Tuesday, May 3, 2011
USOT Recap: Fine is Amazing
"I want you. Just you." —Max
The line is BS, of course, but a sweet sentiment nonetheless. Max certainly thinks he means it, but he no more wants to have a normal wife than Tara herself wants to have a normal life. Denial seems to be a comfort for both of them at this juncture; it keeps Max from acknowledging that his savior complex accounts for a significant chunk of his self-worth, and in spite of her claims to the contrary, it keeps Tara from admitting that she doesn't truly want to be a regular old boring person. "You think I like living my life this way?" she rhetorically asks Hattaras during a therapy session. Perhaps she doesn't like it, per se, but she is definitely dependent on it. "My life is not my own," Tara complains, sounding frustrated. It's a frustrating predicament, without a doubt, but it is also a convenient one when the subject has had a history of avoiding conflicts, difficult situations, and unprompted action-taking. In fact, Tara herself is very rarely anything but a passive character, merely reacting to the shenanigans of her alters, who are the true carriers of any active roles she ever does take.
First off, last night's episode was good. For the first time in a long time I was so enthralled by Tara's mind that I barely even gave a crap about Neil and Charmaine's financial problems, Max's professional dissatisfaction, or Kate's probably married crush du jour (boo hoo, poor little pretty girl has never experienced rejection). More Tara in therapy, please!
True to form, Hattaras spends a great deal of their sessions trying to convince Tara to take responsibility for the actions of her alters and continues to write off her DID as essentially a glorified defense mechanism. In a way, this assessment is spot on; whether we believe said mechanism is conscious—as Hattaras does—or unconscious—as Tara does—for the purpose of her treatment and potential cure, it really doesn't matter. Her doctor's job, as he sees it, is simply to rid Tara of her belief that she is seven people instead of one, just like he rid another patient of his belief that he was a kite. The comparison sounds too simplistic to Tara, and frankly, it is, but I am a huge fan of this no-nonsense, do-the-hard-thing, rat-trap approach. Tara has been coddled by her family all her life about her condition. Max, her children, even Charmaine have caved under the "Oops! It wasn't me!" rationale over and over again. In his refusal to play into her expectations, Hattaras may be the most valuable person in Tara's life right now.
The good news is that she finally seems ready to begin assuming some credit/blame. We saw this two weeks ago with her attempt to harness the alters via written contract, then last week with her acceptance of Hattaras's help, and finally last night with her eventual willingness to confront her mother. Becoming fully autonomous is a delicate process, and the baby steps Tara has been taking seem to be leading somewhere promising. On the other hand, if Hattaras's assessment of DID-as-avoidance-tactic is correct, that would mean Tara's biggest problem might be something as simple-sounding as repression, in which case having multiple personalities could be a blessing in disguise or at the very least, the lesser of two evils. Who knows what level of crazy could be unleashed if Tara were to suddenly allow herself to follow through on all the impulses she's been delegating to the alters?
And what will happen to her if and when she becomes her own sole caretaker? I am reminded of the scene in the season premiere when the alters intervened and prevented Tara-as-mystery-personality from killing herself. If they should be completely done away with, who's to say Tara is equipped to successfully filter and handle the difficulties of real life? The one thing that's becoming clearer and clearer is that her recent emancipation is not being lauded by the mystery alter. If Tara calls her current form of self-government a "benevolent dictatorship," then the new alter is definitely pushing for anarchy—"You will not win," he/she comments in response to Hattaras's conviction that Tara is always in control. The primary alters could literally be keeping her alive.