“Trapped in a Tower” Asks for Advice

Dear Botkin sisters,

I just turned 18 years old and I have a question for you. My name is Rapunzel and I’m in the middle of a very challenging situation. I’ll give you some backstory.

I’ve spent my whole life living at home in a tower with my mother, who told me that the tower is the only place that I could be safe from people who want to steal my hair. I’d always been happy at home, and felt like my mother and I had a fairly good relationship, until recently. A few days ago, I mentioned that I wanted to leave the tower for my birthday. You see, I really wanted to go see some mysterious lights that always appear in the sky on my birthday – ON MY BIRTHDAY – which of course has always made me think that they were somehow for me! Mother said it was a bad idea, that there were ruffians and thugs out there, that I couldn’t handle myself, etc. I tried to convince her otherwise, but then she exploded and said that I could never leave the tower.

Does that seem fair to you? It didn’t to me! I was still just as determined to see the lights! So I came up with an excuse to get her to go on a trip for a few days, and then I carried out a brilliant plan. Right before the fight with Mother, I had knocked out a thief who climbed in my window, and trapped him in my closet. (Can’t handle myself out there? Tell that to my frying pan!) After Mother left, I made a bargain with him: that he take me to see the floating lights and bring me back safely, and I would return to him a tiara that I had taken out of his satchel. He basically agreed. We’d be back before Mother returned and she would never even have to know.

I admit that I had a lot of conflicting emotions before jumping out the window. I just had to do it. I admitted that I shouldn’t. And then I did!

Being completely free for the first time was AMAZING!!! I consoled myself that what Mother didn’t know wouldn’t kill her. Then I realized this would kill her. I was having so much fun! And yet I felt like a horrible daughter. I decided I was going back. I decided I was NEVER going back! I felt like a despicable human being. I felt like it was the Best. Day. Ever! I was alternately laughing hysterically and sobbing uncontrollably. My guide, Flynn Rider, tried to play on my feelings of guilt, to get me to give up and go back, but that’s when I really strengthened my resolve to just put those feelings behind me and stick to my dream, and I didn’t have any qualms after that.

I got my first taste of what people in the world are really like when Flynn took me into a pub. The men there seemed worse than the kind of ruffians and thugs my mother had always warned me about! As they were in the middle of trying to kill Flynn, I begged them to FIND THEIR HUMANITY and asked if any of them had ever had a dream. Guess what? They all had! It turned out that beneath their scary exteriors, they were just people, with feelings and hobbies and dreams, like me! I guess they just needed a nice young girl to draw it out of them. That’s when I first started to wonder if my mom had always been wrong about the world.

After several more scrapes, I was starting to feel really bonded with Flynn. To be honest, I was starting to really like him, and he seemed to really like me. At that point, you’ll never guess who showed up to end my adventure but Mother! She tried to get me to come back home. She called Flynn a wanted thief. I told her that he liked me. She laughed at me. She said a man like that would just leave me as soon as he got what he wanted (the tiara). For the first time in my life, I openly defied her! I refused to listen, or to go back with her, and so she went off without me.

The next day was my Big Day! Flynn and I went into the kingdom together, we saw the townsfolk, we danced and drew, and at sunset… we got to see the floating lights! I found out they were lanterns sent out every year to commemorate the birth of the Lost Princess. It was magical, and extremely romantic, and I knew then that I had to be with Flynn.

But then my dream began to turn into a nightmare. Though I had felt it was wrong to run away, everything had seemed to be turning out so well as a result. Suddenly things started to become awful! Flynn seemed to have abandoned me, some truly bad thugs tried to kidnap me (well, maybe they have dreams on the inside too, I forgot to ask), and then Mother showed up just at the right moment. Now it seemed like Mother was right about Flynn, right about the world, right about everything! There was nothing left for me in the kingdom. So I went back to Mother. And I felt terrible about how everything had worked out.

So I sat on my bed back in my tower to think over everything that had happened. I was looking at a little flag Flynn gave me that had the kingdom’s ensign of the sun on it – and I suddenly realized that I’ve been drawing shapes like that my whole life without even knowing it. !!! Then I had a flashback to a mosaic I had seen in the kingdom, of the Lost Princess as a baby with green eyes and blonde hair, and I realized I have green eyes and blonde hair. !!! And then I had a flashback to when I had tried on the tiara that I found in Flynn’s satchel and it looked amazing on me. !!! What are the odds? Couldn’t this only mean one thing?! I’m starting to get a very strong feeling that I’ve always been more special than I thought. And I don’t actually remember being born to my mother. What if… she’s been lying to me my whole life? What if she’s not really my mom? What if she kidnapped me at birth? What if I’m actually the Lost Princess?

