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Am I nuts or was this MBP?

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Am I nuts or was this MBP?

Postby clairaD » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:07 am

I'm finally wondering if the medical events in my life were due to Munchausen by proxy. My mother had psychopathic tendencies, so I never really looked beyond the psychopathic part, but now I'm wondering - mostly for my own sanity and health as I finally start to sort things out decades later.

Sorry for the book. This is actually an abbreviated version.

Pediatric doctor notes mentioned abuse (but as far as I know never reported it to authorities)

Child abuse documents note that my mother said I was "learning disabled" "had seizures" "had photosensitive epilepsy" "had special glasses" (I didn't have seizures, no epilepsy, no special glasses, I was actually near the top of my class, and the notes also mention that the mother's story seemed farfetched and that she was sabotaging efforts to get me tested).

She went out of her way to get me diagnosed as epileptic, including drugging me before tests, making sure I hadn't gotten sleep for 48 hours before, etc. I even had a rather scared looking doctor come out to the waiting room when I was alone one time and explain Munchausen by proxy to me. I was young, didn't know what to do with the info, and decided he was probably wrong anyway. I was sure she was just faking my illness so she could get money or something because paid medical research was a thing then and it paid well because we lived by a well-known and well-funded research hospital (that and she was my mother, I sort of trusted her and I kind of believed her lies).

I had two (real) underlying conditions that I know of as a child - a genetically triggered mild/moderate Addison's disease and an STD (from being molested - yes - let's skip that part for now, one crisis at a time). My mother went out of her way to not get me treated for both - For the Addison's, she never told me I had it (ever) and she told me that all drugs containing cortisol were very very bad and to not even use them on an insect bite - and I believed her. Addison's is a cortisol deficiency. It requires it for treatment.

Don't read this paragraph if you get grossed out easily - She hid the STD, made excuses for it (yeast infection, behavioral issues that made me want to itch my privates, etc.) and told doctors that I was allergic to every type of antibiotic that would touch it. A doctor finally went behind her back when I was 15 and gave me something for it while I was sick with something else - I had been carrying the STD for 10 years by then.

Now to get into the really weird part and why I've always shut up about it and thought her to be a psychopath and never really thought of Munchausen by proxy (for some reason I always pictured Munchausen by proxy as something with an overly doting parent playing the perfect caregiver - that didn't fit the picture - she wasn't that sweet):

She worked in nuclear medicine and had access to radioactive materials. She had drinks with her ex one time and the man developed severe childhood leukemia (yep, weird to have in an adult - and one of the listed causes is radiation exposure). He passed away within a year or so of that. We all knew she did it, but let’s face it, we would have looked insane to say it - and she'll hang that over your head too, because if you talk about what she does you're going to sound like a raging lunatic. From when I was a very young age, she told me if I said anything that I would get locked away as paranoid schizophrenic.

I've had cancer, at least twice, starting at the age of 3. I don't think it's a coincidence. Cancer wasn't as frequent back then as it is now. As for treatment of the cancers - the first one I wasn't told about (but I clearly remember the radiation therapy - I'm not an idiot), the second one I don't remember feeling bad with until AFTER the chemotherapy, and then that cancer that developed (or grew) after the chemo was hidden. The doctors knew I had it but they weren't allowed to tell me as far as I can tell (my guess would be that she convinced them it is was “in my best interest” to not know) and it was left untreated with my not even knowing I had it - for years. A lab tech actually ran after me on the street one day when I was in my teens to tell me about the tumor on my womb and I thought he was confused. Finally, it spread enough that I went to a doctor on my own in my early 20s and found out the truth.

I had an aunt that always used to look at me in amazement when I was a child and compliment me on how I managed to stay alive as if it were some sort of miracle. It took me a long time to understand why she would say that. At the time, I was growing up in all of it, it was normalized to me, and I just thought my aunt was being bizarre.

For years after I left (okay, still, it hasn't stopped) I've had dreams of being dragged out of my bed at night and drugged to be pulled along to doctors’ offices for chemo, etc. I am so PTSD at this point that I can't tell the difference between if they are flashbacks or if she's still obsessed with me and literally breaking into my house at night to continue the lie.

So, in your humble opinion, am I guessing wrong or is there a possibility that it was Munchausen by proxy?
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Re: Am I nuts or was this MBP?

