Archive for April, 2009

Karen answers Alec’s Second Comment

admin on Apr 28th 2009

Comment by Alec on 28 Apr 2009 at 10:47 am

Dear karen,

First thank you for your support BEFORE my first appointment with my therapist. I might not have gone if you didn’t get back with me. I read over your answer a hundred times and felt if you thought I was brave than maybe even if you didn’t meet me I was braver than I thought of myself. You were right about therapy being hard work. My therapist seemed distant but since you explained your feelings I knew I was the one that being distant. He was listening. I took a time out after my session. I felt ill but releaved. I was exhausted too. Did you feel creepy after sharing things. We didn’t go into detail and like you said he asked questions. My second appointment is tomorrow. I am starting to build up some fear again.. I know you might not get to answer me before tomorrow so don’t worry I will be okay thanks to you for giving me a glimpse into the fear you had to. I won’t miss my appointment. I feel better just knowing you are helping regular people like me.

Thank you ten fold. I am on my way.

Alec

Dear Alec,

Congratulations! You did it! The first step towards your journey toward healing. The hardest day is the first day. It was for me too.  I am glad to hear that all went well and that you took some time for yourself.  I truly appreciate you reading my answer over and over again, but please remember I’m not a professional therapist and can only share from my own personal experiences.

I am not sure whether you will be able to read my answer before your next appointment, but please know that it can feel creepy sharing the intimate details of what may be troubling you.  Time and again I felt ill, dirty, and foolish for telling what happened to me.  I felt like dying, but I knew I needed professional help.  Just like you, I was ready and knew it was time to seek help for myself.

In the beginning I worried Dr. Baer might judge me, become disgusted with me, not believe me, or worse, stop listening to me altogether.  I feared sharing the horror I sufffered.  I had never shared this with anyone before Dr. Baer.  I kept all within, and my pain continued to fester until I spoke the truth.  Although I felt ashamed, Dr. Baer stayed the same.  And believe me, as a highly attuned person, I could sense he represented good and wouldn’t harm me.

As time went on I felt my confidence build and I couldn’t hold back.  Once the emotional gate came open there was no turning back.  One day at a time, one session at a time, slow and steady, steady and slow, I began to heal.

Wishing you all my best.

Karen

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Karen answers Stephanie

admin on Apr 27th 2009

Comment by Stephanie on 27 Apr 2009 at 9:41 am

How do you deal with annoying people who expect more than you can give? I know nobody is perfect but for you living your life there must have been difficult relationships. I would like to know more of what you try to accomplish for yourself. Do you maintain relationships from the past?

Thank you.

Dear Stephanie,

I try to focus on understanding my own emotions and forget about trying to figure out why someone else is acting so weird.  Sometimes I try my best to take a new point of view regarding a difficult friend, especially if they are moody and try to manipulate me into doing more than I am emotionally capable of.  I am not always successful with stressful relationships.  Although I know I can’t fix anyone’s life for them, I keep trying to help.  That doesn’t work well for me and can leave me feeling depressed.

I have maintained very few relationships from my past; I’ve had to let my past go.  However, I’ve kept in touch with certain family members.  I have not shared with many of them that I am the Karen of Switching Time. I treasure all the new friends I’ve made, and continue to make, during the past several years. I let many relationships go from before that time.

Thank you for your questions.

Karen

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Karen answers Niki

admin on Apr 25th 2009

Comment by Niki on 24 Apr 2009 at 7:35 am

Hello Karen,

I’m not asking these questions at all to offend you. So if they are too personal or you don’t want to answer that is fine.

Do you still have any ‘alters’?

Do your children know that you had MPD?

Or do they just know now after you have gotten help?

Did your mother find out about all that has happened to you and what you was diagnosed with MPD?

Do you have a good relationship with your mother now?

I hope my questions are alright. I can hardly wait to hear back from you. I hope your day has been wonder.

Niki

Dear Niki,

I don’t mind answering your questions. I believe we all learn from each other, and I feel privledged to have been asked.

My alters all merged within me during the integration process.  I am one woman now, with a variety of interests that have come from each of my seventeen alters.  However, being blended, not one of my alters remains in their original form.  Think of the alters as puzzle pieces.  Alone, each piece is one piece of the puzzle, but put all the pieces together, and you have the complete picture.

My children always knew that something was up. I have always acted the same with them. I am their Mom. My children knew I suffered from many headaches and was ill at times, but they weren’t aware of the individual alters by name. My alters were created to protect me and to keep my life functioning as normal as possible. Each of my alters answered to “Mom” and acted for my children’s safety.

