Growing up, I raised an alcoholic mother. I did my best, but often failed to keep her safe–to keep her free of angry, intoxicated hands. And I listened to her, a dutiful counselor; too bad she seldom accepted my advice. It’s because of my relationship with my mother that I became interested in psychology as a teen. I knew I’d never be able to cure her; understanding her was for my own benefit–my sanity. As I grew older, I realized that I also needed to understand myself, and the part I played in the family dynamic. For years, I thought psych books were all I had to help me. No, let me correct myself; books were all I wanted. I was prideful, even then; and I was stubborn.
My mother says Tara is the stubborn one. My mother has no idea how important is to me to work my shit out on my own. If I reach out, it’s because I’ve exhausted all my efforts and I am absolutely desperate to be rid of the pain. I have a high tolerance for pain; I don’t show weakness willingly. Funny, I have no problem with telling the ones I love that showing their weaknesses is a strength. Am I too hard on myself? Or am I just fucking arrogant? Yes, and yes.
Aside from myself, only my dad, my sister, and my daughter (and probably those who absorb the fibers of my work) have the best idea of who I am, fundamentally. Strange how I want to be understood and appreciated, and left the fuck alone in equal measure.
But, I’ve digressed.
I am a protector. That’s another reason I didn’t like talking about my home life. I couldn’t take someone judging my mother–criticizing her. I’d throw down with anyone who said something ugly about her, save my dad. Anyway, he has never said anything about her that’s out of order, only the truth.
My dad is a realist, and I am, too.
My mother will die an alcoholic; I will hate her for it, and hate myself for hating her, and I won’t need a goddamned book, or a psychologist to tell me the reason why.