Not disfellowshipped, not shunned by JWs, but my Bro's Family? That's a whole different story...

by stuckinlimbo 18 Replies latest jw experiences

  • stuckinlimbo

    So my niece was disfellowshipped about 18 months ago for having a worldly boyfriend who was obviously staying over at her place on a regular basis. They now have a house together an are going strong. Her boyfriend is a nice guy. They rarely go out and party, they both have good jobs, and are basically really nice young people.

    Her father, my brother (a ms), has taken a particularly hard line and enforces strict shunning of her apart from occasional harassment of her via text message. His behaviour at the time of her disfellowshipping was scary involving death threats, violence and destruction of her property. My brother and his wife have quite a few children so she has grown up with a large family around her so to be cut off completely from all her brothers and sisters is devastating to say the least.

    I've been inactive for nearly 6 years, my contact with this brother and his family was mainly limited to assemblies and the occasional family gathering, so following my inactivity, I have not seen much of them. They visited when my son was born 3 1/2 years ago but that's about it. But we were still on speaking terms.

    My older brother (who is an elder) and his family all speak to us when they visit (they live quite a distance away) and we just don't talk about religion, and I just have to put up with "convention this" and "jehovah that" in their conversation amongst the JW family.

    So imagine my shock when sitting down at a cafe I suddenly realise that my brother and his family have been there for quite some time, probably watching me while I was waiting for my order. I only realise this as my broher was making a quick exit past me, closely followed by his wife, who I caught with a "Oh hi I didn't realise you were there!" My brother had taken off, I doubt that he hadn't seen me, at least my sister-in-law managed to be civil and ask how I was. After an approximately 15second conversation of pleasantries she took off leaving my two JW nieces sitting with whoever was the latest "hanger on". During the very brief conversation with their mother I had mouthed hello and waved in their direction, with them apparently not seeing me. But when their other had left I said "hello!" clearly with them in clear view only a couple of metres away, they kinda looked off to the side like they hadn't heard. So I said "Are you ignoring me?" in an incredulous sort of tone, "No." They said. I went on "Because I just said hello to you and you didn't say anything". They then did a sarcastic "Hello" and the younger niece made a production of a wave. Then they started giggling towards their "hanger on" who was facing away from me. The older niece said "I'm going" but I don't remember whether she actually moved or not. I was seeing red. I just said "I think you are ignoring me and I think it's really weak!" It took all my effort not to give them a piece of my mind on how they are treating their sister, and what poor excuses for human beings they are, but I do still pity them and I don't want to ruin their chances of ever getting out by confirming their view of people who have left being angry and bitter. I picked up all my food and drinks and went out to another area where my husband was watching my son, he couldn't see from where he was what had transpired. I was shaking. I was 8 months pregnant and was worried because it is not good for me to be getting that emotionally upset. These girls love babies and they were obviously shunning me because otherwise they would have been all over me about when the baby was due, etc, because they haven't seen me for the whole of my pregnancy.

    I still had my brother's number so I rang it and it rang but he didn't answer. I left a very civil message saying I was shocked about what happened and could he please let me know what is going on. It has been a week and he never had the guts to call and own the fact that they are shunning me. He is a weak poor excuse of a man. They didn't even have the decency to leave we had to avoid running into them again before we were out of the area. I don't know what to do when I seen them next, pretending not to see them doesn't sit well with me, but neither does greeting them when they have been so rude (well more than rude, its a real judgemental statement they are making).

    I don't know if this is because they know I am in regular contact with their disfellowshipped daughter/sister or just because I have been out so long they have decided to treat me as a disassociated person. I told my brother on the phone years ago that I had chosen to leave but I could not discuss why with him as I wanted Jack to have his family and I didn't want a witchhunt coming after me. He told me himself that the fact I had been inactive for a period of time meant no-one would bother me and I shouldn't be worried about it. He seemed genuine in his offer to discuss anything with me and help me in any way he could. How things change. I guess he figures I'm keeping his daughter out by talking to her. Thankfully she has a working brain of her own. I know how angry he is at me because I am just as angry at him, and that makes me more angry . It's in the genes I guess... I've never been close to this brother, as he is a lot older than me and moved out and got married while I was still a toddler, but he's still flesh and blood so it makes me mad. All the JWs in my town are nice to me. we don't associate but we exchange pleasantries and I am happy with that.

    Of course all this led to me berating my mother for nearly 2 hours on the phone in a call which I should never have made, or kept to the facts. Instead of which I tried to use it as an opportunity to show her what the religion had done to our family and how insane it all was. Fail. However she told me that my father had had several ohne calls to my brother and they were not in aggreement with his attitude but could not do anything about his behaviour. She said she was sorry that they had treated me like that and that they shouldn't be doing it. However this is not such a win, it is only because I'm bit officially DF. I asked her point blank what they would do if I was, and she just kept saying that no-one would come after me. I said it was all legalistic and she knoew what I really thought anyway, so why would it make a difference if a group of men DF me for my belief that it was not the truth. She said that I was not actively trying to cause trouble and speak against them so I was not doing anything wrong. I said all it takes is one elder to move in on a mission and someone to have a problem with something I do. This led to a discussion on birthdays (I wouldn't dare mention Xmas). I reminded her that she said she did not even get the no-birthday thing when I was younger, she kinda deflected and asked "why do we hve to have presents/party on a birthday?". I'm like "why not?". Of course "pagan this, occult that" followed, which I countered with "wedding rings/etc" which led to me making a logical argument, which led to the default "This is my belief which I have thouroughly researched blah blah, I have to go I'm feeling sick..."

