I'll introduce myself: I'm a person who'd like to remain anonymous. I'm 16, and recently confessed to my mother my disbelief in her religion (Jehovah's Witnesses, obviously so). Instead of the caring mother I expected, I got a tyranical fanatic that is more bent on shoving this stuff down my throat than ever. I'll start from the begining. Mom lost her job ages ago. We have somehow survived (with Jehovah's help, as she says ;) ), but you can't really survive without a job. My dad died when I was 3, so there's no income comming in. We put our house up for sale and things are very tight. Mom started breaking down and crying all the time, no doubt feeling inadequete from not getting a job in a years time. Also, she noticed that I've been giving her the cold shoulder more often than not (I'm 16, and hate her religion, sorry if I seem insensitive). She kept asking me why I 'hated' her so much, and having her cry all the time was kind of getting to me. So I told her that her religion was what was making me so angry at her all the time. We talked for several hours, in which I told her why, and shot down her every attempt to prove me wrong. Time passed, and I kept going to meetings (being the blindly obidient child that I am). She eventually told my Uncle, who lives closer to us than anyone else (everyone else lives hundreds of miles away) about my feelings. He offered to study with me, and somehow convinced me. He made me doubt what I thought momentarily, and I got suckered into it. After he left, I realised what I had done was stupid, and lived in terror the rest of the week. We started the study on Sunday, and we read 2 paragraphs before I pointed out one thing I found disturbing at the District Convention. There was a talk about "Not having an Independent Spirit" or some similar line. But the brother on the first day giving the run down of the entire 3 days said "Independent Thought" instead of "Spirit". I thought about it, and it seemed to me that spirit is a clever word to replace thought. Basically it meant "Listen to us, don't doubt us, we are always right. We are never wrong" So in his explanation...well, I don't really remember it. He completely avoided the question at the begining and went off on a tangent, at which point I ignored most of what he said. We end up getting nowhere the whole time, as he can't put up a concrete point, avoids everything I have to say, and even insults what I thought about evolution (presently thats what I belive in...for the most part). After that, he asks if I want another study next week. I'm kind of shy around family (the controlling environment, methinks), so I couldn't tell him no. So, that brings us to last Sunday. I told him no to the study, and he gave me a long lecture about "As long as you are in your mothers house, you will go to meetings, study, service, etc. Not doing that will cause everyone greif. When you are 18 you can leave, but not until then. And if you defy your mother, I will support her against you." All in all I did not leave that conversation feeling loved...>.> So now mom takes away the keyboard to the computer. She knows I love the computer, and thinks I've been getting 'Apostate Propaganda' off the internet (I have, but that's not the point ;) ). She changes the password of the internet. I cracked the password with some digging, and happen to have a spare keyboard for just this type of occasion. The computer is also my output. Since I have no real freinds (I'm homeschooled) because I don't really like the JW kids very much, I get online and talk to people there. Without that, I have no social output at all, period. That kind of thing is important at my age (I'm a young psychologist ;) ). Also, since she is home all the time, I can't play video games all day to compensate for the extremem boredom of all things JW. She threatened to take away more stuff from me if I didn't cooperate, and I threatened to not cooperate if she took more stuff (stalemate) . She told me there was nothing I could do. Trying to appeal to motherly instinct didn't work. My mother is indeed on the dim side of the IQ scale (judging fairly, I'd say she was about 90), so logic doesn't work. And apparently, the first ammendment doesn't apply to me because I'm a minor. After that, I think I had some sort of emotional breakdown of some sort, because I couldn't stop crying. She went to bed after we talked, so she didn't see me. She also didn't see me with the knife (yes, I contemplated suicide this evening... just once out of many) . I feel hopeless. I'm not allowed basic rights. My own family won't even respect me. I just want to belive what I want to belive, and I think thats such a small thing to ask! Anyways, I just googled "Helping teens with Jehovah's Witnesses parents" and this site came up near the top and looked promising. Unforutunately, I may have broken a posting guideline in this post, "#2 Inciting hatred on the basis of race, religion,..." I don't hate my family, I just feel they are grossly mislead. If you get to the bottom of this post, I commend you on reading this novel. I just want to know: What can I do?
Not quite sure where else to go, I'll give this place a try.
Whatever you do or don't do, honey, please put the knife AWAY for good.
You are in such a horrible spot right now...I didn't get a clue about the religion until I was in my 20's (had to get out of a bad marriage on the way out, was messy...all that) but you, being a minor have your hands tied in a lot of respects. But not all.
