Muchhausen's by Internet?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marguerite, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I read a very interesting article over the weekend. It was in the Sydney Morning Herald Saturday's supplement, "Good Weekend". According to the article, the internet has given rise to a new form of factitious disorder, of which Munchhausen's is one example.

    For those who have not heard of this mental illness (and surely, what parent of a difficult child hasn't at some stage even been accused of having Munchhausen's, or Munchhausen's by proxy?) I will explain. Basically, Munchhausen's is where someone deliberately fakes illness either in themselves or someone else (- by proxy) in order to enjoy the attention and sympathy. It's named after Baron von Munchhausen, considered to be a world-famous liar.

    I am certain I have known people who had Munchausen's in various forms. The trouble is, diagnosing it and treating it is almost impossible because the individual knows they're faking it and is on the alert for someone wising up. If you call them on it, they move on. A Munchhausen's by proxy parent will disappear with the kids rather than risk CPS investigating. Then there are the cases where CPS investigated claims of Munchhausen's and removes the kids, even where it turns out later NOT to be Munchausen's. I've also known women who lose custody of their kids because of an unfair accusation. You know the accusation is unfair, when the child continues to be ill despite the absence of the alleged perpetrator.

    So what is Munchhausen's by Internet?

    It begins similarly, I suspect - someone who needs attention, someone generally needy and who only values sympathy and attention rather than general companionship. It might begin innocently with someone exaggerating their problems - life is hard sometimes, and when problems hit hard it is easy to be more negative. Others online will rush in with sympathy, it initially makes the sufferer feel loved and valued. But the problem then begins in earnest, when this attention becomes addictive and they need a bigger 'fix' in order to continue to feel better. As the crisis begins to ease (as crises tend to do) there is a let-down, and the MbI person then has to begin to invent stuff in order to continue to 'earn' the sympathy they crave.

    When the Munchhausen's person is someone you interact with face to face, it is harder for them to make a lie work long-term. They tend to move around a lot, they do not have long medical history in any one place. They often actively avoid or refuse permission for medical records to be transferred, because then the truth would begin to show up.
    But the internet - it is anonymous. It is a lot easier for a middle aged balding man to masquerade as a twenty-year-old sex kitten, posting a fake picture and thereby enjoying whatever he gets out of it. He couldn't get away with it in real life or even over the phone for very long! But online - you can get away with a lot more.

    The article had some interesting case histories - generally people (usually women) who at first began describing serious health problems which escalated to cancer. One woman actually posted photos of herself with no hair, supposedly from the chemo. A lot of people offered support, prayers, contact, love, the whole shebang. At times the woman with cancer (allegedly) was too ill to post, and various friends and relatives posted about her progress. Then other crises added to the mix - two friends were killed in a car crash. Others also died. All according to this 'poor woman' with so man problems.

    But it was one sharp-eyed and suspicious supporter who noticed the cracks. Or more correctly, the five o'clock shadow on her scalp in the chemo photo. Then the supporter went digging for the newspaper records and death notices of the friends killed in the car crash - nothing. So she went digging for other contact details, and finally found that the 'friends' actually did not exist. The woman had done the whole lot.

    What does the MbI person get out of this? Nothing financial. It's purely the attention and sympathy they crave. And they will get it however they can. Somehow, lying to get sympathy doesn't seem to devalue it for them. It takes a lot of effort and time, to create and maintain a false story in such detail. But it happens, and a lot more often than people perhaps realise.

    Sites like ours are vulnerable - self-help groups, support networks - they get targetted by people craving sympathy who will invent whatever they can to get what they want.

    When I read the article, I thought back to some 'odd' threads over the years. it is not possible that CD has not had MbI people posting here. But can they sustain it? Think about what we do here - we tend to do more than merely give sympathy. We advise people too. "Hey, try this, call that person, write this repot. You can do it!"
    So a person wanting just sympathy is now being asked to put some more work in. They can lie and say they did it, but when we probe we can generally recognise if they're lying or not, because generally the person who suggests it knows exactly what the person should experience in the process. Questions become more probing, and this is where the MbI person's responses can break down and show their real face.

