Was idly talking with my therapist, and he showed me the article mentioned below. I thought it was interesting enough to pass it on to you folks and see what you thought.
Fandom's New Menace: Munchausen by Internet
You never really know the people that you meet online. At least not at first. If you're lucky, you get to meet your cyberfriends in real life. Talk to each other on the phone. Really get to know the person behind the computer screeen. But sometimes, even the best of us get taken in by people.
Some people enjoy being the center of attention and play on people's emotions to get it. The emails start out simple enough...hi, hello, how are you. Then things start to go bad. And it's all behind the scenes. Just a select few are chosen to know the most intimate details. The rest of the list is treated to the general details, but not before the person has thorougly made themselves a place on the list. And then all hell breaks loose. This happens, that happens, sometimes the personality even dies and a relative or other person comes online and accepts all the comfort for the victim. The ultimate hurt/comfort story.
It's a relatively new phenomenon on the net, but Munchausen's is by no means a new disease. It has affected people of every race and colour world wide. Munchausen's is a need to be the center of attention, garnering emotional support from those who most often give it freely. In the real world, those people pepper our emergency rooms with real and imagined disorders. They hurt themselves to gain the attention they so crave.
The internet, on the other hand, offers a fresh avenue of emotional support. There is no need to physically hurt themselves, only click the mouse, find a convenient disease, and take on its characteristics. Or perhaps take advantage of a natural disaster, such as the massive floods in Venezuela, or the earthquakes in Turkey and Mexico.
These people are con artists of the worst kind. Lists are torn apart, friendships ended, all because of the selfish actions of this one person. But it is the victims who are hurt the most by this terrible disease. The people who hold the hands of the perpetrator. Give them emotional support. Listen endlessly as the perpetrator spins longer, deeper and more involved scenarios. It's akin to emotional rape.
These are the people who are the victims. Their trust is shattered and it may take months for them to feel normal again. Don't be fooled, learn the signs. Trust is all we have to share with fellow listsibs.