Munchausen Syndrome or Dementia?

Nov 2010
2
1
My husbands mother is a very emotionally immature woman who fits Munchausen Syndrome to a tee and is strictly supervised around our children as she also exhibits Munchausen by proxy syndrome. So she fakes stuff all the time.

Everytime she has some new ailment, I always want to research first before assuming that this is not just the Munchausen Syndrome.

Lately Dementia symptoms have been reported: Here is the history:
January 2004, incidently exactly when my husband started to set boundaries with her, he was a very serious mamma boy for a very long time. This is what it looked like.

There was a phone call every day for about 5 days, all the same story...
She can no longer remember how to push the button on her answering machine, can her son come over and instruct her?

For 5 days we got this call but each day she changed what it was she could no longer remember to operate. There was the answering machine button, the washing machine button, the photocopier button, and the button on her lawnmower too.

She was called out on this and the symptoms stopped, just like that...until 2008

Summer of 2008, incidently right when the August long weekend is and she realized that we are not spending every long weekend with her anymore. We hear these stories:
1. She is sure that people are breaking into her home, stealing her onions, and then breaking in and putting them back. She approached three neighbours husbands at the cottage and asked them to keep a secret from their wife and then told them of what their wives are doing to her.

This was one incident of this particular symptom and I have not heard any more reports of this since. When I research dementia and talk to professionals that work with these patients, there are symptoms that usually come before this stage that we have not seen and where it progresses after this, has not happened either.

later that year she accuses me of breaking in and sanding down the wood on her couch (where the sun beams in and sun dyes it)

We hear of no symptoms until 2010, now we hear the following:
1. She is paranoid- tying off doors, has a lock on her bedroom door at the cottage- she is afraid that me and the lady that lives across the street at the cottage are out to get her- but then just like that she wants to know is she can ride with us in the van for a 4 hour round trip to the one birthday- odd behavior from someone who is so scared of me? hmmmm....

2. I have broken in to her home and tampered with her sewing machine, since she got on it and it is not working.

3. She has spotted me at gas stations at times that I am with my husband

4. She hands my husband a trinket that looks like an MP3 player and tells him that this device has been planted in her home to purposely interfere in her phone calls.

5. At my neices birthday, she followed me everywhere I went, and anytime I came in to use the washroom, she took an envelope to my SIL and asked if it had been tampered with?

I have not heard of any other symptoms since July, the only one that is ongoing is the tying off of the doors.

Question;
Does this sound real to anyone? could it really be dementia possibly? even though she fakes so much I still want to be sure so I know what I am dealing with as she does try and rope us in to all this.

If this is not dementia, what is it?

She is severely personality disordered, so high on the Narcissistic Personality Continuum that she likely more a Psychopath then a Malignant Narcissist.

Is this all for attention?
 
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Sep 2010
456
1
Many people fake illness, it get's them care, sympathy and attention (so they have come to believe). This is the society we live in today, illness is associated with those comforting things, yet psychologically we want to keep well away from disease, illness and it repulses us as a threat to our own life. But the medical industry have us believing otherwise as there is money to be made in illness, and madness.

I doubt she has Munchausen Syndrome. Maybe she fakes illness because she's lonely and as above it's associated with concern, attention etc.
But it does sound like she's suffering from some form of dementia. The most of which is 'paranoid' believing she's being singled out, spied on etc. This could be paranoid schizophrenia if she is also hearing voices.

People in general are very odd, selfish, manipulative, underhanded, sneaky, liars, bullies etc.. personally I don't know any nice people. I think the woman you speak of is ill, with paranoia and dementia but all the other things you mention are typical selfish human nature and not by any means odd. So of course what you say sounds real. If she's elderly it can be expected and maybe you're over-reacting a little, as what I've read from above seems totally realistic and totally common.

I can understand it must be frustrating for you though, can't you get her medically assessed by a doctor?
 
Jun 2009
531
2
Those observations are insufficient to make any diagnosis, though Munchausen's seems a particularly far shot. She could be suffering from any of a number of personality disorders, but she could just as well be a mean old jerk who's employing the same tools she always has, perhaps just to a more exaggerated degree. If you are genuinely concerned, get her to a professional, and if she refuses that and remains a perceived problem or danger to you or your children, consult a professional yourself for advice.

Avoid making your own diagnoses - laymen do not possess the expert knowledge required to use diagnosis manuals. Experts in a given field become experts through being taught, examined and ultimately peer reviewed for decades by the generation of experts in their field before them, and that training, experience and knowledge base is what grants the ability to spot a pathological behavior. Without the ability to reliably spot pathological behavior, you can't even approximate a diagnosis - you can only 'spot' that you see the person as a problem or danger to themselves, you or people you hold dear.

