I ran across an article today from the Sidran Institute website. It expresses some of the very same concerns that I have had, and more, regarding the “United States of Tara” TV show on Showtime. Since it is someone else’s article, I will just give the link here.
Posts Tagged ‘United States of Tara’
I watched it. I am not planning on watching any more episodes. Each time I have watched this show, it has impacted me. Thing is…I am not so sure it was a positive impact. I have ended up triggered. After episode 5, I was so triggered I was shaking inside. So, I have made final what I considered doing after episode 4…I am just not watching it any more.
I am still interested in it. I would like to know what happens…with Tara at least, but I am not going to watch it. I will have to find out in other ways…if at all.
One thing I have learned in my healing journey is to take good care of myself. That is what I am doing. I don’t need to be getting triggered every time I watch that show.
The fourth episode of United States of Tara did not have her switching. We saw no sign of her alters until the very end…and that was interspersed with a scene of Tara and her sister, so it appeared to be more of just showing something about Alice rather than a current switch.
There was an incident that appears to have been done by an alter. I say “appears” because I am not convinced that it necessarily is an alter of Tara’s. Supposedly, “she” did it because she is the only one with a key. Yeah, right. How many times has someone been accused because they were the only ones with a key and then, when the real culprit comes to light, it’s “Oh yeah, I forget that he/she also had a key”?
It could have been done by a former lover (or even a current one who’s angry for some reason). It could have been done by someone who knew Tara would be blamed and took advantage of that…someone who could have even “borrowed” her key? Hey, this is TV, after all. This is not a documentary, which I hope people keep in mind. Although the show is about something real…Dissociative Identity Disorder…the story line is fictional.
I so feel for her in thinking that she has finally found a friend, only to have that friend insist on meeting one of her alters. How disrespectful. She shared her heart with this woman…only to have her do this to her…and in front of her sister, no less. This woman and her sister end up talking about her as if she is not even there. Invisibility. That is painful. Betrayal…that, too, is painful.
I felt rather emotional at the end of this episode. At first, I could not figure it out, but now I think I know what is going on. Tara’s life is radically different from mine on just about every level. However, there are some things I relate to her on. The incidents are different. The people are different. Yet, the pain is the same. I relate to the struggle…to the confusion.
There are some things about Buck that are rather unrealistic. Well, not so much about Buck as about the response to Buck. I mean…really…if a woman (aka Buck) had come out swinging at a high school boy, don’t you think the authorities would have been called?
It is like someone at the Showtime forum pointed out…there would have been an arrest and probably a lawsuit filed by the boy and his parents.
Most people I know who have blatant switches…the system at least knows enough to protect the children…on some level. They don’t go out and do things that will blatantly embarress the children or put them in harm’s way. Don’t you think that Child Services would have been called in to investigate Tara? Don’t you think that someone would be wondering if she is a fit parent?
Now, I am NOT saying that those of us with DID cannot be fit parents…not at all! I know many who have DID who love their children deeply and whose systems fight for their children in a positive way. But the very public display that Buck gave is NOT a positive way of fighting for the children! It puts them at risk of being taken away. Tell me that if someone’s parent displayed the kind of behavior that “Buck” displayed with the boyfriend that you would not have people calling social services!
What is really sad about this show is that, while it might get the very real condition of DID out and discussed, how much disinformation will it also get out? What kind of image are people going to walk away with after watching this show?Will they be sympathetic and compassionate? Or will they be laughing and joking about the “freaks”.
I don’t use that term “freaks” lightly. Amongst my friends, it is very rare that they do not…or have not…struggled with feeling like a freak. In a world where mono minds “seem” to rule (“seem” is another subject altogether) and anything “out of the ordinary” is considered “freakish”, I know that I sure don’t want a show that will possibly help others to look at any one of us as being “freaks”. It is the same concern I had about Herschel Walker going public and about the things Jerry Mungadze was saying about Herschel. Puke!!!
Perhaps, things will be developed later in the show and real healing will be shown. That is great for those who stick it out. What about those who only watch the first few episodes? What about those who just say that Tara is a total freak? Is the show really helping those with DID who really need acceptance and understanding? Or is it actually hurting them?
I watched the second and third episodes. (Comments on the first episode can be found here.) Still no sign of any child alters, however, they did show her with a therapist. So, perhaps they will get into her processing a bit?
We get a bit of a clue as to where Tara is in her healing journey when she says the alters are not her. Many multiples, in the earlier stages of healing, cannot accept that everyone together makes a whole on some level. Alters are splits off of the main person, so they are altogether, in essence, one person. The one presenting…the host…is rarely the original person. The host is most often an alter, too. The original person is usually buried deep within and is usually a child. Of course, she may simply be expressing that her alters are not the “Tara” part of the system.
I really want to watch it so that I can see what the “world” is being presented with as far as the subject of DID goes. Yet, I also find myself feeling very torn about watching it. Not only is it stirring things up that I need to look at and process, but I find some things about the show very annoying and distracting.
Personally, I think they have mixed too many issues in one show and I think the parenting really stinks. Regardless of what is going on, no one should be allowed to be disrespectful. Parents are parents for a reason…and these parents don’t seem to remember that. They allow behaviors that are clearly not appropriate…and certainly not helpful to their own children. There does not seem to be any kind of real boundary setting. It is like they cave in to the childishness. It makes the show very annoying and all the extra drama is distracting. I am not saying the children should be perfect little angels…give me a break…is ANY child? However, they don’t need to mix so much extra into the show. I think the DID can be interesting enough, if it is handled properly.
