Materia Medica Course on Shameless Remedies with Dr Manish Bhatia
Materia Medica

You Try Living with Arsenicum!

Arsenicum album: “Mr. Right!” (As in, always has to be right!) Good luck, if you’re living with an Arsenicum!

Elaine Lewis

Mati sent me an email not long ago, detailing one of her Arsenicum cases; I said, “Mati, this is far too good to be wasted on me!”   So she agreed to write it up for you.  I will pop back in later for the question/answer session. 

Mati, you have the floor!

Mati Fuller

Thanks, Elaine. I have recently been working on a book about core issues, and how they manifest in people’s relationships.  I have found that once you know someone’s core issues, you can pretty much predict what kinds of issues will show up in their lives at some point.  Here we have to keep in mind that there are balanced and unbalanced versions of the same remedy.  In a balanced state, the core issues will affect us less than they do in an unbalanced state, but what we have to understand is that everyone who needs a specific constitutional remedy has the same basic perception of reality, the same delusions, and the same pre-disposition for specific illnesses to manifest.  What these issues are depend on how much stress a person is dealing with and also whether they are learning from their mistakes.  Our underlying core issues have a stronger tendency to show up if we are not coping well, or if we refuse to learn as we go.

As I was working on my book, I came across a very interesting case.  A woman named Maya shared her story with me about her relationship with an Arsenicum man, and the things she told me about the relationship were so descriptive of all the issues you can find under Arsenicum’s remedy profile, that I thought it would be an interesting case to share with you all.

The thing that bothered her most about her Arsenicum husband was the fact that he always had to be right.  Always!!!  He simply had to be in control, no matter what they were discussing.  She told me she could never argue with him, there simply wasn’t any point!  He was so clever with words that he could argue circles around anyone, so when he started arguing, or criticizing her, she would simply withdraw and not argue back.  The problem was that when she withdrew from the argument, her Arsenicum husband would keep arguing, sometimes for hours at a time.  Maya was hoping that he would “run out of steam” if she didn’t argue back, but her silence seemed to have the exact opposite effect on Arsenicum. Not only did he keep arguing, but he also became nastier and nastier as he kept going.

Besides arguing and always having to be right, Mr. Arsenicum was also picking on her a lot.  Nothing was ever good enough for him, so he was very critical towards her.  He was also obsessive about how she should cook his food, and she wasn’t allowed to use any salt or pepper since they are both presumably bad for the body.  Towards the end of the relationship, he even started suspecting that she was trying to poison him with her cooking since he never felt well after eating.  At that point, Maya simply stopped cooking, so he had to cook his own meals, which he wasn’t very happy about.

Maya often thought about leaving, but leaving wasn’t very easy for her to do.  Her husband had been taking care of her needs ever since they got together, so she didn’t have a car, and she didn’t have enough money with which to start over.  The interesting thing is that whenever she started thinking about leaving him, he always came down with some kind of disease where he needed her care.  It would either be a real disease, where he actually got sick enough that he couldn’t take care of himself, or it could be purely imagined.  Once, he fell on the floor and told Maya he couldn’t get up.  He felt nauseated and dizzy and thought for sure he had been bitten by a black widow spider.  Although there was no spider, and no sign of a bite, he told Maya that if she didn’t want him to die, she had to call an ambulance at once!  The ambulance came and took him to the hospital, and they sent him home the next day, still alive, when they couldn’t find anything wrong with him.

Every time he created another emergency in his life, Maya had to forget all about leaving because Mr. Arsenicum obviously still needed her.  When he ran out of sicknesses, and he couldn’t create any other emergencies, he would often wake her up in the middle of the night, about 2 a.m., and tell her he was about to die because his heart was beating too fast.  He was so convincing that Maya kept thinking he was on his “last legs” for several years.  She finally got sick of the whole thing and left him after she had an affair with one of his friends.  Needless to say, he kept all their possessions, and she ended up in a tent after the break-up.

