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I'm the victim of a Muncher

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I'm the victim of a Muncher

Postby constantinova » Wed May 26, 2010 11:27 pm

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.

He wept.

"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.

I wept.

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.

But now I have severe PTSD and Panic Disorder since the bad coping skills which I learned by surviving my Muncher mother seem to not work since, after so many years of successful therapy with nurturing and sensitive therapists, I'm too "healthy" to use those bad coping skills (darn -- keeping it clean for the public here), and I've exhausted the ability of the healthy coping skills my therapists taught me. Now I live on the other side of the country from them, and I'm trying to learn new healthy skills.

With health insurance that does not provide mental health/ behavioural health coverage, and living on a fixed income, I am unable to afford a therapist. The few "free" ones I've tried at the clinic were so far beneath my level that one of them actually answered the telephone-- twice -- while I was sobbing with grief in her office telling her exactly why I needed help. The second therapist kept nodding, saying, "I hear you, I hear you," then told me to go home and draw "my family with crayons". WTF? When I asked if she was serious, she asked me if I needed money for crayons, opened her cupboard and pulled out a "mercy box" of non-brand name crayons. I left the office immediately.

I think my only hope is to find others like me who understand what I've been through so that I can safely release the rage and the grief that seem to be coming up once again, only more intensely. I thought I was all done with it, but a new well-spring seems to have been tapped. Perhaps because I am planning to revise my memoir (I've had six books published, all genres), perhaps because I'm buying the house, perhaps just because it's time.

That's why I've come here. In search of fellow sufferers, looking for healing, like I am.
I'm a vegetarian, I meditate, I exercise, I practice Buddhism, I'm Jewish though I don't believe in god, I'm intensely spiritual, I believe my purpose in life was to write and to change my personal suffering into art (otherwise my life becomes nothing but a senseless tragedy) to help others understand good & evil and everyday happenings whose morality changes with the circumstances (using my art to do it), I don't believe there are any easy answers to anything, and I believe that there's no black or white to any situation/person etc only variations of grey.

But I do need more help, I guess, since I happen to think dissociation is a good thing, but my psychiatrist says is not and doesn't want me to "slip away from reality" whatever that means. And lately I don't think there's any point in living anymore, which is different from saying I want to kill myself. I just don't understand the point of my existence any longer.

If there is anyone else out there like me who would like to correspond by private messages, if not on the forum, I would welcome such correspondence and advice. Thank you so very much for listening.

Constantinova
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Re: I'm the victim of a Muncher

Postby misty17 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:05 am

dear constantinova.
your story makes me sad. a powerless child abused by the system at the request of their own mother. it is so horrible to think of a mother hurting her childin this way that people dont believe it doctors dont realise it and mentalhealth proffesions wont suggest it.
a mother is percieved one way and people canot look beyond that to see the truth its not till we grow up and start to tie up the lose ends of flashbacks symptoms and memories that we see the truth.
i know what you mean about the hospital file ive got similar comments on mine, mother insists on treatment, mother verifies that the symptoms have been problimatic, mother managed to administer first aid just in time, mother is worried, mother is stressed,mother is persistant, child is quiet and withdrawn,mother speaks for the child, no physical evidence found, no illnessfound, symptoms can not be explianed, can find no reason for current symptoms and so on and so on about what a saint my mum was to look after me and fight for my health and live with such a sick child bla bla bla makes me sick now.

this is such an insidious problem and so harmful to a child and now we are left to pick up the peices. i developed DID as a result of my mothers behaviour and am still terrified of hospitals needles nurses doctors ectra.
i hope you find the support you need here and vallidation for your experieneces on this forum im sure we all have stories to tell and i think this can be a healing place
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Re: I'm the victim of a Muncher

Postby munchervictim » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:18 pm

I, too, am a victim. My mother got validation by convincing doctor after doctor (my father was in the military, which made this very easy for her) that I was sick and needed hundreds of medical tests and x-rays. It's amazing to me that I don't glow in the dark. I also have frequent panic attacks when faced with medical procedures, and prefer alternative medicine whenever possible for that very reason. I was wondering how you acquired your medical records. It will probably be harder for me since I was treated by military doctors, and never had continual care from any one medical professional.

But I would like to try.

Thanks.
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Re: I'm the victim of a Muncher

Postby Terry E. » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:42 am

Munchervictim, that was a very old post, one that resonates with many here.. and always will

I am not sure she checks in regularly anymore, maybe try and send her a PM or maybe someone else who has success in getting their records can help

good luck

take care
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Re: I'm the victim of a Muncher

Postby booboo6451 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:23 am

Hi I have lived with a muncher step daughter her mom died of cancer was sick a long time Isuspected she was a muncher but dident know for sure untill I read your posts as I read them I had flash backs of her bizarre behavior. I plan on finding her son who emancipated himself from her and get him to read your posts I think it will help him. Thankyou for sharing your lives have significant meaning dont doubt it!
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Re: I'm the victim of a Muncher

Postby grandpolly » Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:23 pm

@booboo6451: Be careful for what you ask for. I'm not advocating ignorance in any way, but rather acting responsibly and not untimely. Even if a victim can describe the abuse as story reminiscent of MBP, it's not the same thing when the name really comes up for good, and that whole body of literature springs up to the conscience of the victim. It's mind twisting, really, on a scale I've never experienced before.

I hate replying to this post, as it's indeed old, as Terry E. pinpointed. Moreover I believe that the question of whether or not, or how, to disclose to a victim that it's indeed MBP would warrant a full discussion on its own.

I'd advise, before disclosing the MBP label to a victim to first read the article "What is and what is not Munchausen by Proxy?" from Meadows, and to read it very carefully, even if it can be argued to be a rather old article. Moreover, the range of reaction of victims can be wide, ranging from Ross Boum's video interviews (which describe "mild" MBP in the sense of absence of physical sequelae) that I'd advise to view first before choosing disclosure, to Julie Gregory's unapologetic point of view.

Think first of what would really help the person you want to help. The timing of disclosure may, OR may not, be the right one.
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