The Independent Article: Mandy quoted in The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/open-relationships-love-without-strings-6272702.html Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash
Why Harry and Meghan are unlikely to last
I see many couples for therapy and I always wish for them to stay together. I am an idealist and want everyone to work things out but sadly that isn’t realistic. Since Meghan and Harry have announced that they will be withdrawing from royal duties I have become convinced that they will end up separating. I’ll be sad when they do (I like happy endings) but I had my doubts from the very beginning that they would last.
Too many differences
There are certain things that couples need in order to weather the storms of life and Harry and Meghan actually have very little in common. Meghan is definitely the more dominant person in the relationship and Harry has struggled to find his true identity within the Royal Family. Now that they have a child together, Meghan’s influence over Harry will be even greater. A dominant female in his life was inevitable. The fact that Harry lost his mother at a young age will undoubtedly play a part in this outcome and have had a huge impact on his choice of partner. He seems to need a strong female influence in his life – something that was missing after his mother passed away. Meghan fits that role but she may be pushing her agenda onto a man who is vulnerable.
Harry doesn’t have a clear role in the Royal family and Meghan has offered him that purpose and a clearer role in his life. Unfortunately, Meghan appears to enjoy the high life whilst preaching about being eco-friendly and this has invited criticism. The two aren’t compatible in many ways. Harry and Meghan do however seem to share the same values in life and that’s an important part of any relationship. They don’t share a cultural background though and this may end up causing issues further down the line. Harry is placing all of his purpose and structure in life on Meghan being in his life and ultimately, he will feel lost in Canada (or the USA) and end up feeling even more lonely and isolated that he does now.
It’s such a pity that this situation couldn’t have been more inclusive, in so far as having an open and honest chat with his family and getting their backing. This situation looks more like an “us and them” situation with two very different camps that seem opposed, not collaborative.
Too much pressure
Many couples go through pressure in life but Meghan and Harry have extraordinary pressures to deal with. They are constantly being scrutinised. Comments and judgements are made every step of the way. A couple has to be incredibly strong and work well together as a team to face this kind of pressure on a long term basis. Not only do they face immense external pressure, they have effectively isolated themselves.
It is a worrying pattern that there is so much trouble and strife in Meghan’s family, with her own family willing to openly speak up about the flaws they see in her character (they have said she is a “social climber who loves money and attention”) and now Harry is being alienated from his own family.
As an experienced therapist, here are the overt warning signs:
- Dysfunctional family relationships in Meghan’s family, apart from the relationship with her mother (apparently they aren’t as close as they would like us to believe). This suggests Meghan may have dysfunctional and/or unreasonable thinking. If it is true that she drops people from her life, this is highly indicative of someone with traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder . I am not saying she definitely has this disorder but some of her behaviours are consistent with this diagnosis. They see the world as black and white – they love you or hate you, you’re in or you’re out. They are unable to acknowledge that good people can sometimes do nasty things. One bad behaviour and you are completely bad in their eyes. It’s an unhelpful defense mechanism learned from childhood.
- Meghan’s brief marriage prior to meeting Harry. Suggests an impetuous nature that requires instant gratification and has a low tolerance for frustration or things she doesn’t like.
- Meghan’s desire for fame and attention – this often suggests low self esteem.
- Meghan’s outspoken character and her apparent difficulties with retaining staff. This suggests a need for control and this may stem from the trauma she may have felt when her parents divorced. A lack of control in childhood can make control an obsession as an adult.
- Meghan’s desire for people to ask how she is shows a lack of perspective and appreciation for the priviledged situation she finds herself in. This shows a clear lack of empathy and understanding for how others may perceive her lack of gratitude.
- The way the Sussex Royal website was created in the background and the fact that they sprung the news on the royal family of their future vision without much communication beforehand. This again shows a naivety and a lack of clear understanding. It’s as if they have lived in a ‘bubble’ for too long and have lost touch with the real world. Whilst this isn’t full coercive control, it illustrates manipulation and shows just how much their priviledged positions have affected their ability to reason effectively. No collaboration, just a show of authority that ended up backfiring. They were clearly planning to leave for a while and must have felt pretty confident that they would be successful in their endeavours to work only part-time as Royals.
- Issues within the Royal family and the multitude of law suits since Harry and Meghan got together. Suggests a toxic environment surrounded by conflict. They have every right to protect themselves but some of the law suits have seemed unnecessary. This will raise the ante of stress and volatility in their relationship. It certainly isn’t conducive to a happy peaceful life being surrounded by very public law suits.
- Meghan and Harry’s inability to deal with any negative criticism. Suggests an unhealthy attitude that will create more problems for them due to the attitude they have adopted in response. Many of their reactionary behaviours have been unhelpful. Unhelpful behaviours result in further distress. A healthy response would have been to ignore the negative press. It’s impossible to be in the public eye and not expect negative opinions. It’s important to have a stratgey to deal with them that is effective and saves your sanity. Harry and Meghan don’t seem to have this in place.
