False Claims of Abuse
This page was last updated on Wednesday, September 10, 2014
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) DSM contains a standard classification of mental disorders used by health care professionals in the United States. It also contains a collection of accurate public health care statistics and to provide accurate diagnostic criteria.
Mental Health authorities in the United States recognize ten personality disorders. This paper briefly describes five personality disorders as they may relate to false allegations of domestic violence and abuse. My experience suggests that these disorders are a significant factor in these incidents. However, untreated Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other illness can be a factor in these incidents.
Psychological projection is a common behavior of guilt and some women call it ‘blaming the victim’ when the ‘victim’ is really the perpetrator. Its definition appears in the main index of my web site. For an example, Mary abuses Bob but she says that Bob abuses her. An explanation of psychological projection appears in the abuse index (abindex.htm) of this web site. Individuals should seek the help of a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist when they believe that they or another person may have a mental health problem.
A personality disorder is a pattern of persistent antisocial behavior that adversely affects them and others. The literature on personality disorders is not definitive and mental health practitioners may observe behaviors common to more than one disorder. So a practitioner makes a diagnosis by the exclusion of other disorders and factors (such as substance abuse). Some texts mention the lack of empathy (the ability to share and understand another's feelings, thoughts, or emotions) as a defining feature of a particular disorder.
Some abusive individuals understand the pain and emotional distress they inflict on others. Such persons feed on the distress they cause and derive pleasure from it. However, the low self-esteem theories run counter to what we know about aggressive initiators of abuse. Persons with high self-esteem might be more violent and aggressive. The reason is that they are often able to persuade others to do their bidding while they sit on the sidelines and enjoy the spectacle.
No one knows what causes most personality disorders. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) contains a standard classification of mental disorders. This manual, published in 1994, is not the current edition. The current edition (DSM-IV-TR), published in 2000, corrects errors and reflects updates to the International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) adopted by the United States Government. A summary of five personality disorders with some links to government sites appears below.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
The incidence of this disorder is higher in individuals who have an antisocial biological parent. Persons with this disorder usually have a history of antisocial behavior before age 15 such as repetitive lying, delinquency, truancy, and substance abuse. This disorder occurs more in persons whose predominate role mode had antisocial traits. Symptoms include:
instability, physical aggression, lacking remorse
superficial charisma, selfishness, and arrogance
repetitive lying and empty flattery
lack of regard for society's expectations
manipulative and unlawful behavior
substance abuse (inherited?)
Genetic inheritance may have some effect on the development of this disorder but research has not established how this may occur. Children who live with others who have antisocial personality traits or other personality disorders are more likely to acquire this disorder. Therefore, removing children from this environment could help in staving off the onset of this disorder. Some children are born addicted because their mother used illicit drugs and these children had no way of escaping their mother’s drug use. Prompt intervention is required because as time passes, treatment options are more limited. This means that a favorable outcome becomes less likely.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Researchers are examining the effects of childhood abandonment, abuse, and disruptive family life. Women are three times more likely than men to have this disorder. A child is 5 times more likely to acquire this disorder when one parent has it. Symptoms include:
impulsiveness about money, sexual intercourse (promiscuity), binge eating, reckless driving, or theft
erratic mood swings
frequent and inappropriate displays of anger
self inflicted injuries
dissatisfaction and feelings of boredom
may exhibit other traits associated with antisocial, narcissistic, histrionic personality disorders.
Interdisciplinary studies show that early childhood maltreatment appears to contribute to the onset of this disorder in some individuals. Those studies have revealed malformation and abnormal activity in areas of the brain. Those who have BPD may also frequently suffer from anxiety and severe depression. Psychotherapy combined with antidepressants and other medications may significantly improve the patient's behavior and mood. Treatment options are dependent upon the severity of the disorder and the will of the patient to improve. Due to the nature of this disorder, the prospect of improved outcome is not promising in highly affected individuals.
"Girl, Interrupted" (Columbia Pictures, 1999) is a true story of a young woman's stay at a psychiatric hospital. Psychiatrists diagnosed the woman as having Borderline Personality Disorder. She eventually recovers but first she has to confront the person within her. This is an excellent work but due its intensity, I do not recommend its viewing by children under 18.