    Perhaps the moral of the story is - sympathy is all well and good, but perhaps we need to help people help themselves.

    Here is an interesting link -ünchausen_by_Internet


  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    So how does one go about helping someone help themselves in this situation?

    Interesting article. Makes one think...
  3. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    Marg, what an interesting link. Thank you for sharing....makes me think, hmmmmm.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I know what Manchusen's is and was so interested in it I've read several books about it. Actually, though, I've never read any studies about people trying to make their normal children seem mentally ill. I believe the nurturing part and kudos are for those who are helping an obviously physically sick child (only they aren't REALLY helping the child) to get attention. They usually have Manshusen's themselves then spread the joy to their kids.

    I've read a few books where parents actually murdered their infants for sympathy...over and over'd think the doctors would catch on, but they are, after all, doctors and were looking for hereditary issues, not murderers.

    I truly don't think we have people here who are doing this. Most of us are talking about behavioral issues...and getting absolutely ZILCH sympathy lol. But it's an interesting thought.
  5. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I tend to think the Munchausen folks are shooting for sympathy along the more conventional avenues of cancer, etc. For some (although we know better!) mental illness holds a stimga, where cancer is a lightening strike ...even when heriditary.

    And, yeah, we're way too smart and experienced here. I think we'd catch on pretty fast.

    I believe my difficult child has some Munchausen tendancies....nothing I would call full blown, but the seeds are there. As far back as 9th grade, she would tell people she'd spent the night in ER with an un/diagnosis'd very scary issue, that she had a severe eating disorder and had to be hospitalized (she's normal to borderline overweight, can't believe anyone would buy her 500 calorie a day story!). She also has - on more than one occassion "killed off" a family member of friend in a victious car wreck. There have been pregnancies and misscarraiges as well.

    Since she operates so frequently on the internet (dating sites are big with her), I can only imagine this is getting worse.

    It worries me but, I can't do much except call her on it when she does it around me.

    I think most of us are so overwhelmed sometimes that the idea of even a smidge more drama is rather unappealing!
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Amen! While I enjoy the occasional head nod from those around me, I would gladly give 'boring' amgood, hard try.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Okay, responding to each in turn...

    Shari, when I said that on this site we tend to work towards helping people to help themselves, I meant that when someone says, "My kid is doing X and causing me these problems," we tend to offer from our own experience, some practical tips on how to manage in that situation. If the person is genuine, that help is welcome. if the person is not genuine, such offers of help are generally less welcome unless they are also accompanied by sympathy. How a person tends to respond can give clues. And because we do tend to be solution-focussed on this site, that gives us a bit more chance of catching this if it happens here.

    How you would help someone who has any form of Munchhausen's - from my understanding, you can't. Don't go there, don't even try. Because they always know more about what they are doing/have been doing, than you can ever know.

    MWM, people with Munchhausen's are mainly trying to maximise opportunities for sympathy and compassion. So they will deliver what "sells". Now, on the internet they don't actually have to have an actual child with a problem, per se. They just have to invent one. Or invent their own problems. No need to actually live it, the way someone with Munchhausen's in the real world would have to. And you are right - it would be unusual for someone in the real world with Munchhausen's by proxy, to 'manufacture' a mental illness (in themselves or in a child) because it is too open to misunderstandings and lack of sympathy. But as I said, they will use what sells and if they land in a support group where mental illness is accepted and is, actually the currency - why, then they will happily oblige, I am sure. And again, this is more likely on the Internet because in the real world, such people are less likely to physically travel to a support group, not in any numbers. But the internet provides virtual support groups in the thousands or even millions, on some very specialised topics indeed. A person can simply switch from one disease to the next, as circumstances require it. Of course cancer is more emotive, but they can also be aware that if someone at one group is "onto them", they need to change their pattern and go underground for a while, try something different.

