I first wrote these entries in the fall of 2003.
I responded to this question on an MSP site (AsherMeadow.com):
"Since you have already been there I would like to know what type of treatment and counseling we are going to need after we prove that my step childrens mother is doing this to them. They are 7 and 9 years old and the eldest has started denying claims that the mother makes as to his sicknesses and abuse allegations against the childrens father but the youngest is still going along with the mother although there is documentation in her medical records, school records etc to prove what the mother is doing. Where did you go wrong in treatment (if you ever did)? Would you do anything different? Are there things we need to be aware of that they need that is not in medical research into msbp? Please let me know from experience what these babies need, I dont want them harmed more by me doing something wrong although it is to help them.
And how the heck can we explain what has happend without them hating her(we dont want that i believe that the mother is sick but that she can heal and be a good mom)?"
Here's my reply....
This is the heart of the matter for me. There is so much that needs to be understood and known about how to heal the wounds that this type of abuse inflicts. I'm only now, as a mature adult, coming to grips with what I experienced and what I can still do to heal and to learn to live a healthy and whole life even though I am covered with scars.
You are doing the right thing (IMHO) in being persistent, in focusing on healing the children and not on seeking retribution against the mother.
I can only speak from my experience but... here goes...
Find a therapist who understands this type of physical and psychological abuse probably one who specializes in non-sexual abuse.
These children need love and lots of it... follow their leads. The type of love they will comfortably and healthily accept will have been tainted. The love offered them or what they interpreted as love has been the perverse medical and nursemaiding behaviors and situations they experienced. They need to be brought back into healthy loving family relations and they may well need to have specific learned expressions of how love is expressed be overwritten, reframed and extinguished. Talk to the counselors about this.
The kids’ senses of trust have been shattered. They have probably learned not to trust their own feelings and/or assessments of situations -- and this self doubt about basic perceptions has been the most insidious remnant of the abuse.
Knowing that someone you love is capable of not only harming you, but wanting you dead, is Hell to deal with. I still find it extremely difficult to trust at the deepest levels.
Be careful of falling into religious justifications that “suffering is good” or “it was meant to be” or “you will be stronger for having being given these tests.” That kind of rationalization was extremely harmful to me. It feeds into the “I deserve the bad things that have happened to me” ideology. What was done to them was sick, wrong and perverted. A life long masochistic approach to interpersonal relationshps could develop from the foundations already built. Suffering is not good for children or other human beings.
I know you want to believe that the abuser can be “healed or “reformed” and that you want to be able to trust her again. You probably love her and want to see her healthy too. Your priority is the children. My own take on MSP abusers is that they are much like child sexual abusers and they may never be able to be entrusted to caring for a child again. Be very careful. The abuser may well find other victims when these children are removed from her care. The parallels with sexual predation are there.
I and at least one other survivor I’ve spoken with also experienced a phenomena I haven’t seen mentioned in the literature. As teenagers, when we began rejecting the unhealthy and abusive behaviors both within ourselves and those carried out by our mothers against us, our mothers withdrew all care other than the most basic from us. In my case my mother allowed and enabled me leave the house with men much older than myself, didn’t impose a curfew, and effectively encouraged situations in which harm to me was likely to occur. It is difficult for me to say whether she wanted me to be declared mentally ill, be arrested and prosecuted as delinquent, or to die. She certainly didn’t want anything good for me. So I would caution you to be diligent in watching for other types of abuse supplanting the medical abuse when medical abuse no longer becomes an option for her.
I will try to expand this on my geocities asombpa site when I have time. I am searching all the MBP literature as time permits looking for mention of health, wellness, healing and successful therapeutic strategies. (So much of the literature focuses on the abuser and on people unjustly accused.) While these are real concerns, I have to believe that the focus of research should be on survivors and stopping the cycles of violence.)
I think the most important thing to remember is that this IS abuse. Get survivor counseling for the children. Be very sure the counselor is someone you truly trust and MONITOR it. I was victimized by a “helping” professional as a very young adult and consequently stopped seeking any real therapy until recently.
