We may never know the full truth about the stunning split between Harry and Meghan and the royal family – but what is clear is that you don’t need to be famous, rich, or even royal to experience the challenge of a dramatic falling out with loved ones.
Even the things we do know about the breach – the arrival of a new bride or groom causing tension with siblings and parents; differences over where to live; and cultural and generational differences – are all things experienced by ordinary people.
Preserving the good parts of a relationship
I believe these family issues do not have to be permanent – it’s a question of navigating your way through the choppy waters, creating distance where necessary, and trying to preserve the good parts of a relationship.
Getting along with extended family has never been easy, let alone with the rise of diagnosed mental health and personality disorders.
How do we work our jobs, raise our children, keep positive without cutting off everybody who we find difficult or who brings the worst out in us?
Arm’s length principle
One key is to keep them at a safe distance. The “arm’s length principle” is where both parties are independent and are on equal footing. This allows both parties the space to stop what they are doing and take stock.
We do this by learning new skills to stay calm, and to let go of the old relationship by creating space between you.
It’s not about fighting or arguing, it’s just showing them you’re not prepared for things to stay the same. They might get upset, and that’s ok.
You’re entitled to have your own set of values and expectations of how they talk to you, talk about you and how they treat you.
You wouldn’t let a stranger be rude, so why allow somebody who you know?
If someone wants to be in your life, they will respect and care for you.
If you’re finding it too tiring and you’re having to keep your guard up, then it’s time to do something different. It’s not always easy doing this, especially when there is a long history of negative interactions.
12 Weeks to a Happier You
I have created a 12-week, online course which will help you navigate your way through and help turn around negative relationships into better and healthier ones.
Stay safe, and please reach out if you would like further guidance.