I overheard a very interesting conversation yesterday in which a doctor discussed how he tries to teach patients (kids) the difference between power and authority. As in, sometimes you have the power to do something, like shoot someone, but not the authority. It was quite enlightening, and this morning on my drive in I thought about the comments made about the TC post yesterday, here on my blog and also on “The Washington Post” blog. And then I got to thinking about TC having the power to rename Katie, proclaiming to the world that she will henceforth be known as Kate.
There is a lot of power in naming someone. By renaming an adult you essentially accomplish three goals: first, you establish yourself as the god-like being that has complete control over their life; second, you begin to reform and mold this person into the image of your choosing; and third, you eradicate their parental influence and import. This is why cults believe in renaming their conscripts/followers, because then they establish themselves as the master, as someone who has power over the individual.
The argument comes when discussing whether or not someone then has the authority to rename an individual. It would be easy to set up moral boundaries but these are often readily cast aside, especially at the beginning of a new and exciting relationship, and this action is often based upon emotion and not reason. Legally, one has the authority to rename their self, but should it be correct to have this situation controlled by someone other than themselves? As with the TC/Katie, now Kate situation, it appears that he is the voice of authority and she is viewed as filling the role of docile vessel.
Will their relationship last? It doesn’t seem likely, especially considering the strong influence her family continues to attempt to exert over her life. Will she keep the baby if they separate? I wouldn’t put money on it. You never see pictures of Nicole Kidman with the children she adopted with TC. I know that Katie, now Kate, entered into this relationship knowing her beau’s history and because of that many people will excuse her decision as that of a grown-up woman who made her bed and now literally has to lie in it. And granted, what has been changed is the derivative of her given name by which she calls herself, not the actual birth name. Even so, it is sad is that for whatever reason, whether emotional or monetary, she has ceded her personal authority to someone else and he now has power over her. Now, remind me again, please, of the definition of mental/emotional abuse.