4 Shvat 5778 / Saturday, January 20, 2018 | Torah Reading: Bo
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Stop the Insanity!    

Stop the Insanity!

Miriam, on the verge of a second divorce, dreamed of being a loving mother; yet, she tortured her child just like her mother did to her, and hated herself for it...


Miriam was born into a very difficult life.  Now at age 24, and married for the second time, (circumstances changed for confidentiality) Miriam is fighting to stay married and to be a loving mother to her children.  Hashem, in his loving kindness, has led Miriam to the well of my Rebbe's teachings and she has began to drink from the sweet, healing waters of the holy tzaddik, Rabbi Shalom Arush, Shlita.
May Hashem help us to learn from our holy sister, Miriam.
Dr. Ballen,
I watched one of your videos today and decided to contact you. I desperately need help. My life feels like its falling apart. I am in my second marriage which is extremely tough and my husband keeps threatening to leave. I can't let it happen again. I have personal issues and issues with my kids. I have been surviving on the Garden of Gratitude, Women's Wisdom and listening to CD's - but lately it doesn't seem to be working.
I want to know if you can guide me about an issue that I'm having that is getting worse every day and I hate myself for it. My daughter used to have her times that she misbehaved but it has gotten really bad the last few weeks. She doesn't listen to a thing that I say. I can say things over and over again and she just won't do it. I'm finding myself doing things that my mother used to do to me as a kid - yelling and screaming and saying crazy things.I know that it is wrong I just can't stop myself. I love my daughter dearly and I'm sure there is a reason that she is acting this way - I just don't know what it is. I don't know how to get her to listen or to stop my insane behavior. I don't want to damage my daughter the way my mother damaged me. I hate myself for what I'm doing and it needs to change. I can't go on like this. I want to be the nice normal caring mother that she needs and deserves.  I'm jumping out of my skin. Please help me!
Our first obligation is to know that Hashem does not punish us for having a yetzer hara (an evil inclination). He does not punish us for having problems. He knows all about our dark instincts because He gave them to us with Love. None of us would survive for one day without the chance to war against the evil within us. Rage, impatience, arrogance, the-need- to-control and impose our will -  all remind us that we, Baruch Hashem (thank G-d), are not angels. Without our problems we would not know how far from Hashem we really are. We would delude ourselves as to our true spiritual progress. Without our troubles, we would erroneously think that that our "success" really meant that we were succeeding. We would, G-d forbid, miss the opportunity to fix ourselves while we still can. There is the opportunity for great Mercy and forgiveness in this world. The great gift of teshuva only exists here and now in this world. In Heaven there is no Mercy - none at all! It will be too late when we are standing before the Heavenly Court, G-d forbid.
The problem is not that we have problems. The problem is that we do not admit honestly to the specific problems that we have. Until Miriam reached out for help she was like an ostrich with her head in the ground still hiding from the seriousness of her problems. None of us can afford to do that. The yetzer is a blazing inferno. He is made from pure fire - we are merely flesh. Without Hashem's Mercy, the yetzer could incinerate us in a second and he would.
How can a person who has been sinning all of his life become clean? It will not happen through magic. Of course he must repent. There is no embarrassment in this. We cannot blame a person for how he was raised.  Rebbe Nachman does not care what you have done. You can begin to clean yourself now and discover that there is great pleasure in it.
Everyone - even the greatest tzadikkim can fail. There was never a perfect person - even Moses was not perfect. The mistake that most of us make is in thinking that it is possible not to sin. Of course we are going to sin. It takes time to push through the Gates of Kedusha (Holiness). 
Hashem does not mind our falls as long as we know that what we did was wrong. Even if you fail repeatedly as long and you desire to do better and confess the truth to Hashem you are a responsible person. Hashem will wipe you clean again and again. He will take you by the hand and bring you to a special place and show you how to be very, very close to Him. The opportunity to fix ourselves is the most wonderful gift. But there are those who openly defy Hashem. They feel justified in sinning. They have retired from the fight. They tell themselves that they should not have to fight. A person who sins with this type of brazenness cannot rely on Hashem's Mercy at all. Hashem will not save him from his arrogance.
You if read between the lines, you will hear in our sister Miriam's heartfelt plea that there is not  a drop of brazenness in her tender soul. Listen and you will hear the deep longing that she has   for her father in Heaven:  "I know that it's wrong I just can't stop myself...I love my daughter dearly... it's insane behavior...I don't want to damage my daughter...I can't go on like this...I want to be the nice normal mother she deserves."
In just one session, Miriam started to relinquish her conditioned sense of "parental responsibility" - that voice in her head that told her that she is not a good mother unless she uses her parental authority to force her daughter out of bed, into her clothes, and onto the bus no matter what. But this is going to change. Unlike the professors of child-rearing, whose children hate them for their lectures, Miriam is working on herself rather than simply focusing on her child. Miriam understands that Hashem's priority is that she have a warm loving relationship with little Chavi. It is infinitely more important to Hashem that Chavi perceive her mother as kind, loving and above all humble. Having a loving mother is more important than going to school or even eating if the choice to eat does not come from Chavi herself.
Miriam is in a very enviable dilemma. Her pain is unbearable. She has been granted the Blessing of desperation.  She is on her knees and ready to scream her lungs out to Hashem and not at her daughter. She is ready to repeat her demands for Divine mercy over and over rather than demanding that her daughter brush her teeth or get to sleep on time. Who cares if she doesn't brush her teeth? Who cares if she is late to school? The silly professors? She will have a mother who she can count on...who will love her no matter what she does or who she grows up to be.
Do we not trust Hashem enough to believe that by loving, really loving our children He will not do the rest by leading them to want good things for themselves? Are we really so dense to believe that Hashem cannot show a child the advantages of punctuality, good nutrition and a good education when He deems the time is right? Do we really believe that our children belong to us or that we can alter even minutely the destiny that Hashem put into place for each individual soul? To think this way is to not believe in Hashem at all!
We must free ourselves from the lies that we have been taught about parenting.  Our children's lives are at stake. Miriam and Chavi are not alone. There are millions and millions like them. Your children need you to show them that love and peace come before everything - literally everything! - Hashem will do the rest. May it be so.
* * *
Zev Ballen, LCSW has been a practicing psychotherapist for 32 years. He is licensed in Israel and the State of New York. Zev has the endorsements of prominent Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Shlita, Reb Yitzchok Fagelstock, Shlita, The Kasaner Rebbe of Forshay, Shlita, Rav Shalom Arush, Shlita, and Rabbi Lazer Brody, Shlita.  He resides with his family in Jerusalem where he learns  in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time practice. You can write to Zev Ballen at: zevballen@yahoo.com or call him at: 845-362-8600 (US line) or 054-840-9499 (Israeli line). You're welcome to visit Zev's person blog, Emuna Therapy.

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