This is a repost of a 29 January 2008 blog post from a site that is no longer active.
----------------------------------------I do not intend for these posts to be therapeutic journaling written mainly to fill some need I might have. I write about what captures my attention, makes me think thoughts that have some novel component, and what readers want to read. I look at statistics from my websites to gauge what I should be writing. I give topics that fill some sort of a need in the informational milieu of the world have a higher priority than personally favorite topics that no one reads.
Munchausen by Proxy Abuse is what has received the most traffic so far on this site. This lends supports my impression that there is a dearth of real information for the survivors of this type of abuse. I will set up a page on Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome Abuse. (Pages are static and function more like traditional website pages while blog entries like this one roll over into archives and are replaced as front page featured posts with newer entries as they are published.) You will also be able to pull up all of the MSBPA pages under the category "medical abuse."
I prefer the term "medical abuse" as it parallels the term sexual abuse, a term fairly well understood by the population at large. Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is not only a mouth full, it also begins to set up a favorable context for framing the behavior it is supposed to identify or describe. MSBP put the focus on the abuser. Munchausen sets it up to be thought of as a big word with a fanciful connection. The phrase "by proxy" maintains the focus of the phrase on the active "doer" of the behavior, although it does acknowledge an anonymous person who was acted upon. Medical abuse is a far more terse and far less romantic term. Of course the people who harm others through needless medical procedures or induced illness need help. But the exhibitors of this syndrome do not deserve attention.
The victims of this syndrome need the therapy and assistance in healing those wounds that can heal.
There are survivors of MSBP. The "famous" cases of medical abuse tend to be ones in which the abuser (most often the mother of the victim) is caught in an attempt to seriously harm or kill her young child. I am steadfast in my belief that many if not most cases of this bizarre violation of a dependent's body, and spirit, are never brought to light because the victim hasn't been killed and grows up to eventually participate in a world where criticism of "the mother" is not acceptable, and quite often able to be perceived by members of the culture that has ruled out such behavior as even possible. This is an invisible form of abuse if the victim survives, as family members and the victim him or herself will most likely be unable to even understand that abuse has happened. It was once culturally unacceptable to expose or acknowledge sexual abuse. Medical abuse for the most part still wears a cultural cloak of invisibility.
How do I know all this? What makes me qualified to discuss and analyze such behavior?
Briefly, for now, I survived unnecessary medical procedures initiated by my mother. I at first studied psychology but found semiotic anthropology to be a fascinating area of study and research. I have an MS in Anthropology and specialized in biosemiotic analysis specifically focused on "the body." I did not fully come to understand that this MSBP thing was what I had experienced until five years ago. I began to venture toward the mental and emotional place where I could accept and integrate that experience into myself about 15 years ago. The uncanny thing that still amazes me is that I had equipped myself with a nearly perfect theoretical toolkit for making the cultural denial visible and then for parsing and reframing the behaviors into discrete acts of meaning.
We're out there, we adult survivors of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy abuse, even though society for the most part does not want to know we are there, and in some small way I hope that my discussion and dissection of medical abuse under my self-ground lens provides some illumination along the path to understanding how to eradicate this particular cycle of abuse.