So, I was feeling very tempted to go tell Mother that I’m on to her, and then I stumbled across your website, Visionary Daughters.

Now I’m confused about what a girl in my situation should do. Should I trick my mom and run away secretly again? Or should I be more upfront in my defiance this time? Wouldn’t you agree that I was justified in running away the first time, since she wasn’t actually my mom, even though I thought she was at the time? Should I go try to find Flynn again? Should I present myself to the king and queen and say I’m pretty sure I’m their daughter?

On your website, you don’t appear to give any advice to anyone in my particular situation, which makes it seem like you don’t realize that there are people out there with different circumstances from yours. I like the principles that you lay out, but I don’t think it’s possible to obey any of them because I don’t think that God has given me the ideal situation. And I seriously doubt that God has given biblical guidelines for girls in situations like mine. What do you think?



What would you say to Rapunzel? Check back in a few days for our response.

Recommended Resources
It’s (Not That) Complicated: How to Relate to Guys in a Healthy, Sane, and Biblical Way
What Is Biblical Femininity?
Jane Austen and Vampires: Examining Girls’ Literary Appetites and Literary Eating Disorders

5 thoughts on ““Trapped in a Tower” Asks for Advice

  1. As much as people want to get their hair in knots over the supposed “bad” message of the movie they need to realize that the mother-daughter relationship in the movie IS NOT A NORMAL ONE.
    Rapunzel was kidnapped and kept trapped solely for the selfish obsession of Mother Gothel. While they do take a short rather snide attack on girlish/womanly arts there is really only so much you can do stuck in one large room ALL DAY. Rapunzel doesn’t mind her life. Her frustration come from having ZERO vision for the future because kidnapper-mother won’t give her one. So she starts looking elsewhere to fulfill her need for a future vision.(Rapunzel’s fault or Mother G.’s?) The dreams are not the root of her inner struggle but the lack of real God breathed direction. She has no service/missions, marriage, or motherhood to look forward to. Just a long useless life stuck in a tower singing to make her captor young. Although she does not know that her “mother” is a kidnapper at first.
    This is a bad set up if real-life parent tried to emulate it. Our daughters are not pretty dollies that we get to dress up, train and send merrily down the wedding isle. They are thinking passionate human beings that God has a unique plan for. We are not all exactly alike living cookie-cutter lives. So we are doing the next generation a severe disservice by giving them a cookie-cutter vision for the future. Not everyone is going to get married or get married while they are young. For some girl’s personalities being mommy’s little helper feels like Rapunzel’s tower-room, a trap with no life or real hope. My oldest daughter is such a girl. She will be turning 13 later this month. I already see that she has a dream that only God could give her and it doesn’t involve staying home playing pretend homemaker. She is going to stay home but study at our local culinary institue once she is done with her homeschooling. There are many things that fit in with a biblical plan that she can do with her talents and training. Who am I to say that her future husband does not have the same interests and she will be a better helper for him with this knowledge and training. Family run restaurant anyone? Some odd interests of mine made me a better match for my hubby.
    For the girl who is struggling as Rapunzel is I would try to encourage the mother to find ways of freeing her daughter to be different while still staying in the boundaries of God’s plan. The girl I would encourage to submit where she can(provided it is a real mother-daughter relationship) while seeking God’s will. God should always come first because parents are human and make mistakes.
    It is not feminism to realize that not everyone gets married or gets married while young. In trying to repair the ills of feminism we should take care not to go father than God Himself intended by jumping too far the other way. Human nature tends to go to extremes in responding to an error.


    1. Coleen,

      Thanks for weighing in! I think you may be interested to read our actual response to Rapunzel… you may find it very different from what you expected.

