Archive for September, 2009

Karen answers Prisca

admin on Sep 29th 2009

Comment by Prisca on 26 Sep 2009 at 9:38 am

Karennnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!

i just look the questions and ur responses on ur blog..!

i always looking forward to look at it now and then!

and, wow! it makes me want to ask u question too..!

hmmmm…karen?why do u want to believe in Dr. Baer on the first place?

and why do u want to meet him and not looking for another therapists or doctors?i’m sorry if this question has been asked before~

and..

sorry for my bad englishhh!!

aww… >.<

Dear Prisca,

Thank you so much for sharing that you look forward to reading my blog. That means a lot to me! And yes, of course you can ask me questions.

I was in trouble when I first met Dr. Baer. I was depressed and didn’t want to live. I felt hopeless and didn’t care what would happen to me. I was a mess. I didn’t know that Dr. Baer was able to help me. I didn’t even like him very much at first. Actually, I hated all men, but had no energy to seek help elsewhere. I had lost the will to live. I knew I needed help and Dr. Baer was willing to help me.

I believe I must’ve had faith. I needed to start somewhere and try my best to not give up. Dr. Baer was kind to me, he didn’t scream at me, he didn’t say much at all, but he did listen. And I needed someone, anyone to listen. For the first time in my life, someone actually listened to me. I never experienced that before. As time passed, I developed the ability to feel, because he understood what I told him. I became fond of him and felt safe. Once I felt safe, I learned to trust.

My alters accepted Dr. Baer. There was never a moment when I felt the need to seek help elsewhere. Dr. Baer and I worked together well. It wasn’t easy at first, but we grew to respect each other.

Once one finds the right therapist, the work and healing begins. Changing therapists during the intense years of my therapeutic relationship would have been devastating to my alters and me. I am grateful to Dr. Baer and believe our work together was meant to be. Dr. Baer was God sent.

Thank you.

Karen

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Karen answers Pissed in Atlanta

admin on Sep 29th 2009

Comment by Pissed in Atlanta on 25 Sep 2009 at 4:27 pm

Karen, Karen, Karen!

Did you see MacKenzie Phillips on the Oprah Show and what she claimed her father did to her? Do you believe her? OMG I think she’s a liar! I had doubt about your story but know it could have happened. MacKenzie probaly was abused but her drug abuse was not dissociation like yours. She claims she dissociated. What do you think of a drug user and dissociation? Why would Oprah allow her to talk about Mick Jaggar and her having sex? Disgusting! Book under lock and key for Oprah supervisors to take oath? How ridulous! I am so mad at Oprah right now for her not respecting your story and taking MacKenzie’s just because she had a famous father. Horseshit!

Pissed in Atlanta

Dear P’d in Altanta,

I didn’t get a chance to watch MacKenzie Phillips the day she appeared on The Oprah Show, but I did track down the recorded show from a friend and not only watched MacKenzie but also her sister Chynna on Friday. I won’t judge anyone. Maybe what she claimed was true?  I believe abuse is abuse, and that MacKenzie perhaps did suffer at the hands of her father. I thought she was brave to share, but also hated to see that she was taking responsibility for her part in her supposed “consensual” relationship with her father. In my opinion, at thirteen years old, as a minor, she was raped by her father.

As I listened to MacKenzie share with Oprah, I didn’t believe she was aware that what she experienced was rape. I thought she was in denial because she felt it was consensual. I believe as time passed she became compliant because she, like me, had mistaken the inappropriate boundaries of her loving father. MacKenzie may have believed sex was love. When a child is sexually abused, it is not making love. I can’t believe her father told her he didn’t rape her, but made love to her. That’s exactly how my father led me to believe that he loved me, that sexually abusing me was God’s word, and that bond was meant to be. Sickening, yes; disgusting, yes; inappropriate, yes; a father’s love? No.

MacKenzie never claimed to have a dissociative disorder; she claimed to have blackouts from drug use. The fact that her father helped administer the drugs is horrific. To take advantage of his daughter for sexual pleasure is rape no matter how you try to explain it away. Rape is rape. While Oprah interviewed MacKenzie, I don’t believe she was prepared for her to say anything about Mick Jagger. I believe Oprah was shocked, too.

