AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: My Mother, Munchausen's and Me by Helen Naylor

Publication Date: November 25, 2021
Format: Audio
Genre:  Child Abuse/psychology
Narrators: Helen Naylor

Publisher: Hatchett UK - Thread  
10 hours 15 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


There was a time when I loved my mother. It’s shocking to imply that I stopped loving my mum because mothers always love their children and always do their best for them. Mothers are supposed to be good. But my mother wasn’t good.

Ten years ago, Helen Naylor discovered her mother, Elinor, had been faking debilitating illnesses for 30 years. After Elinor’s self-induced death, Helen found her diaries, which Elinor wrote daily for more than 50 years. The diaries reveal not only the inner workings of Elinor’s twisted mind and self-delusion, but also shocking revelations about Helen’s childhood.

Everything Helen knew about herself and her upbringing was founded on a lie. The unexplained accidents and days spent entirely on her own as a little girl, imagining herself climbing into the loft and disappearing into a different world, tell a story of neglect. As a teenager, her mother’s advice to Helen on her body and mental health speaks of dangerous manipulation.

With Elinor’s behavior becoming increasingly destructive, and Helen now herself a mother, she was left with a stark choice: to collude with Elinor’s lies or be accused of abandoning her.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher Hatchett UK through in exchange for an honest review. 

I have always been fascinated by this disease. Some would call it hypochondria and I guess its similar however, a person with Munchausen syndrome desperately seeks medical attention to fulfill severe emotional problems, whereas a person with hypochondria believes they are ill.Munchausen syndrome is also called factitious disorder. If you have Munchausen syndrome, you have a desperate need to be seen as ill or sick, even though its not true. 

Helen's mother had Munchausen, although she was never officially diagnosed.  As the daughter of someone with this disease Helen frequently found herself confused, manipulated and left feeling unloved and as if she were a selfish person. 

The mind games that Helen's mother put her through was abusive up to the very end.  She manipulated situations to suit herself and in the end crippled her body so badly that she was in fact in need of help.  This constant manipulation left Helen and her mother with a huge rift in their relationship that never mended.  Helen eventually cuts her mother off giving her mother more ammunition to sway the others in her life. 

After her mothers death Helen sat down and went through her mothers diaries piecing together pieces of her past, and seeing events that she was told went down differently than the accounts in the diaries, the timing of events had also been manipulated on occasion.  It is with reading all these accounts that Helen finds some compassion for her abusive mother although she doesn't seem to forgive her.  

Overall this is a harrowing tale of surviving emotional abuse at the hands of a woman who was very mentally ill but no one could prove it.  It just shows how little is known about this disease, even now Munchausen by proxy is the disease more commonly talked about (when a parent makes their child sick to get attention). In fact Helen is lucky that her mother didn't turn her sickness on her. 

Well told and fascinating.


Click on the 3 lines at the top of the blog to view my sidebar where you can follow me on facebook, bloglovin, and amazon