    While most of the children that bring us to this site have problems tat would fall into the mental illness category, I do not feel that this permanently inoculates us form ever being used by someone with Munchhausen's. It does reduce the chance, I agree, but I don't think it eliminates it. This is a new form of communication and as such, there are aspects as yet unexplored. And on top of that, people who come to this site have other children, or other problems of their own. And sometimes the child's problems are not purely psychological, but can have a clear physical basis. As a purely hypothetical example, let's assume I am a person with Munchhausen's. I'm new to this site. I claim to have a child who has a potentially serious (or life-limiting) medical condition. Now, what 'sells' on this site? Behaviour problems. OK, so let's say that I have either that child with the serious health problem (let's say the child has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, that's a good one) has behaviour issues as a result (to legitimise the Munchhausen's person milking this site for sympathy) or they invent a second child who has Conduct Disorder. In reality, possibly neither child exists. or perhaps there are children, but not with any significant problems. Sometimes it's easier to embellish the truth rather than totally invent it. Now, the pattern I would get into would be one of "I can't cope, my kids are driving me crazy and I am so worried about my poor little child with arthritis, she cries with pain every night then throws tantrums during the day because she can't do what other little girls do."
    People on this site would respond with practical suggestions as well as a lot of emotional support. The suggestions - pfft. I don't want those. The emotional support - yes, thank you, I'll drink that in. But it's never enough. So the suggestions either won't work, or they are things I have already tried. or we try them and she gets worse. or some other crisis happens.

    The thing is, with such a scenario, we should notice over time, more so on this site, because we ARE solution-focussed. Also because we do know what we are talking about (collective experience) and so eventually would spot a fake.

    But the important thing is - a really big clue is, as you get close, as you get suspicious, or as you put the pressure on for the person to really go into details, a Munchhausen's person will often respond with anger and aggression. Lashing out, accusing you sometimes of actually making them worse. Sometimes they do that online via other personalities they invent (family members, friends or simply ghosts whose sole purpose is to give them more veracity) who defend them and accuse the accusers of making the poor person sicker. And if you continue to express scepticism, they eventually trow in the towel and move on, often leaving the group divided, in tatters and confused. Did we just do the wrong thing? Why did we drive that person away? Couldn't we have been kinder? The victims of this kind of deception can be profoundly hurt.

    A Munchhausen's person coming to a site like ours would be limited by the focus of this site primarily being behavioural. But they can have other, physical problems in the mix. And that is the other warning sign to look for - someone whose problems are physical, life-threatening or tragic, whose problems recur or escalate just as things seem to be improving, and this keeps on happening over and over.

    Dash, you are right. Mental illness has a stigma. But far less on on the Internet. And it is possible for someone to complain of depression, suicidal depression, as the result of cancer treatment, for example. At this site we are much more sympathetic of mental illness, therefore it is possible that someone could invent a child with serious psychotic breaks, for example, as the result of untreated schizophrenia. I have read a book by an Australian journalist who diarised her journey with her son's schizophrenia. A harrowing tale indeed (and genuine). Increasingly, there is more understanding and less stigma.

    A possible Munchhausen's by proxy case I have known, involved a condition which at the time was considered by some doctors to be psychological. The mother was a zealot in trying to prove that this condition was not only a physical illness, but potentially life-threatening. Some people saw her as a saint, working tirelessly in public advocacy while at the same time nursing her increasingly ill child. But to other people, this woman was a dangerous emotional blackmailer, someone who would cut off anyone who did not put her on a pedestal and flood her with sympathy and support. There were clues which I observed over a long period of time, but when I tried to express my concerns even tentatively, the reaction was swift and vicious. I also observed that all the marvellous public work this woman was doing, was actually not done by her but done by her supporters ('victims') in her name. I saw her volunteer for certain tasks, only to never follow through for various reasons (excuses) such as, "I was too busy with my child who had a relapse." I was quietly following the progress of the task and had been quietly made aware that long before the child's relapse, the mother had not done any of the tasks she claimed to have done. This pattern of behaviour was constantly repeated, and escalated over time. But those of us who suspected, were totally powerless to do anything about it. All we could do was try to limit collateral damage.

