Archive for November, 2008

Karen answers Thankful Annie

admin on Nov 29th 2008

Comment by Thankful Annie on November 27, 2008 4:09 pm

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Miss Karen.

Did you know you are on some people’s minds today? Well, you are. Thank you for sharing your life with us who hurt. I am thankful you did. I feel depressed today but will be okay because after reading Switching Time I gained faith and the courage to get help. I start therapy next Wednesday. My life by no means compares to yours, I am not mpd or did, but if you can survive I can too. How do you spend Thanksgiving, what do you do? Whatever you do today may you be happy not sad. Good day!

Love, Thankful Annie

Dear Annie,

Thank you, you are so sweet to remember me on this day, and I appreciate your kind thoughts on my sharing my story.

I am sorry to hear that you are depressed today, but I’m glad that in reading Switching Time, you have gained the strength needed to start therapy. That’s what I have hoped for, to bring awareness to others like you, to not be afraid to reach out and seek professional help, so that you too, can heal. I wish you a safe journey as you start therapy.

I love Thanksgiving! It’s my favorite holiday! It’s a time to remember all those who make a difference in our lives, a time to be grateful, thank each other, and be glad. I spent my day with family and friends, eating way too much, visiting a few patients at a nursing home, and calling those I wished to see, but couldn’t.

And, yes, it was a happy day! Thank you for asking.

Karen

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Karen answers Bruce

admin on Nov 29th 2008

Comment by Bruce on November 25, 2008 3:10 pm

Karen and Richard,

My review: Great work together!  The both of you made a believer out of me. MPD is real. I agree, the term, MPD is much more complete than the vast variety use of the term DID. My interest in your story comes from overhearing the strange lunchtime co-worker conversations regarding the book Switching Time. I had to figure out what these women were up to. The women never run out of what to talk about. I never heard them so chatty. It’s weird but I gain a lot of female knowledge listening to them. It’s like reading Cosmopolitan. Men need to read this magazine about woman.

Bruce

Dear Bruce,

Thank you for reading Switching Time and coming to an understanding that multiple personality disorder is real. I’m glad to hear, that after overhearing a few co-workers’ conversation you decided to read our book.

It’s true, Cosmopolitan has many great articles for women, and men may benefit from reading it too, but not all men need to read it!

Dr. Baer and I appreciate your compliments about our work together.

Karen

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Karen answers Deborah

admin on Nov 29th 2008

Comment by Deborah on November 25, 2008 1:30 pm

Dear Karen,

It’s nice you answer everyone, including the bad ones, as dear so an so. It shows me you respect us who read the ST blog. I bet this you learned from being in therapy? I am in therapy with a doctor who is going through some kind of personal drama. My doctor broke apart and is now taking a few weeks off. I suspect it’s midlife or male men-o-pause. I started with his replacement two weeks ago and find she is a better fit for me. I learned this from one of your answers. I wanted to thank you for making me aware of what a good therapist is and how to find one. I worry about hurting my real therapist, we have been together for four years. What would you do if you were put in my place? Did Dr. Baer ever leave you for a period of time with another therapist? My first therapist did help me, except for when he yells at me to grow up. I am twenty nine and diagnosed with DID. I have six alters, four children, one adult and one dog. The children, 6, 7, 10, 12 come out a lot with him, the adult usually doesn’t, the dog does.

Thank you.

Deborah

Dear Deborah,

Thank you for your compliments! I didn’t learn to be nice in therapy, it’s just the way I’ve always been. Despite all that has happened to me, I’ve always believed we all should try to be nice to each other. Of course, being nice all the time can have draw backs when people hurt you. I was fortunate Dr. Baer never left me in the hands of another therapist. There were times he gave me someone to call in his absence when he’d be on vacation, but I never called. As long as I knew how long he would be away and had the next session scheduled, I would be okay.

Dr. Baer never brought any personal drama into my therapy. The therapeutic relationship is supposed to help you heal, not the doctor. Maybe your doctor just needs some time off. After all, he’s human and things happen.

