Thomas’ attempt of emotional manipulation is chilling - GulfToday

Thomas’ attempt of emotional manipulation is chilling


Thomas Markle and Meghan Markle.

Kuba Shand-Baptiste, The Independent

The tale of the shameless, unfiltered celebrity relative is as old as the concept of fame itself, but no matter how often it rears its ugly, self-serving head, it is no less unnerving to witness. In the case of Meghan Markle versus Thomas Markle in particular, it’s excruciating.

Meghan Markle’s status notwithstanding, the constant barrage of clickworthy quotes and interviews from her father has taken the act of airing out dirty laundry to new lows. Each day, it seems, something new arrives, threatening to stain not just the Markle name, but everyone forced to witness the toxicity. It may be gold for the tabloid press, but for the rest of us – especially those who understand the pain of family estrangement – it’s uncomfortable, to say the least.

The latest offering from Thomas is especially alarming. “At this point, they owe me,” he said in an interview for Thomas Markle: My Story, which aired on Channel 5 on Wednesday night.

“The royals owe me. Harry owes me, Meghan owes me. What I’ve been through I should be rewarded for. My daughter told me that when I reach my senior years she’ll take care of me,” he said. ”I’m in my senior years now, it’s time to look after daddy.”

You need not have kept up with each chapter of this saga to glean how much of a violation such an admission is. In the same Channel 5 documentary, Markle insists that he is not “all the trashy things that are being said’’ about him. But the fact a programme dedicated to him exists at all is damning enough, given the very one-sided narrative Thomas is providing of this father-daughter story.

Likely desperation and opportunism aside, it’s the attempt at emotional manipulation that is most chilling. After all that has been said and done (and said and done again, with more vigour), it is utterly baffling that the Duchess of Sussex’s father thinks he is entitled to compassion from his daughter. Unfortunately, due to deeply ingrained customs, it’s not an uncommon stance across almost every part of society.

As someone with Caribbean heritage (as many other communities and cultures will understand) it’s an idea I’ve heard more times than I can count. You should show up for your family no matter what; respect your elders; do as you’re told, no matter how old you are; care for them in their old age, not in a home, but in your own. Thankfully, my immediate family is worth doing all that for. I have never felt burdened with showing up for them; they have loved me unconditionally.

Nothing my close relatives have done to me or those I care about has put me in a position where I’ve ever felt pressured into supporting people who I don’t feel deserve it – but not everyone is as lucky.

As valuable as family loyalty can be, no one should feel forced into exercising it, especially in circumstances like these. You do not “owe” any relative your undying respect, especially if they continue to abuse it. And while we’re on the subject, being a parent does not entitle you to any extra level of dedication either. Especially when, as a parent, you spend your days sharing deeply intimate information about your own children with strangers and the millions of readers or viewers they write or record for. That much should be clear to Thomas Markle by now. But it doesn’t appear to be.

This won’t be the last time we hear from Thomas Markle. But in the face of such unpleasantness, Meghan and anyone who’s ever had to grapple with the anguish of unfair expectations like these – or had to shut out their relatives – should remember this: going the extra mile for your family is not a birthright, it is earned.

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