Karen answers Curious

Comment by Curious on January 5, 2009 12:40 am

I read about you after looking up a show on IMDb. I think the book written by you and Richard Baer provides the best description of a true multiple personality case. I have read other unbelievable books on this disorder which haven’t clearly explained this illness like the book Switching Time. I am sure you are real. I question one thing. When you viewed the United States of Tara first preview episode how did your case compare and differ? Were there similarities? I noticed a few from the book. I read your alter Holden was a bowler and left handed like Buck. Did you sell parts of your book to this show? What is the single most important part of you that you are willing to share to help others who live with family members who have alters?

Dear Curious,

Thank you for visiting our Web site!  And thank you for your compliments on our book providing the best description of a true multiplicity case.  I have visited the Internet Movie Data Base blog (IMDb) for “The United States of Tara” and yes, viewed the first episode online.  I found the show entertaining and interesting!

Regarding the similarities you’ve read in Switching Time compared to “The United States of Tara,” I believe these were simply coincidental.  It’s true my ex-alter Holdon was left handed and bowled a great game, but that didn’t define him.  Bowling was simply one small part of Holdon’s being.  And no, we havn’t sold any parts of our book to this show.

There were definite differences, however.  My alters were not as overwhelming or extreme as in the show.  I believe they made a number of exaggerations because it’s a television show.  When I switched into an alternate personality, the shift was subtle as in when “Tara” entered her car after defending her daughter.  If I would’ve entered my car in distress, another alter would’ve come out and taken over, similar to what Tara did, and hopefully get me home safely.  Another difference is my children didn’t acknowledge my alters by individual names, interact with, or know them as viewed on this show. There are far many more differences than not. This show is not about Switching Time.

If you are living with someone with multiplicity, I think the most important thing to remember is to try your best not to criticize, judge, or accuse this person.  This type of negativity may trigger an alter switch, which can cause an unpredictability for both the family and the multiple.  Alters don’t usually come out unless some part is threatened.

Accept each alter as an individual, without paying too much attention to the craziness each alter may cause. Downplaying stresses prevents alter chaos.  I believe my survival through eighteen years of therapy was due to Dr. Baer’s treating each alter in the same manner, keeping the alters calm by being consistent, respecting and recognizing their individuality, without becoming overly anxious or fearing them.

Thank you for your thought provoking questions.

Karen

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