Archive for November, 2009

Karen answers Angry Step-Father Adam

admin on Nov 24th 2009

Comment by Angry Step-Father, Adam on 19 Nov 2009 at 10:54 am

Dear Karen,

I am the step-father of a multiple woman I raised for seven years since she was twelve. My wife and I spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours trying to seek what’s best for her. When we found a great therapist we were overwhelmed with joy. All was well until three months ago. She is a mess these days and causes us quite a bit of grief for the family. My wife and I feel hopeless. Our two other children’s grades are dropping in their school work for lack of our attention due to the constant stress at home. At five and seven years old they don’t understand. We won’t kick her out in her fragile frame of mind.

Before reading your book enough was enough. After I read your book the knowledge shared was helpful, we decided to change our way of approaching my daughters nine alters. Thank you for providing what people like us may never really understand about abuse. I had no idea how alters work.

I swear I am writing in frustration because I feel angry at her birth father for raping her between ages 2 and10. He is imprisoned and will be released in six more years. My daughter is nineteen and her alters are not all integrated. She has only begun to face her truth. I would like for her to be strong like you by the time her father is released. My anger has become much more intense as she loses more and more control. Why would she get worse after getting better at a steady pace for years? I don’t get it? Any information would help. I’m sorry for your suffering but happy you chose to help others.

Angry Step-Father, Adam

Dear Adam,

Thank you for sharing you story with me. I’m sorry for all the grief you and your family are experiencing, but please know that the grief is temporary. Though I am not a qualified therapist and can’t give advice, I can answer based on my own personal opinion and experience as a multiple.

I believe at nineteen your daughter is starting to come to terms with her past abuse. She has matured and may understand now more than ever the complex system that caused her to fragment her abuse. She may be recalling the details of memories of past abuse that she can’t share, leaving her feeling torn, frustrated, agitated, and alone. That’s good news in one way, but can cause turmoil for the family.

In my case, once my past memories were triggered there was no going back. Each awful memory that came up needed to be dealt with quickly in the safety of therapy. I found keeping dark memories close to my heart and away from my family to be best for me. I chose to share in my sessions only. The stress your daughter may be experiencing at this time can be high. She is maturing into adulthood and faces many new challenges. In my experience, therapy was extremely exhausting. I never talked about it with anyone. I couldn’t. To bring up what was shared would have had devastating consequences.

I’m not sure how to explain the way my family and Dr. Baer treated my alters, but for me, I believe ignoring the alters’ individuality and treating me as one person worked well.  My alters would only surface when needed to help me through some type of distress, crisis, or chaos and were there functioning without any attention drawn to them. You mentioned you and your wife are approaching your daughters alters in different ways.  Please simply treat you daughter as one person with an “attitude” at times. Please be patient, you mentioned it’s been three months, and that’s not that long.

Have you talked to someone about the anger you feel towards your daughter’s father? If not, I encourage you to do so. I’m sure your daughter senses your anger and is trying to deal with that, along with her own distress. That can add more ill feelings. Multiples are highly attuned.  Whenever I had a bad day it was most certainly caused by my being attuned to people and picking up stressful feelings from those surrounding me. Think of your daughter as a magnet, only that she will attach to the negative before the positive.

I am glad you wrote. It is my hope that there is something in what I have shared that may be of help. Please know that your daughter needs support. If integration has started, many changes are happening, please be there for her when she needs you, give her a little space to grow, and one day she will inspire you.

Wishing your family peace.

Karen

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Karen answers Jessica Taylor

admin on Nov 24th 2009

Comment by Jessica Taylor on 23 Nov 2009 at 5:01 pm

You are an inspiration and a true survivor Karen. I am honored to know you.

We are kindred spirits. I too have triumphed over tragedy. Info on my work is on jessicaetaylor.org.

Keep on writing.

Blessings to you.

Dear Jessica!

Thank you for all that you are, and yes, we are kindred spirits for we both are true survivors. I feel blessed!

