My Story: Munchausen’s By Proxy

When I was little I was always afraid a monster was living under my bed. Never did I ever imagine that the monster would be the woman tucking me in at night.

Have you ever wished you had someone else’s life? I’ve spent my whole life being envious of families with present parents, siblings, puppies and that white picket fence. But is that really a reality for most of us?

It’s only recently that I’ve opened to my eyes to the possibility that maybe that ‘reality’ doesn’t exist. Divorce is as common as the flu and problems in families are becoming more and more evident as people find a need to speak out.

I’m one of those people who have struggled, but I’m also one of those people who have never spoken out. So here I am, sharing my experience in hope that I may be able to help one of you, and maybe help myself along the way.

Am I really so naïve to believe that I could help someone with an issue or problem that they can’t deal with? Problems can be large and small and the reality is that some of us find it harder to deal with the burdens that life throws at us.  Kids Help Line, Lifeline they’re all great but response time is slow and sometimes you just need someone to listen and relate.

My Story.

Growing up I thought my life was just like everyone else’s. I may not have had the coolest gadgets or the prettiest clothes but I did have clothes, and I did have food in my belly on a regular basis.  What I didn’t know though, was that that food would make me sick. And eventually when I turned 16 that food stopped coming. I was an ‘adult’ in my mother’s eyes and that meant buying my own food, paying my own school fees and buying my own clothes – luckily for me I had financial support, which meant that while I was in high school I at least got one meal a day.

My mother manipulated people in order to get attention because of a disorder known as Munchausen’s By Proxy.

In most cases she used us children as fuel for stories and then fabricated lies in order to make herself seem like the victim. Because of my mother’s actions my brother turned to drugs and alcohol.  False allegations of abuse and assault were thrown at my brother and still remain on his record today.  The sad reality is that the police refused to believe the words of a crying teenage girl as I supposedly was lying in order to protect my brother – they said it like it was a bad thing, but when is protecting someone you love ever a bad thing?  Especially if he was the victim.

I spent my senior years sleeping in class as I couldn’t sleep at home. Police seemed to be knocking – or in some cases barging through our door most weeks. I watched in tears as my brother’s friends jumped over back fence leaving him with mountains of drugs only to result in more arrests. My supposed home was vandalized, items stolen while I was in the house and my mother still stayed overseas, leaving me to deal with my brother’s arrest. The house constantly smelt like pot and my mother didn’t want to know about it.  That was until she came back. Oh boy did she put on a show – the Oscar she won never did come in the mail.

I wish now that I’d never said anything. Never rung my mother and told her about my brother doing drugs in the house, never told her about the boys he called friends that vandalized the local train stations and carriages.  I would like to believe he would have been better off if I never said anything. He wouldn’t be currently homeless, living out of a car and crashing at his so called ‘friends’ houses every other night.

3 years later the same thing happened to me. Well, without the drugs and alcohol.  I’m currently 19, homeless, suffer from extreme anxiety, depression and lack the basic social skills I once had.  After unsuccessfully moving out when I was 17 I had to move back home after I obtained a back injury. I think the weirdest part of all is that I finally feel free. The relief and pressure was lifted off my shoulders as soon as I drove away from that house – hopefully it will stay that way.

The truth is that I wish beyond anything that I was imagining all of it. I wish I could wake up each morning and believe that my mother did what she did out of love. I know now that I would be lying to myself.  I haven’t even begun to breach the surface of all that’s happened in the last three years, let alone my life. I’m starting to believe that I could fill a book with all my issues – Oh and what a boring book it would be.  I’d like to think that if I shared my story, even a part of my story one of you won’t feel as alone.

Australia's Student Newspaper, trying to Improve Student Life. We publish articles written by students from across Australia and the world!

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