Munchausen Syndrome

Join the Conversation on
Munchausen Syndrome
163 people
0 stories
6 posts
  • About Munchausen Syndrome
  • Note: The hashtags you follow are publicly viewable on your profile; you can change this at any time.
    Newsletters
    Don’t miss what’s new on The Mighty. We have over 20 email newsletters to choose from, from mental health to chronic illness.
    Browse and Subscribe
    What's New in Munchausen Syndrome
    All
    Stories
    Posts
    Videos
    Latest
    Trending
    Community Voices

    When the Family Scapegoat Is Dying

    My family is treating me like a vulnerable narcissist with Munchausen Syndrome...even those who are Emergency Medical Technicians. To be clear, I have been on Social Security Disability Insurance since 2002. My family assumes this is because of mental illness; although, no one ever asked.

    My disability was based upon both physical and mental health issues...a chronic pain disorder; which, causes mental distress. Since being granted SSDI, I have had one or more diagnoses added to my chart after every single one of my Medicare annual exams. Most of these diagnoses are considered disabling according to the Social Security Administration.

    Over the years, unlike family members, no one ever saw me posting on Social Media every time I received a new diagnosis, when I had a medical procedure, when I had surgery, every ER visit, etc. I was never posting pleas for prayers pending outcomes of labs, imaging, or having a high risk surgery. I never posted how many times I almost died.

    The only time I made a FB post about my health, until now, was when I was rigged up for outpatient EEG monitoring. I posted it with pictures because I looked hilariously pathetic. The photos went along with the story of riding the bus in this condition and the shocked reactions of the passengers. I posted this comical story in an attempt to make light of the situation and put a positive spin on it.

    The only reason I'm posting about this current life-threatening illness is: !) The pathogen I am infected with is resistant to all known remedies and I'm scared 2) I am angry at the utter lack of compassion by my entire family--family of origin, adult children, and extended family.

    There are many articles about when a Narcissist is aging and has failing health. Where are the articles about when the family Scapegoat is dying?

    #narcissisticfamily #FamilyScapegoat #invisibledisabilities #elderabuse #lifethreateningillness