Postby Terry E. » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:57 am

I am on holidays at the moment so cannot give this the attention it deserves.

I am sorry to say that I agree with you completely. I wish it was not so.

Don't worry about your case not being textbook, way too much attention is placed on Meadows first profile and what the FBI later listed as classic MBP.

Huge similarities with several here.

As some of what is here could be legally sensitive I may PM you when you get back on some issues.

Again, I wish you well, glad you came here.

Take care.
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Re: Am I nuts or was this MBP?

Postby Sagefusion » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:52 am

I just read your post, and first thing is it wasn't too long. I didn't mind the "book".. I am just in the beginning stages of learning about MBP for my own recovery of a crazy mother. So take what I say with a grain of salt, because this is new territory for me.

I just wanted to respond and say, I'm sorry for what you're going through. I also have PTSD and it is a real life annoyance when its hard to pin point what the daily triggers are. Night time can be really bad for people. I used to re-arrange my furniture to make potential intruders fall before they could rape me. This was highly unlikely but I was having flashbacks at that point about being raped at night, so it made some part of me feel safer, even if I looked nuts. So all I gotta say is do what you gotta do to feel safe at night or whenever you find yourself triggered.

It's so hard to convey what I'm feeling right now through a message, but I am feeling with you, listening and I acknowledge that you are not crazy it just sounds like you have had a crazy life where these experiences were out of your control.

To me it sounds like MBP, but like I said this is new territory for me so I can't say anything for certain. Regardless it was a difficult thing to get through and I'm glad you are here with us.

Warm regards,

Sage
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Re: Am I nuts or was this MBP?

Postby clairaD » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:40 pm

It's a lot to digest.

I'm going to drag myself through the next few days (I love Halloween, but it is so exhausting), get a little time to think and then come back to this.

I wanted you to know I appreciate the responses and that I'm not trying to be just a one-time poster.
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Re: Am I nuts or was this MBP?

Postby Terry E. » Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:56 am

Thank you for posting. Info on MPB is very rare except for a few well publicised cases. I have found too many people go too much by Meadows initial work (first person to claim MBP existed - which shocked the world). He covered the case noting certain issues. A FBI profiler followed up more than a decade later and presto, the classic stereotype was born.

There have been a few on this forum in last few years who have shared their story here and through PMs. I will now try and shed some light for you.

One of the stereotypes is that of the doting, mother. In several cases that I know of the mothers public profile was caring and loving, but privately uncaring and abusive either emotionally physically or both.Sometimes extremely physically abusive.

Can I ask how you mother behaved with medical professionals?

In the more publicized cases the poisoning is a major factor and often crude (salt - or urine injected into IVs). I cannot confirm but have therorised that only the stupid MBPs get caught. It is not hard to destroy a child's health through legit means. I think you are an example.

Your childhood appears very, stressful. This plays havoc with your hormones and even genes, and worst cases can effect how your limbs grow ( an example which, from what you have said does not appear to apply in your case). In my own case my mother relied on an allergy to which she then massively over medicated, that combined with very low protein diets and huge stress (very violently sadistic) had me in constant stress needing only a small nudge to crash. My brother was straight poisoned.

In cases I have looked at, MBP is used to attract attention and or to play with the emotions of some other adult. Husband, father of the child or father of the MBP mother. Do you think this could have some relevance in your case.

Can I ask how your health has been since finishing school and becoming more independent.
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Re: Am I nuts or was this MBP?

Postby clairaD » Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:56 am

To try to answer some questions (I'm still in post-Halloween chaos - have to go meet someone for coffee later - eeeeeeks. I'm not a social butterfly so it's stressful):

My mother may have done a similar thing with my diet - there was lots of rice and we almost never had meat in the house. I was constantly anemic and "she didn't know why" and always seemed concerned about it at the doctor's. My anemia cleared up completely upon leaving home and adding things like hamburger into my life. My iron levels are spectacular these days. When I was a kid, I was usually dizzy. I don't have many childhood photos, but what I do have from friends show me trying to catch my balance half the time. I still find myself off balance now and then, but not nearly to that extent.

I find I'm in a much better health when she doesn't know my location (which reallllly doesn't help with the PTSD nightmares of being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night - because it gives them a level of affirmation when I'd really rather diminish them).