My children have read my story and now it all makes sense to them. They are able to understand why I was the way I was, and they accept me as I am.

My mother knew I was being abused and that I lost time. She blamed it on other things, such as my needing attention or having a brain tumor.  She never fully acknowledged knowing I was abused. Recently, in the last few years, my mother has slipped and revealed memories that proved she knew.  For me, her “slips” are closure.  Now that my mother is in her seventies I don’t bring up the past. My father passed away fifteen years ago, and all my other abusers are deceased.

My mother and I continue to maintain a relationship, we just never engage in deep conversation. I drive her to the store, we have coffee and chat.  She doesn’t know me, nor does she know that I have written my story.  I have forgiven my mother.  I believe she really is unable to comprehend the true depth of the pain she caused by not paying attention to the signs of my abuse.  That is why I share my story, to bring awareness of child abuse

Karen

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Karen answers Cathy

admin on Apr 24th 2009

Comment by Cathy on 21 Apr 2009 at 12:36 pm

Karen, How did you heal from the betrayal you have experienced in so many ways since your birth? I mean, you seem so kind. Has anyone ever betrayed you and how did you survive your pain. I just found a post office key, my husband’s, it was in his pants pocket when I did the wash. I went to the post office and found many letters from his ex-girlfriend from high school twelve years ago. It appears they are together again. My husband started abusing me physically after my therapist had him come in for a joint session. My therapist informed him that I was sexually abused as a child. My husband said I disgust him for allowing myself to be abused. Sounds like you might know how I feel? I guess my husband turned to his ex for support. One thing led to another and now he’s abusing me. I feel betrayed. I didn’t confront him. I know I need to because his anger is affecting our three children, 10, 8, and 7. Our 7 year old girl is hurting most. The boys, don’t think so?

I can’t help myself and believe you have walked in my shoes of pain. Please help me.

Cathy

Dear Cathy,

I do understand how you must feel after being betrayed by not only your husband but also by your therapist, for revealing information about you. It’s not easy to heal from the hurt caused when someone betrays you.  I can recall looking out a window and all that I could see was nothing but blindness caused by betrayal.  Yes, I have been betrayed, many times over, but after each time I tried my best to pick myself up and move forward as best I could with lessons learned.

After an act of betrayal I feel devastated and shocked, as if I’d been kicked and my breath had been taken away.  I hurt so badly I become unable to function.  I feel myself slipping deep into despair.  Once betrayed, it creates a breach of trust that is difficult to erase.  That is why betrayal is so painful.

I found a way to deal with those who have betrayed me by simply reclaiming my own peaceful heart.  Of course, I do grieve.  Having someone betray you is a loss.  Please give yourself time to acknowledge the loss you’ve received and allow yourself to grieve.

I’m sorry that your therapist shared your past abuse with your husband. That was unfair and inappropriate. Being abused wasn’t your fault; it’s never the child’s fault.

Please take care of yourself and your children.  I am not a therapist and can’t give advice. What I have shared comes strictly from my thoughts, past experience, opinions, and from my heart.  I am saddened that your children are being affected.  I’m sure the boys are learning from your husband’s behavior, too.

You may not be able to change things back to where they once were, but you can heal.

Wishing you all my best.

Karen

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Karen answers Darlene

admin on Apr 21st 2009

Comment by Darlene on 20 Apr 2009 at 2:18 pm

Hi Karen,

What happens when someone gets right up in your face now that the alters aren’t around to protect you? If you get angry how do you defuse? Your story was full of inspiration after getting past the graphic parts. I am glad you survived and told your story. Good Luck!

Dear Darlene,

When someone gets right up in my face, I don’t back down.  I try to stare them down and hope they back off.  My alters are all within me. Therefore, there’s their fight in me, too!  I can’t tolerate much aggression and rudeness.  Life wasn’t easy when my alters shared my time.  But my days of being compliant are over.  However, since I no longer feel the need to back down, there have been times when a challenge has left me shaken and weary.

In general, I hate confrontation, it’s one of my weaknesses.  When someone confronts me, pushes me beyond my comfort zone, and I feel threatened, most likely I will listen to them rant without giving them the satisfaction of my reaction.  When I get angry, I try to figure out why before acting on it. It take’s a lot to push me to that point, but it does happen.  Most of the time I try to maintain a sense of calm in all that I do.

