How Meghan Markle Should Deal With Her Family, Including Samantha Grant and Thomas Markle Jr.

If you have some toxic people in your own family, then you probably feel for Meghan Markle. The new Duchess of Sussex had more than her fair share of family drama lately. Her half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr., released a letter imploring Harry to call off the royal wedding. Her father, Thomas Markle, staged paparazzi photos of himself preparing for the big day. (Then he never made it to the wedding.) And her half-sister, Samantha Grant, recently ranted about the royal family but admitted to cashing in on Meghan Markle’s fame.

The couple appears to be coping quite well. But in case Meghan Markle and Prince Harry need some advice, this is how experts would recommend handling Meghan Markle’s family and all their drama.

Meghan Markle should use her support system

She should lean on her support system for help. | Eddie Mulholland/ WPA Pool/Getty Images

Family estrangement of the type that affects Meghan Markle’s family has become pretty common, according to Prevention. In fact, one in five U.K. families experiences estrangement. It can involve family members who don’t talk at all. Or it may mean that they have infrequent contact. But the ubiquity of the situation doesn’t make dealing with it any easier. That’s where a good support system comes in.

Because estrangement isn’t rare, chances are good that someone in your social circle will relate. That also applies to the royal family. The royals have seen their share of family drama, even in recent decades. So Meghan Markle should lean on Prince Harry — and other members of her support system — to help her deal with her own family of origin.

She should take a break from social media

Do you feel isolated because of estrangement from your family? Then experts recommend taking a break from social media, according to Prevention. Seeing photos of everybody else’s families can make you feel like the only one without a perfect family. Fortunately, Meghan Markle may have gotten ahead of the curve on this one. (So hopefully, she’s not seeing updates from Samantha Grant or Thomas Markle Jr. pop up on her phone.)

Meghan Markle deleted her social media accounts early in 2018, according to CNBC. A representative of Kensington Palace explained that “she has not used them for some time she has taken the decision to close them.” She also shut down her lifestyle blog. But it’s possible that Meghan Markle, like other members of the royal family, has secret social media accounts. The Cut reports, “There’s no proof Meghan has a private Instagram or Twitter account, but don’t you get the feeling she does?”

The royals shouldn’t engage with Meghan Markle’s family

Th royal family released a carefully worded statement ahead of the royal wedding. But otherwise, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and the rest of the royal family have largely stayed quiet on the subject of her family, The Huffington Post reports. That’s the right move, according to experts who spoke to the Post.

Psychologist Sherrie Campbell explained that “Toxic people usually don’t change. Even their kindness can be a form of manipulation.” She explained of Meghan Markle’s family, “I don’t think she’s cut ties with them to hurt them, but for the purposes of protecting herself. Meghan needs to remind herself that she deserves to be loved without games, manipulation and scapegoating.”

Meghan Markle should emotionally distance herself from them

Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland

The new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, has a close relationship with her mother, Doria Ragland. | Steve Parsons-Pool/Getty Images

This one is much easier said than done. But because of the dysfunction in Meghan Markle’s family, experts would recommend that the new Duchess of Sussex try to distance herself from them emotionally. She can do that whether she talks to them or not. Psychiatrist Carrie Barron tells The Huffington Post that someone in this situation should “Grieve for what you did not have, but then move on.”

Barron explains, “Fighting the natural urge to be close to your toxic family of origin, to try to work it out, is important. Detach. If others judge you because you did not invite these people to your home or wedding or you blocked the phone line, so be it.” In other words, Meghan Markle shouldn’t listen if other people think she should spend more time or energy talking to Samantha Grant, Thomas Markle, or Thomas Markle Jr.

If she does want to talk to them, she should set rules

The best way for the newlyweds to handle Meghan Markle’s family may be to disengage from them. But if Meghan does want to talk to them, The Huffington Post learned that she should set some strict but fair ground rules to govern the conversation.

Psychologist Marie Land explained, “she can tell her family she is open to talking and engaging under certain conditions.” Curious how that might look? “It could be saying something like, ‘I’m happy to talk to you and work on our relationship as long as you do not speak to the media.’ I’d say that’s a pretty low and reasonable bar for the other Markles to meet.” But Samantha Grant (and either Thomas Markle) seems unlikely to agree.

She should enjoy her close relationship with her mom

Meghan Markle’s family isn’t all toxic. Her relationships with her siblings remain strained. And she isn’t close to her father. But The Huffington Post reports that Meghan seems to enjoy a close relationship with her mother. Experts consider it normal for people to feel naturally more connected with one parent than the other. So the duchess should enjoy her close relationship with her mom. And she shouldn’t feel guilty about what the rest of the family thinks.

Psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina explains, “It’s OK for her to prefer being connected with her mother, who seems to understand how to behave. It’s OK for anyone to respond well to people who respect them and treat them well, and keep their distance from anyone who doesn’t.”

The royal family should also support her

Repeated scandals involving Meghan Markle’s family are probably embarrassing for the duchess. But they don’t represent the first time that Kensington Palace has had to deal with high-profile family drama. The Huffington Post explains, “The royals have no shortage of experience dealing with unruly family members. (Remember that time Edward VIII voluntarily abdicated the throne to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson?)”

The Post reports that the royal family’s reluctance to comment on the antics of Meghan Markle’s family “is likely intentional.” Rather than responding to each new set of headlines, the royal family should focus on supporting Meghan. That way, she doesn’t have to feel guilty about how the choices made by her toxic family of origin reflect on Prince Harry and the royal family.

Read more: The Unbelievable Story Behind the Most Popular Photo From the Royal Wedding

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