Archive for June, 2009

Karen answers Lucy

admin on Jun 29th 2009

Comment by Lucy on 29 Jun 2009 at 5:57 pm
I am a woman who was abused by her father. Like you I turned out nice. I know how hard it was to get through each day. I have been there too. Thank you for telling your story. When I read your book I felt un-alone. I never knew anyone who had similar experience like me. I am not a multiple but very well could’ve been. In a way I wish I was a multiple like you then I would’nt have remember anything until I was older. When I was a child I remembered every day. I am 38 years old now and your story encouraged me to go for help. I am nice but sad because I can’t tell anyone I was abused. I fear being judged. What would you as a woman suggest I do. I value your opinion. If you say therapy will help me I will go.

Dear Lucy,

I’m sorry to hear that you were abused, but I am glad to hear that you feel you have turned out nice.  I understand the price of being nice. It wears on you, especially when you’re unable to vent your underlying anger in an appropriate, safe way. My story seems to have triggered the memories and feelings of many who have been abused.  I believe that it’s best to deal with what has happened than to suppress dark thoughts.

There are many men and women who have suffered abuse.  It may seem that multiplicity is a wonderful way to cope from abuse, but it is not.  It wasn’t easy not knowing what happened each a day, where you’ve been and who you’ve spent time with.  It’s not something I ever felt good about.  I always felt lost, inadequate, and alone in a world I never understood.  I felt like I lived a nightmare every day. Recalling my past was horrific yet necessary in order to heal.  Therapy was needed for me to grow, feel nurtured, and gain the strength I needed to make a difference in my life.  Therapy saved me and I do not regret it.

I’m glad to hear that you are seeking help now that you’ve become aware of the need to.  It’s important to take care of yourself.  A qualified therapist won’t judge you. There is no need to share your therapy with anyone else.  I didn’t.  Please seek help.

Karen

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Karen answers Amber

admin on Jun 25th 2009

Comment by Amber on 24 Jun 2009 at 7:58 am
It was a great book and I’m glad you got through everything, but I have a few questions…..
1. Are all of the pictures in the book real?
2. Will you ever release your identity like Chris Sizemore (EVE) did? Or at least your real first name? (If most of the “bad” people in you life have died, why not?)
3. Were all of the alter’s names the real names except for karen 1, karen 2 and karen 3? (I noticed on the jesus picture with the stars that each time “karen” is mentioned you can tell it was changed from the original name. 
Dear Amber,
 
Thank you for your compliments!  The pictures shown in the book are real, and most of the originals are in color.  My alter Jensen drew them.  I’m not sure where his inspiration came from, but I believe as an eleven year old boy he may have spotted a picture that tiggered a memory and used his own creativity  to draw it.   All I know is that each picture appeared in front of me, usually left on my nightstand, with a note “From Jensen, For Dr. Baer.”
 
During the writing of Switching Time, and at the time of publication, I chose to remain anonymous for personal reasons.  I am not one who wishes to be in the limelight.  I don’t believe it’s necessary for anyone to know my real identity.  It is my hope to be respected as one woman who dared to share her personal journey.
 
My wish was to share my story in order to help others.  I have done interviews and continue to hope to share my story in person.  My real name won’t change who I am and all that I have endured.  I am one and the same.  I admire Chris Sizemore (Eve) for sharing her story, and like her, I have the need to feel safe.  Besides, I had no idea how my story would be perceived and I didn’t wish for my family to be affected in a negative way.
 
It is true that to my knowledge all my abusers have died.  However, just as I felt the need to protect my children from being hurt, there are many extended family members who would be devastated if they knew their beloved relatives were my abusers.  I’m not saying that they shouldn’t know, what I mean is that the people I am referring to are elderly, very special to me, lovely and honest, never hurt me, and I love them.  I don’t wish for them to pass on knowing that they failed to help me.  Maybe one day, when every last elderly relative is dead, I could feel free to share my past as myself without fear.  I don’t believe that now is the right time to reveal my true identity.

 
You are very observant.  My real name was changed in the pictures to Karen.  The remaining fourteen alters names were not changed.
 
Thank you for asking such thought provoking questions.
 
