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Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy – Healing Love or Illusion?

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There is no doubt the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is still very popular.

Throughout the books, we follow the development of Christian and Anastasia’s relationship. Christian Grey is fabulously rich, successful and sexy. From the first meeting, he has conquered the young beauty Anastasia.

And now, a plot similar to Cinderella’s story is developing before our eyes with the difference that the prince has non-trivial inclinations. He is sexually dominant. And the main idea of the film is that Ana heals her lover only by loving him.

This film has shown a wonderful picture, so I would like to tell you about my vision of this picture.

Let’s us get to know the heroes better to dive into the psychology behind Fifty Shades of Grey.

psychology behind fifty shades of grey
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Christian Grey character analysis.  

Christian Grey is the perfect man with the trauma that makes him natural and attractive to women.

The main character is a billionaire who partially sponsors the university and starving regions in some countries. He thinks he is totally incapable of love and does not let anyone love him. He surrounds himself with beautiful and expensive things, takes care of every girl in exchange for her complete submission, and loves a one-sided game in which he sees himself as exclusively dominant with unlimited power.

At the sight of all his wealth, many get that he has an inferiority complex. In the movie, it turns out that Christian’s loving mother adopted him while his birth mother died of an overdose and worked as a call girl. 

In fact, at just twenty years old, the boy has escaped from hunger, poverty, and the absence of a significant adult by the billions. And he takes out his resentment and contempt for his mother on the women in the “red room of pain.”

psychology behind fifty shades of grey
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The film shows how Ana’s love changed Grey, but the author forgot to mention that it is fiction. The persistent abuser is a skilled manipulator who will never bow to his prey. Why this is so, I will tell you a little later.

Ultimately, Christian Grey as a character is just an expression of these desires and fantasies of an ideal partner, even if he does not seem perfect at first glance. Why he is nevertheless an ideal, I will explain now.

First, Christian is wealthy. He’s a genius and doesn’t have to do anything to get rich. Mr. Grey never seems to have to work for it: just a few fleeting phone calls and meetings, where he spends most of his time writing messages to Ana.

There is a clear inconsistency here by which one we can see that Christian cannot be a real person. People whose wealth multiplies independently have either inherited it or worked hard for it.

But in this case, reality is not decisive: for the dream of an ideal man, the fact that he has a lot of money and has earned it rather than inherited it is enough. Therefore, he can be considered a potent, strong man.

Secondly, the perfect partner should devote a lot of time to the chosen one and constantly fight for her. No wonder he has no time to run his business; he must woo Anastasia! Initially, he uses stalking to veil everything a bit and promise the reader a mini-conflict.

Thirdly, he must satisfy his lover sexually. It is undoubtedly an important characteristic of the ideal man in romance novels. However, the heroine must remain “clean.” Ana’s purity is preserved because Christian seduces her, and she pretends not to like intimacy but sacrifices herself for the sake of “pure love.” BDSM is thus placed here in a completely false context, becoming a pseudo-rape that is not a violation but a pleasure for the heroine and her reason for overestimating her sexuality.

Lastly, Grey rolls Anastasia on an emotional swing. Either he pushes her away by turning cold or gives her hot intimacy after reconciliation. Who can resist that? Give me two Christian Grey!

Surprisingly by the end of the third part, Grey becomes an entirely faceless character convenient for women.

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Anastasia Steele character.

Most women can identify with Ana – not very self-confident, does not consider herself a super beauty, an ordinary woman.

Anastasia, at first, looks like her predecessor Bella from Twilight. But her story is very different from Bella’s. Where Bella struggles and wants to seduce prudish Edward, Ana prefers the role of a drawn virgin.

There is a moment in the film that only some notice. Anastasia has a friend who likes her. He gives her his attention, but she eventually rejects him. This young man was a simple good guy, but compared to Christian, he was adequate. Here we can see the installation: an unhealthy rich man is preferable to an ordinary zestless guy.

At the beginning, Anastasia has no inclination to sadomasochistic contacts, but feelings arise between the characters. The masochism of this girl is of a completely different kind: she falls in love with an “inaccessible” man, whom she can reach only if she sacrifices herself and allows him to punish her physically.

