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Think About It.... Letting go of the EX is sometimes extremely difficult if the EX is totally focused on destroying you and keeping you away from your children. You need to learn tactical ways to end the interaction, end the reactions to the EX that keep them going after you. Learning to redirect your energy toward your children is much more fun and rewarding. ~ Deena Stacer, Ph.D.
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Author Topic: Munchausen by proxy, it's real  (Read 2337 times)
Imstillstanding


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« on: September 12, 2010, 01:15:03 PM »

I haven't seen any posts on Munchausen by proxy syndrome. It's the worse kind of abuse! Not only does the abuser (usually mom) convince people that the child is sick, they feed of the sympathy of the people around her/him. They harm the child, then seek pitty. And it usually happens in pre-schoolers, so there's no evidence or testimony left behind.

I have a 5 yr old boy that was diagnosed with autism about 3 years ago. When I disovered BPD in my wife around the same time, everything started falling into place. I found out through the older kids that she wouldn't acknowledge, feed, care for my son while I was gone. But he was always in her arms when I was around. I would pretend I leave to work or on errand and shut the door and wait quietly by the door (inside the house) to see how she would treat him. I caught her in the act a lot, screaming at him, scaring him, just being a total monster. I'm not sure if she meant to abuse him and damage him in order to get attention, or if she just learned later that it was a good source of pitty. I figure it's the latter.

She would cry to doctors, relatives, friends, or anyone who would hear her that her son had autism and that it was such a terrible thing for her to deal with. I finally ran across this syndrome and figured out that she's doing it activley with kindergarten teachers, councelors now. She terrorized him about kinder, that he's gonna get arrested by security guards, that he can't play, and other scary stuff (according to the older kids) ... and then she goes to the school and has meetings to try to put him in special edcucation and that he's such a burden.

It's been a long struggle with my son but I've always kept my head up and thankfuly he's made a good recovery with the exception of some fine motor funcion skills and a mild speech delay.

It's a complicated concept, but it's very real. It's really sad because they don't leave marks or evidence. And the burning question is who does this kind of thing, if not someone with a personality disorder? I can't picture people with OCD, bipolar, schizo, or even antisocial and narcisism pd trying to elicit pitty from people this way.

Has anyone else noticed that mom hurts the kid(s) and then tries to get pitty from people, pretending that they are the real victims for having to deal with burden of caring for this sick child?
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JustSaying
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2010, 12:35:02 AM »

I saw it in a friend (ex-friend), with much the same story as you describe. Young child, autism, mom seeking personal sympathy at expense of kids. Disgusting stuff.  She was a diagnosed, and later institutionalized, schizophrenic.

I'm sorry this has happened with your son. It is fortunate he had you to save him from this fate. Are the behaviors of the mom still ongoing, or has something changed to prevent her from harming him further?
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Imstillstanding


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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2010, 03:34:28 AM »

We're going to court next week and I'm seeking full custody with supervised visitation. Right now we have shared custody and we should be divorced soon. She's still hurting my son emotionaly, psychologicaly, and physicaly. The other kids will tell me what happened during visitation with BPD mom. Usually screaming matches, spankings, cutting his nails (breaks my heart), puts them to sleep too late, doesn't feed them, scares them, shames them, emotionaly neglects them, etc.

If it ever happened around you, it would probably be very difficult to detect unless there are witnesses that are old enough to testify, or surveilance. I'm surprised there's not much on the subject in these forums. Does anyone suspect it may have happened or be happening? What about autism or asperger's?
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BehindTheScenes


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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2010, 10:51:32 PM »

Glad to hear your son is better despite the situation. I have not witnessed Munchausen by proxy in my future DH's xuBPDgf with whom he has a small son. I am also not sure if your situation fits Munchausen by proxy exactly as I believe it occurs when people fake or make someone medically ill on purpose.

you wrote:
Quote
I'm not sure if she meant to abuse him and damage him in order to get attention, or if she just learned later that it was a good source of pitty. I figure it's the latter.

However, one of my DH's xuBPDgf's dysregulated behaviors is to exaggerate small illnesses as though they were life-threatening and to demand attention/cross boundaries because anything medical, no matter how small, is automatically (for her) an emergency. This has once resulted in a scary situation in which we feared harm for him.

