Archive for March, 2009

Karen answers BHJ MD

admin on Mar 31st 2009

Comment by BHJ MD on March 28, 2009 8:43 pm

Karen,

I find you fascinating and quite knowledgeable. I found your comments on the USoT message board quite useful in my practice. As a therapist I appreciate your concern in not claiming to be a professional. It’s quite thoughtful and sincere of you to share from your personal experiences. In fifteen years of medical school I have learned more from your input on D.I.D. than what was covered in text. I’d like to commend you for your effort to help. I have met Richard Baer. What he did was no easy task. As a medical professional I would have transfered you and treat only the medicinal part of your therapy. IMO it took two. You and Richard Baer.

BHJ MD

Dear BHJ MD,

Thank you for all your compliments, especially in sharing that you have learned much about the illness through my answering questions. The main reason Dr. Baer and I shared our story in Switching Time was to bring awareness to the illness, multiplicity, in an accurate way. It has always been our hope to help others in the best way we could.

I am glad you met Dr. Baer and felt inspired by what he accomplished in his treatment of me. Although his task may have been difficult, you are right, it took the two of us to accomplish the miracle of healing me.  It was definitely impossible for me to heal from my past abuse on my own. I needed help. I had endured so much that I never thought I’d be alive today.  Dr. Baer never once gave up on me. I will always be grateful.  I believe we each benefited from our work together by respecting each other for who we are.

Thank you for being honest sharing that you would refer a patient like me to someone else. That’s a very important part of being a therapist, to know at the beginning of treatment that you couldn’t deal with someone like me. Dr. Baer hesitated at first, but then took me on wholeheartedly. If Dr. Baer had sent me off to another therapist after working with me for awhile, I would’ve ended my life. Multiples like me don’t take rejection well. It’s always best to cut off the therapy, if necessary, early on with a multiple, before the multiple starts to build trust with the therapist. Any doctor who choses to treat a multiple needs to know this. Otherwise, the pain endured will devastate the multiple forever, and may even lead to the multiple’s death by suicide.  

Karen

Filed in Karen's Answers | No responses yet

Karen answers Kimberly’s Second Comment

admin on Mar 31st 2009

Comment by Kimberly on March 27, 2009 7:24 pm

Thank you, Karen Overhill!

You have helped me with your advice. I didnt think of the things you said. I took your advice and called a child protection welfare agency and asked the questions brought on by your answer. I carefully chose each question before making my call. I wrote them down. I was shocked that they said exactly what you said, almost word for word. You should be a counselor. I chose to leave my name because I needed to hear feedback to rest. I was relieved to find the child in question suffers from a medical condition that scares her into having nightmares. The child is hooked up to a machine every night that monitors her breathing. I don’t know details except she stops breathing alot. I was assured she was okay. I was thanked for being concerned. The parents of the girl never knew I called. But they told the case worker to thank me. I feel your advice saved the day. Thank you. Keep on truckin! I am happy you can help people who are confused.

Kimberly

Dear Kimberly,

Thank you for writing back and sharing your experience. I’m glad to hear you did the right thing. I’m sure you are relieved to know the truth about what you heard. I admire you for what you’ve done. I know how hard it must’ve been to pick up the phone and make that call to share your thought that a child was being abused, but you did!  That was a good thing. I’m glad all turned out well.

We need more people like you to be aware of suspected child abuse. In this case, it turned out to be a medical condition, but it may not have been, and you could’ve saved the child from further harm. I am also glad the girl’s parents acted in a responsible way by cooperating with the case worker and telling her to thank you for being concerned. I would hope all people would act that way, to not take offense, but to be grateful that someone cared enough to check out suspected abuse.

Thank you for being a good neighbor and caring enough to share.

Karen

Filed in Karen's Answers | No responses yet

Karen answers NAW

admin on Mar 31st 2009

Comment by Dolly on March 26, 2009 2:34 pm

Okay Karen,

Richard Baer is great. I can tell by your answers how much he has done for you. I can tell he means a lot to you. I would like to know how you, someone who was so abused found a non abusive doctor? If you are a real multiple personality you would choose an abusive doctor to treat you not one you grow to trust and respect. Doesn’t being abused attract more abuse? I want to know what you consider non abusive behavior. I want to know if your definition of abuse is different than mine. I thought multiple personalities look for the same character in their doctor that was like their abusers. If you liked your doctor from the start then he is abusive because you didn’t know non-abusive behavior. Don’t you think you chose him to work for you because you sensed he was a abuser?

