I really have a problem with child abuse. I do not understand it. The child abuse, not my problem with it. I understand that completely. I'm not alone, of course, I'm sure you are equally appalled by it.
Why do I bring this up? Because of an article in the Boston Globe online that I recently read. And because of something called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP).
These two things are related, one might say "entwined." The "proxy" is controversial, I am told, though the Munchausen Syndrome is not. For those not familiar with it, it is a condition wherein the person may feign injury or illness, or seek injury or illness, in order to garner attention and sympathy. The sufferer of MSbP, however, transfers that injury or illness onto another in order to gain sympathy and attention to herself (in most cases, it is a female, mother or caregiver).
It seems to me that the Boston Globe story was clearly one of MSbP. Yet, there was nothing in that article that spoke of that link. The woman will go to prison and she will be punished. Which is what we, as a society, have decided is the proper thing to do.
But children were harmed, and not just the young victim who died, and it could have been prevented had anyone recognized the the mental instability of this woman. They knew she was a "bad mother", one daughter (now 17 years old) had been removed from her home as a toddler. Two other children, the victim's siblings, are now in foster care and will eventually be adopted (one hopes). One wonders if those two children have also been physically (and/or emotionally) harmed while in their mother's care.
Buried in the story is another one about how children can be diagnosed with mental illness based primarily upon the mother's description of symptoms. And yet another one about laxity in dosage instructions of powerful medications and poor monitoring of a child patient.
A tragedy all around.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago