Childhood abuse may be our number one public health issue (Wylie 1). Munchausen By Proxy is a type of child abuse, where the perpetrator is most commonly a parent or guardian of a small child. The parent will purposely neglect and abuse their child to receive attention from doctor’s and other individuals. Which leads us to question, what leads a parent to mistreat their children in the first place?
In several cases the cause of the abuse can be linked to family relationship issues. In the novel Sickened, by Julie Gregory, Gregory tells the readers that her “mother married at the tender age of nineteen.” Marrying him when she was young caused them to argue with each other, they did not have a genuine relationship. Soon after her first husband’s death it seemed as though she was very desperate to find another husband because she felt isolated and alone, and she craved that attention of being in an intimate relationship. Her crave for attention was the fuel for her desire to make Julie sick. A parent is also more likely to mistreat their children if their spouse has very little, or no, input in the family’s activities. Leaving it to the abusive parent to control everything. In another situation where family relationships could be an issue, a woman named “Shannon Hudson had been trying to break up with the boys’ [her sons’ abusive] father when he shot her three times. Then shot himself” (Burling A1+). The abuses that lead up to the husband getting angry, and frustrated with his wife causing this violent act as a result of their relationship failure.
“Domestic violence is often not so much physical as emotional or financial – a man with a big income keeping his wife on a meager allowance.” An abusive man is more likely to kill [and to be violent] when he is unemployed (Burling A1+). Through ongoing research, most of the parents who have Munchausen By Proxy have a lower income than the average American citizen. This is logical in the sense that since they do not make too much money, they do not receive sufficient attention from society. They believe that the only way to receive attention and pity is too have a child who is extremely ill. The problem is most of them don’t automatically have a child who is exceedingly sick. Leading the parent to want to make their child sick on purpose. “We lived in a double-wide trailer then, stuck on the dead end of a dirt road,” explains Gregory, about her childhood memories. Sandy, her mother, felt inferior to the world because they lived with very little money, and she still wanted people to notice her.
The perpetrator is most often short tempered and easily frustrated. In Gregory’s memoir she explains how Sandy’s first husband, who would hit and often yell at Sandy, “was standing in the gravel driveway, as pissed as a bear with a sore a**, chomping at the bit...