Three families are described in which the healthy only child was, from early childhood, put to bed and treated as if ill, dependent, and incapable. This abnormal mothering continued for 28, 45, and 48 years, respectively, and the children died as disabled adults. In each case, the three mothers evaded medical, educational, and social services. The origins of their behaviour are examined, and the links with more common forms of separation anxiety, school refusal, and perceived and factitious illness are discussed.
- child abuse
- separation anxiety
- Munchausen syndrome by proxy
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