Divorce & Manchausen by Proxy Syndrome: Are your custody rights being affected by your wife’s mental disorder?
Divorce & Manchausen by Proxy syndrome are not necessarily the most frequent types of issues that divorce practitioners face. But it does exist and it happens more often than you might think.
What is Manchausen by Proxy Syndrome? It is a disorder, a mental disorder, where an adult superimposes fake illnesses on a child (or elderly) in order to illicit sympathy for themselves (for the adult, not for the child.) The typical victim is usually under ten years of age.
What are the symptoms of this disorder?
What are the symptoms of Munchausen syndrome by proxy?
Certain characteristics are common in a person with MSP:
- Often is a parent, usually a mother, but can be the adult child of an elderly patient
- Might be a health care professional
- Is very friendly and cooperative with the health care providers
- Appears quite concerned (some might seem overly concerned) about the child or designated patient
- Might also suffer from Munchausen syndrome (This is a related disorder in which the caregiver repeatedly acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she has caused the symptoms.)
Other possible warning signs of MSP in children include the following:
- The child has a history of many hospitalizations, often with a strange set of symptoms.
- Worsening of the child’s symptoms generally is reported by the mother and is not witnessed by the hospital staff.
- The child’s reported condition and symptoms do not agree with the results of diagnostic tests.
- There might be more than one unusual illness or death of children in the family.
- The child’s condition improves in the hospital, but symptoms recur when the child returns home.
- Blood in lab samples might not match the blood of the child.
- There might be signs of chemicals in the child’s blood, stool, or urine. (Father’s Rights Network.net)
Increasingly, Father’s rights law firms are having to deal with Divorce & Manchausen Syndrome issues. Apparently, a significant number of women have this disorder (some men get this but women are the main sufferers) and it can be triggered by heavy stresses including marital troubles and divorce.
When a person gets Munchausen by proxy syndrome, they can go as far as to poison their children, fake their children’s lab sample, and even kill their children all to prove a point and illicit sympathy.
Why does it happen more often that it is moms who get Manchausen by proxy syndrome and not dads? Well, first of all, women are the main care givers in most families even today. So they are the ones who would be caring for a sick child and they are the ones who would be more likely to be awarded custody of children after a divorce.
In a high conflict divorce, it is possible that some mothers are simply afraid of losing custody so they create these illnesses in their children in order to retain control and in order to show how much they are needed (and by extension, to prevent or discourage the father from wanting to fight for custody of a sick child.)
Some women may develop this illness as a cry for help and attention from their ex. They figure that the sick child will force their ex to stay in the picture to help deal with the illness. It is a form of control.
But in more nefarious circumstances, it is simply a mother who is willing to fabricate these illnesses in order to destroy the parental bond between the father and the purported ill child. Keeping the child in and out of medical institutions would obviously disrupt visitations with the father. These mothers are on a mission to show and to prove that the father is a “bad guy” who doesn’t even visit the child every day when the child is sick – and juxtapose this image with the one of themselves as a devoted mom who is always present at the child’s side.
Men, too, can get this illness, do not misunderstand. But as I said, it seems to happen a lot more often with the mother.
If you are in a situation that you suspect could be Manchausen by Proxy Syndrome, it is imperative that you bring your concerns to the relevant authorities – both medical and legal. Your child’s very survival could depend on it.