    I guess the point I want to make, is let's not be too complacent. I think this problem is more widespread than we realise. It is too easy to lie on the internet - I remember thinking, when we started the Healthful Living forum, that there were no checks and balances on those of us who were reporting ongoing weight loss. If I said I had lost a kilo over the past week, who could challenge me? Such a lie is a small thing, irrelevant in te scheme of things on this site. But that is how it can start - in small lies which can result in a payoff. Then we need another payoff, so we ell a slightly bigger lie (since the same lie now will only get a 'ho hum' response).

    One remedy for the Munchhausen's by proxy, indeed for any lack of full honesty, is when we choose to share our lives outside the site. Which we do - the upcoming reunion is a good example. Munchhausen's relies on barriers, on secrecy in some areas, on the person being able to keep themselves apart in seclusion. They avoid records, they avoid continuity of care, they even avoid long-term membership of any group because to maintain the lie with the same people for a long period of time, is exhausting and challenging.

    I just want to make it clear - the only reason I'm not coming to the reunion, is it's just a bit too far for me!

    Dash, your daughter's need to invent tories for sympathy is not healthy. But as I found, sometimes it is very difficult to actually do anything. People can get into bad emotional habits and go seeking for approval in the wrong way, and they keep doing this over and over. Some people who have more of a conscience can despise themselves for the lies and also not value the sympathy as much as they crave it, because they know it's based on a lie. They are the people who have more chance of breaking the cycle and asking for help. The ones who never get it, who are happy to lie and will accept gladly any sympathy at all, are the ones who are beyond help.

  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Ya know... This is a really thought provoking topic, esp. for me... I made up some stuff when younger, but rarely was it medical. Honestly, I'd get tripped up super fast. In fact, some of the things that actually HAVE happened... I get lost in, can't answer questions. So...

    However, I can see that if my kids' bio was on the board... Might happen. Both kids went to the ER literally hundreds of times. Onyxx was put through a rape exam at least 4 times that we know of - as a virgin. If there is no drama, she creates it. And many of you know that the kids' half sister passed away at 7 months - and BM went on and on and on about it being SIDS - for almost 4 years (she could still be; I don't have other sports parents asking me about it any more). Coroner said otherwise, but the timing is suspicious in other ways as well.

    Since the kids started living with us, I think we've taken them to the ER... Never. Urgent Care, yes. And BM took Onyxx to the ER 2x when Onyxx was visiting her (yanked her out of school & took her to ER because husband was allegedly abusing her... Umm.)

    And I agree with Dash and Shari. I LOVE BORING!!!
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Very interesting. And yes....I think there have been a few odd threads from newcomers here and there...

    but by and large, we're probably not the best environment to nourish a person with Munchausens - just too many helpful suggestions!
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I find Muchhausen's interesting. And I do agree that sites such as ours are vulnerable to "fakes" but eventually it's usually not too hard to weed them out.

    I've had the thought of Katie possibly having this issue more than once, both for herself and possibly with Alex. Growing up katie's biomom made the sniffles into a life threatening event, not kidding, and being sick she was doted on to the nth degree from being run to docs to being over medicated.......otherwise she was cared for but otherwise pretty much ignored much of the time. The first time she came to us as an adult we were told she has horrid migraines. I'm still iffy over the migraines. I'm not saying I haven't seen her with a bad headaches a few times......but there is a difference. And she refuses to do anything that would make them less/better.....which also makes you wonder. This time it wasn't only migraines but seizures and supposed chiari malformation. The chiair malformation diagnosis fell apart before she even got here this time. And when she arrived and tried to gain sympathy for it I called her out on it big time. No more talk of it. Seizures......well unless she's been in an accident or used drugs there is no reason for her to have seizures. She has no hx of seizures......and I'd know because biomom called me even if the kid had the sniffles. After seeing ER staff's reactions to her (and I know these people/have worked with them) seizures are faked......and yeah you can fake a seizure up to a point.....enough to fool the untrained eye. Her seizure medications.........have been scripted for the "migraines" not seizures. She originally got those scripts here ten years ago. ugh I have called her out on both the migraines and the seizures. Funny........neither has occurred since. So, yes, makes you really stop and think.

