You know that scene in Fight Club where Marla is accused of being a tourist? Well, we have those in our on-line forums. Munchhausen’s by Internet. Wikipedia calls them Cybermunchers.
It starts out innocently enough. We all have been through hell and back on the TFMR boards, so we are used to gut-wrenching stories. But every now and then, one comes along that just doesn’t feel right. It could be the numbers don’t add up. That the post is a little too dramatic (or not dramatic enough). It could be the flooding of the message boards looking for sympathy. The repetition of information and posting in inappropriate forums. Diagnoses aren’t clear – rather, general problems are stated. They live in another country so their way of doing things is foreign.
But you don’t immediately recognize the poster for what she really is. No, you question YOURSELF first. How horrible of you to think the worst about this person! This is a person in crisis, and here you are, passing judgment! Are you jealous because her story is worse than yours?
And so you keep silent about it, because you don’t want to look like the asshole who is attacking a newly grieving mother.
But it just doesn’t add up. Ages get changed. Dates get changed. They start talking about life in the UK, which is something you know a little about. And slowly but surely, other people start mentioning it. The outrageousness of it all, the inconsistencies, the fact that the story keeps changing.
How much of an attention whore do you have to be in order to make this up? There was even one post where I think she had created multiple accounts and accidentally commented on her own post, giving herself sympathy so it seemed! I couldn’t be sure, as her writing skills weren’t very clear. She just has a tendency to repeat everything without making any new comments.
I think it’s just best to ignore in this position, otherwise I’d end up just adding fuel to the fire for not being supportive. I’ve noticed that she spends her time in other baby loss boards, specifically miscarriage. It just seems odd to me, because I’ve never pretended that I miscarried. I specifically spend time in the TFMR boards because I don’t want to pretend, and those ladies have been through what I’m going through. I don’t think she gets the reception she wants on the TFMR boards, so she spends all of her time on the boards that give her the reaction she so desperately wants.
It just disgusts me that someone would go around taking advantage of sympathy.
Update: This is also in the comments, but I wanted to make sure any new readers who don’t read comments read the update.
I did a little cybersleuthing and found her FB page – which seems to back up her entire story. Maybe it really did happen, but I still don’t understand the inconsistencies (read: lies) in her posts. If it is a hoax, it’s pretty complicated.
The whole situation is odd and unsettling, and now I feel like the skeptical asshole again. The only thing that I’m taking comfort in is the fact that I’m not the only one is has caught the lies.