Karen answers DK

Comment by DK on March 23, 2009 2:38 am

I would like to add to what Karen has written to Peggy. I was being sexually abused starting from before 2 years of age. I was also physically abused daily. I had parts that took the sexual abuses and buried them – I don’t imagine I had the language or cognitive skills to formulate what happened to me so the memories were fragmented and stored as snapshots of visual memory, auditory memory, kinesthetic (body) memory and pain memories.. As an adult I’ve integrated those memories to make sense of them – various parts held each aspect.

As a child – I had a part that went to school, that part usually didn’t get interference from the part(s) that were physically or sexually abused. The school part had learning disabilities that probably stemmed from dissociation but there was nothing that would have given the school reason to believe I was being abused. I had other parts that played in the community. My mother was very good at looking the part of the best mom in the world when under the view of the outside world. My father turned a blind eye to much of the abuse or was absent for a lot of it. If the child is not “whole” it’s very easy for an uninformed person to miss the abuse.

While abuse is more likely to be reported these days that’s not necessarily a guarantee the child will be protected because the parents have more rights than the children. Again, if the inside part, that presents to whatever agency interviews the child, if that part acts as if everything is fine because that’s what’s safe for that child’s system, protection is not likely to happen.

I am keenly aware of the kinds of behaviors that might suggest abuse in children – including dissociative behaviors. We need to educate society of how abused children “look” or manifest their abuse and then we need to educate our governing bodies about the importance of ensuring the child’s rights over the rights of the parents.

I just wanted to clarify the amnesia aspect of DID that affects the chances abuse will be reported and stopped.

DK

Dear DK,

Thank you for sharing! I’m so very sorry that you, too, suffered from child abuse. I empathize with you.  As a child who dissociated myself, it was extremely difficult for anyone to see that I was being abused. My alters protected me from appearing different. My mother, too, had a way of looking to be the best mom.  I never appeared dirty, I was fed well and not one thing was out of place or unorganized in my mother’s home. It all appeared nice and tidy to cover the sad truth.

I agree that there is a need to educate society regarding child abuse. There are many misconceptions that need to be made clear. There are signs children show when being abused, whether the child dissociates or not, and it’s important to know these signs, watch for them and be aware of how a child may look when being abused.

As a multiple, most people would’ve never guessed that I was being abused. My alters were created to keep me safe and to hide my distress. In a sad way, this may have prolonged the abuse I suffered.

Thank you.

Karen

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Karen answers James

Comment by James on March 22, 2009 2:04 pm

“Karen” Nice to see you after all these years. It was great catching up with the real you. I had a question that needs to be asked. Remember in High School, during our Sophmore year when a group of us took the test to see if we were MENSA qualified. None of us made it but YOU DID! Was that you or an alter? Have you been tested since? How about your children? That was a time, during the test, when I looked at you and swear you were different from the norm. A program this morning prompted my question.

Congratulation on your success!

Love you, Take care!

James

Dear James,

It was nice seeing you, too! I appreciate your kind thoughts and understanding.  I do remember that day when five of us took the test to see, as you put it “how smart we were”.  That was a fun day!  I wasn’t interested in the testing part. I was interested being with you and our friends and going for french fries loaded with ketchup after the test.

I’m not sure how I acquired the high score that I did.  I always thought it was pure coincidence or luck. However, I do recall starting the test and finishing the test, but not the in between and taking the test. I may have not been myself, and an alter completed the test for me. I’m not sure.  Maybe when you looked at me that day you saw one of my alters. 

What I do know for sure is that I never accepted being a member of MENSA because I could not accept something I couldn’t recall accomplishing myself.  All I know is that because of that test no one left me alone, especially my algebra teacher who made me tutor other students. I didn’t know back then I was a multiple. My multiplicity continues to be somewhat of a mystery to me.

To my knowledge, I don’t recall ever testing again. Regarding my children, my son tested for MENSA at age ten and made it.  Although I don’t believe it matters how high someone’s IQ is, what matter’s most is one’s ability to succeed.

Thank you for your question. Looking forward to hearing from you again sometime.

Karen

Karen answers KC

Comment by KC on March 21, 2009 4:52 pm

Karen Overhill,

Thank you for being so kind to the idiots of this world. Patience is a virtue. A jerk is a jerk and will always be a jerk. I see that you still acknowledge the jerks who ask you accusatory questions . I don’t know how you do it but there needs to be more people like you. Richard Baer did a great job with you. Are you like this because of his help or this is how you always are?

KC,

Atlanta, GA

Dear KC,

I empathize with all people and never consider anyone an idiot.  Of course, I admit there have been a few people who have been difficult to understand.  What’s most important to me is bringing an understanding to the illness, multiplicity.  Actually, those who challenge me, sometimes amuse me.

Dr. Baer is my mentor and yes, he has done a great job in working together with me, to heal me.  I have learned a great deal from him, however, we are not alike. I am my own person just as he is his own person. I did not ‘become’ Dr. Baer because of his help, nor did I learn to be who I am by modeling myself after him.

Thank you for your compliment on needing more people in the world to be like me, your kind and thoughtful words have touched me and are much appreciated.

