The adorable and catchy popular musical, Encanto was released last year. The popular song from the movie, "We don't talk about Bruno" made the top of the charts and found national fame. The movie is beloved by children and adults alike. When we meet Bruno he is the ostracized family member who his siblings, cousins, and even his own mother rejects. We as an audience have no idea at the beginning of the movie what horrible transgression led to him having lost all of his loved ones. As an audience we enjoy the catchy music and emotionally attach to the protagonists of the story who agree that this Bruno guy, is awful, evil, a trouble maker, and not safe to have around.
When we have an opportunity to examine the story on a deeper level we find that Bruno is actually a loving, compassionate, albeit eccentric misunderstood man. He leaves the family after years of being humiliated and blamed for incidents outside his control. You see, Bruno's 'gift' is being able to see the future. When he tries to warn his family of impending trouble, to help, save and protect, he is criticized and shamed. Eventually after years of not being heard, seen, or receiving any love, validation, or compassion, he leaves the family. Even in this act, where he denies his own needs (lives in isolation and develops anxiety and depression) and leaves to make them happy they continue to blame him.
In therapy I have come across hundreds of Brunos. Men, women, and children who assume their gifts are useless, that they themselves are without value or worthy of love. Most of the time it stemmed from the same challenges that Bruno navigated in Encanto. Despite ineffective or inappropriate upbringings that these people have endured it is still possible to reclaim our identity, rediscover our worth, and not allow the narrative of those who are ignorant, scared, or projecting their own traumas and insecurities on us to define or control us. Who will be your Mirabel that helps lead you out of the darkness?