Cole Sprouse On How He Dealt with Pain

I remember Cole Sprouse from Big Daddy. However, I didn’t follow the rest of his career as his work was too young for me. I also know him from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I saw friends until a couple of years ago because I was a bit too young when F.R.I.E.N.D.S. started in the 90s. I was into the Power Rangers, Save by the Bell, Sister Sister, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, to name a few. Yes, I’m that old. (LOL!)  

I have been into the “narcissism” subject for over a year now, and I follow a few psychologists that are experts on the topic. I enjoy the podcast, A Diary of C.E.O. (DOAC), and the title that popped up on my feed caught my attention: “Cole Sprouse: My Narcissistic Mum Sacrificed My Childhood For Fame! E 229.” So, I checked out the episode. 

Cole doesn’t go into explicit details about his mother. He does give enough details to understand part of his rough childhood. Cole’s parents divorced when he and his twin brother Dylan were very little. He has one distant memory of his parents together. Cole’s mother moved to Los Angeles while his father stayed in Switzerland. A few years later, his father moved to Los Angeles to try and mend the family. But Cole’s mom obtained full custody of the twins, Cole and Dylan. At some point in their life, the court system found their mother unfit to raise children and gave full custody to the father instead. Cole describes his father as “He’s an amazing guy.” His eyes and face brighten up when he talks about his father. 

Cole describes his mom as a “wonderful painter.” The entertainment industry suited her need for validation as most artists of all types do. He says the following: “The entertainment industry broke her. The industry encourages the worst qualities of you: narcissism, selfishness, and greed. A lot of these things that we have practically known as the cardinal sins. It encouraged a kind of selfishness that directly opposed the fundamental idea of motherhood.” His mom grappled with mental illness and drug abuse, “but primarily narcissism—a wicked narcissism. The inability to perceive anything outside your own perspective would probably be the biggest sickness.” 

Cole’s obvious pain in his eyes almost tells a whole story of their own. It’s as if he’s having these quick flashbacks and memories of his childhood experiences with his mother. What surprised me was the maturity in how he handled that pain. Cole asserts that despite the discomfort, the people we meet and the experiences we encounter are there for a reason. Instead of seeing from a victim’s point of view, he sees it as “it tests your patience and love, even if you’ve been deeply wounded.” In other words, don’t let the darkness or evil overpower you. Everything and everyone are a lesson, according to Cole. 

Because Cole was a “byproduct of narcissism and self-loathe,” he didn’t realize he was a people pleaser and “nurse to whoever needed help,” even if it meant stepping over his boundaries. Trying to make everyone happy was his way of controlling everything until he learned to let go. 

Cole then explains how he dealt with his emotional turmoil by putting time and effort into photography. He is a big believer in hobbyism, “which is a really wonderful thing to do when you are feeling sad–just pick up a hobby.” He also mentions that he has done only a little therapy. Cole believes in the great philosophers of the past who have advised us on how to live. He is mainly a creative mind but also a workaholic. Philosophy, creativity, and work have all been his close friends in coping with life.   

Cole says that he doesn’t like to talk about his wounds often. But he felt comfortable on DOAC because it’s a platform that encourages vulnerability and authenticity, something the entertainment industry lacks. In his own words, the following is a beautiful personal philosophy of Cole: 

“I don’t talk about it [his pain] too much because I don’t ever want to be perceived as a victim. I am not and have never been and never will be a victim of any circumstance I am in. I don’t wear victimhood on my shoulder. I don’t like to act like I am my wounds and repeatedly be reminded of my wounds. What happened in my youth carved me and forged me into the person I am today for better—purely better. We trade trauma for wisdom. When we go through heavy experiences, it deepens our eyes.”

Cole believes the media focuses too much on pain. “Pain alone is useless.” However, the triumph after the pain is what we should be discussing more. 

Cole’s words and his pain surprisingly enriched me tremendously. I know many people who walk with a victimhood banner, waving it like a NASCAR flag, ready to unleash the turmoils they haven’t worked out since childhood. I have, too, at some point. But I’m glad to know I am on the other side of that mentality– not because it makes me better than others; instead, it makes me better as a person. It’s healing and helps to let go of the people and things you cannot control. 

  “You’re given these lessons in your life so that you can triumph over them and use the traits that you’ve acquired from those lessons over time to carve out who you are.”

Cole Sprouse

© 2023

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