Our partner

How to confront someone with factitious disorder

Factitious Disorder message board, open discussion, and online support group.

How to confront someone with factitious disorder

Postby bertiebird » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:29 am

We are concerned for a friend of ours who has led us to believe she is under palliative care and dying from cancer. She has suffered from cancer for nearly 2 years and in this time reported it spread to her brain, bladder, breast, leg and oesophagus and of recent was on a syringe driver and reported that she has palliative care input visiting her house for treatment/support.
We supplied her with a wheelchair and she has crutches which she "struggle"s round her house in. She is an ex nurse and has been off work for nearly a year to allow this picture to seem consistent (as we are all nurses who worked with her)
During this time, we have become more and more convinced something is not right as stories became more and more dramatic and frequent....the numerous falls causing fractures, the assults in her home where someone stabbed her with a screwdriver and drew a cross on her back, the fake seizures and episodes of confusion which we have witnessed. The list goes on.

Now we are a point where we know this is all fake and constructed, and recently traced an old friend who she had reported to us she was estranged from. This friend is still in contact with her however plays a very different character, she still plays cancer however doesnt use the crutches/wheelchair and is still working as a nurse.

We recently found out that she is not listed with any palliative care service she has ever told us about.

The issue is......how do we confront her safely so that she doesn't self harm or kill herself after this is all out in the open - after all this has been hers and our reality of her for nearly 2 years.

Please, if anyone has any advice on the best way to approach this please help

Thanks so much
bertiebird
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:08 am
Local time: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


ADVERTISEMENT

Re: How to confront someone with factitious disorder

Postby factitious_one » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:40 pm

Hi

I'm really glad that you wrote here asking for some advice and hope that it helped to write about what's been going on for two years now, it sounds very difficult because, as you say, it's been your friends and your reality all this time. Sounds like you want to support your friend through this, which I find amazing. I've recently come to the realisation that I 'have' a factictious disorder in that I lie to some people about emotional problems. For me the thought of anyone finding out that I do this and confronting me is very scary indeed. I guess I would feel like a little child who has been found out and is being told off. So my first thought would be that if you did decide to confront, that you do it gently, which I'm sure you're already aware of!

My next thoughts were that I would be scared to lose you as my friends and support system. I think i hear in your post that you do still want to continue being friends with your friend and maybe continue supporting her? If this is the case I would say it's very important to point this out to her. Tell her that although she may not have cancer, that she is still ill and deserves your friendship and help regardless. Maybe pointing out that her lies have caused you worry and concern and that while you dont condone it (am maybe putting words in your mouth here, but it's just what I think myself!), you can understand that she had reasons for it and that it doesn't take away from you caring for her as a person. But that you'd like her to be honest with you...

Again i don't know if all of this is just what I personally would like if anyone should ever confront me. I guess my first reaction would be to deny it all. I would be so hurt that someone would think that of me (despite the fact that it's true!) but it would come more of a place of being ashamed, so deeply ashamed. I'm guessing her self esteem is rock bottom, maybe she feels she doesn't deserve attention, care, support, friendship. I do hear that you're worried confronting her may leave her feeling she has no option but to isolate herself and maybe even end her life. I don't want to sound harsh but in my mind, if you gently confront her, tell her that you do still care for her and are here for her should she want your support (for real things!), that she doesn't have to be alone with this, etc. Well, if you tell her all that and she still decides to isolate herself (maybe through shame of what she's done) I think that's her choice. She may well just withdraw from your friendship (again, maybe through shame) but would most likely, in my limited opinion, make friends with someone else or move house, etc. to start the lie up again with someone else. It would potentially be very difficult to sit back and watch, but i guess it's her decision.

In my mind though, having someone who actually knows what I've done, who truly knows the lies that I've told and yet still is offering to be my friend, well, that would be just amazing. I personally would find it so very difficult to face the person again though and if I was feeling depressed/low etc i'm not sure i could bring myself to contact the friend, but I'm wondering if all that ould be worked through if both are willing. Of course in this reply I have assumed that you do want to continue being her friend. If not then just ignore all that I said with regards to friendship, but I would still stand by what I said with regards to being gentle, etc. I wouldn't hold it against any of my friends if they confronted me but then said that due to the concern and hurt i've caused them that they feel, for their own wellbeing, they can no longer be friends with me. Sure it would hurt like hell, but i wouldn't hold it against them as afterall we are all responsible for our actions and that would be the consequence of my lies.