Looking forward to getting to know you and reading your story. Thank you for sharing!

Karen

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Karen answers Marcellas

admin on Nov 24th 2009

Comment by Marcellas on 22 Nov 2009 at 9:05 am

Dear Karen,

Thanks a mega bunch for sharing your thoughts and answers on a blog. I wanted to tell you you amaze me but also let you know how your words of confidence, realism and pure truth of your past experiences made a difference in my life. I wanted to kill myself one year ago today. That day I found your book sitting on a cocktail table in a waiting area of the library I was trying to stay warm in. I was alone and afraid to go home after my husband beat me. I stayed there all day and accessed your site through the computer. I want you to know how inspirational you are to women like me. I once thought I was a loser because I was abused as a young girl of nine. I thought I asked for it because maybe I flirted my way to wanting attention.

At my despair my mother punished me for being raped. My mother said I asked for it. I believed I wanted it though I never knew it was sex I wanted. Was I wrong to feel this way? Were you ever afraid you wanted to be abused? Unlike you, my mother acknowledged my abuse but it didn’t matter because she told me to shut up and never talk about it again. I never talked about it again. But you know what? I was suffering so bad because of never talking about it. I am a adult victim now not just as a child. Switching Time gave me something to learn from. One year ago I wanted to kill myself. Today, November 22, 2009 I am in therapy, was divorced, in college and raising my child alone with the help of a relative. At 28 with a 6 year old impressionable girl I chose to get out of a bad life. Thank you, Karen.

Marcellas

Dear Marcellas,

Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I’m sorry for all that you have endured but I’m glad you took action to help yourself and your daughter. I’m inspired by your strength to overcome many obstacles to get you where you are today. Though I am happy to hear that my story has helped make a difference in your life, I believe you are the one to be applauded. What you have done for yourself and your daughter must not have come easy. I admire you. Thank you for being brave and taking the right path away from abuse. I believe with faith you and your daughter will do well. I sense you are a strong woman. In reading your story tears came to my eyes, for this is the reason I shared my story.

Please know that how you feel is never wrong. There is always a reason for the sadness you’re feeling. I believe you simply knew to trust your instincts. I sense you’ve been hurting for a long time. I felt the same as you. I thought maybe I asked to be abused, maybe I desired that type of touch, even thinking that type of touch was normal and happened to all young girls. But none of that matters. Why?  Because as children searching for love, how could we have known what we wanted? How we should feel? What was appropriate touch without ever experiencing it? We were children. For both of us, our fathers should’ve been the responsible adults. As children, we were the victims.

My mother would’ve reacted the same as yours. I tried to share with her by saying my father was hurting me, but she told me it was my imagination or I dreamt what happened. I knew it was real. I believe with alter help and for my own safety I stopped talking, slid into survivor mode, and kept my pain within me.

I am happy you didn’t suicide and wish you a sense of calm and happiness as you journey forward, away from abusive relationships.

Karen

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Karen answers Leigh Ann

admin on Nov 24th 2009

Comment by Leigh Ann on 22 Nov 2009 at 4:46 am

Karen:

I started reading Switching Time as a reading assignment for nursing school. Although I had to read this book as an assignment, I feel that there was a reason.

I am amazed, honored, and humbled that you were able to share your life horrors with the world. Through the course of reading this book, there were many times I found myself in tears and many times that I found I had to close it for a few minutes before I could go on. It is unimaginable to me the things that you endured and that you are brave enough to share them with others. Then, I found myself crying again, but for very different reasons as your integration was documented and I found I couldn’t read it fast enough! I want to thank you for letting me glimpse into your life and your path to healing.

I have always had an interest in psychiatry and mental health. Now, after reading this book, I plan to go into the field once I get my RN and eventually get my Nurse Practitioner license with the hope of helping those people who can not afford it otherwise. I want to thank you and Dr. Baer for influencing my life.

I truly admire your bravery and your resolve. I wish you all the best.