Karen

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Karen answers Brittany

admin on Jun 25th 2009

Comment by Brittany on 22 Jun 2009 at 10:02 pm
Dear Karen,
It’s with bittersweet thoughts that I write you today. I loved your book. But unfortunately can’t understand where the alters fit in with not killing your abusers. Why didn’t they? Why help you survive continuous torture without ending it? If your alters were created to help you why couldn’t they stop the abuse from being done in the first place? I’m not understanding and that leaves me feeling that alters are not worthy of having. Why didn’t your doctor do something to help stop you from being abused by making the alters do what he said? I mean, your husband turned abusive to. Why didn’t the alters kill him? If your alters did kill your abusers would you be charged with murder? Would your doctor defend you? I’m not understanding?
Brittany 

Dear Brittany,

I hear you. There were many times when I asked myself the very same questions you ask.  I don’t have an answer.  My alters were created so that I survived.  I believe I was never able to act violently towards anyone, neither me nor my alters.  There may have been times when an alter wanted to kill an abuser, especially Karl, but I don’t believe that it was really possible, at least not in my case.  When one of my alters had a violent intention, one of the other alters always stepped in and stopped him.  There was always somebody watching.

It was never Dr. Baer’s responsibility to stop my abuse; it was Dr. Baer’s job to guide and teach me how to handle and stop my abuse on my own.  I was an adult and it was a task I needed to learn.  I believe Dr. Baer felt like stepping in at times, but he couldn’t.  I remember he pleaded with me to go to a shelter for battered women, but I wasn’t ready.  I eventually learned to do take care of myself and divorced my abusive husband of twenty-one years.

I believe Dr. Baer would’ve testified on my behalf if I needed him to.  But there’s a lot of ignorance and misinformation about multiplicity.  That’s one reason we decided to share our journey in Switching Time. There continues to be so much to learn about the illness I survived.

Thank you for your questions.

Karen

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Karen answers Kevin B

admin on Jun 25th 2009

Comment by Kevin B on 22 Jun 2009 at 10:01 pm
Hi Karen,
I just finished reading Switching Time. What a powerful realization on what abuse is. I am twenty, never been abused but have a friend who was. I believe it’s important that people share stories like yours. Switching Time was an educational experience for me. I believe I will be a better friend now that I have a understanding of what abuse can do. Thank you Dr. Baer and Karen.
Kevin B.
Dear Kevin,
 
I agree, Switching Time is a powerful depiction of what abuse can do.  It’s important to know what can happen when a child is repeatedly abused.  I’m glad to hear that you weren’t abused yourself.
 
I admire you for acknowledging your friend’s abuse and caring enough to share your thoughts.  You are a great friend for taking the time to care and learn about child abuse in order to be a better friend.
 
Thank you for your compliments and for sharing that Switching Time was an educational experience for you.  Dr. Baer and I truly appreciate hearing from you.  It is my hope to continue to share my story in an attempt to help others with their own journey to wellness.
 
Karen

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Karen answers Leslie

admin on Jun 25th 2009

Comment by Leslie on 20 Jun 2009 at 1:10 pm
Karen,
It’s wonderful to see you faithfully continue to answer questions to support Switching Time and the many troubled souls who share their grief stricken pasts. If it were possible would you consider doing this type of work full-time? How much can you tolerate before you reach the point of distress?
Leslie
Dear Leslie,
 
Thank you for your kind words and compliments.  I do my best to empathize with all who write to me.  I feel privileged to receive correspondence from so many people.  I hope  to share from my personal experiences and journey as long as possible.
 
I would love to continue answering questions, write my own column or short stories, or maybe, together with Dr. Baer, write a sequel to our book, Switching Time. I love to write. I believe writing comes naturally to me. I don’t find it stressful at all. 
 
For me, answering questions here on my blog gives a sense of accomplishment that is priceless. If my words help just one person, I feel I would have done what I was meant to do.  I admit, some days are a bit harder than others, but during difficult times I wait until my troubled feelings pass and look forward to getting back to writing.  I love what I do.
 
If all else fails, I will call Dr. Baer and talk; we are still a team.
 
Thank you for asking.
 
Karen

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Karen answers Ellen

admin on Jun 25th 2009

Comment by Ellen on 19 Jun 2009 at 8:05 pm
Karen,
When I read your response to father’s day I cried for you. I know it may seem that your father was not worthy of being a father. I felt your love for your alters and doctor. My opinion is you didn’t need to be reminded by the person who wrote you. When you answer people you are consistently compassionate and well versed. I would like to applaud you. In spite of the horror you endured you came out on top, I can tell you love the doctor who cared for you more than your own father. When I read your response it came to mind that the doctor should equally love you back. DO you believe in fate, love and that we are all brought together on purpose? I imagine you do. Write a sequel about the love of healing, the love found between doctor and patient and the love of life you gained despite the hurt you endured.
Blessings to your peaceful spirit.
God made you to teach the loveless about love. Go ahead and do it.
Ellen
NY
Dear Ellen,
 
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the post by Samantha about Father’s Day.  I truly appreciate all your compliments!  They means a lot to me.  I’m glad you were able to feel the love that healed me.  That’s very important to me.
 
