JW Husbands - a learned domination?

by skeeter1 11 Replies latest jw friends

  • skeeter1

    Are JW husbands bad people? Would you want your daughter to marry one?

    I ask because a male JW relative was baptised. He was a terror while a JW. He took the whole, "head of household" to new levels. Then, he got disfellowshipped. He calmed down alot and left alot of his controlling methods by the wayside. Then, years later, he came back to the "Truth." His devoutly JW wife was very mad and worried about him going back to Jehober. You'd think she'd be elated, but she was sicker then sick with worry that he'd turn into the controlling, abusive husband again. Luckily, he was too old to turn into a monster.

    Do other JW men instill on male bible studies the "head of household" mode of male domination? Is it talked about informally among male JWs? It is a machismo thing, then ordained by Jehovah and in the Bible?

    Another female JW relative made a comment that she would "never" marry a JW. She said, "The men are no good." She later clarified that it would have to be an exceptional JW man, but she hasn't found any.

    Back in the Hall, I was too young to seriously know what was going on behind the facade of married couples. I heard rumors that a husband beat his wife/kids or that another husband was a pedophile. At the meetings, I couldn't tell. They were all dressed up in suits, acting all Holy. I knew what went on in my house, and it wasn't always nice.

    I've read some books by ex-JWs and JWN member stories. For the most part, the JW husbands (with the exception of Joe Anderson & Flipper & a few others I might be forgetting), seem to be true arseholes.

    I wouldn't want my daughter to marry a JW. Not only becuase of him being in a cult, but I'd have serious worries that he learned and internalized a pattern of male domination over their wives and children.


  • elderelite

    I Think there is a lot of social pressure on dubbie guys to "control" their wives and kids. Not everyone stands that kinda pressure well and it certainly can and does feed a lot of mens worst instincts. Then jw women are told to be submissive, again forcing a dynamic that may not otherwise have exsisted. When the ideal is not meet far to many men know no other recourse than violence or its threat... Its a bad dynamic in many many cases.

    i hate how it affects kids. Kids are far to often physically disaplined for minor things out of frustration and embarassment over "organizational" standards.. Im not saying its never called for, but really most kids want to cooperate, thwy just been firm and consistant direction. Dubbie parents are so frazeled and harried over kingdom crap they dont take time to really raise kiddies.. The price of cult membership

  • Magwitch


  • baltar447

    So true EE. Being raised in it, I can tell you that the pressure to keep up appearances can at the very least, cause us to act like aholes. Some of us just try to be in charge because that's what's expected of us. But more and more I think with younger women, even in the org, that attitude isn't flying with them. Once I started fading, I got more laid back and less concerned about appearances and it's been a good thing. I still struggle with it though since we're trying to stay off the radar so we have to live very private lives except with our "worldly" friends that we are making outside of the org.

    Forcing kids to sit still and afraid of being the center of attention and looked down on because your kids are unruly is VERY stressful. It makes us so paranoid over every little noise they make, no wonder we end up being harsh with them. The borg just hates children and women. That's my opinion. Otherwise they wouldn't stick to antiquated policies that were for different times and different cultures. FFS, they even unnaturally word their publications to make sure that the Male or "family head" is of more importance.

  • donuthole

    I don't think that the WT creates domineering husbands. I do believe that if a husband is naturally bent in that direction they will receive lots of support and encouragement. For every brute in the organization there are quite a few nice guys.

  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill

    This was something that I never was comfortable with, particularly as my wife was one of those unusual persons whose IQ is clean off the top end of the scale - which is set at 200. (That her talents were completely wasted with the JWs is another story!)

    My first introduction to domestic violence was with the JWs. I will say that in that particular case, the wife was not after equality in the relationship, she wanted to dominate -and in a non JW family, she definitely would have (thus making her husband well and truly "hen pecked"). However, the elders leaned heavily on him to excercise his "headship", even to the point of suggesting he use his fists to emphasize who should be in control. (One elder's exact words were that this husband "should clobber her.") If this wasn't exactly giving official sanction for violence, it was certainly telling that brother that the elders were going to look the other way when he used it.

    Needless to say, the results of all this pressure was predictable.

