Grace PM me with what is happening to Sue and her husband
Trying to Deal with MY Parental Guilt
It seems as though you've had your fair share of misery, Lady Lee. But FHN is absolutely right, of course. You should only feel regret, and even then it should be tempered by reality. Your paradigm shifted, you changed, you are who you are now and you're paying back for what you might have taken away all those years ago - I mean within the context of your personal relationships and new ones you nurture along in here. I apologised to my younger son for having put him into the hands of the Witnesses through his mother. He rebelled from the Watchtower at around age 14 without any direct help from me other than being a role model, although he didn't think much of me when he was that age, either. In any event he rejects my apology as irrelevant, which in reality it is. That was then, this is now. Interestingly enough, he also thinks the meltdown of Society is inevitable, but now from a strictly secular perspective. He has no belief in Armageddon.
Put down the discipline and pat yourself on the back instead.
Sometimes, when our kids are the ones "stuck" in unproductive beliefs/behaviours we feel that it is our duty to help them get unstuck, even once the kids are grown ups themselves. It's hard to let go and let them come to the head space to deal with it on their own terms, and in that sense, in trying to pry open something they aren't ready to deal with, we can become "stuck" too.
Mr Scully and I got our kids out of the JWs before any of the indoctrination had a chance to take root, and yet, because their grandparents and other relatives are JWs, I feel guilty because in removing them from the cult, they don't have the kind of relationship with their grandparents that other kids do with their own grandparents.
Freedom isn't free. Coming out of the JWs has taught me that in more ways than I can count. We both know that our freedom as ex-cult members came at a high price, and that the losses we incurred while meeting our objective of protecting our children from the cult was a price we were willing to pay in order to obtain that protection. Soldiers fought and killed enemies in armed combat because freedom was in jeopardy, not just for themselves, but for their families, their friends, and their neighbours. Some lost their lives or suffered permanent injuries in the process, some took others' lives or maimed enemies in the process - they suffer with PTSD and live with guilt every day for the suffering they caused - the price that was exacted of them - for the freedom we enjoy now.
We can't expect to come through our lives free of guilt, especially when we had some tough choices to make in order to save our lives, our sanity or that of the ones we love. But we have to remind ourselves that we did the best we could at the time with the resources we had at our disposal. Our kids will do the same. Your daughter may be prepared for Armageddon. It may not come, but she will be the one who is prepared for any disaster, like the ice storm we had in 1998, or the power outage in 2003. Let her have her emergency preparedness kit and rations. She wants to be ready, because she is thinking of her family's safety too.
When she starts building a bomb shelter in the back woods, then you can worry.
But we have to remind ourselves that we did the best we could at the time with the resources we had at our disposal. Our kids will do the same.
She hasn't started on the bomb shelter yet but she did buy me an emergency kit so I'm ready too. Last time we had a power outtage here I got out my little eind-up radio and got to find out what was going on. A neighbor says she came up to check on me and my neighbor who is also in a wheelchair but she heard my little radio and figured I was ok.
Her husband is a very patient man but I think he too will draw the line at a bomb shelter.
For me the grandparent thing is easy. My mother was very hurtful to the girls when they were young. Their attitude is that there is no reason for them to go out of their way for anyone who doesn't want to be a part of their lives. And they are perfectly right. My mother has never really made any effort to be part of their lives in over 15 years. And they didn't need to hear from my mother how I was wicked and going to be destroyed at Armageddon if I didn't go back to the Witnesses with my tail between my legs.
I am proud of the women they have become.
Lee you have a pm
LADY LEE- I have a inactive niece 35 yrs.old ( been inactive since 1998 ) who responds very much like your adult children. She is an attorney, does NOT believe in Armageddon, but like your daughters doesn't want to talk about ANYTHING dealing with how she exited the cult or discuss her feelings openly . Which is the exact OPPOSITE of how I roll. So i just try to respect her and stay on non-JW topics with her , ask her how her life is going, what hobbies she is involved with, and take an interest in her life with no JW mention. Seems to work, but I carry most of the conversation.
My inactive non-witness son ( 26yrs.old ) is different . We are close and he'll talk about anything. He's a chip off the old block like that. So different adult kids are different in their personalities. Don't blame yourself. Your daughters are the ones who have to work this stuff out inside their heads themselves. We as parents can put little signposts up, or markers, but in the end- our adult kids will come to their own decisions on how they handle things. You are a great mom- remember that. You do your best. I do too- yet I still have 2 JW daughters who don't recognize I exist. That's on them now as adults being deceived, not on me. Hang in there kiddo
Wow just now saw this thread. There's a lot to deal with for a latecomer.
First Kristi I think I understand where you're coming from. In the abstract sense I agree with you. But I've known Lee know for 8 years. There are very few people I've known that have more courage to face the reality that is, rather than the reality that they would like it to be.
When a situation or experience or relationship doesn't work out the way we expected, or even hoped, it is only natural, "normal" even, to feel a sense of guilt even failure. You wouldn't be human if you didn't feel that. To be honest what you felt is a healthy sign. It shows you are a mother who still cares. You still have feelings towards your children. Not all parents who have gone through what you have feel that way. Not every parent who comes out of that cult has the ability to feel the way you do. That you do says a great deal about how strong you are, how big of a heart you have and how much you truly do care. That is extraordinary.
Considering how many obstacles you've had put in your way, I find it amazing you can even start this thread. You have every reason to feel nothing but negative -- anger, bitterness, rage, shame, anxiety and so on. But you don't. Instead you feel love towards your children. You care. I hope you realize how incredible that is. It says a lot about you.
As for your children, they must deal with their own stuff just like you did. Except for them they will have you there. You hd no one. Now whether they choose to use such a valuable resource is about them. It's not about you.
Just realize that you did the best you could using the tools you had at the time, the knowledge you had at the time and the place you were at. Life is not about style points. Each of us has to make our own way. That includes your children. I remember telling my ex wife when we first talked about having children, that we're going to make mistakes. We're going to raise children who will hopefully grow up to be productive, healthy and happy adults, but we also have to know that they're going to be screwedup in some way. We all are. No one has the "perfect" childhood, or the "perfect" family, or the "perfect" marriage. I wish it were so.
Before you can help your children Lee, you must first forgive yourself. Just as I did, you made mistakes as a parent. Now is the time to forgive yourself. Own your mistakes, make right what you can and then let the rest go. Do this not just for you but for them.
You didn't ask but I think you are a great mother and a wonderful, giving and big hearted person. I am honored to know you.
I have an uncle who stepped down as an elder and faded. He does the same thing to people when he talks about the JWs that I have been doing to my daughters. I hate it when he does it. It doesn't help and has only resulted in sending his daugher back to the WTS when there was a glimmer of hope that she might leave.
Guess I have to work on this.
Chris my buddy You are a true gem. Don't ever forget that. Just because we have come so far doesn't mean we won't sometimes realize there is another mountain to climb. At least now we have the proper tools to do it. luv ya