I totally credit you with the fact my 10 year old got on a plane to Turkey last summer. She was freaking out and then I suggested she listen to Truly Madly Smiley.
Today I want to talk about a different kind of exit: Megxit.
The press frenzy is quite frankly an unnecessary drama which has arisen from the Sussexes announcement to step down as Senior Royals.
I commend their bravery taking on (setting boundaries with) The Mafia – that we more fondly know as our ‘Royal Family’, and applaud their healthy need to protect themselves and their child from further media bullying and scrutiny.
I wish them well because I understand the mental anguish and turmoil of ‘divorcing‘ this type of family. When all is said and done, Megs and Hazza will be stronger than they know themselves to be. The legacy of his Mother lives on in him.
Megxit demonstrates very clearly the standard procedure in dysfunctional families:
Obey or off with their heads!
These families control instead of love their children. A certain type of parent heads up this family – one that is entitled, threatening and heavily invested in winning at all costs. They lack empathy and insight. They demand respect but don’t give it.
They are Narcissistic, toxic and very damaged individuals. Everything is about them. They really are the Queen (or King) of their world and ‘Who do you think you are?’ if you dare question that.
Enter American Actress/Philanthropist, Miss Meghan Markle and her Rebel Prince Harry of Windsor. Strong-willed and popular, their love depicts the type of romance only to be found on the Hallmark Channel. Actually Meg did star in one of those films in her old life.
Like Diana Princess of Wales, their perceived power was a threat to the well constructed reality of The Establishment. In this fairy tale, nobody said: ‘Listen Granny, I’m a big boy now and I want to bring my kids up differently. No offence to you. Things have changed.’
It is your birthright to live your life as you see fit
You know what’s best for you
As mature adults, we all have a right to assert our needs and set boundaries in any relationship. Notice I say any relationship and that includes our family. We have a right to live our life according to our values and beliefs. We have a right to be true to ourselves, even when it differentiates us from social norms.
Grateful AND different.
Wise enough to learn from the past.
Brave enough to forge a different path.
We can choose a different life AND be grateful for what has gone before us. If we are wise we will know that our ancestors didn’t have it easy either and we thank them for bringing us thus far.
I believe even when you are born into Royalty, you are still a human being and you still have those rights.
Healthy parents encourage this assertion of rights and independence in their children.
In a Mafia family, however, nobody questions the boss. Nobody steps out of line. Everybody follows the rules (written and unwritten. Spoken and unspoken). What they say goes and if you dare defy the law of the land, you will be punished (possibly even killed in a car crash).
Off with their heads is a scary prospect.
In a Mafia family, the rules don’t apply. The King and Queen are above the law. Or there is one set of rules for them and another set for others. In affluent, privileged families money talks. Money is used to control the other family members: everything they give has conditions attached.
You fear the rug could be pulled from under you at any given time. ‘You step out of line and you will get nothing. You ungrateful child.’
As a child, to have your survival threatened in that way is terrifying.
You’re relying on these people for clothing, warmth, food, shelter and safety.
When a parent makes their love conditional, it means the child chooses to obey the parent or die inside – forsake who they are to please and win their love.
Any people pleasers out there? Yes, sadly, that’s how the story goes. At some point you were conditioned to put the needs of your demanding, emotionally immature parent before your own in a way that it threatened your safety and security.
As a side note, these are just the basics really, because pushing a baby out of your front bottom does not automatically make you a parent. No more than baking a cake makes you Mary Berry. If only more people understood this and there were more positive role models (not fantasy / pedestals) for parents.
It’s my way or the highway!
When your family are like the Mafia – all-knowing, all-controlling and all-seeing bullies, they send out a very strong message that you do not mess with them. It’s their way or the highway.
They recruit other people to bolster their false sense of power. Enter: the media, extended family members and the general public. Anybody that will believe their fairy tale (web of lies) where they are never the villain and always the hero or the victim.
Then in a horrible twist of fate *spoiler alert* – this fairy tale does not end happily ever after, they easily project their abusive, terrifying ways without so much as a whiff of responsibility.
You’re so selfish and ungrateful. After all I’ve done for you. It’s all about you. It’s your way or the highway. You’re so angry. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have all these problems.
A brainwashing rigid cult like system that doesn’t tolerate individualisation
Projection is a psychological defence. People disown the pain inside of them by blaming others. They lack the ability to self-reflect and they lack the humility to think there is another way.
They are always right at any cost. The stakes are high.
A parent who projects the disowned parts of themselves onto a child in this way is highly narcissistic and toxic. And in a Narcissistic family system, children sacrifice their true selves or tuck it away to survive. They have to abandon who they are in order to receive love.
Of course, there is no love. Tyrannically evil types aren’t capable of that.
In the case of Megxit, Megan is being portrayed as the villain. She is the manipulative woman who is separating Harry from his family.
Mmmm, I wonder though, how much Harry wants it too. I don’t think they look like the sort of people who want to associate themselves with a family who partake in paedophilic trips to a faraway island where children are being sacrificed and abused. Of course, that won’t come to light now because Epstein ‘committed suicide’ *cough* in jail and besides, we must remember the false narrative – The Fairy Tale (web of lies) must be protected at ALL costs.
The stage is set very early on. What’s your role?
Another part of this family system is to assign roles to the children. One is the Golden Child (GC), and represents all that is good in the family. And one is the Scapegoat (SG), who takes all the blame and is the proverbial toilet while everybody craps all the day long into their soul. In some families these roles are interchangeable depending on the needs of the tyrannical rulers at any given moment.
You didn’t think it was about you did you? It’s all about them you see!
The Blame Game: it’s all YOUR fault!