Yes, I believe in fate, love and that we are all brought together for a reason.  I believe it’s all in God’s plan.  I also believe that we all need someone.  I was very fortunate to have found the right therapist to accompany me on my journey.  I believe my healing and meeting Dr. Baer was meant to be, and my alters and multiplicity were a God sent coping mechanism.  I survived with teamwork!
 
Dr. Baer and I would love to write a sequel to Switching Time.  Thank you for your suggestion and confidence in our story.
 
Have a great day!  
 
Karen 

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Karen answers Luiza

admin on Jun 25th 2009

Comment by Luiza on 21 Jun 2009 at 3:21 pm
Hi Karen,
I read your book last year and it really upset me. I was also raised in a home that was at times abusive. It wasn’t that bad I guees because if things got bad I would just sort of space out. I wasn’t really there. I’ve asked my psychology teacher about it and he says he doesn’t know what that could be. I still do and I’m scared there’s a problem. I know it would probably be helpful to go see a mental health professional but I can’t because they (my family) will want to get involved. They don’t want me to tell. I am 18 and still live at home. I feel like a child who can’t take care of herself. Sometimes I feel like a parasite. It’s just all too much. The depression and everything else. Nobody knows except for one friend. He is also a broken person. My question is, do you think it would be easier to just end it all or do you think I should go and try to see someone.. If at all possible and only if you want to, could you please send me an email at  I don’t really have anyone I can tell.
 
Dear Luiza,
 
Thank you for sharing with me.  I can understand how reading Switching Time disturbed you.  It is a story that touches every nerve of anyone who has suffered from being abused.  I’m sorry that you grew up in a home that was sometimes abusive.  Please don’t take that lightly. Abuse is abuse.  And it upset and affected you to the point that you spaced out.  I am not a therapist, but in my opinion you sound like you still carry the pain of that abuse with you.  If you feel frightened that you might hurt yourself, then yes, please seek help soon.
 
I’m glad to hear that you tried to share your concerns with your psychology teacher.  Remember, your teacher is your teacher, not your therapist, and may not be prepared to help anyone who may or may not suffer from a dissociative disorder.  I believe your teacher may have wanted to help but lacked the expertise to do so.
 
I’m sure a therapist can help you.  It’s hard work, that I know.  Finding the right therapist to accompany you on your journey is not only possible, but an important first step.  Most importantly, a therapist must keep confidentiality.  It’s the therapist’s job not to share any information about you, with anyone, without a signed release from you.  That includes your parents!  Make these concerns known to your therapist.
 
Once you become ready to share, you will, and in your own time.  Please be cautious with who you decide to share with.  Choose those who will support you, not harm you.
 
I understand what your are going through. I hear your pain through your written words, and I’m glad you chose to reach out and share with me.
 
Please know that I care.  Looking forward to hearing from you.
 
Karen

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Karen answers Samantha Jane

admin on Jun 18th 2009

Comment by Samantha, from Illinois on 17 Jun 2009 at 2:35 pm
Karen,
With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, how do you deal with it. In your writings you sometimes refer to Dr. Baer as a father figure of sorts even though you are near the same age. How do you feel about him now that your alters are gone and your birth father dead? I was thinking that this would be a difficult time for you. My prayers are with you. I admire your courage to share as well as Dr. Baer’s courage to take care of you. My prayers include your continued growth and success as life moves forward. None of my business but do you send Dr. Baer your fathers day cards? I would. Love the both of you. The book, the most inspirational journey I have read this year.
Samantha Jane
Dear Samantha Jane,
 
Thank you for your question. I will try to answer you in the best way I can. Father’s Day is not a difficult day for me anymore. For me, I never recognized my birth father as my father.  My birth father was never my Dad. As a matter of fact, I’ve never grieved the loss of my birth father. His death brought me relief.  A dad never hurts his own child.  A real father loves his child.  Therefore, I had no father.
 
As a young child, to feel loved, I created my own version of what a real loving father should be. My mind created my alter, Holdon, to act as an inner father figure so that I could grow.  My images of a father came from viewing actors who played  fathers on television shows, such as Lassie, Father Know’s Best, Leave it to Beaver, Andy Griffith, and any others with a positive father figure I could take in and identify with.
 