My advice? If you cannot get her to put you in public school to finish high school, do the very best you can with your studies. Get great grades. Apply to every college that you can, talk to finantial aid people well in advance of graduation. If you're not in a program of 'homeschooling' that will give you a real diploma, then GET into one or get into a public school. You will need that later. If you absolutely cannot get your mom to send you to public school or whatever...check into your area about vocational training for those who don't have a diploma. You would use this training to get you a job that you could do while you put yourself through school later. You must, must, must, my young paduan, get your education.
Your hands are tied in a lot of ways...for now if you're afraid you might end up out on the street if Mom gets really angry about your internet activities...you may want to curtail them at home. What about the local library, can you do any of your searches there? Being homeschooled you have a good excuse to spend lots of time there.
Learn, learn, learn, do all you can to get as smart as you can and not just about the religion. I know it's hard to be motivated when you're homeschooled (the stories I could tell you) but you have to, this is your future, and you're certainly grown enough to know what that means.
If you want freedom later, you are going to have to go very slow and covert for now. Play along, attend meetings if you have to. Tune it all out. Know that you're biding your time. But whatever you do, honey, please do NOT give up on life. I don't care if you have to walk into an emergency room at a hospital and tell them that you're thinking of hurting yourself to get help. You have the whole world in front of you and there is life out there you can't even imagine now...you just have to grit your teeth and get through this.
Be careful, take care of yourself, and don't do anything rash. One thing I can guarantee you is that in two years you can do what you want...just be sure that you're ready to take care of yourself (get some job experience now if you can...tell your mom you want to help out with the expenses. I bet she'd like that).
Take care of you and just hang on. I know it seems forever away now. But you will get out, if you stay the course.
God, I feel old all of a sudden. But I sure as hell remember what it felt like to be sixteen and desperate...and I actually believed the religion at the time...
G'day AnonyMouse all the way from downunder,
Thanks for sharing your story; many, many people who post on JWD also have some pretty horrendous experiences with the JWs (called Dubs here), so you're not alone. I'm sure many will reply to you with some good help.
My own thoughts were that it may be best to do what your uncle said - go to the meetings until you're 18. There's nothing to say you have to believe it (we're glad you don't!) but it would also show show support for your mother who's obviously stressed 9out right now. She toio needs to feel some love. When 18 comes along you can then calmly (I trust) speak to her as an adult and inform her of your decision. That would be a far better way to end the matter. Yeah, i know, it's not that easy, eh?
Taking away your computer is not unusual - you may think it is, but I've heard of it amongst "worldly" families too. You obviously have a way around that, eh?
I'm concerned about the knife - could you speak to a doctor about your feelings?
Anyway, let's read the rest of the replies and ....
First of all Welcome to the board. You have come to the right place. A lot of people care about the plight of kids raised as JWs purely because we experienced it first hand and know what its like.
Sounds like you have it particularly bad though. I must say I am extremely concerned about your emotional state at the moment. Suicidal thoughts are not to be taken lightly. Your in between a rock and a hard place it would seem also - what with being home schooled and pretty isolated from society in general, going by what you described. Do you have help lines in your area? Do you have any family members that are not JWs? Are they in a position to help?
Are you baptised? If not your pretty free from the harrassment from the elders.
I know what its like being so frustrated seeing your mother complying to strict rules and regulations and not appearing to have unconditional love for her own kids. But if this helps at all, keep in mind that your mother is scared of the world. Even more so if she has only ever been a JW. The big bad world is something to keep away from.
Try keep posting here. The relationships you have potential to form will make you stronger. I can absolutely assure you of that. It will help you get through this.
P.S. are you using a mac or mozilla or something? If so your formatting won't pick up. To have your paragraph spaces showing when you write your post make sure to tick the little Automatic CR/LF box directly under the posting box.
Hey I also sent you a message but in case you don't get it,
I told my parents when I was 15 that I didn't want to be a JW anymore, my dad beat the crap out of me MANY times, like you I also felt like I might as well end it all, but, what my parents did was take everything away from me, no lunch money, no more clothes, no personal items ( hairspray, toothpaste, etc.) My dad said roof over my head, and dinner thats it. So what did I do, well I got a job, worked nights after school, weekends and summer time. Anything to get paid, Anyway I ended up being able to leave my house at 17 I almost joined the Navy but I got my own apartment, and life turned out really good for me. There are many of us here that have gone through what you are going through.
PS I am sorry your in homeschool, I hate that about JW I fought my parents not to do that to me, I am so glad I won, but I also met a bunch of new friends working my side jobs, I wish you the best of luck and we are all here for you if you need a bunch of crazy ass friends :-)
I've been to that edge very recently myself, and while my life is not yet what it will be I am amazed how very differently things look just two months later.