The parenting isn’t the only thing that makes the show difficult for me to watch. I am disturbed by Buck and Max’s use of porn. Porn is degrading to women and is something that an awful lot of us RA/SRA survivors had to go through. Even if watching porn has nothing to do with being with another person physically, you are with them in “heart” and “mind”. To me, that is as much adultery as going out on your spouse…which also happens to be what Yeshua/Jesus taught. I know how porn can impact a family and marriage. It is not helpful…it is ultimately destructive.
I noticed something else in the show. The sister mentions that the children might be acting out due to the trauma they are experiencing. While the sister incorrectly identifies it as schizophrenia, she does make a valid point. It can be traumatizing and unsettling to have a parent who keeps becoming different “people”. That can cause children to act out in frustration over the chaos and the powerlessness they feel. More than once in the show, both children expressed a desire for their “mom” to come back.
I really felt for Max when he looked longingly for Tara in Alice. He really missed his wife. That was a very poignant scene…and very well done, I thought.
Alice presents an intersting dilemma. She wants to take over and be out full time. Whoa! That seemed to really unnerve the poor son…as it should. Hmmm…trauma?? You bet! He does not wet the bed for several years. Mom goes off her meds and her alters are showing up again. He wets the bed. Anyone else see a possible connection here?
Sadly, it is not unusual for there to be an alter that wants to take over full time. Alice, for all her quirks, is at least somewhat benign. What can be really scary is if an alter that is not so benevolent wants to take over. This is especially troublesome for an SRA survivor who has an alter who is still connected in some way to the abusers. If that kind of alter takes over, the person ends up going back…which can be downright dangerous.
Anyway, those are my latest thoughts on United States of Tara. I will try to continue to watch. Frankly, I am not sure I can resist…and not sure I want to, even with all the disagreeable elements of the show.
Well, I watched the first episode of United States of Tara. I’m not quite sure what to make of it.
Yes, there can be humorous moments in the life of those with DID, just as there are in anyone’s life. Yes, whenever there are tough things going on in our lives, it is always useful to try to find humor in our lives…to be able to laugh at ourselves. However, I see it as a private humor…not something to be displayed in public.
This show is supposed to be a comedy drama, but I sure did not see much of anything funny about it. There simply is nothing funny about living with DID, about the tragedies and traumas that cause it or about the effects it has on the individuals and the families of those who have it. Tara, as portrayed is dealing with some very difficult things.
Most people do not know about or understand DID. To have a show like this be their introduction to it is rather disturbing. As Kluft says, Tara represents an “over the top” example of someone with DID. There are so many out there who you would never know have it…people for whom, the DID manifests itself a bit differently.
It is also interesting that nothing of what I read about the show mentions a child alter. DID is something that starts in early childhood. Somewhere there should be a child alter who took all that initial pain. Where is she? Perhaps she will show up later?
Her sister is interesting, too. She does not believe the DID is real. DID comes from severe trauma of some kind. What could Tara have been through that was so serious it caused DID that her sister would not know about? Of course, her sister may just be in denial. In fact, she may even have DID herself and just does not know it yet. This is especially possible if the kind she has is not so blatant…not the “over the top” kind like Tara has. It is possible to have DID and not know it until things start happening that start bringing it out to the surface.
It is also interesting to see how free Tara is about sex. That is a rarity. I am not saying it is impossible…just that it is atypical. Having a very sexual alter, especially a teen, is not atypical. Just having a host like Tara who is.
Another disturbing thing is how the husband won’t have sex with the teen alter because Tara would not like it…which they know from history. For crying out loud…what about not having sex with a 15 year old because it would be inappropriate??? Those alters are there for a reason. They are the way they are for a reason. The initial cause was not a good one…it was abusive. Not only is having sex with a 15 year old wrong, but it can contribute to the abusive cycle that started the whole thing in the first place. If I were Tara, I would be upset, too, if my husband had sex with a teen alter!
These are some of my thoughts on the show. If I am able to, I may watch more of it…just to see what they do with the show. I don’t know yet.
There is a series out on Showtime called “United States of Tara”. It is about a woman who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D./DID) and her family. I have not seen the series. Showtime has a behind the scenes video on the series. They also have a second video with Richard P. Kluft, which I have embedded into my blog here.
In this second video, Kluft talks about different aspects of DID…what it is like, some of its forms, its causes and how common it really is. Obviously, there is only so much you can say about a very complex disorder in under 15 minutes, but I think he did a pretty good job, nonetheless.
The “over the top” form of DID, as Kluft calls it and as it is portrayed by Tara in the show, is in the minority. Also in the minority was Eve, as portrayed in the “The Three Faces of Eve” and Sybil, as portrayed in “Sybil”. Kluft also points out that most people who have it are pretty hidden. Their friends and family may not even know they have it because they are able to keep it so hidden.
Kluft also explains how DID has been around for a very long time. It just went by different names. DID is not easy to live with…regardless of whether you are at the “over the top” end of the spectrum or at the hiding it very well end. It would be nice if more people could understand it and accept it…and accept those who have it. People with DID are not freaks. They are not crazy. They are people who have been through some very traumatic events in their lives and this is how they coped.
Kluft mentions “integration”. Integration is not something that every person with DID sees as desirable. Not all want it. The word itself does not even have a single definition. Whether “integrated” or not, there are many people who either have, or have had, DID who do actually get along pretty well in life. They have become united on some level to a common goal and have learned how to do life.
There are many others who struggle…a lot. They are tossed to and fro by DID and their lives are chaotic and stressful. They need acceptance and understanding. They need help to become stable…to be able to work with and through DID.
Having DID is not the end of the world. As Kluft points out…it is “curable”. They do know how to help people work through things and become better…however you choose to define that. It won’t look the same for every person, especially since not everyone who has DID is the same.
I hope that this video will help others to understand more about DID. Actually, even more importantly, I hope it might help others to better understand and accept the person who has DID. Here is the video: