Karen Answers John

Comment by John on July 28, 2008 12:05 pm

Hello Karen,

I never thought I’d ever read a book like yours, it was sitting there, my girlfriend was reading it and was absorbed by it. For days I watched her cry, laugh and exhaust herself with this book. I didn’t know what to say to her. I never seen her so emotional and had to read it too. I had to know what put her through such sorrow. How unselfish of you to tell your story. Thank you for letting Dr. Baer write this book. I never told anyone I also sometimes, experience suicidal thoughts. Your story was an awakening to another part of me that I was too ashamed to deal with. I started therapy three weeks ago, thanks to this book. My quesions to you are. Do you still feel suicidal when life hurts you? If you still do, what do you do now that you don’t have Dr. Baer or alter help? If these questions are too hard to answer, it’s okay not to. Thanks.

Dear John,

Thank you for being brave enough to ask this difficult question. And thank you for caring enough about your girlfriend’s feelings to pick up the book she was reading and read it for yourself. This shows that you indeed care about her and want to understand where she was coming from. I admire this in you. I am also glad to hear you recognized the need to seek help for yourself and started therapy. I wish you well.

To answer your questions regarding suicide. Yes, I do have thoughts of suicide, rarely, but once in a while. It’s inevitable after all I’ve been through. However, my thoughts have matured over time, and I have learned how to manage these thoughts the best I can. It’s hard work. I won’t lie. It takes time to learn the reasons behind these thoughts, come to understand them, and learn to accept them and deal with them. Please be patient in your own journey. I’ve learned in therapy from Dr. Baer that, “Thoughts are okay; actions are not.” Life does hurt at times. I survive by focusing on the immediate issue at hand that causes these hurtful feelings, talked it through, and ask for help when needed. Since all of my alters are now integrated within me, and I am one, all of their individual strengths and weaknessness are now a part of me. I have more strength than not. And when I feel weak, I know who to call for help.

Karen

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Karen Answers Zac

Comment by Zac on July 25, 2008 3:52 pm

OMG! Your story intrigued me. How is it that there has not been a documentary done? Or is there? If not, are you planning one soon? If so, when?

Dear Zac,

Thank you for your compliment! It’s nice to hear that you are interested in hearing more. Dr. Baer and I have received inquiries regarding a documentary, but nothing definite yet. I am not sure if there’ll be one, but I am interested in sharing my story. It is my belief my story is not only one of inspiration and survival, but one of faith. All that I have gone through has made me who I am today. And I like the woman I’ve become. I am alive and well and believe by sharing my story, many will find the courage to complete their own journey towards healing.

Karen

Karen Answers Louis

Comment by Louis on July 25, 2008 3:56 pm

Read book. I admire your courage to tell your story. Can’t help but wonder how are your relationships with your children, ex husband and mother nowadays?

Dear Louis,

These are difficult questions for me to answer. My relationships with my children are doing well. They have encouraged me to share my story and have been a great support. My daughter has read the book and understands all that I’ve gone through. She has told me she is amazed that I was such a good mom despite all I went through. My son hasn’t read the book yet. He will in his own time. He is doing well, happy, and living his own life. I am proud of them both.

I haven’t heard from my ex-husband in many months. He has quit drinking, after a health scare, has attended AA meetings, and is working in another state. I don’t hate him. I want to wish him well.

I’ve accepted my mother for who she is, but will never forget the grief she caused me by ignoring me when I was a child. My mother and I have talked about some of the abuse I suffered, but she continues to play innocent, as if she didn’t know. I believe she knew. Since my father’s and grandfather’s deaths, she has changed somewhat. The abuse she suffered at their hands has also ended. However, it continues to be painful for me to engage in any conversations with her, so I don’t. For me, avoidance is best.

Karen

Karen Answers Confused Mom

Comment by Confused Mom on July 22, 2008 7:55 pm

Karen,
Did you appear different? Did you have many friends? Were you withdrawn, distant or teased by classmates? I have a reason for asking. There is a 9 year old friend of my daughter that I believe is sexually abused. As I read your story, something hit me that she may also have MPD. Why didn’t your mother notice any signs you were being abused? Without proof, what can I do? Is it wise that I allow my daughter to befriend her? If my daughter shared her friends “secret” am I obligated to inform police?

Dear Confused Mom,

I am not a therapist and can’t give advice as a therapist. Yes, I appeared different because I was. I was afraid to get to close to anyone. Although I dissociated and appeared to act mostly normal, it was hard to hide the emotional distress I suffered. At school, I would daydream, lose time, faint, and I suffered severe, disabling headaches. I spent so much time in the principal’s office feeling ill that I became her student helper. The signs I exhibited were never investigated by teachers, the principal, and not by my mother or others who came into contact with me. My father and grandfather wouldn’t allow me to play at the homes of my classmates. My parents always had an excuse as to why I couldn’t go, saying that I was ill, had to watch my brothers, or was needed to help my grandparents with some chore that couldn’t wait. After a while, my classmates stopped asking.

