What are your thoughts about Prince Harry’s truth telling in his recently released book, Spare?
Spencer recently connected with the HuffPost to share professional opinions about Prince Harry’s decisions about his relationship with his family and his tell-all book, Spare. Here is her full commentary for this question of the month!
What are your thoughts about Prince Harry’s stance on truth telling in his recently released book, Spare? Do you believe reconciliation with his family is possible? What advice would you give him on this topic?
Overall, we are watching the story of a family coping with trauma. Specifically, two brothers coping with the tragic death of their mother. Everyone has demonstrated their own form of resilience, and their own form of reactivity. Be it standing firm in upholding the status quo, or a slower transition away from it. Or rebelling hard in an attempt to carve out a better way, and making mistakes as they step into uncharted territory.
I imagine there is a valid perspective that supports the way the other royals are handling everything. I am only speaking for myself, as a therapist, that I am more pulled to understand and connect with Harry and Meghan’s perspective because they have been so open and raw about their experience – and that’s the correspondence I am used to in my profession. An expert in politics and international affairs might have a very different opinion from me.
Beyond addressing the trauma, Harry and Meghan’s exposure and departure from systems they found oppressive especially stands out to me as a therapist interested in relationships. I believe that therapy should never be in the service of helping people adjust to a life they find oppressive. It was a big move to step away from the system in which Harry was raised, It was a therapeutic move given how much harm the system caused on a deep personal level. If family members still support and enable systems that harm you, I don’t think there is much more that you can do in terms of a full reconciliation. As for the speaking out, at one point Harry said that there is no way for him to not speak out. In the context of being exploited in the tabloids as a strategy to distract away from other members of the royal family, responding with the truth as he experienced it is his way of standing up for himself and drawing a boundary: “if you speak about me, I will speak back.”
Out of love for his family, he can continue his work to stay mindful, fair, and compassionate as possible. We have seen him attempt this with some success, but he’s certainly had some slip-ups. This is understandable for anyone who has ever done the work of differentiating from a harmful family system. Most of the time you can respond to them like a grown up, but every now and then they take you back to that angry kid place.
Also, many relationship therapists agree that we choose our partners to work out our stuff, especially our stuff from our family of origin. Some people, to their own dismay, end up perpetuating or blowing up old family patterns. In Harry’s case, however, it looks like he utilized therapy enough to be able to carve out a new path with Meghan.