I can understand the secrecy about the book the Oprah staff needed observe, but there was too much drama surrounding that fact. Although I would’ve encouraged Oprah and her staff to question my relatives and friends, too, I would’ve been upset at constantly trying to prove my story. To me, if the staff needs proof, don’t cause more distress on the victim. I know exactly what MacKenzie may have felt like trying to prove all that happened to her.

As I shared my story, there was a time I also feared what my family, friends, and acquaintances would think of me. It’s very hard to share knowing that some will deny and not believe you. However, my reason for sharing is the same as MacKenzie’s: to bring truth to what can happen to a child when left unprotected. To be sexually abused by one’s father is the most damaging act to a daughter’s self-esteem and her ability to move forward.

In my opinion, and this was not mentioned, I believe MacKenzie didn’t understand the full impact of what had happened to her until after her father’s death. As an abused woman matures, she then starts to realize that she was taken advantage of. No father, no father figure, no man, period, should ever sexually abuse a child, no matter what.

I don’t know that Oprah has even read my story, and therefore don’t believe she has shown me disrespect. Oprah simply hasn’t responded. My father wasn’t famous, I am not famous, and our book, Switching Time, was Dr. Baer’s first published book. Our story is amazing and remarkable and definitely one of a kind. But whatever Oprah’s reason is for not choosing to have us as guests, it’s beyond my comprehension. I understand you feel pissed over my story not being shared on The Oprah Show.  I would love to meet her.

I am touched that you believe in Dr. Baer and our work together to heal me. I am very grateful for everything that came my way to help me. I’ve been blessed and I’m not pissed at anyone.

Thank you for sharing your frustrations and concern. I appreciate hearing true feelings of those who read my story. We all have opinions and there are many false stories out there.

Karen

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Karen answers Jacqueline

admin on Sep 29th 2009

Comment by Jacqueline on 25 Sep 2009 at 9:07 am

Dear Karen,

OK, I can understand all that you write, I love your way of bringing peace, but HOW can you possibly forgive those idiots who abused you? God, I can’t even remember all the acts I suffered through being a victim of sexual abuse when I was young. I blocked most of it out. If I remembered all I would’ve killed myself long ago. I am 42 years old and have no room, not one space to forgive, and feel miserable all the damn time. I have no faith and stopped believing in God. What reason could you possibly have to forgive? What is forgiveness to you?

Jacqueline

Dear Jacqueline,

Forgiveness. That has been a tough one for me, yet it comes easier now that I’ve healed. There have been many people here on my blog and in my life that can’t understand how it’s possible for me to have been hurt so much and still try to forgive. It is not my job to judge or condemn anyone, even those who hurt me. I may forgive, but I can’t forget. I am who I am today because of the experiences I’ve suffered.

Please don’t misunderstand. I hate recalling the details that caused my mind to fragment into many alternate parts. But I have no choice; the memories still sometimes come. I had once tried to deny the truth of my past, ignore my thoughts, and not believe any of it, but with no success. Each day that I tried to ignore the truth, the more ill I became. I felt depressed, suicidal, suffered frequent nightmares and headaches, and couldn’t function knowing that I was living a lie. I had to confront my past, and within the safety of therapy, I did. It was the most difficult time of my life, yet a much needed time in my life. Before therapy, I was a prisoner within myself.

In therapy, I wrote down every memory that came to me. Writing offered me the freedom to vent without causing harm to anyone. I would journal and turn my journals over to Dr. Baer for safe-keeping. As the details of my abuse were vented away, forgiveness started to come to me as a sense of calm. Only at this time was I able to begin my journey to heal.

I believe in order to forgive one’s abusers, you need to recognize and remember how you were hurt in the first place. As a young child, I believed much of the abuse that was happening to me was from love. I never understood that it wasn’t love until during therapy. I even may have felt at times that I enjoyed being abused, because I mistook what I was feeling as something loving, when realistically it was not. When abuse comes in the form of forced, inappropriate sexuality, it confuses a child into believing she is being loved. That was the only kind of love I knew. It was hard for me to learn the difference.

