My Mother, Munchausen’s, and Me: A Story of Betrayal and a Shocking Family Secret by Helen Naylor

Published: November 25, 2021


I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Helen Naylor has been writing as a hobby since she was a small child. Still, it wasn’t until she began a memoir about growing up with a mother who faked illnesses and had narcissistic personality traits that she was encouraged to pursue writing professionally. Helen lives in Nottingham with her husband, two children, and cat and enjoys playing guitar, drinking good coffee, and cycling.

“Something about my mother really wasn’t right.”

Helen thought she adored her mother. Growing up, for a long time, she thought her mother was her dearest friend. Until Helen started seeing things that didn’t feel right, her mother would require long rest periods. She would constantly complain of her ailments, and she collected diagnoses’ like most people collect memories.

I just want to hug Helen. And tell her she is valid, strong, brave, worthy, special, intelligent, kind, and a survivor.

My heart hurt for Helen throughout this book. The things she went through, were horrible. And the fact that for most of her life, Helen just accepted it because she trusted her mother.

This was a shocking look into munchausen’s, and it’s a side that most of us were probably not familiar with. Considering most of what I knew going into this memoir regarding munchausen’s syndrome, is what I’ve learned from Gypsy Rose Blanchard.

This memoir is not that story. But the abuse Helen suffered is just as ugly. This is such an open, raw, vulnerable telling of a childhood manipulated, and a young adulthood shattered.

What I found the most striking, is Helen’s strength. Despite the atrocities she suffered at the hands of the person who should have loved and protected her fiercely, Helen is kind.

In the memoir, Helen touches on how she has fragments of memories, and that the emotion comes in waves. This woman survived unspeakable trauma, and she has come out the other side, victorious.

Seeing that Helen took her power back, and that she devotes everything she has to her husband and children, and that she makes sure she loves her kiddos where she was unloved, is beautiful.

I don’t see Helen as a victim of her mother. Helen is a survivor, and she is using her voice to reach out and help anyone who is going through or has gone through a similar situation.

She has turned her fear into her battle cry, and has opened herself up and is revealing her most painful secrets to the light. Helen, I truly hope the rest of your life is filled with sunshine, rainbows, and bliss.

One comment

  • Always had difficulties to understand the difference between hypochondria and Munchausen till this post made me google it. Hypochondria, also called illness anxiety disorder, is when you’re completely preoccupied and worried that you’re sick. Munchausen syndrome, now known as factitious disorder, is when you always want to be sick (and that´s really sick). And the sickest variety is Munchausen by proxy: you make some close relative sick (mostly by poisoning them) to attract attention.

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