I wonder how your alters will react to a change of therapist? I believe my alters wouldn’t have been so easy to persuade. Please take care in making your decision.

Dr. Baer and I went through some rough patches during our therapeutic relationship. We worked everything out together, and through continuing therapy with him, without running away from it, that eventually helped me feel safe enough to heal. I needed consistency, and Dr. Baer tried his best to provide it.

You have asked what I would do, if I were you? I would talk to my therapist about switching therapists. I don’t think a therapist yelling at a patient is ever appropriate. But I believe in talking it out and not allowing ill feelings to fester. Maybe your therapist feels distant because he’s burned out? Maybe, his yelling at you was a part of this? Whatever it is, you need to discuss this with him.

I wish you a safe journey.

Karen

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Karen answers Another Strong Woman

admin on Nov 29th 2008

Comment by Another Strong Woman on November 24, 2008 8:50 pm

Dear Karen, and Jasmine,

Great sound advice for Jasmine and all of us women who were abused! You are so kind to share the personal faults and mistakes you made, to help abused women like us. No woman needs to take abuse. There are no this is a man’s world” reasons these days. Women are equal and should never allow a man to intimidate them. I happened to have been abused by a boyfriend many years ago until one day I said NO MORE and ended the relationship. I would be abused by him, go through an interlude, and back to being abused again. I have never allowed this to happen again.

Karen, I continue to read your blog at least once a week. Your story was phenomenal! The book was excellent. I admire you and Richard for writing this book and blog.

Jasmine, run away from the idiot, go quickly before the holidays draw you into believing your in love. Abuse is not love. How dare your boyfriend hit you because you were sick and didn’t make dinner! What an idiot! Lose him!

Another Strong Woman

Dear Strong Woman,

Thank you. It’s important for me to share my faults and mistakes as well as my successes, in hope that we, as women, learn to better help ourselves against the possibility of being abused. You are right, a woman should never take abuse at the hands of a man nor allow herself to feel intimidated. The world is not a “man’s world;” it’s a world that needs more knowledge on how abuse can affect a woman, a world where each of us is respected for who we are and not what gender we are.

Abuse can happen both ways. There are men who have suffered from being abused by a woman. No matter how you look at this, abuse is abuse, and each partner is equally responsible for controlling his or her anger. When one partner hurts the other, there is no respect or equality in the relationship.

I am glad to hear you ended your abusive relationship and decided to take no more. I can empathize with the cycle of abuse you describe while suffering at the hands of your boyfriend. I, too, went through a similar experience. I would be abused, then treated nice for a while, only to be abused again and again. It was a vicious cycle that didn’t end until our divorce. I believe you are a strong woman. I’m inspired by you leaving your previous boyfriend and not tolerating abuse from anyone.

Thank you for all your compliments! Dr. Baer and I appreciate that you visit our blog regularly. It’s important for me to answer all questions. I hope I’ve been helpful for you. I’m not perfect, but there are parts of me I believe make me an incredibly strong woman.

Thank you for your comment to Jasmine. I will post your comment along with my answer.

Karen

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Karen answers Elizabeth A

admin on Nov 25th 2008

Comment by Elizabeth A. on November 23, 2008 3:17 am

Dear Karen,

I was thrilled at the end when you and the doctor hug. All through the book I was frustrated with his not caring to hug you. My therapist hugs me, what’s the big deal? I never thought this was a big deal until reading Switching Time. Now I feel uncomfortable and had to address it in therapy wasting a whole two sessions talking about it. Did your doctor believe himself higher than God or was he just a cold fish?

Elizabeth A.
South Bend, IN

Dear Elizabeth,

For someone like me and you, we ususally can’t understand and see what the big deal is? Therapists are trained to believe this act could harm the therapeutic relationship.  Maybe in some cases it could. I’m not sure.  For me, this was a nagging frustration that I believed hurt more than helped at the time.  I never felt worthy enough.  Not being hugged, a simple touch, left me feeling sad.  Now, years after the therapeutic relationship ended, I can see why hugging could’ve been a bad idea, especially since I had within me many alters who may have taken a simple hug in the wrong way.