If we look at the issues in this story, we can clearly see the Arsenicum issues showing up throughout the relationship.  The core issue, or “Original Story”, that goes with the Arsenicum profile is that someone has conspired against Arsenicum and he was attacked and lost all his possessions.  He was too weak to defend himself and nearly lost his life.  Therefore, he feels extremely vulnerable and has a strong fear of death.  As this “issue” was passed down through the generations (which I believe it can be), Arsenicums found ways to compensate for what happened in the original story.  First of all, they became experts at arguing.  They need to be heard, as if their survival depends on it.  That is why, when Maya chose to be silent during their arguments, Mr. Arsenicum kept going, and kept getting nastier and nastier.  He had to get his point across, as if his life depended on it, and her silence wasn’t convincing him that she had actually heard him, or understood his point of view.  He became nasty out of sheer desperation.  Why wasn’t she hearing him?  If she had at least argued back, he could have destroyed her arguments.  But, how can anyone argue against silence?  If only Maya would have known, she might have experienced a lot less emotional abuse over the years.

Because Arsenicums feel weak, vulnerable and unloved, they usually attract a mate who will be able to take care of them, should the need ever arise.  However, Arsenicum prefers it if his mate needs him more than he needs her.  Therefore, he often picks someone who has no money.  Deep down, all Arsenicums know that they don’t really treat the people in their lives very nicely, and they know that someone might want to leave as a result.  This is why Arsenicum doesn’t mind paying for everything, as long as he knows that it would be difficult for his mate to leave.  His main objective is to create some kind of dependency in the relationship so that he can make himself feel safe and secure.  This is also why Arsenicums love to accumulate wealth.  It is all about getting a handle on their fears, and making themselves feel safe.

If, however, his “dependency plan” doesn’t work, and his mate proves herself to be too independent for him, there will be trouble.  First, he will try to bamboozle her with logical arguments, or harsh criticism, or if that doesn’t work, intimidate or insult her!  This is exactly what Arsenicum was doing in the relationship above.  The problem was that no matter what he did to make Maya dependent on him, she was still independently doing her own thing.  In a case like that, Arsenicum has only one option left, and that is to make himself dependent instead.

He could maybe break some bones, come down with some deadly disease, or get himself bitten by a black widow spider.  The possibilities are endless!!!  He could even make himself allergic to the laundry soap, or the hair shampoo, or even to her mascara, if he didn’t like her wearing makeup!  And, of course, we can add fear of death with heart palpitations at 2 a.m. to the list.  Arsenicum’s main aggravation time is between 1 and 3 a.m., and their fear of death is often so strong that they can’t bear to be alone!

The food issue is also typical for Arsenicum.  All the remedies made from any kind of poison have delusions of being poisoned, and Arsenicum is no exception.  Arsenicums are often overly concerned about food.  First of all, food affects their health, and they are extremely worried about their health.  Secondly, Arsenicum has major trust issues because in the original story, Arsenicum was betrayed by someone who was close to him, maybe even someone in his house.  Therefore, he doesn’t always trust the people who are preparing his food.  Interestingly, Arsenicum often attracts people in his life who will eventually betray him in different ways (this is how he keeps his delusions alive and the story going!!!). This, of course, happens because Arsenicum is here to learn more about trust, and about overcoming his old core issues, so it is no accident that Maya eventually ended up betraying his trust and leaving with his friend.

After Maya left, Mr. Arsenicum gave her a will that he had written, since he was convinced that he wasn’t going to live very much longer.  He willed everything he owned to Maya, but it is interesting to note that she couldn’t have any of it until he was dead.  (This is why she ended up in a tent).  When his will didn’t create any sympathy, he changed his tactics.  Now he called her up and threatened to shoot her instead. Since she knew that he had a gun, she had to get the police involved.  After a police officer knocked on his door and told him to stay away from Maya, Mr. Arsenicum finally backed off, and that was the end of the story.  (Again, it is interesting to note how he created another “act of betrayal” in his life.  By threatening his girlfriend’s life, she had to call the police, which then confirmed another Arsenicum delusion – “Delusion, pursued he is, police, by”.  This is how we create or attract situations in our lives that keep our delusions alive, so in a sense, it is our delusions that create our realities, not our conscious selves, as we would like to believe).

Here we can clearly see how everything that happened in the relationship was a reflection of core Arsenicum issues.  What this means is that nothing that happened between them was a personal thing. Arsenicum was threatened by Maya’s independence, and this triggered his deepest fears and core issues. Once his fears were triggered, he was simply acting out all the core issues of his remedy profile.

Although this is an extreme example of how someone can express all their constitutional issues in their relationships, it is not just something that applies to Arsenicums.  We all have issues, and we all do the same thing, more or less.  The moral of this story is, don’t pick a mate until you have studied his or her remedy profile in detail, especially fears, phobias and delusions, so you will know exactly what you are in for.  And, when things aren’t going well, go back and look in your homeopathy books under the person’s remedy profile and you will see exactly what is going on, and why, because all of these issues are totally predictable.