    husband is a full blown hypochondriac. Not kidding. If you give him the slightest bit of attention or sympathy when he's faking an illness/injury or even if he has one? OMG he runs with it milking it for all it's worth. He's bad enough when I ignore him, which I do nearly 99.9 percent of the time. Now, this could be katie too.......lord knows she has every other trait of her dad as well as being his female twin. And both her biomom and I know M fall for the sympathy routine in a huge way.......others probably do too up to a point. is where I have the dilemma. How do you decide hypochondria vs muchhausen's? Or are they somewhat the same?
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I've thought about that on this board, too. Hmm.

    Can't imagine why anyone would want to put that much work into something so negative. OMG.

    So sad.
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Interesting article, Marg.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Marg...very interesting idea and something that I have thought of before though what I have always called on the internet "trolls". I know without a doubt we have had people on this board that have played us over the years. I could actually name a few names that I am convinced where trolls but I wont. It wouldnt surprise me now if we had one or two. It isnt as hard as one might think.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Manchusen's also has a flip side, which is just as scary.

    A woman who used to chat on the bipolar board for kids had her child taken away from her because CPS decided she had Manchusen's and her son was just fine and dandy, but she was making things up. The fact t hat he never slept, hallucinated, his doctor said he was psychotic and other issues did not matter. She lost her child, then lost her other children. Some people on the board knew her personally and her child and were shocked and horrified as the child was not normal in any way. Clearly he had something wrong with him.

    but CPS said she had Manchusens and so she did. I never heard the end of the story because I quit the board when my son got his autism diagnosis. However, I remember feeling very sad for her. It could happen to a ny of us. Some social worker, barely out of school, can decide we are being too dramatic and are too caring and are looking too hard to see something wrong and be accused of Manchusens. There is a whole board of people whose children were taken away because a social worker decided they had Manchusens. Kind of scary. Here's a board. Read it. It's chilling.
  15. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Very scary, MM mom.

    Hound, I'm no expert but - if I were to guess - I'd say the fundamental differents between Munchausen's and hypochonderia is that Munchausen's people are seeking attention/validation through a deliberately manufactured "condition" where hypochndriacs (my mother in law) react out of fear and paranoia. Hypochondriacs exaggerate every little symptom and worry that each thing is life-threatining. Though they seek attention, their driving force is fear.

    My difficult child's saying she is pregnant and then says she miscarried is more likely a form of Munchausen's. Even if she thought she was preg for a short time, but knows she wasn't and knows she didn't miscarry. My mother in law thinking every tiny pain was a heart attack was more likely a hypochondriac. She would openly seek a diagnosis, accept it (finally) and move on to another fear.

    It's very mysterious. I knew a woman in the community who claimed she had ovarian cancer. She would drive herself too and from chemo and radiation (yes, both), had a beautiful thick head of hair which remained intact, never lost an ounce of weight and gave birth to two babies after declaring that she'd been "taken off the terminal list". The first child was born less than a year after she was supposedly diagnosis'd.

  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    MWM, WOW!!!! That's even scarier. Going from bad to worse. Argh.
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I mentioned the flip side before - it is scary, because it is a nasty accusation that can stick. it does need to be checked out carefully, and can be, but there is room for corruption, sadly.