This is not just a "sit down and shut up," though I will admit to a part of that, it is a real problem and danger that laymen today believe they are qualified to make psychological (or even psychiatric!) diagnoses based on nothing more than the fact that they understand the individual words in a diagnosis manual. How many people never see a professional because their relatives self-diagnose them and decide they don't need help, or how many misdiagnoses are made because relatives come in with a wrong preconceived diagnosis and unconsciously guide the professional towards that diagnosis (a self fulfilling prophecy)? A lot more than you might think.

If you are concerned, see a professional - don't trust your own half-formed ideas on psychology and the mind when it comes to people you love.
 
Sep 2010
456
1
Voodoo your emphasis is on self diagnosis or diagnosis of others without the education, training etc of that of a professional qualified to do so. Well let me tell you, professionals are incompetent. And one may as well diagnose themselves as they themselves know the score, more than that of someone who's just read a few books and got the qualification.

Medical professionals are trained in 'confident ignorance', that means 'pretending they know what they're talking about when they don't'... you would quickly lose faith in a Doctor who said 'I don't know what that can be' people expect a diagnosis and a prescription so the Doctor is only too happy to oblige. Yet often wrong. I say this from experience & education.

If the world was just educated on what had gone before them it would be a very deranged place, and it is. Not long ago labotomy was performed on exactly that basis you speak of, if no one questioned authority people would still be having bits of their brains hacked off. Sure the professionals know best, right?

I would NEVER put my faith into a single professional without doing my own research and coming to my own common sense conclusion.
 
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Jun 2009
531
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Aside from as a cheap manipulative ploy, I don't see what role lobotomy plays in this. It's unrelated on all but a surface level in that professionals once decided lobotomy was helpful and began the practice...but the practice was later abandoned by other professionals, just as it was established by professionals. Assigning blame to psychiatry and its experts as a profession for lobotomy (which was not exactly universally accepted) means you also have to give credit to psychiatry and its expert as a profession credit for realizing the truth and correcting the mistakes of those who came before them. Or you could just be reasonable and not try to manipulate the debate with poorly constructed tricks.

Single professionals are not trustworthy. That is the entire point of the peer review and second opinion culture, acknowledged at the very core of the scientific method and medical system. However, that doesn't mean you are trustworthy to yourself, or that a single professional is not more trustworthy than you are. It's not because experts are born with a special expert center in their brain. It's because they spent years and decades studying decades and centuries' worth of accumulated scientific knowledge within a narrow field. You could most likely be an expert if you spent eight hours a day for eight to ten consecutive years studying a single subject, but that is complete overkill for the personal problems most people have.

There's no shortcut to expertise, and no quick fix for mental health.
 
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Sep 2010
456
1
If I am manipulating the topic as you say you are only contributing to my manipulation by responding to it. I don't know why you pm me with threats to bad karma me for manipulating topics... I didn't even know what karma was but now I see I have -2 for which I should thank you for :)

I've said on several occasions you make me laugh, you are pure comedy and I don't mean that as an insult, laughing feels good and it's a rare gift that you have to make people (or just me perhaps) feel good.. Hope you share your comedy genius on other sites too, it would be such a travesty to deny other forums of such humour.
 
Jul 2021
618
79
London
My husbands mother is a very emotionally immature woman who fits Munchausen Syndrome to a tee and is strictly supervised around our children as she also exhibits Munchausen by proxy syndrome. So she fakes stuff all the time.

Everytime she has some new ailment, I always want to research first before assuming that this is not just the Munchausen Syndrome.

Lately Dementia symptoms have been reported: Here is the history:
January 2004, incidently exactly when my husband started to set boundaries with her, he was a very serious mamma boy for a very long time. This is what it looked like.

There was a phone call every day for about 5 days, all the same story...
She can no longer remember how to push the button on her answering machine, can her son come over and instruct her?

For 5 days we got this call but each day she changed what it was she could no longer remember to operate. There was the answering machine button, the washing machine button, the photocopier button, and the button on her lawnmower too.

She was called out on this and the symptoms stopped, just like that...until 2008

Summer of 2008, incidently right when the August long weekend is and she realized that we are not spending every long weekend with her anymore. We hear these stories:
1. She is sure that people are breaking into her home, stealing her onions, and then breaking in and putting them back. She approached three neighbours husbands at the cottage and asked them to keep a secret from their wife and then told them of what their wives are doing to her.

