Tangled actually did a better job capturing an emotionally abusive relationship than most other things I’ve seen. And I don’t just mean when Gothel kidnapped her and lied to her about who she was. It was everything. She kept Rapunzel with her by cutting people out of her life and destroying her self-esteem. She puts her down and doesn’t allow her to feel confident at all. Recall when Rapunzel states she thinks Flynn likes her, Gothel blows her off with, “But just look at you. You think he’s impressed?” She also constantly makes Rapunzel feel responsible for everything that goes wrong. When they get in the argument in the beginning, Gothel victimizes herself and does her best to make Rapunzel feel guilty for asking her for a simple favor. It’s so textbook. And immediately after anything, she treats Rapunzel by promising her favourite soup and reminding her, “I love you most” to reel her back into that false sense of security.
And back to the animation of how she didn’t notice the maternal and loving hand was actually a malicious claw until she realised she was in an abusive relationship. Basically, Tangled is a really important movie, and the fact Gothel is so familiar to those of us who have experienced abuse is good because children are going to watch this and look for Gothels in their own lives.