My sucky situation

by brotherdan 98 Replies latest jw friends

  • Quillsky
    Funny story: One time my husband answered the phone at dinner time and then said, "No thank you," and hung up the phone in disgust. I asked if it was a telephone salesperson. He said "no, it was some neighbourhood church inviting him to their services." Then he said how annoying it was to interrupt people's dinner with that crap. I nodded sympathetically, and agreed, "yes, it is very annoying when people call or show up at your home uninvited to talk about their religion". My son burst out laughing, and my husband just said sarcastically, "very funny." JWs seem especially incapable of analyzing a situation outside of their own narrow frame of reference.

    Okay, that's funny!

    Welcome Dan.

    I'm going to call a spade a spade here, with apologies in advance if it's hurtful to you.

    I believe that you love your wife very much. However, if she has pulled out the divorce card so soon, then only one of two things can be true - and they overlap a bit. Either she doesn't love you as much as you believe, or she is a manipulative woman.

    Disregard the fact that in Planet JW she is only allowed to divorce you if you have sex with someone else. You no longer play by their rules. I support previous advice to CALL HER BLUFF. Next time she mentions divorce, tell her how sad that makes you, but initiate a conversation about the details: the date on which she would like to start action, which lawyer she will be using, access to the children, and so on.

    Once the divorce ball is in her court she may be shaken by the reality and practicalities and pure enormity of what she is proposing.

    It may shock her into realizing that she doesn't want to lose you, or shake her out of using this manipulative threat. If it does neither, then previous advice to start consulting with multiple lawyers is excellent.

  • cognizant dissident
    cognizant dissident

    Speaking as someone who was married for 26 years and is now divorced, I understand the premise of calling her bluff on the divorce issue, but I still disagree strongly with it, and here's why....

    There are some things that one says and does in a marriage, or any relationship, that once started can not be undone. Brotherdan has already stated that he does not want a divorce and that if he can save his marriage that is what he wants.

    So, always act with the outcome in view. If you want to stay married and work it out, then take actions that are conducive to that outcome. Don't start down the road of divorce (even as a bluff) if that is not where you want to end up. It is harder to backtrack on the road then to not start down it in the first place. It is impossible to take things back once they are said, even if said in bluff, they are always in the hearts and minds of your partner. They breed insecurity and distrust.

    I realize his wife said the D word first. She may have meant it or she may have been overly emotional at the time. In either case, look at the world of hurt it has unleashed in her family, just to utter those words in anger. It will take a world of work now to repair that damage even if they were said as a manipulative bluff. My advice to Dan is not to respond in kind, by trying to call her bluff, when that is not what he really wants. Because that is also dishonest of him and somewhat manipulative.

    Brotherdan: my advice to you on custody issues was only as a last resort if it came to separation and divorce after you had exhausted all avenues to first work it out. I know that's what you really want to do, save your family, and I suggest you communicate that to your wife, calmly, rationally, lovingly, and gently. No matter how emotional she becomes or how unreasonable, you be the steady, rational one, the rock of stability for your family. It may have a de-escalating effect on everyone, and may help your wife feel less afraid and more secure. But if it doesn't, and the JW craziness wins out, then at least you will end your marriage with your self-respect in tact and then you can concentrate on preserving the relationship with your kids and dealing with those custody and religious teaching issues.


    ps: Divorce is heartbreaking and that is unchangeable, but one can make it worse or better by how one responds and acts in a bad situation.

  • Quillsky

    Cog, that's very fair and balanced advice. I think you're right actually - two people both being manipulative isn't a win-win situation.

  • brotherdan

    I appreciate all this advice. I'm just taking it slow. I went to the meeting yesterday, and said nothing negative. I've brought up our need to have a family bible study, and we are going to be starting that this week. I'm just going to take things VERY slow and hope that she will eventually see things clearer.

    About the divorce card being played, I know it was a bluff. I've assured her that I do not want to lose her and that she and the kids are extremely important to me.

    You guys have to understand something about my wife though... She is completely trapped by this religion, while at the same time not agreeing with everything they say. She doesn't agree with so many things and will talk about the need to be balanced. She takes almost everything they say as suggestions. However, she feels that it is the ONLY place to be. It's her identity. It's like being an american. It's who she is. So it's actually a very odd situation.

  • GoingGoingGone

    Hi brotherdan!

    Welcome to the forum, and I'm sorry you're going through this.

    I was in a similar situation... I was raised a JW, as was my husband, I pioneered straight out of high school, he was an elder, we had kids and were Good Examples in the congregation When I finally decided I had to leave, it hit my husband like a ton of bricks. My kids were young teenagers and he forbade me to speak of my 'apostate ideas' to them. He threatened to leave me, told me he didn't know me anymore, I wasn't the person he married, etc, etc.

    I wanted to stay married to my husband because we love each other, and for the sake of my kids. I managed to avoid getting myself DF'd (due in large part to advice I received on this forum), and have succeeded in getting both of my kids out of the WT. My husband is still in, but our relationship has vastly improved the past couple of years.