Have faith that by remembering the abuse you’ve suffered, it will eventually release those fears that keep you trapped in pain. I admit I felt suicidal many times as my memories poured out of me, but after each episode, a weight lifted, and I felt stronger. Time and again I felt like ending my life, time and again I surprised myself by making it through another day. Remembering is hard, but needed, to remove yourself from your inner prison. Maybe journaling will help release the miserable feeling and anger you are experiencing.

Wishing you all my best.

Karen

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Karen answers Cammerron

admin on Sep 29th 2009

Comment by Cammerron on 23 Sep 2009 at 9:21 pm

Dear Karen,

When your alters left you in integration did you change your appearance to look like them? After each alter integrated did you look in the mirror and see them? How did you deal with it? What about looking in mirrors? I read somewhere you hate mirrors, is that true? When you had alters what freaked you out? Do you believe the alters haunt you now like ghosts? Do you dream of your alters like they appeared before integration? Are your alters haunting your dreams saying they want back in? Out of curiosity. I am intrigued by you. I am also fond on you.

Cammerron, Alaska

Dear Cammerron,

I don’t recall much about changing my appearance as each alter switched from one to another. I may have done so at times, but definitely not enough to remember. There was really no time to change appearance and clothing because I never knew when a switch would occur. In most instances, a multiple can’t plan ahead.  Switching comes as a natural reaction to deflect something that’s uncomfortable, frightening, or something a multiple does not wish to confront. It’s an automatic response. That’s why I have a hard time believing stories where a multiple totally changes their appearance the minute a switch occurs.

I believe a true multiple can’t afford to bring attention to herself. After all, I believe alters are created to keep one functioning without notice. I tried my best to appear nearly the same at all times. That was best for me. I can’t answer for anyone else or another multiple. We each are unique and deal with our past trauma in our own way.

Mirrors. I still don’t like to look in a mirror. Whenever I glance into a mirror, I don’t see the self I feel inside. I may not recognize the woman in the mirror as me, and that can depress me. In my mind, I simply look different. During the years my alters were active, if one of them would glance into a mirror, that alter would see his or her self. Miles would’ve looked like Miles to him, Claire would’ve looked like Claire, and so on. That’s why I removed all mirrors from my home except for the bathrooms. If I lived without my husband and children, I would’ve most likely covered the bathroom mirrors, too.

The only thing my alters did to freak me out was to want to end my life by cutting away my abuse. Which of course is impossible. But you can’t explain that to a child alter. Dr. Baer had to work hard with a few of my alters so that those dark thoughts and impulses were eliminated.

Alters are not ghosts! I am not haunted by my ex-alters and never dream of them as their separate selves. I’m not sure why I never dream of them, but I don’t. My dreams are my own and rarely include past trauma and alter chaos. I am grateful for that.

Thank you for all the challenging questions, I appreciate the time you’ve taken to better understand all that I have been and have become.

I am Karen. My alters are Karen, too.

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Karen answers Kimberly

admin on Sep 29th 2009

Comment by Kimberly on 23 Sep 2009 at 9:26 pm

Karen,

I came home to find more documentation from my past, which I have been working on to fill the memory gaps in my life. The tears poured, which is very unusual for me. I do not recall having braces before the age of 16 or having them removed with pliers by my father out of his anger for my aunt who had them put on for me. How can I not remember such a terrible experience?

How do you get through the day? These thoughts never leave unless someone else takes over. Did you have others to talk to before you integrated?

Kimberly

Dear Kimberly,

There was so much I couldn’t recall of my past, too! However, after integration all the memories were filled in. Finally, my puzzle, my life was complete. You may be feeling heart-broken and sad. There must be a reason for that. Please allow your tears to fall.

I’m so sorry for the pain you endured. My alters removed such horrific memories in order for me to survive. Maybe that’s why you can’t remember.  Your may be protecting yourself from knowing the horror you once experienced.  When the time is right, you will remember all, but only when you’re able to deal with the pain. Please don’t give up. I care.

For me, some days are still difficult, but as time passes on, each day becomes lighter. As you realize the extent of your suffering, those painful memories will rise up and fall back time and again, until they settled down to a quiet hum. I know it’s different for each of us, but I believe that you will some day understand what I’m sharing. For today, when those dark thoughts resurface, try facing them for what they are, a past memory, not a present trauma. When I feel that way, I try to convince myself that there is no room in the present for those dark thoughts.

