We’ve all watched the movie, and we’ve all agreed on the same story: he’s the buzzkill, the bad guy trying to ruin Christmas. But what if the Grinch was actually just depressed?
I know you might think it’s a bit far-fetched, so let me give you some facts that’ll prove my point. First, he’s cooped up in a bleak cave. Also, self-loathing and hateful speech are the only languages he knows, and social interaction makes his skin crawl. Add a grain of traumatic experiences to the mix, and there you have a perfect recipe for depression.
It must be difficult to see the mean, grumpy villain in a different light and sympathize with him, so let’s try to find out where it all comes from.
The Grinch is an orphan who was abandoned at birth. At school, he never really fit in, and because of his Whoville-nonconforming appearance, he was picked on and bullied by his classmates. Only Martha May didn’t make fun of him, and that was enough for little Grinch to become smitten. When he finally worked up the courage to give her a Christmas gift and shaved his beard to win her over, the outcome was ruinous: he was laughed at and humiliated in front of everybody. Once again. That was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back – the moment in which the Grinch switched off his feelings and turned into the mischievous, brazen-faced, holiday-wrecking creature we all know.
In spite of it all, he doesn’t truly hate Christmas. Christmas is simply the metaphor for the part of himself that got hurt. Yet, if you still don’t see where I’m coming from, let me enlighten you.
He secludes himself ‘far from the merry crowd’ on Mount Crumpit because he can’t bear the pain of rejection, and although he tries to mask it with loathe and sardonic humor, the pain doesn’t wash away. His trademark – irritability – skyrockets as everybody is gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year. It’s as if he feels left out of the bubble of happiness everybody else seems to be living in. And what does he do to ruin everybody’s Christmas spirit? He takes out his grumpiness on Whoville and steals all the presents to keep Christmas from coming. It’s obviously a projection of his jealousy toward their joyfulness. The reason why he puts his back into making people feel miserable is because he himself is miserable. It’s a subtle, concealed cry for love. Way to turn the narrative around, huh?
So before you complain again about the grouchy family member killing the Christmas vibe, try cutting them some slack – beneath the surface, they might be wrestling with some deeper struggles. Just like the Grinch.
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