1. I am a victim of Munchausen’s by proxy. I was starved for 8 years of my life until a teacher finally put an end to it, and I was unable to hear from my right ear due to infections that were not taken seriously.
I was taken to the Dr repeatedly typically naturopathic doctors and quacks that never should have been treating me to begin with.
My mom led the guise that I had allergies that affected my ear and was allergic to everything under the sun.
My diet consisted of plain raw veggies, raw almonds, and raw sunflower seeds. 2 years into my diet I was allowed to eat baked potatoes with nothing on them.
My stomach was distended and I was bloated from lack of nutrients. Even though I was starving I was fed herbs by the handful (approx. 50 every morning – with 3 20oz glasses of water) no breakfast.
I was also given weekly colonics, nasal specifics and other various forms of torture.
At one point I broke my shoulder and I was taken to a chiropractor who adjusted it repeatedly with me screaming and telling me it was just sprained.
My mom appeared to be a great mom to everyone on the surface, and I didn’t know any better I thought I was just sick.
I had no energy I sat around most of the day reading books or playing in my closet.
At 12 I was taken to an ENT by my father and he told me I just needed to stop getting water in my ear and the puss would quit coming out of my ear.
12 years of ridiculousness and torture came to an end when I had a real doctor and there was no defense for my mom.
I now as an adult suffer from complex PTSD and chronic pain from clenching my jaw, and occipital neuralgia.
I am working through a lot of these issues in therapy and EMDR, but its sad something that made your childhood bad follows you into being an adult.
2. Let’s see. What is it like to be dragged to 36 different specialists over a 4 year period, with vague but painful amd distressing symptoms that never lead to a diagnosis?
What is it like to miss out on your childhood because your grandmother was so good at fabricating symptoms that the drs started treating you with methotrexate, large doses of cortisone, antibiotics, strong pain medications, eventually morphine, to try and manage the constant yet inexplicable pain you were in.
Losing weight, losing hair, hallucinating, coming close to death all because someone else wanted attention? Not great to be honest.
What’s it like thinking everyday you were dying, eventually praying that you would die, because that’s obviously the only thing that would make her happy? Not fantastic.
I left home at 18, and except for the emotional trauma, have hardly been sick a day in my life.
3. My ex-husband’s stepmother had it. Her dream was to become a nurse, which she never achieved and had a talent of finding a doctor to do surgery when other surgeons refused.
She had a scheme of bringing Snickers bars to the hospital and trick the doctors into thinking her blood sugar was wildly out of control in order to extend her stay. I think it was the only way she knew how to bring attention to herself.
She was so unhappy and difficult to get along with, unless she was talking about her health, as in what was wrong and the surgery/medical treatment she was receiving. Her personality was not one to draw people to her, in fact, I feel many avoided her because of the medical drama.
I think she also loved the attention of when her daughter was ill. The stepmother told me that when she was looking for daycare during her pregnancy, she had to find someone that would take care of sick children because she KNEW her child was going to be sick. I saw an “oh shit’ look on her face when she told me this. Now, she had no genetic testing done to determine any problems and the ultrasounds were normal, so I’m not sure how she KNEW she was going to have a sick child.
This poor child underwent everything from full allergy testing to getting catheters inserted to check for bladder infections, test after test for upper and lower Gi, more testing with scopes and lots of needles. Benadryl every night to get her to sleep.
This poor kid started taking on her mother’s obsession with her health and bragging when she had surgery or procedures. We had a frantic call one night that the child had a heart attack and begged us to come to the children’s hospital. I arrive to find her mom arguing with the doctor that is was a heart problem and not acid reflux. I would have been rejoicing to discover it was not a serious problem, but she was very upset and pissed it was only acid reflux.
The little girl began to gain quite a bit of weight, which the mother blamed on all the medication. The doctors suggested a healthier diet and exercise, but alas they didn’t know what they were talking about as the hotdog, coke and all you can eat sweets while staying on the couch watching TV all day was the way to go.
Unfortatanly the daughter is now hooked on pain pills, very overweight, and I’m sure, is in pain, physical and emotional. She gets much of this medication from her mother, who gets attention from telling everyone her daughter is hooked, yet she is her main supplier. A crazy vicious circle.
There is so much more that took place, it was like watching some sick circus.
4. My mother. And it is exhausting.
She has always faked her illnesses, first with my dad when she wanted to obtain something and then since they got separated more than 25 years ago, with me.
And the worst is that she comes up always when it’s Christmas, or my birthday or her…the rest of the year she is perfectly fine and going to concerts with her friends and traveling, she is 72.