I think that there is so much emotional material there for her, especially relevant to her personal history, that it may trigger her to be unable to regulate her emotions. With time I have picked up on a lot of her patterns, and the medical thing is definitely a trigger for things getting out of control.
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snowrose
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2010, 10:01:29 PM »

I can't picture people with OCD, bipolar, schizo, or even antisocial and narcisism pd trying to elicit pitty from people this way.

Has anyone else noticed that mom hurts the kid(s) and then tries to get pitty from people, pretending that they are the real victims for having to deal with burden of caring for this sick child?

It's been well-documented on this board that BPDs will play the victim for anything that's happening.  They have a need to be the center of attention, so a sick child (whether the illness is real or imagined) is only a stage for them to stand on and gather their own attention.

I'm glad that it sounds like your son is recovering.   x
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JustSaying
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2010, 10:19:33 PM »

Quote
It's been well-documented on this board that BPDs will play the victim for anything that's happening.

It get's almost comical at times, if you're able to dissociate enough to watch the dance, rather than get enmeshed in it. I once shared with her the news of a family member who'd just received a potential cancer diagnosis. The very first words out of her mouth were, "I was scared once that I had cancer." Heck? How was this about YOU?

Another time I mentioned a 69 car wreck on a freeway, and her response was, "A car almost hit me on the way home." No empathy for the true victims, no comment on their story at all. Their misery is just a canvas on which she can paint her tales of victimhood.

Some good that's come of it is that I'd never become that stereotypical male who whines about the slightest illness, because it'd just be fodder for how she has worse or feels worse. Ha!
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Imstillstanding


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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2010, 01:39:33 AM »

Quote
It's been well-documented on this board that BPDs will play the victim for anything that's happening.
"I was scared once that I had cancer." WTH? How was this about YOU?

Yes, very comical! Anytime there was a funeral, my BPDw would do the same. Some how she was the victim of this tragedy. She would be even more theatrical than the close relatives of whomever had died. And when I didn't validate her mourning, I was a total jerk, etc. She had to be the center of that attention one way or the other.

I am also not sure if your situation fits Munchausen by proxy exactly as I believe it occurs when people fake or make someone medically ill on purpose.

Severe psychological/emotional abuse and neglect can make a child ill, may be hard to prove they are medically ill, but psychologicaly yes. And on top of that she exaggerates everything in order to make herself look like a martyr. She fits your description very well.

Nobody is born with an instict to cause a child's illness in order to feed off of people's pitty and sympathy. It has to be something learned. Somewhere along the line the BPD had a sick relative, etc and learned that it was a good source of attention. And who is better equipped to be pulling something like this, other than pwBPD. There's so much more on this subject that needs to be explorerd.
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Scott828
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2010, 05:09:22 PM »

Mother of my S5, has played this card alot, in last 3 years. All I see, is a perfectly sensible and grounded son, and her behaviour will make him "not right" eventually, if not stopped.

At court for a year. Final trial in Nov, here's hoping.

Their behaviour is sickening and disgraceful to say the least.

Best wishes
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logicalark

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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2010, 08:26:51 PM »

My xwbp has been doing something very similar. We have a d7 with Down syndrome. She "loads" her with knowledge designed to make me look like I sexually abuse her. At times it changes and she starts saying things designed to make it look like I am always angry and talking about fighting. The mother gets to look like a victim by proxy. I think it is a little more advanced but must be fairly common. Fortunately I head the train off at the pass and report my observations to the therapist.
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tiredhusbandfather
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2010, 11:51:39 AM »

Is this a common thing with BPDs?  I have always wondered about my BPDw and her constant assertions that there are multiple things wrong with our children.  The latest floored me:  my D15 came home from school and told me that her mom had put on a school form that D15 is blind in one eye!  Not true, of course.  Now I'm wondering the best way to handle this with the school.  I listened to D15, validated, told her that is not true, as she knows, and that I would handle things with the school. . . Now, what to do?  Suggestions are most welcome.
Thanks
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JustSaying
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2010, 12:11:00 PM »

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her mom had put on a school form that D15 is blind in one eye

That has such a random, odd quality to it. Any idea why this was done? What does she get out of doing this?

