What kind of person cuts off her parents? I ask myself this fairly often. While I had no interest in or emotional connection to the recent royal wedding, or any royal wedding for that matter, the confident, opinionated commentary on the relationship between Meghan Markle and her father has been of particular interest to me. I’ve been intrigued primarily because I’m curious to see how the world perceives her decision and the judgment it hands down. Is she a brave, sensible person who has enough self-confidence and self-respect to do what is emotionally sound for her? Or is she a selfish, cold-hearted spoiled, snobbish individual who is icing out anybody who is of no use to her? Is this occurrence evidence that blood isn’t always thicker than water or is it an example of an inhuman abandonment of the unconditional love and loyalty popular culture associates, and basically prescribes, with family life?
Is she a brave, sensible person who has enough self-confidence and self-respect to do what is emotionally sound for her? Or is she a selfish, cold-hearted spoiled, snobbish individual who is icing out anybody who is of no use to her?
While I do not need the public or media to form an opinion on this, I have been curious to see her handle this very personal and intimate issue in one of the most public spheres in the world. As she tries to merge lives with a royal family and create a new, shared life with another person, she is also trying to negotiate significant familial dysfunction. It’s almost like observing a phenomenon in an experiment which is surprisingly common but placing it under the most stretching and intense conditions. I’ve been curious to see if Meghan has all of the answers to these questions because I’ve yet to form my own.
I should start by saying my personal rule in life is that I cannot make a judgement on anything I do not personally see and hear myself. I can have feelings and opinions about the hypothetical situation presented to me or supposed actions a person is said to have taken, but I am generally reluctant to commit to a harsh judgment or fervent, positive appraisal of a person’s character based on hearsay. Only in extreme cases–where it is blatantly obvious and the festering reality is so thick you couldn’t cut it with a knife and would need a hacksaw (I’m looking at you, Donald Trump and company)–do I move towards a more definitive opinion. Although a very passionate person who sometimes loses check of this value, it keeps me oriented in about eighty percent of situations.
Is this occurrence evidence that blood isn’t always thicker than water or is it an example of an inhuman abandonment of the unconditional love and loyalty popular culture associates, and basically prescribes, with family life?
I explain all of that because I believe context is everything and it is so hard to know a context without witnessing it firsthand. Just as victors write history, any description of context is shaped by the intentions, beliefs, and prejudices of the person relaying it. That makes situations like Meghan Markle’s, which people are often all too eager to weigh in on given the domestic nature of the issue, particularly hard to judge. While I may be wrong, I am reluctant to confidently assert Meghan should put family first, do what is natural, and let bygones be bygones–because I know from personal experience that this sort of thing is so disorienting, dysfunctional, complicated, messy, politically fused within a family, that Meghan Markle may not understand the situation or her feelings herself.
So when I was laying in bed, trying to wind down, naturally the most sensible thing I could be doing was reading the news on my phone, (Fox News of all things which hinges forcefully on the emotional). Sometimes their human interest or other stories not trying to convince us the White House isn’t burning down while the hems of their pants and suit jackets begin to smolder from the giant fire behind them (which generally means they are intended to be a distraction), can be thought-provoking. Occasionally, I will see some reason to an article but generally it is abrasive sandpaper preaching close-minded, restrictive and completely unrealistic social norms to a willing choir and calling them “family values.”
Clearly I have a lot to say on this topic so I’m going to break it into two posts. That way it’s more digestible. Some of the questions I’m working through are personally relevant to anybody who has biological family (so all of us) and I hope you stick around to read it and tell me what you think. I’ll post the other half by Friday 6pm Eastern Standard Time (EST, United States).
In the meantime, and before I tell you what I think, I encourage you to read the article: Meghan Markle is ‘playing a dangerous game’ with dad Thomas, royal biographer says.
I’d also love to hear what you think about situations like this. If you have thoughts, please let me know!