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Seeking Empathy

By Family Conflict ResolutionSeptember, 2022March 18th, 20242 min read
Seeking Empathy - Family Business

I have a lot of empathy for Tom Brady. While not in his ‘league’ on several fronts, I can fully appreciate his exasperation at the challenges of teaching children with wealth to understand “the real world”. Anyone facing these and similar challenges deserves to be taken seriously, and to get the support and empathy they need to deal with the issues.

There’s just one small catch.

People who don’t have or genuinely understand the experience of living with significant wealth (i.e. 99.9%+ of the population) are not only unlikely to be able to provide empathy and support, but may actually respond with the very opposite.

This is what happened to Brady when he stated in a podcast interview that bringing up his children amid great wealth was “probably the hardest thing for us as parents”.

There are two perspectives of living with wealth: outsider and insider. To outsiders, wealth is viewed as a panacea that will instantly solve all problems. The insider knows this is not the case. The only place insiders can get support and empathy is from other insiders.

The popularity of TV shows like Succession is that they show that wealthy families suffer from the same family dynamics challenges as others: jealousy, rivalry, favouritism. They are just played out with much higher stakes.

Family members need two things: insider networks to provide support, and an understanding of what can and cannot be shared with outsiders.

Consider This: How do members of your family deal with the assumptions and judgments of outsiders? What peer-networks do they rely on to provide support?

Further reading: 

Here is more on reading on conflict management in the family.

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