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.