Hi, I'd like to introduce myself. I've just joined this group, in desperation actually, trying to find others like me, who went through the same experiences -- being the victim of a mother who practiced Munchausen's by Proxy, remember them, and are trying to heal from them.
I remember everything that happened to me from the time I was three, and told everyone I could what my mother was doing to me and to my brothers and sisters every chance I could get. No one believed me. My mother's family knew what was happening: in fact, my mother's sister was also a Muncher; but all of her family chose to protect my mother rather than to protect her children.
None of my brothers or sisters remember anything: they only recite the "stories" my mother told them about all the "accidents" that happened to them and how she"saved them". I told my brothers and sisters, too, as we were growing up that it was our mother who was doing those things to us (of course I didn't know that what she was doing had a name), and they all said "Why would she do that?" first, and then, second, said, "You're crazy."
It was only when I was researching female serial killers for my fourth novel that I discovered the category of Munchausen's by Proxy, and as I kept reading, I kept saying aloud, "Oh, my god, this is my mother." When I went to my next therapy session, I told my psychologist that I thought my mother was an MBP, and my therapist told me to tell her something I'd never told her before that made me think that. She turned whiter than flour during my story, then told me to go collect as many medical records as I could, from my birth on, insisting that they would "prove" or "disprove" my theory.
I did collect my medical records from before birth (she kept trying to abort me), birth, to age 4 (all the while not understanding how medical records could possibly prove or disprove that my mother was or was not an MBP since I was born in the 1950s and medical personnel didn't even recognize that syndrome then).
What I found horrified me. When I collected one set of records, the nurse refused to charge me for the copying fees, holding me by one hand as she passed them over, saying, "I'm so sorry, dear, but I'm afraid you're right: your mother was a Muncher [which I learned is the medical and law enforcement establishment's shorthand for MBPs]."
That nurse worked at what is now an internationally famous children's hospital, but which was, in the 1950, a children's hospital, still famous, treating poor or lower income families' children for free. (My hands are shaking even now as I type this) I took the records, went downstairs, meaning to read the records in the car, but never made it there. I only made it as far as the first floor waiting room, which had child-sized chairs and table, toys, etc. I sat down on one of those chairs, my knees to my shoulders, pulled out the records, and read them.
Line after line, each in a different doctor's handwriting, said things like this, "Child seems healthy, but mother insists that... Treated child at mother's insistence... No evidence of mother's claim that child is ill but treated child anyway ... Child seems healthy and normal but mother insists that child is ..."
Final entry reads, "Although mother still insists that child is ... refused mother's request to treat child... Child seems normal and healthy... Argued with mother who claims that child is ... Refused mother's request to seek another opinion with another doctor on staff... Refused to treat child ... Child is normal and healthy ... Mother increasingly angry and abusive to doctor and other staff..."
My records for that hospital end there. I was four years old. The treatment I'd been receiving was for my legs and could have crippled me for life. When I went to a doctor for a running injury and he x-rayed my ankles, he noted aloud that I have a huge unusual space between the lower leg bone and my foot, but in both legs, which he could not explain. In fear, I asked if it had anything to do with wearing steel leg braces which locked my heels together, toes out, in a ballerina's first position, when I was a child.
He looked up at me in horror. "Oh, no," he said, "The doctors didn't do that to you." I nodded. He said it was a "fad" in the 1950s. He said that many children who were in those braces for even a month were permanently crippled. He asked me to stand and place my heels together, turning my feet outward as far as I could. He gasped. I can turn my legs beyond the furthest that a trained ballerina can.
He then asked me to do the opposite: turn my feet inward as far as I can. He gasped again. I can almost turn my feet inward until they point backward, with my heels facing forward. The doctor, a relatively young man, and apparently a decent one, tried to hide the tears in his eyes as he asked me to sit back down in the examining chair, asking me how many months I'd been in the braces.
"Four years," I responded.
"My mother did it," I told him. "I didn't need those braces, did I?"
He shook his head.
"I never needed those leg braces, did I?"
He shook his head.
He told me that those braces, which my mother had insisted that the doctors at that famous children's hospital put on my feet and legs, from the age of 2 months to 4 years, "because I couldn't walk straight," had permanently deformed the muscles of my legs -- calves, knees, hips, pelvis, etc, into a ballerina's first position. He said that when I tried to run, straight, I kept getting injured, because my legs had been deformed into a ballerina's. He also told me that the unusually large gap between my lower leg bones and my feet were no doubt a result of the "torture" of those "monstrous braces" which crippled almost all the children who were subjected to them. He said he didn't know how I could even walk at all. He told me I had to give up running and switch to walking, and would, from that point on, learn to listen very carefully to the muscles in my hips, pelvis, knees, ankles, calves, etc, and learn special stretches because I would, without a doubt, continue to get injured and that there was no way to cure the damage that my mother and those braces had inflicted on me.
And that is only a minor part of the damage that she did to me.
I have panic attacks just going into hospitals, going to doctors, even just visiting my psychiatrist to get my medicine for panic attacks/post-traumatic stress syndrome. My psychiatrist says I need even more therapy than the 20 years I've already had. My husband suggested that I try to find people who'd been through the same experiences I had.
I know there are many more of us that have survived Munchers, but I also know that very few survivors know what is happening from the time they are young, and that most survivors "recover" their memories after experiencing trauma as adults. I am trying to connect with any of those other victims for emotional support, since I still dissociate during times of great stress, even "good" stress, like buying a house, as I'm now doing (closing next month). And my loving and supportive husband suggested that I look for a support group with people like myself since other kinds of child abuse, no matter how horrendous, simply cannot compare to the violence, viciousness, brutality, and cruelty of that inflicted by a Muncher.
Is anyone else out there? I know I'm not alone.
Can we talk?