Characterizing The Abuse. In the second instalment of this series, as we look at the nature of the abuse endured by The Duchess of Sussex and its possible impacts, I will attempt to give examples of the kinds of experiences that a person endure when on the receiving end of psychological abuse. Make no mistake, that is what has been going on for the last three years in the UK as it pertains to Meghan, and I suspect from the actions of certain relatives, it has probably been going on since childhood for the Duke and the Duchess. It is my educated and considered opinion based on what we have all witnessed.
I believe that the Royal family have their issues, like any company or family, but I suspect that psychological abuse has been going on there too, based on our knowledge of their internal politics and power dynamics, which too often have spilled into the public domain. Members of the public, and so called royal experts aka relics of a past era, dragged from their mausoleums to give opinions on things they know nothing about are all adding to the abuse, and could be held to account, or at least certainly named in the future as a contributor. Their desperate need to be seen as relevant again, and to earn a few coins on account of another’s suffering, is a new low, particularly when most of them only knew the Duke and Duchess or the royal family in a servile capacity; they are not family and they are certainly not experts.
Others are not even registered in the profession that they claim to have expertise. Dangerous. Highly dangerous, yet media go in search of anyone who wants to be famous and who will state their opinion (not professional opinion as claimed) on the Duchess. The only criteria appears to be anyone who is willing to be as negative, vile and as offensive as possible.
Where applicable, I have referenced the sources of any academic study or legal documentation quoted. The opinions I write are my own, based on personal experience, and ultimately having to endure a very difficult legal process, which included having protection afforded to me during court appearances. I also have experience of working with individuals on the receiving end of abuse.
Physical abuse can be seen, so is easier to understand. Psychological abuse eats away at its victim over time, and it takes a particular type of strength and character to survive and move forward in life. Those skills and experience would have been an ideal addition to the portfolio of the Royal family, but instead they felt threatened by difference.
Cycle of Psychological Abuse – Tabular/Image Format
The following images and charts are just a few examples of a social cycle representation of abusive behaviours and how they often manifest to others. There are many types of abuse, but emotional abuse (psychological abuse) is harder to detect, but thankfully in the last 20 years or so, there have been many more studies carried out, and there are increasing sources of data from research. One of the reports I found particularly useful, was originally written over 20 years ago, but has since been updated.
Table 1Figure 1: Abuse & Neglect Indicators. NB Look Closely at Psychological and Discriminatory Abuse
From the chart above, we can easily make out the psychological abuse Meghan endured in the form of media threats, taunts, name calling and outright insults from online trolls as well as sections of the media, especially the females, packaged as newspaper and gossip columns. In my mind, when you consider discriminatory abuse, apart from the obvious ones such as being called uppity, or other derogatory names, what stands out to me is the recent “mix up” about the Queen’s procession at the Commonwealth Day Service.
At the time, Harry and Meghan were still senior working royals, as they currently are now until the dawn of March 1st 2020. Given this fact, and that the Queen requested their presence at the service, it is very curious what the decision to exclude them from the initial procession was. The only institutional changes that would necessitate such a move had not yet taken place. It was obvious that, this was designed to publicly humiliate the Sussexes, to rip the sail of what was a successful and flawless final cruise. It allowed the palace to make last minute changes and then feed a story to the media about how “gracious” the Cambridges were in deciding to be escorted to their seats just like the Sussexes.
We all know that is a fable, as they couldn’t manage even pleasantries. The bottom line is there appeared to be no organisational, hierarchical or operational reason why only the Sussexes were excluded from the procession, rather than an opportunity to kick them one last time on their way out.
Table 2: Emotional Abuse Sample Indicators
As you explore these charts, I believe more examples over the past three year period, will come to mind. Whether it was the family failing to support the Sussexes while simultaneously making it publicly known that they do not support Harry and Meghan, or blaming everything on Meghan “breaking protocol”,” failing to understand the workings of the monarchy”, “ being woke”, “ being too warm”, “eating avocados” or “ marrying their hot prince” she was always somehow responsible for her own poor treatment at the hands of courtiers, other family members, the media and envious lovelorn fangirls turned royal bloggers and correspondents.
Table 3Govt of Canada. Public Health Dept. Psychological Abuse: A Discussion Paper
Psychologically Abusive Tactics and Behaviours
My aim in showing these examples, is not to say any one chart fits all abusers, but to provide you the reader a scope of reference, to help you interpret the actions of the various groups who I believe have played varying significant roles and therefore have to take responsibility for their abusive actions towards the Duchess of Sussex, and by extension, anguish caused the Duke. As we identify the protagonists and their roles in detail in the next instalment of this series, I am certain, you will be able to map across from the various abusers identified to several of the indicators listed here.
I explore the role of both families as well as UK media (TV and newspapers) and hater posts on social media, including the comment section of Sussex’s Instagram account. It is extremely damaging for a person who is already experiencing various forms of psychological abuse from different individuals or groups to be confronted with such hateful and unjustified criticism at a variety of outlets, simply for existing. If one did not know better, it would be easy to think that everyone else in the Royal family is performing and living their lives perfectly. I think not, far from it, and that in itself speaks volumes about the strategy at play here. It is vile and it is dangerous, and people will and should be held to account.
I also examine organisational structures, looking at corporate hierarchy ones such as the military, education and in more detail the Royal hierarchy. The purpose of looking at organisational structures is because the Royal family is run like a business, and it calls itself The Firm. Abuse takes place in organisational settings, as well as in families – in fact in any kind of group. The Constitutional role of the Monarchy has declined. There are clear power struggles going on within The Firm. Like any business, the scene is ripe for abusive behaviour, and therefore new people coming in would be viewed with an overly critical eye.
Other new members have been allowed to join and settle in without the prying of the UK media. The one who has captured global attention, and who has been treated badly by UK press, is the only female new addition to the family, who is also the only person of colour in the family. In a male dominated structure, that is all Caucasian, it is evident that alarm bells were ringing before the wedding took place, let alone following the way the Duchess of Sussex hit the ground running, and delivered beyond the expectations of anyone in that family, apart from her husband the Duke.
To close, there are many tools that can be used to determine whether you or someone you know is the subject of emotional abuse, by answering a series of Yes/No questions, to generate a mini report giving answers and possible avenue that could be followed up with someone or an organisation set up to offer help. As mentioned earlier, there are many tools which you can search on the internet. Here is one I tried out.
Up next, Part three: The Protagonists.
The writer neither endorses nor has any affiliations with the emotional abuse calculator linked here
Emotional abuse involves exposing a person to behaviour or language, through verbal speech based harassment, that can result in psychological trauma. Dependant on the circumstances, the victim may be able to sue for damages. Source
Coercive control is an act of pattern of acts of assault, threats, harassment and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. Coercive control creates invisible chains and a sense of fear that pervades all elements of a victim’s life. Source: www.womensaid.org.uk > information-support > what is domestic abuse.
Canada. National Clearinghouse on Family Violence. Psychological Abuse: A Discussion Paper. Prepared by Deborah Doherty and Dorothy Berglund. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada, 2008. ISBN 978-0-662-48994-8 Cat.: HP20-12/2008E
Fisher, Judith. “Healing Beyond Emotional Abuse” (2019).Lake Union Herald. 841.
(This book showed up in many different searches that I made for reference material, and was recommended by a number of people. It may be of interest to some of the readers).