NIMH · Borderline Personality Disorder
Histrionic Personality Disorder
No one knows what causes this disorder but learned behavior and possibly genetic inheritance are thought to play a role in this disorder. This personality disorder is more often diagnosed in women. Though people with this disorder are successful socially and at work, they are unable to cope with their disappointment when romantic or intimate relationships end. They tend to over dramatize and blame others for their disappointment. Symptoms include:
rapidly shifting emotions with shallow facial expressions
low tolerance for delayed gratification
a need to be the center of attention
constantly seeks approval
reacts to criticism with anger or rage
obsessed with personal appearance
inappropriately seductive in behavior or appearance
Medication does not affect this personality disorder. However, medication can be used to treat depression and anxiety disorders that may be evident.
Munchausen Syndrome - The History
Some people have deliberately attributed Munchausen Syndrome to Baron von Munchausen [sic] who figuratively traveled about telling fantastic tales of his extraordinary (but fictitious) exploits. This is the real story that has come from my research with credit to those who added some bits and pieces to make this, an appreciable essay. Note: The change in the spelling is a result of the attempt to make the writing of the family name easier to remember.
Years ago, Baron Karl Friedrich Hieronymus Munchhausen was the subject of a book written by Rudolph Erich Raspe. The problem was that Raspe led people to believe that his book was an autobiography written by Munchhausen. Of course, this was not the first instance of identity theft. Still Munchhausen was unable to clear his name and so he died known to the world as its biggest braggart while Raspe profited at Munchhausen’s expense.
In 1951, Richard Asher was the first to describe a pattern where individuals would engage in the self-infliction of injuries, including the fabrication of stories, to gain sympathy. Moreover, these persons would create symptoms of illness, and worsen their condition for medical care. So Asher, remembering the plight of Baron Munchhausen, named this condition, Munchausen’s Syndrome. This article appeared in ‘The Lancet’ (a British Medical Journal) in February 1951 and so this is how Baron Munchhausen gained the dubious distinction of having a syndrome named after him, Munchausen Syndrome.
Munchausen Syndrome - The Condition
Munchausen syndrome is a condition where a person malingers by pretending or exaggerating incapacity or an illness to avoid work. Sometimes it is for the specific purpose of being treated as a medical patient. Sometimes, these individuals will self-inflict injuries on their body or use makeup or prosthetics to fabricate an illness or an injury. So Munchausen syndrome is (or can be) an adjunct to false allegations including child abuse, rape, and spousal abuse. Sometimes, it is extortion such as the ‘my way or no way’ ultimatum.
Occasionally, people use the term ‘Munchausen syndrome’ interchangeably with a factitious disorder. This disorder is characterized malingering, intentionally produced, so that a person appears sick or injured. The difference is that sometimes the ‘sick’ person is not aware of its cause and so the illness might be psychosomatic or simulated in nature resulting from neurosis.
So Munchausen syndrome may apply to a person who has a chronic variant of a factitious disorder with mostly physical signs and symptoms. The term, "psychosomatic" relates to symptoms caused by a mental or emotional disturbance. Also, unconfirmed reports about psychosomatic Munchausen syndrome have appeared in the literature. Some persons with Munchausen syndrome intentionally cause signs and symptoms of an illness or injury by self infliction, often to the point of hospitalization.
These persons are eager to undergo invasive medical interventions. So they go to doctor to doctor to satisfy their craving for this kind of attention. We know this condition to be hypochondria and it is a result of depression. According to the literature, about thirty-three illnesses and conditions commonly feigned by these persons. Those include Sexual Abuse, Spousal Abuse, and Ideation (the capacity for - or the act of forming self entertaining ideas - such as suicide). Please see the literature on this and other personality and mental disorders.
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a psychological disorder where the parent (typically the mother) lies about the child's family and medical history. The mother may falsely accuse the father of child abuse or spousal abuse. She may tamper with the child’s medication and medical specimens to create an impression of child abuse, child neglect, or child sexual abuse.
