Last week when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did a public interview with Oprah, they proved that they’re scary because they’re wolves in sheep’s clothing. You can disagree with me, but I hope you will continue reading as the main purpose of this article is to help you better recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing in your own life in order to protect yourself because these people can be very tricky to spot without some training – sheep’s clothing can be very convincing. There’s also a chance you’ll have behaviors that need to be addressed because we can become wolves in sheep’s clothing without proper guidance. In my teens, I was on a path to go that way, but fortunately I was able to discover what healthy looks like. Maybe this is what Prince Harry and Meghan need, but either way, what they did is a great example of very unhealthy behavior that typically goes unnoticed – their sheep’s clothing was designed and marketed very well.
Let’s start with a simple fact: Oprah is a genius at interviewing; she can pull on heartstrings making you feel warm and fuzzy one minute and crying in sympathy the next. She can sell a story better than anyone else. She could take the worst person in the world and make you feel sorry for them because she’s so good, but with Prince Harry and Meghan, she had an easy story to sell because a lot people love to see higher authority like the royal family in a bad light. A lot of people enjoy seeing celebrities fall, which is why gossip magazines and websites have been so popular over the years.
I was recently talking with someone who said they felt sorry for Prince Harry and Meghan and I pointed out that’s why they’re wolves in sheep’s clothing and not just wolves. With Oprah’s help, they were able to manipulate most viewers into thinking they are the victims to the mean family, but in your own family, if someone went on social media and talked about you and your family drama would you see them as good, kind, and innocent people or would you see them as jerks? If Prince Harry and Meghan were my family, I’d be really hurt that they did this, especially when they took this sharing to a whole new level by going on national television with Oprah who naturally generates millions of viewers. Right away, this should be a warning sign – you don’t do that to family.
But let’s consider this under a therapy tool, the four communication styles: Aggressive, Passive Aggressive, Passive, & Assertive. If Prince Harry and Meghan were aggressive they would’ve been more brash and in your face in their presentation. Picture Trump; he’s a great example of an aggressive person. He’s straight up with what he thinks with more vinegar than sugar. Being aggressive would get some people on their side, but the harsh tone wouldn’t be as relatable thereby making their public appearance less effective. Aggressive behavior can work for some, but it’s really off-putting for others (hence Trump losing the election). Skipping to passive, a passive person wouldn’t say anything even in private because they are overly patient, kind and generous; often to their own detriment. These are the people who end up being taken advantage of and quite often end up a victim because they’re quick to take all the blame and anything else given to them in order to reduce conflict. That’s definitely not Prince Harry and Meghan since they went public, which also means they are not the innocent victims they portrayed. Assertive behavior is the healthy communication category that is about standing up for yourself in a loving way where both sides can win. It’s picking your battles, biting your tongue to limit hurt, and it would mean keeping the conflict private with an appropriate mediator like a therapist. This is clearly not Prince Harry and Meghan either. Some conspiracy theorists claim they went public to prevent an assassination attempt, but if they died in something like a helicopter crash, how would this interview have prevented that? It might cause rumors, but that’s it.
So what do we have left? Passive aggressive. This is the person who is manipulative, self righteous, twists whatever’s said and done, plays a victim as they use sympathy to build an army of followers and make the other side seem evil. It’s very punishing and backstabbing. It doesn’t take responsibility and only blames others. Sound familiar with Prince Harry and Meghan? It should. They played the victim and used Oprah to help with that in a very public way to build an army of followers. They threw the royal family under the bus without taking responsibility for their own mistakes and the hurt they caused. They were self-serving and used a public forum. To make matters worse they accused the royal family of racism at a time when that is the meanest thing anyone can say about someone else; that’s definitely a sign they’re trying to make themselves out to be the innocent victims. I’m not a huge follower of the royals, but doesn’t Prince Harry have a history of making headlines for his lack of good choices?
Could Prince Harry and Meghan have been assertive and still been on TV with Oprah? Absolutely, but here’s how the interview would’ve gone: We want to apologize to our families for the hurt we’ve caused them. Despite our own hurt, we are more worried about making amends than to point fingers. When we became a couple we really didn’t take into account what a relationship under the royal umbrella would look like and we made a lot of mistakes. We are very sorry for all that we’ve done and this public declaration is our first step towards reconciling, which we hope to achieve very soon. There have been many stories and speculations about us and the Royals in general, so we want to be clear and to have no misunderstanding: We are sorry and we will try harder to be the family we are called to be as role models to our great country Britain, and also to the world. Hopefully by demonstrating what it is to take responsibility for our own actions we can inspire others to do the same.
That’s what assertive looks like. Does it sound strange? It probably does because most people are quicker to point fingers and nurse wounds than to try to bring healing to a relationship.
Beyond the four communication styles, here are some basic facts to consider when listening to a situation I have learned as a therapist:
- Every family has some type of drama or bad history behind the scenes.
- People are rarely the monsters others make them out to be; there’s more likely a misunderstanding of a situation.
- When there’s one side hurt, there’s a good chance there’s another side hurt.
- People who are quick to point the finger are most likely the bigger problem.
- Good and/or smart people keep drama within the family or, at the most, shared with close friends who will keep it private.
- If you try to publicly play a victim, you’re likely the bigger problem (i.e. passive aggressive behavior): Maybe the couple went public as a way to make some easy money as they will receive many endorsements down the road, but if this is the case they essentially threw their family under the bus for money – disgusting. The other option is they went public like this because they wanted the world to feel sorry for them and gang up on their family as a way to punish them. If this is the case, they’re conniving snakes (a harsher term than wolf in sheep’s clothing).
- A lot of people feel like the family black sheep: Last year I was talking to my sister and we both admitted to feeling like we were the black sheep of the family. We were both really surprised the other thought they were. I’m sure if I talked to my brother, he’d say he also felt like the black sheep because of how similar my sister and I are. If we all think we’re the black sheep, none of us are; we’re just different. Fortunately, by talking about it, we recognized we weren’t the outcast we thought we were, and from my experience this is a common misconception of a lot people; they think they’re the black sheep when they’re not. The genius of Oprah was to make Prince Harry and Meghan look like the black sheep making them relatable to the many viewers who would consider themselves the black sheep, which is a brilliant way to win people over, but completely manipulative.
Here are three more important facts the couple doesn’t seem to understand:
- If you don’t follow the family rules, there are repercussions.
- If you have a history of doing things that embarrass the family you create sensitivity, which means you won’t get away with certain behaviors like others who haven’t created that same sensitivity.
- Being a certain status requires certain behaviors whether you like it or not.
My family is wonderfully close and that’s largely because we all follow the basic rules laid out by my parents and show the deserved respect to each other, especially my mom who is the matriarch of the family. If you follow the rules, there are no problems. If you break the rules, there has to be repercussion or the rules become void. In the royal family, certain standards have to be maintained. For instance, Meghan admitted to not knowing to curtsy to the Queen the first time they met. How? I’ve never met royalty, but I know I’m supposed to bow. It’s in cartoons, so even children should know that. And if she didn’t, why didn’t her partner (or the staff) warn her? Or why didn’t she ask if there’s a proper protocol for meeting royalty? They’re meeting in a palace, which is the first clue this isn’t like a zoom meeting where you can where track pants no one sees… but I digress. As you can probably tell, I really don’t like when people feel sorry for themselves when they are the 1%.
Hopefully this post can help give you a better idea that conflict isn’t always as straightforward as people often want to think. It takes two sides for there to be a conflict, which means if there’s something you don’t like, you have the power to help change it.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people (like me)