I sent a letter, to my parents.... (long)
So on Wednesday I sent a letter to my parents. The last contact I had was with my mother, via email, in June of '08. I am not sure when the last time I spoke to my father was. Perhaps sometime in '07? At any rate, there hasn't been any contact whatsoever and in my last correspondence with my mother I was specifically told there would be no contact unless in the event of an emergency. Which given that my mother had previously gone into the hospital and I was not notified and only by pure chance happened to find out, I basically took that to mean I would only hear from them in the event one of them dies.
Unfortunately leading up to this last email from her I have struggled all my life with my relationship with them. As a silent lamb at the hands of my mother's father, and my father who was emotionally unavailable and very serious about his responsibilities as an elder, things were strained as a young child. At the age of 10 when my parents gained knowledge of the abuse that had been going on, things began to change.
I will be ETERNALLY greatful that even in their deep indoctrination in the organization they had the clarity of mind to get me into therapy. Had they not done that, I would not have the life I do now. In fact I have cousins who have never dealt with our childhood and sad to say they are not in the greatest shape as adults.
In addition to my own issues, my mother began to notice her own. In fact my childhood therapist, based on things I told him about family life, and conversations held with my parents, noticed some intriguing characteristics about my mother. She was soon diagnosed with multiple personalities, or MPD. (That was back in the day, now it's called D.I.D. = Dissociative Identiy Disorder).
My father too with all these realizations coming out about his family began to realize his own issues and began the long journey of turning himself back on emotionally. He always told me that as a teen he consciously decided there was no point to emotion and simply shut himself off, like turning off a faucet of running water. The moment he began to try and turn that faucet back on he realized just how major of a bout of depression he had been in for some time.
Needless to say between dealing my trauma, watching my mother lose the little bit of containment she had maintained up to this point and my father trying to not only regain what he had lost while also taking care of his family AND the congregation, things were quite interesting at home. Ironically even though his emotions were in a sad state, he always seemed to be able to empathize with others emotions, which is probably why he was involved in many personal matters aiding those of the flock as an elder. He was the one people went to when they were upset. And being that we lived in the basement apartment of the kingdom hall, he was always easy to access.
Looking back, my teen years are a whirlwind of my mothers multiple suicide attempts and self mutilation, mental hospitals, my father attending to her or being in countless elders meetings, my struggle with them as parents and authority, my anger and resentment and butting heads with both of them.
In 2002 I was DF'd for fornication. I had previously been publicly reproved, when I was 18, and spent the next couple years vigorously trying to walk the straight and narrow as my guilt over my actions and my fear of the world compelled me. However my issues from childhood, while certainly much better with the therapy I had gotten, were still showing their ugly and painful head and I simply couldn't keep up anymore.
In a single JC meeting that, including deliberation, took less than time than the school and service meeting going on above, the decision for disfellowshipping was made (the night before halloween ironically) and I thought my world had just ended.
Thankfully I didn't react out of fear and go running back. I took my time deciding what I wanted to do, and as time went on it bacame quite clear I didn't want to go back. Once I let myself accept that it was a long journey of self discovery, research, and a hurricane of emotions. I eventually got myself back in therapy.
After I was DF'd contact was cut off for about six months before my father called to say they would be available to help with anything I needed as far as recovery from the abuse because that was his duty as handed down by Jehovah. It was made clear that anything past that, in terms of a normal relationship with them, would not occur or be very sporadic at best. My new therapist upon getting to know me and my virtually life long struggle with my parents suggested two options. 1. That I accept things as they were and come to a place where the state of my family would truly not bother me because I knew what I would, and would not, get from my parents. Or 2. That I mourn them, as in death, and from then on consider myself an orphan.
I was struggling with option 1., and have been ever since really. At the time I felt number 2 was too drastic, and I simply wasn't ready. Since that time I have grown exponentially and now have come into a healthy adult life. I still struggle with things, sometimes more than others, but overall I have healed tremendously and live a stable and happy life. I recently got engaged and have started to seriously pursue my dreams in life.
With this, I still struggle with the loss of my parents. Moving forward starting a family of my own I have decided it's either time for us to make peace and truly accept our differences and move on as a family (I am an only child) or to officially and openly cut ties, for good. I feel as though I've been walking a tight rope this entire time. On the one hand there's the wishful thinking. That voice inside my head that has always said at some point in life there would be an event that would be significant enough to slap us upside the head and get on track. I realize they're not going to be at birthday parties or holidays and that's fine. But what about a phone call every couple weeks? Perhaps an occasional dinner or other outing? How about just taking an active interest in each others lives? As I stated in my letter, I can't think of a better reason to connect than me finding my mate, best friend and partner in life.
There's also the more realistic side of me that knows their stance and how they don't see it as I do. They don't see their decision as anything but a tough choice to make, but unquestionably the right one. In fact, I'm sure they place blame on me, that I am reaping what I've sown in my own life. They most likely do not view it as abandonment of their only child, as it feels to me.
So, my fiance and I both wrote a letter. She asked them to be a part of our lives. I too kept things very nice, positive, I used "I" statments, never blaming them for anything but simply imploring them to let us be a family. I also stated that if they choose not to be a part of my life, I respect their decision, but that this was it. From here on out they will be dead to me so that I can grieve and move on. I sent the letter certified and asked for a reply within 30 days, after which time with no reply I will assume their position remains the same.
I told them that I am at a point in life now where I really want and need my parents. I am embarking on a whole new life and will soon be starting a family of my own. Do they really want to miss that?
Since that letter was written I've had a hard time, knowing it will be a hard letter for them to receive, knowing that no matter what choice they make it will be a tough road ahead for me. Even if they do want to have SOME kind of relationship, it will be hard, and a struggle. I guess a part of me is a bit resentful that I have to push through these things simply to have a typical father/son or mother/son conversation.
But, as I explained in the letter, I refuse to start a family with this hanging on my mind and my heart. That's not fair to anyone, them or me, not to mention MY family.
So right now...I'm really hoping they don't take 30 days to reply. Lets get this emotional train rollin!
Thanks for posting, I feel for you, the childhood abuse was dreadful enough, without being mistreated in adulthood by your own parents. It is so sad that they believe by shunning that they are pleasing a loving God, whereas in reality they are pleasing 9 control freaks in Brooklyn
I do hope they use the "necessary family business " card and make, and keep, contact with you and your good lady.
I wish you all the best whatever happens, and I know you will love having children and being a big part of their lives.
good luck !
((((feenex)))) You are arising from the ashes .... Your letter was wonderful I hope your parents will see through the fog and realize what they are missing out on . Sadly in so many cases I am personally aware of the organization holds the parents natural instincts hostage . They think they are doing the right thing ,but deep down they know , they know ....