Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I have been married for more than thirty years and have a big problem. You see, I am repulsed by my wife!

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Let me explain. My once beautiful wife, who was the love of my life, and who I thought had a perfect figure, decided to go on a diet. She became so obsessed, to the point that nothing else mattered and currently she is anorexic.

We are not talking about a woman in her twenties who is consumed with her youth and appearance; we are talking about a woman in her fifties! My wife has become disfigured, deformed and her skin is wrinkled and yellow, yes, yellow. She looks way older than her age; she looks like she came out of concentration camp! This is not an exaggeration as I can see her spinal cord through her clothing.

I have tried speaking with her, but she says she can’t help herself. When I tell her she is going to die if she keeps this up, it falls on deaf ears. I know that if something happens to her, everyone will blame me! That’s the name of the game isn’t it? The husband is always at fault. That is why I tell my children, “Mommy is going to die if she continues on this path” so I won’t get blamed.

Mrs. Bluth, can you explain to me why a woman in her fifties would want to commit suicide?

 

Dear Friend,

I had a mental fight with myself about printing your letter, however, after much soul searching, and the off chance that what you are telling me is indeed the truth, here we are. I must tell you that I find a great many things disturbing about your letter. And, without knowing her state of mind, it’s very hard to address the issue.

In theory, why would a woman in her fifties, who was a lovely and svelte of figure embark on so stringent a diet as to become anorexic and stand at death’s door with her children watching?

The first thing that comes to mind is that someone close to her may have made critical comments about her figure. At fifty, a woman begins to feel that her youth and good looks are leaving her. What she needs when that happens is love and encouragement from her spouse. She needs to hear that she is as beautiful and physically attractive as she was when her husband married her. Any comments to the contrary will come across as insults and make her feel that she has lost her charm and attraction. This alone may push a sensitive woman over the edge and keep her from recognizing that adopting severe and harmful diets or an extreme exercise regimen may cause serious health issues.

The next thing that is horrifying to me is that you have not gotten her help or any searched for some kind of intervention well before she began looking like a concentration camp inmate! Where are your neighbors or her family and friends during this transformation and deterioration? Did no one else observe her declining health? Someone whose skin is hanging off their bones and is yellow is bound to attract attention from those who see her on a daily basis.

And why are you scaring your children with threats of her demise? If they are young or young adults how are they equipped to help her if you can’t? She needs to be institutionalized for her own safety, before she starves to death. And you are worried that people will point a finger in your direction?

There is a small voice in my left ear that keeps saying you have a greater role in this than you would have me believe, simply by forewarning me that you fear to be blamed for her misfortune. Could it be that you have, perhaps, mistreated her verbally or physically in the past? I ask, because as someone who is concerned about a loved one would have taken a proactive stance and forcefully brought her to the help she needs, not wait until she is literally at death’s door.

There are many other scenarios that could have brought your wife to the brink of death, such as a nervous breakdown, or a traumatic experience she could not cope with.  Middle age is the harbinger or many upheavals and that may well be where the root cause is. However, one thing is certain, you need to reach out for professional help, and to stop worrying about how you will be perceived. Get her medical attention post haste. It’s not about you; it’s about keeping the mother of your children alive and bringing her back to good health!

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