    A case I knew of was fairly typical. The child had a diagnosis of a condition where a lot of doctors were believing that it was primarily psychological even though increasingly, it was recognised as a physical condition. The parents split up over differences of opinion of the child's needs - the dad said, "Pull yourself together," while the mother said, "He's doing the best he can. Talk to the doctor, he will explain."
    The marriage split was nasty. The dad wanted to make a statement, so he found a different doctor (you can always find the one you want) who was prepared to say in court that the mother was Munchhausen's by proxy, on condition te dad signed the kid over for psychiatric treatment once he got custody.

    And so it happened - the mother lost custody because protection authorities erred on the side of caution and took the child away until they could complete their investigation. The child, who was physically ill and depressed because of it, was ripped form his mother, placed with an unsympathetic father who then followed through and handed the child to a psychiatrist who had a bad reputation with our support network. The treatment was fairly barbaric - the kid was rewarded with access to his family, bedding, TV etc only if he denied his physical symptoms. A kid who successfully managed to lie about how he really was feeling, could eventually be discharged but the nightmare would continue. One girl I knew who went through this treatment was discharged back to her mother. The girl was told to not tell her mother any details about the treatment; her mother already knew, the girl was told, and was angry with the girl for being such a nuisance and would not want to be reminded. The mother was told she must send the girl to school even if she was claiming to be too ill to lift her head off the pillow. The mother told her daughter what the hospital told her to tell her, "Don't worry, if you feel you can't manage the whole day, call me and I'll come and get you. The school have been told to call me if you say it's too much."
    In fact the school had been told by the doctor to actively NOT allow any such call. The mother had not been told this. So all day the mother waited, knowing from past experience that her daughter might perhaps manage two hours, no more. At the end of the day her daughter almost fell off the school bus, absolutely exhausted. "You lied to me!" the girl said. "You said I could come home if I needed to. But you never came to get me!"
    This woman was able to sort the problem out. She also was divorced but her ex-husband was supportive of the daughter's diagnosis so it did not become a custody issue, as in the other case ZI mentioned. But it was the same shonky psychiatrist who had done the damage. And such is the nature of psychiatry, that we were unable to take any action against this doctor. Can you imagine the damage done to a kid taken form his mother inappropriately?

    It is a tricky tightrope to negotiate. I also have been accused of Munchhausen's by proxy, when difficult child 3 was little. A local GP disputed the diagnosis publicly, used to discuss me and my family's medical details with my worst enemy, my stalker. I used to see them meeting for coffee, and soon after my stalker would write letters about me to other people, giving details that he should not have known but always expressed in terms of concern and sympathy, to make it seem like he cared. Very mischievous. It happened at a time when DOCS (our version of CPS) were sniffing around because of difficult child 3's language delay (which, because of my physical disability, people were blaming on me being weird). DOCS did a good job, checked things out, cleared me and then gave me some valuable referrals.

    So I am wary of applying the label to others. But there is a huge difference between Munchhausen's, and someone who overdoes the sympathy and catastrophises illness in their child.

    There is a clear distinction between Munchhausen's and hypochondria. Interestingly, the hypochondrium is a part of the anatomy just under the diaphragm. Doctors noted that women especially, would often report vague symptoms of discomfort in this area, and it became known as hypochondria. At the time they could find no cause, and so over time the name of the condition became associated with "She's hysterical, believes she is ill but is not really." Hysteria was believed to be connected to the womb, hence removal of the womb is called hysterectomy.

    Someone who is a hypochondriac genuinely believes they are ill. The belief is very strong and sometimes reassurance form a doctor just is not enough. It is tricky to use this as a label because increasingly, there are cases of people who insisted tat something was wrong in the face of medical tests clearing them. Only later did they find tat the patient was right, there WAS something serious wrong. Doctors are learning to pay attention now, when a patient says, "I don't care what the tests say, something feels not right."