NAW

Dear NAW,

I appreciate your asking these challenging questions. There are many misconceptions regarding how those of us who were once abused choose how to find and receive help. I’ve been fortunate to have had alters who were created to help me survive being abused as a child. Alters are created to help the victim overcome and survive through dissociation.

My alter’s gathered their good traits by absorbing the good from good people,  and through fantasy of what a real family should be like. I longed for help in a respectful way. By the time I met Dr. Baer, my alters and I knew what we needed in order to succeed.  We chose Dr. Baer to accompany us after observing him for awhile, before revealing the truth of our past abuse. It was difficult at first to let my guard down and build trust with him. Building trust with Dr. Baer did not come immediately, it took a few years. During that time “we” (meaning my alters and me) survived on blind faith and grew to believe he would not abandon or betray us.

It’s really hard for me to explain the enormous struggle it was to keep on going to therapy. There were so many times I wanted to give up. Somehow my alters believed Dr. Baer wouldn’t let us down. Dr. Baer was the first male I ever met that didn’t physically abuse me, verbally assault me, or degrade or humiliate me. That is how I built trust. I fed on his strength and good will, and he stayed consistent without harming me. During the therapeutic relationship there were times I thought he might turn on me, but he never did. After realizing I would be safe in his care I started to share my past.

I was somewhat lucky to find Dr. Baer.  I didn’t even meet him until that first day of therapy. I was referred to work with him by another psychiatrist. However, I admit, the first day I walked into his office I didn’t like him very much. I thought he was standoffish, rude, arrogant, and selfish because he was formal and matter of fact. Then I realized that was part of a psychiatrist’s job. I learned that I had projected those feelings onto him because of my hatred for men. I thought he was a threat to my system. He wasn’t. Together, we worked very hard to heal me. We respected each other’s time. I still believe Dr. Baer was God sent.

It is my hope that my answers satisfied your curiosity. Please know that multiples don’t wish to seek out abusive relationships in any form, although they sometimes tend to stay in them when they’re in one. A multiple will always sense trouble immediately and want to run. The alters of a multiple seek to be treated with dignity and respect. Trust is very difficult for any multiple to obtain. It takes hard work and persistence to live in a multiple’s world. The will to live is hidden in dark corners and needs to be discovered slowly.  

Karen

Filed in Karen's Answers | No responses yet

Karen answers Rose

admin on Mar 31st 2009

Comment by Rose on March 25, 2009 1:25 pm

Karen,

What a beautiful quote from Audrey Hepburn you left on Facebook. Beautiful Woman. Do you believe all women who have the traits stated are beautiful? What kind of women are ugly? why do men always pick the stupid pretty girls. Not saying your ugly. I’m trying to figure out if men are more likely to abuse ugly women? You are a beautiful woman.

Rose

Dear Rose,

Thank you for sharing and bringing my Facebook comment to my blog. I will add the quote below. I thought this quote from Audrey Hepburn was beautiful and well written. I believe beauty is within each of us. We all are unique, some of us may have had hard lives, and some of us may not see ourself as beautiful, when we indeed are. Beauty is present when we each live with the traits that truly make us beautiful.

I can’t explain why most men tend to pick pretty girls. I am not an expert on why men do the things they do.  But I surely don’t believe pretty girls are stupid. That’s a judgement that I don’t wish to be a part of. I chose to share Audrey’s quote because I believe beauty is more than just looks, it’s about living your life in confidence.

Regarding women who are abused. Abuse is abuse, and an abuser will abuse anyone they can manipulate and control.  Abusers abuse all kinds of people; being a beautiful person doesn’t prevent you from becoming a victim.

Below is a wonderful sentiment Audrey Hepburn wrote when asked to share her “beauty tips.” It was read at her funeral years later. 

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. 

For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. 

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others. 

Thank you for your thoughts.

Karen

Filed in Karen's Answers | No responses yet

Karen answers Matt

admin on Mar 28th 2009

Comment by Matt on March 25, 2009 12:33 pm

Karen or Richard,

Can’t buy the book from amazon? Was told all HC sold out, will there be a second edition? I hate trade paperback? If a second edition prints have them add the reader group question to the end. I bought six books as gifts to share with my colleagues. Don’t want to buy second editions, want first. Great work you two!

