It seems that these days we read on a regular basis about sociopaths who fake illnesses in order to gain sympathy and attention. This particular offshoot of sociopathy is sometimes called Munchhausen's Syndrome, and demonstrates how sociopaths have an endless craving for love and sympathy, two emotions they never feel themselves. There is a variation of this syndrome called Munchhausen's-by-proxy, in which people make their children sick in order to gain the sympathy and attention they crave.
Yesterday the NY Post ran an article with the headline, Mom told 9-year-old son he had cancer, collected thousands in donations: cops.
A South Jersey woman told her 9-year-old son he had a deadly cancer when he was really just fine — and led him on by holding fund-raisers and bake sales where she raked in thousands to pay for his sham care, cops said.
Susan Stillwaggon, 35, duped her son, Nick, her husband, and her entire Pennsauken community into believing the boy had Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cops said.
The boy thought he was terminally ill, while she accepted about $2,000 from donors, cops said.
Even her trucker husband Chuck believed his son was dying of cancer, cops said.....
The mom admitted the lie to cops but wouldn’t say it was for money troubles, police said.
“Her response to me was, ‘I need help,’ ” Pennsauken Police Detective Cheryl Duffy said.
Stillwaggon is now hospitalized. Her mom told a local news station she had suffered a breakdown.
She faces charges of theft by deception, forgery, endangering the welfare of a child and using a child to commit a criminal offense.
Recently I seem to have specialized in pointing out sociopaths who don't really need pointing out. I realize it's more interesting to hear about people you might not have suspected, but Susan Stillwaggon illustrates too many facets of sociopathy to pass up.
All you really need to know about her to know she's a sociopath is that she would tell her 9-year-old son he was dying of cancer when he wasn't. Most of us lie to 9-year-olds to make them feel better about themselves. The depth of depravity to which you'd have to sink to tell any child -- let alone your own son -- that he was dying when he was not is unfathomable to those unfamiliar with sociopathy.