- The shift from collaborating with Kate and William to removing themselves from Kensington Palace and leaving their joint charity suggests a need for control. This exclusionary behaviour is very telling and suggests Meghan and Harry do not want anyone telling them what to do and want to call all the shots. It shows difficulty in working as a team.
- Meghan disappearing to Canada and leaving Harry to negotiate suggests that Meghan wants Harry to explain her wishes and negotiate on her behalf. It’s surprising to me that she didn’t stay to support him and back him up in their joint vision. Again, this also suggests a rift in the Royal Family and a reluctance on Meghan’s part to do the right thing by negotiating her wishes alongside Harry. They are, after all, in this together.
Harry and Meghan definitely tried to manipulate the situation to their advantage by releasing a public statement about stepping down from royal duties without much prior discussion. They were also putting together a website secretly in the background, preparing their new plan. Harry had even tried to get work for Meghan at the Lion King premier during royal duties. The Royal Family was unaware that the announcement would be made public, and this forced the Royal Family into dealing with this under the spotlight of the public eye. They were forced into dealing with this issue at the pace that Harry and Meghan want. This suggests a major rift in the Royal Family where communication has broken down. The common denominator – Meghan. I sense dysfunction and an unstable personality. Someone who has a strong will and does not like having to wait for what she wants nor does she like being told what to do. Harry is the follower and she is the leader who appears entitled and easily offended.
Meghan maintains she is a strong independent woman yet if she was, she would possibly have been more able to ignore the petulant press and focus on doing what she said was important to her – promoting good causes and charities. If you make the press your friends they will help in this endeavour but personal issues seem to have overwhelmed her. She has been unable to withstand criticism (anyone in the public eye receives criticism but knowing who you truly are is what matters) and had allowed that to become her focus rather than pushing through to get the good word out about more important causes.
At the moment. Meghan and Harry face a common enemy – the British Press but when the furore dies down and they return to some semblance of normality, the differences in their characters and outlook on life will ultimately be their downfall. Harry will most likely realise that he has given up far too much and will return to a state of loneliness and feeling detached, unsure of where he belongs.
Why Meghan and Harry are unlikely to last
I give it five years max but it’s more likely that it will all be over within three years from now. I have worked with so many couples and although I don’t know all the intimate details of their relationship, I know enough to say with a fair amount of certainty that they will not last.
The British Press are going to detest Meghan even more now (even if their decision to leave was a joint one – although I believe Meghan has pushed for this). Prince Harry is lost. He doesn’t really know where he belongs and Meghan isn’t the one to lead him in the right direction.
Now that Harry and Meghan will be leaving royal duties full time and dropping their HRH titles, I believe that Harry will experience an ‘identity crisis’ over time and come to resent Meghan for all that he has had to give up (even if he was part of the initial decision. This wouldn’t have happened if he had never met her). Reality will set in after a while. Meghan was attracted to Harry, not only for the person he is, but also because of his power, status and influence. Mistakenly, they have thought that being more in control will help them but the reality will be very different.
Although Harry is still a Prince, he will be stripped off all the status and power and that was part of the reason that Meghan was attracted to him in the first place. This huge change in their circumstances will no doubt cause a strain on their relationship despite the fact that this is what they thought they wanted. What you think you want and what you actually need are often very different.
They have been far too hasty and will now be cast out into ‘limbo-land’. Harry will no longer have a clear role, something he has had all his life and will need far more emotional support from Meghan. I don’t doubt that they will be able to make money and support themselves but it’s kind of like having the sail boat without the sails. They are not going to have the same clout behind them now that they are no longer working royals.
They would have been far better off being measured about this decision. They could have spoken to the Royal family and come to some sort of private arrangement, behind closed doors, where they scaled back without all the media involvement and awareness. It almost seems as if it has been a clash of egos. A tit-for-tat battle that may have started due to hurt egos and perceived rejection. I do not for one minute believe that Harry and Meghan left solely due to media scrutiny and harrassment. I believe that was part of it but there were ructions within the Royal family and this is why the announcement was released so hastily and without much consultation with the Queen.
This is why the Queen added the sentence in her statement, “I am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become part of the family”. This is to limit any damage further down the line. If Meghan is critical of the Royal Family in the future (her friends have already been saying Meghan found the Royal Family “toxic”), it won’t look good for her considering the gracious statement by the Queen. Clever damage limitation!
Harry and Meghan seem to have become too entitled and have overestimated their importance and influence. Depite being mutlimillionaires, they still want to drain the taxpayers. Where’s their pride? It will be interesting to see what they do next and how they manage a quieter life where they have no clear direction and no royal clout behind them.
My advice to them is simple: More humility, less hypocrisy.
Featured image: courtesy of Bloomberg.com
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