Even though I'm OUT of the JWs - I still feel a lil guilty! (help)
Out of all the 'friends' I had while in the JWs, only a few (4) still have contact with me - 2 of them being VERY close to me to this day. One of these girls is about 6yrs older then me, so she has always been my 'big sis' so to speak! Anyhow she and her mom are JWs and they live together, but are very 'relaxed' in their stance against ME in that when I go out of town (which is on a regular basis) my gf will stay at my place to #1-get my mail, and #2-get a break from being up under her mom everyday!
Long story short, my gf has met and befriended a 'non-JW' guy and they are now a couple!!! Now because I don't want to see this friend get hurt or in trouble (which is so ridiculous to say about a 38yr old woman...getting in 'trouble' like some child) I forewarned her about seeing this man! Don't ask me what came over me, but because she is sitll 'in' the org and I don't want to see anything bad happen to her - I figured that I would just talk to her about being careful, not going TOO far with this guy, not getting her emotions all caught up, etc. Needless to say, she and this man get 'invovled' (ahem...) and for the past 2 mos I have been out of town on trips and have allowed her to stay at my place. She asked if her bf could be there and I have no issue with that (they stay in one of my guest rooms). Finally I come home on Sun, and my gf asks to stay until Tues!!! She kinda threw me off cause normally she clears OUT when I get back, but THIS time she asked to hang out a lil longer, which I obliged. As we talk the next day (while I'm unpacking) she tells me about how her relationship is going, and that she is tired of it being a 'secret'...her mother DID recently find out and threatened to go to the elders on her own daughter (of whom she lives with AND financially supports her)....how she is too old to be dealing with this stuff at THIS stage in her life - why can't she have a male friend? Why can't she go out in public with him? Why can't she hang out with ME in public and not be afraid of the repurcussions? I kept my mouth shut and let her vent, but then I just couldn't take it anymore - I started out with "Look girl...you know full well what the consequences are IF you get caught with this guy, and I don't want to see you go through what I did.....BUT......you have to understand that my reasons for NOT going back are exactly the questions you are now asking! I read C.of C. and see things so much clearer now. I don't want to sit here and tell you about what I've read or even for 1 min think that I 'influenced' you in anyway from what you choose to believe, but everything we were taught is NOT 100% Biblical - and to me that is NOT good enough." She looked at me with a blank stare, bowed her head and said "I know...I know it's mostly man-made" and she caught me off guard!! There was a moment of silence where we just stood staring at each other, and I got uncomfortable and continued unpacking. BUT she kept talking, and asking more questions, and I DID answer her - but not straightforward answers, kinda 'general' ones.
Point is (guess it wasn't as short as I thought I could make it) ... I feel guilty to some degree. It's one thing that I have been convinced of what the JWs are about, but I still have this 'weird' feeling of doing something WRONG by talking to her (an active JW) about what I've learned about the org. Is that normal???? I don't even know why I feel like this. Like I'm betraying someone or something...and I've been OUT for over 1yr now!
I know how you feel to some degree. I have been out mentally for almost one year now and am fully convinced that the Watch Tower is false.
Some of my immediate family (including an elder) know about my full blown apostasy and are willing to let me exercise my conscience, thank goodness.
Naturally, I am not allowed to talk about it as it causes arguments but when one of these family members tries to bring up how brilliant the organisation is or how corrpt "false religion" is, then I have to speak up. Like you, I sometimes feel quite guilty, especially where the older family members are concerned as the Watch Tower has been their life. This guilt is even worse when I gain the upper hand in a debate: I just feel pity as I see the disappointed look in their eyes as they flounder about trying to defend the society.
I don't know if this is normal but I certainly feel like you in this matter. Part of me feels guilty for trying to smash up their belief system and hence a large part of them. On the other hand I just want to free them so that we can all live a normal life: I don't want them shunning me if I get disfellowshipped; I don't want them boycotting my wedding if ever I get married etc.
It's a tough situation and I don't know what to advise. I just thought that I would share my own similar feelings so that you would be aware that you are not alone in feeling this way.
The conditioning within the org is deep so part of it is a throw back to the old values and way of life but looking at the situation from the outside it would appear that you are beating yourself up needlessly.
firstly your girlfriend is 38 well able to make her own decisions and hold independent views.
Secondly she has entered into a relationship which she knows does not meet the criteria for a witness and furthermore has become intimate with this person fully aware of the consequences. You did not encourage her to start or maintain this relationship and you reminded her of the likely consequences.
Thirdly she already has her own doubts about the organisation and has done her own research so knows that some of what she has been taught is man made.
In my opinion she is already half way out it is really only a matter of time. At 38 she has found what she may feel is love my only concern would be whether the man in her life sees her as a bit of fun or something more permanent. If she is lucky he will want to be part of her life and spend his life with her if she is unlucky he could ditch her when the going gets tough leaving her in need of a friend.
People make their own choices love, infatuation and hormones are more powerful than housesitting for you. You have told her no lies and left it to her to make her own decisions don't beat yourself up about it you really don't have anything to be guilty about except not lending her CoC to read.
I can understand why you feel guilty, but you really have no reason to. Your friend is talking to you because she knows you will understand her and she needs you there is no one else she can turn to. You are wise to remind her of the realities of the situation, but ultimately she will make her own decisions regardless of what you or anyone else has to say.
