to camouflage your scars
Munchausens by Proxy is one of the creepiest things found in the annuls of psychiatry. I thought it must be listed in the DSM-5 but it seems not. It is a “syndrome” rather than a personality disorder. Wikipedia defines “syndrome” as “a set of medical signs and symptoms that are correlated with each other. The word derives from the Greek σύνδρομον, meaning ‘concurrence’.” Yet, it is also called MBP which looks like a DSM abbreviation. So, since it’s not a “disorder” by a specific “syndrome” of behavior, I guess it’s just something that certain “disordered” people do.
My guess is that narcissists and/or people with histrionic personality disorder might be drawn this syndrome. The narc could get plenty of supply and the histrionic could certainly be the center of drama. To deliberately inflict an actual illness on a child would seem to require a profound lack of conscience unless the person is seriously delusional in which case, s/he might by schizotypal or something along those lines.
The title of this blogpost is a quote from Marilyn Manson’s song The Man that You Fear, the Antichrist Superstar album. Two images came to me from this song. One is my own mother. She never made me physically sick like the MBP people do. But the lines, “…to camouflage your scars” and “Peel off all those eyes and crawl into the dark.” The other image is of a Grade B movie of a monster terrifying a helpless old woman.
You can kill yourself now
Because you’re dead
In my mind
The boy that you loved is the monster you fear
Marilyn Manson has said that his songs come from his dreams. His video makes the meaning of this song seem very different from my interpretation. But my interpretation remains compellingly true for me. And it (the interpretation) begins with a dream.
When I was a child, I dreamed I suddenly turned into a monster. I towered over my parents and knew they “knew” I was evil so I had to destroy them or they would destroy me now that they saw that I was a monster. The Man That You Fear reminds me of my dream. The child, grown big and powerful, terrorizes his feeble, old mom. I can just see her scurrying into dark corners of her home as this hulking shadow of a man walks slowly and ponderously through the house. What an image! Apparently, the narrator of the song hates his mother bitterly. He has waited until he grew strong and powerful enough to turn the tables on her. Manson has said in an interview that he abused his mother at one time:
“My father had a very violent temper, and he was never home,” Manson remembers. “So I was kind of a mama’s boy. But I had a weird relationship with my mom as a kid because it was kind of abusive – but on my part. I wish I could go back and change the way I treated my mom because I used to be really rude to her, and she didn’t really have any kind of control over me.” Rolling Stone, 1/23/97
So we know there is an autobiographical element in the song. Consider the line, “sticking to my pointy ribs are all your infants in abortion cribs.”
In the same interview, Manson said, “Another thing that happened was, I found a coffee can across the street from my house in Ohio, at a butcher’s, and there were all these flies around it. I opened it up, and it had an aborted fetus in it. My parents told me it was just raw meat.
I’ve been fascinated with abortion. And maybe it goes as far back as that coffee can. But actually I’ve had to go through that experience, you know, with a girl. And it was real bad, too, because it was like four months into her being pregnant, and they had to do some real intense things where they induce labor. Very terrifying stuff. Actually, no one even knows about it.
What a wealth of meaning comes through that one line, alone! When I hear that line, I can sense the shame Manson must have felt; shame for his mother. She is not a “natural mother.” She destroys her young. She “poisoned all (her) infants to camouflage (her) scars.” Rejecting and feeling ashamed of one’s own mother is, itself, poison. It eats into the soul, causes one to feel hopelessly tainted and flawed. Unlike Trent who can say right out lines like “my whole existence is flawed” and “the tainted touch of my caress,” the shame projected in this Manson song goes too deep for direct utterance. At the point of the song, Manson, or the person within himself he is dramatizing, is overpowered by his shame.
The movie The Sixth Sense is about a kid who can see and talk to ghosts. One of the ghosts he encounters is a little girl who was poisoned by her mother. She tells the kid where a video tape is stashed which shows the mother in the very act.
Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) is a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child, an elderly adult, or a person who has a disability. Because vulnerable people are the victims, MSBP is a form of child abuse or elder abuse. — Web M.D.
To help determine if someone has factitious disorder, mental health providers conduct a detailed interview and run tests for possible physical problems.
