United States of Tara

I first started watching the United States of Tara when I started freaking out about my others. I was hoping for some insight into what I was experiencing. While it didn’t give me much insight into what was going on with me and my other – I don’t have DID – it did give me insight into a lot of other things.

The United States of Tara is a TV program that appeared on Showtime. It follows the life of Tara, who is an artist, a mother raising two children, a wife and someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). I wouldn’t suggest this show for someone who may be in a bad place emotionally. For me, I realized by the end of the pilot that what I have with my others is not DID, I don’t lose consciousness of myself when my others take over. At the same time it made me realize that I grow up in a house very much like Tara’s, with a mother who was very much Tara. At first I watched this show at break neck speed, straight through, not stopping to process it or to assimilate it. It was like I just had to keep watching to see what happened next – maybe a part of me was looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and I was hoping I would find it if I keep watching.

Now I am rewatching it, slower, processing what I am seeing. Realizing that not only was I abuse sexually by my grandfather but I grew up in a very dysfunctional/ f-ed up house.

This is what I have gotten so far:

In Season 2 Ep. 4 – YOU BECOMING YOU – There is a scene where the father and daughter are arguing over something that she wants to do that he doesn’t like.

He says: “Who’s the parent around here anyway?”

She answers: “No one.”

I’ve had this argument many times with my father. I always felt like either there was no parent in our house or I was the parent in our house. The rest of that argument for me usually went with me winning it or getting what I wanted from it.

In Season 2 Ep.5 DOIN’ TIME there is a scene where the parents are downstairs fighting and the brother and sister are upstairs with the door closed.

The sister says”God, I hate when they fight it makes me feel like an orphan.”

My parents fought so much growing up that I really did feel like an orphan sometimes, because after the fights would come my mother’s vanishing act which would sometimes last for weeks. During which time my father would walk around the house like a puppy that had been kicked.

In Season 2 Ep.10 OPEN HOUSE is a scene with the brother and sister in the kitchen right before bed.

She says: “Do you know anyone who’s happy?”

He says: “Nope.”

She says: “Do you know anyone who’s in love?”

He says: “Mom and Dad, maybe.”

She says:”Yeah and they’re miserable. But they can’t survive without each other so it doesn’t make a difference if they are in love or not.”

This small conversation explains so much about my childhood. I use to wish for my parents to get a divorce. I use to think that they could have found some happiness then. What I realize now is that without each other they would not/ could not survive. My father needs to be needed, even when that other person didn’t really think they needed him. He needed to fix things, it what makes him feel alive. My mom needs someone that will be there even when she doesn’t want him, when she hates him. She needs that stability, that safety.

There is also a scene right at the end of this episode where Tara and her husband are in bed. She tells him she forgives him, that life is long and that he is her man. They curl up in each other’s arms, all in love again, and go to sleep. The very next thing you see is the husband getting the shit beat out of him by one of Tara’s alters, Buck.

Having grow up with a mother with DID this happens a lot, one minute everything is roses and sunshine and the next she switches and you are getting the shit beat out of you for no good reason.

There is so much more to this show that I seen in my life that I can’t narrow down to episodes but are the character interactions that run through it.

There is Tara and her sister’s relationship – Even with all her problems Tara is still mothering her sister. There is her sister’s non-belief through the first season. Her belief that Tara is just doing this for attention and that none of it is real.

There is the relationship between the brother and sister that had to grow up with Tara as a mom. With the sister, who is older often standing in for her mom with her brother when he needs someone to be a parent or an adult for him.

There is the relationship between Tara and her husband. This was touch on already but they can’t live without each. He needs to be the knight in shining armor and save Tara and she needs his stability. They stick even though Tara’s alters cheat, and he never knows who his wife is going to be from one minute to the next.

There is the relationship between Tara and her mother, which is no good, to say the least. Tara’s mother wants her to forget the past, to put on the whitewashed picture that she has tried to project to the world. Tara’s mother is also keeping secrets that could help Tara. She also picked her husband over Tara and her sister.

Tara’s sister need for the pretty boyfriend when she is really in love with Neal, the homely, runt best friend of Tara’s husband. I can understand why she feels she should go with the pretty guy especially after her mom says to her In Season 2 Ep.10 OPEN HOUSE – “Oh, honey you’re just so pretty, but you’ve always make decisions like an ugly girl.”


One thought on “United States of Tara

  1. About Tara: I had the exact same reaction to this show. I was watching via Netflix and had to watch the whole thing right through to the end. I’m sorry to hear that the show has been canceled and there will be no 4th season. I was able to identify with so much of what the characters were going through and would have loved to see Tara integrate.

    I’ve just found your blog. There is not much out there about DDNOS which is what I, too, have recently been diagnosed with, so I’m glad to have a chance to read about your experiences.

    Do you have any posts or pages that deal with the way you experience your different parts?

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