Thank you for your compliments and well wishes.

Karen

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Karen answers Alec

admin on Apr 21st 2009

Comment by Alec on 19 Apr 2009 at 11:09 am

Dear Karen,

You rock! I can’t begin to share how your survival touched me. I now have hope. I love you and don’t even know you personally. I needed help but don’t believe in therapy. Now I might. Made my appointment yesterday for Wednesday next week. I am scared to death. What do I say? What if the therapist assigned to me doesn’t like me much? Is the first time hard? Can you answer me before Tuesday?  

Thank you.

Alec

Dear Alec,

Thank you for your compliments! No one has ever said “I  rock!”  That indeed put a smile on my face. I am so glad to hear that you have found hope after reading my story.

Believe me, I once felt like you!  I didn’t believe in therapy myself, but I knew that I needed professional help.  Feeling constantly suicidal wasn’t something I was able to work through on my own. I was scared to death to tell anyone that I lost time. How could I have known how to help myself when my distress created a wall so thick that I couldn’t see myself living long enough to get through it.

I didn’t share many details at first for fear Dr. Baer would reject me and tell me to get out because I was beyond help.  I needed to build rapport and trust with Dr. Baer.  Therapy is hard work; it takes time and patience.  But therapy saved my life.  There is no time line for healing, each of us is unique, and there is no need to rush in and tell all during your first session.  If I were you, I would just go.  Take that first step, and just allow yourself to say whatever comes to mind.

Please know that there no right or wrong thing to say to your therapist.  What matters most is that you feel your therapist is making a real effort to understand you.  There were many times where I felt Dr. Baer didn’t like me, was angry with me, or didn’t care.  But those were my thoughts, not his. Dr. Baer always stayed the same. I felt those feelings because that’s how I felt with everyone.

I believe you are very brave for making your appointment for Wednesday.  Please know that I will be thinking of you.  I wish you all my best as you continue your journey to healing.

Karen

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Karen answers Concerned Therapist

admin on Apr 19th 2009

Comment by Concerned Therapist LA on 19 Apr 2009 at 9:37 am

Are you saddened by your loss of alter support? I would think you would be more depressed with life. The way I see it is you must be suffering greatly and not saying a word to anyone. I would guess you think your protecting people. I would guess people think they know you when they don’t. A good shrink would spot this in a second. I am a therapist. Read your story including each answer given.

Dear Concerned Therapist,

There is no need for you or anyone else to be concerned over my therapeutic relationship with Dr. Baer.  And I haven’t lost alter support because all of my ex-alters have integrated within me.  And I certainly haven’t lost Dr. Baer’s support. I have also been fortunate to have received great support from friends, family, co-workers, and all those who write here on my blog. I am far from feeling depressed over sharing my story.

What can and does depress me at times is the sadness that comes from living in the real world, just like everyone else. Of course, there have been some stressful and depressing moments as I try my best to adjust to the reality of life as one person.

In part it is true that I tend to protect others by not sharing my pain, but that is a normal part of who I am, with or without my alters. I’ve always thought of myself as too intense for most to handle. Therefore, I rarely share with anyone in depth. Other than with Dr. Baer, I share with only a very few close friends.  Dr. Baer can tell whenever I become too stressed. I bet he knows even before I share it with him.

Thank you for being concerned and sharing your thoughts. My answers come from my heart in hope to help others through their own journey.

Karen

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Karen answers Nathalee

admin on Apr 19th 2009

Comment by Natalee on 17 Apr 2009 at 7:27 pm

Dear Karen,

I have thoroughly enjoyed your comments on the USoT Message Board. I will look forward to your comments next season also. I admire you for telling your story to your Doctor and then to us. I know I learned more from your answers, on here and the message board and am pissed Oprah hasn’t acknowledge your story for her show. I get angry thinking of all the people she has on and can’t comprehend why not you. I wrote her twice about you and she never wrote back.  I no longer respect her decision making staff. I would like to talk to Dr. Baer. Is he available to answer a few questions for me?  What’s his email address?  Thank you.

Dear Natalee,

Thank you for your compliments!  I am glad that you found understanding of multiplicity through my answers here and on the USoT message board. Please know that my answers and thoughts come from my personal experiences and opinions. I am not a professional therapist. I do my best to share but I can’t give advice.