To be diagnosed with factitious disorder, a person must meet the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM criteria for factitious disorder (previously, when severe, called Munchausen syndrome) include:
- Making up physical or psychological signs or symptoms or causing injury or disease with the deliberate intention to deceive
- Pretending to be sick or injured or to be having problems functioning
- Continuing with the deception, even without receiving any visible benefit or reward
- Behavior is not better explained by another mental disorder, such as a delusional disorder or another psychotic disorder
The DSM criteria for factitious disorder imposed on another (previously called Munchausen syndrome by proxy) include:
- Making up physical or psychological signs or symptoms or causing injury or disease in another person with the intention to deceive
- Presenting another person to others as sick, injured or having problems functioning
- Continuing with the deception, even without receiving any visible benefit or reward
- Behavior is not better explained by another mental disorder
Mommy Dead and Dearest
HBO has just released a documentary film about a case of Munchhausen’s by Proxy which is not only real but unusually extreme. To indulge her sick fantasies, this mother, Dee Dee Blanchard subjected her daughter to a childhood of hell. She forced a normal child to play the role of a tragic victim of leukemia, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, impaired vision and retardation. Dee Dee conned doctors into surgically removing salivary tissue and putting a feeding tube down her throat. She had to drag around an oxygen tank. Her teeth were hideous, sticking out and dominating her mouth. Her head was shaved (to make people think she was on chemo). The pictures taken during the charade would be disgusting on their own face value. Being what it was upgrades “disgusting” to “revolting.” Gypsy was forced to stay in a wheelchair and wear horrible glasses and wear a hideous grin (not at all the way she really was). The mother is fat and grotesque. The more ungainly, the saintlier. They have been featured in special human interest shorts.
Gypsy Rose is in prison now. For what she suffered from that woman, she had a right to kill her. I know nobody will agree with me, well, maybe some people. I hope I don’t get a lecture on due process and “nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands.” I just don’t want to hear it. In her interviews, Gypsy shows herself to be an intelligent and articulate young lady and makes the gap between her fake persona and reality all the more glaring.
Dee Dee, legal name was “Claudine Pitre Blanchard,” was very willful and got everything she wanted as a child. If she didn’t get her way she made her father and stepmother pay. One time, according to her stepmother, she poisoned her with Round Up after which she was bedridden for nine months. Dee Dee opened up credit cards in the names of her family members and wrote bad checks. She was also on America’s Most Wanted. If she ever showed up in the Bayou, she would have been arrested. Her mother, Emma Pitre, was into petty theft, shoplifting and even stealing peoples’ cloths from the laundromat. Dee Dee’s family suspects she killed her mother by starving her. Dee Dee’s father and step mother completely reject her now. They didn’t even want her ashes.
What is Dee Dee? Her apparent lack of conscience pegs her as a psychopath. But her desire to appear saintly in the eyes of the public suggest narcissism. It would have to be the most malignant kind, of course. Gypsy was afraid of her and didn’t dare go off script while she was in the public eye where Dee Dee often put her. She was Dee Dee’s little performing slave. One time, she said the “wrong thing” and Dee Dee took a hammer and smashed Gypsy’s computer and phone. She told Gypsy that if she ever did it again, she would do that to her hands.
I guess she got a new computer because she managed to make an online friend while Dee Dee was asleep. This guy was very strange. He thinks he has multiple personalities and he asked Gypsy to invent personalities to go with each of his. So she had a little girl persona, a slut persona, an evil persona. Sure the relationship was strange but coming from the abuse she grew up with, I find it amazing that it was as healthy as it was and as creative. Gypsy plans to finish school in prison. She only finished second grade while in her mother’s power.
- Beyond Gypsy Blancharde: When Mothers Harm Their Kids. Rolling Stone
- What We Learned. Rolling Stone
- Exclusive: This is how Gypsy Rose is coping in prison. Hello Giggles
- How Dee Dee Blanchard Faked Daughter Gypsy’s Medical Issues. by Harriet Sokmensuer, People Magazine
- Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter to Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom Murdered.
- Gypsy’s Facebook page. That Bitch is dead!
- Gypsy Blancharde’s cousin Dishes on Her Life Behind Bars. In Touch Weekly
- Murder of Dee Dee Blanchard.