Dear Mrs. Bluth,
A few weeks ago you published a letter from a woman who bemoaned her life, exposing extreme cruelties visited upon her by her cold and abusive husband and disassociated children. She wrote that her husband refused to give her a get, that he has thrown her into a cold, damp basement to live and denied her food and medical treatment. She lamented that her children refuse to see her and that no one cares about her. Mrs. Bluth, nothing is farther from the truth! I know her and I can tell you that she has twisted everything that was good and loving in her life because she could never admit that she was the cause of her own misery. This is not something that just happened suddenly, it is the way she always was, from her childhood onward and everyone who has had anything to do with her will tell you she is mentally unhinged.
The minute I read her letter in your column, I knew right away who she was. I remember as a child, she would steal and then lie that someone else took it. I was a victim of many of her lies and suffered so much at her hands. If her parents knew that she was emotionally and mentally damaged, they hid it. They blamed everyone else for what happened to her. When a sweet, kind and gentle young man, an orphan with no one to look out for his best interests, got involved with her, her parents arranged a wedding as quickly as possible. Her long suffering husband raised his children alone because his wife was mentally unbalanced and did not have the capacity to love or care for her babies.
Over the course of time this poor, broken man suffered a heart attack and a minor stroke leaving him unable to speak clearly and which affected his balance. His children, and I say his children because she had next to nothing to do with them, decided that the stress of her living in the same apartment with him would eventually kill him. They are the ones who fixed up the basement, making it a perfectly lovely, clean, warm and bright apartment complete with air conditioning, heating, new appliances and carpeting and a separate entrance to the outside. They moved her into it so that he could recuperate in peace and have some menuchas hanefesh. She caused a small fire after cluttering it with junk. No one in the neighborhood wanted to fraternize with her and avoided her like the plague. When the kids encouraged their father to give her a get or have her committed in an institution because she was becoming a danger to him, he refused saying that no one would take care of her.
I know I must sound cruel and uncaring, but I had to shed the light of truth on this situation. It is her family and friends that are the victims her – and no one knows this better than I, because you see, I am her sister. I was the one who went with her to see a therapist when my parents couldn’t deal with her. I was there when the therapist told her that she needed extensive treatment, which she refused. I was the one who stayed in treatment because my own sense of self was threatened by her cruelty. I was also the one who lived a few doors away from her and helped my brother-in-law raise his wonderful children, oversaw the renovation and transformation of the basement into a beautiful apartment and fielded all the problems she caused with the neighbors.
After reading her letter, I knew I had to come forward and make it clear that it was all a pack of lies written by a sick and selfish person.
Thank you for having the courage to address something so intimately painful and give us all something to think about. Sometimes, things are not always what they appear to be and we should not be hasty in labeling, targeting or passing judgement. Sometimes, the truth is the complete opposite of what we perceive.
In reading your sister’s letter I was almost taken in by the mental illusions she put in place. But, as I looked between the lines, the self-loathing started to seep through and the truth broke free. She is a very troubled individual, obviously in need of psycho-therapy and medication in order to begin to see past the illness that was in her from very early on. Now that you have mentioned the fire she started in her apartment, it may be that she is a danger to herself and others, and I would encourage you to report this to her doctor. The next time, you may not be so lucky and the damage may be far worse.
I am truly grateful for your disclosure. I have gotten quite a few letters defending your sister and chastising me for my “cold and callous” response to her. The day I catch myself being cold and callous in the face of someone’s pain is the day I draw the blinds, shut off the computer and lock the door to my office. I hope that day never comes.