I’m not sure why Oprah hasn’t invited Dr. Baer or myself to her show. There must be a reason, although our story continues to help people in its own way. Time will tell, and if more people are interested in seeing Dr. Baer or me on Oprah, maybe letters will change their mind.

If you have questions for Dr. Baer, post them here, and maybe he and I can answer them together.

Karen

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Karen answers Nathaniel

admin on Apr 19th 2009

Comment by Nathaniel Lennon J on 17 Apr 2009 at 2:20 pm

I felt privileged to read your story. What great courage you have. What great partnership with Richard Baer. I felt my way through each pain you encountered including each stressful moment your doctor encountered. Have you really not lost time since integration in 1998? Over ten years you must’ve come across thousands of times where pushed beyond you linitations. Have you not lost time, honestly? How do you explain that? Did you ever want to go back and rcreate your old alters? Is it possible even to do so? Bravo to you and Richard Baer. I will tell others about your book and this blog. Thank you very much for your time.

Dear Nathaniel,

Thank you for all of your compliments, especially for recognizing the hard work and effort Dr. Baer and I expended together to heal me.

It’s true, I have not lost time since integration was complete in 1998.  I admit, there were more than a few times I wished I could escape from some immediate stress that I couldn’t handle.  I believe alters are created during a child’s formative years, when a child has no other capacity of how to handle stressful situations.  Adults have choices that children do not.

Despite all that I have experienced since integration and living my life as one person, I never once lost time after integration was complete.  I can’t figure out why, but once each alter’s integration was complete, each alter became a permanent part of me, with no walls to divide me from them. My alters are now blended and merged together, never to be separated again.

For me, I was the lucky one.  Integration worked.  I am now one woman.  I believe it’s impossible to re-create my past alters in their individual states, because each alter is now “me.”

Thank you for sharing our story with others! Dr. Baer and I truly appreciate your support.

Karen

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Karen answers Once Devoted Father

admin on Apr 19th 2009

Comment by Once Devoted Father on 16 Apr 2009 at 11:38 pm

Hi Karen,

I am a father who was falsely charged with sexual child abuse by my very own daughter after she didn’t receive what she wanted from me. My daughter is fifteen and read your book and decided it was a good way to seek attention. She confessed and told this to the judge. The judge didn’t believe her and sent her off to counsel. All turned out true and I was released. But now My life is destroyed. It took over a year now since she recanted and I was sent free. I lost my job, my faith and all respect from my neighbors. Our family now is forced to move out of shame. We set to move next week. I am here thinking of you.

While sitting in prison I read your book. The book that indirectly sent me there. I empathize with all that you have gone through. I cried when I read what happened to you. I wanted to get out and hurt your father if he werent already dead. My anger continued to get the best of me while I sat waiting for the justice system to figure things out. I can’t believe it took them so long. My daughter recanted two weeks after my arrest but her therapist insisted the only way she could have accused me was because I did do it. Now she feels bad and wants to ignore all like nothing happened. I can’t forget and have ill feelings. My God I spent time in prison how do I forget that?

My daughter can’t look me in the eye. She cries herself to sleep. She has no friends and she lost so much weight she looks anorexic. We tried therapy and it went badly. She refuses to try again. I have forgiven her but admit when she pisses me off I drag up dirt. I feel awful. She feels awful. Do you think we will ever be father and daughter again like before all this happened?

Once devoted father.

Dear Devoted Father,

Your are not a “once devoted father”, you are still a devoted father, otherwise you wouldn’t have cared enough to seek help with a therapist, try to communicate with your daughter, have concern for her well being, and then write to me and share your pain.  I believe you are devoted, but just a bit unsure of what to do next to rebuild trust in your relationship. I can hear that you still hurt. I assume she hurts, too.

I’m sorry to hear that your daughter read Switching Time and chose my story to imitate in a fraudulent way.  I know it’s hard for most to believe that any child could make up such horror. People make mistakes. I’m glad that your daughter eventually decided to do the right thing and tell the judge she made it all up. That was very brave of her.  I’m sure she didn’t plan on your being thrown in jail when she accused you.  She must be devastated by all that’s transpired.  I hope she finds someone she can talk to.  I can empathize on how hard things are for you at this time.  Please don’t give up.  If possible, reconsider therapy.

I’m not a therapist and can’t give advice, but in my opinion, in due time, you and your daughter will find common ground.  The love you have for each other will always stay the same.  I do believe in time you will both forgive each other as well as yourselves. I feel honored that you chose to share with me.

I wish you both all my best.

Karen

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