Whatever you feel about the royal family and Prince Harry, they are certainly in the media this week.
I was invited to share my thoughts on his new book “Spare” from the perspective of trauma. I hadn’t given the situation much thought before, but after some research I noticed some really interesting behaviours, beliefs and patterns.
Having been on TV once, radio 5 times, and in 191 different print outlets discussing the situation, following are my thoughts from a trauma perspective.
Just before we dive in, this isn’t a discussion about who is right or wrong or whether the monarchy is a good thing or a bad one. It’s important to be clear that I can only speculate. I’ve been careful to avoid jumping to conclusions about the Duke specifically, as I don’t know him personally. Who’s right and who’s wrong also isn’t terribly helpful either, as you’ll read.
What I think IS important is the role of our MINDSET in how we approach life, love, family and relationships.
Here is my take and the answers to some of the questions I’ve been getting from the media.
Why is he doing this, is it coming from a place of trauma and why now?
Before we dive into a discussion of whether or not PH has trauma, we need to agree on a definition of trauma. Here’s one I find helpful.
Trauma is maladaptation of neurology as a result of events in the past. It might have been one single highly intense event, like the death of his mother, or a long period of repeated, low-intensity events, such as the prolonged marital disputes and divorce prior to her death.
When we are whole, and our neurology has adapted to being resourceful and resilient, we are able to get our needs met in healthy ways. Those with trauma often resort to unhealthy ways that damage themselves or others.
Given that his mother died in a tragic accident, and, according to him, as a result of the media, he’s likely to be very sensitive to the ways that his wife is being treated by the press.
Hurt people hurt
One reason that the Duke of Sussex has spilled some of the royal family’s deepest secrets in his memoir, Spare, is that he is “hurting”.
There is this sense that he really does want to let his family know he’s hurting.
Hurt people, hurt others. They do it completely unintentionally, because their hurt is so present, they can’t perceive anyone else’s hurt.
From the Prince of Wales allegedly physically assaulting his younger brother, to describing the Queen Consort, Camilla, as “dangerous” and criticising her attempts to improve her image at all costs, the book contains some huge revelations.
There isn’t necessarily malice behind Harry dishing dirt on his family (we simply don’t know this). However, it may not be getting him the result he wants.
All behaviour has a positive intention
He’s trying to get something from this. It’s not immediately obvious what, but when people attack, criticise or accuse another of doing something, it’s often a sign of love. They want acknowledgement, recognition, attention – something, anything that they can try to experience as some form of love, even if it is a distorted one. It’s still love.
Is the timing significant?
We could say it’s not the ideal time for his family, but that might actually be why he’s chosen now. His father’s just about to have his coronation. That’s going to be a huge event for King Charles. His grandmother has recently died, so there’s grief in the family, and yet he’s choosing this moment to bring attention to himself. At a time when a more empathetic, sympathetic and sensitive person might say, ‘OK, I have all this stuff, I’m going to hang onto this until we’re through this’.
I haven’t met Harry and my thoughts are entirely speculative, based on working with people who’ve had various sorts of trauma.
Harry’s timing – and his actions – may be the result of past trauma.
Given our definition of trauma, it would make it harder for him to easily get the results he wants. We all have fundamental needs that, ideally, we get met in ways that are healthy (ways that don’t harm ourselves or others).
But people with trauma often have extreme coping mechanisms and use other ways to get those needs met.
Harry’s behaviour is an attempt to get some kind of need met. I don’t know that writing the book is actually meeting that need.
It is possible with Harry’s situation that he is so hurt, so angry, so resentful… That he wants to do this, and he doesn’t even notice that the rest of his family might be having a whole bunch of other stuff going on for them that’s nothing to do with him.
Hurt people may lash out at others intentionally, and do this because they want to cause harm, and to hurt others in the mistaken belief that it will make themselves feel better. It sometimes does – that kind of revenge, retribution, lashing out in a very short period of time can give a bit of – “Look, I showed them!”
But unless a person heals within themselves, it’s never enough. And that’s indicative of Harry’s behaviour – because if you look at it, he did the Oprah interview – which probably got him a result, but that wasn’t enough. Then he did the Netflix series, which got him a result, but it still wasn’t enough. He wrote the book – it’s getting him some kind of result. Is it going to be enough?
From a therapeutic perspective, hurt people, hurt people
Happy people either intentionally want to make others happy, or they just do that because they radiate [it] and they’re focused on looking after others. They’ve got good boundaries so they don’t sacrifice themselves, and they radiate joy. They wouldn’t need to say and do the kinds of things Harry’s doing.
I would warn against having a polarising discussion of right and wrong in a situation like this.
Everybody’s norms for what’s right and wrong are different.
I think it’s really dangerous to come at this from, “Harry’s doing the wrong thing or the right thing. The royal family are doing the wrong things, or the right things.”
That doesn’t serve anyone. What’s far better is to approach this from a place of total compassion. Let’s seek to understand rather than judge.
We should hope that some compassionate people are asking Harry, Meghan, William, Kate, King Charles, and Camilla, “Are you OK?”
My feeling is that it would be GREAT if they had access to a CET certified practitioner who could release their trauma. CET not only heals trauma, but restores the neurology to its PRE-traumatised state. So it’s as if it had never happened.
Harry’s stated loss of his early memories is a further sign of trauma, and when cleared with CET, they might even return. The mind represses memories that have too much pain, but we still know they’re there. CET enables us to access them pain-free once more.
Whatever you think of the monarchy and the situation, trauma affects everything. If we have trauma, it impacts our behaviour, relationships, success, health, wealth. We are at a time of a shift in consciousness and more awakened people are being called forth.
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