This syndrome is not limited to child abuse. It also occurs as elder abuse. This is where a caretaker deliberately over medicates their charge or causes injury to the person in their care. This is often done to alienate the patient from their relatives and friends. The abuser often does this for self gratification, monetary reasons, attention, or for another purpose. However, some people are simply self-indulgent, greedy, and evil.
Medline Plus Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy
Malingering and False and Self-Inflicted Injuries.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic individuals are extremely self-centered and are preoccupied with their own abilities appearance, comfort, and importance. Very few narcissists seek help. Researchers believe that the onset of this disorder occurs in early adulthood. Symptoms include:
pretentious sense of self-importance
exaggerates achievements and talents
preoccupied with personal fantasies
requires constant and unreasonable attention and admiration
takes advantage of others to achieve their own goals
treats others who do not please them with scorn or anger
reacts to criticism with anger or rage
cannot or will not empathize with others
insincere comments and behavior
lying and destruction of property
interferes with relationships between others.
Narcissists are very manipulative and clever. Some are addicted to the upset that they cause in others. Due to this addiction, the prospect of improved outcome for these individuals is poor. Otherwise, the possibility of a positive outcome varies with the severity of the disorder.
"A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story" is a true story about a California woman who has narcissistic personality disorder. This woman was accusative, manipulative, and violent. For several years she harassed and stalked her ex-husband and his wife. She claimed that the couple were abusing her but she was destroying their property and peace of mind. She bought a gun, took shooting lessons, and practiced at a shooting range. Then one night, she entered the couple's home and cold bloodedly murdered them in their sleep. She steadfastly claims that she had planned to commit suicide that night, an act that narcissist's rarely do, but ran out of bullets. She fired three bullets into her ex-husband and two bullets into his wife. Then, she ripped the telephone from its jack so that no one could use it to call for help.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
No one knows what causes this disorder but its incidence is higher in families where schizophrenia is present. People with this personality disorder are suspicious of others and they are usually unable to acknowledge their negative feelings towards others. Symptoms include:
poor self esteem
poor sense of humor
inability to collaborate
concern with hidden motives
suspicious of others
expects to be exploited by others
People with paranoid personality disorder generally do not lose touch with reality. They tend to avoid people and some are prone to violence a. Treatment can be difficult when the person is suspicious of a physician's motives. Without treatment, this disorder will become chronic and disabling. Medications and therapy are very effective in treating this disorder.
Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid Personality Disorder - is a pervasive detachment from others characterized by impassiveness and indifference in social settings. This individual:
This disorder does not occur exclusively during schizophrenia or a mood disorder with psychotic features or another psychotic disorder or a pervasive developmental disorder. Moreover, it is not caused by the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.
The DSM contains a standard classification of mental disorders used by health care professionals in the United States. Moreover, it is supposed to have a collection of accurate public health care statistics and to provide accurate diagnostic criteria. The problem is that some decided to remove Sadistic Personality Disorder from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Some experts regard that removal as a mistake. So the problem is deciding whether Sadistic Personality Disorder is a separate and distinct syndrome that is similar to narcissism or a variation of narcississm.
In the past, many researchers had believed that narcissism was mostly a benign character flaw characterized by an individual’s superior view of themselves. Their view was wrong because most narcissistic individuals are very manipulative and clever and sadism simply takes these behaviors to a higher level of self-indulgence. The most important aspect about sadism is that this is a common trait among those persons who enjoy hurting or humiliating other people. So when somebody falsely accuses another and that results in personal sexual satisfaction, then this is sexual sadism.
A pattern of gratuitous cruelty, aggression, and demeaning behaviors characterizes Sadistic Personality Disorder. This often suggests the existence of deep-seated contempt for other people and a total lack of empathy. Some sadists create their moods and explosive violence to establish a position of dominance within a relationship. Moreover, they rarely use physical force themselves but instead use others to carry out their intentions. Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Tomas de Torquemada (1420-1498) shared this trait with others who had collectively tortured and murdered millions over the centuries.
