P.I. NATTIE MORELAND: CARETAKER

a13263be238That’s not Nattie.  That’s Kristen Bell.  Kristen Bell played Veronica Mars, a high schooler with detective skills she learned from her father, the ex-chief of police.  When I picture Nattie I picture Kristen Bell, but Nattie’s detective skills do not come to her in the same manner that Veronica Mars’ came to her.  Like Monk, whose detective skills come from a psychological condition called OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Nattie’s skills come from a psychological condition called “Caretaker.”  Caretaker is not a diagnosis like OCD.  It is a role that a child from a dysfunctional family might adopt.   While ALL families have dysfunctions, not all families are dysfunctional.  In functional families it is the parents who maintain stability.  When parents do not maintain stability then children must, and lacking the necessary maturity/wisdom to take on that responsibility correctly they adopt “roles.”  A common role is that of ‘hero,’ which is a kid who behaves as if the weight of the family rests upon his/her performance  as a student, athlete, musician, beauty contestant, and caretaker.  In future blogs I will describe what the caretaker role looks like in Nattie, and how it was that her family of origin was dysfunctional, and even why I chose to write Nattie this way, but for this blog let me just add one more idea about roles.  A good part of adopting a hero role is that the hero will develop a ton of skills that will be useful to both themselves and the rest of us.  The bad part of the hero role is that it is so ingrained that the hero  doesn’t know how to turn it off when it should be turned off.  Caretakers, who take great care of everyone else, often don’t know how to ask for or receive care themselves.

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