She is not intoxicated by pain, but she clearly feels a lot of pleasure and attraction in such unusual relationships when the object is out of reach for some reason. Her love for Christian intensifies as the hopelessness and incompatibility become more apparent.

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At the same time, Ana is obsessed with the desire to be dependent on someone and to have complete freedom at the same time. In psychology, this is called the autonomy-dependence conflict. These two opposing aspirations cannot be reconciled in the long run. One has to compromise and choose first one and then the other, depending on the circumstances. But Ana wants both at the same time. She expects comprehensive care and the fulfillment of all her secret desires – and simultaneously complete freedom.

Let us take a look at the 50 Shades of Grey relationship.

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The psychology behind Fifty Shades of Grey.

The big dream of many women is a man who is cold to everyone and an obligating cat to her. So Anastasia falls in love with such an abuser and directly heals his mental wounds.

But I have sad news for all fans of Christian Grey. In reality, such a relationship simply can not exist, or both partners in this couple have problems.

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Christian Grey refers to the literary archetype of the Byronic hero described in the works of the British poet Lord Byron. These are dark but passionate male heroes. Byron’s hero is often cynical, quarrelsome, and arrogant, and almost everything about his behavior is explained by a dark secret.

In the modern romance novel, the male protagonist often represents this type. As I said earlier, this is how the female power fantasy manifests itself – taming the monster with the power of love. And even further – to save the bastard from himself. In novels of Daniel Steel, for example, such a character appears very often.

So Ana enters into a relationship with a man who treats her and everyone else badly, and her love alone is enough to cure him of a personal injury and turn him into a relatively decent man. This is what makes Ana unique because no one before her has ever managed to do that.

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Such a change does not happen in life, but it explains why many women continue terrible relationships. They believe that patience could turn an abuser to a prince. Unfortunately, such unions are very stable even though women are victims of abuse.

The reason is that there is always a game with changing roles. A man has beaten a woman – now he is strong. As a result, she threatens to leave him. On his knees, he sobs and promises to change if she will only stay. Now, she is powerful and generously forgives him until the next beating …

Sometimes I think, what if Ana and Christian lived in real life? How would the relationship unfold if the couple existed?

Most likely, Anastasia would have been regularly humiliated by Christian, whereupon she would have tried to break off this relationship. Christian, of course, would have tried to win her over again with his unique attitude toward her, his money and his opportunities, until the girl again found herself back in his favor. And that’s a vicious circle. Unfortunately, it is not easy to get out of it. Either the victim herself can one day separate from her abuser, or she will continue to endure.

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When did Fifty Shades of Grey become popular?

As I mentioned earlier, the great advantage of Fifty Shades of Grey is not its captivating plot, but the fact that the book is the perfect projection object for forbidden female fantasies.

And these forbidden fantasies include both an intense, intimate life and a completely different desire – to relax completely and receive total support. A woman wants a man near her who will take care of everything and relieve her of all her problems. Nowadays, this is considered highly unfashionable. A modern woman should have a career and be able to fend for herself. But many women continue to dream about it. And that is totally understandable.

In Fifty Shades of Grey, Anastasia is a lucky woman, who gets everything at the same time namely a billionaire husband who supports her with material and emotional support. When she wants to make a career, he buys her a company. Now Ana can boss people around without risking anything. At the same time, she can punish her man by depriving him of love, and she knows perfectly well that he will not be able to cope with his emotional trauma without her.

Vanilla BDSM in this film is the lure of viewers.

By the way, I must say that, unfortunately, this picture romanticizes relationships containing despotism and domestic violence. Little is said about this, but such films should be watched with caution by young and sensitive natures.

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Let’s see how the character’s bond developed in the trilogy.

Ana and Christian are trying to figure out their pairing in the first two parts. And even they got married. 

In the third part, newlyweds have changed roles. “For you, I’m Mrs. Grey!” – Anastasia Steele’s new mission statement. The same one that, in the first part, stumbled at the entrance to the office of the handsome billionaire and every at word during a conversation with him. Now Anastasia only does what she does not obey Christian and goes about her own business.