This was one incident of this particular symptom and I have not heard any more reports of this since. When I research dementia and talk to professionals that work with these patients, there are symptoms that usually come before this stage that we have not seen and where it progresses after this, has not happened either.

later that year she accuses me of breaking in and sanding down the wood on her couch (where the sun beams in and sun dyes it)

We hear of no symptoms until 2010, now we hear the following:
1. She is paranoid- tying off doors, has a lock on her bedroom door at the cottage- she is afraid that me and the lady that lives across the street at the cottage are out to get her- but then just like that she wants to know is she can ride with us in the van for a 4 hour round trip to the one birthday- odd behavior from someone who is so scared of me? hmmmm....

2. I have broken in to her home and tampered with her sewing machine, since she got on it and it is not working.

3. She has spotted me at gas stations at times that I am with my husband

4. She hands my husband a trinket that looks like an MP3 player and tells him that this device has been planted in her home to purposely interfere in her phone calls.

5. At my neices birthday, she followed me everywhere I went, and anytime I came in to use the washroom, she took an envelope to my SIL and asked if it had been tampered with?

I have not heard of any other symptoms since July, the only one that is ongoing is the tying off of the doors.

Question;
Does this sound real to anyone? could it really be dementia possibly? even though she fakes so much I still want to be sure so I know what I am dealing with as she does try and rope us in to all this.

If this is not dementia, what is it?

She is severely personality disordered, so high on the Narcissistic Personality Continuum that she likely more a Psychopath then a Malignant Narcissist.

Is this all for attention?
From what I saw some Psychopaths mimick Munchausen by proxy but I think they are completely different, munchausen by proxy is an actual mental illness caused by some form of trauma, psychopathy is just someone uneducated and spoiled during their childhood. I couldn't agree they are the same. Psychopaths fake everything munchausen only fakes illnesses. It is more relatable to schizophrenia than to psychopathy, although mother psychopaths who offend are psychotic (under the effect of psychotropic substances). In a way the psychopath self-imposes a condition, but not for the reason of the Munchausen person to gain attention, they do that for other reasons, i.e. for their fear of getting caught and to get away with crimes. The psychopath also enjoys attention, but it is different by the attention from the munchausen, the munchausen person felt neglected health-wise during their trauma, the psychopath never had that trauma, and the attention is to build him-herself up at the expense of others.
 
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Jun 2020
42
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Greece
I can understand your reasons for being suspicious. What strikes me as particularly suspicious is how what you shared here shares a pattern of targeting only you. My great grandmother had dementia/alzheimer's...it is often a disease that hurts those who are closest to the sick person. My grandmother primarily was who took responsibility for her; bathing her, feeding her, etc. The disease caused her to treat my grandmother terribly sometimes. She used to be a sweet old lady, but she became like a child with tantrums when we helped her but she didnt understand and didnt want to do what we were having her do (im talking basic stuff like getting off the toilet), and she didn't know who we were or trust us while we were helping her. She forgot who we were most of the time. She was so loving before...most of my happy childhood memories were probably when I visited her. She was so kind, and a caretaker...if she knew how she treated us before she died, she would've felt so guilty. She loved us, but could no longer show it.

The fact that she is obsessed with you (who she probably sees as the reason her son keeps away now) and isn't treating him in ways she wouldn't seems sus to me...but I'm not a professional.
 
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Jul 2021
618
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I can understand your reasons for being suspicious. What strikes me as particularly suspicious is how what you shared here shares a pattern of targeting only you. My great grandmother had dementia/alzheimer's...it is often a disease that hurts those who are closest to the sick person. My grandmother primarily was who took responsibility for her; bathing her, feeding her, etc. The disease caused her to treat my grandmother terribly sometimes. She used to be a sweet old lady, but she became like a child with tantrums when we helped her but she didnt understand and didnt want to do what we were having her do (im talking basic stuff like getting off the toilet), and she didn't know who we were or trust us while we were helping her. She forgot who we were most of the time. She was so loving before...most of my happy childhood memories were probably when I visited her. She was so kind, and a caretaker...if she knew how she treated us before she died, she would've felt so guilty. She loved us, but could no longer show it.

The fact that she is obsessed with you (who she probably sees as the reason her son keeps away now) and isn't treating him in ways she wouldn't seems sus to me...but I'm not a professional.
Alzheimer's yes, it is a neurological disease so is a bit more difficult and is very painful for the patient, too, and yes for those who surround them, they tend to only trust deceased people they trust like their caregiver parents, except they are deceased, simply yes, because they don't remember anything about what came afterwards.
 
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Jun 2020
42
22
Greece
Alzheimer's yes, it is a neurological disease so is a bit more difficult and is very painful for the patient, too, and yes for those who surround them, they tend to only trust deceased people they trust like their caregiver parents, except they are deceased, simply yes, because they don't remember anything about what came afterwards.
Ahh...yeah, she had both. Idk much about it, I guess.
 
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