Mati, that was revelational!  So, regarding the original situation, which you describe as Arsenicum having been betrayed and his possessions and wealth stolen, there’s a delusion in the repertory, “Delusion: criminal about, there is”, with Arsenicum showing up as a 2 (there are no 3’s).  So, this would mean, then, “you”; you are the criminal unless you can prove otherwise, is that how Arsenicum sees it?  Have you noticed, in their old age or in their dying state, they accuse family members/care givers of stealing from them?

That is exactly right, and the reason is this:  In the original situation, someone conspired against him.  They may have even accused him of something he didn’t do, and they were obviously “out to get him.”  Nobody listened to his story and he wasn’t able to convince anyone that he was right and they were wrong.  That is why he views you as a criminal if you don’t agree with him, and that is also why he can’t or won’t ever admit that he is wrong, even if he is.  It is a matter of survival, and we can often sense a high degree of desperation, and even hopelessness in Arsenicum, which shows why Arsenicum is one of the main cancer remedies.

I have come to know Arsenicums on a few very characteristic traits.  They come into my office with a list of symptoms a mile long.  They may have seen 18 healers before they came to me, and either nobody can figure out what is wrong with them, or nobody takes them seriously.  They are not being heard and they are wasting away… The interesting thing is that sometimes you will find that they are more interested in being diagnosed with something horrible (so they can finally be heard), than in getting well.

Yes, I have heard of such cases.  Robin Murphy talks about it.

It gives them a reason to be dependent on their mate, so the mate won’t think about leaving.  (Getting well doesn’t keep the story going, so as soon as you put them on Arsenicum, they often stop using the remedy after a very short time and tell you it didn’t work, and if that is the case, you just have to honor their choice).

Here’s another Arsenicum delusion–Delusion: pursued by the police.  That would be another self-fulfilling prophesy in the case, like the betrayal.  He had to threaten to kill her so the police would come.  As soon as they manifested in the story, he backed off.

Good one!

And this is all subconscious!  It’s like, we not only pass down ways of getting sick from one generation to the other, but we also pass down our remedy type, and people act in certain ways, without any basis in their own life for it.

You stated, “The problem was that when Maya withdrew from the argument, Arsenicum would still keep arguing, sometimes for hours at a time.”  What would have stopped him from arguing?  Would she have had to say, “You’re right and I’m wrong!”  Why does Arsenicum argue and argue?

The only thing that will make Arsenicum stop is if you can convince him that you have heard his point of view, and that he has convinced you that he is right, and you are not.  As soon as that has been established, he no longer needs to keep convincing you, and he will feel safe enough to stop arguing.  If you haven’t convinced him that you can see his point of view, you are still “the enemy,” and he will treat you as one until you surrender.

Is Arsenicum more likely to be psychologically abusive than physically?

It depends how threatened he feels.  If he can’t convince you with his arguments, he may push you around or throw things at you, and if that doesn’t work, things can escalate.  The problem with Arsenicum is that he is always in a defensive mode.  He feels attacked, very easily, and he will fight if he feels the need to.  Even though he isn’t very brave, and he doesn’t feel very strong, we have to remember that these are core issues for Arsenicum, and core issues feel more real than other issues.  In Arsenicum’s core situation he was attacked and almost lost his life as a result.  Therefore, in this lifetime, he will do whatever it takes to fight back and stay alive.

An example of this is what happened to an Arsenicum friend of mine, Lisa.  She found out that a rapist had broken into a house and attacked a woman and a child who were home alone.  The rapist was never caught and this created such anguish for Lisa that she didn’t even feel safe in her own home.  She kept locking the doors and looking under her beds, and when her husband had to go to the post office, she grabbed her biggest kitchen knife, ready to fight for her life if the rapist should happen to show up.  So, to answer your question, I think Arsenicums much prefer to be emotionally abusive, rather than physically abusive.  Physical abuse would only be as an act of desperation.

Mati, someone might ask, “What do you mean by ‘the original story’?”