I did go through the whole cancer thing in my 20s, but I had felt the pain of it since I was 8 or 9 - it had been (thank god slowly) growing all of that time. There are years at a time when I feel like I'm absolutely dragging through life, but me and my coffee get on with it. I wake up exhausted often, but not as much since I started majorly traveling (which you would think would exhaust a person even more). Much of the exhaustion might actually be attributable to the Addison's which I've only recently had diagnosed (not a fan of doctors and going for random unspecified ailments seemed pointless for the longest time).
I do honestly feel better when in places I know she's not likely to go or not likely to already have her hooks into the local doctors, etc. Part of that is definitely psychological. It's driven me to love travel. I've created a life that sustains seeing a new country every month.

I've learned to turn bad into good in that regard (I'm getting to see the world and honestly loving it), but I'm still learning about relationships because I naturally fall into this pattern of thinking they want to see me hurt, or in an uncomfortable position, and I play up to that like I did as a child - which doesn't lead to a healthy relationship, especially since I'm still more prone to pick a sociopath as opposed to a normal partner, just because they feel "like home." - Anyway, that's just me getting on with life. I'm working things out. Part of working things out, for me, is understanding why and how they came to be in the first place so that I can pick a better path from here on out.

She did play the caring mother - in situations in which she needed to cover up abuse or manipulate people - I had run away at least a dozen times but she would somehow convince the people that I had run to that it was my fault and that I came from a loving home. Not sure how she did that one. It didn't help that I couldn't express to people why I had left - I was terrified, I knew there were some major things wrong - but they were such a part of my normal life that I couldn't even point most of them out.
I used to want to explain to people that she wasn't nice when people would say "your mother is so nice" but they would look confused when I tried to explain that she was nothing like that at home.

With doctors - I remember a lot of screaming, not always, but it happened. She generally seemed to either be: at odds with them or in cahoots with them. My earliest memories were in the building with the radiation treatments. She kept insisting I needed more. The doctor kept looking at my test results and saying I was done. Eventually it moved to another office (psychologist or head of department?) and her yelling seemed to go on for hours.

(I should note that she "won" later on and found a hospital with the same equipment that could be used on me - but that wasn't until several years later and I'm not even sure she had a doctor involved - she just used the technicians and her own department credentials as far as I could tell)

I remember way too many dentists and her never teaching me to floss (I know now!) or encouraging brushing more than maybe once a day and never allowing gas so I would feel the whole thing (dentists suck with needles - I've met two in my whole life that can properly numb a nerve). I'm still getting those metal fillings removed.... Half way there now. Some of the cavities they filled are insanely deep and large.

She brought me to a speech therapist because she felt I was too monotone (she did no yelling there that I remember) - the man is terrified of her. I mean petrified. It was just speech therapy, but when I went to go get my records later on (in a perfectly short and ordinary records-requesting manner) he did the entire "You were never here" thing. I remember the office. In addition, his name and phone number are listed in my state child abuse records...

Another time she got special permission to bring in a doctor with a really bad history when it comes to ethics. So bad that he needed special permission to enter the hospital campus and she pulled the string to get it (she's good at blackmail), and then a short time later I remember her screaming in a hospital hallway (and eventually an office) about how she didn't like the work he had done on me.

I had been to a ridiculous amount of doctors, many only once, but many for things that shouldn't have been going on and that weren't discussed in the light of day. Like I've had my own arguments with anesthesiologists and nurses over how they need a line of cotton along the oxygen mask to keep from irritating my skin and I've woken up under one too many warmed blankets. My general childhood medical records don't mention surgery - anywhere. But that's how surgery goes - 1. anesthesia, 2. surgery, 3. warmed blankets (especially for me - low blood pressure). Not that I can confirm it - it would be hard to remember something that happened under deep anesthesia.

I don't even know what half the procedures I went through were for. Like one time, I was getting a bone biopsy, my mother was there, I must have been high as a kite on anesthesia at the time, and she kept saying (while it was happening) "Wouldn't it really hurt if you were the one having a bone biopsy?" and I was there responding "Yeah, I'm glad that would never happen to me." By the time we left the appointment, I was sure it hadn't even happened. - I still have the visible scar from the procedure. When she spoke of it, she kept calling it "my trip to the dermatologist." This wasn't a one time incident.

