Before I get to the purpose of this post (if you can call it that), I wanted to let you know that I'm still waiting to hear back from brother-in-law about what decision has been made about McShane and whether they are going to amputate the leg, try a different surgery or just take a wait and see approach. Thank you for praying with me and on behalf of McShane. (Talk about your irony...read on!)
My friend Mary wrote an interesting blog about someone who wasn't who they said they were. I'm quite certain that if you've spent anytime online, you've run into this problem before. This is a blog I posted after one of the times this happened to me. This was written on my old yahoo! 360 blog and it was written b.C. (before Christ) so I apologize if it's a little rough or a tiny bit offensive. (Mary and the people who commented on her post had the right attitude - this person still needs us to go before the throne on her behalf because something isn't right with her.) I posted on the comment another blog post I had and I'm posting this one too. (Luckily, I have no idea about whom she's talking but it just set off all the bells and alarms as if I did.)
A poser is someone posing to be someone they aren't. (It's a term my daughter taught me. If you want a better definition, please look it up under urban dictionary or something like that.)
I have chatted for longer than I really care to admit, even before I found my way to yahoo and AL:2. Although from that room, I have some great friends I have met in there, and, of course, I met my husband in that room. Most of the folks that I have run across are as sincere as the day is long and we're all a little messed up .
However, there are a few people who just really aren't right. They come up with these fantastically tall tales which are so false, yet you always have people who fall for those stories. One woman, bless her heart, has suffered at the abusive hands of her husband, has a chronic disease, has recovered from Stage IV cancer (without the use of medicine), has been a firefighter (while battling this Stage IV cancer), has divorced her husband (though no records are on file), has been medivacced to the hospital after a car accident, though she didn't suffer any injuries, and the list goes on and on. Somehow she is always the victim and she can come up with an excuse for any inconsistency that is pointed out to her. Boy has she gotten mad at me for finding out the truth on some of these things. Of course, I have already talked about the woman who had died, only to resurrect and then really be killed in a car accident. (Yes, bloggy readers, this really happened.)
In the 360 circle of friends, I have run into someone on my friends' list who I felt just wasn't who she said she was. I kept my doubts mostly to myself, because I had never spoken with this person; however, when she became "sick" and then disappeared, I let my doubts be known. (She has deleted her 360 page, but she'll be back. They always come back.) And another friend had one on her friends' list who isn't telling the truth about a horrible illness. Shoot, I have no knowledge of leukemia, but I do know that when someone says she is going to a small cancer facility in TX and provides the name and I know that the facility is a leader in cancer related illnesses, that something just isn't washing.
These people need mental help. They have made doubting Thomases out of a lot of people. It's sad when someone really is sick or needs help and few will offer it because they just don't believe folks anymore. I'm that way. If I don't personally know you, I just can't get too emotionally attached to you. I will pray for you, if you ask; I will ask how you are, because I'm a caring and loving person, but if I can't come visit or call you in the hospital because you refuse to provide that information, well...I just can't believe. When I tell you that when someone says they have cancer, that will hit me to the core. Same holds true of me ~ If you don't know me, you don't have to believe me. (Sidenote added: To my bloggy sisters, I love you with the love that only God can bestow to a person and I do get emotionally attached to you!)
I also know that in my case, when you are really sick or a family member is really sick, the last thing you really want to do is pour your heart out to a bunch of folks on the internet. I use chatting as my escape from reality. When my brother and mom were sick, I would send emails. I didn't want to talk on the phone or chat with anyone.
So, where is all of this leading? Now that I have said some of my thoughts, I lead you to some of the online sources regarding this information:
Posers Defined -- Of course that's not the name of the site but the real name was really just too long.
This article, Chronic Faking, is more about Munchausen by Internet Faking Illness Online. Look at these ways to spot a poser:
Clues to Detection of False Claims
Based on experience with two dozen cases of Munchausen by Internet, I have arrived at a list of clues to the detection of factitious Internet claims. The most important follow:
1. the posts consistently duplicate material in other posts, in books, or on health-related websites; the characteristics of the supposed illness emerge as caricatures;
2. near-fatal bouts of illness alternate with miraculous recoveries; claims are fantastic, contradicted by subsequent posts, or flatly disproved;
3. there are continual dramatic events in the person's life, especially when other group members have become the focus of attention;
4. there is feigned blitheness about crises (e.g., going into septic shock) that will predictably attract immediate attention;
5. others apparently posting on behalf of the individual (e.g., family members, friends) have identical patterns of writing.
Dr. Marc D. Feldman states: “I coined the terms ‘virtual factitious disorder’ (Feldman, Bibby, & Crites, 1998) and ‘Munchausen by Internet’ (Feldman, 2000) to refer to people who simplify this ‘real-life’ process by carrying out their deceptions online. Instead of seeking care at numerous hospitals, they gain new audiences merely by clicking from one support group to another. Under the guise of illness, they can also join multiple groups simultaneously. Using different names and accounts, they can even sign on to one group as a stricken patient, his frantic mother, and his distraught son all to make the ruse utterly convincing. If suspicions are raised or the ruse is uncovered, they quickly move on to a new hospital, town, state, or in the worst cases — country. Like traveling performers, they simply play their role again.” (In this case, they will reappear as someone else under a different name, etc.)
As is the case with anything and anyone, you have to use your own judgment when it comes to believing folks. I have a feeling I'm going to upset a person or two with my opinions about this. If that is the case, I apologize in advance for doing so.
(Isn't it ironic that I talk about my nephew in one paragraph and then posers in another? Oh the irony.)