Matt

Dear Matt,

I’ve noticed, too, that Amazon.com has been out of the hard cover version of our book.  Thank you for purchasing extra copies of Switching Time to give as gifts to your colleagues. I appreciate your interest in the first edition of our book.

It’s Dr. Baer’s and my hope that our book continues to sell well. We believe there are still hard cover books available, maybe just not through Amazon at this time. There could be a possibility for a second edition at some point, or maybe, God willing, a sequel. Of course, the trade paperback version of Switching Time is available, as well as a version for Kindle and audio. 

Thank you for your compliments, for your support, and especially for your suggestion for adding the Reader Group questions.

Karen

Filed in Karen's Answers | No responses yet

Karen answers Cindy

admin on Mar 25th 2009

Comment by Cindy on March 24, 2009 4:11 pm

Karen, coming to your site makes me and I am sure many others feel comforted knowing we are not alone on our journey of survival and healing. It seems like one of the things I noticed is that I tend to be more intuitive and sensitive than the average person…My therapist told me because I grew up with with a lot of child abuse that some children are a lot more intuitive and sensitive that get abused. I notice when I meet a stranger I am able to sense a lot of things about that person before they even tell me much about themselves. I also have had many dreams in my past that have come true that I was not able to explain. I guess if there is anything good that did come out of my child abuse it would have to be that I am grateful to have this gift of sensitivity that seems to be protecting me from any further harm and abuse. I just wanted to know if you have ever experienced anything similar to this? Blessings to you.

Cindy

Dear Cindy,

Thank you for your compliments and sharing that coming to our site brings comfort to not only you but to others as well. It’s important for me to share in hope to help others through their own personal journey.

I have always been sensitive to everything around me.  I call it being attuned.  I have no choice but to be aware at all times.  Being attuned could make the difference between being abused harshly or less so. There were many times I sensed trouble ahead and tried to get away or disappear before it was too late. It’s hard to live in such a way, and although being attuned may appear to be a gift, it isn’t always.

My gift of being attuned can cause me heartache. Recently, I sensed a trusted friend’s dislike for me. It’s devastating to know how someone feels about you without them telling you so. I can tell by reading facial movements, body language, and patterns of speech. Sadly, I always feel to blame even when I’m not. It’s hard knowing what people think before they speak.

Since integration, whenever I sense trouble, betrayal, deception, or someone who may try to deceive me, I know, I always know.

Thank you for your questions.

Karen

Filed in Karen's Answers | One response so far

Karen answers Kristi

admin on Mar 25th 2009

Comment by Kristi on March 23, 2009 11:57 pm

Hey Karen, i read your book and its amazing how you overcame everything…i’m doing a report on DID for speech..i was wondering if you had information i could possibly use for that speech…if you could email me that would be awesome.!

-Kristi!

Dear Kristi,

Thank you for your compliment! Dr. Baer and I chose to share our story to give accurate information about multiplicity. Most of what I know about DID came from my own personal experience and journey. I am not a therapist and can’t give advice, but if you read my answers here on the Switching Time blog, as well as our book, you may come to a better understanding of the illness. I have also shared many of my opinions on the message board for United States of Tara.

Good luck with your speech.

Karen

Filed in Karen's Answers | No responses yet

Karen answers DK

admin on Mar 25th 2009

Comment by DK on March 23, 2009 2:38 am

I would like to add to what Karen has written to Peggy. I was being sexually abused starting from before 2 years of age. I was also physically abused daily. I had parts that took the sexual abuses and buried them – I don’t imagine I had the language or cognitive skills to formulate what happened to me so the memories were fragmented and stored as snapshots of visual memory, auditory memory, kinesthetic (body) memory and pain memories.. As an adult I’ve integrated those memories to make sense of them – various parts held each aspect.

As a child – I had a part that went to school, that part usually didn’t get interference from the part(s) that were physically or sexually abused. The school part had learning disabilities that probably stemmed from dissociation but there was nothing that would have given the school reason to believe I was being abused. I had other parts that played in the community. My mother was very good at looking the part of the best mom in the world when under the view of the outside world. My father turned a blind eye to much of the abuse or was absent for a lot of it. If the child is not “whole” it’s very easy for an uninformed person to miss the abuse.

