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is my sister in law faking?

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is my sister in law faking?

Postby dopandj » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:48 pm

hi all. this will be long. 2 years ago, my sil(i will call her janet) and her husband were divorced. soon after the divorce she was showing signs of dd. the first we heard of it was because of a phone call from janet's ex-best friend(ann). janet had known ann's husband for 20 or so years and would talk about him as though she had a crush on him. ann called us because janet had been calling her husband and leaving strange messages on his work phone. these messages had to do with how the gov't was controlling our minds with fiber optics. ann forwarded these voice messages to us. my first thought upon hearing them was that she was faking. the voice she used was sing songy.....like a ghost voice you might hear on scooby doo. it just seemed like a really bad acting job. my husband spoke with janet and told her she needed to stop calling ann's husband. as far as i know, she has not called him again.

i spoke with her many times within that next month. she seemed angry that she wasn't getting more family support(emotional support) since her divorce. i knew that it was true that the family wasn't making her a priority...... i KNOW that we were all tired of her having to be the center of attention, plus, she was a complete bully to her husband when they were married. nobody blamed him for wanting out.

about a month after the calls where she was upset with the family and the lack of attention she was getting, i was speaking with janet on the phone. she began telling me about her thoughts(fiber optics, the gov't blew up the world trade center, the I-35 bridge did not collapse, it was faked using computers, etc.). i did not argue with her at all, but told her that i had not experienced anything like that, and that i would always listen to her. she seemed excited to be telling me those things. about 2 weeks later, we had a similar phone conversation where she spoke of those things again. since then, she has not verbalized these thoughts to me(or anyone that i know of).

for nearly 1 year she has not said/written anything about her thoughts. 6 months ago,there was a family email going around about kate(janet's sister) and how she was going back to school to get her master's. janet called me and was very annoyed that kate was going back to school and how kate "will do anything for attention". as the email went around, different family members would respond, giving kate encouragement, etc. after 8 or so replies to the email, janet chimed in and wrote a reply that was delusional in nature. of course, that ended the stream of happy messages for kate. 2 months ago, my mother in law was diagnosed with breast cancer. she had surgery, which was successful. she wrote an email after she got the all clear(of course this was a happy email), and janet's response had something to do with a mouse in her basement that knew all of the answers. again, she made everyone focus their attention on her. there have been many times where if someone in the family has good news, she will send out an email that is strange.

i would love some input, i know that nobody can give me a definite answer one way or the other. i guess i am just tired.....i've been the one that has been keeping in contact with her, as a favor to my inlaws. they are worried about her and have asked me to call her several times a month to check up on her. honestly, i don't consider janet a friend and feel like these phone calls are a waste of my time. have any of you experienced this kind of thing? is this just how the disease works?
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Re: is my sister in law faking?

Postby peytonmanning18 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:51 pm

Of course it's hard for me to answer the question but what do you think would be her motivation for faking all this? To get attention? If so it seems very unlikely to me, think about all the other possible ways a person could get much more positive attention, then ask yourself if the behavior you've observed seems like a better alternative (it doesn't to me).

As far as being the designated familial contact with this person how did you get "elected"? Why can't your in-laws do this themselves?
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Re: is my sister in law faking?

Postby dopandj » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:13 pm

hi, thanks for your response. yes, if she is faking, she would be doing it to get attention. she has always needed a lot of attention, and it DOES NOT need to be positive. i have known her for 20 or so years. she has gone through so many ways of getting attention, i feel like she just keeps upping the seriousness of her problems.....when i first met her, her problems were minor(many boyfriend difficulties, job worries) and then they would progress to something bigger when the family would stop responding to those things. i think this is because we all started to see her as the girl who cried wolf and she would have to have something new and more serious to reel us in again. over the years the problems just get bigger and more serious. i can barely think of a time when(in all those 20 years) speaking with her that she hasn't had a problem. when i talk to other people, we talk about our families, what we've been up to, etc, and sometimes, but not even close to always, we talk about something that is troubling(more than a small gripe). she always(going on memory here, but i do not remember any conversations that were 100% pleasant and nice) has a dramatic story to tell(these are NOT small gripes).