I heard my alters speak within me during their conference meetings each night, but not during the day, while I switched in and out. I believe my alters communicated what was best for me with Dr. Baer. Sometimes during therapy I felt I didn’t belong there or have anything to say. It was hard. But it was at that time I started to heal.

There were times I never thought I’d make it, but I did. I believe you are doing the best you can! Have faith and your healing will follow. I wish you well.

Karen

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Karen answers Saul

admin on Sep 29th 2009

Comment by Saul on 25 Sep 2009 at 4:05 am

In the show United States of Tara, Tara’s alters seem to be in some way similar to her own family members. How do you feel your alters were created compared to Tara’s possible family connections? How is it possible Tara’s alters are like her family?

Dear Saul,

I am not a psychiatrist and can’t answer your questions with certainty, but I can give my opinion. Remembering Tara is just a television character, I believe it’s possible for Tara’s alters to pick up mannerisms from those close to her. I believe alters are created for survival and draw what is needed from many different people, which may include immediate family members. A true multiple will gather thoughts, feelings, and mannerisms from anyone that his or her part-self needs to survive. Alters are created in a child’s formative years but continue to grow, not always in age, but in thought, which can include adding more personality traits.

For example, in my case my alters gathered the good from a mixture of characters on television shows such as “Father Knows Best” “Lassie” “Leave it to Beaver” and from people I admired, wished to be like, or felt were responsible. Each of my alters were unique and came from who my thoughts created them to be based on my need to overcome a traumatic event.

Multiplicity is an amazing coping mechanism, but God forbid anyone needs to use it! Alters are created to help a child survive abuse, but once the child enters adulthood and leaves the trauma behind, the alters are no longer needed in the same way. I believe that’s where alter chaos begins, at the time when the alters don’t need to protect the child anymore and don’t know how to cope in the normal world. That’s why it’s so important to integrate all the alters. That way they all will become one and will be able to move forward in the world abuse free.

Thank you for your questions.

Karen

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Karen answers Lillie

admin on Sep 29th 2009

Comment by Lillie on 23 Sep 2009 at 9:19 pm

Hi Karen,

I am thrilled you make comments under the newspeoples facebook thoughts. I am thrilled whenever I see your name pop up after you answer a question. I read you comments on Amazon.com of the books you read, Oprah comments, Ellen D, Linda Yu. Sylvia Perez and more. I have tagged you. Everything you say is of value to me. I think your opinions are worth sharing. I am thrilled your completed therapy with Richard Baer was a success. Your comments about being a great team are right on! Congratulations on a much needed success life story. I wish you happiness. My opinion is worth nothing but you and Richard Baer inspired me to a higher level of life.

Love you!

Lillie

Dear Lillie,

Thank you so much for all your kind thoughts and opinions! I am touched that you are so thrilled with my responses and find them of value and inspiration. That means a lot to me.

My journey to healing came from having the unconditional support of Dr. Baer and special friends. I couldn’t heal on my own until I learned to trust. Of course, having faith helped me through the toughest times. I am grateful to all those who helped me get to this point in my life. I am now one woman trying to do the best I can to get through each day.

Thank you again for all your compliments! And, yes, Dr. Baer and I made a great team! But that didn’t come easy; it took patience, respect for each other, and building trust. I had faith that one day I could live as one.

Karen

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Karen answers Michael

admin on Sep 27th 2009

Comment by Michael on 22 Sep 2009 at 5:38 pm

My wife was mpd. she had 11 parts that i could talk to. Each had her own memories, skill sets and likes and dislikes. two were very hostile. she had amnesia for the mpd until one of the hostile alters pulled her from the front and into the house where all her alters lived and fought her. well, she won the fight and then the alters were able to have free reign of the house and start to work together. as she merged her memories merged until she was down to two parts. after she merged the final two into one person, she now has no memory that she was ever a multiple. but i do see all her parts in her actions, body movements and she has all the memories of each except for what the two hostile alters did. have you heard of a person merging and then not know they were ever a multiple?

