Kary Oberbrunner Shares How He Overcame A Self-Injury Addiction

Kary Oberbrunner
Kary Oberbrunner

Everyone goes through challenges in childhood, whether illness or separation anxiety or even traumatic events. For Kary Oberbrunner, he endured a paralyzing speech disorder and a secret addiction to self-injury.

Born in 1976 in Wisconsin, USA, Kary grew up in a Christian home. When he was 10, his mother narrowly escaped death, an experience that left him angry, depressed, and distrustful towards God. At the age of 16, his father had a close brush with death due to a massive heart attack, and this again stirred up Kary’s anger and disappointment.

After several more hurtful events and situations, Kary lost hope and started a dark dialogue with himself and the blade of a knife. His ambitious dreams remained untapped, far beneath the surface.

Unless you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes, it’s easy to judge them. It might sound odd to intentionally inflict pain on yourself, but Kary’s behavior wasn’t birthed out of a desire to die. Rather, it was a desperate attempt to stay alive. Self-injury was an unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with his intense pain.

He settled for a private world where he could control the pain instead of it controlling him. Self-injury gave him power to decide how long, how deep, and how often he would feel pain.

He batted these struggles for more than a decade, but due to his strong faith in God, Kary overcame his self-injury addiction and speech disorder. Once free, he poured himself into education. In 1999, Kary earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Grace College and a Master of Divinity degree from the Grace Seminary in 2001. Five years later, Kary earned a doctorate in transformational leadership from Ashland Theological Seminary.

While serving as a new pastor, Kary married Kelly in October 2000. They moved from Indiana to Ohio a year later. After serving as a pastor for 12 years, Kary resigned from his day job to pursue his dream of igniting souls full-time through writing, coaching, and speaking. Since then, he and his business partner, David Branderhorst, have created a multi-million-dollar global business.

Over the past 20 years, Kary has achieved international success through his books, programs, and events and impacted over one million people with this content. His resources help clients discover clarity in three areas: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?

Kary serves as the CEO of Redeem the Day, Igniting Souls, and his international publishing company, Author Academy Elite. He has trained over 250,000 entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, and authors and written eight books on personal growth, business, and success.

Although this transformation wasn’t easy, Kary regularly draws from his past suffering. Since confronting his pain and anger, he has been able to help other people in their journeys. Whether he’s speaking to youth or adults, in the business community or online, Kary brings a message of hope, healing, and clarity.


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