Harry & Meghan
I talk a lot about celebrities and how their lives are thrust into the spotlight. Overall, I have huge beef with how The Famous are treated by media, social media and the public in general, where every eyebrow and syllable is analyzed, scrutinized, pulverized and vandalized. I dare anyone to cope with that level of criticism, it is not for the faint of heart.
Now the whole world is watching as a member of the British Royal Family is telling his and his wife’s story in a book, interviews and on Netflix. And the insensitivity – the lack of empathy – the disgust with which these young people are treated is making me very angry….
How do you scream at someone who lost his Mum at age 12 for not having his act together?
How do you gaslight someone who has been silenced and marginalized all his life?
How dare you say he is not approaching this The Right Way? As is often the case, The Right Way has been No Way – he was torn apart no matter what he did.
This all sounds painfully familiar to those of us accustomed to trying desperately to do the right thing to avoid the next attack or piece of nastiness - when you feel like you have no quarter, no ally, no answers.
To me, this is a story of Grief & Trauma gone horribly wrong, played out on one of the biggest stages in the world.
Harry, The Duke of Sussex, was never going to be king. Everyone made that very clear to him. He was The Spare. He was only important if something happened to his older brother. So that left him adrift to figure out who he was – then of course, the terrible crash that killed his mother in 1997 ripped his world apart. I remember so vividly getting up in the middle of the night to watch that funeral….
And now Harry is talking about how that event, that day, and the years that followed messed him up so badly – how his father, now King Charles III, sat on his bed, but did not hug or comfort him that night – how he has blocked out most memories of the funeral - how he didn’t truly believe that Diana was dead for years, into adulthood – how he had no purpose and no guidance (and no therapy) until he joined the military, which forced him into being present and being of service.
This is what happens when folks do not have the opportunity to get help, to talk things out, to learn and grow and mature. The Royal Family may have money – but as in many families, it seems there is no understanding of the human psyche and what it needs when tragedy strikes. People need to be heard not rejected. People need to express their emotions, not keep the infamous stiff upper lip. They need connection – understanding – compassion and the space to change….
Now let’s leap to what happened when Harry & Meghan got together. I do wonder what would have happened had he fallen in love with a white, blonde, British young lady – but he didn’t. He fell for a multi-racial, American actress – three strikes right out of the gate. Anyone Harry chose would have been the subject of withering scrutiny – but Meghan was attacked right from the word Go. They found their soul mate – and she received death threats for it.
But these two were so deeply connected – they laughed together, they connected to service together – and I think they bonded over that instant judgement that both Harry and all folks who are ostracized are subjected to. I have been in that place – where someone looks you top to toe – down their nose – you are beneath me – you are less than – you are…Not Enough….
You can easily search for some of the outlandish and ridiculous headlines and accusations about Meghan – especially the ones that praised Kate Middleton for doing the exact same things…. It’s not only that Meghan is different, it’s that she is Not Kate. Here are two analyses from 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/global/2020/jan/18/meghan-gets-more-than-twice-as-many-negative-headlines-as-positive and also here https://www.boredpanda.com/uk-media-double-standarts-royal-meghan-markle-kate-middleton/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic
How are you attacking a pregnant woman for touching her belly too much??? I’m confounded….
Every single point that Harry tries to make, he gets torn down. He says he has tried to mend things privately – but that has been undermined. Then he gets asked for proof that he has tried to speak to his family. He gets criticized for taking millions of dollars from Netflix. Can you imagine the security he and his family need? It’s not like they can fly commercial or take regular jobs.
I could go on for pages and pages of examples – but it is sadly what I see all the time in my practice.
Trauma survivors stay silent because they are stigmatized and bullied. Then when they do speak out, they are gaslit or told they are being dramatic and selfish, with no accountability or compassion. And if they tell the outside world their story, then they are betraying the family. I have seen it SO many times – and I have lived it.
Now imagine that in one of the most famous families on earth.
So again, I dare ANYONE to stand in that kind of glare, with that scornful scathing scrutiny coming at you 24/7 and not go mad. Not to mention, that Harry lost his mother to this exact same monster.
I have watched all the interviews of Harry I could this week, and I am deeply impressed with his poise, determination and groundedness. He has clearly Done the Work. He has found his way out of the grief that crippled him and is working every minute to speak his truth and protect his family. Seek out these interviews and you will see, he is an example to so many of what is required of the Healing Journey – and what is possible. Bravo, Harry.