In reading about some disorder last night, advice was to not save people from the consequences of their behavior, because then they don't learn. One possible course for you to follow is to request the school conduct a sight test of your daughter. Or have one done yourself. Then have the results entered into her official record. Leave her mom to explain the discrepancy. You don't have to confront her about it...you're just getting the record accurate.
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tiredhusbandfather
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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2010, 01:08:58 PM »

Quote
her mom had put on a school form that D15 is blind in one eye

That has such a random, odd quality to it. Any idea why this was done? What does she get out of doing this?

In reading about some disorder last night, advice was to not save people from the consequences of their behavior, because then they don't learn. One possible course for you to follow is to request the school conduct a sight test of your daughter. Or have one done yourself. Then have the results entered into her official record. Leave her mom to explain the discrepancy. You don't have to confront her about it...you're just getting the record accurate.

Odd to say the least. . . It's not the first time she has said this, just the first time it's been documented.  I have D15's prescription, so I like your idea of calling the school and sending in the presription to set things straight and then just drop it. . .
Thanks for your advice.
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tiredhusbandfather
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2010, 01:11:17 PM »

Quote
her mom had put on a school form that D15 is blind in one eye

That has such a random, odd quality to it. Any idea why this was done? What does she get out of doing this?

In reading about some disorder last night, advice was to not save people from the consequences of their behavior, because then they don't learn. One possible course for you to follow is to request the school conduct a sight test of your daughter. Or have one done yourself. Then have the results entered into her official record. Leave her mom to explain the discrepancy. You don't have to confront her about it...you're just getting the record accurate.

Odd to say the least. . . It's not the first time she has said this, just the first time it's been documented.  I have D15's prescription, so I like your idea of calling the school and sending in the presription to set things straight and then just drop it. . .
Thanks for your advice.

Also, I'm guessing it was done to create simpathy, "what a hard life BPDw has. .. " also I'm guessing it's a plan to keep control of D15, if she's "blind" she won't be able to drive a car. . . This also has been mentioned to me. . .

Oh my. . .
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Jemima
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« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2010, 07:04:31 AM »

I think I might have been a victim of this in a mild way. My mother freaked out about things that, as a middle-aged mother and grandmother looking backwards, were totally ridiculous. And then she would go around saying, "I could never tell when you were really sick when you were a child." For most of my life I took this to mean that I was a whiner (which is what she implied) and complained over everything so she never knew when it was real or not. But the truth is, I think her fears were so out of control that she never knew when it was her fears and when I was really sick.

I have had a needle phobia all my life (when I have to get blood drawn or an injection, I would first get intensely fearful with sweating, shaking, heart racing; then when the time came for the actual needle, I would get dizzy and close to passing out). I have always been able to trace this back to when I was three years old --- I had to have blood drawn one week and it took 6 nurses to hold me down, and the next week I had to have it drawn again, and they wrapped me in a sheet to restrain me. I remember this incident vividly.

A few years ago I actually got around to asking why the blood was drawn during that incident. My mother told me I had been complaining about being dizzy and since my grandmother had diabetes she was worried I had it too. First of all, I guess because the blood-drawing incident is such a flash-bulb memory in my mind, I also clearly remember twirling round and round and then saying "I'm dizzy." I was three, three year olds do silly stuff like that. Second of all, my grandmother had type II diabetes! Little kids might be getting it today because of the obesity epidemic, but I was three years old and thin and this was the mid-60s. I don't think so. It really ticks me off that that was done to me. She convinced the doctors there was something to be worried about.

And it was all pretty random --- the stuff I remember is pretty stupid, like finding minute differences in my body formation (like my toes) and worrying that there was something wrong with me (nothing I remember her worrying about was a real problem).

I can see how somebody who was worse off than my mom (who although I think she is uBPD or has BPD traits is by far not the worst case I know of) could morph into Munchausen by proxy.
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tiredhusbandfather
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2010, 11:20:40 AM »

I think I might have been a victim of this in a mild way. My mother freaked out about things that, as a middle-aged mother and grandmother looking backwards, were totally ridiculous. And then she would go around saying, "I could never tell when you were really sick when you were a child." For most of my life I took this to mean that I was a whiner (which is what she implied) and complained over everything so she never knew when it was real or not. But the truth is, I think her fears were so out of control that she never knew when it was her fears and when I was really sick.