Heck, Christian Grey even tries to cook dinner! Listen: BDSM prince cooks pasta. A lone wolf has turned into a domestic puppy, which has been tamed. 

And the degree of eroticism in the third part is perhaps the lowest. Christian Grey himself jokes about this. He said it’s not in vain that they say that there is no sex in marriage. The only more or less fantasy scene was the ice cream episode. I think this clip reminds us of a similar scene performed by Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in the iconic 9 1/2 Weeks. But it turned out to be more of a parody.

As a result, Ana changes her man so much. She gives birth to two children for him, and extreme things leave their relationship, which becomes even more boring. But the level of idyll and the most romantic girlish dreams embodied on the screen just rolls over.

I wonder if the fourth part about ordinary family life would be popular without an inaccessible and cold partner.

Also, I want to stop at one more point. Christian Grey’s fans can be girls and women of all ages. These are young girls who watch movies about love and dream about relationships. These are girls about 30 years old who are dissatisfied with their lives. These middle-aged women are tired of marriage and everyday life and want to plunge into a beautiful story that could happen to them for at least a few hours. It is perfectly normal. Sometimes, I watch movies with similar plots, such as 365 Days, when I’m in a mood.

I write more about the influence of melodramas on our mental health in the article Why romantic movies are good.


Revolutionary Road Analysis. Why does April not love Frank?

The Tinder Swindler`s Manipulations in Relationships.

psychology behind fifty shades of grey
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Final words.

Without a doubt, many women worldwide still dream of a handsome, young, and wealthy bad boy who, out of great love for her, so ordinary but unique, will suddenly become good.

Have you ever wanted to save someone? Let’s discuss below in the comments.

Share this blog post if you enjoyed it. I would really appreciate it!

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I`m in love with movies and psychology. Here I write how we can use movies for healing and self-growth. Also, be sure to check out my movie lists. You will find cool suggestions for movie night.

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  • “Such change does not happen in life, but it explains why many women continue terrible relationships.” I think this line perfectly summarized the situation.
    Unfortunately the “My love will change him” belief keeps women in less than ideal relationships, and this movie is all about that.
    One of the sequels was even released on Valentine’s Day, as if abuse was something “romantic”.
    If the male character would live on trailer park and would look like a regular Joe he would be labeled an abuser. Add some money and a pretty face and he suddenly becomes a misunderstood guy with a trauma who needs to be saved by love.
    Good analysis!

    • Thanks for such a valuable comment! I also hope more material will soon be released about dangerous films that romanticize violence against women.

  • What an interesting concept for a blog to write about psychology in movies for self-growth. You make a lot of interesting points about this movie and why it’s so popular. Thanks for the insight.

  • Great synopsis on the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy. I like the comparison of a Cinderella story – and the concept of someone that’s needing to be saved by another. I read all three books but didn’t get a chance to watch the movies – yet. I think I’ll add it to my must-watch list soon!

  • I couldn’t read these books fast enough when they came out. This article makes me want to reread them for a fresh take in the characters.

  • The “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy has sparked diverse opinions and discussions. While some may view it as a form of healing love or fantasy, others argue it perpetuates problematic dynamics. It’s important to critically analyze and engage in conversations surrounding the series.

    • I agree we see in films what resonates with us. We may even disagree with the director’s position. Open discussions are always fun!

  • This is very interesting! I love how you each details on it as I haven’t noticed little details like that. Though I enjoy reading and watching this film.

  • I completely agree with you. The character of Christian Grey is definitely reminiscent of the Byronic hero archetype. It’s interesting how this type of male protagonist is so popular in modern romance novels. It does seem to reflect a certain fantasy of power and the desire to save someone from themselves. However, it’s important to remember that in real life, mistreatment is never acceptable and love alone cannot heal someone from their personal demons. It’s important to prioritize our own well-being and safety in any relationship.

  • For no reason at all, I never watched any of the 50 Shades of Grey movies but I do love Jamie Dornan a lot so will have to check them out. Thanks for the reminder!

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I`m in love with movies and psychology. Here I write how we can use movies for healing and self-growth. Also, be sure to check out my movie lists. You will find cool suggestions for movie night.

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