Archive for August, 2011

Karen answers Melanie

admin on Aug 3rd 2011

Comment by Melanie on 02 Mar 2011 at 8:30 am

Hello Karen,

Speaking of relationships, in my psych class I thought about you and wondered if after all you have gone through do you still maintain relationships with the abusers of your past and the family members that let you down? How do you end dysfunctional relationships? It is not an easy task. I struggle with distancing myself from my father and mother because of my being abused by them. I married an abuser and divorced, but still talk to him. I would like to know what you do?

You are such an important woman to women like me. Thank you for contributing your story for us to learn from.

Melanie

Dear Melanie,

Thank you for sharing. I am touched to hear that my story helped you. We are important women, and by sharing with each other, our stories, we help to bring knowledge and wisdom.

Maintaining relationships with my abusers was easier when I was switching because I would dissociate the harm they had caused me. With alter help, I would dissociate the abusive part of the abusive relationship and act as if nothing happened or was wrong. That was not a good way to maintain a relationship, but it was the only way I knew how. I learned through my journey that this type of relationship was dysfunctional.

As far as maintaining relationships with family members who let me down, I continue to struggle in this area. I try my best not to enable them, but find that time and again I tend to inappropriately help instead of step back. Since I have a forgiving nature, I sometimes forget how harmful it is for me to engage in distrustful and dysfunctional relations. But I am still learning how to keep my distance or when to terminate a harmful relationship. Family or not, I know it’s in my best interest to stay away in order to prevent becoming a victim again.

This past February 14, the last of my abusers died. My ex-husband died of complications from chronic alcoholism. I have been experiencing something new, knowing that my abusers are gone.  I do feel a bit of sadness that my abusers have all died, but also a great weight has lifted. I feel peace and free to live. I would have liked to hear an apology before each of my abusers died, but that never happened, and it is not my job to judge. I have to let go.

Wishing you all my best in your studies.

Karen

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Karen answers John

admin on Aug 3rd 2011

Comment by John on 27 Feb 2011 at 11:33 pm

Hi Karen,

I think your story would make a great movie! What are you waiting for? To incorporate your sequel? Love you. Thanks for inspiring us who have been abused.

John

Dear John,

Thank you for your confidence in my story and for believing in me, but I have to admit, I think it would be quite a challenge for any producer to make a movie based on Switching Time.  But Dr. Baer and I would be honored to help a producer find a way to make a documentary or film of our story.  Personally, I believe my story could make a great movie as it stands, or combined with parts from the future sequel or shared stories we could incorporate.

Karen

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Karen answers Hollis

admin on Aug 3rd 2011

Comment by Hollis on 24 Feb 2011 at 5:18 pm

Karen,

Did you ever feel alone after your alters integrated? I know you repeatedly share that you are them and they are you BUT I can’t imagine a life without my alters as individual people. My therapist tells me integration is best but not necessary to live. If you could would you make new alters? What if I integrated, regret it and want them back? Is that a possibility?

Thank you, love you, need you and glad you are alive.

Hollis

Dear Hollis,

Interesting questions! I appreciated your concern. I admit there are times I feel alone, but not because of not having my alters as individual people. My alters are me, but while in their separate individual form, I was not aware of their presence. I felt more lonely with my alters present than integrated. At first, I did not know of their existence until late at night when I heard their voices. Later in therapy I knew of my alters actions, but my alters uniqueness became a burden to me. I felt distant while my alters lived my life. A life that I needed to live on my own.

Integration was best for me. I feel so much better making my own decisions without interference from an alternate part of me. I remember all that happens to me now and though I admit to making many mistakes on my own, I am truly grateful to learn from those mistakes and live as one woman.  In my opinion, your therapist is right; integration is best but not necessary.  It’s a personal choice and I chose integration and do not regret the freedom of being one.

Regarding wanting my alters back? No way! Now that I have experienced life as one, I would not trade my present life for a life in chaos. I’m sure that once you integrate you won’t wish to go back either!

Wishing you a safe journey to integration and feeling whole.

Karen

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Karen answers Yien

admin on Aug 3rd 2011

Comment by Yien on 17 Feb 2011 at 10:51 pm

in your writings you talk alot of this dr baer. He seems to me to be a distant and cold person. how is your relationship with him since you terminated?

Dear Yien,

It sounds like you may have been reading my blog, but have not read the book this is all about: Switching Time.  The book is my story about becoming one woman, with Dr. Baer’s help.

My relationship with Dr. Baer continues to be a respectful friendship. We have been through quite an extraordinary journey together and have become a part of each other’s lives. Dr. Baer cares for me and I care about him. We continue to talk on occasion. I will never forget all that we have accomplish in helping me become me. Soon, we will be working on the sequel to Switching Time.

