My apologies to those who clicked on this article, thinking it will be about Elsa from Frozen, though there is an Anna in this story. This article is about Anna Ivanovna, the real life ice queen.
Anna was born in 1693, the daughter of czar Ivan V. Ivan V was co-ruler of Russia, along with his younger half brother, Peter the Great. Ivan V died in February 1696, when Anna was only three years old. Anna had two sisters. The three girls were raised in a disciplined and strict manner by their widowed mother. As Anna grew older, she became stubborn with a mean streak. She had terrible manners and a grim demeanor, her nickname was “Iv-anna the Terrible.”
In 1710, Peter arranged for the 17-year-old Anna to marry Frederick William Duke of Courland. The wedding was held on a grand scale. Her uncle Peter gave her a dowry of 200.000 rubles.
The newly wedded couple spent several weeks in Russia before proceeding to Courland. On the way to Courland and only 20 miles into the trip, Duke Frederick died. The cause of death was uncertain, but Frederick consumed a lot of alcohol during the wedding, and it was believed the excessive alcohol consumption played a part in his death. Anna was devastated, she was in love and had strong feelings for Frederick. On the way to their home palace death took her husband and lover from her.
At 17, Anna was a widow and desperate to remarry. She wrote her family over 300 letters, most of them expressing her raging desire for a husband. Uncle Peter rejected every suitor until Anna became disillusioned with marrying again. Bitterness overtook Anna, and she wanted to punish people who had the audacity to be in love. With Frederick’s death, Anna became ruler of Courland. In 1730, she became the empress of all of Russia. Prince Mikhail hailed from one of the most noble houses in Russia. Mikhail fell in love and married an Italian woman. Anna, was not too pleased by this development, Mikhail’s wife passed away shortly after the marriage, and Anna took this tragedy as an opening to torture Mikhail for falling in love.
Anna turned Mikhail into a court jester. She forced him to mimic and pretend to be a chicken in front of visitors. This act of belittling wasn’t enough for Anna. She ordered the construction of an ice palace. The palace was 80 feet long and 33 feet high. Inside was a furnished bedroom suite made of Ice! The bed, the pillows hell even the chamber pot was made of ice. Outside the palace was an ice statue of an elephant that spouted water from its trunk. This sounds like a fun exhibit to walk through and take selfies in, but she built this palace for much more sinister means.
Anna married Mikhail to one of her maids. The maid was ancient and ugly, so this marriage wasn’t a “reward” for Mikhail. Immediately after the wedding, the couple was forced to spend their wedding night in the ice palace, naked! Did I mention it was also winter in Russia, one of the coldest places on earth if one has clothes and a building made of stones not ice. Anna told them to keep warm by having sex all night. The idea was for the couple to freeze to death, but miraculously they survived! The couple survived because the bride traded one of her family heirlooms for a coat from a guard. It also helped that they spent the night running around the palace and breaking things. Sadly, the bride died a few days after the ice palace night. Given that she was elderly, she more than likely died of pneumonia.
Anna died less than a year later of the ice palace fiasco, she left no heirs and she is mentioned as one of the worst rulers in Russian history.
Mistakes were Made:
Anna had suffered some severe psychological and emotional trauma with the passing of her husband and the torment of not being allowed to remarry. She needed some counseling, companionship and a hug, but at last this was the 1700s so she was just made the queen. Anna was broken inside and unable to fix and heal herself, so she brought this anguish on others who dared to fall in love.
Today, there are many of us just like Anna no, we are not constructing ice palaces to torture people, but most of us are broken inside. We are broke from past family trauma, past relationship trauma, past bullying or even past employment trauma. Instead of seeking help for this trauma, we mask it with alcohol, drugs, sex, social media, relationships, food or even material goods. These things only help for a bit before the anger, sorrow and pain inside swells up again and again.
Just like Anna we pass this internal messiness along to others. We do it by hopping into relationships with others and infecting them like a zombie virus. Now they too are broken inside because of this interaction and they too will pass it along to another unsuspecting person instead of fixing themselves. This goes on and on until we get where we are today, a world filled of broken people pretending like they are ok.
For the year 2020, we should all to work on fixing ourselves. Get therapy or do whatever you need to do to fix the unhappiness inside. If we are fixed and happy inside, we can become a better partner, spouse, friend, parent, brother, sister, son, daughter, employer, employee and just a better human being.
Stop acting like Anna and strive to become a happy, and emotionally healthy human being. Can we make that our resolution for 2020?
Originally published at https://mwmblog.com on January 6, 2020.