Thank you for helping these kids. The few people who extended helping hands to me as a child and teen made a world of difference. The will to survive is powerful. Kids will latch on to positive guidance and caring given them. Bless you.
// posted by Nerthus @ 12:04 PM
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
I'm waivering between belief this all happened to me and disbelief, hope that I somehow I got it wrong. I haven't had any revelations nor found memories. I'm simply putting together bits and pieces of well worn memories. I use the term integration. I'm allowing myself to remember A, B, and C simultaneously when previously, for whatever reason, I kept them discretely separated from each other.
I am, however, remembering them together with suspicion. The poisoning is certainly conjecture, but I wonder what a woman who likes to enhance stories to add status to herself, who to this day consistently turns the knife in me through little persistent but extremely meaningful digs, omissions, and such... who loves illness, who allowed much harm to come to me by fostering situations in which it was totally inappropriate for me to participate, and who didn't recognize any of my life's milestones appropriately or in a timely fashion.
I remember confronting her about "allowing" me to miss so much school. I was totally distraught when I did this. My memory focuses on saying, "How could you do this to me?" There was absolutely no concern for me in her reaction, she only expressed outrage that I could treat her so badly.
She has no empathy whatsoever and seemed to view everything in relationship to herself. She never asks, "How are you?" Of course we all view the world from our own perspective, but the extreme degree to which she carried this behavior clearly points to some sort of mental illness or criminal mindset.
Cultural conditioning is so strong. Even with all this, I still feel "guilt" over speaking badly of her.
The next question is, "where were my brothers and father as this was going on?"
// posted by Nerthus @ 7:56 AM
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
I am beginning to think that my mother poisoned me on at least two occasions. Even if it isn't true, which I will never know, to be able to logically entertain the thought that my mother was capable of this speaks volumes.
On Mother's Day just one week before I turned 12 I became very ill with mono. I wasn't faking it, and as I now think back, the diagnosis of mono was because nothing else fit. That apparently served the purpose of my mother whatever that might have been. One weird thing I also remember in conjunction with this was that it allowed her to "have" to complete a show and tell for me at school, one I had never planned to do. And this meant leaving me home alone and "untended" which she never did. The whole thing just doesn't add up.
Also shortly after I was born, both my father and I -- no one else in the family -- came down with "the Asian flu." The things that are suspicious to me in this revolve around how my mom recounts the events of the time. Nothing is stated about being worried about us, but rather she focuses on the things she shared with other people about the illnesses... how others had to come in and help with the crops... and how my "little tee shirts" were discolored for months from sweating out the drugs given me. They aren't inappropriate recollections in and of themselves, but that they are the only things she recounts is somehow "off."
After I realized that she had fostered my participation in activities that could have easily harmed or killed me when I was a teen, I began thinking back to what was done before that time. That's when my stomach turned as I remembered the above two incidents.
The sadness that my own mother may have tried to kill me is a very heavy burden right now.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
This is the first post here and I'm uncertain about this whole venture. But I am certain that I am not the only person searching the web in an attempt to figure out whether the horrible childhood I had can be said to include abuse that legitimately falls under the now trendy label of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
Believe it or not it is not always easy to figure out if you were an abused child. This can be especially true if the abuse did not involve beatings or sexual abuse, the most recognized types of child abuse.
Munchausen Syndrome, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, Factitious Disorders, malingering, faking, and a host of other terms all come into play here. I really don't give a hoot about what it is called and whether my mother suffered from a disorder, mental illness, or was just a weird, occasionally nasty woman... I just know that stuff she did, stuff she encouraged me to do stuff, and the stuff I did to get her attention harmed me and is a significant factor in the severe periodic depression I've experienced for decades.
This blog will hopefully help me, and perhaps others, figure out what MSBP is, whether it is a factor in the depression and post traumatic stress with which I, and others, live.