Archive for December, 2010

Karen answers Martha

admin on Dec 20th 2010

Comment Martha on 11 Nov 2010 at 5:59 pm

I read your awe-inspiring story! I cried both tears of sadness and joy! Please share some of your personal favorite times during the sharing of your story. What can you share that made you want to share? What caused you to continue on? What made you feel your story was important? And last, I promise. From your heart what would you like everyone in the world to know about you? Your private message?

Thank you.

Martha

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Martha,

Thank you for sharing your heart-felt thoughts! Sharing didn’t come easy at first but my vision to help change the world by bringing awareness and knowledge to a once incomprehensible illness gives me purpose. I’m just one woman with a voice who needs to share in hope to help eliminate child sexual abuse.

I am a survivor, yes, yet I continue to ache with past pain and dark thoughts when a reminder is triggered, such as when I read a story, see someone hurting, or sense a child is in danger or is being neglected. As a child I had nowhere to turn. I tried a few times to confide my pain but was betrayed.

What I would like people to know is that I’m just one woman who happened to have been abused. I may not be perfect but I get up everyday and try to be my best self. I have a voice that won’t stop sharing the truth until I take my last breath. I was one of many abused children in a world that has a hard time trying to comprehend, recognize, and acknowledge that sexual abuse is real and happens everyday.

I ask that if you suspect a child is being abused, pay attention to the signs and help them. When I was a child, most people were afraid to listen. Most turned their head.  No one wanted to get involved. Those I tried to share with thought I’d made it all up or just needed attention. Dissociation prevented me from being taken seriously. Once a relative said that I deserved to be abused because I was bad. But how could that be? I was an obedient, well-behaved, and compliant child. I often asked myself why no one helped me. I even questioned God. No one but God really knew the extent of my suffering. I was just a child wanting to feel loved. Instead I was met with horrific sadness and pain.

I am doing well these days. I am alive with a strong desire to make a difference. I am grateful to have found Dr. Baer and received the appropriate care. I continue to wake up each day trying to be my best self.

Thank you for your thought provoking questions! I am sure there is much more to say…

Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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Karen answers Morgan

admin on Dec 20th 2010

Comment by Morgan on 06 Nov 2010 at 10:38 pm

You survived mpd, you survived abuse, rape, bad relationships and suicide. How? I was raped at fifteen and am now twenty-eight. I feel dirty all the time. How is it possible to forget the dirt that penetrated you? How did you save your heart from not judging all men as assholes? Why a male therapist? I had to change to a female therapist cause I couldn’t look my male therapist in the eye.

Morgan

Dear Morgan,

I survived with faith, the will to live, and a great support system! I could not have survived on my own, and I believe it took teamwork to heal me. When I met Dr. Baer, I was at the end of my rope. I was suicidal and very afraid of sharing my past abuse. I didn’t think anyone would listen and believe me. I felt cheap, dirty, ugly, unloved, and didn’t care about myself. I blamed myself. I hated all men and never thought for a moment I could survive.

There is no easy answer how I survived. For me, sharing was a huge relief and lifted the weight of past abuse from my shoulders. I don’t believe forgetting is a choice. No one can forget being abused. It will come back to haunt you time and again until you acknowledge the past and deal with it. Confront the past and your pain will subside. It will not go away, but it will subside to a mere buzz when you choose to no longer allow your past to destroy you. It took me many years to understand that my pain belonged in my past. Soon after I understood that, I no longer could tolerate my past to exist in my present, nor would I welcome my past in my future. It takes time to heal. Please don’t be so hard on yourself.

Why a male therapist? I don’t know. I did have a choice that first day. I chose a male therapist. At the time I hated all men. Maybe I assumed a male therapist would anger me and I could quit easily? I don’t know, but I have to admit, a male therapist that listened to me unconditionally changed my “I hate all men” to “I guess some men can be nice.”

Thank you for your questions! Wishing you well!

Karen

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Karen answers Stacie Ann

admin on Dec 20th 2010

Comment by Stacie Ann on 11 Nov 2010 at 10:31 am

OMG Karen! After ALL that you survived you have gone through the experience of your son fighting in war. I am so inspired by you. I want to hear more of how you live! Thank your son for serving our country! I pray he is well! Did he suffer any injuries? Did he come home suffering PTSD? Is he happy? What did you think about his being a Marine? When did he join the military? Were you supportive or distressed when you heard? Did Dr. Richard’s children serve, too! If so there is no greater honor. Anyone who can survive their child fighting for the U.S.A. needs a medal of honor. Thank you, thank your son, thank Dr. Richard for supporting you through another hell. Love you!

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Stacie Ann

Dear Stacie Ann,

Thank you for your support! I will thank my son for you! I’m very proud of him for serving our country! I’m happy that he is home and doing well.  My son did receive minor shrapnel injuries, but nothing life threatening. I believe all those who serve and come home do so with a few emotional issues. Fighting in wartime is not an easy job. My son needed time to heal, physically and emotionally.