Being hugged during the midst of therapy could’ve been taken as an attack, put an awkward strain on the therapy, caused feelings of abuse, or maybe even taken as a seduction attempt.

Looking back, I am glad Dr. Baer didn’t hug me during therapy.  Why?  Because if he did hug me, I may have stopped therapy altogether and not healed.  I’ll never know for sure.  However, what I do know is that he didn’t hug me and I stayed in therapy through to the end.  Maybe those things are connected.  Dr. Baer felt he knew what was best for me, before I understood his reason for not hugging me, and although I may have felt hurt, he did what he thought was right.

It’s important that you continue to discuss your concerns and thoughts with your therapist.  I am not a therapist and can’t give advice, but from what you have shared, it appears to have become an issue that needs to be addressed.

Dr. Baer never acted like he was higher than God.  Dr. Baer treated me with the utmost respect, and through him I have learned appropriate and ethical boundaries that will continue to help me as I continue my journey through life.

I wish you the best as you continue your healing,

Karen

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Karen answers Craig

admin on Nov 25th 2008

Comment by Craig on November 23, 2008 3:14 am

What happened to your alters when you were in the middle of divorcing your husband? Was it hard on any of the alters? What did the lawyer and judge do when presented with your case?

Craig

Dear Craig,

My alters were already integrated by the time I divorced my husband.  Therefore, the divorce wasn’t hard on my alters, it was hard on me.  I never shared the fact that I suffered from multiplicity with the judge.  I decided it was in my best interest not to.  By the time I entered the courtroom, my husband had already signed the divorce papers, and was home watching television; he had no desire to be there. On the day our divorce was finalized, I stood alone, along with my lawyer, in front of the judge, and was divorced in five minutes.

Thank you for your question,

Karen

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Karen answers Jasmine

admin on Nov 23rd 2008

Comment by Jasmine on November 21, 2008 10:39 pm

Hi Karen,

I just finished reading your book. I cant believe you survived all this stuff. Are you like the strongest woman on earth? I know my life was bad not compared to yours but bad in a different way. My boyfriend hits me all the time. Today I have displayed one black eye and a busted lip. He hit me because we live together and I have a cold and didnt make him dinner last night. I guess I deserved it, huh? I read your book and my question is how long should I take being beaten by my boyfriend? I am not strong like you so how did you decide when it was the right time?

Jasmine

Dear Jasmine,

No, I am not the strongest woman on earth, just one of many.  All women, each of us, has a unique personal strength and individual determination to survive if we want to.  I admit, it’s easy to blame ourselves for the acts of others.  I know how being abused can wear one’s spirit down.

I am so sorry to hear your boyfriend abuses you.  It’s never okay to suffer abuse at the hands of anyone, especially a boyfriend. I can’t speak for you and have made many mistakes myself, however, if I had known beforehand how being abused would’ve affected me all through my life, I would’ve reported my abuse to the police much earlier, like after the first time my husband hit me.  Please don’t blame yourself that your boyfriend hurt you. Even if you do something to anger him, he has lots of choices on how to handle his response, and striking you is never an appropriate one.  Have faith, believe in yourself, do the right thing, and leave him. You can be strong, too!

It was during therapy that I first learned that being abused was not okay, for any reason. I had to come to accept that I was being mistreated. No woman deserves to be hurt, ever!  You have asked me how long you should take the abuse.  In my opinion, not more than one second.  I would end this abusive relationship immediately. I don’t believe your boyfriend respects you, for if he did, you two would’ve discussed the issues between you in an adult way without violence.  There is never room for disrespect and abuse.

The right time to do something is now!  Be safe, trust your instincts, and seek professional help.  I wish you my best.

Karen

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Karen answers Mike

admin on Nov 23rd 2008

Comment by Mike on November 20, 2008 4:34 am

Karen,

This book tapped into my own past. I knew I was abused but never dealt with it. I am fifty six years old and don’t believe I could correct anything now. The problem is I have been ill from a physical back disability. The pain caused depression. The depression caused my past to come out. I need to take care of the depression but don’t want to address my past. What would help me, therapy or no therapy? Why dig it up? Is there a point? I am too old for this shit!

