The Barnaby Effect

When Princess Diana died in August 1997 the world seemed to take on a grief and mourning that was disproportionate to their connection to her or her legacy. Granted it was a shocking surprise and granted she had graced our magazines and TV screens regularly making her very familiar to us all but to think back about the outpouring of grief and the tears shed, it did feel just a bit out of whack.

My theory at the time was that her death gave us all the opportunity to really mourn those we had lost. To mourn and grieve in a way that isn’t often afforded us in this increasingly disconnected world. It gave us a chance to be openly sad and grief stricken and to surface the emotions that had perhaps been repressed. A bit of a cathartic ‘all together now’ moment.

The guy who managed my IT system at the time said to me “I don’t even care about the Royal Family and I blubbered like a baby”.

It is just a theory but one I stand by today. I named it the Diana effect.

So when in the last three weeks Barnaby Joyce so publicly became the poster boy for hypocrisy about family values, I wasn’t surprised to hear from many friends, clients and colleagues who all felt some of the distress resurfacing about their own family breakdown.

I have spent time talking to women and men whose partners have had affairs with people from their work or in some way had deceived them. The deep scars and feelings of humiliation, sadness, distress and helplessness seem to have resurfaced over the last few weeks for these people. It has opened wounds and inadvertently they have revisited their trauma.

“Watching Karl Stefanovic dump the old model for the new was annoying but somehow the Barnaby Joyce situation has meant I have felt deeply angry and distressed watching the carnage such choices have on so many people. It takes years to recover.” Said one colleague this week.

“I felt sick all week and couldn’t stop thinking about those children…my children will be impacted for the rest of their lives”, said another.

So the conversations I have been having are my own small anecdotal evidence and it’s my personal theory but I stand by the idea of the Diana effect or the Barnaby effect..

Pay attention to those around you… there just might be someone who needs to be listened to, as they watch their distress replayed on a bigger screen with different actors.