This morning my thoughts turned to the royal family, as Netflix starting streaming Harry and Megan’s controversial 2-part series. Like so many of the families that we work with, they are full of life, death, lust, infidelity, sibling rivalry, adultery, disappointment, grand achievement and secrets. Everyone has their own perspective and everyone has their own narrative. Having used the research methodology portraiture for well over 25 years as an interview strategy, I have learned that everyone has a unique version of what has happened in the confines of their home and that the truth always lies somewhere in the spaces in between denial and openness.
When taking an outsider’s view, Meagan and Harry have turned their tragedies, their experiences, & their perspectives into a million, perhaps billion, dollar business. Being a “spare”, so to speak, has allowed them to continue to be in the spotlight and has not relegated them to the back seat. It would however be hard for them to give up that identity, as to do so they would have to give up the limelight and the status that currently defines them as crusaders, wronged individuals.
Kate and William remain supporters of their ancestors. They just are not as outspoken in the public eye nor as flamboyant in their pain. We don’t really know what crosses they bear living in the limelight, and it appears they keep their wounds within the confines of their private life. No Oprah interviews, no Netflix specials, etc. Staying above the fray.
And all the while in the background is the tragic death of Diana, her love affair with Dodi, Charles’ infidelities, and a cast of supporting actors that keep secrets and have been accused of racial and other injustices.
Their private drama has been cast (actually splattered) across the screen, so it’s hard to discern what is truth what is fiction and what fiction has become truth.
When my team and I work with families, their lives are hurting, a loved one may experience substance abuse, mental illness, chronic pain, gambling addiction, sex addiction, etc. Someone may have disordered eating. There may be money problems. They may have experienced trauma, either subjective being told they are not good enough, or objective living through a natural disaster, racism, a car accident. Children may be left to fend for themselves as parents are emotionally unavailable. There are a myriad of issues that face our clients and their families.
Our goal as always is to look at families with a compassionate, dispassionate clinical eye; to seek the truth as it appears and to craft a solution that allows them to heal; to bear witness to their pain and to design a solution which allows the opportunity for all to heal.
When I look at Meagan and Harry, I see them all too well, bearing witness to their pain. They are making millions from that and yet my hope is (as is my hope for all the families I work with) that growth and reconciliatory behaviors can happen.
The question is, is the crown all that bad, are they all that good? Playing the supporting actor when one can be the star is ultimately more lucrative in terms of money and personal identity, yet is it possible without making everyone else wrong?
Is it possible that one can look with compassion and love to one another as a way of mending fences? That means everyone has to engage in healing behaviors. My fear when looking at the royal family is there is just too much to gain monetarily by keeping the wedge. For in everyone’s family, everyone is both hero and villain, and our job as clinicians and interventionists is to find a healing path.
While I do not work with the royal family, my team and I work with families that we like to believe we treat royally with discreetness, confidentiality and a clean eye. What are your thoughts?