    7 people are talking about this

    Why the BBC's 'Sickness and Lies' Harms the Chronic Illness Community

    BBC News released a 25-minute documentary on August 5, 2021 called “Sickness and Lies.” It is about the chronic illness community online, the accusations against these chronic illness advocates, and the effects of the subreddit “illnessfakers.” The subreddit “illnessfakers” uses the forum to attempt to disprove chronic illness advocates and others who speak about their illness online. At first, the BBC documentary was presented in a different way to several of the chronic illness advocates who were involved. They were led to believe that the documentary would focus on how chronic illness advocates are being bullied and called fakers just for sharing their stories on the internet. However, while the documentary at a glance seems to have an unbiased point of view, it is very apparent after watching a couple of minutes that the documentary finds that there is more of a story in these supposed “illness faker influencers” than looking into the problematic subreddit group. Due to the harmful narrative and stereotypes the BBC documentary has promoted, it has caused much concern within the chronic illness community. Internalized Ableism and Gatekeeping First of all, chronic illness advocates who share their lives on the internet are not there to prove their disability to anyone. Many disabled advocates are posting about our most vulnerable moments, only to see their posts and lives dissected in forms like illnessfakers. What hurts the most is when it comes from within the disability community. There are some in the subreddit who are disabled themselves. So why are they accusing others in their community of faking? This can be due to internalized ableism and gatekeeping. Internalized ableism within the disabled community can be very harmful. We see this within the illnessfakers subreddit when people with disabilities compare their disabilities and experiences to others. Remember, our illnesses will not look the same. We may have the same diagnosis, but my body and your body are very different. The person might have different co-morbidities, different genetics, age, sex, weight, etc. There are many reasons why someone might have different or more complicated symptoms. We also don’t know their whole story, only what they let us see. When looking at the subreddit, it is noticeable that people with invisible disabilities are the ones who are primarily targeted and called fakers. Many who deal with chronic illnesses have a difficult time getting an accurate diagnosis. In fact, it can take someone with an invisible illness years to get diagnosed. For example, fibromyalgia can take 6.5 years, and rare diseases like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can take 10 to 20 years. As someone who has been in the healthcare system my whole life, in my experience, insurance will often deny referrals and make the process of seeing a specialist complicated because they don’t want to pay. Many doctors don’t want to deal with complicated patients, so we are gaslit and ignored. It’s a full-time job trying to stay alive and the system is against us. But as online advocates, we try to shed light on the struggles within the system. Yet when an advocate is posting about their struggles getting a diagnosis or is in the hospital excessively, they are often assumed to be faking or attention-seeking. Anyone else worried they will be called a fake #Disabled person? Bullying In the documentary, one of the advocates speaks about how she was harassed and bullied by people on the internet. This kind of bullying can have detrimental effects on someone’s mental health. I have known many advocates who have gone through this and have had to take a break from their social media due to mental health reasons or decided that they weren’t going to return to social media at all. These were people who were very involved in advocacy. But because they had medical issues, were in and out of the hospital, were undiagnosed, etc. they were targeted by people and accused of faking it or considered to have Munchausen syndrome. The “illnessfakers” subreddit members comb through advocates’ posts, judge them, call them names and bully them. Many of these advocates are struggling to find a diagnosis and are often in the hospital for different reasons. The documentary also failed to recognize that some chronic illness advocates the subreddit targeted have passed away from their illnesses. Chronic Illness Advocate, Not Influencer Throughout the BBC documentary, the reporter refers to the people who share their disabilities online as “chronic illness influencers.” They suggest that these “chronic illness influencers” often use their conditions to gain followers, make money, and attention. I found this extremely upsetting as someone who is a chronic illness advocate. I am not a chronic illness influencer, I am a chronic illness advocate. I do have chronic illnesses, a disability and a mental illness. I am an advocate for those conditions. As an advocate, I share my experiences, research, and knowledge. I’m here to advocate for myself and others who are voiceless. I use my presence on social media to talk about the injustices in the healthcare system. What I’m not on social media to do is to “influence” and sell people products they don’t need. When I do promote products, they are items that help me adapt to my surroundings in an able-bodied world. However, I am not a chronic illness influencer. Why do some chronic illness advocates post their most intimate, vulnerable moments for the internet to see? Well, first of all, many of our answers might be different. I am not the speaker for all advocates, just like the illness fakers forums have no place to judge what advocates post for their followers. I post my most vulnerable moments because I used to feel alone. Being a young chronically ill person had a severe effect on my mental health. I wish I had the resources and the outlet I do now when I was a teen. Now that I have a place to share what I’m going through and others who have knowledge and experience, I’ve felt less alone. Many advocates have done extensive research and knowledge on their illnesses and have helped many others to get a diagnosis too. We should continue to promote a positive atmosphere for support instead of conforming to ableist society and bullying those who share their stories. For those of you who see someone online sharing their disability with the world and believe it’s a cry for attention or that they are faking it, ask yourself, why do you feel like that? What is preventing you from believing someone’s experience that might be different than your own? Let’s remember that everyone’s bodies are unique and so are their disabilities.

    Community Voices

    Does anyone who has a diagnosis of #PTSD or #CPTSD ever think maybe you are faking?

    One thing I know for sure is that I was raised in a very abnormal home. My parents are very countercultural (no shade thrown on counterculture, *at all*, but this was extreme), and my brother literally grew up to be so extremely countercultural in his adulthood that he actually does not use electric lighting, even in the bathroom, will not allow a AAA battery to be placed on his kitchen counter, is trying to live in the 16th century (no joke), and will starve himself completely if every single ingredient in everything he puts in his body is not certified organic, non-GMO, local. He does not work and my father supports him.

