My Dad, the Narcissist…
My dad is a narcissist who was manipulated by my mom. He saw Billy Graham as a young man, and then wanted to become Billy Graham, but for all the wrong reasons, and mom preyed upon those ambitions. The performance as an evangelist wooed him away from the sincerity of talking about God, and he began to think he was God. My mother flattered him and got him to do things for her. She wanted him to travel less and stay at home more at one point, so she got him to take another pastor’s church away from him. For no other reason than that.
My mom, the Manipulator…
It took Mom about a year of backstabbing the poor rival pastor and poisoning his congregation with rumors, then having congregational voting meetings that turned into actual fistfights, but they got it done. They got the congregation to vote to fire their pastor and to hire my father as their new pastor, even though it split the church. Then the unemployed pastor had a heart attack and died, and my mother went to the wake and hugged the widow. That’s when I knew there were no limits to what my mother and father would do to people to get what they wanted.
That’s what brought me to care about Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP). It’s a sad thing when something like MSbP manipulates institutions for good like church, family, and medicine, and turns them into tools for harm. People who have been through that deserve to be heard to be healed.
Photograph of church by Henricus Hirschdorfer.