    You wrote this about your wife: "She is completely trapped by this religion, while at the same time not agreeing with everything they say. She doesn't agree with so many things and will talk about the need to be balanced. She takes almost everything they say as suggestions. However, she feels that it is the ONLY place to be. It's her identity."

    I find this really interesting, because my husband is the same way. It's like, appearances are everything. I don't think he even believes a lot of it, really. And I think that a lot of his reaction to MY leaving was about HIS identity changing - he was no longer the head of the Perfect JW Family. He no longer had a SuperDub wife, but an inactive wife. He no longer had Exemplary Children, but kids who were getting 'older' and were still not baptized. Our home was no longer a social gathering place, but a place that The Inactive JW Woman lived and that no one would visit. When I left, it was because of the lies and deception within the WTS, and I didn't care what other people thought of me (well, not so much, anyway.) But for my husband, it is still his entire identity, and HE wasn't ready for it to change.

    This site was a lifesaver for me. I'll always be so grateful for this place. Visit here often, people here understand what you're going through and are soo willing to help!


  • out4good3


    My experience of leaving being recognized as a Jehovahs-Witness is the flip side of much like yours, except I was the spiritual head, on the fast track to be a MS leaving and my wife was the one subject to her identity in the congregation changing because of my leaving.

    She was the catalyst in me being a JW as I reluctantly accepted a study from one of the elders in her congregation with the thought that I would see what all the fuss was about. It wasn't long after baptism that my insatiable inquisitive nature got the best of me and I was able to see the organization for the fraud that it was.

    My wife is much like that of Brotherdan, not particually in agreement with everythiing the religion says and teachs, yet chained to it as the only place to go. She is a third generation JW, father was an elder and special pioneer, and it is all shes been used to and exposed to. I don't think she actually believes much of what they teach partucularly some of the harder core crap, but, in fact, is trapped by its more social aspects. the rigid regimend of somewhere to go and something to do. In fact, I remember one discussion in particular we were having where I point blank asked if the only identity that mattered to her was that of her being a JW----was that the only way she identified herself? She skirted around that question by only answering that she'd let her actions speak for themselves.

    When I called my wife's bluff on her manipulative use of the "D" word it was not without a lot of forethought or retaliatory in the heat of anger. It was after putting up with snide sarcastic comments meant to do nothing but aggrand the organization, her activities within and her friends while attempting to make me always feel "less than" or "not good enough", always on the defensive, and her sometimes outright verbal abuse occasionally after coming home from a particular study or circuit or district convention going on 5 years and at that point I'd had enough. I figured above all else, as much as I loved her, I had a right to believe what I wanted, watch what I wanted, participate in any activity not illegal or immoral that I wanted, do all these things without checking to see if my conscious choice was either in agreement with hers or a relevant WT magazine, and that I had a right to be happy with or without her and if it took me kicking her to the curb, so be it.

    Right now, our relationship is better than its ever been. Her friends regularly stop by the house while out in service for drinks and breaks. If I happen to be there, they act as guests towards me and not as religious inquisitors. I think our realationship is thriving largely due to the fact that while I exercise patience and respect in what she has to say, her beliefs and her "theocratic" activities, even to the point of listening to her "experiences" with a "deer in the headlights" look she says she recognizes as respectful disinterest, even though on some points we might disagree, I demand and sometimes verbally remind her that for our relationship to work, she needs reciprocate.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    You've received some good advice here, Dan. Don't give up.

    Your children are your primary responsibility. Your wife is important but the kids are innocents at risk of cult indoctrination. Please read Combatting Cult Mind Control ASAP and as much psychology research as you can reasonably do (cognitive dissonance, justification, foot-in-the-door and escalating demands, Milgram obedience, Asch conformity, etc.). You can see a lot of youtube vids on those topics with a quick search.

    As for your wife's divorce threats, while you don't want to really follow through with a divorce the only way to find out if she's really serious about her threat is to call her on it the next time she brings it up. JWs are big in manipulation via guilt and it is fairly likely that this is what she's trying to do with the divorce threat.

    For your family study, I would recommend you approach it as "following the Faithful and Discreet Slave's counsel to have a weekly "Family Worship Night." Apologize for not setting it up sooner. And study the Bible only. No books or mags. Read and draw out her true feelings on things via questions. Don't tell her where JWs are wrong. She'll see it herself when she reads the scriptures.

    Hang in there, bro. We're with you.

  • cognizant dissident
    cognizant dissident

    People can become so attached to their "identity", that they are willing to throw away their family to maintain it or some cases even commit murder. That is the extremes that fear of losing one's identity can take a person to.

    A good way to show your wife that it is not some horrible, terrible thing, is for you to change your identity from a JW to a non-JW but still keep all the good qualities of a good husband and father. That demonstrates that what is good about you and being married to you is not tied to the JW identity.

    This at least implies the possibility that if that's possible for you, then it is possible for her too.


  • BabaYaga

    You must, you must, you must read Hassan's books. It will help you cope and may just help her see the writing on the wall. Highly recommended.

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