Mother's Letter To Start Off The New Year...
I am always facinated at the common line of thought that our parents use in conversations and letters to us.
IF YOU CAN'T STAND JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES THEN YOU PROBABLY WOULDN'T WANT TO COME SEE US, BUT IF YOU EVER SEE THE WORLD AS GRAMPS AND I DID PERHAPS YOU WILL WANT TO KNOW US
PERHAPS SINCE WE ARE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES YOU MAY NOT ENJOY OUR COMPANY ANYMOREThis reasoning is very frustrating because they make the assumption that having a disagreement with the organization means that you no longer wish to have any contact with them.
It is difficult for them to fathom the thought that one can disagree on some things in life and yet still have a relationship. They fail to see that it is THEM and not you or your children that have cast them off.
Whether you agree on things or not fails to change that you are her son and her grandchildren are her grandchildren.
I think some sort of reply should be sent to your parents to help them appeciate these things. You've done a good job in explaining that it is actually HER that has made the CHOICE to have things this way and it is her that has become intolerant of the conscience of another.
Since she is your mother, hopefully you can treat her with the respect she is owed down to the end, with an understanding of the mind control she is under. At the same time you cannot make any compromises in your stand on issues you find conscientiously objectionable.
Emphasize that you are merely taking a break from the 'routine' until these important matters have been addressed and clarified. Ceasing meetings or field service hardly means you have "left the truth". (okay, so we are using a bit of theocratic war strategy.. lol)
Hopefully she can appreciate one day the high ideals of integrity and loyalty to something higher than an organization. I thought it was good that you showed that even the Society would find the content of her letters objectionable. (These letters are good to hold onto as they reveal the witness mindset that doesn't have a lawyer proof-reading their letters)
Revising your letter to take out anything that could be considered 'anti-Witness' might be something to think about. Highlighting that you are still a Witness and that you are merely trying to fulfill your Christian responsibilities to the best of your ability might be helpful. She has to agree that we are judged individually on this and not as an organization.
In the end, it is difficult to comprehend some Witness parents ever appreciating these points. The choices we make come at a price we knew would have to be paid. Your mother regrets the path you have chosen and so will cast you and your family off until you and your family are the people she wants you to be.
I hold little hope for my parents, and from what it looks like, your parents seem very similar. You just have to assure them of your love and them move on.
FreePeace and Tina are right.
Why should Bill always feel like he has to walk on eggshells around his parents?
I understand they are in a mind controlling cult, but why should 99 % of the world populations bow to the wishes of JWs ?
Just to spare their feelings... What about the feelings of the majority of the people ?
They are older adults, they should be able to handle it.
Hi Bill, the letters indicate the extreme conflicts that the WTS creates between loved ones.
I am in favour of a response..you say you have tried the 'kind approach' and you are in favour of a more direct response. I think we should trust you to make the call. Personally, I would be inclined to respond in a more palatable way. For example, the letter could be based on 1.Cor 13 but be so drafted to invite your parents to review their sense of priorities , preferring WTS activities over ties with their kin. And not so critical on your part. The passing of another year may give them further impetus to re-evaluation.
Your response to your folks answered alot of questions for me, and I would assume will do so for your parents.
For some time I really didn't know where you stood as regards the WTBS. In-out-in going to meeting's not going to meeting's, I was confused, maybe they have been as well?
I agree with Freepeace. If you water down your true feeling's, or in other words, put on a happy face (as jw's do so well) you will feel just like you did, when imprisoned by WT thought police.
The fact that your parents are very old, is another reason for 'getting it off your chest'. If they die not having heard the real story, your honest appraisal of the religion. Who will be haunted by the lost opportunity?
When we leave the org we leave behind all the dishonesty. Don't hide your feelings anymore, they win, they assume your defeat, they ratify the 'shunning' issue....I hope you send the letter.
You have gotten a lot of advice, send the letter, don't send the letter. I say, you know your parents better than anyone else on this board. What might work with one set of parents may not work with another.
I say, follow your heart and your gut instinct. You know better than anyone else how they will respond.
We're here for you and your family, either way.
I read the first page of responses to this but not through them all, I want to tell you where I've been and hope it may help you a little.
Back when I was still a JW (trying to stay in, thinking it was the only way) I read Toxic Parents by Susan Forward (It changed my life) and that is what put me into therapy. I realized I wanted to break the dysfunctional cycle in my family and this was without even religion being involved.