    That said, I have a diagnosis of Complex PTSD that for over 10 years was thought to be a psychotic disorder (I told the doctors I thought I was psychotic because I was so dissociative that I had #aliceinwonderlandsyndrome and other visual disturbances, but I have never once heard voices and my “paranoia” was about very real things.) My parents would rather think that I am delusional than accept that they ever once put me in harm’s way or ever harmed me themselves. Sometimes I think they are right.

    There was and still is such a powerful family narrative, fed to us by our parents, that we are a great and superior family and my parents and brother are some kind of modern day secular saints and I am a f*** up and mentally ill and a manipulative liar and am out to destroy the family. That narrative which I think sounds pretty narcissistic was fed to us so early and so completely that it took a therapist in my early 30s to say “a functional family doesn’t need a narrative that they are a functional family” and to compare my mothers relationship to me as #MunchausenSyndrome by proxy, before it started to dawn on me that my family and childhood were not perfect. Sure there was a good deal of bullying from kindergarten through 8th grade, but I didn’t consider that to be that big of a deal.

    That same therapist and her husband who I also saw for therapy groomed me for a few years and then started systematically breaking me, and caused me to have so much anxiety about even not seeing them for one weekday, that I was so scared to leave. I tried to leave once and the male one actually sat in my seat and had me sit in his seat and tell him (who was mockingly pretending to be me) why I should not leave him and why no other therapist in the area was competent to know my “manipulativeness” and “deceitfulness” and my “tricks”. I stayed another couple of years, and finally left their care substantially more broken than I was when I started seeing him or his wife and still struggling with “psychosis”. They systematically denied all of the trauma (sexual, emotional, psychological) that was coming to the surface from childhood and said I was faking everything from my preexisting eating disorder to the flashbacks and nightmares of being molested by my childhood therapist etc. Their words play in my head every day and sometimes I still believe them.

    11 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    continuation of my last post...

    The ending sounded really dramatic and I am trying my absolute hardest to be “real” but in my head it still comes off as i’m seeking attention, but I guess I am. This time for real for real, i’m breaking and I’m fearing for my life. I just spoke with a therapist (social worker on Doctor on Demand) yesterday and she immediately just suggested I pack a bag and look into shelter. I know it sounds very simple, but trust when I say this disease is very complex and there is not much u can do when even a pen dropping leads to stress and a headache. I need help and I know i’m not strong enough to have the right discernment to find people to help me/make friends with along the way so i’m terrified. I can’t stress that enough that they are trying to kill me. My heart feels pulled on everyday, i’m leaving tomorrow to save myself. Please pray for me, please? I’m not very self aware nor do I have any street smarts so me being on the street which I will be is giving me extreme anxiety. I fear for my health & my life. Can someone please pray to or talk to me? This is not an attention seeking post, this is a real cry for help! I’m posting on any social media outlet that I don’t think my family will find me on, to get the word out if they do harm me it was NOT self inflicted. Nor was it any of my “friends”, purely my family. I am not #bipolar but I may deal with borderline as well.. Another story. Please just help me, relax if u can and be compassionate to everyone. My heart hurts. #MunchausenSyndrome #MentalHealth #OtherMentalHealth #help

