People with Munchausen's Syndrome feign illness in order to receive the sympathy of strangers, usually the doctors or nurses at a hospital where the malingerer checks himself in.
I've long felt that people with Munchausen's Syndrome are merely a subset of sociopaths: The only kind of person who would stoop to this to gain sympathy must have a bottomless need for others' affection (think affect-hungry sociopaths). And anyone who thinks nothing of conning others into wasting valuable medical resources in order to satisfy his own desire for sympathy must be extremely dishonest by nature.
The sociopathic underpinnings of Munchausen's Syndrome become even more apparent in Munchausen's-by-proxy, where someone will make his own child sick in order to get the opportunity to pose as a loving and concerned parent and bask in the sympathy of strangers.
What kind of parent would purposely make his own child sick? Obviously, a sociopath.
The NY Post today had an article about a woman, Lacey Spears, who struck this noble pose and received lots of sympathy because of her sick son -- whom she was making sick. She also received plaudits for being a wonderful mother because of all the "love" and "concern" she showed for her ailing son online.
In the end, she killed him, by injecting salt into his stomach.
It's hard to find words to describe such a woman. Let's just say, she's the type who gives cold-blooded murderers a bad name.
It would be a miscarriage if Spears got a reduced sentence because her lawyer is able to bamboozle the jury into thinking that she suffers from the mysterious, inexplicable malady known as Munchausen-by-proxy.
Think of it this way: a serial killer is someone for whom another's person's life is worth less than his own orgasm. He will remorselessly kill another human being in order to indulge his own sexual appetite for a few moments. Someone with Munchausen-by-proxy will remorselessly kill another human being -- usually, his own child -- in order to temporarily indulge his own appetite for sympathy and acclaim.
It's actually a level of depravity beyond serial killing since it's one's own child one is killing.
Here's Spears with her son:
(Look at her wholesome face -- what a wonderful mom!)
Spears is yet another piece of proof that sociopaths come in all shapes and sizes.