she seems to need to argue (and in doing that get non-positive attention). she will say things that she must know will get people to kind of gang up on her. for example: my husband is a computer geek. he has a masters in computer science. he knows his stuff. she will say in front of the whole family that she could do his job. she has never even taken a computer class. family members will tell her she's full of crap(nicely) and she will argue and argue about it and then kind of admit that she really coudn't do his job. she starts these arguments when one of her siblings has just shared a piece of good news(job promotion, etc). she has been starting these kind of arguments since i've known her(and according to my husband way before that). can dd be the cause of the arguing? can she have had dd for 20+ years, but not have vocalized the delusions she has been focused on in the last 2 years? i'm just confused on how this disease works. i'm sure it's different from one person to the next.

i guess i kind of elected myself to be the one who stays in contact with her. she and my husband have had a tense relationship since he confronted her about calling ann's husband. she's never been close to her other brother. her sister and her parents constantly say the wrong things to her, "you need to get help", "you should sell your car".....all kinds of advice that she's told them over and over that she doesn't want to hear. my in laws are worried about her and i seem to be the one she'll talk to, so i talk to her and give them a report.

i'm kind of on the fence. part of me thinks she has dd, part of me has trouble believing it after all the years of her escalating problems. part of me wonders if the dd symptoms are just another stepping stone to getting more attention.

i will remain patient with her and will help her as i can. sorry this got so long, i wanted to try and really explain, but in reading this over, feel like i haven't even scratched the surface. oh well. thanks for reading.
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Re: is my sister in law faking?

Postby CarmenRose23 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:18 pm

If you really don’t care about her then yes your absolutely wasting your time. It’s your husband’s families problem, make them deal with her.


But as far as what I think she is… it sounds like she has Munchausen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchausen_syndrome

Check out the Diseases listed they include, Spousal abuse, Depression Bipolar.

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders ... drome.aspx

I STRONGLY believe that in the cases of Munchausen and in Munchausen By Proxy the necessity of the hospital isn’t there… I think it’s the nature of the attention seeking behavior that REALLY nails it down as being Munchausen. So I think it can be seen as making up problems at work, in relationships, psychological issues, anything they can do to get the attention…

As the attention is pulled away the Behavior Escalates. SO ya, if the family continues to turn a blind eye to her she will become more dramatic and her problems will become more serious. She may start to go into a more Full Blown version where she starts hurting/poisoning herself and faking physical diseases.

Anyway my mom is Muchahusen By Proxy and I would love to hear more about your sister in law.
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Re: is my sister in law faking?

Postby dopandj » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:42 pm

hi carmenrose, thanks for the info! the 2nd link was very interesting to me. i knew a little about munchausen's, but did not know that it included faking(for lack of a better word) mental illness.

janet has for the last 6 years, had an immense(MANY, MANY!) number of physical health problems. she will mention them, talk about how treatment will be long and require her to change her lifestyle, and then a month later she's not talking about it anymore. she will either move on to a new illness, or talk about job problems( "i need to quit my job, there is this guy here that keeps stopping by my cube and i'm afraid it's going to turn into a stalking situation" ) or a huge problem with her son's school, or a huge problem with her neighbor, etc, etc. when i say huge, i mean that these problems are not your everyday, run of the mill annoyances.

she told me a year ago that she and her son had both been diagnosed with hypercalciuria and that they could no longer drink pop, eat certain foods, do any rough and tumble activities, etc. in that same conversation we talked about the family get together we were having at my house and i mentioned that her son should bring snowpants, etc. because my kids were planning on going sledding. she said that her son wouldn't be allowed to go sledding because of his hypercalciuria. the family get together was that next weekend. they ate and drank everything they weren't supposed to and her son was sledding(and going off jumps) for a good portion of the day. in my head, i'm thinking "wait a minute, what happened to your disease?"

her latest concern is a lipoma she had removed from her arm. she brings it up often, and insists on calling it a "tumor", and how she has another "tumor" on her leg.

i'm thinking of distancing myself from things a little, but worry that things will end up falling into my husband's lap, and he has enough stress from his job.

anyway, thanks so much for the information! i'm going to look into it more. have a good day!
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