Fractured Families

This week the British Royal Family went public on the apparent rift that exists between Harry and Meghan and the rest of the family. Whatever the realities of what it really going on there appears to be a fracture in the fratricidal of the family. I guess the same would have been true when Charles and Diana split, or the more recent issues with Andrew. When it comes down to it they are simply a family trying to work things through. So, join the club, we are all doing the same thing. I do not know, and have never known, any family that has not at some time has issues to deal with.

The Royals have brought people in from out side, Diana, Fergie, Kate and Meghan, and attempted to create a “Blended Family”. They have then tried to back track and make it work in reality for the new comers. To date, in three of the four cases it seems that they were not able to make this happen. Charlie’s and Diana, Andrew and Fergie had to divorce and now Harry and Meghan are seeking to renegotiate their royal roles and connections.

When our kids get married we inherit an extended family. We have no choice over who they are and we either have to accept them or not. Do we lose a son or gain a daughter, or the other way around.

I deal with couples and families and their attendant issues and problems. Over and over again I see that it is never what happens in the family that is the issue it is how they respond to it and deal with it that counts. When counselling couples and family therapy this raises the issues of tolerance and compromise. It is unlikely that we will really be able to change the other people in our family. All that we can really do is change ourself.

Family support is not now as it was. We live in a world where families no longer stay together as they once did. The time when people remained living close to each other or even in the same dwelling have long since gone. We choose to live in smaller nuclear units that often comprise of a couple and two kids that live a long way from other relatives. This can put both stress and strain the family bonds that once held our society together. As the informal stress management function of the extended family has diminished we have seen a rise in the mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. This is especially true with children who once had grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings that they could use to talk problems through. These day many of us have to go to the GP and book to see a therapist or counsellor.

Being both a parent or a partner is not an easy job unless of course we can learn to bend a little. Families work well when they talk and communicate together in a civil manner. Not forgetting that the most important part of communication is listening not transmitting. This is followed by acceptance, tolerance and good old compromise. Those three things alone would solve most of the world problems at every level from families to countries.

I assume that this will also be true for the Royal Family as they attempt to resolve their current problems. If they do, they will have negotiated what will happen next in a way that works for all of them. If they are not able to do this then the fracture will deepen. This is no different to any family. I wish them luck.

Take care and be happy

Sean x