      I’ll give you one quick forewarning, though: Our advice to Rapunzel is from single girls to a single girl. Were we married women, responding to an email from Mother Gothel, the solution would include calling her to repentance for cruelty and tyranny (and quite possibly to turn herself in for committing the capital crimes of kidnapping and sorcery.) We’re advising Rapunzel, however, as we would any girl, understanding that this is the kind of situation we’ll all have to deal with throughout our lives: problems on the part of people whose actions we can’t control. Mother Gothel is the inciting problem in Rapunzel’s life, but is not a problem Rapunzel can solve by pouting, complaining, or waiting for her mother to change. There’s a reason our advice to girls dealing with problematic family members isn’t simply, “Let’s talk about all the ways this person has wronged you!”Depending on others to fix our problems by fixing themselves is never our solution. There is always an active biblical response to others’ sins against us.

      Stay tuned!



  2. Run, Rapunzel, RUN!

    TELL the King and Queen, show them the tiara (after you get it back from Flynn), and tell them about your life, your “mother”, everything. They’ll KNOW you’re the Lost Princess they’ve been looking for.

    They’ll arrested your “mother”, and welcomed you back into their arms!

    And then everyone will celebrates, fireworks will flashes in the sky, feasts everywhere… and perhaps a real Prince is near, not unlike Flynn, but not a thief either, a good honest man who’s a real deal.

    Yeah, this is simplistic, but who cares, it’s fun, eh.

    I like it.


  3. Botkins, please recall that this film IS a fairytale, and doesn’t need the harsh judgment that a a film for older audiences would require. I saw the film and was charmed by it.

    Dear Rapunzel,

    let’s assume for the time being that your mother IS really your mother, and you’ve seen the fruits of her descriptions of the world. Many thugs and rough men do, in fact, have vulnerabilities and harsh pasts, but do not think they will always be willing to share them with you or reconnect with them in such short order for the sake of being nice; you lucked out there, sweetie. But thugs and repressed humanity aside, you are a young woman and asking questions a young woman should. Most parents try to protect their children, but few use the extreme measures that your mother has, keeping you away from even the outdoors and nature. Now that you are an adult, you will or should be moving towards a new kind of life, one that requires far more than staying hidden in a tower and isolated from the world. Your mother has made the mistake of treating you more like a canary than a person, existing for her pleasure instead of being trained by her to live in a world that’s sometimes harsh and sometimes beautiful, and raise your own children to do the same. You were not meant to live in isolation at the whim of another, much less into your adulthood, obeying a stifling mother like a toddler. I encourage you to talk to your mother about this, again, without using defiance like a child; instead, use respect as a woman to her mother and firmness like an adult. It is your decision now to venture forward or not; God has planned your life’s direction since before you were born, and now you need to pray for His guidance in discovering it. Be considerate of your mother; she clearly lives in great fear of your fate, and needs gentleness to overcome this fear. Do not speak as a rebellious teen planning to leave her behind in the dust. Let her know you heed her words, and have seen firsthand the consequences of being careless. But be prepared as well for her to act upset and even aggressive; do not apologize for your decision, but show her you’re remorseful for deceiving her and still need her counsel as you venture into the world. You do not owe her your life as a stunted woman; you do owe her your respect and regard.

    God bless, Jennifer


  4. Dear Rapunzel, first off I would like to start by commending the courage it must have taken to bring this up with anyone. Growing up alone, it can be very scary opening up to people you don’t know.
    I’d also like to take a moment to remind you that the verbal abuse your mother has had towards you, is not okay and never should be. Rapunzel, you are a strong, wonderful woman, and while God calls for us to be obidient, he never demands blind obedience. And just because your mother says she wants whats best for you, it never never never makes it okay for her to put you down or degrade you like that.

    If you really do think you might be the Lost Princess, then you have a real problem. On one hand, if you are, that means you are living with the Woman who kidnapped you, and that means you could be in danger. On the other hand, if you’re not, it means you just have these strong conflicting feelings towards her.
    If you really do feel that you could be the Lost Princess, than I think the most responsible thing for you to do is to go to the Authorities. I know going to the police can be scary, and you might feel like you’re over reacting, but it is always better to be safe, rather than sorry. The police would much rather deal with a dozen girls claiming to have been kidnapped, than miss just one who really was. And I know you’re probably worrying how that would affect your mother, and how it might hurt her, but Rapunzel, your mother is a grown woman who most likely loves you very much. And as a mature adult, she should understand that you going to someone with this, is not a personal attack. It’s good sense. And yes it might hurt her feels abit, but it would be better to hurt her feelings a little in the long run, than it would be to leave you in a situation where you had the slightest chance of being in danger.

    Love, A Sister In Christ.


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