In the course of my therapy, I wrote, and sent, a letter to my parents. That letter is still being tossed in my face on a regular basis (Mommy dearest sent me a Xeroxed copy just last year. I hadn't read it in 7 years, but you know what? I still agreed with everything I wrote in it!)
It started an ugly cycle. Letters, replies, it all culminated when I left the Borg and my mother said exactly the same things that yours said to you. I remember how bad that stings.
She still says them at times. "I hope that sweet girl who was always the first one up and ready for assemblies is still in there somewhere." etc etc.
I think when it comes to your reply that you should just think about it carefully for a little while, then do what you feel is right for you. Some need to free themselves by clearing the air. Some folks believe it isn't worth the expended emotional energy to do so or that being mild is the best response.
Only you can know what point you are at in your life. Do I regret writing the letter that "broke my mother's heart?" No, it all needed to be said back then. But when I deal with her now, and she starts spewing WT garbage, what do I say? Just "I love you Mom." and leave it at that. She won't ever listen to my position or understand it, she's too programmed. So I have to just leave it alone.
I've found that she is a lot less combative when I simply refuse to engage her. It's taken a long time but she finally realizes now that if she tries to argue, it gets her nowhere.
Anyway I hope I'm making sense. I hope that you can come to a point where you are at peace with the situation.
Don't let them poison your peace. No matter what they say or do, you know in your heart the kind of man you are. We all do. She doesn't know how to love you as a mother should, she was never taught. It's like asking someone blind from birth to describe a sunrise. They can't do it.
Babbling here...sorry. I've come such a long way in the parental struggle in the past 3 months and it has absolutely nothing to do with how my parents act. I had to get straight with myself about it.
E mail me if you need to talk or want to know about books/stuff that helped me. You and your family are always in my thoughts.
You should send that letter to the right address and not to the wrong one.
Your parents are victims of stupidity and intolerance of elders, CO's and so on.
THEY (and not your parents who after 40 years got totally frustrated and thinking screwedly) have to be forced to change their attitude in appropriate manner so it matches with the demandments of the Holy Bible.
That's the right way. The elders of their congo must do steps to influence they in appropriate manner. They are fully responsible for what'd happened, and besides, your parents are hearing up to them - more than to the scriptures.
Reading your mother's letter was sad. I am sorry for your loss though more sorry for the loss your parents seem bent on creating. Very sad situation.
As to your reply, I think you should WAIT. Keep it around a bit and look at it from time to time. I am sure that over the next week or two many ideas will occur to you, maybe entirely new strategies/formats. If such happens after you sent letter you'd regret that. This is a lesson I have learned from experience. I say send letter but only after you have given yourself enough time to make sure it says just what you want to say and how you want to say it.
I commend you for all your efforts but especially the personal sacrifices you have made in order to do what you know to be right in your heart. The world could use a lot more people like you.
Bill......very interesting stuff here. I am intrigued by all the posters who say to NOT send your letter. I wonder if the ones who say to do it, are extroverts and the ones who say not to, are introverts. Just a thought.
I know you are an extrovert, and I am too. And we both are confronters too, aren't we??
I wrote a letter to my mother on Sunday, and my husband delivered it. My mother does not shun us, but she is manipulative and vicious. Some in my family call her evil, and she is an active JW, at 89 years old. I had to write to confront her about her bad behaviour at my home three weeks ago. I wanted an apology. I never expected to hear from her, but I did. It wasn't a good conversation, but it's a start. I don't think anything will change her, but she does know how I feel now. Of course she says I am a liar, and ended up hanging up on me.
Anyway, send the letter. It was beautifully written, and they need to know how their letter impacted you, and you say it well. And they will know that you don't put conditions on your love for them.
By the way, folks, Bill's parents aren't that old. Bill isn't old, so his parents aren't either. To me, 60's isn't old..........80's and 90's is old. Regardless of their ages, bad behavior isn't excusable.
Marilyn (a.k.a. Mulan)
I agree with LARC. Don't send the letter. Wait. Think about it. Can you re-write it in a way that doesn't accuse them of anything? Do you want to send it at all? How can your mother intentionally twist anything you said to her own ends? Perhaps something a whole lot shorter and with fewer "fuses" she can light?
You've satisfied the desire to write what you want. Now don't mail it. Think how you can say something to which she can't reply at all.
Or not. No one of us knows what the relationship with your mother is really like.
When faced with the same situation, I didn't open the letter from my mother, but wrote "refused - return to sender" on it.