I was afraid you were going to ask that!  It is something I found when I studied the remedy profiles.  I have noticed that every situation we encounter in our lives has to be completed or resolved in some way.  If it isn’t, we tend to carry it around with us, we can’t get over it, and we can’t leave it behind or forget about it.  This, in my opinion, is what Karma is – unfinished issues.  My theory is that if something happened that was so horrible that the person simply couldn’t get over it in his lifetime, this issue would be passed down to their offspring, so they could resolve it instead.  After a few generations of passing these issues down, the new generations of people will have totally forgotten what the original situation was, but they are still acting as if the same thing is still happening here and now.  By now, what really happened has simply turned into unexplainable feelings, fears, phobias and delusions.  If, for example, someone has a feeling that everyone is “out to get them,” we think that they live under the delusion that they are being pursued by enemies, but the delusion is more than just a fixed idea about something they are imagining in their heads.  The delusion is actually a reflection of what happened originally that was never resolved.  Although this may sound far fetched to some, it does explain why everyone who needs the same remedy has a similar perception of reality and similar issues running through their lives.

Once I discover the core issues, or original situation, of the remedies, everything starts making sense!  You can see how the person has compensated for what happened; in Arsenicum’s case, he became a master at arguing, and he still thinks he has to convince everyone that he is right.  You can also see why someone would overreact to some seemingly small thing – they overreact because this “small thing” triggered their core issues, and when core issues are triggered, they knock us out of balance very easily.  The delusions we are carrying will also create or attract things into our lives that constantly confirm and strengthen our distorted perception of reality, because, that is what it is.  It has become a distorted perception of what is real.  This is why we can’t even find two people who will see something in exactly the same way.  Everyone’s interpretation is different from everyone else’s.

I found that every remedy has a slightly different core situation that needs to be resolved.  So when we are trying to differentiate between different remedies with overlapping symptoms, having knowledge of the core issues of each remedy is very helpful.  If we look deeply into what is happening in a patient’s life, we may see a similar situation repeating itself, and then we’ll know which remedy to pick.  (This, of course, is explained in a lot more detail in my upcoming book.)

You said, “If we look deeply into what is happening in a patient’s life, we may see a similar situation repeating itself.”  You anticipated my next question!  I was going to ask: How can you tell a person’s core issue?  Is it whatever situation is repeating itself over and over again?

That is exactly right.  As far as I can see, these kinds of issues keep repeating themselves, over and over, until we can somehow resolve them.  For example, if someone always ends up in bad relationships, maybe she is simply attracted to the wrong kind of guy.  He may be the perfect guy to bring out her core issues so she can get the opportunity to resolve them, and she may be playing a similar part in his life.  The moment she becomes aware of this, she actually has a choice to pick someone else the next time, and break the destructive pattern.  This is what happens when we become more aware.  We can see how we were partly responsible for what happened in some way, and we can start creating the life we want, instead of just being victims of our circumstances.  Delusions only have the power to fool us when we are unaware of them!

The knowledge of core issues is also invaluable in homeopathic case taking, even though they are not easy to discover.  The client isn’t just going to come in and tell you what her core issues are.  If she knew what they were, she probably wouldn’t even need a remedy.  So, this is the way I do it:  First, I listen very carefully to what the client is telling me.  If she repeats herself, or if there seem to be certain things that always happen in her life, I make a note of it.  I am especially interested in what the situation was when, or just before, she got sick.  Then I repertorize the case and see what remedies come up.  Often, you will have to differentiate between 2-3 remedies with overlapping symptoms, which can be very difficult at times.  This is where I look at the core issues of the remedies, and compare these to the situation that was happening in the client’s life at the time.  Even though the remedies may have overlapping symptoms, they don’t have overlapping core issues.  And, if you can pin down the core issues, not only can you give them a well matched remedy, you can also give them a good idea of why they got sick in the first place.  This is very important information to share with someone, because understanding heals, just as much as our remedies do.

And hence, the importance of your book on core issues!  What’s the name of it?

Beyond the Veil of Delusions – Understanding Relationships Through Homeopathy.

Second edition:

Thanks!  Hurry back with more brilliant articles for us to read!


Mati H. Fuller, DIHom (Pract)

[email protected]

About the author

Mati Fuller

Mati H. Fuller, DIHom (Pract) was born and raised in Bergen, Norway and came to the United States in 1985. She lives and practices in Colorado and is author of "Beyond the Veil of Delusions, Understanding Relationships Through Homeopathy." [email protected]

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at: and

1 Comment

  • An excellent exposition. Thanks!
    I think it helped me to see Arsenicum in a somewhat different light and helped me to recognise what was wrong with some people I have met long before I knew about Homeopathy.

Leave a Comment