Monday, April 08, 2013

Switching Time by Richard Baer

Switching Time, Richard Baer.  New York: Crown Publishers, 2007. ebook, 295 pps.

Like a large percentage of people diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder [depending up what year the diagnosis was made], Karen-- a pseudonym-- had endured horrendous abuse by her family as a child.  Subsequently, she hooked up with an abusive mate.  In her struggle to break free of that, she began therapy with Richard Baer.

At some point, Karen's alters began to surface and communicate with her therapist.  They had a litany of complaints.  Karen herself was conscious only of losing time.  Losing time is like an alcoholic blackout caused by the shifting of alters-- the body continues to function and have a life but the brain does not remember later-- who will say and do things that the core will not.  Eventually, Karen developed co-consciousness with varying alters.  She also recovered specific memories of ritual abuse.

By the end of the book, Karen integrated and gave permission for the book to be written.  She reportedly furnished many corrections and expansions but was satisfied with the execution of her case study.

The part of the book that fascinated me was the description of Karen's parents.  Her father went to trial for the sexual abuse of a young niece.  Karen was tricked into taking her mother to the hospital to pick up her father after his discharge.  He had been found to have metastasized cancer.  In typical fashion, her parents blamed Karen for his woes.  They also had the expectation that she would drop in on her father daily to check on his well-being while her mother was away.  When she refused, they informed her that she owed this service to them and that she was an ingrate.

sapphoq reviews says: Switching Time is the typical story of woman diagnosed with multiple personalities written by her therapist after her integration.  Those singletons who enjoy television shows where laundry is aired in public and those who are fascinated by the concept of multiple personalities will probably like Switching Time.  I hesitate to recommend Switching Time.  There is something about not wishing to encourage other folks on the D.I.D. continuum to allow their stories to be told by professional helpers.  Those who are triggered by reading about childhood sexual abuse ought to stay away entirely.  On the question: Can more than one "personality" exist in one body? I remain neutral.  I want to say that horrific childhood abuse can do that to someone.  Yet I hesitate because the literature is also filled with stories of childhood "satanic" ritual abuse and references to snuff films.  Sort of not recommended.    

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