Monday, January 30, 2012

Deconstructing Tara: Pilot Pt. 2

Picking up with Tara's alter "T" and her daughter Kate.

"T! This is why I love you the best out of all the alters!"
 Ugh. I'm not sure I even want to tackle all the ways DID gave the kids an opportunity to get away with things I would never have allowed. I was certainly grateful the kids had a good relationship with those they knew but thank GOD we haven't used credit cards since we became parents. I can't even begin to imagine the level of debt we'd have acquired if Stephanie or one of my kids could get their hands on charge cards. Then again... Stephanie never really liked hanging with the kids. Not until the girls got into their teens. Yeah, the Crew, my kids and credit cards would have been a disaster.

And shame on Kate for being so quick to take advantage. As I write this, I hear "Kids. Can't live with them and can't hug their necks until the snap." Pretty much sums up having teenagers, right there. With or without DID in the picture.

When Max gets home and spoils the potential shopping trip, we hear the first indication that he and Tara have tried to set rules and boundaries within the system. Max to Marshall: "Hey, don't coddle her. She's gonna eat with us, she's gotta cooperate. We talked about this."

We also set up rules for the Crew. Stephanie wasn't allowed to drink around the kids. She wasn't allowed to drive drunk... a rule she broke frequently and often in the first 2 years of treatment. She was also the only one allowed to drive and ended up having the keys hidden from her when she insisted on driving after alcohol.

She finally had an ah-ha moment when Charlie lost it on her. Yes, we share the body. Yes, you kill someone driving drunk, we all suffer. You wreck, we're all hurt. Worst of all, anything bad happens, Charlie and the kids end up paying too. Stephanie may not have acknowledged liking the family at that point but she recognized that a Protector protects the best interests of the system... that meant protecting my family too. That was the point when she began to grow up.

Every rule we set over the years was intended to provide safety, foster cooperation with the system and the family and to attempt to keep the level of chaos below a category 3 storm.

Charmaine, Tara's sister:
I love* how Charmaine sees T and immediately assumes there is a family crisis. (*sarcasm) Marshall's defense is sweet.

"It's really hard for me to see my sister like that." Yeah, because it's all about YOU. Bitch. I don't doubt it is hard to see but from the outset, they show how self-centered Charmaine is. For those who have an understanding of family dynamics, it's no surprise to see that if one sister is sick, the other probably has issues too. She's portrayed, right off, as clueless, jealous and focused only on herself.

"Why can't she just stop? I mean it's not even a real disease."
Like Max says, she grew up with it. She should know better than anyone.

Unlike Tara's family, mine is spread across the country and no one lives local to us. That's probably a good thing. I know I told members of my family about the diagnosis. I tried to explain it to Mum, Rick (Oldest brother) and to my younger sister Nora. Rick was cool about it and accepted it as a reasonable reaction to my childhood. He was awesome in how he tried to see the good and the humor in it all. He was a real support.

In retrospect, I wish I had trusted my family more with their ability to understand DID. It wasn't until Rick's death in '07 that I really discussed it with anyone else in the family. Across the board, they all agree with looking back on what they remember of me as a child, it made sense.

I'd like to say that part of the reason I didn't share was to protect them. I was loud and angry in my teens and early adult years about being raised in an "abusive" home. I didn't want them to think or feel I was blaming them for the DID or my current struggles. I'd like to say that's the only reason... but it wasn't. I was embarrassed and ashamed to still be the screwed up one in the family and hated feeling the weight of that self-imposed stigma when I spent time with my family.

I let them all deal with the worst parts of my struggle... the hospitalizations and other things... but never allowed them a part in the journey to recovery. I don't know if it would have made a difference or if I'd have let allowing myself to be closer to them be a stumbling block. Sometimes, it would be really nice to know what it would have been like had I made different choices.

I promise not to spread every episode over 3 entries but last time I worked on a partial from my phone, I accidentally deleted half of it. I'll stop here and pick up the rest later at work.

To Be Continued... again.


  1. Marshall's defense is sweet.

    Okay, can I insert my rant about Marshall here? *blithely refuses to wait for an answer* Thanks! ;)

    I loved Marshall's character, and I admit that's because I admit that there's a lot that I can identity with his character about.

    But your statement is exactly why it somewhat bugs me that the writers decided to make Marshall gay. I watched the first episode and at first wondered if he was going to be gay. But as I continued watching the episode, I saw other, and in some ways, more interesting directions for his character to develop. I saw a young man who had become hyper-sensitized by a chaotic family situation who was constantly trying to help his mother and be the good son who tried to help control the environment, his mother's illness, and the chaos. (See as a good example: cranking the music to try and hide T's "shitstorm.")

    Quite frankly, I think a codependent heterosexual teenage boy would've made for a fascinating character, perhaps even more fascinating than the Moosh I came to adore as the show progressed.

    But instead, the writers decided to make him gay. So now his sensitivity is (likely) just as much about being gay as it is a product of living in a confusing and chaotic environment. (And don't even get me started on the potential of feeding into the whole "being gay is a byproduct of childhood problems" nonsense espoused by NARTH.)

    Granted, they did get into Marshall's behavior as a way he coped with his family life to some degree as the show progressed. And I certainly adored his character. But I think they could've done more. And as much as I love the thought of having another great gay character on television, I just think this is one case where they could have done more with his character if they hadn't muddied the waters like that.

  2. Like Max says, she grew up with it. She should know better than anyone.

    I loved it when Max made that statement. it really left me wondering why Charm didn't know better. Was it just because, as you noted, she was that self-absorbed.


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