I'm sorry for going on in this reply. I'm not sure if any of it has been helpful in the slightest as I'm just thinking outloud. I do hope that things go well for you and your friend. Would you confront your friend alone or with your other friend there too? It may be worth thinking about that.. like would it be easier for you both to do it together, or could it be seen as you ganging up on her? Or it could be good to have eachother to bounce ideas off and deal with the potential backlash of it. Also, i wonder if your friend would consider therapy? Of course she'd need to admit that she has been lying and that she actually wants help. Depends where she is emotionally really. Anyway, good luck and if you can/want please let us know what you decide.
factitious_one
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:48 pm
Local time: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: How to confront someone with factitious disorder

Postby bertiebird » Thu May 26, 2011 1:05 pm

Well after a very long time contacting almost every psych practitioner for advice on how to do this, I eventually confronted her.
Can I say as well, that leading up to this event caused me so much anxiety and stress I had to see a counselor to help me through this process.
She denied everything, became nasty with me "how dare I suggest she is not ill" etc etc, and continued to escalate her lies. Even providing tons of solid proof that as a group we knew for 6 months she lived a lie - she did not falter - to the point where she came across desperate.
I found it relieving to have told her how much she had betrayed me and hurt me immensely, and more importantly to stop her behavior now, enough is enough.

She ended up putting the phone down on me, but for me this nightmare has ended, and I got my closure by telling her how hurtful her behavior has affected many people and more.

Not sure what will become of this "close" friend I welcomed lovingly into my life for 3 years but unfortunate for her she will end up being de-registered as a nurse (this investigation is underway) I can only hope her and others doing this stop this now - please think about the innocent people that get dragged into this awful life of deceit and betrayal and the after effects that are unwittingly placed on other people.
bertiebird
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:08 am
Local time: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: How to confront someone with factitious disorder

Postby 1Anonymous1 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:47 pm

I'm going through something very similar right now with an elderly friend. There been some struggles along the way. At first I thought he really was sick until his aid who became a friend of mine happened to clue me in but he actually magnifies what's really wrong. He goes to the ER nearly every night, and I'm sure the paramedics are just as sick and tired of this as the ER staff must be. I'm surprised the gentleman is not already in a nursing home where he really belongs. He happens to be a veteran, and has been behaving recklessly with the VA owned power chair. If anyone knows who to contact about this VA own power chair situation, it would definitely be appreciated. He's legally blind and does not belong in one.

Now as for this nurse you speak of, where are you might want to start is by finding out what hospital she works at and contacting her boss. You might want to go first to whoever runs the hospital.

First, start by explaining that you'd like to remain anonymous.

Now tell them what you described here.
When you get this out in the open to the hospital admin, they can do investigate from there. If this person is still working as a nurse, I personally would question her ability to safely take care of patients, sense she could very easily do something to hurt one of them or alter one of their tests. Putting myself in the patient's shoes, I personally would not want someone with a mental disorder caring for me, especially if I knew they were unstable. Definitely start by passing the word to her boss through the hospital admins.

Try secretly catching a video of what's going on.
Catching a video of some incidents will really help the hospital administrators. If you can show that video in person, you should only do this if you feel comfortable not being anonymous. If you want to remain anonymous, ask for the administrators email so you can send them the video. Any time something like this involves a hospital worker who deals with the public, you should always go to the hospital administrator to get word to the person's boss. The hospital may very well be able to set up arrangements so that the worker can get the help they need. The hospital can give the work or the ultimatum to either take help or her lose her job. If she really cares enough about the people and wants to keep her job, she will definitely take the help.

When it comes to my elderly friend, all I can do in my situation is just not cater to him. Last night I called to check on him, and he sounds normal when he first answers the phone, and someone actually happens to be with him at the time. When he's alone is when he suddenly changes his voice like last night. I never thought that he sometimes intensifies things just to get me over there, until a friend clued me in that this may very well be the case. The elderly man lives alone like I do. Since I have no car, I don't go hardly anywhere during the cold winter months. I stay home and inside most of the time, and last night was no different. When I called to check on him he sounded okay until he suddenly changed his voice to make it sound like he was dying. I don't know whether or not he was really sick or faking it, but I told him to do what he has to do, which would mean calling for help if he needs it. I guess I could try reminding him of the boy who cried Wolf, but that might upset him and make him mad. We've been having subzero temperatures over here, and it happened to be that last night he tried to get me to go out in the cold and go over there. When the weather's warmer I'm usually over there quite a bit more to the point it's taking away from my personal life. I've been staying home and not really going out last several days during subzero temperatures, and I had no plans on going out last night. I just stood my ground with him and told him I'm not going out. We were under a wind chill warning, which downgraded to an advisory. No way am I going out even if it's just a cross the street. It doesn't take long to get frostbite, or to get sick. Not that I'm worried about getting sick because I rarely ever get sick unless I get overheated. What I'm saying is he should've been far more considerate of my needs to avoid the extreme cold. He can very easily get sick from the cold but he still should be considerate of others.

