Karen answers Jonathan Lee

Richard Baer on Jan 25th 2009

Comment by Jonathan Lee on January 24, 2009 3:54 am

Hi Karen,

God it’s hard to ask a question on this blog. It took ten minutes to figure it out? I nearly said forget it. This story of yours is fascinating. I gained interest after watching a documentary. I am very interested in knowing more about how you dissociated pain. I read Switching Time. I loved it! Could you please share an example of how you dissociated pain, something not in the book that is simpler to understand. One episode of where people around you didn’t know you were hurt when you were, a blood and guts moment if you don’t mind? I find your brain amazing. Thank you.

Jonathan Lee


Dear Jonathan Lee,

I’m sorry it took you awhile to figure out how to ask your questions here.  I’m glad you finally did!  We are in the process of updating our Web site and hopefully it will be easier to ask questions.

You ask a very interesting question, something not written about in Switching Time.  Well, there were hundreds of examples.  It’s important to understand that the purpose of being a multiple and switching to an alter is to help remove the current pain through dissociation.

One day, at age eighteen, while relieving a co-worker who worked on a machine in a plant, my hand was sucked into a conveyor belt where the wheels crushed my hand into a jigsaw puzzle. I didn’t scream, I switched to an alter, called for help, and watched my hand be removed without an ounce of pain.  I even helped remove a few of the belt’s screws with my other hand so it could be removed. It took twenty five minutes to free me.  The foremen immediately wrapped my injured hand in a shirt.  I then quiety asked for a ride to the hospital.  No one knew how badly I had been hurt because I expressed no pain. The hospital didn’t take me seriously, either, since I didn’t appear to be in distress and they left me waiting for hours. When someone finally called on me and removed the shirt to reveal the extent of my injury, the staff moved quickly and I was whisked to the operating room.

At the sight of my injury I switched again, and again just before I was injected with pain medication. There might have been three or four alters who took away and fragmented my pain and traumatic experience.  After a few hours of delicate hand surgery, three broken fingers, and over forty stitches later, I woke not knowing what happened. I kept switching from one alter to another and never fully experienced this particular episode in it’s entirety until after integration.  It’s similar to someone who goes into shock after being injured, however, in my case, my alters took over instead.


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