Thank you for asking,

Karen

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Karen answers Louise

admin on Aug 3rd 2011

Comment by Louise on 15 Feb 2011 at 3:38 pm

Hello Karen,

I just finished reading Switching Time this weekend. I am a Christian counselor. I have a client who has been passed through the system for years. After working with her in her home, I realized she has DID.

She was relieved to gain understanding and seemed eager to move toward healing. Recently, however, she has been challenging me, and wanting to direct therapy. She even cancels appointments when she is “feeling fine.”

Could she be doing this because she is afraid to move forward? She switches so quickly and so often that it is very difficult to get a consensus from her. Any insight would be helpful.

Thank you for what you have done. The book was very helpful.

Louise

Dear Louise,

Thank you for sharing your dilemma with me. I understand how working with someone who has been passed through the system can be difficult. I was fortunate Dr. Baer never gave up on me and sent me on my way to find another therapist. But I believe that if you truly care, your relationship will build a bond in trust that can’t be broken. It took me many years to form a trusting and respectful relationship with Dr. Baer.

I’m not sure what you mean by “direct therapy”? If you mean she’s trying to take over control of the sessions and she misses appointments because she’s “feeling fine,” then she’s probably afraid of moving further in therapy.  You should tell her that, if that’s what you think, and just be patient.  It’s important for the therapist to be the therapist, and not be swayed by the patient’s behavior.

Dr. Baer and I had a consistent schedule with each other. In addition to our once or twice a week sessions, we had a time to talk at 9pm. every other day.  As my trust in our relationship grew, I became very mindful of his needs and mine. Simply being assured that we had a scheduled time to communicate helped me to always feel connected to him. Once I felt connected, a respectful bond was formed between us. I always needed to know I had this time to talk. If I didn’t, I felt insecure and lost. Make extra time, even if only 5 minutes. But be consistent. It helps.

Multiples, including me, are challenging and will always challenge therapy. Not only therapy but boundaries, too! In my opinion, based from my own thoughts and feelings, I knew I needed more time with Dr. Baer, how could I not with seventeen people in one body? Yes, treating me was intense for Dr. Baer.  Regarding cancelling appointments… some therapists charge for the appointment if cancelled less than 24 hours from the appointment.  There were a few of my alters that were not abused and did not want to partake in therapy. Once your relationship settles, the alters of your patient will settle down too, that’s when therapy truly begins.

Please know that you can contact Dr. Baer for any advice, he knows best and may be able to share how we worked together to build a safe place for me to not want to miss a moment of the much needed support I required. Whenever I called Dr. Baer to cancel he would ask why, I never could give a good enough excuse and could not lie to him. It was usually because I was afraid, and he would calm my fears.  Commitment to therapy is of utmost importance.

I hope that my answer has provided some help. Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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Karen answers June

admin on Aug 3rd 2011

Comment by June on 09 Feb 2011 at 10:49 pm

I listened to Dr Baer’s book on CD. I found it very informative. I say that because I read everything I can on DID. I have two daughters with this tough mental condition. As their mother I was devastated to find out about their horrifying abuse 12 years ago. They were sexually abused by their biological father and for so many years I never knew. I have a lot of sadness and disbelief i didn’t see what was going on right in my own house. Sociopaths are very good at hiding their evil. I have never, not once, not believed them or not supported their efforts to heal. I am so sorry you and any children have to endure mans inhumanity to children. The thing I wonder about is if my daughter’s therapist is working hard enough to integrate their personalities and if they should. They have been in therapy for 12 years and i don’t see that they have integrated. My youngest daughter the most damaged and will not talk to me about what is going on with her but I can tell that she still has personalities she deals with. She has as many as over 50 I’ve been told by her sister who shares a lot with me. Her sister is starting for the first time this year, is better. I don’t get calls almost daily in her alter voices and other upsetting things that have been happening in the past. I don’t think she has integrated either though. I would like to know if you feel like integrating has helped to this day? I do hope you continue to heal from the very tough thing you had to endure as a child.

Warm wishes,

June

Dear June,

Thank you for sharing! I am sorry that your daughters have suffered as I did, but I’m glad to hear that they are in therapy.  Healing for me is a life long journey.  My healing journey included eighteen years of therapy and continues on as I live my life in hope. Sharing was always difficult for me.  Sometimes sharing with those close to you is more difficult than sharing with a stranger. What’s most important is that your daughter is sharing with her therapist. It takes times to heal. And each of us must heal at our own pace. Please continue to support and encourage your children. Being available to listen is the best way to gain trust. I’m sure when your daughter is ready to share, she will make her own decision based on feeling safe to do so. I wish your daughters all my best.