Also the fact that my cousins think I am an awful person for not running to her bed each time she goes “I am at the hospital”…she always denies me the right to talk with her doctors, which is a distinguished trait of people having this syndrome.
Along the years she has been inventing she has a tumor, cancer, Parkinson…and the list goes on. And every time people from her side of the family text me (I went to live abroad) to throw shame on me.
My dad said that once she was faking an panic attack but when my dad told her he did not have any more Valium left, she was suddenly fine.
She takes photos of herself in the hospital and post them on Facebook, today she took a photo of a card attached to the nurse’s bell on the bed stating that it was saying in Czech “surgery room bed, emergency department”…it was saying “be careful when you get up you may slip, call the nurse in case of need”…not knowing that even though I am not that good in Czech, nowadays you can translate things with google.
I am desperately asking help to her part of the family in pushing her to see a psychologist or psychiatrist and to start therapy, but she denies it and call me an insensible because I can’t see how sick she is.
It’s hard. And it’s harder that the best advice you get is to ignore her when she acts like this, so as she faked it so many times, I am not able anymore to understand when she is acting or when she is really sick.
5. My mother was an unhappy woman. To see others happy seemed to physically pain her. Yet, she would attempt to emulate them in her search for personal happiness.
She always seemed to have expectations from others when it came to her achieving said happiness – although she never shared what those expectations were, only her anger with those around her for not following the script she’d failed share.
The first of her plans that I learned of was her marriage to my father.
She was 17 years old. He was 18 and going away to fight in Korea.
According to my aunts, her sisters, she married him before he left because she had dreams of becoming “the young grieving widow” and collecting benefits while others sympathized over her sad circumstances.
Instead of the tragic story she had imagined, much to her chagrin, he survived and came home.
This required a new plan.
In 1953, happiness was wearing the label of “The American Dream” and it looked like a married couple in a house with two children – preferably a boy and a girl, and perhaps a dog. This would be the plan. It covers everything for a lifetime.
This time, her own biology was the uncooperating factor.
They tried to have a baby for seven years before she was able to conceive and carry my brother to term. They struggled another eight years before her OB/GYN, during another visit to tell her she still was not pregnant, told her that he did however have a patient who was pregnant, but unable to keep the baby.
The checklist she had was important to her. Without it, she believed she would never be happy. It was a recipe that required all the ingredients or it everyone would know that she didn’t really know how to make it.
So, she took the information home to my father and the decision was made to adopt me before I was born. They also made the decision not to tell me that I was adopted, but that’s a whole other set of issues.
For reasons I’ll never understand, she was hopeful that I would be a boy. Again, unshared expectations that involved circumstances beyond her control that left her even more unhappy and bitter than before.
Her new her plan evolved sometime after my birth and involved her having a sick child while others flocked to her side offering sympathy.
I have to imagine she was thrilled when I complied and we spent countless hours every week at the doctor for real problems like ear infections. But by the time I was five years old, tubes in my ears had resolved those issues and the quarterly doctor visits just weren’t enough.
She began pushing the doctor to administer allergy tests, insisting to everyone she encountered that I was “allergic to everything except white rice and chicken”. I always found that odd because we rarely had either on our dinner table.
The doctor gave in and I was subjected to painful allergy testing – my arms and back scratched and monitored for reaction. Of course, there were a few normal, every day allergens that I reacted to which only prompted her to demand I begin allergy shots.
That would require weekly doctor visits again where she would be able to sit in the waiting room with the other mothers and let them know how much worse she had it with me as a child then they did with their own.
I have to believe that the doctor had at least an inkling of her character because he agreed to the shots, but told her that she would be taught to administer them to me at home instead. I received only one allergy shot at home and can still hear my own screams begging my father to not let her do it.
Because this plan fell through, she devised another. This involved pouring bleach and ginger ale over ice and giving it to me to drink after school one day. As an additional side note: she was also watching the neighbor’s son.
Fully committed to her plan, she gave us both a glass. I drank mine completely, he only drank half. She immediately gave us milk to induce vomiting – I’m guessing she did some research before hand. While I was able to get clearance from the emergency room physician, the neighbor’s son had to have his stomach pumped.
I grew up being told that the bleach was in the bottle of ginger ale when she bought it. That she’d been cleaning all day so she didn’t notice the smell of the bleach when she poured it. That the company gave the neighbor’s family $5,000 for their troubles, but not us because I was okay.
That would the last time she physically abused me as well the beginning of her nearly 40 years of pharmaceutical drug abuse.
Family rumor has it this was all around the first time that my father threatened to leave her which would have totally obliterated the illusion she was so busy trying to create.
That’s a portion of what it looked like from the inside. I believe it to be a small part of a much bigger problem.