My son came home from high school on his seventeenth birthday with a Marine recruiting officer by his side. This was one year before September 11th. He’d made the decision to join the Marines and needed his father’s and my signature because he was seventeen. He told us he’d been waiting for this day for years and didn’t need until his 18th birthday to decide. We talked at length and signed. He had been talking about becoming a Marine since he was ten years old, and I knew at some point he would join. September 11, 2001, happened while my son was in boot camp. My son’s first duty was to prepare for Iraq. He’s now married to a wonderful schoolteacher. He’s happy and content with his life. I’m proud to be his Mom.

As parents, we all hope our children will live their lives as responsible and confidant adults. My son chose be a United States Marine because he felt serving our country was in his best interest.

Thank you for honoring Veteran’s Day!

Karen

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Karen answers KAR MD

admin on Dec 15th 2010

Comment by KAR MD on 05 Nov 2010 at 5:11 pm

I am a fifty two year old male psychologist. I have schooled for twenty years with an MD specializing in Neurology. In my quest to be at my best I have undergone my own intense therapy. I have found my own personal sexual abuse to be an asset to treating my male sexual abuse patients. I would like to know if Richard Baer M.D. has been a victim of sexual abuse himself and if so, did his treatment of you help him overcome his past? Do you believe Dr. Baer to have been a victim of sexual abuse? Has he shared his pain with you? What was it that you sensed in him that was able to understand you? Did you see him, the therapist as an abuse victim? Do you believe Dr. Baer in his treatment with you discover love in himself and for others? As a therapist I would like to learn more of his effort to treat you. I ask with utmost respect for him. I have tried to contact him myself with no success. Much appreciate your response.

KAR MD

Dear Dr. KAR,

Thank you for writing to me.  During my therapy and in the years after treatment ended, Dr. Baer has shared at times that he had to go through his own psychoanalysis as required for all therapists in psychoanalytic training. I’ve respected that he understood the therapy process because he also had to conduct his own therapy. I have on occasion asked Dr. Baer whether he was abused. He’s always said no. I admired Dr. Baer’s ability to be empathetic to my own abuse. There was a time when I thought no one, not even Dr. Baer, could understand my pain unless they too were abused. I once assumed Dr. Baer was abused himself, but realized that I was picking up on something other than abuse. I believe my own abuse was bouncing off the blank wall he presented as my confidant.

I’m certain that once abused, an awareness is present that can help one be attuned to others who have been abused. This I know for sure because I am attuned to others this way. I believe those who have been abused have this gift of sensitivity. I can sense with near perfect accuracy when someone has been abused or is presently being abused, and can identify those who are the abusers. A gift? I’m not sure, but being attuned does raise many red flags within me and triggers my past thoughts of once being a victim myself.

During my therapy with Dr. Baer, he rarely shared anything about himself personally, but when he did, it was in an effort to help me feel at ease in order to help me understand what happened to me. Therapy is an intimate journey and stories are shared between therapist and patient to bring a sense of calm. I believe with my whole being that Dr. Baer became a better man for treating me. If he had any issues, he did not share them with me, but being attuned to him, I knew more than he thought. We both grew in knowledge from sharing.

I’m sorry you were unable to contact Dr. Baer.  You can find him on Facebook. I appreciate that you respect his work with me.

Thank you! Wishing you all my best for success!

Karen

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Karen answers Paula

admin on Dec 15th 2010

Comment by Paula on 05 Nov 2010 at 12:54 pm

Stupid me>>>AAARRRGH! I made a mistake and shared something and it leaked out and now more people know about my illness than I wanted to. I am afraid and hate this. What happens when someone close to you reveals your secret?  Your story inspires me a lot. I know you must’ve had people slip too. What to you think about a friend who slips your private detailed life? I am sharing your book with a lot of people. Your story is amazing. I wish I were you.

Paula

Detroit, MI

Dear Paula,

Mistakes happen. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. There were a few times when I had wished I didn’t share something of a personal nature. I learned a valuable lesson from it and moved forward. Forgive yourself. Forgive your friend.

When someone shares something personal about you, such as your illness, it may be simply they were concerned or amazed by you. I would not worry too much. Worrying will make you sick. If possible, just let it go. If approached with questions simply state: “Yes, it’s true. I’m in therapy. Thank you”.  Be your best self!

Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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Karen answers Emily

admin on Dec 15th 2010

Comment by Emily on 05 Nov 2010 at 11:46 am

I am thirty years old and in therapy with a well known psychiatrist but can’t for the life of me feel any connection to him. I am asking how you built rapport with your therapist. How did you receive help and how did you manage to stay with him and engaged in therapy over many years. What kept you in his care? My therapist is nice but after three years I can’t bond. Do you have any advice for me? I feel like quitting. I have D.I.D. and need help not aggravation. Another thing he’s never on time.