Historically, historians have often misattributed sexual sadism to the Donatien Alphonse Francois, the Marquis de Sade. In truth, the government held him in several prisons and in an insane asylum for 32 years. De Sade became appalled by the Reign of Terror (1793) and he publicly denounced Maximilien Rospespierre. As a result, he accused De Sade of the crimes of heresy and ‘modernism’ and imprisoned for more than a year. The word ‘heresy’ refers to an opinion or a doctrine that is contrary to current accepted beliefs or standards. Note: ‘Modernism’ is simply a break with the past and it is often associated with a search for new or better ways of expression.
Sadistic Personality Disorder
According to the literature, Sadistic Personality Disorder (SPD) only appeared in the appendix of the revised edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R). The most current version, DSM-IV, does not include SPD because it is not regarded to be a valid diagnostic category. One reason for this is that this disorder is identified by behaviors that also occur in other personality disorders. So in this sense, SPD is unique in that it affects only a few individuals. The problem is that current literature (2011) does not quantify SPD’s prevalence among a sufficiently large population.
Other authors have raised the concern that sadistic personalities are most often male and any such diagnosis might have the ‘paradoxical’ effect of legally excusing cruel behavior (my emphasis added). About 75 percent of the borderline personalities are female and those who engage in illegal conduct are routinely excused by the courts for their own illegal behavior. According to the available literature, sexual sadism that "causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning" is still in DSM-IV. Sexual Personality Disorder is the repeated occurrence of four of the following behaviors:
Sexual Sadism is any behavior (above) directed toward another person that results in sexual arousal and may include sexual-climax. Although sexual sadism may include an actual act of sadism, it is often expressed as a false allegation to maintain the illusion of victimization when, in fact, they are the abusers. This is only one of several connections between egoism, narcissism, and sexual sadism. Machiavellianism is the view that politics is amoral and that any means however unscrupulous can justifiably be used in achieving political power (Webster's Dictionary). See Millon's Subtypes (virtuous, possessive, self-undoing, and oppressed).
The Gothic Novels and Role Playing
This style of fiction is usually set in desolate or remote setting such as a remote castle, a hotel, or an old New England home. These settings are often used to provide the backdrop for strange and macabre incidents with the purpose of producing a thrilling response. So these settings give women a chance to experience situations that may not be realistic, but are nonetheless desirable because her mind and imagination often strongly drive a woman’s sexuality and urges. Many women call this genre the 'hump' novels. It is the excitement and pleasure that she is in the complete domination over another person. That is the essence of her sadistic drive. It is to sink into the overwhelming fantasy of her own making. So sexual sadism is a persistent pattern of abuse to become sexually aroused by causing another person’s suffering.
Francois (the Marquis) produced many essays, plays, and short stories, and novels. His more popular novels include Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue and Philosophy in the Bedroom. However, his '120 Days of Sodom' was so controversial that the publisher did not release it until 1904, 90 years after his death. However, his works are now often used to illustrate certain facets of abnormal psychology.
Paraphilia is a pattern of recurring sexually arousing mental imagery or behavior that involves unusual and especially socially unacceptable sexual practices such as pedophilia or sexual sadism. Some texts stress the importance of distinguishing ‘Sadism’ and ‘Sexual Sadism’ because sadism does not necessarily include a sexual context. While both are related and are meant to degrade the victim, sexual sadism does not necessarily require physical contact. In this context, sexual sadism refers to the derivation of sexual pleasure through voyeurism, false allegations, and other offenses.
Sometimes a personality disorder and a mood disorder may afflict a person and this is why I wrote about them: Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia. Periods of depression characterize Bipolar Disorder followed by periods of mania. In the hyperactive state, the symptoms include an overly-inflated self-esteem arising from unrealistic beliefs in one's own abilities or powers. This leads to racing thoughts. The symptoms are rapid speaking, excessive irritability, and mania. Please see the essay on mood disorders for more information and additional references (Mood Disorders).
Dissociative Identity Disorder
Formerly known as multiple personality disorder
This fictitious disorder is a cognitive process where a person acts as if they have a mental or physical illness. The difference between a ‘real’ and a fictitious illness is that the presumptive victim has created their own symptoms. However, dissociative identity disorder is a new term for multiple personality disorder (1991) and it may exist with other conditions. These include false memories that led to false claims of abuse. Predicatively, four kinds of factious disorders exist: physical, psychological, both physical and psychological, and not otherwise.