Thank you again,

Leigh Ann

Dear Leigh Ann,

You’re welcome! Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments! I truly appreciate hearing them. I’m glad you shared your thoughts on reading Switching Time. That’s important to me. I always knew my story could be a harsh read for many, but honestly, abuse is not something that can be easily written about with grace. It was difficult to share the truth about my past, but I whole-heartedly believe that without the truth, there would be no understanding or knowledge gained. I can tell you understand more about multiplicity now after reading my story. That was Dr. Baer’s and my goal.

Your letter has touched me. It is my hope for you to continue on and accomplish your dream of becoming a nurse practitioner. The world needs more kind, compassionate, and caring people in the medical field. I can tell you are one of them.

I will send Dr. Baer your thankful thoughts. I’m sure he will be happy to hear them. Thank you for admiring my bravery and for recognizing Dr. Baer’s work and efforts to help heal me.

All my best wishes to you as you continue your studies.

Karen

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Karen answers Renee

admin on Nov 23rd 2009

Comment by Renee on 20 Nov 2009 at 11:30 am

Karen?????

What will you do now that Oprah is ending her show and you haven’t been invited????? I assumed you are devastated by her show ending. Why in the world she never had you on her show leaves me puzzled? Are you angry at Oprah? What do you think of her now? Do you think she will reconsider your story and have you and Baer guest? I wish she would. I would be so happy. I know your story would help so many more women.

I love you, your the best inspirational person I know. A true live real hero of a woman with strength, grace and a rare jewel willing to put yourself in the past to help. Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving, Karen. I am thankful you are in my life.

Dear Renee,

No, I am not devastated that Oprah hadn’t chosen Dr. Baer or me to appear on her show.  I am actually happy for Oprah. She had worked very hard for over twenty four years and, as she’s stated, twenty five years is the perfect time. For a quarter of a century Oprah chose to help millions grow in spirit, faith, and wholeness. That includes me. I would love to meet Oprah someday, and if not as a guest on her show, maybe afterwards when she has time for breakfast or lunch. I would love to meet her and share what an inspiration she has been to me. I believe through witnessing Oprah’s courage time and again as she revealed and shared her painful past, she inspired me to seek help and not be afraid to share.

My story continues on and has already helped thousands who have suffered from childhood abuse. Switching Time has sold thousands of copies and continues to grow at a slow and steady pace. What’s most important to me is to know that I have healed, have survived multiplicity, and am able to share from my experiences. I am proud of my work with Dr. Baer. When Dr. Baer wrote Switching Time it was my wish to reach out and encourage hope through sharing my story. Our goal was to help people recognize early symptoms that are clearly present but often ignored. I believe Switching Time has accomplished that. Knowledge is the key.

I’m hopeful and believe my story is meant to be shared, whether on Oprah, or not, my voice continues to be heard in many venues, including here through my blog. I am grateful for small steps. Maybe one day Oprah will call. I would truly love to hear from her.

Thank you for all your kind compliments, especially for loving me, having faith, and believing in me.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! I am thankful for all those who continue to support my efforts to share in order to help others.

Karen

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Karen answers Callie Marie

admin on Nov 23rd 2009

Comment by Callie Marie on 19 Nov 2009 at 9:48 am

Karen,

Great story! Great writing and layout. I cried a lot reading it. I think I can trust you with my question. One question.  Besides the one time of cutting to let your therapist know about the alters did you cut on a regular basis to releve your pain? Did you cut deep? I am a cutter, cut to the point of needing stitches but tape myself together well. I can’t understand why I cut. Do you think of cutting? I am thinking of going to therapy, should I? I was raped by a old man when I was fourteen and he was a ancient dirty old man of sixty something? I hate the smell of old people. I hate the smell of sex. I am not bad looking and can get a date but everytime I say yes, I cut myself and cancel. I am twenty three now but it still feels like yesterday. I would love to not think of that day or the smells. I feel sick writing this down for you. Have to go. You’re wonderful. Please help me. Can I stop or is it to late for me?