Firmly standing your ground and not giving in is probably what you're going to have to do with your situation if you face anything like what I'm facing right now. I really pity anyone that might cross this person's path, because they'll get sucked right in if they don't know what the real situation is. If you can catch any video and keep it, you can then watch to see who goes in and out of this person's house. You can then approach them and show them the video and explained that this person is a nurse at whatever hospital you know they work at. I hope that someone can get this person the help they need, and I hope this kind of problem becomes a thing of the past.
1Anonymous1
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:15 pm
Local time: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: How to confront someone with factitious disorder

Postby Ada » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:16 pm

1anonymous1, the original events happened almost four years ago. So your post is helpful for other people who may be in a similar situation. But hopefully things have resolved positively for everyone involved in the OP's post. :D

I'd also flag that in some states / countries, it's illegal to video people without their permission. So it's worth looking into the legal aspects of it. Before taking that action. Sometimes people think "the end justifies the means." But if it results in a criminal prosecution against the videoer. Or perhaps that the video isn't admissible as evidence against the other person. Then this could harm more than it helps.

With your elderly friend. I'm wondering why you'd label it as factitious? Rather than loneliness, perhaps. If he can't get out much, then he may be very limited in his options for contact with other people.
We think too much and feel too little.
 More than machinery, we need humanity.
 More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.


Charlie Chaplain in The Great Dictator
User avatar
Ada
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7694
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 9:47 pm
Local time: Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:49 am
Blog: View Blog (29)

Re: How to confront someone with factitious disorder

Postby 1Anonymous1 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:22 am

Hi Ada,

I would've never said factitious unless I was absolutely positive. Everyone around him already knows that there something going on that shouldn't be. A little research described my friend perfectly, because something really does sound very familiar. What was described is exactly as it was described to me when it was revealed to me. This person would always act much sicker than they really were until he got what he wanted. I never really saw this until someone opened my eyes and pointed out some things I never saw before. When those things were pointed out I started watching for them to find them very accurate. The hospital staff have also been very suspicious, but I don't know what's said them and my friend every time he lands in the ER nearly every night. A very reliable resource even said that if this person keeps it up that we both know where he will be placed, and right now he's walking on very thin ice. He does not want to land in a nursing home and he will have no other choice if the right people happen to put him there. His behavior will land him there, but you cannot mention nursing home around him, or he'll get combative.



Ada wrote:1anonymous1, the original events happened almost four years ago. So your post is helpful for other people who may be in a similar situation. But hopefully things have resolved positively for everyone involved in the OP's post. :D

I'd also flag that in some states / countries, it's illegal to video people without their permission. So it's worth looking into the legal aspects of it. Before taking that action. Sometimes people think "the end justifies the means." But if it results in a criminal prosecution against the videoer. Or perhaps that the video isn't admissible as evidence against the other person. Then this could harm more than it helps.

With your elderly friend. I'm wondering why you'd label it as factitious? Rather than loneliness, perhaps. If he can't get out much, then he may be very limited in his options for contact with other people.


-- Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:30 pm --

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I found this site during some research as to what to do about people with factitious disorder. I'm actually new here so I don't know when who posted what. I just found the blog and replied because somethings sounded very familiar to what I'm going through now with my elderly friend. I really am dealing with someone like this right now and I just don't know what to do. I was blind to some things before until someone pointed somethings out for me to look for, and these tips were very accurate.



Ada wrote:1anonymous1, the original events happened almost four years ago. So your post is helpful for other people who may be in a similar situation. But hopefully things have resolved positively for everyone involved in the OP's post. :D

I'd also flag that in some states / countries, it's illegal to video people without their permission. So it's worth looking into the legal aspects of it. Before taking that action. Sometimes people think "the end justifies the means." But if it results in a criminal prosecution against the videoer. Or perhaps that the video isn't admissible as evidence against the other person. Then this could harm more than it helps.

With your elderly friend. I'm wondering why you'd label it as factitious? Rather than loneliness, perhaps. If he can't get out much, then he may be very limited in his options for contact with other people.
1Anonymous1
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:15 pm
Local time: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: How to confront someone with factitious disorder

Postby angelina4 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:42 am

I second Ada's warning abour videotaping. That is illegal in many states.

I also think second the question - how do you know it's not loneliness - is a good one? People can have abnormal illness behavior for a whole lot of different reasons, and once you decide that they're not "really" sick (as much as anyone can really know something like that) then that raises a whole slew of new questions - do they know they're not sickor do they believe they're sick? Are they faking or do their symptoms seem real to them? If they are faking consciously and intentionally - then why? Do they know why?

You may decide that this person isn't a close enough friend that you want to continue the relationship if you feel manipulated. But if you do want to be his friend and do want to help them, and you think he's doing it for attention or out of loneliness, then one thing you can try to do is reward non-illness behaviors - pay more attention to when he talks about things that aren't related to being sick. And maybe help him try to problem-solve his real issues, like loneliness. Is there a senior center he can get involved with?
angelina4
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 236
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:17 pm
Local time: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:49 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


Return to Factitious Disorder Forum




  • Related articles
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

cron