Dear Michael,

I haven’t heard of a multiple losing all memory of being a multiple. I believe integration worked for your wife because she regained memory of her past without hostility and alter individuality. I would say integration was a success! She is now one woman able to move forward and live her life without alter chaos.

In my case I kept most of the memories of my alters, minus the experience of their worst pain. I have been able to understand all that brought me to where I am today. For me, that was a very important part of my healing. I’m not sure what would’ve happened if I forgot everything. I’m not sure I would’ve liked that feeling. Being a multiple is a complex coping mechanism. Although incomprehensible to most, there is so much more medical research to be done to understand this illness, and those who suffer from it. Maybe it’s a blessing for your wife not to remember being a multiple and switching?

I’m amazed that you notice the different parts of the alters now that she has completed integration. That’s a wonderful way to understand where your wife has been. What a proud moment to be able to experience your wife as one. Accepting her just the way she is, is very important. In my opinion I wouldn’t bring up the past alter activity, unless of course, it’s needed for some reason during her therapeutic healing. If all appears calm and well, then I would let it go. You hadn’t said anything, but I was wondering how you are handling the loss of the uniqueness of each of your wife’s ex-alters? It must’ve been hard on you, too. Befriending the alters was building a relationship with each one, letting them go must have had some affect on you? I never thought about that before, but now I wonder whether Dr. Baer grieved at the integration of each of my alters, too! Sometimes I grieve, but realistically I know that each of my alters is me.

Multiplicity can affect the entire family system. Please take care of yourself, too.

Thank you for sharing your story and for posting another look into the world of multiplicity.

Karen

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Karen answers Snickers

admin on Sep 27th 2009

Comment by Snickers on 22 Sep 2009 at 1:22 pm

Dear Karen,

At sixteen I was raped. I am a rape victim and an abused woman. Not a multiple personality. But that doesn’t matter at this point ’cause I might as well have been like you anyway. I read you book and came to realize that although not like you I act like a multiple personality to get through my days. I dissociate without dissociation. I need to change my attitude and personality numerous times a day just because of my lies. I didn’t want anyone to ever know the real me because of my rape. Me is weak. I hated my life and decided to become different to different people so I would enjoy a variety of relationships. I act sophisticated for some, crazy girly girl for some, teacher like for some and pretend I am qualified for jobs that I am not. I even have some believing I am a transexual and others a metro male. I am believable. My question to you is. I have gone too far with it and think I am turning my imaginary made up people parts into a multiple personality, a real multiple personality. Is it possible? Could you give me your opinion and ask Dr. Baer what’s wrong with me? Can I, a 27 year old adult woman become a multiple personality after two years making it up? Will my mind accept my lies to compensate my boring life and create real alters? How do I go back without revealing what “Id done? I’m so bad I actually started using your story as a guide book for my lies. I could create a whole new story line by being you, indirectly of course. I am fascinated with you. I have learned so much from you that I probably could become you. Ha Ha! What should I do? Do you think I need a therapist? If you say so I will find me a therapist but honestly what I thought was fun at first is turning out to be hard, very hard work. I don’t know how you lived as a multiple personality Karen. It’s exhausting and takes so much work to keep up. I admire you.

Snickers in LA

Dear Snickers,

I’m really glad you wrote to me. Being a victim of rape is not being weak. Someone stole your innocence from you. That was a horrific crime and not your fault. I understand the shame and guilt you feel. I’ve been there, too! I understand that you don’t feel good about yourself at this time, but that’s why it’s so important to talk to someone. You have taken the most important first step by sharing with me and accepting what happened to you. With support, I believe you can get through this.

My life as a multiple was not as exciting as most people want to believe. A true multiple’s life is exhausting. Being a true multiple is scary. The difference between what you describe and being a true multiple is that multiples aren’t aware, for the most part, of their other personalities.  You are.  Not being aware of all that one does is frightening. I’m glad that my story has changed your thoughts and brought you to a better understanding of the reality of the illness, multiplicity.  I showed your comment to Dr. Baer, and he does not believe you can become a multiple by enacting different personas for different occasions.  He said it lacks the dissociative part that comes from repeated trauma.