During my therapeutic years, my alter Holdon gradually let go of the very important role he was created for, our system’s father figure.  During that time, Dr. Baer became our system’s surrogate father.  Holdon didn’t want to give up his position as head of our inner household, but it was necessary in order for me to heal. My alters grew to accept Dr. Baer, put their trust into him, and yes, see him as a father figure.  Dr. Baer eventually worked together with Holdon to actually re-parent me.  I don’t believe Dr. Baer had any idea that’s what happened, but it did.  Dr. Baer became the most important male parental figure and role model to one hell of a broken me.
 
I believe I have sent Dr. Baer a Father’s Day card every year that I’ve known him.  I already sent him a card yesterday.  I will always continue to feel a very special bond to him, even though realistically I know he is not my father.  I will always feel like Dr. Baer is a part of my family.  After all, my alters, all seventeen of them, adopted him into our world.  How else could I describe the unconditional love that it took to help me heal and survive all that I have?
 
Thank you very much for your prayers and compliments!
 
Karen

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Karen answers an Abuser

admin on Jun 18th 2009

Comment by an abuser and not proud of it on 15 Jun 2009 at 3:44 pm

Karen,

I have abused children in the past. Long time ago, thirty years. don’t do it anymore but live with guilt. The girls, 3 of them, are grown now, probly over 35 years old. I was in prison two weeks ago for a different crime, stole a car, and your book was in the pile. It sounded intyeresting so I read it. The questions at the back made me feel worst. I was 16, black male and preguiced and hurt white girls. I never’d expect them to remember being abused so young. Kids suppose to forget everything. I don’t remember my kid hood. How could you remember? The girls I abused were between 5 and 8. I had no guilt till I read the book. I don’t know what to do with the guilt now that it’s too late. I pray a lot for those girls I hurt. It would be great if people read your book, vicums and abusers to see what happens. I never abused after those girls. I was angry.

Abuser and not proud of it.

Dear Abuser,

I appreciate your sharing your story with us here on the Switching Time blog.  In my opinion, it’s important for all to know what it’s like for an abuser to finally acknowledge their wrong doing.  Abuse is abuse.  There are no time stamps that erase the past.  I hope and pray they have healed and have come to accept that they were not to blame.

I’m gratified that you felt guilty after reading Switching Time; that means our story touched a part of you that’s human and real.  Interesting you found our book in the prison library.  I wonder what drew your attention to the book in the first place?  Was it because it hit a nerve about abusing those girls all those years ago? The fact that you were in prison for another crime suggests there is something much deeper that troubles you.

I am not a therapist and can’t give advice, but in my opinion, children usually remember the feelings attached to their experience of being abused.  I remember everything that had happened to me.  It affected my entire being.  I never felt good about myself and suffered from low self-esteem.  That’s a common reaction.

I am glad the questions at the back of the book made you reflect. It is my hope that both victims and abusers read Switching Time to educate themselves on what can happen to an abused child.

May God have mercy on your soul.

Karen

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Karen answers Kendallynn

admin on Jun 18th 2009

Comment by Kendallynn on 13 Jun 2009 at 3:41 pm
Hi Karen,
How are you? I’ve been reading your answers and like for you to know how much you are helping me understand mental illness. I don’t have multiple personality disorder but I do had dissociative identity disorder. I agree with you that there is a difference. Both illnesses are not the same. I hate when someone calls me a multiple because I don’t have alternate personalities but I do dissociate all the time. Big difference. I wanted you to know that your book and answers are what the medical people should be reading. It’s good for us patients but doctors and therapists should read what you write. Doctor Baer and you made a remarkable discovery about the illness multiple personality disorder. Thank you both for writing the book.
Blessing to both of you,
Kendallynn 
Dear Kendallynn,
 
Thank you for sharing! I am glad to hear your thoughts and opinions regarding multiplicity.  For me, there is a difference between MPD and DID. The term DID, dissociative identity disorder, always seemed too vague to describe my experiences. However, the term multiple personality fit my system of having seventeen different alternate personalities.  In my opinion, based on my own personal journey, I believe when one refers to multiplicity, that means dissociation with alters and losing time.
 
It is Dr. Baer’s and my hope to bring awareness to all people, professional and lay people alike.  We hope more universities use Switching Time as a teaching tool in their college psychology courses.
 
Thank you for your compliments, especially for encouraging therapists, as well as patients, to read our story.
 
Karen

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