Karen

Karen answers Kimberly

Comment by Kimberly, a neighbor on March 16, 2009 11:11 pm

Dear Karen,

How are you? I read your story in one day and can’t stop thinking of you and what you went through. If I knew a child was abused I never tell anyone because fear I would be accused. Right? I’m confused after reading your story. I changed my mind and want to tell but feel bad and can’t report this girls abuser. Should I talk to the ten year old and tell her I know about her and the guy that’s abusing her? Or should I report what I know to the police without telling her? I hear her scream every night through our adjoining walls. I can’t sleep without being startled awake by her screams.. I think she screams for only ten minutes and goes back to sleep. I don’t really know. I’m guessing. The girl screams at the same time of night at least four times a week.

Kimberly, a neighbor

Dear Kimberly,

I’m doing fine. I’m glad to hear that you’ve changed your thoughts about how to handle the suspected abuse that may be going on next door to you. It’s really difficult to know for sure when to do take action to help someone. I am not a therapist and can’t give advice, but in my opinion, you might want to contact someone in your local child welfare department.  They will investigate without revealing who tipped them off.

In your letter you mentioned you heard this ten year old screaming through the adjoining walls, but you didn’t mention what she was screaming.  Was she having a nightmare or did you hear something more specific that made you suspect she was being abused?  Was she crying out for help?  This is something you might want to be clear about in your own mind before you take action.

It could be she suffers from repetitive nightmares, and falls quickly back to sleep without the knowledge of having them.  I can recall a few times when my own children sat up abruptly in their sleep and fell back to sleep never remembering it at all. If she should approach you and confide in you that she is indeed being abused, than most certainly call the authorities and report it.

Always remember, the safety of all children must come first. If you know for sure that a child is being abused, please do the right thing.

Thank you for your thoughts and questions.

Karen

Karen answers Tom

Comment by Tom on March 19, 2009 3:20 am

Karen,

Do you have any addictions? Do multiple personalities usually have addiction problems?

Tom

Dear Tom,

As far as those who suffer from multiplicty are concerned, no, I don’t believe multiples have addictive personalities.  In my opinion, alters are created to help one survive.  Therefore, no time for obsessions or addictions to form.

In answering your question about me, I ask myself, “What defines an addiction?”  I have been told I have none, however, I disagree.  I am surely addicted to trying to change angry, insensitive, arrogant, and pessimistic people with one act of kindness at a time.  I can’t help but think that there is something good in each and every one of us.  Kill them with kindness, is what my heart tells me.  Whether this an addiction, I ‘m not sure.  I’m not an expert on these matters.

I believe never giving up on people can be an addiction. Why?  Because not only can my addiction cause me grief, it can cause headaches, depressed thoughts, and even threaten to diminish my spirit.  Nevertheless, it’s in my nature to continue being kind and writing kind thoughts, even to those who can’t change. 

Thank you for your question.

Karen

Karen answers Mel

Comment by Mel on March 16, 2009 12:43 am

Thank you Karen for answering Measlam and Sally in such a thoughtul heartelt way. You know how I would answer? I would’ve told them off, swear and not answered them with respect. I applaud you. You do make a difference to the lives of people who suffer. Why didn’t Oprah have you on her show? What’s wrong with that picture? Doesn’t she know about you?

Grateful to you.

Mel

Dear Mel,

I know it may be hard for most people to understand why I answer questions that may be off-putting and accusatory, but here on the Switching Time blog, I want to answer all questions asked. There’s no reason for me to tell anyone off when my hope is to provide comfort and understanding.  In my opinion, an inappropriate question requires a caring and appropriate answer.  On this blog, it’s all about learning, sharing, multiplicity, and how I survived.

The people at Oprah’s show know about me, but it’s hard to know what sorts of decisions go on there to decide what’s best for her show.  They haven’t yet decided to portray my story, but  Dr. Baer and I have made sure they have a copy of our book.  I’m not sure why she hasn’t chosen to share my story.  There could be many reasons, and it is my hope that one day she chooses to have me on her show.  I appreciate your thoughts about this.

Thank you for all your compliments, especially for believing that I am making a difference in the lives of those who suffer.

Karen

Karen answers Dolly

Comment by Dolly on March 14, 2009 6:25 pm

Hi Karen,

I can see that you answered a million questions and how wonderful you are to. What kind of questions to you prefer people ask you? Are all questions answered? I have a few questions. Has your dream been fulfilled? Do you have a secret wish? What hurts you? last one…. Have you accomplished all that you wished to?

Dolly

Dear Dolly,

I don’t mind answering questions here on the Switching Time blog.  It has always been my hope to share my experiences in a helpful way.  I truly believe our Web site is a safe place for all readers to feel comfortable enough to share, contact me, and ask their questions.  I look forward to personally answer each one.

I don’t have any particular preference for what kind of questions to answer, but there have been times when a few stressful questions have pushed me to defend my decision to share my story and my therapeutic relationship with Dr. Baer.  It’s these type of questions that have me wondering why it’s so important to some people to tear down one of the most amazing accomplishments of Dr. Baer’s and my life.

My dreams remain dreams at this point.  Does anyone really fulfill all their dreams?  I think not.  I believe it takes all of one’s lifetime to fulfill a dream. It’s hard work to live in reality.  When dreaming, one lives in fantasy.  And yes, I have a secret wish, doesn’t everyone?  It’s a secret!  If I shared my secret wish, it would no longer be my secret. Therefore, I won’t share.

To answer your question regarding accomplishing all that I wish to, no I haven’t. I continue to work hard each day just to survive. I am proud of all that I have accomplished in my life.  Of course, I’m not perfect, and I’ve made mistakes myself and learned the hard way. 

Living in reality is a challenge for me, but I love a challenge.  My goal is to be at peace within myself and to live my life with integrity.

Thank you for your questions.

Karen