I spent so much time around some doctors that I ended up having a level of comradery with them. Like when my mom wasn't around I would help one of them organize his office (and try to sneak a look inside, some of his books were interesting), he would talk about classes he was teaching (we were in a teaching hospital), and he actually suggested that I just forget about all of those years, make a new me, and just never look back. This was a doctor that did some pretty painful medical stuff to me, but he has a special place in my memories and heart because he was one of the few people on this earth that understood what was going on in my life and wasn't just seeing pieces of it.

I have no idea who she was trying to emotionally play. My dad was never in the picture. I think she's just a sadist. The "why" has been the hardest part in all of this for me.
After poisoning her ex, she was the one who offered to "take him in and care for him" during his treatment. It couldn't have been a great time for him - he actually got on a 10 hour flight to leave the country to go die in peace somewhere else after his time with her.
In my mind, I would think that most people would want to die in the comfort of what they know and the people they love, not in a strange country that they're too ill to enjoy and don't speak the language of. But, having known my mother, I can see why he chose that route.
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Re: Am I nuts or was this MBP?

Postby missy7 » Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:09 am

Hi there,
This is my first post, just joined this site tonight. I've been in therapy for the past 3 years and just in the past month been introduced MBP. My therapist had me read sickend and it struck so many cords with me. I also downplay my past a lot because it's all I know. I was an only child that my mom could not stand and we lived in the country with not many people around. I have flashbacks of few memories that I have. I really don't remember much, just little clips here and there. My diagnosis are BPD, DID, and PTSD. My mom had me in every kind of special Ed class available, had years and years of dental work and surgeries. I have flashbacks of ER rooms but my memory does not serve me well with those. My mom is an artist and she's ALWAYS finding ways to show off her art through relationships. I feared her rage fits. She made cray accusations that I was always finding ways of tearing her and my dad apparat. She would lock herself in her room for days. It was like living in a daily war zone, never knew what was going to happen. But then sometimes she would be really nice, and project the perfect mom. She was always in the doctors office for either her or me, but it mainly revolved around her art when it came to talking with the doctors. She always had a weird close attachment with all the doctors we came in contact with. So that's a little stich where I came from. I struggle with connection and I have trust issues. I'm not in contact with my mom anymore and it was oddly easy to do. I never felt connected to her or my dad. I did not have much family to connect to because my mom cut out all relationships in my life. She kept me away from family because no one was to be trusted.
I'm replying to your post because I always ask myself, am I nuts? What's wrong with me? My past was not that bad cuz mom said I had it good. Like I said before, I'm just learning about this disorder and the survivors of it. So just like you I'm searching out others that I can connect with. Hope this entry makes sence. Does anyone else have problems with remembering details or memory blocks?
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Re: Am I nuts or was this MBP?

Postby clairaD » Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:28 am

Hi E,

Welcome to the forum. I understand how easy it is to cut ties with a mother that is that abusive. Society tells you that you're bad, etc, for doing it - but the reality is it's a survival mechanism. You need to live and that person was a mother in name only.

As for memory blocks, I think we all experience them to some degree. It's a trait of PTSD and a coping strategy. Some of the memories sort of bury themselves due to trauma, but I remember consciously dumping my memories when I was about 13 years old because I just couldn't deal with them - even looking at them was insanity - they were just too much to handle and rationalize while still keeping an okay view of the world. So, I buried them all with the help of a questionably unethical therapist who was working at the medical hospital I was spending a lot of time in as a patient at the time. That kept me "patched up" enough to function for the next 2 decades. It might have lasted longer than that, but I was still having PTSD reactions to what seemed like random stimuli and it was really disconcerting, so with the help of friends I started to dig up the memories to see which ones were causing me trouble. Now I know why certain things trigger me, but I won't lie, the process of reevaluating my memories was just as traumatic as when they were formed the first time.
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Re: Am I nuts or was this MBP?