I trust your advice because I read your answers to other people and know you won’t tell me off.

Mike

Dear Mike, 

Don’t be so hard on yourself; you are never too old to start therapy.  What’s most important is to bring peace and harmony back into your life.  Seeking counseling with a qualified therapist will not only help you but help those close to you.  I can understand how your physical pain has brought on depression, and also how your depression increases your sense of physical pain. This happened to me, too. It’s hard trying to concentrate on healing when you are physically ill.

Therapy helped lessen my pain. I’m not sure how, but in sharing my past with Dr. Baer, a weight lifted from me and left me with a sense of calm.  I believe the reason for digging up one’s past is to release the emotional secrets that keep us in pain and prevent us from living life to the fullest.  Please don’t give up!

May your journey be safe as you begin to heal.

Karen

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Karen answers dak

admin on Nov 23rd 2008

Comment by dak on November 19, 2008 5:26 am

Thanks Karen, I read the current ones and as usual I find them interesting to read. I can understand why it can seem so repetitious because that’s how the questions are – hmm, they all read the same book! You are always so kind and gentle in your responses. As I read I thought, “What a great newspaper column this would make.” Keep up the good words. Love, dak

Dear dak,

Thank you for your compliments!  A newspaper column?  Never thought about it?  That sounds like a great idea!  Thank you for appreciating my writing.

Have a great day!

Karen

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Karen answers Mom of Two Girls

admin on Nov 23rd 2008

Comment by Mom of Two Girls on November 16, 2008 5:20 pm

Karen,

I was abused by my father and ran away from home twice at 12 and 15. I told the police and they believed my father over me. I was raped and no one believed me. I never spoke of it again. I am now 26 and a mother of two girls, 2 and 3. My husband is a wonderful father but I never trust him alone with our daughters. My husband never shows any signs for me to be this way. When my husband plays with the girls and they get to giggling I come in and ruin the fun. I know it’s innocent play but I panic. Why do I go there? Was it because of being abused myself? Is it too late to start therapy and file suit against my father? Should I let the past stay buried? My anxiety has increased. I am afraid to tell my husband about these fears against him. I stopped seeing my father five years ago. I believe you can help. Your book brought me strength to do something. What?

Mom of Two Girls

Dear Mom of two girls,

I’m sorry to hear you were also abused. I can understand why you ran away. I would’ve run away, too, if it hadn’t been for switching into an alternate personality. Running away may not of been the answer at twelve and fifteen years of age, but it was all you knew and you coped with your hurt in this way. Please don’t be so hard on yourself.

I tried myself to share with teachers and some in authority, only not to be heard.  After awhile I stopped talking and withdrew for fear of being abused more or maybe even killed. Living in fear, feeling alone, having been abused, with no one believing you, will wear on you throughout your life. Please seek help, even before sharing all this with your husband. I’m not a therapist and can’t give advice, but in my opinion, it would be best to get some help on how to approach this issue with him.

Having two young girls who are able to be little girls, a girl you may not have experienced yourself could cause feelings of insecurity. I, too, had many worries when my daughter was young. When my daughter was about four years old these fears of the possibility of her father might abuse her, on top of my growing anxiety and depression forced me into seeking professional help with a qualified therapist.

Your husband sounds like a wonderful man who loves his daughters very much.  It may be hard for you to understand this kind of love after being hurt yourself. There are signs to watch for. I believe you know them.

I believe you have already taken the most important first steps.  You feel the pain and miss the innocence that was stolen from you.  Your daughters are very young.  Please seek help before your feelings and miscontrued thoughts affect your marriage.  It would be far worse if you started accusing your husband because of memories of your past.  I started to heal when I was allowed to share in the safety of my therapist’s office.

Enjoy life, stay healthy, and know that you can heal by experiencing life through your daughter’ eyes. Helping yourself will help your daughters grow up more self confident and secure.

Karen

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