Separated families

I started reading a twitter thread early today about Meghan Markle’s father being interview on breakfast telly. He was telling the world how she is not in contact with him despite his attempts to communicate with her. 

I made the mistake of reading the comments – its always a risk going into this area of the internet. Thankfully the majority of them were agreeing with my view;  it isn’t anyone else’s business and its not appropriate to have on the tv. However, there were a few that were saying things like “life is too short”, “you only get one Dad” and making rude comments about her for not having contact with him.

Now, like everyone else apart from those directly involved, I don’t know the full story. I do know the stories of many people (including my own) of those who have chosen to cease contact with family members. It’s never an easy choice and it usually comes after years or decades of toxic or abusive relationships. Within those relationships, all parties may have displayed behaviour they are not proud of; they may have tried to repair things unsuccessfully; they may have papered over the cracks again and again. 

Each story will be different. What isn’t helpful is other people who are on the outside passing judgments. They are unwelcome and also potentially damaging and abusive.

I was reminded yesterday of the request by many school for parents not to take photos at school plays because they may contain images of other children who are at risk. With these being put on social media, then they can be traced must easier. I am sure there are people who object to this as their experiences have meant that haven’t had to consider these things. It’s the same with judging separated families.

Without the experiences then it may not be obvious why people make the choices they make. Instead of judging or worse interfering in a way that can put people at risk, try and ask yourself what would lead someone to make a choice like that?

If you haven’t had a family like this, then please recognise what a privilege that is for you. A secure loving family of one of the greatest advantages anyone can have. The evidence on adverse childhood experiences which I have written about before show just what an advantage this gives to you. 

If you have made a choice to remove contact with a family member, then I am sorry you have needed to and I wish you well.