What interests me is that you chose not to be yourself in order to protect yourself from the shame you felt after being sexually abused. Although pretending to be someone else can be a temporary help, it’s an awfully exhausting way to deal with your everyday relationships. In my opinion seeking professional help from a qualified therapist would be of real help. For me, my pain lessened as I acknowledged what happened to me and worked on confronting my issues head on. Hiding behind a false self is hurtful to one’s entire being. Please seek help; I encourage you.

Please don’t try to copy me. My life was hell. I believe the more you lie the harder it will be to undo the damage you’ve caused. Try your best to stop fabricating anymore than you already have. Start fresh. Start over. Think of your family and friends, those who admire you, and those you work with. How will they feel knowing you hadn’t trusted them with the real you? Be yourself.  I believe a true friend will always unconditionally accept you for who you are.

I send you my best wishes as you continue your journey to healing, accepting your loss, and moving forward in truth. Please have faith. Writing to me shows me that you do have strength and instinct to know right from wrong. In my heart, I believe you wish to do the right thing.

Please take care of yourself. I would love to hear from you again. Please feel free to write me back anytime.

Karen

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Karen answers Holly

admin on Sep 27th 2009

Comment by Holly on 22 Sep 2009 at 9:37 am

Suffering comes a long time for you. First abuse at the hands of your father, grandfather and his friends, to marrying an abusive husband. As you look back now to your marriage. Did you see signs that your husband to be was abusive before you married him or did the abuse come later. Did you choose you husband to be because he was like or not like your father? As you think back to all the abusive relationships you had lived what do you feel now? Your answer to Krystyne talks about men. I agree with your mature thoughts but when did you come to know most past relationships were in search of the wrong type of love? I think you are one of the strongest women alive. Thank you for all your devotion to your cause. Dr. Baer’s work with you is inspirational.

Holly

Dear Holly,

In a way, yes, I did know my husband would be abusive, but didn’t realize it at the time. As years passed, I recognized the signs that I previously ignored and kept out of my awareness. Remember, I was searching for a man unlike my father, but without knowing exactly what to look for. I thought I had chosen a husband totally the opposite of my father, but it turned out I chose in the wrong way. How could I possibly have known what to look for in a relationship based on my lack of true fatherly love?

My father wore suits and ties, appeared business-like, and never thought about camping, hunting, enjoying sports, etc. My husband was the opposite. He was the outdoors type, loved sitting around campfires, fishing, traveling, playing softball, and so on. My father would never sport a beard, but my husband did. My idea of what a good man was like led me to choose based on looks and outward preferences, not on his true self.

There were signs I never paid attention to. A few weeks before our wedding there was a day when after attending a social event, my husband-to-be had a few too many drinks and became aggressive. He pushed me into a wall. It was the first time he hit me. I saw so much anger in him. I saw the same anger in him on a visit to his mother’s home when after too much drink, she became angry, too. The next day neither of them remembered their acts of aggression, so I assumed it was the drink and not them, personally. I was not familiar with alcoholism. My father rarely drank, and I never drank. But my fathers’ friends, and a few of my abusers did, so in part I knew that might become a future problem. As I look back now, I think if a man hits you before your wedding day, then chances are he’ll continue on afterward, and sadly with more force.

During my time in therapy, I started to realize real love is not abusive. That all men don’t hit. There were quite a few times in session with Dr. Baer when I drew back from him, my therapist, because he was a man, and I thought he would hit me. That’s all I knew. Men hurt women. In my upbringing and in my marriage, if I spoke up or shared some horrific memory, I’d get hit. If I dared defend myself, I would be beaten. I was a battered, child-like woman. That’s what I felt like most of the time and the reason I stayed compliant in my marriage. I learned in therapy that what I was experiencing was domestic abuse. Before that, I thought all women were treated with disrespect.

These days I am cautious and careful not to be led into abusive relationships. Of course, because of my past abuse, it’s possible for me to make a mistake in trust every now and then. But what’s most important is that now I’m better at what to look for, what my needs are, and how to not to get involved in bad relationships. I will never allow myself to be abused again. I have strength and a voice now, and will use it.

Thank you for your compliments and for believing my work with Dr. Baer is inspirational. That’s the highest compliment!

Karen

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