Emily

Dear Emily,

I understand. It took time for me to build trust and rapport with Dr. Baer, too! There is no secret to bonding, it happens when your healing begins and as your relationship develops. Staying engaged in the therapy process was no easy task. I was fortunate not to have felt threatened by Dr. Baer. During my sessions, Dr. Baer remained calm, accepting, and did not appear overwhelmed by my distress. Though I’m sure he must’ve felt overwhelmed by empathizing with my story, he did not share his grief with me. I believed Dr. Baer cared. I was more concerned with frightening him away or that he would be unable to treat me. I felt toxic and did not wish to hurt him or anyone. Dr. Baer never gave up on me. I needed unconditional care to help me help myself. I needed to be heard. Dr. Baer listened.

I’m not sure how to advise you since I’m not a therapist. I believe it takes time to heal. One thing that helped me was that Dr. Baer was never late. Having an on-time therapist was best for me. Lateness would have frustrated me and hurt my feelings. Dr. Baer and I worked well together in part because we respected each other’s time. Have you shared with your therapist how his lateness affects you? Tell him. Maybe together you can find a solution?

I admit there were a few times I felt like quitting, too. But I learned my feelings were misplaced. Together, Dr. Baer and I would discuss whatever confused and disturbed me regarding my therapy. Those dark thoughts and feelings usually resurfaced from some memory from my past. A reminder or trigger. Once I understood that I was able to learn where my reactions were coming from. Please talk over your concerns with your therapist. In doing so perhaps you will find the bond you are looking for. Be open. Be honest. And don’t worry about what he thinks…your therapist is there to help you, not hurt you.

Please know that at any time during your therapy you can seek out another therapist for a second opinion. Remember, therapy is hard enough to maintain; there is no room for disrespect. If your present therapist isn’t right for you, please find a therapist you feel comfortable working with. It’s your choice, your decision. Life is too short to not receive the appropriate help you need on your journey to wellness.

Wishing you all my best,

Karen

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Karen answers Facebook Friends

admin on Dec 15th 2010

Comment by Facebook Friends on 04 Nov 2010 at 11:38 pm

Please post your Good Morning America interview on your Facebook account. Many GMA interviews are posted, why not yours? I tried to tag your interview, but it wouldn’t tag. I notice you have it on you Web site but there is no link to it. Please post the link. We, your Facebook friends would like to see it shared. We would greatly appreciate it! Thank you.

Beth, Mary, Sally, Lorie, Jen, Mike, Robert, Phil and many others.

Dear Facebook Friends,

Thank you for your support and for asking me to share my interview! I truly appreciate each of you who care. The GMA interview of Dr. Baer and me can be seen on the Switching Time Web site under Media. It’s also on my Facebook page, listed in my boxes and likes. I believe you can also find the same interview on YouTube.

Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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Karen answers Nancy

admin on Dec 15th 2010

Comment by Nancy on 04 Nov 2010 at 11:27 pm

Dear Karen,

Do you need protection from your family for telling your story? Does every one of your friends and family know what you went through and suffered through? I read your book and would like to ask for an opinion. Do you tell every one you meet? I am inspired by you to talk about my abuse. You are right no children should ever suffer again. Not these days. Our future is an open book. You said we encourage hope through sharing our stories so I made a decision today to report my father who raped me when I was 12 and until I moved out at 18. I am twenty three and in therapy. My therapist said it’s my decision. I have two young sister ages 15 and 19 living at home. I never asked them if they to were abused but I suspect my 19 year sister was. What should I do? Should I tell her I am going to report our father or wait? I admire you and would respect your help with this or even if you ask Dr. Baer what he thinks I should do? I never told anyone about this before. You are the first beside Dr. Troy.

Thank you.

Nancy

Dear Nancy,

Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you’ve decided to report your father and seek help for yourself. I know that doing so is difficult for you. But know that we all need to make decisions that meet our needs and to do what we think is right. Removing an abuser from the streets before he hurts someone else is the right thing to do, especially if it’s your sister.

I am not a therapist and can’t give advice, but if I were you, I would share your story with your sisters and let them know what you went through. Then carefully explain your plans to report your father. Tell them what happened to you, but do not expect them to share the same with you, unless they are ready. Your sisters may express anger and disbelief, or compassion and empathy, but what’s most important is to allow them space to absorb what you’ve said. Tell them you need to report your father’s abuse for yourself and that you do not hold any expectations they do the same. At the same time, don’t allow them to turn you aside from what you’ve decided to do.

During my healing, sharing was difficult for me. I chose not to share with all friends and family members for my own sense of self and peace of mind. I didn’t share until after my therapy ended. For me, that was best. There were many different people in my life, some toxic, many not. But in sharing, exposed truths can destroy many relationships. I needed to heal, feel secure, and gain strength through trust. My family was not there to protect me. At this time not all family members and friends know my story. I chose cautiously. As time passes, I will share more.

Wishing you all my best for a safe journey,

Karen

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