My mother took her own life three years ago. She also “diagnosed” me with bipolar disorder and treated me as if I were sick, when I really wasn’t; thus, she had MSbP. The one study available on adult survivors of MSbP has shown that suicidality is a common symptom of the abuse they had suffered. People don’t necessarily have to kill themselves, but attempts are made and the thoughts are more than fleeting. One study depicted a mother, perpetrator who had horribly abused her infant child and later ended her life when confronted. It seems that suicidal ideations, and attempts, even successful ones, may be prevalent on both sides of the spectrum-perpetrator and victim/survivor.
The question then begs, is there a link between the two? Do more perpetrators or victims kill themselves than does the general population? The short answer to that question would be: we just don’t know yet. In the literature available on MSbP, that question hasn’t been asked yet; and if the question isn’t asked, then no one is going to answer it.
An unfortunate reality of MSbP is death. Many studies have shown that MSbP is one of the deadliest forms of abuse; however the focus to date has primarily been on perpetrator inflicted death; not the death of a survivor or even the death of the perpetrator herself. It is an interesting phenomenon to posit because MSbP is abuse primarily perpetrated within the paradigm of the medical establishment. Suicidality has also become a medicalized phenomenon, so, does it overlap? Are there people out there who repeatedly attempt suicide, as a form of Munchausen behavior? Are these people survivors themselves? Do perpetrators end their lives because they were caught, or is there some other reason? Are abuse survivors so overwhelmed with what they have experienced that it seems there is no other way out? Finally, is there a higher instance of suicide amongst perpetrators and victims than in the general population?
I can’t tell you why my mother decided to end her own life and this embodies the struggle many face when they have had loved ones commit suicide; they want to know why. What I want to know is whether there is a link or a higher incidence rate in people who have had MSbP touch their lives. Something tells me that this may be the case, but only more research can give us the answers.
Want to learn about a woman who had both Stockholm Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome and committed suicide?
Read the peer-reviewed abstract here.