I have had a needle phobia all my life (when I have to get blood drawn or an injection, I would first get intensely fearful with sweating, shaking, heart racing; then when the time came for the actual needle, I would get dizzy and close to passing out). I have always been able to trace this back to when I was three years old --- I had to have blood drawn one week and it took 6 nurses to hold me down, and the next week I had to have it drawn again, and they wrapped me in a sheet to restrain me. I remember this incident vividly.

A few years ago I actually got around to asking why the blood was drawn during that incident. My mother told me I had been complaining about being dizzy and since my grandmother had diabetes she was worried I had it too. First of all, I guess because the blood-drawing incident is such a flash-bulb memory in my mind, I also clearly remember twirling round and round and then saying "I'm dizzy." I was three, three year olds do silly stuff like that. Second of all, my grandmother had type II diabetes! Little kids might be getting it today because of the obesity epidemic, but I was three years old and thin and this was the mid-60s. I don't think so. It really ticks me off that that was done to me. She convinced the doctors there was something to be worried about.

And it was all pretty random --- the stuff I remember is pretty stupid, like finding minute differences in my body formation (like my toes) and worrying that there was something wrong with me (nothing I remember her worrying about was a real problem).

I can see how somebody who was worse off than my mom (who although I think she is uBPD or has BPD traits is by far not the worst case I know of) could morph into Munchausen by proxy.
Jemima, first let me say I'm sorry you had to go through all of this.  Second, thanks for your post.  It sounds like your M and my W had/have similar traits.  W is always seeing the worst possible scenario, all doom and gloom for the kids, they have this, they have that. . . It's exhausting, but I can only imagine what it must be like for the child.
So, I'm pretty sure I know what your response will be, but . . . what do you wish your father (assuming he was in your life) had done?  I'm really struggling with the prospects of divorcing my wife, versus staying to make sure I'm there to protect them from W's rants, etc.  Your perspective would be appreciated.
Peace,
THF
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forty-seven
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2010, 12:04:39 PM »

My sister-in-law is doing this to my nephew.  It's horrible but there's nothing I can do about it.  She's had my nephew diagnosed with so much stuff (Including Aspergers, ADHD, etc) that they are now saying that he will never be able to live independently.  Unfortunately, the psychiatrists are falling for it hook-line and sinker and my 8 year old nephew is too young (and medicated) to realize what's going on.  My brother should be doing something about this but is too absorbed in his own demons - I'm not excusing him, btw, just stating a fact.

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Jemima
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« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2010, 04:52:01 PM »

tiredhusband,

Well, it's hard to answer your question because my parents were a force to be reckoned with together ... and in my parents' case, I think my dad reined in her worst traits. Since his death she has been worse. But I don't think he was really unhappy ... or at least I don't think he probably ever saw issues in the marriage as a source of his depression and anxiety.

In my case, I think that it was better that my parents stayed together. But that is not to say that that is the answer for everyone. My mom is really not that severe compared to a lot of pwBPD. Anything I had to put up with growing up in her household, I would have had to put up with pretty much the same amount if they had split up.

My mom took really good care of my dad during his final illness, and they pretty much took care of one another throughout their married life. He was able to maintain his grip on reality despite her skewed version of events. There were a lot of good things about their marriage.

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tiredhusbandfather
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« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2010, 07:28:04 AM »

tiredhusband,

Well, it's hard to answer your question because my parents were a force to be reckoned with together ... and in my parents' case, I think my dad reined in her worst traits. Since his death she has been worse. But I don't think he was really unhappy ... or at least I don't think he probably ever saw issues in the marriage as a source of his depression and anxiety.

In my case, I think that it was better that my parents stayed together. But that is not to say that that is the answer for everyone. My mom is really not that severe compared to a lot of pwBPD. Anything I had to put up with growing up in her household, I would have had to put up with pretty much the same amount if they had split up.

My mom took really good care of my dad during his final illness, and they pretty much took care of one another throughout their married life. He was able to maintain his grip on reality despite her skewed version of events. There were a lot of good things about their marriage.

Thanks Jemima.

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« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2010, 05:06:28 AM »

I haven't seen any posts on Munchausen by proxy syndrome. It's the worse kind of abuse! Not only does the abuser (usually mom) convince people that the child is sick, they feed of the sympathy of the people around her/him. They harm the child, then seek pitty. And it usually happens in pre-schoolers, so there's no evidence or testimony left behind.