Postby missy7 » Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:16 am

Thanks for the welcome. It's so true about people looking at you like your crazy for disconnecting with your mom. I'm very selective who I tell that to so I keep my past very private. I can expected people to just understand that not having her in my life is better for me. That's why forums like this has helped because now I see it's more common with this type of upbringing. I'm hoping that with reading people's journeys and stories it will help some inner guards come down so I can know MY full story. Because like I said before, there is so much I can't remember. But thank you for explaining the mental blocks to me, it gives me some hope that with continued healing I can unlock more of myself. It's so hard because we do downplay and disregard so much of what happened because that's what we had to or was TOLD to do. Kind of like brain washing.
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Re: Am I nuts or was this MBP?

Postby Terry E. » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:44 pm

Missy for many of us the past unlocks in periods.
With abuse it gets buried usually by the DID. My mother beat my brother and I very badly for many years, yet I can only remember twice for myself. The beatings were that horrific that it snapped me out of DID into survive at all costs. Those two days I remember the why I was beaten and what she was like during and after.The canes she used, w,hat she said the room, the bed,trying to DID everything . That is 2 from maybe 100-200 maybe more. Other times I remember as as I grew how hard it was to hide the welt marks under my shrinking clothes, which canes she used, trying to run away, my brother running away again and again and how she tried to trick him so he would be trapped but the actual memories of the beatings, only twice. Your mind protects you from bad memories.

The MBP is usually involving poisoning of some type. I became aware I was MBP many years ago but had no idea how she did it. 90 days off school, sick with "flu"all through summer holidays and other extremely unlikely stories about a chronically sick child that some how at 17 was only ever sick once after and worked 20 years without a day off sick. My identity as a child was the chronically sick child. It was who I was. My brother had 4 major ear operations. Same op each time. This is from 7 to 13/14. I was in the waiting room when she took him back to the specialist the 3rd time. A Dr. Ellis. I clearly remember hearing the Doctor in shock say. He has it again. The odds of that are over a million to one. Wonder what the odds were for 4. This of course is pre Meadows. It could never happen today. Took years to work out how she did that. One day a memory poked out and I had another "OMG" moment.

I could not work out how she made me so sick. One night when I had some respiratory issues (scar tissue on lungs - extreme sensitivity to cold air) I took some cough medicine just like I did when I was a kid. I would take a bottle and drink a large mouthful straight from bottle. No measuring cup for me. Thinking I might not have taken enough I read the instructions on dosage. I had just drunk maybe a full days dose in one go. As a childhood I drank much more than that. As a child I had to drink a bottle each day or more, often a bottle between waking and say 3-5pm by which time I was that sick -drunk I had no real idea any more of what I was drinking. That was at 7-10. How did it start though. I have a very strong allergy to many plants. We had a large garden. I had to help my mother garden often all weekend (ie from sun up to sundown). I would have an allergic reaction my that would start to close, she would call this "flu" and medicate with cough mixture no matter what time of year. She could usually do it when she seemed to "need"to. So I am sure she knew which plants made me worse. And of course starving us and working us very hard meant we had very low immune. (At 16 I could make an are east African marathoner look massive)

So all these memories were there. They were just not making any sense. One by one the pieces fit together.


So I had all these memories they were not retrieved (the beatings are still hidden) but they made sense at random. Often as I lay awake at night they would just click.

A word on loving mothers. As children we are hardwired to bond with our mothers. Given enough abuse you become an emotional orphan. For me it was around 10. For you it may have never happened. I still loved my mother and later when things got worse (yes they could get worse) I became her protector - how absolutely F#$%ed in the head was that. Today I see her twice a year but only with one of my sons present. She knows why. We never talk about it. I did mention to her once when she was monologuing that for what she did to us "today she would wind up in jail for much less". She just grunted in reply.

Society thinks of mothers differently. I hate to say it but the feminist movement uses this as a political too. For many the worst most dangerous person they meet is their own mother. I would never try and share that with anyone outside a therapist, workshop group You will only receive grief. They are lucky we were not. They are naive and ignorant of life. We have had the veil lifted.

and finally I am a happy well adjusted, highly successful by all societies standards. Not easy carrying that baggage but it happens. Work through this crap don't let it bury you, take it time by time.

When my lack of current up bringing had me fired form 4 jobs in a row in 7 years (good mind trapped inside a socially dysfunctional person) I did not curl my toes up and blame it all on her. I was dammed if I would let others bury me and dammed if I would let her destroy as she had my brother. I worked through my issues improved on the skills I was lacking. People skills.

Anyway, yes you are here among others and do you know how rare MBP is..
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