My name is Jaime and I'm here because my fiance recommended this site. I am not, nor will I ever be, a Jehovah's Witness. I strongly believe it is a cult, but I also am respectful of the choice people make to associate themselves within the Witness "world." I've been researching these websites and am truthfully looking for advice on how to handle my fiance's family of Witnesses. Here's a little background...
I met my fiance 2 years ago at work. We began dating quietly, as he knew his family would not approve of him dating a non-witness. His Mom became a witness in her late teens and raised his family as very devout followers. Matt, my fiance, went along with it as a child and as he grew a mind of us own around 15, started to disagree with pivotal practices/beliefs. He kept this to himself, but began living his life as he chose, not as a witness. His family didn't realize he wasn't a believer until 2009.
As we dated, we quickly fell in love and realized we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. I started learning about the witness religion so that I would better understand where he came from and could relate easier to the family opinions. I made it clear I wouldn't become a witness, but I was open to learning about it (BIG MISTAKE). After a few months, we came clean to his family that we were dating and we intended to spend our lives together. This was a very big ordeal. His family stated they would spend time with us each individually, but not together, and that most would probably not attend our wedding when it happened because they didn't agree with us being together. They loved me and thought I was great for him, but the religion would not allow them to support us. I thought this was ludicrous, however I was respectful of their wishes and still saw his Mom and Sister occasionally.
Fast forward a few months - Matt and I began living together and were very happy. We found out we were expecting a baby, which was a very unplanned suprise! I was raised as a Christian and he a Witness, so we knew that being unmarried and pregnant was going to be a big deal. When we told Matt's family they were highly disrespectful of me. I figured it was anger, frustration and dissapointment so I chose to ignore it and move past it. The farther along in the pregnancy we got, the more demanding his family became. They were berating us because we made it clear we were not raising the baby as a witness. We would celebrate holidays, birthdays, etc. Our child would be allowed to go to school, college, play in sports, etc. All of which Matt was not allowed to do as it would have taken away from his studies of Jehovah (Matt was homeschooled and not allowed in any organized sports as a child). His Mother gave me documentation on how everything I do is pagan (holidays) and was very disrespectful of my beliefs. I finally had it, and stopped responding to everyone. She then showed up on my door when I was 37 weeks pregnant and on bedrest for high blood pressure and demanded I talk to her about it. I made it clear I wasn't raising this baby as a witness and she would be welcome in the child's life to the best of her abilities. She agreed she would see the baby but made it clear that since we were not married yet, etc. the entire family would no longer support Matt. They never came to a baby shower, etc. because it was supporting Matt as well.
We delivered a perfect healthy little boy on July 30, 2010. She was at the hospital when he was born and got to see/hold him. She began visiting every other week to see the baby, but only when Matt was not home. She would belittle Matt in conversation, taking digs whenever she could. It was very uncomfortable for me, and really upsetting. Despite me asking her to stop, she continued to do this on each visit. It came to a head at the end of September and we told her that it was an situation that we could no longer live with. If she wanted to be a part of our lives, it had to include all of us. Granted, she didn't want to go out in social settings, etc. but we told her we would meet her at the park, have her over for dinner, whatever we could compromise on. She could still come out when it was convienient (if Matt wasn't there) but that it couldn't be only that. We asked her to do something with us 1 time from October - December, and she said no. It was too much. We saw her at a funeral and one other time, but otherwise we have not seen her since September (on a time she actually wanted to see the baby).
She started calling again recently to see our son. I do not know what to say. How do you meet in the middle with someone like this? She claims she didn't come around for 3 months because she "couldn't bear to see us celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas" knowing it was so wrong in her eyes. Ok, you didn't want to come see our Christmas tree, I respect that. However you didn't call for 3 months either? But now she cares? I don't know how to make this work. To argue with her isn't going to get us anywhere, she isn't going to budge on her religous views. But neither am I.
So, I guess I'm looking for advice on how to handle this family. My fiance is so sick of them that he doesn't care anymore if we ever see them again. However, I feel bad for both of them. I know it hurts him tremendously to be treated this way, but he loves his true family, me and our son, more than anything and we are truly happy. We have everything the storybooks are written about, as cheesy as it sounds. I feel like it's left to me to maintain some sort of relationship with them, but I don't know if I should. It's very strained. I am not worried about explaining to my son why his Grandma won't come to Christmas or his Birthday party, I can handle that. But what about explaining why he's not important enough to spend time with - to come to his baseball games, encourage his spelling bees, etc. These things she isn't willing to do. So do I keep pushing for a relationship with her and have my son suffer, or will she possibly come around? Do these people (witnesses) ever change in regards to family?
I guess I'm just looking for advice on how to handle them. I don't understand how this cult can brainwash so many people, but my son also won't be a part of it. So, I appreciate any advice or tips that anyone can share. I know I'm not the only person that's been in this situation, so I'm just hoping someone out there can maybe shed some light on ideas to make it work. I appreciate you reading my story and look forward to suggestions.