I have a 5 yr old boy that was diagnosed with autism about 3 years ago. When I disovered BPD in my wife around the same time, everything started falling into place. I found out through the older kids that she wouldn't acknowledge, feed, care for my son while I was gone. But he was always in her arms when I was around. I would pretend I leave to work or on errand and shut the door and wait quietly by the door (inside the house) to see how she would treat him. I caught her in the act a lot, screaming at him, scaring him, just being a total monster. I'm not sure if she meant to abuse him and damage him in order to get attention, or if she just learned later that it was a good source of pitty. I figure it's the latter.

She would cry to doctors, relatives, friends, or anyone who would hear her that her son had autism and that it was such a terrible thing for her to deal with. I finally ran across this syndrome and figured out that she's doing it activley with kindergarten teachers, councelors now. She terrorized him about kinder, that he's gonna get arrested by security guards, that he can't play, and other scary stuff (according to the older kids) ... and then she goes to the school and has meetings to try to put him in special edcucation and that he's such a burden.

It's been a long struggle with my son but I've always kept my head up and thankfuly he's made a good recovery with the exception of some fine motor funcion skills and a mild speech delay.

It's a complicated concept, but it's very real. It's really sad because they don't leave marks or evidence. And the burning question is who does this kind of thing, if not someone with a personality disorder? I can't picture people with OCD, bipolar, schizo, or even antisocial and narcisism pd trying to elicit pitty from people this way.

Has anyone else noticed that mom hurts the kid(s) and then tries to get pitty from people, pretending that they are the real victims for having to deal with burden of caring for this sick child?

Imstillstanding,

Your story matches exactly what happened with our oldest son.  He was diagnosed with a non-specific form autism at age 3, and has been through numerous doctors, tests, etc. but today, he's a normal, functioning, well-adjusted 11 year old.

On the other hand, my 6 year old has never developed much of a relationship with her and I am the only one who can put him to bed.  Last night he screamed because she wouldn't let me put him to bed.

All of what you are saying is extremely frightening to me, and is starting to raise concerns that she may have been abusing the kids that way and I didn't know about it.

What are your strategies to prove this?  Have you considered hiring a custody evaluator to prove it?

I'm in the process of divorcing my stbxBPDw and she is doing everything in her power to keep the kids from me.

Thanks,

E.D.
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« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2010, 01:59:08 PM »

In our case, there are two perfectly healthy young women.  But if they are experiencing any difficulty with anything, it conflicts with their uBPD mom (my bf's ex) to be able to see herself as the perfect mother.  If D12 is acting like a difficult teenager, then it must be because she has heavier-than-normal periods and is anemic.  If D8 is overweight it must be because she is diabetic, not because their mother lets her eat anything she was and not exercise.  And of course ANY emotional issue they have is their father's fault for wanting the divorce.  She shops them from doctor to doctor looking for some kind of diagnosis that will validate that whatever unhappiness she feels with them is not her fault.

uBPD xW is a Queen and the mirroring issues discussed at length in "Understanding the Borderline Mother" definitely apply to her.  As a result, any action she takes concerning the kids usually has a deep root in her own needs for validation or perception or purpose.  Right now, D12 wants to quit swimming for whatever reason - mom is vehemently against it, won't even listen to her reasons (not that she's sharing any) and insists that she go ... even as she herself is too "busy" or "tired" to take her to practice most of the time.  The only reason we can find for this is that the divorce agreement stipulates that BF pay for swimming while she pays for dance, so D12 is choosing to quit the wrong activity.

It's almost become a game for BF and me to see how she turns every single situation about anything to herself.  Every Facebook status update she comments on becomes something about her.  Everything about the children becomes something about her.  She just began seeing a therapist for and with the children (that BF is paying for) and she's thrilled about this person ... but BF had a nice talk with the therapist and thinks that if the therapist is not careful about how she introduces the concept of personal accountability and blame, xW will leave so fast that heads will spin.

Protect the child to the best of your ability and document in case you need to fight for custody.  It's so sad how much we wish a healthy parent onto the children but sometimes no parent is better than what they have.
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