    The greatest irony of the lot, in my opinion, was that book the WTS printed in the late 1970s, Making your family life happy." The JW way of life is almost gauranteed to do the opposite!


  • sabastious
    a learned domination?

    Absolutely. In the JW lifestyle women and children are dependent on men upholding God's rules for salvation and quality of life. The family is the responsibility of the "coach" which is the man. Not all men are mentally equipped to hold such a powerful position. The man you speak about in your OP is one of those people. Unfortunately for his wife she has had to watch the whole thing transpire powerless to change anything. She probably has a million ideas to better the organization and the JW family unit that would fall on deaf ears.


  • DesirousOfChange

    I think there are a lot of JW wives who wear the pants at home.

    She may be the perfect Christian submissive wife in public, but at home, if Momma ain't happy, aint nobody happy.

    Being the perfect Christian wife in public is what gets her hubby appointed to the elder body, and now she is "in the know" on everything going on in the cong.

  • TD
    Would you want your daughter to marry one?

    Absolutely, positively not. (Not that I'm worried about it )

    But I wouldn't want a son (If I had one) to marry a JW female either.

    The experiences of each and every one of us are ultimately anecdotal and I'm no exception. But in 45+ years of contact with JW's on the East coast; on the West coast; the Mid-West and many places in-between; in white communities, in black communities and in Hispanic communities, my observation is that people are people. --Men and women are both equally capable of being evil, rotten and manipulating.

    I've seen marriages where the woman was treated even worse than Josephine Muscat from the movie Chocolate. I've seen every bit as many marriages where the wife was in complete and total control either because her father, uncle, brother (Fill in the blank) was an elder in a position of power (Or even worse, the husband's employer) or simply because she was attractive and other men with more power than her husband wanted her. In closed social networks like the JW's and Mormons, these situations are surprisingly common.

    Don't misunderstand. I would agree that being physically abused is worse then a sexless marriage where the man turns his paycheck over to his wife every Friday and gets $5 lunch money to last him the rest of the week and doesn't even sneeze without permission in the meantime. So I'm not making light of the plight of women in the JW community.

    But to deny the prevalence of the latter situation seems beyond the pale to the point of theatrics. Case in point. I know a man who wrote one single, solitary email to AJWRB. His wife; a young, attractive pioneer found it. She ran sobbing to the elders. What happened? They advised her to leave and divorce him on grounds of "Spiritual endangerment." He lost his job, his house, and his wife. He lost his standing in the congregation and every friend. He had a nervous breakdown and an attack of shingles at the ripe old age of 35. (Some of you might know who I'm talking about.) Who was in control here? The husband or the wife? She was the one with the power to dump her spouse at will and marry someone more desirable by JW standards. He was not.

    I sympathize with the difficulties of both men and women in the JW community, but do not agree at all with the sweeping generalizations that get made here on JWN.

  • Scully

    When a boy grows up in the JW belief system, I think there's a lot of buy-in to the perceived ideal of The Headship Principle™. It's a very old-fashioned dynamic, and the WTS places a lot of emphasis on male headship and female submission.

    I don't think there's currently the same level of buy-in from girls raised in the JWs - I know it certainly wasn't there in my case. My parents insisted on schooling past high school and on being able to think for myself, support myself and do things that are normally the domain of males. Things like changing the oil in my car or a flat tire, mowing the lawn, fixing things around the house, do my taxes, etc. I also learned how to do all the domestic things around the home - cooking, baking, cleaning, sewing, knitting, etc. When Mr Scully and I got married, he took over the tasks that he knew how to do, because if he had to cook, we all would have starved to death, or died of ptomaine poisoning. I didn't mind letting him mow the lawn, shovel the snow or fix the flat tires, or pick up a paint roller, because while I was capable of doing everything, I certainly wasn't going to allow him to sit on his hiney and do nothing while I did everything.

    I think males with a tendency toward being domineering in a relationship will find the JWs' emphasis on The Headship Principle™ to be a major selling point. Just like I think that males who, from a Worldly™ perspective, are poorly educated, lacking in leadership skills, or even lacking in people skills all together, are drawn to the JWs' heirarchy of Ministerial Servants™ and Elders™ because it gives them the opportunity to be Big Fish in a Little Pond, when they would otherwise amount to nothing more than being a Little Fish in a Big Pond.

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