I now have meds and a therapist and as you can find out from reading my recent posts my synapses are still firing reasonably well, in fact they've improved somewhat since starting the meds. Life is better than it seems from your current perspective. There is more for you to be and experience than can ever be done in one lifetime. Will your mother or her religion strip away your life?
My own family won't even respect me. I just want to belive what I want to belive, and I think thats such a small thing to ask!
Yeah, well...it is a small thing to ask. It is a simple request to honor. It is part f the basic dignity all humans deserve, just because they are human. It is a very painful thing to realize flesh and blood relatives will not accord you the same basic dignity that they accord a complete stranger. But my family has cut me off, as well.
I learned very recently that my parents have been hinting at my JW wife that if she wants to separate from me she can stay with them. She won't do it, but how dare they even put it into her mind as a possibility?
So as far as the "minor child" thing goes, it may not be so simple as that. I'm 33, what is my family's excuse?
I'm not saying this to get you even more depressed. I just wanted you to know you have found a gathering place of JW refugees, people who understand what you are going through. While we can't fix your parents or your life, we can certainly empathize with you and encourage you to do things that will be healthy and for your long term happiness. For instance, I strongly encourage you to find out what private counseling you might be able to take advantage of and, if possible, see a doctor with some experience in dealing with patients who are in emotionally abusive relationships. Also, I encourage you to vent here; a load shared is easier carried and there are a lot of helpful people in this forum. Some who aren't so helpful, but they can safely be ignored.
OHHHHH! how i bleed with you! anonymouse, even your alias lets me feel your situation intensely. that mouse part because you are feeling so meek and defenseless, yes? Please, please, please, don't give up and don't be a true mouse! On the outside, yes, but inside, summon your inner lion! I will cry for you tonight, bcause you are SO describing what led to my lifetime of pain and sorrow. In a tempest a reed bends and survives, the mighty, stubborn oak is destroyed and uprooted. Yes, if you must whilst still a minor, acquisce. If necessary, seek medical/mental health help, don't take it as a shameful thing, use it as an excuse, exagerate your symptoms and blame them on the "BORGanization". If you have to, though, be prepared to kick and scream until the right people pay you the right attention, and you can get emancipated, if need be. i will mssg you, and you will always have my encouragement. BTW, that thing previous poster sagely mentioned about education is very, very true. DON'T be like me and end up 33 years old with a fifth grade education. i am praying for you now. Bless you. justin
I left when I was 15, and fortunately my dad was around and not a JW and I wasn't baptised. My mom and I have had some rough times, but we got through it!
For 2 more years they can control to some extent what you do, but your thoughts, feelings, convictions and beliefs are your own. YOU control them. And yes, go to the meetings if your mom insists. Be respectful to the JWs. Don't go out in service, and if mom/uncle insist, be direct with the elders, explain to them that you will be respectful and attend meetings, but at this time it would be wrong of you to do field service. If that changes at some future time, you will let them know. It is one thing to force you to meetings, but propagating what you DON'T believe will not help anyone-except the guy who gets credit for service hours.
I feel so bad for you, and I wish I had something truly useful to tell you-16 is temporary! Life is LONG, so learn all you can, work hard for your future and do your best to be an obedient and loving daughter to your mom at this time. The worse things are for her the MORE she will cling to the org. And as a mom of teenagers, let me tell you-discord in your home will cause her more unhappiness and stress than being out of work, because she loves you more than life-even though she is a JW and it might not feel that way some days.
Your thoughts and your heart are your own, and life is all before you. You are lucky and young and healthy and have an entire universe at your disposal. Eat it up and enjoy the feast.
Welcome to the forum anonymouse. All I can say to you is hang in there. I had a similar conversation with my mum when I was 16 and I got a similar response, tears etc and a study every week with my aunt.
Unfortunately I gave in to it against my better judgement and ended up baptised and pioneering by the age of 18! I never truly believed all the doctrines though and was just paying lip service to the religion.
It took me until the age of 35 before I could finally stand up to them all and finally leave. Please don't get bullied in to staying any longer than you have to. Get yourself a job and leave as soon as you are financially able. It will be scary but well worth it in the long run.
Good luck with everything you do. XXX
Fake it till you make it honey! (till 18 that is)
As an adult you will have the freedom to think and feel as you please, until then, lay low. She doesn't have to know everything, just as you don't know everything about her. Be diplomatic.
Best Wishes to you,
p.s.- stay alive so you can live the life you want!!!! That day will come, even though it's dragging.