    I tried to ask her several times what this "looking into everything" and "research" she had done was. It turns out the sum total of it was her accepting the society explanation of the UN NGO thing. That's drop in the bucket compared to all the other dishonesty but it's pointless because she will only see things through a filter. I even tried explaining this to her and how I know because I used to see things the same way. But I just end up sounding like I'm on my high horse .

    I'm just devastated because I had a bit of a fantasy going where my mother did actually love me unconditionally, and wouldn't shun me if I was disfellowshipped, but with her lack of a straight answer, I can only assume that she would not stand up for our relationship if it came to the crunch. Why do these JW parents always see ok with saying they would die for you when they won't actually talk to you for the sake of their own salvation. Can't they see their morality is flawed. If god doesn't want me to talk to my child then I don't care what paradise he's promising I won't be following him. Even their own bible has the parable of the shepherd who won't leave one sheep behind...

    Anyway, sorry this has been such a incoherent babble/rant but it has helped me immensely to write, which I have been meaning to do for the last week since this happened. Thankyou for listening!

  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises


    It's a crazy crazy cult.

  • lisaBObeesa

    I'm so sorry.

    Your brother is a $%^& and he is teaching his remaing jw daughters to be horrible people. How sad.

    I'm really sorry.

  • Sapphy

    stuckinlimbo - I'm so sorry it's horrible how stuff like this happens.

    It's probably to do with their own family drama. The girls having to harshly shun their own sister, while their Dad carries on a nearly normal relationship with his own sister (you), even tho you have 'left the troof', wouldnt sit well with a teenagers sense of justice.

    So basically when faced with the 'it's not fair' argument, your brother has chosen to crack down rather than ease up.

    You don't need this drama, just build your relationship with df'd neice. Is she at any risk of going back for family's sake?

  • jwfacts

    That is a terrible thing to go through. If you are pregnant you should try to avoid any conversations with them for now, and try to block it all out of your mind.

    Before I was disfellowshipped, my family used to say how they did not agree with shunning, but pretty much shunned me completely since anyway. I am grateful though, as every time I see them I am so physically upset afterwards. I love the idea of happy family, but sometimes it is best to just let them go.

  • Gayle

    This happening to family in the name of god, their god, is deplorable! Thankfully, you have your husband and child to grow in true family love. Hopefully you can contact your niece and be there for each other. Try to get together as much as possible, especially for birthdays and holidays. You never know, there may be other nieces and relatives to join you as time goes on. Most JW kids leave eventually.

  • OnTheWayOut

    I don't say this lightly, as a fader myself. Going inactive for maintaining family contact doesn't always work. It is among the greatest of agonies when close family decide to shun anyway. Try try try to blame WTS training instead of the shunners and keep the contacts you do have, and reach out occasionally to the shunners. I would say to wait until you get through the pregnancy, but mail a photo of the baby to the shunners with a short card. Don't mention the shunning. Don't expect any response, but reach out every now and again with that kind of genuine love.

    Read Steve Hassan's second book, RELEASING THE BONDS: EMPOWERING PEOPLE TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES for more on how to reach out.

  • flipper

    STUCKINLIMBO- I'm so sorry your JW family has been treating you this way. I too have an older JW brother who is a real tool , a self righteous ex-Bethelite who I think is so ambitious he'd be a upcoming GB member if they let him ! It's obvious your older brother and wife and the daughters are throwing you under the bus for associating with your niece. Don't let them bully you into NOT doing the humane thing. You are doing the RIGHT thing in supporting your DFed niece, no matter WHAT your self righteous JW relatives say. They are mind controlled and programmed robots. They have no real human emotions, it's been stolen from them.

    Your mom sounds somewhat more real and authentic ( as my older JW mom is ) yet it sounds like you are having an eye opening experience with her too. I had this experience with my long time JW mom and dad in December when my elder father forbade my mom to come visit us because my inactive niece had moved within 10 minutes of us and my dad said they wouldn't visit if she was at our house. I read him the riot act and told him I would NOT be hateful to my niece and support their inhumane, hateful behavior - so I told him " I guess you can't come down then " because I wasn't going to shun my niece. I still call my folks on the phone, but my respect I used to have for my dad has all but disappeared . I feel for my mom because she really wanted to visit us but was not allowed due to my dad.

    You did the right thing Stuckinlimbo in standing up to your JW relatives. They need to be told how inhumane, hateful, and barbaric their behavior is or they will railroad you constantly. I have found this out after being out of the JW's for 8 years plus. I will be civil to my JW relatives, but I won't tolerate ignorant or boorish behavior, and it sounds like you won't either. And that's a good thing. Hang in there and keep supporting your niece. We are here for you. Been there, experienced this

  • ABibleStudent

    Hi stuckinlimbo, DITTO what OnTheWayOut said. Your brother and his family are victims of mind-control. You cannot change your brother's attitude but you can change yours. Reading Steve Hassan's books may help you. If you see your brother go up to him and give him a big hug. Also, you can send your brother emails and cards with lots of pictures of you and your family having fun and inviting him and his family on outings together. Maybe in time your brother's attitude will change.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • ssn587

    IMO, you should have embrassed them in front of the unsuspecting other people there, by saying out loud what was on your mind. They should be ashamed of themselves but are too ate up with the cult.

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