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Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I am at a loss for what to do, and so very much has been placed at my doorstep that I don’t think I am the right person to accept this responsibility, much less, to be of any use in achieving a successful outcome. I hope you can see your way clear to advise me as to how to extricate myself from this huge problem, as I truly feel I may make matters worse.


I am seventy-two years old and the mother of four adult children, all married, baruch Hashem. The eldest three are sons and the youngest a daughter and my husband and I are very close with all of them and their spouses, and especially close with our grandchildren. My daughter, the youngest of our children, and her family live closest to us and she being my only daughter makes for a very close and intimate relationship over that which I have with my sons and their families and we are always in each other’s proximity. And this is where the problem becomes convoluted, with signs of trouble appearing years ago when my daughter’s then-fifteen-year-old daughter, came to me and complained that she had no privacy when her friends came over to their house. Her mother joined in on their conversations and chatter and it made her feel weird, but her friends thought it was great that her mother wanted to pal around with them and that she was so young at heart. They were even a bit jealous of her that she had a mother who understood and appreciated them and their problems unlike their own mothers who didn’t. I listened but couldn’t grasp how big the problem would grow. And it did.

I often got calls from this granddaughter, sometimes every night after she returned home from school, how her friends were always wanting to visit because they loved hanging out with her mom, and she was getting quite resentful of her mother. She also told me that my daughter had taken to borrowing her cloths and wearing her make-up so she would ‘fit-in’ with these young girls and almost appear to be one of them. This graduated into my daughter getting small cosmetic procedures (Botox at first, for the fine lines that she says she had on her face, which no one noticed before, and graduating to neck and eye lifts) which changed her features entirely and made her look even younger than my granddaughter! That’s when I realized we had a real and growing problem on our hands.

Three days ago, my son-in-law came over to talk to me. He said he doesn’t recognize his wife anymore! Over the last two years she has morphed from the young woman he fell in love with, married and matured with and with whom he shares three beautiful children and a loving home together for twenty-two years. Something possessed her during these past four years to keep going for cosmetic procedures that have turned her into a teen-ager and she has become fodder for local gossip and ridicule in their community. It has also caused a huge rift between her and their children who are embarrassed by her behavior and there are constant fights and crying in the house. He has asked me to talk to my daughter and get her to see that she is destroying their family with her youthful ambitions to stay young forever while he and their children look older than she. Having not seen my daughter in a while, I paid her a visit and was shocked to see to what extent she has gone to stay looking ‘young.’ The skin on her face and neck was so taught, she had to cover the veins showing underneath the stretched, paper-thin skin and cover it with heavy make-up. Her eyes slanted upward giving her a feline look and not at all flattering. When I mentioned that she might have gone too far in her effort to maintain her youthful persona, she went ballistic and I ended up leaving in tears.

I don’t understand what has possessed her and I don’t know how I can help her. I am afraid she has gone passed the point of no return, certainly well passed the place where she can see what she has done and continues to do to herself and her family. I look to you for some comforting words and guidance as to what needs to e done to get passed this nightmare.


Dear Friend,

I came away from reading your letter feeling a great deal of sadness and pity for all of you, your son-in-law, your granddaughters and above all, for your daughter. We all have a modicum of mixed emotions about growing older with the natural cycle of the passing years. There are some people, men and women both, who are terrified of the physical changes that become apparent as we age, fine lines around the eyes and mouth, sagging skin under the chin, deeper lines and more pronounced spotting of color (brown spots) on face and hands and thinning hair, to name just a few of the more obvious changes. Most of us can take time’s reconfigurations with grudging acceptance and employ the help of cosmetics bought over the counter to camouflage and soften the changes most bothersome and a few older birds like myself just wear the lines and wrinkles like medals of honor, well earned and nothing to be ashamed of. Then, there are those women who can’t and resort to means ill advised by physicians. The women then become addicted to their pursuit of youth by cutting and stitching their face and bodies the moment they find a new line, sag or crease that messes up the topography of visible, youthful appearance. Even at the risk of their health, and sometimes life, in their driven pursuit of eternal youth.

I’m sorry to inform you that from your letter it is my opinion that your daughter is a surgical junkie addicted to surgery to feed her image of youth and vitality. I think, also, that she has reached the point of acceptable procedures and has graduated to the danger zone, where skin can no longer sustain or provide the elasticity for stretching to eliminate the wrinkles and fine lines and to enhance the appearance of facial features to appear normal and youthful. Sadly, it is also almost impossible to make such a person aware that what she is doing to herself is making her look deformed and bizarre instead of the beautiful and youthful picture she sees of herself in her head. Your daughter needs, at the very least, intense psychological help and at most, psychiatric attention to make her see what everyone else sees when they see her and not the picture of pristine, youthful beauty that she sees in her head. You cannot possibly be able to achieve this on your own and your son-in-law has to get his wife to go for help with whatever promise or threat he can muster that will get her to agree to go for said help.

Cosmetic surgery addiction is as bad as any other addiction and can easily kill the addict as any drug overdose. You have a hard fight ahead of you, but I hope that the love and concern that I feel exists in your family will be strong enough to carry you through to a favorable and healthy outcome. If I can be of any help to you on this journey, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Hatzlacha rabba!


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