Callie Marie, Boston

Dear Callie Marie,

I’m sorry to hear that you continue to suffer in silence after being raped nine years ago. I understand the triggers of smell that haunt you. I’ve had those triggers, too. I never could understand why certain odors would trigger my wanting to hurt myself, but they did. Whenever I chose to date someone, I didn’t cut myself; I switched to an alter. I never could date a man on my own; my alters always took over. I’ve never experienced true love because of the pain of my past. I needed to learn how to love myself first. Now after integration and resolving most triggers, I’m capable of loving.  Triggers will always be present for me but learning how to recognize them can lessen the anxiety. There are times when a reminder comes, but I try to quickly deflate that particular dark thought by replacing it with something positive.

It’s never too late to start therapy. I believe therapy is calling to you. I am not a therapist and can’t give advice, but in my opinion the symptoms you share require professional help from a qualified therapist. I was not a cutter in the same way you describe. During therapy, at a time when most alters were not yet verbal with Dr. Baer, one alter decided to visually share how many alters were within me by scratching the number of alters on my abdomen. These lines were not deep, they were fine paper cuts, long in length, with each cut representing an alter.

Of course, my alter chose the wrong way to share that information. I believe my thoughts of eliminating pain with another pain were always present, but just not always acted on. I admit, a few of my alters may have stabbed or cut to eliminate one pain to replace it with another but once each alter understood the reason behind their supposed violent thought, they came to realize it was not the best option. My therapist, Dr. Baer, helped my alters understand their pain by talking through each memory that elevated thoughts of hurting me.

Please seek help as soon as you can. There are good therapists out there who can help you on your own journey to wellness. There is no need to suffer alone.

Callie Marie, I have faith in you. After all, you wrote to me, and that’s an important first step to admitting you need help.

Wishing you all my best as you begin your journey.

Karen

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Karen answers Bennett

admin on Nov 23rd 2009

Comment by Bennett on 19 Nov 2009 at 9:02 am

Dear Karen,

When you switched alters did you ever worry about being hurtful or inappropriate like acting out and committing a crime? Have you ever been arrested for a crime? Have you ever committed a crime and switch feigning innocence by blaming an alter? If you committed a crime and jailed during your alter chaos (what you refer to) years what alter would be punished to that crime? Would Dr. Baer have bailed you out? Did you ever think to murder anyone? God, I would kill if what happened to you would happen to me or someone I knew. I am crazy fascinated in your mind. What intelligence you must have not to act out violently. I admire you but still wonder about my questions?

Bennett

Dear Bennett,

Interesting questions!  No, I have never been arrested for a crime, nor did I commit a crime while in an altered state and blame it on an alter. I believe it’s not in my nature to intentionally commit a crime. I may have been a victim of circumstances, but that doesn’t justify criminal intent. As a multiple, I believe if you are basically a good person, a multiple’s alters will reflect that same tone.

If I were arrested for a crime during alter chaos, and found guilty, I assume I would be punished by the law, in the same way any criminal would.  If arrested, I’m not sure whether Dr. Baer would bail me out. But I do know for sure that no one else would have come to my rescue during my therapy years. I would’ve needed Dr. Baer’s expertise to help me sort through such a thing, possibly through hypnosis, a technique used often during my therapy.

Murder someone? I may have had wishes of someone dying, but not at my hands. As a victim of terrible abuse, it’s only normal for me to have had such thoughts. When hurting as I was, I certainly would favor the one hurting me to be removed, not necessarily in death, but maybe imprisoned for life. Murder?  No. What would that possibly prove? I would be imprisoned for life after already spending a lifetime imprisoned within myself.

Thank you for admiring my ability not to murder my abusers! Murder is never the answer, no matter how angry you become.

