Emma's wealthy father was alcoholic. Her mother was schizophrenic. When Emma was 8 years old, her mother was sent to a psychiatric hospital. Following this, her father divorced her mother and married another women. Emma's step-mother was cruel and turned Emma's father against her and her siblings. In order to appease his new wife, Emma's father became more remote from the children of his previous marriage.
Emma's father had Emma involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital for children. She was kept there for 2 years against her will. It's doubtful that Emma even needed psychiatric treatment. The "hospital" where she was forced to stay ultimately made the headlines and was permanently shut down due to the horrible crimes against children that took place there.
Emma was badly damaged in that place. She doesn't want to speak about what she suffered there or what she saw being done to others. But Emma did tell me that if she wasn't "compliant" with her treatment - which sometimes meant that she didn't speak politely with the staff - she was held down, forcibly shot up with medicine, strait-jacketed and put into solitary confinement for days at a time.
Emma had no visitors in the hospital and had no one to guide her when she was finally released from there. When she got out, Emma somehow ended up living with a family "down the street" who couldn't understand why her wealthy father had turned against his own daughter and refused to give her anything. Years later, when Emma was homeless, she called her father from a freezing cold phone booth and pleaded for help. Her father asked her why she was wasting good money on the phone call.
As time went by, Emma's situation only worsened. As a teenager, she began to look for the parental love she yearned for in all the wrong places. Emma was hurt a "bunch of times" by men. On more than one occasion, she had a gun held to her head by men who played Russian roulette with her. Sobbing, Emma told me: "I know G-d was very close to me then. What could I do? When they pulled the trigger I closed my eyes and prayed. I know for sure that G-d was with me then. It could only have been Him who saved me from death."
Emma was married twice - both times to violent men who drank. She told me about another spiritual experience that she had when she almost died during childbirth:
"I was given medicine without my consent. Suddenly something ruptured within me and I heard them say "emergency C-section." As they wheeled me down the hall I felt myself slipping away. I couldn't die though - who was going to take care of my three children? After the procedure, they told me that my son had been deprived of oxygen for the last two hours and would either die or be brain damaged. I shouted at them: 'no that's not going to happen! I refuse to believe that! He's going to be fine' - and he was! That was 13 years ago and he is a perfectly normal kid today."
Emma raised four children by herself without a husband. Most of her relatives were drinkers and wanted nothing to do with her. She had been accepted into a nursing program but resigned to stay home with her children. She opened a nursery and ran it from her house so she could keep an eye on her kids. She promised herself that she'd go back to school when her children were older.
Emma protected her children like a lioness. Whenever they had a problem with a teacher or another kid, Emma was right there: "I had to become really tough to protect my children, maybe I became too tough and I don't want to be that way anymore - but it worked for my kids, and back then I didn't know any other way. If I felt that a teacher had it in for one of my kids they would have to face me and it wasn't pretty."
Today Emma is 50 years old and still single. Her IQ is in the superior range. She enrolled in a psychology program at a local college in an attempt to find a higher paying job. During this time, Emma discovered the Garden of Emuna and decided that she wanted to study emuna too. She applied for a bigger student loan so that she could simultaneously study in our Emuna Coach certification program while attending college. She said that she was studying psychology in order to find a better paying job but that she was studying emuna because it had saved her life so many times. Continue here...
I also recommend the following:
By Rabbi Lazer Brody - It's Your Donkey
By Rabbi Lazer Brody - Verbally Abusive Parents
By Howard Morton - The Outrage of Ben Hecht
Wishing you every blessing,
Dr. Zev Ballen