I met a wonderful man 14 years ago who was not a JW and we have now been married for 13 years this Sunday. I have a 3 year old boy and am expecting my second child in 6 weeks. I just knew in my heart that my husband was the one and I never regretted my decision. I have seen many lovely sisters give up their hopes of love and children, because they could not find a suitable marriage mate in the organisation.
Ask yourself if your friend gave up this man and went back to her old JW life and never met anyone else how would you feel? She would be sacrificing her happiness and for what, a lie.
Maybe this relationship won't last and maybe it will, but I think she should have the right to find out.
Tea drinker - Thank you for making me feel BETTER about it! It makes me angry that I STILL hold ono these lil 'guilt' feelings that I really have no reason to anymore...I'm not a JW....haven't been a JW....don't believe in the org anymore. So to feel THIS guilty about it is weird to me. I'm at peace knowing my beliefs have changed and that I am free to do as I please - but my friend isn't, and so I have this awkward feeling of involuntarily messing her up - I guess is the term? I just don't want that weight on MY shoulders....
nugget - ur right, she's an adult!!! What she does is on HER...it's just like you said, the 'conditioning' is still VERY deep in me (only been out lil over 1yr) and it's just frustrating that tidbits of my past beliefs come creeping up out of nowhere!
LittleSister - honestly, the most SECURE friendships/relationships that I've formed have all been OUT of the org!!! It's the weirdest thing to explain to people how all the pics I had all over my house of 'friends'....are people that NO longer talk to me at all - because I am NOT a JW anymore. They just wrinkle up their faces in disbelief!! So congratulations on finding YOUR 'love' and not sacrificing that for whatever you were TOLD to do...my friend has been searching for love for a long time (haven't we all that were single JW gals?) It's the never-ending plight: grow up, get baptized, pioneer, find a good husband. UGH!!!!!!!!!! Unfortunately, her chances haven't come as readily as others (in the org nor in the world) and this guy comes along and they are enjoying each other...so whether it lasts or not, doesn't matter. She is HAPPY for now, and that makes me happy. She has a social life, she has someone to TALK about, she has someone to go out with - so I cna't fault her for living that way.
Yep, that is weird. ;)
Maybe it's an indication that you haven't let go of things as well as you thought you had? Perhaps some of the old witness imprinting: "the world is a dangerous place" is still living in the back of your mind?
It is normal to feel guilty. You are talking to a person about their core beliefs being a bunch of crap. At the same time, you had those core beliefs and were trained not to "stumble" others. Many JW's and ex-JW's are trainwrecks when it comes to how to talk about these things. I, typically recommend the Steve Hassan books to help the ex-JW to deal with a JW in their life. In your case, I recommend those books for your friend more than you. She needs to read COMBATTING CULT MIND CONTROL. It wouldn't hurt you either.
You are not only feeling some guilt, you are walking a thin line. You know your friend will be your friend because it sounds more like you are sisters rather than friends. But you know you can lose her mother's communication or she can lose her mother's communication. You don't want to be responsible for any trainwreck, but you don't want to be the one who watched it happen without doing anything. It's tough.
You are doing great in such a rough place.
I KNOW...it is weird! - hahahahaha, I don't deny it!
I think you are very good friend!! I think you actually have great 'concern' for your friend, which is very weighty right now. You know she is in a consequential spot in her life, in more ways than one, and you are involved. You are helping her to have a life. Remember, she is over 21 and making her choices. But you can't be held accountible. She is accountible to herself. And since she is staying in your home, you do have a right to say what you believe.
It's nice you are helping her but you are not a babysitter. Encourage her to read "Crisis of Conscience." Since she admits the WTS is 'mostly man-made' organization, maybe she will be willing to read "the rest of the story." Maybe instead of guilt, you feel fear. Fear of losing her. It's time, if she is truly a friend, then you should be able to be truly honest with her. If you can't be honest with her, then that is not a true friendship. Let her prove her friendship.
I mean, she is somewhat using you. I say, test that friendship by speaking the truth. It is time for her to grow up. It's time for her gain her life, herself. Maybe if she reads "Crisis of Conscience," she will see those 9 Governing Body members of the WTS back in NY, don't know life's reality and have no right or true ability to run her life.
sounds like you're just being her friend and reminding her there will be unpleasant consequences, which you've already been through.which is pretty cool.
on the other hand while youre worrying about your friend i'm wondering if shes actually taking your feelings into consideration, (cos people running on hormone overload don't always give anything or anyone else any consideration)
- youre saving them a fortune in hotel rooms, while shes using your place as a knocking shop.
- you could end up with a lodger plus one (stopover boyfriend) when the shit hits the fan, especially if you feel guilty that shes been up to mischief in your place and ends up getting kicked out of her mums.
- hopefully its just hormones and not a ticking body clock situation where someones desperate to get impregnated before they run out of time and then run back to the mothership leaving you high n dry and two friends short, or leave you in a situation where you end up with a lodger + one + boyfriend. ........... how bigs yer place lol?
i've exagerated scenarios but it maybe worth having a good chat with her to see what her plans are for when the impending impact happens cos if her mums already threatening to turn her into the elders then its probably going to be sooner than later, and it may not be just her wellbeing you need to worry about but yours too.