Karen

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Karen answers Betty

admin on Nov 23rd 2009

Comment by Betty on 19 Nov 2009 at 8:58 am

Dear Karen,

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Richard Baer! Thought of the both of you this morning. I read your blog all the time but never ask any questions because you already answered far more than what I wanted to know. I learn more about the spirit of an abused woman from you than anyone else. No questions today but warm wishes and hugs! Love you guys!

Betty

Dear Betty,

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! Your remembering Dr. Baer and me on such an important holiday touches me! Thanksgiving Day has always been my favorite holiday. It’s a time to share with those who mean the most to us, a time to be thankful and grateful for all the little things that come along with the big things. I wish to share Thanksgiving Day with all those who have been kind to me.

Thank you for reading my blog and being a great support. Dr. Baer and I truly appreciate you! Sending warm wishes and hugs back to you!

Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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Karen answers Pamela J

admin on Nov 23rd 2009

Comment by Pamela J. on 19 Nov 2009 at 3:23 am

Hi Karen,

I absolutely felt the love grow during your therapy years. I am amazed at how kind you turned out to be. If I was abused like you I would hate the world. What do you think contributed to your lack of hatred towards people in general? In my experience as a social worker I’ve run into many clients who have been wronged, abused, suffering great internal pain and most have issues with anger. In the field of psychiatry many cop an attitude blaming the world even God for their misfortunes. I don’t hear that in your story. What a inspiration you are for sharing. What an inspiration Dr. Baer is for his lifetime effort of treating you. Bless the both of you for making a difference.

Pamela J.

Boise, Idaho

Dear Pamela,

Thank you for being so kind and sharing your thoughts. I believe I can change the world one act of kindness at a time. I am who I am. I believe being kind helped diffuse my abusers. Besides, I was never an angry woman, never an angry child or an angry teen. It’s just not in my nature to be vindictive. I assume my anger turned inward as each alter developed, and by my not wishing to treat others as I was once treated.

Would my expressing anger have made a difference? I don’t believe so. I believe I may have been killed. I always felt my anger intensified any problems and caused more stress. For me, it was important to stay calm while internally experiencing chaos, pain, and abuse. For my own protection my alters knew the importance of my need to be kept in a survivor mode. I was able to let go of angry thoughts by having faith.

I’m glad I never experienced hatred towards people. In my opinion, what goes around, comes around. Those who hurt will eventually be dealt with.

Thank you for your questions,

Karen

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Karen answers joslyn

admin on Nov 23rd 2009

Comment by Joslyn on 09 Nov 2009 at 12:00 pm

Hi Karen!

Good morning! Just read a few questions being asked of you. Don’t you worry about people who don’t understand the illness or finish reading your story. People shouldn’t judge and make opinions about anything unless they can give a well rounded opinion. When someone stops reading your story half way, as one reader put it they will never know what they’re missing. I felt anxious reading ST but continued on. My anxiety came from empathy for you. I read and knew I had to know the ending. I had to know what happened to you. I was glad I finished reading the book. To all you people who stop in the middle you are mistaking triumph over pain. To the lady who felt insulted. Read the rest of the book before judging Karen and Richard Baer.

Peace to you Karen and Richard. Don’t let people intinidate you. The book was written the best way possible. If written any differently I wouldn’t have understood. Thank you for your efforts to bring knowledge of mpd and did.

Joslyn, PA

Dear Joslyn,

Thank you so much for sharing your very candid thoughts on reading my story. I appreciate your concern and hearing your honest opinion. I agree that it’s important to read the entire story in Switching Time. I’m glad you chose to continue reading when you came upon an uncomfortable section. When I share my story with others, including my closest friends, I ask them to please read the book in its entirety. I explain that there are horrific parts, but that sharing the whole truth was important in order for the reader to gain full understanding and knowledge. If anyone has questions, I would be happy to answer them. It is my hope that the reader who doesn’t finish reading, finishes and writes back. I would like to hear her thoughts.

Thank you for all your kind thoughts and compliments. It’s important for Dr. Baer and me to continue to share our journey in the best interest of science.

Karen

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