While abuse is more likely to be reported these days that’s not necessarily a guarantee the child will be protected because the parents have more rights than the children. Again, if the inside part, that presents to whatever agency interviews the child, if that part acts as if everything is fine because that’s what’s safe for that child’s system, protection is not likely to happen.

I am keenly aware of the kinds of behaviors that might suggest abuse in children – including dissociative behaviors. We need to educate society of how abused children “look” or manifest their abuse and then we need to educate our governing bodies about the importance of ensuring the child’s rights over the rights of the parents.

I just wanted to clarify the amnesia aspect of DID that affects the chances abuse will be reported and stopped.

DK

Dear DK,

Thank you for sharing! I’m so very sorry that you, too, suffered from child abuse. I empathize with you.  As a child who dissociated myself, it was extremely difficult for anyone to see that I was being abused. My alters protected me from appearing different. My mother, too, had a way of looking to be the best mom.  I never appeared dirty, I was fed well and not one thing was out of place or unorganized in my mother’s home. It all appeared nice and tidy to cover the sad truth.

I agree that there is a need to educate society regarding child abuse. There are many misconceptions that need to be made clear. There are signs children show when being abused, whether the child dissociates or not, and it’s important to know these signs, watch for them and be aware of how a child may look when being abused.

As a multiple, most people would’ve never guessed that I was being abused. My alters were created to keep me safe and to hide my distress. In a sad way, this may have prolonged the abuse I suffered.

Thank you.

Karen

Filed in Karen's Answers | No responses yet

Karen answers James

admin on Mar 25th 2009

Comment by James on March 22, 2009 2:04 pm

“Karen” Nice to see you after all these years. It was great catching up with the real you. I had a question that needs to be asked. Remember in High School, during our Sophmore year when a group of us took the test to see if we were MENSA qualified. None of us made it but YOU DID! Was that you or an alter? Have you been tested since? How about your children? That was a time, during the test, when I looked at you and swear you were different from the norm. A program this morning prompted my question.

Congratulation on your success!

Love you, Take care!

James

Dear James,

It was nice seeing you, too! I appreciate your kind thoughts and understanding.  I do remember that day when five of us took the test to see, as you put it “how smart we were”.  That was a fun day!  I wasn’t interested in the testing part. I was interested being with you and our friends and going for french fries loaded with ketchup after the test.

I’m not sure how I acquired the high score that I did.  I always thought it was pure coincidence or luck. However, I do recall starting the test and finishing the test, but not the in between and taking the test. I may have not been myself, and an alter completed the test for me. I’m not sure.  Maybe when you looked at me that day you saw one of my alters. 

What I do know for sure is that I never accepted being a member of MENSA because I could not accept something I couldn’t recall accomplishing myself.  All I know is that because of that test no one left me alone, especially my algebra teacher who made me tutor other students. I didn’t know back then I was a multiple. My multiplicity continues to be somewhat of a mystery to me.

To my knowledge, I don’t recall ever testing again. Regarding my children, my son tested for MENSA at age ten and made it.  Although I don’t believe it matters how high someone’s IQ is, what matter’s most is one’s ability to succeed.

Thank you for your question. Looking forward to hearing from you again sometime.

Karen

Filed in Karen's Answers | No responses yet

Karen answers KC

admin on Mar 25th 2009

Comment by KC on March 21, 2009 4:52 pm

Karen Overhill,

Thank you for being so kind to the idiots of this world. Patience is a virtue. A jerk is a jerk and will always be a jerk. I see that you still acknowledge the jerks who ask you accusatory questions . I don’t know how you do it but there needs to be more people like you. Richard Baer did a great job with you. Are you like this because of his help or this is how you always are?

KC,

Atlanta, GA

Dear KC,

I empathize with all people and never consider anyone an idiot.  Of course, I admit there have been a few people who have been difficult to understand.  What’s most important to me is bringing an understanding to the illness, multiplicity.  Actually, those who challenge me, sometimes amuse me.

Dr. Baer is my mentor and yes, he has done a great job in working together with me, to heal me.  I have learned a great deal from him, however, we are not alike. I am my own person just as he is his own person. I did not ‘become’ Dr. Baer because of his help, nor did I learn to be who I am by modeling myself after him.

Thank you for your compliment on needing more people in the world to be like me, your kind and thoughtful words have touched me and are much appreciated.

Karen

Filed in Karen's Answers | No responses yet