The problem with Dissociative Identity Disorder is the process of separating discrete multiple personalities from other conscious processes. So an underlying difficulty is that if the patient is malingering, then the proponent must prove it. This can be difficult when an injunction exists against testing or proving it. So by the time the court approves the test, the evidence is no longer relevant because it does not exist or the plaintiff refuses to appear. However, the problem is that many judges will not allow a case to go forward without the complainant; however, charging the complainant with perjury and malicious prosecution solves their problem.
Pretension may not exist as a mental or personality disorder. Instead, it is a conscious means of distancing one’s behavior by denial. In a benign sense, it is much like a child’s role playing as a part of their maturation. However adults attempt to dissociate from their own sense of guilt and so a practitioner cannot rule out malingering and false allegations for financial other gain. The point is that no one can remember an event that did not occur. So if a person did not recover them, they created them through drugs and hypnosis (The Recovered Memories Hoaxes). Moreover, those write about it, often create it and this is also true of these quack psychologists.
Dissociative Identity Disorder is an invention and hoax to extract money and property from the real victims. Factitious disorders are inventions where a person acts as if they have an illness or impairment by feigning or deliberately producing or exaggerating symptoms or injuries. Fictitious disorder by proxy occurs when a person deliberately exaggerates, produces, or feigns injuries in persons in their care. For an example, the condition of a patient may decline when the caretaker is present and then improve when that particular caretaker has completed their shift.
Multiple identity syndrome (Dissociative Identity) is a separate and very rare mental disorder exhibiting the existence of two or more distinct and independent personalities. Reservedly, each personality has its own identity, a set of behaviors and memories, and each is not aware of the other personalities and their experiences. This phenomenon includes dissociated egoism and deliberate detachment. Note: Egoism is a doctrine that individual self-interest is the actual motive of all conscious action and that individual self-interest is a valid end of all actions (Self Approval).
DID Behaviors and Fictitious Disorder
According to an article in Wikipedia, "some degree of recovery is possible." However, the individual may have mastered the art of feigning, . . . over so many years of practice, that (the doctors) can no longer discern the disorder. This is an important trial issue because a lawyer might proffer that the 'victim' - has not recovered when she has been faking. Moreover, the American Bar Association has claimed that false allegations are not an important issue. This shows the court's permissiveness toward women who lie. These are a few of the behaviors found in those who malinger and lie.
The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states characterizes Dissociative Identity Disorder and these continually have power over the person's behavior. This may the reason that some persons cannot recall important events that are not occasional lapses of memory. According to the literature, these ‘alter’ personalities exist independently and are not aware of the others. However, each appears to have their own autonomy because they exhibit their own distinct way of interacting with others. The problem is that when they are under hypnosis, the person's different "alters" or identities may be very responsive to the therapist's requests.
That is similar to the effects of guided imagery on women who had reported recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse in 1992. This resulted in false accusations of sexual child abuse. The hoaxer’s enhanced her guided imagery with Sodium Amytal. However, this method lost its credibility with the discovery that almost anyone can coerce a person into having a 'false memory' of an event. It is a simple matter of repetition. However, according to the record, a man sued, his daughter’s therapist, for implanting false memories of his abuse of his daughter. According to my information, no record exists that the father received any judgement for his daughter nor was there any record that the authorities had tried the therapist for estrangement and abuse.
From this Website
False allegations and Child Sexual Abuse
False allegations and Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Malingering and False and Self-Inflicted Injuries.
Wikipedia (Munchausen Syndrome) - Wikipedia.org
Medline Plus Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy
From Other Publications
Histrionic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Information on Bipolar Disorder from the National Institute of Mental Health.
NIMH · Bipolar Disorder - NIMH - National Institutes of Health
Bipolar Disorder Center: Symptoms, Types, Tests, and Treatments
Bipolar Disorder - MayoClinic.com
From Other Sources
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th edition, text revised.
Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
Bipolar Disorder, Francis Mark Mondimore, M.D.
Wikipedia (Munchausen Syndrome) - Wikipedia.org
Edward Steven Nunes