Munchausen by Proxy is an under-recognized form of abuse. Survivors often experience the physical and emotional effects of their trauma, an extreme sense of isolation, and taboo around what happened to them. With time and treatment, many survivors go on to live happy and healthy lives in adulthood.
Because of low public awareness of Munchausen by Proxy, it can be difficult for survivors to explain to friends and loved ones what they’ve been through. We encourage survivors to share the resources on this site.
Important Points for Survivors
- Many mental healthcare professionals are not familiar with Munchausen by Proxy (MBP). You may refer them to our guide for therapists.
- MBP abuse often deeply affects how survivors see their own health and how they feel about medical professionals. Some survivors will be confused about which of their medical problems are genuine and which have been fabricated or induced. Some can experience somatization or find themselves engaging in Munchausen behaviors themselves. Others avoid care due to their traumatic medical experiences—even when desperately needed.
- It’s important that all medical professionals who are treating a survivor are aware of the history of MBP abuse. Survivors might have to provide educational materials to health providers by sending them to this site and sharing the APSAC guidelines.
- A full confession by the perpetrator is typically not possible. To protect themselves, survivors usually need to cut off contact with the abuser. Even in the case of a partial confession or apology, survivors are encouraged to maintain extremely good boundaries with the abuser in order to maintain their own wellbeing.
- Perpetrators of MBP have high rates of Cluster B personality disorders such as Narcissistic, Borderline, Histrionic, and Antisocial disorders. Depression and substance use are also common.
- Factitious Disorder Imposed on the Self is common in these abusers.
- Survivors often suffer from betrayal trauma and PTSD. Trauma-focused psychotherapies such as Cognitive Processing Therapy and EMDR may be helpful in recovery.
Feelings of self-blame, shame, and stigmatization are common and should be treated with professional help.
- A number of apps are available to learn more and to develop skills for the self-management of mild trauma symptoms.
- Support systems are crucial to recovery. Friends and family members who recognize and affirm a survivor’s experience are extremely important.