Where there is blame there is pain. Projecting your pain onto somebody or something else allows you to avoid looking at it. When you blame, you lose your power and you stay stuck. You’re not looking at what you’re in control of and what you’re responsible for.
In order to take the blame, the SG must believe the false narrative about themselves (lies) spun by the Mafia King or Queen (or they take turns). They bully by ostracising and casting out the member of the family that they deem to be ‘the problem’. The one that dares question them or wants to do it differently.
They divide and conquer pitting the SG and the GC against one another. They then use this to send a message ‘Do as you’re told or else!’
The cruelest form of abuse by the people who are supposed to love and take care of you.
Often SGs are truth speakers and protectors of the underdog. They speak up for the vulnerable and they often end up in jobs that reflect this or being the person they needed growing up. When children are being abused in this way and there is nobody to protect them, they feel worthless. They internalise the message that they are not worth protecting. There must be something wrong with them. They try harder to ‘win’ their parents’ love.
Naturally, they are angry, sometimes rageful. I don’t blame them and think this is fully justified. To be bullied mercilessly and covertly in this way by members of your own family – the people who are supposed to have your back and love you come what may, is evil.
And the losses – there are many. The loss of self, the family you never had and should have done (the one you deserved). The seemingly supportive extended family or other siblings who tell you ‘They’re your parents! They don’t mean it. You need to forgive them and move on’ are actually indirectly abusing you too by not believing your side of the story and sending you back to the very people who are destroying you.
The lost child inside of them that wants to be loved
I think beyond the deep grief, the hardest things for a SG to overcome in their adult life is to trust people, to trust and learn to listen to themselves, and to untangle and then dismiss the lies that they have been told about themselves (and that have been told about them to other people).
To finally understand that there is nothing wrong with them, but it’s actually their family that is sick and crazy making. To face that painful truth would mean some form of psychological death. A dying inside – a loss of one’s true self.
I wonder if this is what people sometimes refer to as the ‘dark night of the soul’.
Reframing the Rottenness.
When children come to coaching having received these messages, my job is to validate their reality and show them they are worth telling the truth for.
That there is nothing wrong with telling the truth. In fact, telling the truth and being honest is a virtue – not something to be punished for. I also gently challenge their false beliefs about their inherent ‘badness‘ – rotten to the core is how I have described it.
Feeling safe enough to shine.
I shine a light and mirror back to them their strength of character and positive qualities. In very traumatised children, I see that they are afraid to be who they truly are. They are uncomfortable with their strengths and good qualities – they self- sabotage because on some level they feel the hatred from their parent for being decent, kind and fair. Something that parent doesn’t posses and again threatens to expose their false reality.
Contempt and hatred from a parent cut so deep and the wounds of rejection render the SG wondering if anybody will ever love them as they are.
SGs often question who they are and their own opinions. They have been brainwashed and gaslit (an abusive technique which is used to cause the SG to question themselves and their version of reality) to the point where they believe that who they are and what they have to say is wrong. That other people’s opinions are more correct, valid and important than their own.
Change is scary but necessary for progress + growth.
Meghan and Harry’s recent decision to ‘divorce’ their family isn’t really divorce at all. It’s about carving their own way in the world. It’s about honouring their values and needs. It’s about being brave enough to say ‘I matter‘ and ‘I’m choosing to do it differently.’
The fact they are playing it out on the world’s stage adds another layer of complexity to a highly toxic dynamic. As you can see, in this fairy tale (web of lies), nothing is as it really seems! I’m not sure the media are communicating fairly and squarely either.
Anybody who is threatened by their decision – yes nobody likes change and we love to stay in our comfort zone safely snuggled in our blanket cocoons remembering the way it was, but anybody who is threatened by somebody who wants to do it differently, does not respect boundaries.
They don’t want what is best for Harry and Meghan. They want what is best for The (royal) Family image because that is what matters most here – not how people feel but how it will look to others.
Let’s respect each other’s differences
It’s much easier to put the blame on them for spoiling the ‘happy’ family and rocking the boat. I mean, why can’t they just be more like Wills and Kate? Conservative, conformist and follow the rules. That’s not who Megs and Hazza are and we could choose to respect that.
They know who they are and they don’t want to compromise what matters to them. The world needs change makers and outside of the box thinkers. The world needs brave pioneers that choose to walk a different path.
I wonder if the blame protects those of us from going within and facing the pain we carry deep inside. The hurty part of us that isn’t living the life we want and that is silencing our inner voice, our desires and dreams.
It is your birthright to be happy and to be who you really are. And only you can make that happen. When family comes at the cost of your own happiness, sanity and mental health, that is not ‘family’.
Not to me.
Scapegoats: Find your way out of the darkness
If you’ve found that this post resonates with you and you want to understand more about family scapegoating, my book Stuck Between Two Worlds tells the tale of a 10 year old girl and how she learned to survive her dysfunctional family system. Loyal to the toxic family fairy tale, it’s all wrapped up in magic and fairies (no lies!), so it’s more palatable to read. It does have some rather helpful tools to find your own happily ever after.
Feisty and sensitive, Ruby feels stuck because she is in a double bind – she can’t do right for doing wrong. Which way will she turn?
Do you recognise yourself as the family scapegoat?
I’m so sorry that this happened to you. There is healing and light on the other side of evil. You deserve that. You deserve to have the life you want and what makes you happy. Just like Meghan and Harry.
Do you know a black sheep in a family?
Many family scapegoats live with the lie that they are somehow ‘wrong’ and bad. If you know somebody who you think this might help, please share this blog post with them. You don’t know how much it will mean to them to make sense of their confusion and inner turmoil. It will free them to go on, knowing that they really are good people and they can also choose another way.