    7 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    My #mother has munchausen. My grandma has it too as well as my aunt who lives with her and i’m currently living in the same home as my grandmother and aunt (with her daughter as well who i also suspect has it so much worse). I am terrified they will kill me due to stress so I’m writing this just in case I don’t make it out, but I’m confident I will i’m just terrified. I’m 26 https://y.o and have been being abused my entire life. I have no friends, no one I can talk to. My mom turned my brothers against me and my entire family acts as if they hate me and I don’t have time to figure out who really does or who doesn’t. I got diagnosed with bipolar 2 as u can see per my last posts. It’s been a long time since I posted anything because I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on with me. I also feel guilty, like I conspired with my mother to trick people, but truth be told I had no clue what I was doing. Certain things people have said to me have stuck with me over the years such as “u have no clue what ur doing do u?” and I absolutely did not. I don’t have much street smarts and I have a mother who was unfortunately raised by the streets and abused as a child as well. She also has a husband, R*y, who enables/brainwashed her entirely to the point where I don’t even think she’s realized how far gone she is. I’m terrified my family will harm me because I’m done playing their game. I’m going to move without letting anyone know and I’m going to go get real help. Im tired, drained, depleted and only by Gods grace am I still breathing and I know that. I walked around for the past 2 years thinking I was something I was not (bipolar), making a fool of myself. I genuinely believed there was a reason I had no one, but I had to be real with myself and say that I genuinely believe I exaggerated my symptoms and that was because I just wanted to KNOW something. I just knew there was an explanation for my behavior and I just KNEW my family wanted what was best for me... But as I started to actually listen to the universe (as cliche as that sounds) I realized there is no way I can be bipolar. I’ve been being played by everyone around me. I have never been a violent person in my life (correct me if i’m wrong pls, I don’t want to offend) nor did I ever have any real delusions like I was Queen or anything bc thank God my mother didn’t have to feign that illness for me. Thank God for my heart and self awareness; I truly thank God because without it I would be lost forever. My body knows something is wrong. I’m terrified of the slightest noise, laughs etc. and it’s all because of my family. When I am feeling really really low and I do mean suicidal, my family will “throw me a bone”. The other day my aunt said something about prejudice people after a man almost made me cry in a parking lot the other day and I instantly thought ? She was reffering to me being gay which I am not, which let me know she’s in on it too. I’m writing this because if ANYTHING happens to me, it was them

    4 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Munchausen by Proxy

    so i’m about 100% certain i may have munchausen by proxy. i thought i was bipolar for a long time now and I know now that I am not or if I am that isn’t my main problem so to speak. i’ve noticed my parents keep me on a schedule with loud noises and have been since we were children (my siblings and i). at one point my mom would bang on walls it seemed like at a certain time every day then when i caught on she stopped and hasn’t in some months actually. by doing this she’s caused me to show SEVERE OCD symptoms. when i’m out in public i’m now unable to make eye contact/ be “normal” bc im waiting on a her to make a sound. idk how to get this properly diagnosed? help. #MunchausenSyndrome #MunchausenSyndromebyProxy #Misdiagnosis #MentalHealth #ChildAbuse

    5 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Munchausens by proxy help me ? #MunchausenSyndrome #BipolarDisorder

    After being away from my parents for a while I realize I have absolutely never had bipolar, but munchausens by proxy. I’ve ignored TOO many fucking signs because the more I notice it the more I have to try to hide the fact that I notice it because where am I going to go? I’m 25 just moving back in with my parents after they jumped me & I called police and they blatantly LIED to the police just like my aunt and grandmas who also perpetuate my symptoms. My mother has gaslighted me my entire life. About a year ago I caught her. We were at a hotel due to a power outage & one of her ways of “training” me is to bang on walls. She banged on my door @ the hotel, i texted her & asked was it her after seeing her through the peephole she blatantly ducking lied to me. All this time I thought I was ill and hearing thing- showing what was perceived to be OCD, Schizophrenia and bipolar, but what i really think is a horrific case of anxiety. She bangs on my walls on a schedule, flushes the toilets on a schedule, screams, berates me, knocks on my door on a specific schedule everyday. Lately because she’s noticing changes in me she’s been trying to kick me out and has succeeded multiple times, but due to lack of finances had to come back repeatedly. But having left after being jumped by my parents not once but twice. The police belittled me when I called the last time and I’m terrified they’re gonna try to kill me honestly. #SOS #BipolarDisorder #SchizophreniaSpectrumPsychoticDisorders #OtherMentalHealth #MentalHealth #MunchausenSyndrome

    2 people are talking about this