Dads Against the Divorce Industry

DA*DI is devoted to reinstating the societal valuation of Marriage and the traditional, nuclear American Family, with particular emphasis on the essential role of FATHERS.

DA*DI offers contemporary reports and commentary on culture; its aberrations and its heroes.

Munchausen's Syndrome By Fiat

Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D.
October 28, 2002

Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP): Named after Baron Munchausen, who was famous for his wild exaggerated stories. He repeatedly sought treatment for fabricated physical illnesses.

Fiat: an authoritative or arbitrary order:
Decree (government by ~ )
- Webster's
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) is defined as the fabrication or intentional creation of an illness in a child by the child's parent (usually the mother). The motivation for the perpetrator's behavior is to assume the sick role by proxy. There is controversy as to whether MSBP should be regarded as an "illness" or as a deliberate and serious form of child abuse.

Most folks are familiar with some of the bizarre accounts of mothers who intentionally inflict harm upon their children - from suffocation to poisoning - in order to gain a twisted form of internal gratification, such as attention, for themselves.

But how many of us think about the fact that every day, whether it be through the impetus of legislation, judicial decree, or educational programming, millions of parents are the willing perpetrators, or accomplices in Munchausen's Syndrome by Fiat.

"MSBP perpetrators are usually accomplished liars, deceivers, and manipulators - and extremely believable, convincing, and superb in their ability to give seemingly plausible reasons for their behavior. "
How about this; your local school district has decided to show 1st through 8th graders the film, Itís Elementary, "to simply acknowledge that gay and lesbian people are among us and to prevent harmful stereotypes and prejudices." The school's administrators explain; "We may not all agree about homosexuality, but a school is obliged to make sure that gay people and their family members are validated and shown respect ... this is merely about safety for children".

But in the words of research columnist Mary Mostert, "So, whatís the problem with these warm fuzzy descriptions of homosexuality as a lifestyle? It is a totally false portrayal, thatís the problem. It says nothing of the (deadly) reality of homosexuality and lesbianism."

In fact, reports Mostert, homosexuality is a deathstyle. Among homosexuals, suicide, traffic deaths, drug abuse, and recurrent diseases occur at rates 3 to 60 times as frequently as in the general population. And these figures do not even begin to address the near certainty of AIDS.

In fact, the homosexual deathstyle leads to as much as a forty-year reduction in the life span, with one study revealing that only one percent of homosexuals lived to be 65 or older.

So when a parent acquiesces to the school's arbitrary decision to present homosexuality in a positive light, in order to be regarded more favorably, or to internally think of themselves as being more tolerant, is this not participation in Munchausen's by Fiat? Or is it a deliberate and serious form of child abuse?

"MSBP perpetrators may have a 'dramatic flair' or be involved in exciting or dramatic events."
Or, how about this? The Violence Against Women Act is one of the most flagrantly dramatic - hysterical - pieces of legislation since the hatchet-wielding Carrie Nation busted up saloons to bring about prohibition (Volstead Act, 1920 - 1933).

The parallels between the Volstead Act and VAWA are striking.

Both have been precipitated by radical women telling fantastic tales of male loutishness. Prohibition led to a dramatic escalation in violent crime, while VAWA has led to a dramatic escalation in criminal lawlessness. Taken together, VAWA legislation and judicial fiat in its service have facilitated the forced separation of faultless fathers and their children, criminalizing the father and victimizing the unwitting children, while denying due process in the administration of father-prohibition. John Barleycorn and Male-As-Batterer; Speakeasies and Sperm-donor-clinics, are among the cultural aberrations which have emerged from these and other contemporary legislative fiats.

"MSBP perpetrators know what they are doing. They are not simply overanxious, overprotective caretakers."
As a further consequence of VAWA, the eternal bride may capriciously decide her marriage is curtailing her pursuit of self-realization. Despite the widely published research that divorce and single-mother households are the breeding ground for child harm, she marches herself and the kids off to family court, declaring those magic words "fear of spouse," and dad is promptly ejected. Is this not Munchausen's by Fiat? Or is it a deliberate and serious form of child abuse?

"MSBP perpetrators use their victims as objects in trying to satisfy internal needs through the attention they receive from having a child with "problems". These needs are much more important to them than the needs of their victims. External gain may also be present. "
Has there ever been a more degenerated or disingenuous use of phrase than when The Best Interests of the Child is employed to deny 90% of fathers full access to their children? Here again, Munchausen's by Fiat takes the form of (legislation) "no-fault" divorce and (judicial decree) "the best interests of the child."

Nevermind that the perpetrator mother cavalierly elects to put her child(ren) in harm's way in service of self-gratification - after all, she just wants what's best for the kids - Right? She is not only rewarded internally by being cast as the hapless victim of presumed male turpitude by the family court cohort. Indeed external gain in the form of the child support incentive, begs the perpetration. Is this not Munchausen's by Fiat? Or is it a deliberate and serious form of child abuse?

"MBP perpetrators usually deny all or part of the maltreatment they have perpetrated - even when there is extensive evidence."
It's been more than 8 decades since Carrie Nation chopped her way into national headlines and The Volstead Act became one of the most destructive social experiments in U.S. history.

Well, history rhymes a lot, as Mark Twain famously said. And we are engaged in another grand but doomed social experiment, this time in father and family prohibition.

Ultimately it all boils down to exploiting children to obtain both internal and external rewards. For the homosexual, the payoff is social acceptance - and a fresh batch of sexual prey. For the legislator and judge, the payoff is the image of rescuer - and re-election. For the mother, the payoff is acknowledgment for her 'suffering and bravery' - not to mention a large, free paycheck.

The only unresolved question is whether this grand social experiment should be thought of as Munchausen's by Fiat (pathology), or just a deliberate and serious form of child abuse (criminality).

One thing is certain; the answer will not be forthcoming from the perpetrators. A "guilty conscience" is an intolerant construct for congenital liars. Ipso facto, there's no payoff for honesty.

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