    Someone with Munchhausen's, on the other hand, is deliberately faking and knows it. A Munchhausen's person often tries to get into hospital, usually by faking symptoms they have carefully researched. Sometimes you can get hypochondria and Munchhausen's together - a patient believes that something is wrong, doctors can't find it, so they fake a different illness in order to get into hospital and investigated, in the hope that this time the doctors will get it right.
    However, in general, the Munchhausen's person is primarily attention-seeking rather than diagnosis-seeking. The main purpose in a diagnosis is to provide another label to hang the sympathy on.
    For example, in the days of mercury thermometers, a patient might have a number of tricks to push the reading up. Applying it to a hot water bottle, for example, or rubbing the thermometer between their hands when the nurse is not looking.
    Munchhausen's by proxy - the sort of things they can do, is give medication to their child that is not prescribed for them. Not, "I'm sure these stomach pills of mine will help your stomach bug feel better," but much more serious - grandma's heart pills given to a toddler in massive doses, for example, to deliberately cause heart arrhythmias and trigger an emergency reaction. Or a wound on a child's arm can be sent septic, by a mother deliberately inoculating it with a faecal sample. That is not hypochondria in any way. it is deliberate harm, purely to gain attention.

    A Munchhausen's by proxy parent will seem dedicated, compassionate, patient, caring and as time goes on, increasingly panicked for their child. A parent who is genuine can appear the same - that is the tragedy.

    Janet, I'm with you - I believe we have had a few more of these people slip below the radar on tis site, than perhaps we are aware. However, I don't think they last. There are probably better pickings for them elsewhere. However, we always need to be on our guard because the cost of someone slipping through the net and milking us for as much sympathy as possible, is a lot more tan just our time wasted. Sites like this can get killed off by this sort of behaviour.

  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hmmmm Marg...........I see the distinction now between the two.....

    husband's seems more for the more you give him the worse he gets........while on the other hand if he wants to do something he's suddenly well enough to do so. So can't really say that it is always that he's reading too much into vague symptoms ect. I see the same with katie as well......or what appears to be the same behavior. If you don't play up to suddenly hear no more about it. It's that way with both of them.
  19. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I get the difference between Munchhausen's and hypochondria, but what do you call someone who exaggerates every last little symptom they ever have to get attention and sympathy? A plain ol' drama queen? I worked with a lady who did that all the time and she drove us all right up the wall! Apparently, in her family, if you were sick, you were petted and pampered and waited on hand and foot. But now she's older, divorced, kids are gone, and most of her family lives elsewhere. Basically, this person is healthy as a horse except for being way overweight and in the 25 years I've known her, she has never once had a serious illness! But with her, every sniffle is "going in to pneumonia", every headache is a "migraine", and she claims she's diabetic - she's not! And we've all heard her going through her list of symptoms with total strangers on the phone, no matter how embarassing! But it's not just with her! To hear her talk, every childbirth in her family in the last 50 years was a life-threatening experience, every baby born was dangerously premature (including the chubby 9-pounder she gave birth to seven months after her wedding)! She has at least twenty different doctors she goes to, for all different things and she has at least one, sometimes two doctors appointments a week. It's not "drug-seeking" like someone trying to get controlled addictive drugs, but she has taken so many different antibiotics (that she didn't need) over the years that now many do not work on her at all! She LOVES the attention she gets from the doctors! She'd come back to the office after an appointment, bragging to us all about how much they love her there, how she gets special attention, she's their favorite patient, etc., etc. It makes her really mad that we all basically ignore her, just say "uh-huh" and go back to what we were doing! But if you acknowlege her at all, she goes into hours of her own medical conditions and the medical conditions of her whole family going back generation after generation. We learned! If all else failed, she'd come out with a few LOUD, racking coughs that must have ripped the lining right off of her throat, obviously faked - she wasn't even sick, not even a sniffle! We just ignored her. And the poor woman who has to share her office, the one who, in the last five years, has really survived a heart attack, a ruptured appendix, and two bouts with breast cancer? She just sits there, shaking her head! Never a peep out of her!
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My mother.