though not necessarily of her own accord. The Beast’s bad temper, abusive demeanor, insistence on pretty much keeping slaves, and lack of social etiquette vastly outweighed his relatively few “sweet moments,” which have led tons to believe that Belle formed this bond with her captor in order to cope with the fact that she was taken from her home and forbidden to return.
10 Elsa – Avoidant Personality Disorder
Those with Avoidant Personality Disorder are constantly plagued by feelings of inadequacy. They feel that everyone around them thinks they’re inept, so they stay as isolated and distant as possible. Elsa from the newest hit Disney movie Frozen spends the entire first half of the movie attempting to “conceal” – both her emotions and herself. After her parents’ death, she hides away in her room of the castle. She locks the doors, refuses to let anyone in, and even distances herself from her sister, Anna. She then moves to an even more remote home – an ice castle on the side of some godforsaken mountain. While no one knows for sure what causes Avoidant Personality Disorder, it’s thought to stem partially from early social interactions, “such as how a person interacts in their early development with their family and friends and other children,” which, in this case, would be when Elsa almost kills Anna while they’re playing as children, as well as her parents’ response to the incident.
9 Princess And The Frog – Zoophilia
This one was based loosely on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, though in the Disney version, Tiana herself turns into a frog when she kisses the prince – also a frog. The two spend the movie jumping through various figurative hoops together, trying to get their spells reversed, and in the process, they fall in love. Even though Tiana is technically a frog, she still mentally identifies with her human self, meaning that for all intents and purposes, she’s attracted to an amphibian. It’s an unfortunate subcategory of paraphilia (a condition that’s defined by a taboo attraction to atypical people or objects) called Zoophilia. Basically, Tiana’s turned on by an animal. Yeah.
8 Mulan – Atelophobia
Atelophobia (put literally: the fear of not being good enough) is an anxiety disorder in which someone feels like everything they do is wrong. Normally, a person with Atelophobia sets a drastic goal in order to achieve some kind of unrealistic result, and feels really bad about themselves when the expectations aren’t met. Because of these feelings of inadequacy, someone with this disorder often feels like an outcast in society. Mulan doesn’t fit in at home, where she’s expected to be a submissive wife, so she decides she’s going to “win back her family’s honor” by joining the army and conquering the Huns. Only issue is, she doesn’t fit in there, either, because boobs. In just about every scene, Mulan is bumbling around, trying desperately hard to say and do the right thing, but to no avail. At least she seems to have a shred of confidence by the end, after the Emperor of China pats her on the back.
7 Anna – ADHD
Blame it on the fact that this girl was locked in a castle her whole life, but Anna from Frozen is quite literally bouncing off the walls by song number one. ADHD, which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is marked by three distinct symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. In other words, you can’t focus, you can’t sit still, and you don’t take the time to consider important decisions before you make them. This girl’s jumping on couches, stuffing chocolate in her face, tripping over everything, getting excited over things like windows and salad plates, talking way too quickly, and accepting a proposal from a dude she met roughly three hours prior.
6 Jasmine – Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental disorder in which a person has unusual mood shifts that go from up to down in cyclical patterns. When manic, people with bipolar disorder are often impulsive, likely to indulge in risky behavior, and don’t consider the consequences before they do things. For Jasmine, this includes things like hopping on a flying carpet with a stranger, running away from home, and stealing an apple like it’s no big deal. When depressed, they’re easily agitated, want to be left alone, and feel hopeless. This girl spends ample time verbally harassing potential husbands until they leave, talking to her best and only friend (a tiger), and crying on and into various different objects.
5 Alice – Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a disorder characterized by hallucinations, paranoid delusions, abnormal motor functions, and negative social behaviors. While we’re all supposed to believe that Alice finds a portal into a magical fantastic world (specifically all the little children who would rather hallucinate than learn their history lessons), it’s also possible that she’s suffering from schizophrenia. This disorder normally develops around late adolescence, but childhood schizophrenia is a thing, though rare. That being said, if anyone’s got it, it’s Alice. She hangs out with floating cats and has full-blown conversations with caterpillars, she’s freaking out about the Queen of Hearts cutting off her head all the time, her whole body seemingly grows and shrinks to different sizes, and she’s pretty damn convinced that this world is real, despite all the illogical stuff happening around her.
4 Snow White – Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Let’s be real here. Snow White is obsessed with herself, and that’s a telltale sign of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. She’s supposedly the “fairest of them all,” and she acts like she knows it. This disorder shows itself in symptoms like: an inflated sense of importance, the need to be the center of attention, taking advantage of others, unrealistic fantasies about finding the perfect mate, and socially distressing reactions to things. Check, check, check, check, check, and check. This girl crashes in a house with seven dudes, seemingly loves the fact that they’re all infatuated with her, flirts with everyone like nobody’s business, and overreacts to everything. This disorder is also thought to originate during childhood, when you’ve got parents who either pamper you all the time or criticize you way too much. Between her royal birth parents and her evil stepmother who dressed her in rags and made her clean everything within a hundred foot radius, I’d say she had both.
3 Meg – Borderline Personality Disorder
While borderline personality disorder is associated with things like mood swings, self-image issues, inappropriate social behaviors, and impulsive self-harming actions, it normally manifests itself pretty clearly when someone is in a relationship. That’s because someone with BPS usually has a huge fear of abandonment, and as a result ends up having really unstable relationships with the people around them. Megora from Hercules is a textbook case. She’s terrified of Hercules breaking her heart, she’s got serious abandonment issues, she constantly participates in dangerous stuff like instigating monsters and trading her freedom for things, and she’s got a fair bit of an attitude on her. On top of all that, she’s really easily agitated by the people around her (like Herc, Pegasus, Phil, Hades – yeah, pretty much everyone).
2 Aurora – Major Depressive Disorder
Imagine this: you’re wandering through the forest on your birthday, so you’re in a particularly good mood. You stumble upon a ridiculously hot redhead – yes, in real life, not on Tinder – and he’s got all the right pick-up lines, so obviously you fall in love. Then someone tells you that you’re actually supposed to marry some other dude you’ve never even met, and you can’t even see your hot redhead anymore. Yeah, it could’ve been the cursed spinning wheel, but it also could’ve been Major Depressive Disorder, which manifests itself in zero motivation, positively no energy for friends, work, hobbies, or people, and sometimes something called hypersomnia: excessive sleeping almost every single day.
1 Merida – Antisocial Personality Disorder
Brave was a really big deal when it first came out, because it didn’t have any male love interests. Instead, the movie focused on Merida’s development as a character outside of her romantic life, and feminists were pretty damn thrilled. What if, though, Merida’s avoidance of males had less to do with her feminine strength and more to do with Antisocial Personality Disorder? This one’s characterized by a failure to conform to social norms, disregard for other people’s rights, a tendency to bend all the rules, and a tendency to lie. It normally develops in late childhood or teen years, which explains Merida’s emotional separation from her parents as she gets older. It also explains why she goes around destroying tapestries.