My mother-in-law is a very devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother. But it is like she believes everyone she loves is far more vulnerable to illness and injury than others. It is not Munchausen by proxy. She is not injuring anyone or causing illness to anyone.
But she took her kids to many psychiatrists as children. They all were diagnosed with at least one diagnosis. DH was diagnosed with ADD, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder. She sought the ability to have him made her permanent dependent because she was worried he wouldn't "launch" into adulthood, but that she wouldn't be able to get him therapy easily like when he was a kid. She didn't get it, he instead went to college, got his Bachelor's, and makes six figures at a high stress job, managing other people. He was fine living independently. But she was always very worried about him.
My brother-in-law, she got diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety. He is also a college graduate. He's a homeowner. Well respected in his community. He does not make a lot of money, but went a social welfare route.
My Father-in-law, she worries so much about him. She is always worried he is going to die soon. He is in his early 50s. He has been diagnosed with cognitive degeneration. He saw specialists at Stanford. For sure he has had at least one seizure. It is possible that he has epilepsy and has had silent seizures in addition to the one known seizure. But, she cries and worries every moment is her last with him, she thinks he's terminally ill.
She worries constantly about my kids. She's worried I was bipolar or had schizoaffective disorder. She's worried my eight year old had schizoaffective disorder. She's worried my kids had allergies. She started giving Benedryl to my two year old to treat allergies he did not have until we found out and said not to. She will worry they are lactose intolerant and buy them special milk even though they drink regular milk at home and are fine. She also worries they are picky eaters, like saying she has to buy small curd cottage cheese or else the kids won't eat it, but they don't notice curd size no matter what. Lots of little things like that, assigning food needs and pickiness to my children that they don't have.
I always make sure to cut the kids' nails before we see her because she cuts their nails otherwise, and has bandaged them, saying their nails were bleeding because they ripped or were ingrown, but they were not ingrown. I let her keep one of my kids because she was worrying about my father-in-law only having so much time left, even though he's fine. I am careful not to stick q-tips in the kids' ears since their doctor says nothing smaller than an elbow, but she cleans their ears with qtips all the time and always worries they need their ears cleaned. She was sure she'd punctured my daughter's ear drum. My daughter was fine, so I wanted to just take her home. My mother in law owns a lot of medical equipment, so she has an otoscope and she saw blood in my daughter's ear. No one else saw it. She was beside herself and apologetic and certain she had hurt her, that it was her fault. I went to the E.R. to calm my mother-in-law's fears. Sure enough, no blood. Her ear was fine.
She also exaggerates. Like if a baby spit ups and that baby is her grandchild, she'll worry the baby vomited. With poop, she worries it's diarrhea. When the diaper isn't dirty, she worries the baby's constipated.
We once let her watch all the kids. She worried they had strep, took them to urgent care and got them prescriptions for antibiotics. She told us they had strep. We called the urgent care. It turns out she'd said she was their legal guardian, and they really got diagnosed with pharangytis... sore throats. The doctor gave her antibiotics because she was so worried it was more than that and she'd have to take even sicker kids back in to get the medicine they needed. We took the kids to the pediatrician. They didn't have strep, both the rapid test and longer lab test were negative. We never gave the kids the antibiotics.
She never seems to be doing this for attention. She actually backs off a lot and let's my husband and me take over, seems relieved about us taking over. I do not think she wants to worry, that it makes her very uncomfortable. And when we take over, she doesn't have to worry. But that's only with the kids.
Her parents are alive and she worries a lot that they are going to die. They are in their 70s and fine.
Just a lot of worry. Worry, worry, worry.