cooperative with the nurses. It has been proposed that by playing the role of the concerned mother of a sick child, the perpetrator becomes a central part of the drama and, as a result, receives support and care from others. MSBP is not a benign behavior. The mortality rate for these children (and their siblings) is in the range of 10% ( Rosenberg 1987). Of importance, some of these mothers have previously engaged in factitious behaviors that involved their own bodies.
Another form of MSBP involves one adult inducing illness in another. One of the more abominable forms of this has been identified in nurses who surreptitiously cause acute medical emergencies, or even death, in patients under their care. A number of such situations have been reported, with many deaths being ascribed to single nurses ( Yorker 1988). Various motivations have been offered to explain this heinous behavior. One of the more plausible, and consistent with parent-child MSBP, is that the nurses experience excitement and exhilaration when part of a cardiac arrest team: they are playing major roles in high drama.
Regardless of the various psychological motivations that may underlie MSBP, it is clear that the perpetrators are remarkably self- centered, nonempathetic, and unrespectful of the needs and rights of other persons. This pathological narcissism is also reflected in their use of deceit and lying. They make the world fit their own needs, even if blatant lying is required.
In this chapter, I have considered three categories of persons for whom deceiving others is a constant force in their lives: impostors, con artists, and persons who exhibit variations of Munchausen syndrome; all pretend to be something they are not. These three groups appear to share many characteristics. All appear to have significant impairment in their sense of personal identity and major difficulty establishing meaningful, warm, and intimate relationships with others. Their external personae are like movie sets--easily changed but with little substance behind the illusion created. Their predominant psychopathology is that generally character
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Publication information: Book title: Lies!, Lies!!, Lies!!!The Psychology of Deceit. Contributors: Charles V. Ford - Author. Publisher: American Psychiatric Press. Place of publication: Washington, DC. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 170.
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