As for integration, it was the best decision for me in order to heal. I admit I contemplated whether integration was in my best interest. But once I realized I would not “lose” my alters, that my alters would simply be added to my own self by merging together, I felt more at ease. My life has changed–in a good way. Integration provided me with a sense of calm, a inner peace with additional wisdom that has been given for me in part by my alters. I am one woman who may have had suffered much abuse, but my alters helped me during a chaotic stressful childhood. As an adult I no longer need alter help. As an adult I am able to take care of my own life. There is no longer a need to have alters. I believe my alters were a God sent coping mechanism that helped me survive until I was able to live on my own.  But finally, my alters needed to merge so I could live my life to the fullest.

I agree sociopaths are very good at hiding evil. When I look back and recall my abusers, their looks, their actions, and even when I look at old pictures of them, I can’t see any evil.  Looks and actions can be deceiving. Many times I couldn’t share or explain what was happening to me for fear of not being believed because of my abusers’ status or assumed reputation. But abuse is abuse.

I wish you and your daughters all my best as they continue their healing. Please know that I continue my journey to becoming my best self.

It is my desire to encourage hope through sharing my story.

Karen

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Karen answers LeeLee

admin on Aug 3rd 2011

Comment by LeeLee on 09 Feb 2011 at 6:49 pm

I was just wondering do you ever feel how you use to feel with your alters? for e.g. do you ever feel excited like little claire, can you still feel her in you? or the emotions of Katherine?

After reading this book it made me really think about how you may feel now and if you ever do feel them just even a tad of a bit.

Dear LeeLee,

Thank you for your question. Yes, I feel them but not in the same way I once did. My alters are me, and I am my alters. We are one and the same person. The difference is there are no walls that divide each alter. I continue to have thoughts and feelings that may or may not have been a part of a once distinct alter, but I can’t tell anymore. I have grown, integrated, and am simply one woman with a variety of interests. I remember all that I experience; I never lose time anymore and continue to learn something new about myself each day. This was accomplished through integration.

I am doing my best to be my best self. Best wishes to you.

Karen

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Karen answers Morgan

admin on Aug 2nd 2011

Comment by Morgan on 09 Feb 2011 at 3:11 pm

Dear Karen,

I am doing a research paper for my Junior Honors English class, on multiple personality disorder and I was wondering if there was any way I could interview you through e-mail?

Morgan

Dear Morgan,

Thank you for asking and contacting me. Yes, you can email me at: karenoverhill@yahoo.com.  I was happy to help you with your project. Though your request has already been answered through an email between us, I wish to hear how your research paper turned out. It’s my hope that what we’ve discussed was helpful to your understanding of multiple personality disorder.

Wishing you continued success in your studies. Please know that you can email me, send a comment here to my blog, or find me on Facebook.

Karen

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Karen answers Heidi

admin on Aug 2nd 2011

Comment by Heidi on 07 Feb 2011 at 4:27 pm

Dear Karen,

It has been awhile since I wrote, but I think I need a reality check from someone who has been where I am. Just a brief reminder, I’m a single mom with DID. I’m finding it hard for the last month or so to go even a few hours without switching, I’m exhausted and it feels like things inside are more chaotic than ever. I am struggling to find a therapist who knows how to treat DID where I live, or who even believes in it. I had one, but there were things that happened that were not totally within therapeutic bounds, which made many uncomfortable. Do you have any strategies to maybe collect everyone, enough to have at least 24 hours of being present?  How are you anyway? I have also started writing and I was curious if you would be interested in reading it…

Much love and peace,

Heidi

Dear Heidi,

I understand where you’re coming from. There was a time during my years in therapy when my alters kept switching back and forth, too. I believe my alters were in chaos during intense moments and whenever something triggered a past feeling. I know the unveiling of past abuse during my efforts to grow and heal caused uneasiness among all those within me. Why? I believe my alters were once my only protectors and would feel threatened by any change. It’s difficult to say why one’s alters are active and the cause of that.  Simply knowing that you are on a journey toward healing could be change enough for constant switching.

My alters’ actions settled down once I felt safe and secure in my therapy. Once trust was established and I felt “heard”, my alters began to work together. A compromise of sorts. My alters grew to trust Dr. Baer, and then I grew to trust him, too. If there’s alter chaos, it could be due to trust issues and discussing this must become a part of your therapy. Please remember that I am not a therapist and I’m sharing my thoughts based on my personal journey. Each of us is unique and we each require someone who can help us move forward.

Finding the right therapist to suit your needs is very important. It’s common to be uncomfortable sharing your story with someone. But if you distrust your therapist, then trust your instincts, share your feelings of mistrust with your therapist, and perhaps you’ll find airing this issue is just what you need to solve it. Always remember that your therapist is working to help you help yourself. Building trust is one step towards healing. It took me years to build trust in Dr. Baer.

Wishing you all my best as you continue your journey to wholeness.

Karen

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