It is my belief that my mother knew I was being abused but she’d never admit it. There had to be signs. I wasn’t always a happy child, and know I appeared withdrawn at times. There were signs, bruises that weren’t talked about, unexplained illnesses, and many moments of temporary forgetfulness.

If you really expect this girl is being sexually abused, you should tell your concerns to the police. They may or may not investigate, but in any case, they will have been alerted if there is a subsequent complaint. There could be other, less ominous reasons this girl appears different. She could be shy, never had a friend before, or has been sick. It’s not wise to jump to conclusions on your own. If she tells your daughter that someone is hurting her, or comes to trust and confide in you, then there may be more reason for concern.

Thank you for being vigilant about the safety of little girls; that’s why I wanted this book written.

Karen

Karen Answers Skyeview

Comment by skyeview on July 21, 2008 4:11 pm

I have had this book for a couple of years now, but could not get through it. The memories and abuse brought up were just so personal that it took days just to read a few pages. At the present moment, we are 16 in number, with children (one being Native American and two boys) as well as a male protector. We were making headway with our therapist until she took another position and has since moved out of the area. Our psychiatrist is the only one we really trust right now, which is difficult because she doesn’t really have the time or energy to help us on a regular basis. With children crying constantly, adults quarrelling as to who is to be out, and our teens wanting to end it all, it is overwhelming to think of getting to know another therapist. Please send good thoughts…we have had enough bad ones for centuries. crys, beth and jed (protectors)

Dear Crys, Jed, and Beth,

I’m sorry for all of you, especially for those within you that are having a difficult time. I can empathize with you. If I had lost my therapist, Dr. Baer, at anytime during therapy, it would’ve been very difficult for me to go out and find another. Finding someone who can care for you is hard work, but is possible. Please don’t give up—the right therapist for you is out there, you just need to find him or her. I wish you all the best.

Karen

Karen Answers Gloria

Comment by Gloria on July 18, 2008 4:53 am

I can’t even imagine what it would take to live though this. I commend your enormous inner strength to overcome such a horrific ordeal. I love the fact that when it came to your healing, it was you who led the way for the therapist! Speaking of the author, he certainly appears to think highly of himself. How do you put up with his ego?

Dear Gloria,

Thank you for your encouraging words. I was amazed myself when I found out it was my alter, Holdon, who came up with the plan of how to integrate all the different parts of myself. I believe Holdon knew how to do this because of all he learned through our many years in therapy with Dr. Baer. My therapy succeeded because Dr. Baer was consistent in his treatment with all of my alters.

I admit my journey to heal was difficult, but I couldn’t have done it alone. I needed someone to teach me discipline, commitment, and all that I lacked in order not to end my life. I needed to feel safe. I chose Dr. Baer because he exuded confidence. Dr. Baer accepted me, as I was, from day one. He never once bragged or boasted about himself, he was always on time, and never once left me feeling he was better than I. During the therapeutic years of our relationship, I fed off of Dr. Baer’s strength. He appeared to know who he was, what he was doing, and gave me all that I needed to start and continue to heal. I never felt he thought highly of himself. And he certainly never intruded his ego into our therapeutic relationship. If I had thought he was full of himself, we wouldn’t have worked well together.

Karen

Karen Answers Kim

Comment by Kim on July 15, 2008 7:41 pm

Karen,

Excellent book! Your life story is indeed amazing. I noticed that your alters range not only in age and gender, but also in race with one being black. Were any of the others a different nationality? Each person was so unique. What do you believe is the reason for the wide range of diversity of your alters? Also, how did the alters get their names?

Dear Kim,

Thank you for your compliment! I believe my alters, being “born” at different times during my childhood, came to be in order to protect me at different times or whenever I’d suffer a new traumatic experience that the existing alters couldn’t handle. I recall wishing I was adopted or was a person of a different race and didn’t belong to my family. I’d watch television and wish I were one of the cast members in a show such as Lassie, Father Know’s Best, Leave it to Beaver, Nanny & The Professor, etc. I’m not sure of all the nationalities of my alters, but I do know that Katherine was a school teacher and a nanny from England, Elise came from Hungary, Julie from Poland, Sidney was Australian, and Jensen was born African-American.

I believe my alter, Jensen, who was black, came from my trying not to be predjudiced like my father and grandfather. I heard my father degrade all other races, but mostly he hated blacks. I recall hearing my father’s horrible words against people of color. I believe my mind created Jensen, an artist, not only to bring color into my inner world, changing all that I saw as gray into beautiful colors of the rainbow, but to also teach me about people of color.

The ages and names of my alters were created to fill a need at the time they were created. Most of the alters names came from relatives, television shows, and people I may have known. Holdon was an alter that used the phrase “Hold On” quite often, until one day he just became Holdon. Miles’ name came while traveling many miles to an aunt’s house.

Karen